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Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by Bluetelecaster, Nov 21, 2019.
Looking for a good pick up to install permanently in my Martin d15. Any suggestions?
I like the LR Baggs M1A.
I'm thrilled w/ the Fishman Matrix (the one w/o an extra mic) that's in my ladder-braced Harmony Sovereign OM and and a locally built x-braced six-string.
There certainly are more expensive and precious ones (Lord know, I've seen 'em at the open mic) but I don't think a local punter needs any more.
If you're touring 200 nights a year, I've got no idea what you need.
Peace - Deeve
I have an Lrbaggs M1A in my Yairi D-38. It sounds good and if you use an eq pedal with it, it'll sound as fabulous as any more expensive pickup.
The k&k pure mini has great reviews. I've not used one myself.
My old Veteran, the 39 Martin D18, has an L R Baggs M80 installed in the sound hole, and a Vintage Jack in the end pin hole. The Vintage Jack fits the end pin with no drilling (a major consideration for installation on an 80 year old Martin). The M80, in active mode, produces a fairly true to life sound, but the main consideration was the ability to take the M80 and Vintage Jack out, pop in the original end pin in, and it's all acoustic again. Works for me!
I install a variety of pickup including Fishman and K&K. Fishman of course is what Martins come with from the factory so if that might be a consideration. Depending on the model, Fishman has an undersaddle piezo transducer and may or may not have something else (usually a little microphone on a gooseneck inside the sound hole. Installing a Fishman involves reaming the end pin hole (I use a special reamer to avoid damaging the end block, some people just use a unibit). You mount the electronics and battery bag (the double stick tape frequently comes loose, in that case a little gel superglue makes it permanent. Drill and install the UST, then sand 50 thousands off the bottom of the saddle to maintain the action that you had before.
Disadvantages of the Fishman - the UST can weaken the saddle slot. If the bottom of the saddle slot isn't perfectly flat the transducer can be very hard to balance from one string to the next. Many people feel the sound is "quacky". The version with the internal mic is probably better but much more expensive.
The other one that I like a lot is the K&K. Installation is straight forward - three little piezo dots are superglued to the bottom of the bridge plate and the end pin is reamed. The normal version of the K&K is passive (no on board electronics or battery) so you need an external pre amp or DI. A slight disadvantage is the dots on the bottom of the bridge plate can be in the way if the bridge ever needs regluing. Slightly more prone to feedback. Less expensive (and their is a Chinese knock off that is really cheap but I've never used one).
There are others of course - sound hole mag pickups were very popular at one time and can be easily removed. They sound like, well, a magnetic pickup. I like them on Weissenborns and guitars that I want to keep totally original.
All are good, all have their own sound, all have limitations. If I want a pup in my acoustic it would be a K&K
ps - there is a discussion right now at OLF about installing pickups - mostly billable costs, warranty, not so much about which is best. If you don't have the special reamer (it costs 80 bucks) I highly recommend having the work done by someone who does - should cost you an hour of labor and most will check and tweak your setup.
I am a fan of the Trance Amulet. I have K & K's and Fishmans as well. The Amulet is better, to me. They sound great and can be played at pretty heady stage volume if needed.
I ran a K&K along with a Sunrise magnetic sound hole pickup in a super jumbo Gibson. The sound was amazing. The dual pickup thing was kind of a pain to deal with, though. It was definitely sweet. I ended up with a Fishman in that guitar. I would like to put a Trance in it, but it still has the K & K discs in it. I might look into it one day.
I like the LR Baggs systems on my stuff, but I am not playing Martins so it may be a different thing. I have also always been impressed by what-ever Takamine has been using since the late '80's....always like the way they sounded plugged in.
Get an iRig Acoustic Stage. This just clips on the sound hole, no drilling required so you can go back any time. the big plus is the acoustic sound is great. the preamp unit clips to your belt or guitar strap. Listen on youtube.
I have a lr baggs m1 passive that I love. It works well with active DIs and amps.
For a solution that doesn't require a pre-amp, the Baggs M1A is more realistic than most. It seems to defy logic, but in actual practice, it really works well. I think, its because it gets more gain before feedback, and is designed to damp and decay naturally, offsetting unnatural pre-feedback ringing, the primary issue with amplifying acoustic instruments.
The K&K, like other piezo passives, will need a quality pre-amp if your amp isn't designed for high impedance signals. Baggs Para DI is a go-to. And I usually use one even with "acoustic" amps. The quack issue is usually remedied with a quality pre-amp.
The K&K Pure Mini sounds like a well-mic'd acoustic on stage. Without the disadvantages of feedback and, you know, not being able to move 1/4" on stage. And by "well mic'd acoustic" I man your acoustic, not a genericized acoustic (which is my beef with most acoustic pickups - they may sound nice, but they don't sound like my guitar. The K&K does. Remarkable.
The system that comes pre-installed in electric Martins is indeed amazing. But it is a Martin exclusive not sold separately.
I have Fishman and a K&K. I wish the guitar that came with the Fishman had a K&K.
On the pther hand, you need a preamp with the K&K. I use a L R Baggs Venue. Sounds amazing.
But sometimes I don't want to move many cables and adapter I use the fishman one...
I have a K&K Pure Mini in my D15. It sounds natural and beautiful.
I have the pure system in several acoustics. I’m a big fan.
The K&K Mini gives the most true acoustic sound of the guitar. It retains the guitars' unique acoustic sound.
I have one guitar with a K&K Pure Mini and one with a Baggs Lyric. They both sound great. Neither needs a pre-amp. I just plug right into my acoustic amp/PA and use the knobs on it to make adjustments.
The Lyric probably sounds just a little better, and it has a battery and a volume control.
The K&K also sounds great but is much simpler with no battery to worry about. And like I said, neither really needs a preamp but lots of people use them.
You'll hear about every make there is here. That's because they're all good.
I have the K&K Pure Mini, too, and like it.