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Old 04-20-2013, 11:47 PM
Aussie Matt Aussie Matt is offline
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Default K&K Pure Mini - a review and a journey

Hi everyone and greetings from Sydney, Australia. This is my first thread and I wanted to use it to share a little journey I've had with my K&K Pure Mini hoping that there could be some useful information for those in a similar situation.

I play an Australian made Maton 225 acoustic. It's Maton's lower end model but it shines. My live playing nowadays is primarily playing and leading a worship band in front of roughly 100 people on a Sunday morning.

Several years ago I bought a K&K Pure Western Mini after reading a thousand threads, and I bought a K&K Pure Preamp to go with it. I was really happy with it so bought one for my Alvarez 12 string (AD60-12) as well. Both sounded great, especially the 12 string actually.

About a year ago I started to really struggle with the Pure Mini in my 6-string. The sound had become very thin and was getting thinner and it wasn't the preamp battery. I spent more time tweaking on stage than playing and could not get a decent sound.

BTW, my sound chain is: guitar > Pure Preamp > Behringer DI where I send a 1/4 jack to a Roland stage amp and an XLR to the desk. Sometimes I leave out the Roland and go straight to the desk and rely on stage monitors for foldback. Nothing longer than a 10' cable between guitar and preamp either.

I contacted Dieter at K&K (what a true legend, by the way. His service and care for his customers is astounding). With Dieter's input and further reading, I concluded that I had not installed the pickups properly in the first place.

So, with some new Superglue gel, a razor blade, an iron will and the knowledge that the pickups may not survive, I set to work. The pickups came away reasonably easily, something Dieter later indicated suggested that not enough glue was used when I first installed them. I carefully cleaned up the pickups and the bridgeplate and re-installed.

Wow. Night and day. Full, rich, everything that you read and everything that they should be.

I went up to church and spent a good deal of time adjusting my gain and EQ settings and now have it dialled in great. For the record: gain is about halfway; bass at 11 o'clock; mids completely out; and treble at about 1 o'clock. I've also pulled the mids out of the stage amp and run the bass and treble flat.

The only thing that concerned me was playing in a loud band. I usually play with drums, piano, bass, another guitar (often electric) and a couple of singers and was worried that the K&K would not cut through.

You do get a pretty full spectrum with the Pure Mini and even K&K are quite up front about the Pure Mini being designed for solo acoustic or lower volume playing in mind. It shines at this BTW. Those acoustic intros and acoustic quiet sections in songs are spine tingling.

But my thinking was to wire in a soundhole pickup to the TRS jack like a Baggs M1 passive and blend off board or simply send two lines to the desk.

However, the more I think about it, and the more I play, the more I just want to leave the Pure Mini alone. It just sounds great and despite many people's concern about SBT's and feedback, I've never had feedback issues, even standing with a monitor at my feet and a loud and crowded stage. I do have a soundhole cover but never bother using it.

Others may find a need for a dual source but I'm going to run with it as is for now. Partly because I got two great compliments this morning: the first from the drummer who I don't usually play with. He said I had the sweetest acoustic tone he'd ever come across.

The other was from the electric player (a professional guitar player, guitar teacher and gigging musician) who commented on how beautiful my guitar sounded since I re-installed the pickups (he's now interested in the K&K Pure Classic for his classical guitar). And then there were a lot of comments from the congregation about how nice it all sounded (what we're there for).

So, the purpose of this post? In a lot of my recent searching trying to find answers, I came across some folks who found the K&K Pure didn't live up to expectations and even dissed it somewhat. If you're in that camp, my suggestion is to check on the install. If not enough glue was used, you may be finding what I found. The difference for me was simply breathtaking. It could be that simple, even if a guitar tech installed it.

Mine also seemed to get worse over time. Still no idea why. I did move out about a year ago while I re-built my house and my guitars went to a pretty cold and damp environment. My Maton is very light and responsive. Perhaps the humidity and temperature changes took their toll.

Also, use a good preamp. The K&K Pure Preamp which is impedance matched specifically to the high impedance Pure Mini, is a great and obvious choice. Yes, you can go straight to an amp or the desk but seriously, the difference again is remarkable. I tried it to see what it sounded like and hated it. Yes you could do it if need be but compared to running it through a decent preamp it's a last resort option for me.

I haven't used other pre's but apart from K&K many people seem to be having a lot of success with the Fire-Eye Red Eye, Ultrasound, Headway EDB-1, and D-Tar Solstice among others.

Finally, take some time and set your gain right and get a good ballpark EQ which can be easily adjusted if needed.

So there you go. Sorry for the lengthy post but I simply hope that my experience may be of help to someone.

Regards,
Matt.
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Old 04-22-2013, 08:14 AM
J Patrick J Patrick is offline
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...an excellent account of your experiences and plenty of good info for those considering a K&K.....fwiw...i've used a dual setup with a K&K and a Baggs M-1A for just the reasons you mentioned....i was using either a stereo preamp...(a Raven Labs PMB) or two separate signals via a stereo y chord to the board (with the K&K through a preamp)....that dual setup enabled me to get great sound in pretty much any environment....its a good way to go if you're playing out with various ensembles in a variety of situations...
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Old 04-23-2013, 04:31 AM
Aussie Matt Aussie Matt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Patrick View Post
...an excellent account of your experiences and plenty of good info for those considering a K&K.....fwiw...i've used a dual setup with a K&K and a Baggs M-1A for just the reasons you mentioned....i was using either a stereo preamp...(a Raven Labs PMB) or two separate signals via a stereo y chord to the board (with the K&K through a preamp)....that dual setup enabled me to get great sound in pretty much any environment....its a good way to go if you're playing out with various ensembles in a variety of situations...
Thanks JP.
Are you still using that rig? It sounds like you might have moved on from it.

The jury is still out for me on whether to add another pickup or not. Right now I'm just not finding reason to. I'll be playing with another acoustic player this weekend. He plays a Gibson J-45 with LR Baggs Element. It'll be nice to see how the two sound together.
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:42 AM
J Patrick J Patrick is offline
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...i do not presently have that rig or the guitar that it was in...(a Santa Cruz OM/PW)....i've since stopped playing out on a regular basis and moved to another town where i am musically non affiliated...on the rare occasions i do play out i have a guitar with a D-Tar Wavelength in it....its a great undersaddle pickup and similar to your mates Baggs Element...but not on par with good soundboard transducers.....
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acoustic guitar pickup, k&k pure mini, k&k pure preamp, lr baggs m1 passive, maton 225

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