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Old 11-26-2013, 10:58 AM
rschultz rschultz is offline
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Default K&K Pure Mini + Lyric: Why I went back!

Hi,

I was one of the first to try combining the Lyric with a passive K&K Pure Mini, along with Doug Young back in the spring. But for some reason I went away from it, I had trouble blending the two and didn't think it was worth the trouble of a dual source. I thought each source sounded pretty good by itself - and they do. But recently I decided to try it again because each one lacked something... and in trying to figure out what each one lacked, I tried a lot of different pickup configurations:

1) K&K, passive
2) K&K, with Pure Preamp
3) K&K, with onboard Tri-star Preamp
4) K&K + Lyric.
5) Lyric.
6) Lyric + Blackstack mag
7) K&K + MagMic
8) K&K + Blackstack mag
9) K&K + Silver Bullet

And now I'm back to the K&K + Lyric. Why, you ask? The Lyric as a single source was too mic-y, lacked bass and the handling noises were too much - and I tried a variety of presence settings. It sounded nice but not great. Believe me, I wanted this to work and I gave it a good go. The best I could make it sound was with a Venue to really dial it in, it needs specific EQ cuts in the midrange at 300-400 Hz to tame some mud and resonances. I've tried this in 2 guitars and it needed similar EQ. It really is finicky and the Venue does the best I could find with it.

The K&K is better by itself, and in one of my guitars is really really good after some mid-cut. It may be good enough by itself in my Jaffrey. But in my Taylor jumbo the K&K is just a little too weak in the treble and really benefits from a mic. I tried the Silver Bullet and it sounded great in my basement. But the mic is fairly sensitive and there's no way it could handle stage volumes.

That's why... because the Lyric is so feedback resistant. I can play the K&K + Lyric on a loud stage and not have any feedback issues.

That said, while each one can be used as a sole source for full range sound... the best way to combine them IMO is to use the Lyric as a mic over the top. So I cut the bass all the way out and cut the mids a lot too. Then just add the Lyric to give that mic air, but not too much. The K&K is the bulk of the sound. I like to add more mic when I finger pick, and less when I strum. So I can either use the volume wheel or a pedal to adjust/mute the lyric.

It really is a great setup once you figure out how to EQ both sources... and that is the key. The K&K needs a fair bit of mid cut, but the specific frequency isn't that critical... anywhere from 300-800 usually helps. Sure, there is a sweet spot, but it's tolerable if you don't get it right. But the Lyric I find to be more critical to finding the sweet spot. It can sound both boxy and have hot notes that reverberate if you don't cut in the right spot. Having a good preamp like a PADI or Venue or something with 1 or 2 mid sweeps is a must with the Lyric IMO.
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Last edited by rschultz; 11-26-2013 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 11-26-2013, 11:32 AM
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Doug Young Doug Young is offline
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I've been meaning to post an update with a demo of my K&K+Lyric setup. I almost pulled it out, but it's grown on me. I've gotten good compliments on the sound on a couple of gigs now, and just experimenting with the combo at home, I'm appreciating it more than when I first tried it. The K&K adds just enough of the low end and "solid" feeling that the Lyric is arguably missing. I'll try to record a demo with it over the holiday weekend.
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Old 11-26-2013, 11:49 AM
rschultz rschultz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
I've been meaning to post an update with a demo of my K&K+Lyric setup. I almost pulled it out, but it's grown on me. I've gotten good compliments on the sound on a couple of gigs now, and just experimenting with the combo at home, I'm appreciating it more than when I first tried it. The K&K adds just enough of the low end and "solid" feeling that the Lyric is arguably missing. I'll try to record a demo with it over the holiday weekend.
Yeah, I know what you mean... appreciating it more than when I first tried it. I think it takes some time to understand how to use/EQ the Lyric.

Anxious to hear your thoughts on whether you use them both full range, or if you use the Lyric as a mic over the top like me. Or maybe EQ some other way...
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Old 11-26-2013, 12:57 PM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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Thanks for the report. I suspect that the Pure Mini/Lyric pairing is similar to a pairing which I've been working with in one of my guitars (I/O UST & Wendler Dynafield IV). At the very least, the problems with the mic sound similar - lots of handling noise (as compared to other pickup types) and a need for "special care and feeding" with respect to EQ.
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Old 11-26-2013, 03:29 PM
247hoopsfan 247hoopsfan is offline
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So I just bought my son a Lyric for Christmas. He presently has a Baggs Element in a Larrivee L05-MT (Mahogany Top). The plan was to simply go with the Lyric based on positive reviews. So my question is this: If there is an apparent lack of bass in the Lyric, does boosting the bass from a Baggs Para DI solve the issue? If not, how would you keep the Element in and blend it with the Lyric to add some bass? Adding a K&K would seem problematic as I understand they are installed in the same place, on the underside of the bridge.

