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Old 05-27-2017, 08:44 AM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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Default Who uses their X20's at open mics or any live shows?

Looking to get some experiences from those Emerald X20 owners that use their guitars at open mics or any live performance. How does it perform? Which pickup system do you have in it? Any issues? It is similar or different from any wood guitars you've played live?

I have a custom woody on order and I've elected to go with a K&K for it's simplicity and tone (I have put K&K's in most all my guitars when the option is left to me over the years). I've struggled with some of those wood guitars with tone and feedback issues when dealing with playing live at open mics so I'm wondering how the X20 - especially with it's offset soundhole - will perform live.

Last edited by Methos1979; 05-30-2017 at 06:56 PM.
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Old 05-27-2017, 04:58 PM
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Used mine a few times and worked well and looks cool
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:17 AM
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No one other than Kramster using their X20 live?!?
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:57 AM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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I haven't used mine at an open mic... well, I've never done an open mic. I'm plugging into my own equipment. I did find the X20 with the LR Baggs Element Active pickup is a bit hotter and heavier on the bass than the pickups in my other guitars. No big deal to EQ it, but I would assume at an open mic, someone is taking care of the sound.

The single tone control on the guitar wasn't enough on mine. I am running into a TC Helicon Play Acoustic. With my other guitars, I have the BodyRez balanced at around half; less with the X20. I take the bass down a bit on the amp. That is run with a direct line to a Bose L1c.

I have been using this rig (with a TC Helicon Gxt prior to the Play Acoustic) for years. There is a bit of adjustment with any of the guitars I use, but I have been able to do that at the guitar (Taylors with ESv1.2 and ES2, B-Band on the X7, Fishman Prefix-T on the Shorty). With an unbalanced guitar cord, the ES2 is hotter and bassier than the ES1.3 on the Taylors, so it isn't unusual for the difference.

Of all of these, my favorite is the B-Band; it seems to give me the most control right at the guitar... but, those controls are tiny. Set it once, then I don't mess with it. Some don't like the esthetics of the barndoor pickups - I see it as a tool, and it doesn't bother me.

So, maybe more info than you wanted, but just showing that every guitar is different. I see no issue with the X20 at an open mic.
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Old 05-30-2017, 10:23 AM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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Originally Posted by Methos1979 View Post
No one other than Kramster using their X20 live?!?
First, there are not all that many X20's out there. Second, not everyone gigs or does open mic's with them. Finally, it was a long holiday weekend in the US, so many were away from their computers.

But Captain Jim gave you a pretty thorough answer just now.
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Old 05-30-2017, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl49 View Post
First, there are not all that many X20's out there. Second, not everyone gigs or does open mic's with them. Finally, it was a long holiday weekend in the US, so many were away from their computers.

But Captain Jim gave you a pretty thorough answer just now.
There are likely plenty of X20s out there being used in gigs, unfortunately just not by gigging AGFers.

Regardless, Jim's experience is valuable. Jim, I've been following the Acoustic Amplification subforum, and if/when I get into some gigging, I'll likely mirror your set up with the Bose L1C and TC Helicon Play Acoustic.
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Old 05-30-2017, 02:20 PM
Uncle Pauhana Uncle Pauhana is offline
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Sorry, missed this because the title said "open mics". I've never done one, but I've used my X20 for numerous live performances.

It's splendid! I got it particularly for gigging, and I wouldn't trade it for anything else I know of. (I haven't played a Blackbird ekoa model yet, but I'm sure they rock.) I probably would never have considered a composite guitar if I were only playing at home. Would a high-end wood guitar sound/play better? I hope so, considering how much they cost. But it would be hard to play on stage with the mega-bucks guitar (and maybe me too) covered in bubble-wrap.

Although I got it for live performances, just yesterday I was marveling at being able to take such a high-quality guitar to the park without worry.

Mine has the K&K, which I like a lot. Needs a bit of EQ, but the results are solid. I'm considering getting a ToneDexter to take the sound to the next level.

I've never had an X20 feedback experience, but I've been lucky enough to have competent soundpeople (at larger events) or gentle volume levels (at smaller venues).

The only downside to the wonderful and delightful offset soundhole is that on small gigs where we need to do our own EQ and levels, I need to turn the PA up louder than it will be during the gig so that I can hear the PA adequately over the actual sound of the guitar coming up at me from the soundhole!

I bet you'll love your X20… and don't forget to post pics!

Aloha!

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Old 05-30-2017, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Pauhana View Post
Sorry, missed this because the title said "open mics". I've never done one, but I've used my X20 for numerous live performances.

Mine has the K&K, which I like a lot. Needs a bit of EQ, but the results are solid. I'm considering getting a ToneDexter to take the sound to the next level.
I thought after the fact that I should have included any live playing in the headline as opposed to just open mics. I'll change that.

Can you comment more about your EQ challenges with the K&K X20? What type of sound problems do you run into right out of the gate? Is it the typical too-heavy bass that the K&K sometimes produces? And with what type of amplification? Acoustic amp? PA? Your equipment or the venues? What do you use in your signal chain to get the tone/EQ'ing you need?

