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Is the K&K stuff really worthwhile?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by Jakedog, Mar 7, 2014.

  1. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Not trying to start a fight, just wondering where I should be going to hear some of it.

    I'm about to rip the electronics out of my Taylor and put in something different. The ES-T package is absolutely intolerable IMO. The guitar itself, I love.

    I have several people recommending K&K to me, and I can get a really good deal on a system (about half price), but I haven't been able to take the plunge. Reason being, I know several guys who use them, and I think those guys, while they are good players, really don't sound all that nice.

    They seem to be really overly bright and razory. Just kind of... Harsh. Did I mention really bright? Like impossibly bright. There doesn't seem to be any depth or low end warmth to any of the ones I've heard. Like everything below high mid freqs is just lopped off.

    Are they capable of a big warm sound, or is this just how they are voiced? I also have a Takamine ESN10C, that is my main acoustic gig workhorse, and while it doesn't compete with my Taylor's unplugged sound, it's absolutely beautiful plugged in. It never fails to get me compliments from players, soundmen, audience, everybody loves it. I really love it. I'd love to be able to get that kind of plugged in sound reproduction on my Taylor, and I'm being pushed really hard toward K&K, but so far, I haven't heard anything that would make me go there.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. nvilletele

    nvilletele Friend of Leo's

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    When I was looking for an acoustic pickup, I had done some research and ended up putting a K&K Pure Mini into a high-end acoustic, and I am not very happy with the results (both with and without a pre-amp). It sounds lackluster, weak, without presence, if that makes any sense.

    My Highlander IP-2, however, in another high end acoustic, sounds great, very clear and natural. It's not a new product, but from now on I plan to stick with what works.
     
  3. Lucky Day

    Lucky Day Tele-Afflicted

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    I did some research and put a Pure Western in my guitar. I think it sounds fine. Honestly, I've never been fond of the sound of acoustic pick ups anyway. But it does the job.
     
  4. stephent2

    stephent2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've tried and removed K&Ks from my guitars twice. I hate the way they sound and respond. First time it was the Pure Western, second time I tried the Pure Western w/ a mic. Always used the K&K preamp. Extremely disappointed.
     
  5. JG806

    JG806 Tele-Holic

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    I put a K&K pure mini in a Taylor 310k. I think it sounds really good. Sounds pretty natural for an under saddle. Run it through a Baggs Para or a Behringer ADI21 (preference). I think that I'm pretty picky about my acoustic sounds:cool:
     
  6. Stubee

    Stubee Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    Interesting responses. Well, I've got a K&K PW in my AJRI and it is not 'jangly'. People tell me it sounds pretty good but I don't have enough stage experience with it to say that it is 'great'.

    I have far more stage & recording experience with my 'Pick Up The World' pup in my '52 J-45. That guitar sounds very close to a miked guitar. I've had friends play it on a loud bad stage while I listened: very nice. I'd check them out as they are known for doing mandolin & violin pups.

    I run both thru a Paracoustic DI.

    Most players I hear don't EQ their guitars to sound like a flattop on stage anyway, thus 'jangly'.
     
  7. krisls

    krisls Tele-Holic

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    About 16 years ago I commissioned a 000 custom cutaway and it is a lovely little guitar. About 2 years ago I finally succumbed and asked the luthier which pickup he recommended. He suggested either the Baggs Anthem or the K&K mini. I went K&K for the minimalist approach. Did the install myself.

    Wonderful sparkly acoustic sound straight into an amp or PA. I think they work best on smaller bodied guitars. A preamp can give a really nice boost and EQ options too ( I use a Radial PZ Deluxe) ignore all the impedance mismatch hooey.

    My regular Tech (not the builder) was sceptical of K&K until he heard mine, straight into an AER Alpha in his workshop.

    One caveat, if you intend to use it on a small stage with high sound pressure in a band situation, I would Not recommend it. Too much feedback potential to deal with; More polite situations, lovely.

    Kris
     
  8. greytop

    greytop Tele-Holic

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    Sounds perfect on my HD28...using the pure western with on board EQ..
     
  9. 0018g

    0018g Tele-Meister

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    They can be pretty picky about where you install the transducers. I have them in several guitars and like them, but given the choice I'll always mic it.
     
