K&K pickup improvements

KC

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Missoula, Montana
Played a gig last night with the acoustic trio & was pretty dissatisfied with the sound of my 000-18, set a small sound system up in my living room & spent the afternoon working on amplified sound. Improvement #1: put a Red-Eye preamp between guitar and board. Instantly much fuller & better sound. Night and day. Will never again gig without it.

Improvement #2: replaced the long, cheap, Boss-branded cord between guitar and preamp with a short high quality cable from Rattlesnake, made right in the neighborhood. Again a distinct, instant tightening & brightening,. The guitar just seemed more balanced.

Improvement #3 was to try the DPA mini-condenser I got for my old Duolian. This sounded amazingly true to life, as it should -- a studio-quality condenser clamped to the guitar. The guitar through the PA sounded like the guitar in the room. But I couldn't get a lot of gain out of it before feedback. Ideally you would use mic and pickup combined, with the mic mainly going to front of house, but by then it's too many wires. I think the pickup will end up as the practical chance, especially as it sounds a lot better than it did last night. That is all.
 

bottlenecker

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Dec 6, 2015
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Wisconsin
Played a gig last night with the acoustic trio & was pretty dissatisfied with the sound of my 000-18, set a small sound system up in my living room & spent the afternoon working on amplified sound. Improvement #1: put a Red-Eye preamp between guitar and board. Instantly much fuller & better sound. Night and day. Will never again gig without it.

Improvement #2: replaced the long, cheap, Boss-branded cord between guitar and preamp with a short high quality cable from Rattlesnake, made right in the neighborhood. Again a distinct, instant tightening & brightening,. The guitar just seemed more balanced.

Improvement #3 was to try the DPA mini-condenser I got for my old Duolian. This sounded amazingly true to life, as it should -- a studio-quality condenser clamped to the guitar. The guitar through the PA sounded like the guitar in the room. But I couldn't get a lot of gain out of it before feedback. Ideally you would use mic and pickup combined, with the mic mainly going to front of house, but by then it's too many wires. I think the pickup will end up as the practical chance, especially as it sounds a lot better than it did last night. That is all.

#3 is all I need.
I clamp my ATM-35/ATM-350 inside the guitar, pointed at the top a couple inches behind the bridge. It's pointed forward, and guitar tops are sensitive, so no guitar in my monitor. I have played medium size clubs and small theaters with loud bands, and the acoustic big in the mix.
 

Chiogtr4x

Doctor of Teleocity
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Mar 29, 2007
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Manassas Park, VA
Thought you were referring to k&k mini pickup. Great. Love my red eye too

In June I had my Blueridge outfitted with the passive K&K Pure Mini
All sounded very good, pretty natural, but NO output. Had to crank PA channel Volume ( and Gain trimpot)

2 weeks later, had the add-on K&K Pre-phase installed ( preamp w/ Vol. knob, battery clip, phase switch) -
All good now! Right into PA
Sounds very good like a ' BIG acoustic!'
 

Axegrinder77

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Mar 21, 2019
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Springtown
I have KK mini in my Martin and Gibson. Didn't love the KK, but can't imagine crap in between my saddle and top on high end acoustics.

Anyways, got the RedEye recently, and yes it's much better. I would say, barring something even better, it's a must have.
 

drewg

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Feb 8, 2020
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West of the mountains...
Played a gig last night with the acoustic trio & was pretty dissatisfied with the sound of my 000-18, set a small sound system up in my living room & spent the afternoon working on amplified sound. Improvement #1: put a Red-Eye preamp between guitar and board. Instantly much fuller & better sound. Night and day. Will never again gig without it.

Improvement #2: replaced the long, cheap, Boss-branded cord between guitar and preamp with a short high quality cable from Rattlesnake, made right in the neighborhood. Again a distinct, instant tightening & brightening,. The guitar just seemed more balanced.

Improvement #3 was to try the DPA mini-condenser I got for my old Duolian. This sounded amazingly true to life, as it should -- a studio-quality condenser clamped to the guitar. The guitar through the PA sounded like the guitar in the room. But I couldn't get a lot of gain out of it before feedback. Ideally you would use mic and pickup combined, with the mic mainly going to front of house, but by then it's too many wires. I think the pickup will end up as the practical chance, especially as it sounds a lot better than it did last night. That is all.
It sounds like you’re saying you have the K&K in your guitar. A lot of folks over on the acousticguitarforum.com like the redeye with the K&K. Lots of good info there for good and bad pairings with the K&K. Apparently, the K&k likes a 1 Meg impedance, which many preamps don’t have.
I plug my K&K equipped Seagull directly into a Fishman Loudbox Mini and it sounds great. But I’ve heard even for that a preamp will make it sound better.
But for gigging you pretty much need a preamp. Glad you found a setup you like!

Edit– I was going to add that for some reason the K&K directly into my 1973 Traynor YGM4 Studio mate (tube) sounds quite good, though yeah, it feeds back. I’ll probably try a preamp between them...
 
Last edited:

Millebern

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Dec 22, 2011
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243
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Canada
I have been reading the posts here and I too would like to get the best sound out of my K&K pickups. I own the small K&K preamp ( the one that clips on) and I also have a good DI plugged into a mixer and the mixer goes out to some powered speakers. Should my routing look like this: guitar-preamp-Di-mixer or preamp direct into mixer without the DI? Any opinions are welcome. Thanks.
 

Axegrinder77

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Mar 21, 2019
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Springtown
I have been reading the posts here and I too would like to get the best sound out of my K&K pickups. I own the small K&K preamp ( the one that clips on) and I also have a good DI plugged into a mixer and the mixer goes out to some powered speakers. Should my routing look like this: guitar-preamp-Di-mixer or preamp direct into mixer without the DI? Any opinions are welcome. Thanks.

If the mixer has high z inputs, you might try going direct from the pre. But generally, I think the DI is the way to go. Especially if you have longer cable runs.

But you need to test things out. Most report better sound using XLR into the mixer.
 




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