Passive acoustic pickups.. .who's using what?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by flyingbanana, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

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    Well...finally decided to install a pickup in my Blueridge. It'll just sound better at open mic nights. I originally used an old Dimarzio pickup. But part of one end broke off while the previous owner had it. So...I got it pretty cheap. Can you say shipping only. The only other issue is how big they are and that thet sit right on the middle of the soundhole.

    Fast forward...I found myself a new in box LR Baggs M1. Also passive. I like this pickup because it's unobtrusive, as it sits back near the neck. Sounds ok, but the Dimarzio is a different beast and has a rich warm tone.

    Which pickups do you guys prefer. Talking about passive only.

    Happy Sunday.
     
  2. ExiledonMainSt

    ExiledonMainSt Tele-Meister

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    I guess I'll first make the disclaimer that from a philosophical/purist standpoint, I have the same attitude as Dave Rawlings and Tony Rice, etc, in that I generally hate pickups on acoustic guitars. I have the K&K Pure Mini in my slope-shouldered Gibson dread. It's better than any magnetic or under-saddle piezo pickup I've heard, but honestly, it's still a compromise. It's necessary for full-band gigs, but I'd never, ever play a bluegrass gig with it. If I'm only playing with other acoustic instruments on stage, I'm always going to go with an SM-57 and deal with the limitations in movement. I have the passive preamp that's supposed to pair with it, but i honestly don't feel it makes it sound any more "acoustic". Still sounds like "insert generic acoustic-guitar-played-through-pickup-sound here" rather than highlighting the character of your individual instrument.

    That said, like I mentioned before, it's light years better (less electric sounding) than the Fishman and LR Baggs magnetic pickups IMO, and doesn't have that signature 1990s quacky sound like an undersaddle. It's also probably the most unobtrusive system - there's no 9v battery bolted to the inside of the guitar, doesn't add any weight, and no one will be able to tell you added a pickup. I've thought about upgrading to the "Trinity" system which adds a soundhole mic, but that seems like opening a whole can of worms, and is a much bigger $$$ investment.
     
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  3. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I have a K&K.
    I don’t love it.
    I probably should get a preamp of some kind for it.
     
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  4. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

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    I was thinking of getting that pickup. Might try it out in the future. But I liked the idea of plug and play and being able to just remove the pickup if not using it for a while.
     
  5. DaphneBlue

    DaphneBlue Tele-Meister

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    Thought about a billion options and stuck with my lr baggs m1 passive. It's just the easiest option. I play it through a strymon flint and the plate reverb helps.

    When I'm bored and I want a bit of fun I plug it in a fender tube amp.
     
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  6. flyingbanana

    flyingbanana Poster Extraordinaire

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    I second that. Just got done using mine through my Vibro Champ.
     
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  7. black_doug

    black_doug Tele-Afflicted

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    Another K&K Pure Mini fan here. Mine goes into a Tube Channel tube DI from ART that I bought for recording. It has EQ and compression that can be turned off.

    And yes, a pre-amp of some kind is essential for the Pure Mini.
     
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  8. El Marin

    El Marin Tele-Afflicted

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    That's the point.

    I have a Gibson Songwriter Dread with the K&K and it needs a preamp to be real good. I use a L.R. Baggs Venue for that

    On the other side I have a Martin 00-28 with an active Fishman matrix Infinity and that one can go straight to PA with no preamp
     
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  9. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

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    K&K here in a Guild OM. Sounds good to me, even just plugged straight into a fender combo, recording interface (with built-in preamp) or mixer. If I'd use it on stage more often I might get a preamp though for the last 5 %. On recordings I use a mix of pickup and mic signals.
     
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  10. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Another K&K guy. I got the one with the passive volume for my Gibson Keb Mo, makes life on stage so easy.

    I had a Baggs ParaDI as my first preamp, but never liked it with the K&K (or JJB in my Fender). Finally caved and bought a FireEye Red-Eye. That thing is amazing! The biggest part of all, of course, is it matches the impedance between pickup and preamp. I also like it because it's simple and just sounds good. I walk into a venue, get an XLR to the PA, tell them I need 48v, plug the XLR and my guitar into the Red-Eye and off I go. Sounds great, not quacky (which I hate, hate, hate). It sounds like my guitar, actually. Very natural.
     
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  11. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Nothing ever sounds as good as old fashioned microphones. My experience with the passive soundhole pickups is that they all sound the same - somewhere between an acoustic and an electric hollowbody, which can be a cool sound but I've never gotten anything like a real acoustic sound out of Fishman, Duncan, or Dimarzio.
    I have active USTs in my Larrivee and my Blueridge 12 string. They go into a Fishman Aura box which does some crazy voodoo - specific to each guitar - and makes it sound better coming out the other side (more natural) than any other thing I've ever tried.

    I have a very cheap and awesome Alvarez that's going to get a soundhole pickup one day, but I'm reluctant just on principle to pay more for the pickup than I did for the guitar....'
     
  12. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Using the factory passive under saddle that came in my Yamaha LS6 ARE. Sounds like crap by itself. Sounds a little better but kinda fake and quacky with a Fishman or Baggs outboard preamp. Sounds freakin great run through the clean boost on my Nova System.
     
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  13. Dennyf

    Dennyf Tele-Afflicted

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    If you're just looking for something to stuff in there for the occasional need for amplification, the good ol' Dean Markley Pro-Mag is hard to beat. Easy to put in and take out, won't mar your finish, and to my ear they sound a lot more natural than an unprocessed piezo pickup. Bonus: They're cheap.

    However they do sit right in the middle of your soundhole. But it comes right out when you don't need it.
     
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  14. John E

    John E Tele-Afflicted

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    It really depends on the situation. Best sounding I have heard is a guy we share the stage with in Saugerties every year for the Garlic fest... he uses a generic mic taped to the bottom of his sound hole. It is the best sounding acoustic I have ever heard through a PA. But he is a one man show. In a group setting... for instance what I do which is a 4 piece consisting of 2 acoustics, drums and bass... it would be totally washed out. I have used a K&K mini for many years in my Kronbauer directly through a PA with good results, but in my situation it is better to have a powered PreAmp/EQ or my pop drowns me out with the Fishman onboard in his Guild. I generally use my old Raven Labs PMB-1 for the K&K with great results. My primary guitar for gigging right now is a Rainsong P12 with a Fishman Prefix Plus T onboard. Works great.

    I gig 100% acoustic now... with my pop in an all acoustic fusion instrumental 4 piece. I used to have a quest for most natural sounding pickup, but honestly I need stuff that can cut through because if I can't hear myself in the gig it is not a fun situation... lol. So again I reiterate it depends on your situation.
     
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  15. HolyTele Tube

    HolyTele Tube TDPRI Member

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    I’m pretty sure the M1 is an active pickup. It may be more dynamic with fresh batteries.
     
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  16. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

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    Fishman Rare Earth humbucker

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. asatfan

    asatfan Friend of Leo's

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    I think the M1 is passive....the M1A is active, with battery.

    I've tried a lot pickups....under saddle, sound hole, K&K, old De Armonds…none of them ever made me really happy. Never tried that Fishman that Beachbum posted above....
     
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  18. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I've tried quite a few. The Lawrence is as good as any to my ears. Such a great mounting idea also. Available in various types, including mini and HB and SC, and some have a volume control on them. Frankly though, I'm finding the piezo under bridge is very good in retrospect and have come full circle on that.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
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  19. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

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  20. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    K&K Pure Mini's. I them in 3 Martins and 1 Larrivee. I have 1 Pure Preamp and I don't use it often.
     
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