He does solo gigs with his wife who sings, and also plays once a month or so in a worship band.
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Old 11-26-2013, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 247hoopsfan View Post
So I just bought my son a Lyric for Christmas. He presently has a Baggs Element in a Larrivee L05-MT (Mahogany Top). The plan was to simply go with the Lyric based on positive reviews. So my question is this: If there is an apparent lack of bass in the Lyric, does boosting the bass from a Baggs Para DI solve the issue? If not, how would you keep the Element in and blend it with the Lyric to add some bass? Adding a K&K would seem problematic as I understand they are installed in the same place, on the underside of the bridge.
The "apparent lack of bass" is somewhat debatable. What I and some others have found is that the Lyric sounds remarkably like your guitar. But for amplified performance, many of us want more bass - not "just like my guitar", but "bigger than my guitar". Most pickups tend to give you an exaggerated bass, so we sort of miss that when you get a pickup that accurately conveys the tonal character of your guitar. So it depends on what you want. Most people will tell you they want "just like my guitar, only louder" but when you get that, you may not be quite as happy as you expect. You can certainly use EQ to add whatever you like, and again, if you read past posts, you'll see some people producing excellent sounds from the Lyric with virtually no EQ, while other report needing massive EQ. It may be a matter of taste, playing style, what other gear people have, what guitar it's in, etc, etc.

Yes, combining the Lyric and K&K requires a compromise. I installed my Lyric on the back side of the bridge plate, K&Ks in the normal place. The Lyric sounds a little less than optimal there, but combined with the K&K, it seems to be working out well. This is definitely for the adventurous, certainly not how Baggs intends the Lyric to be used. The Lyric is so easy and non-invasive to install, I'd just install it, and see how you like it. Don't start out assuming you have to do some massive tweaking and custom work, it may be exactly what you need as-is.
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Old 11-26-2013, 04:01 PM
rschultz rschultz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 247hoopsfan View Post
So I just bought my son a Lyric for Christmas. He presently has a Baggs Element in a Larrivee L05-MT (Mahogany Top). The plan was to simply go with the Lyric based on positive reviews. So my question is this: If there is an apparent lack of bass in the Lyric, does boosting the bass from a Baggs Para DI solve the issue? If not, how would you keep the Element in and blend it with the Lyric to add some bass? Adding a K&K would seem problematic as I understand they are installed in the same place, on the underside of the bridge.

He does solo gigs with his wife who sings, and also plays once a month or so in a worship band.
HoopsFan,

I'd rip out that UST in a heart beat... the Lyric by itself will sound better. Play with it for a few months, it takes some getting used to. If you feel it needs more bass, then add a 2nd source to it... maybe a mag or K&K or other passive source - I think there are passive UST's that you could wire into the Lyric.

I don't completely agree with Doug, I think it is a little thin in the bass. Maybe that's because of the way I EQ it, maybe it's my guitar. It isn't super thin, just not as solid as I want. Honestly if you play in a band and have a bass player it's probably fine. But when I am solo, it really helps to have a solid sustained bass line that the Lyric doesn't provide.

Most people say the K&K is very natural... and also the Lyric is very natural. But when you compare the bass they are vastly different IMO. Maybe the K&K has more bass than "natural" and the Lyric has less bass than "natural". I'm not sure, but there is a difference when comparing the two.
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Last edited by rschultz; 11-26-2013 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 11-26-2013, 05:08 PM
joeguam joeguam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rschultz View Post
The K&K needs a fair bit of mid cut, but the specific frequency isn't that critical... anywhere from 300-800 usually helps. Sure, there is a sweet spot, but it's tolerable if you don't get it right.
rschultz, thanks for posting your review, some of us who are always searching for better sound plugged-in (or sometime just curious to try out different system) find your info invaluable.

I'd like to share a bit of info that I think might be helpful. From K&K's tech, I found that the EQ pots on their Ultra onboard preamp have the following values:
- Bass: 100K at 100hz
- Mid: 10K at 1.5kHz
- Treble: 100K at 10kHz

Maybe this could help in your EQ approach?

In regards to the Lyric, what Doug described was my experience as well. I had the opportunity to use an Aria rosewood/englemann dread with a Lyric installed for a gig, just to try it out. I, too, found that the Lyric did not provide enough low end for my style of playing. When I boosted the low frequencies, I started flirting with the feedback roof. During a break between sets, I tried to do some work to figure out how to get a good sound out of the guitar, and realized that the unplugged sound of this particular guitar lacked the low-end. This experienced prompted me to start this thread: Baggs Lyric on not-so-good guitar? So in my case, the Lyric reproduced the sound of "just like my guitar" and this just wasn't enough low-end for me in my gigs.

Thanks again for taking the time to post your review.