  10. Stubee

    Stubee Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    Good point. When I did my 'PUTW' pup I tried a couple different placements to get it right.
     
  11. Martin R

    Martin R Friend of Leo's

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    I've got a K&K Western in my D18. Love it!

    It's the lead acoustic.
     
  12. TwangySteel

    TwangySteel TDPRI Member

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    I had Them in three of My acoustics when I first started out, I quickly found a number of shortcomings...two of those guitars are since gone and the one remaining has a Fishman Matrix infinity now, MASSIVE improvement.
     
  13. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    If I were a professional and earned my daily bread from playing... I'd get a sunrise system. I got to play one once and if I did the acoustic thing... that would be what I would use.
     
  14. El Cavano

    El Cavano Tele-Meister

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    I installed the K+K Mini in my Dreadnaught. Did not like the tone at all. Too papery and tinny sounding.

    Had it removed after a week, and went with the Baggs M1. Don't love that either.

    My personal bias is to use a humbucker and make your sound "good", as opposed to accurately sounding like your acoustic. Sounds crazy, but I'll probably go back to Fishman (Rare Earth I think), when time presents itself. Oh, and I'd go with the pickup most feedback imune (i.e. no mic).

    Great question.
     
  15. Jakedog

    Jakedog Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Thanks for all the input. I tried out a couple of my buddies guitars that were K&K equipped. I was able to get some decent sounds out of them, but nothing that really excited me. I watched a ton of video demos, and read a butt load of reviews, and went with the Fishman Matrix Infinity.

    I like it a lot. It's admittedly a little piezo-ish, but it works best for me. Sounds very nice for solo performance singer/songwriter applications, and seems able to handle high SPL situations without feedback, so will work for full band gigs too. Plus, I'm old and goofy, and it's much more the sound I'm used to hearing when I'm plugged in. I think it's gonna work out well.

    This Taylor is a backup guitar anyhow. I don't envision anything taking the place of my road dog Takamine as a main axe.

    I really enjoyed trying stuff out and doing the research. So many options nowadays. I was not aware of Sunrise, it didn't come up in any of my poking around looking for options. Next time a need arises, I'll be sure to look into it.
     
  16. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    ry cooder and lindley and jackson browne, keith richards etc all use sunrise... they are hard to get, but if you listen to those guys with acoustics... you can hear how good it sounds.
     
  17. black_doug

    black_doug Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I have a K&K Pure Mini in a Martin I bought last summer. It was recommended by a tech I know and trust in the service department at the store. It sounds good to my ears.

    The pick-up is just one piece of the signal chain, as we all know. There's F/X, and EQ when going through a PA. The guys using a Sunrise also have the best pros behind the board. A tube DI is what I use to make it "warmer". I also use a DI from UltraSound that has EQ, and control of the input and output signal.

    And, of course, a sound-hole pup has a different placement.

    Then again, maybe I'm trying to justify my purchase. :)
     
  18. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I've heard lots of good things about the Baggs Lyric as far as sounding natural. I think it's based on a PZM mic. I don't know how well it would work in a high volume situation.

    The Highlander in my Taylor 12 string is my favorite of the ones I own.

    I'm trying to decide what to put in my Taylor 512 that isn't an under sadlle pickup.

    The best live acoustic guitar I ever heard was Lyle Lovett. He has a Collings guitar to start, but what ever he uses sounds as natural as it gets. I thought he was miming to a real good recording at first as it was that clear and detailed. But it was obvious that he was playing it live. I'll have to reseach what he uses.
     
  19. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Looks like Lyle was using a Sunrise pickup through a Demeter Tube DI back in 2005. I didn't see any updates.
     
  20. stephent2

    stephent2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I do play acoustic and use the Sunrise into the Sunrise buffer/preamp box. Been using them over 12 years and IMO, they are still the best acoustic sound hole pickup. I've tried a bunch of other sound hole pickups and for what I do, they all leave much to be desired.

    The downside to the Sunrise is the weight, once installed, your acoustic is more of an acoustic electric guitar. The Sunrise does a pretty good job of blocking the sound hole and clamping the top down a bit. The full install kit comes w/ a mini jack so you can remove the pickup for shipping or whatever.

    For what it's worth, I tried the Baggs Lyric and didn't like it either.

    Sunrise.
     
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