Thanks in advance for any more detailed info you can provide!
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Old 05-31-2017, 06:50 AM
Puerto Player Puerto Player is offline
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Yea, not open mic's but small, open bars. I plug mine into a Lemon Aid pedal and then into RNP preamp. Big 3D sound, tames all the extra bass. I use the tone knob on the Lemon Aid at less the "1" or there's too much treble.
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Old 05-31-2017, 10:49 AM
Uncle Pauhana Uncle Pauhana is offline
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Can you comment more about your EQ challenges with the K&K X20? What type of sound problems do you run into right out of the gate? Is it the typical too-heavy bass that the K&K sometimes produces?
Hi Methos,

When I wrote "Needs a bit of EQ", I didn't mean to suggest that I was facing any challenges or problems. EQ is just another task like tuning the guitar. It's certainly no more difficult with the X20 than with any other instrument that I've used. But yes, you're correct that the low-end usually needs to be cut.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Methos1979 View Post
And with what type of amplification? Acoustic amp? PA? Your equipment or the venues? What do you use in your signal chain to get the tone/EQ'ing you need?
I don't own any sound equipment myself, and I've only played through PAs – either belonging to a venue, sound contractor, or a group that I'm playing with – and I've never tried any sort of acoustic amp. I've mostly been lucky with the PAs I've been hooked up with, ranging from QSC K8s on sticks, to large flown systems. My signal chain is a Red-Eye preamp with a Turbo Tuner and TC delay in the loop. All the EQ happens at the board. Very, very rarely I find myself wishing I had more local control. An Empress para EQ would take care of the EQ well, but it has no gain control! But I'm thinking of moving to a ToneDexter, and that would take care of the EQ and gain as well as providing a more realistic sound.

So, somehow my answer doesn't seem very helpful… if you have any more questions, please ask and I'll try to do better!

.
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Old 05-31-2017, 11:01 AM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Pauhana View Post
Hi Methos,

When I wrote "Needs a bit of EQ", I didn't mean to suggest that I was facing any challenges or problems. EQ is just another task like tuning the guitar. It's certainly no more difficult with the X20 than with any other instrument that I've used. But yes, you're correct that the low-end usually needs to be cut.


I don't own any sound equipment myself, and I've only played through PAs – either belonging to a venue, sound contractor, or a group that I'm playing with – and I've never tried any sort of acoustic amp. I've mostly been lucky with the PAs I've been hooked up with, ranging from QSC K8s on sticks, to large flown systems. My signal chain is a Red-Eye preamp with a Turbo Tuner and TC delay in the loop. All the EQ happens at the board. Very, very rarely I find myself wishing I had more local control. An Empress para EQ would take care of the EQ well, but it has no gain control! But I'm thinking of moving to a ToneDexter, and that would take care of the EQ and gain as well as providing a more realistic sound.

So, somehow my answer doesn't seem very helpful… if you have any more questions, please ask and I'll try to do better!

.
Actually, your answers were very helpful. Sounds like you've been lucky with playing at places with decent sound equipment and even more important - decent sound men!

As someone who plays fingerstyle without nails, that tendency for guitars to need low-end roll off is even more an issue with me. I'm mostly looking to see what people with X20's that play live are running into with issues. My custom on order right now has a K&K going in but I'm beginning to wonder if something else might not be better.

Like many, I'm not a fan of barn door electrics but for playing live it is nice to have some volume tone/EQ control right at your fingertips. Sure, I can throw on some sort of DI that will give me that. I've already got the little belt clip K&K preamp and I've got a Baggs Para DI on the way which will give me everything the K&K has plus some extras like a notch. Since I've got a few months before they even start my build I've got time to mess around with those.
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Old 05-31-2017, 11:32 AM
Uncle Pauhana Uncle Pauhana is offline
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Methos, I mentioned the ToneDexter in my reply. Have you checked it out? If not, go over to the acoustic amplification subforum and explore. It's a very different approach to bringing a more natural, mic-like sound, and I think it's something everybody could should at least be familiar with when deciding about preamps and processors.
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Old 05-31-2017, 01:47 PM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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Originally Posted by Uncle Pauhana View Post
Methos, I mentioned the ToneDexter in my reply. Have you checked it out? If not, go over to the acoustic amplification subforum and explore. It's a very different approach to bringing a more natural, mic-like sound, and I think it's something everybody could should at least be familiar with when deciding about preamps and processors.
I've been following the thread on and off for quite some time. The problem is that in every demo video I see I really don't hear much of a difference in the tones and oftentimes the 'improved' tones seem to be worse than the ones before the effect is engaged. That combined with the price and the 'training' process kind of turns me off.

I'm not really looking for magical tone but just decent tone in situations where I have very little control over the process, like open mics which at this point is pretty much all we do.

One of the open mics I go to has the equipment to mic guitars and every time they do it, it sounds really good. I might give that a try sometime just to see how that works for me. The problem being of course that I never really know what I sound like 'out there' in the room!
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Old 05-31-2017, 02:05 PM
Uncle Pauhana Uncle Pauhana is offline
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Well, to take another shot at being a GAE, (gear acquisition enabler ), Mesa/Boogie has a new acoustic guitar preamp out. (The thread on it just mentions the combo amp, but there is a preamp too.)

.
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Old 05-31-2017, 04:32 PM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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Well, to take another shot at being a GAE, (gear acquisition enabler ), Mesa/Boogie has a new acoustic guitar preamp out. (The thread on it just mentions the combo amp, but there is a preamp too.)

.
I have a really nice acoustic amp that I like and I've owned several others. If only I was using my own gear that would solve everything. Someone actually mentioned in one of these types of threads about open mics and bad tone saying they just take their amp and that way take the venue sound person/gear right out of the loop. Believe me, I've thought about doing just that!
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