...
Joe

Last edited by joeguam; 12-11-2013 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 11-26-2013, 05:58 PM
bbrunskill bbrunskill is offline
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I don't find my Lyric to be low on bass, I personally feel that it's bass is fairly true to the guitar. I really, really like the Lyric. The softer, slightly distant 'Mic' sound is totally right for me. It is unfortunate that the Lyric does need a fair bit of EQ though.
In my guitar the bad frequencies are 200 and 800 hz. I can't afford a Venue Preamp, but I have just picked up a cheap used Boss GE-7 EQ pedal.
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Old 11-26-2013, 06:44 PM
rschultz rschultz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeguam View Post
I'd like to share a bit of info that I think might be helpful. From K&K's tech, I found that the EQ pots on their Ultra onboard preamp have the following values:
- Bass: 100K at 100hz
- Mid: 10K at 1.5kHz
- Treble: 100K at 10kHz

Maybe this could help in your EQ approach?
Yes, this is the interesting part. ALL of K&K's preamps have the mid set at 1500 Hz. I had the Pure Preamp (external) and the Tri-Star preamp (on-board) and I couldn't get either of them to make it sound better. It wasn't until I got a preamp with a sweepable mid that I found the sound that worked for me. And in my opinion the Pure Mini needs the mids cut between 300-500 Hz.. give or take... but no where near 1500 Hz.

That's the ironic part is that the mid point on their preamps is totally in the wrong spot from the company that makes the Pure Mini. I've talked to others with similar EQ taste. Just my opinion... maybe it works for others.
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Old 11-26-2013, 06:53 PM
gratay gratay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rschultz View Post
Yes, this is the interesting part. ALL of K&K's preamps have the mid set at 1500 Hz. I had the Pure Preamp (external) and the Tri-Star preamp (on-board) and I couldn't get either of them to make it sound better. It wasn't until I got a preamp with a sweepable mid that I found the sound that worked for me. And in my opinion the Pure Mini needs the mids cut between 300-500 Hz.. give or take... but no where near 1500 Hz.

That's the ironic part is that the mid point on their preamps is totally in the wrong spot from the company that makes the Pure Mini. I've talked to others with similar EQ taste. Just my opinion... maybe it works for others.
I initially thought there was something wrong with my K&K XLR preamp as the mid control doesn't seem to do all that much..Apart from the mids not being very flexible I find its still a good sounding preamp... Will be interesting to see how they address the mid control with the new XLR preamp thats coming out...
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Old 11-26-2013, 07:01 PM
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Hi rschultz and thanks for the informative post. I currently have a K&K in my Flammang and don't play anywhere where feedback could be in issue. I was thinking of adding the magmic because I love the results on Doug's pickup tests, but was considering the silver bullet as well. I'm almost exclusively a solo fingerstyle player and I'm wondering how those two configurations compared to each other since I see you've experimented with both.
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Old 11-26-2013, 07:42 PM
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El Conquistador El Conquistador is offline
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Originally Posted by rschultz View Post
The K&K is better by itself, and in one of my guitars is really really good after some mid-cut.

Then just add the Lyric to give that mic air, but not too much. .
I think it is pretty clear that a great deal of this IS personal taste.

So, having said that, when I read things like the quote above about using the second source with the K&K to "give it that mic air", we are now talking the purchase price of a second source (lyric) + some form of device to blend the 2 sources + the extra time and effort to get all that set up at a gig.

So, I have to ask myself, how much time and money am I willing to expend to add a little "mic air" to the already really, really good sounding K&K?

For me the price has always been waaaay to high. I am a very happy straight K&K + RedEye user. I value the KISS principle.

Steve
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Old 11-26-2013, 08:35 PM
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I generally agree with you Steve, regarding the KISS principle. However, just because it's "a little air" doesn't meant it's only a little important. A little air can make a big difference.

Having said that I use a Boss AD-5 which most people here probably think is woefully outdated, but it allows me to add some fake digital mic "air" and I'm happy with what it can do for my single source pickups.
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Old 11-27-2013, 08:50 AM
rschultz rschultz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Conquistador View Post
So, I have to ask myself, how much time and money am I willing to expend to add a little "mic air" to the already really, really good sounding K&K?

For me the price has always been waaaay to high. I am a very happy straight K&K + RedEye user. I value the KISS principle.
I follow the KISS model... when I'm cooking. But when it comes to electronics or music... it just isn't simple. I have as much fun experimenting as I do playing. I go through phases... been into acoustic guitar building (2007-08), then electric guitar pedal building/modding (2010-11), then electric guitar amp building/modding (2012), now acoustic guitar pickups. The engineer in me can't help but to tweak one variable (in this case installing or EQ'ing a pickup) and then hear the result when I play. Yes, it's not free. But that also is part of the challenge... to be creative in making things work for a reasonable price by making certain parts myself and buying other stuff used.

Sometimes I think I should play more and tinker less... but that's just who I am.
YMMV.
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