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Author Topic: fishman prefix? something else?  (Read 3050 times)
jonlee
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« on: February 07, 2007, 09:12:56 PM »

ok so i might have an opportunity to grab a fishman prefix preamp/pickup system for super cheap and i was wondering if i should get it. it's the same thing that taylor used up until 2002 on their 300 and 400 series guitars. should i get this or just get a LR baggs element?

i play a few taylors with the fishman system and it sounds alright... the only thing that concerns me is that i would have to cut a huge chunk out of my OM03.

any other suggestions? i've only got about $170 to buy it and get it installed. thanks in advance.

cheers,
Jon
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aaronjnoone
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2007, 01:39:51 AM »

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any other suggestions? i've only got about $170 to buy it and get it installed. thanks in advance.

Yeah, save 30 more dollars and get an LR baggs dual source. I don't want to sound pompous or high and mighty, but I play for a living and this pickup has actually gotten me gigs. I'm not kidding, my sound on-stage is very impressive, and PA notwithstanding, I owe it to this pickup. People hear my sound and ask me, "How do you get your acoustic to sound that good?". Every major manufacturer makes a dual source of some kind, with different combos of pickups, and they are worth the money. I take my Larry to gigs and blow people away. It's just big, full and punchy. A lot of people on here swear by their pure westerns, and they are very good for the money, but I would never use anything but a dual source of some kind in any of my guitars.

This is one guy's opinion, by no means the authoritative info on the subject. But if you can afford one, a dual source of some kind, whether it be Baggs, Fishman, B-band, K&K or whatever, that's where the sound is.

this is just my 2 cents, the Prefix is a transducer with a preamp and will be shape-able, but in my opinion you can get better stuff for comparable prices.
-A
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sdelsolray
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2007, 02:43:14 AM »

Yeah, dual source is where it's at.  Plenty of combinations out there.
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maxferry
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2007, 04:19:12 AM »

First off, I would avoid any system that requires extra holes to be knocked into the axe. If it's a good enough axe to want to hang on to it, and since you never know when you might want/have to change systems, you could get stuck with unusable and unsightly holes in your axe. JMHO

I have a Prefix Blender system (in a Taylor 412K) that has an external blender pre-amp, UST and Crown condenser; it sounds great but it was very expensive. I put it in there about 7 years ago; if the K&K had been available at that time I would have gone with that instead, because the K&K in my L03 sounds every bit as good as the $400 Fishman system, was easy to install myself, does not necessarily require a preamp, and it only cost me $89. I'm still thinking about changing out the Fishman...I just like how simple and straightforward the K&K is.

Dual source is great, but if one of those sources is a condenser mic, it invites problems with feedback. I haven't even been able to make the K&K PWM feed back.
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jonlee
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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2007, 05:11:24 AM »

Yeah, save 30 more dollars and get an LR baggs dual source. I don't want to sound pompous or high and mighty, but I play for a living and this pickup has actually gotten me gigs. I'm not kidding, my sound on-stage is very impressive, and PA notwithstanding, I owe it to this pickup. People hear my sound and ask me, "How do you get your acoustic to sound that good?". Every major manufacturer makes a dual source of some kind, with different combos of pickups, and they are worth the money. I take my Larry to gigs and blow people away. It's just big, full and punchy. A lot of people on here swear by their pure westerns, and they are very good for the money, but I would never use anything but a dual source of some kind in any of my guitars.

This is one guy's opinion, by no means the authoritative info on the subject. But if you can afford one, a dual source of some kind, whether it be Baggs, Fishman, B-band, K&K or whatever, that's where the sound is.

this is just my 2 cents, the Prefix is a transducer with a preamp and will be shape-able, but in my opinion you can get better stuff for comparable prices.
-A

$200... that's including install? i stopped by sam ash today (had to get new strings...) and asked about various pickups and the cheapest one was this baggs one that fits under the saddle (i think)... but they had quoted me $180 for the pickup and install.
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dberch
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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2007, 02:34:44 PM »

Do yourself a favor and check out the K&K Pure Western Mini.  No barn door, no mic needed, and it sounds GREAT.  I have them on four guitars now.  Each guitar's unique sound comes through loud and clear.

David
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aaronjnoone
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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2007, 03:17:00 PM »

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$200... that's including install? i stopped by sam ash today (had to get new strings...) and asked about various pickups and the cheapest one was this baggs one that fits under the saddle (i think)... but they had quoted me $180 for the pickup and install.

$200 with free shipping from bluestarmusic.com. I don't know what you would be charged for an install, but if you have any tools I can tell you it's easy to do. VERY EASY.

It requires no cutting. All you do is enlarge your endpin hole, and drill one small hole in the saddle slot. Taking a power drill to your beautiful Larrivee can be psychologically challenging, I know. But really, it's not that hard. In fact, it's not hard at all. I had a harder time putting in my K&K pure western mini. That install required rubber gloves, mirrors, glue, guessing, but the Baggs install is really straight forward. It's all peel and stick velcro mounts, except for the endpin, which is threaded.

If I can do this, anyone can. There are many people on here who can walk you through the install, myself included. If you decide to go with this, contact me, or post a topic about install, we are here to help.

-A
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jonlee
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« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2007, 05:36:47 PM »

ok i realized that if i go with any of the baggs stuff, i would run into a problem with the volume knob. it mounts inside the soundhole, correct? i found that if i don't use a feedback buster (one of those rubber round things that you cover the soundhole with) when hooked up to the PA system... and have the other instruments playing with... the strings will buzz uncontrollably. that's with any of the guitars we use at church, whether it's my larrivee unplugged, any of the 6 taylors we use, etc...

is there any way around that?

i realize that cutting a huge hole in the side isn't exactly good. but it might be the only way i can get everything to work.
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maxferry
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« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2007, 06:58:54 PM »

jonlee, this is one of the difficulties I have with active systems with onboard controls, batteries, what have you. It's also one of the reasons I went with the K&K, since it's a passive system. You can get more elaborate systems from K&K that are dual source and can be used with external preamps/controls, and this wouldn't require any mods to axe itself. Another problem with using a UST is the fact that you may have to modify the saddle so that it won't be too high when the transducer is in the slot, which means having to pay to have it installed and set up.

Of course, the prime consideration is how it sounds...no issue with the K&K there. You might not even need a preamp or dual source with this, as the basic Pure Western sounds great just as it is, running direct into a mixer with mic preamps. The only potential issue is that the low impedance output of the K&K might not be compatible with equipment that's designed to work with a typical high impedance UST, in which case you would need their external preamp to match impedance.
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aaronjnoone
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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2007, 10:33:14 PM »

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is there any way around that?

Yes. What I did is mount the control on a piece of peel & stick velcro and that way it's adjustable. When I use my feedback buster the control is far enough out of the way, it doesn't interfere. I'll take a picture if you want.

I only have my controls barely sticking out anyway, you can't even see it. And since I play solo gigs most of the time, I rarely have feedback issues. However, the only problem I can see you having is if you frequently mess with your volume knob. Once I have mine dialed in, I never mess with it. I just use the PA controls if I need to.

Also, Maxferry is right about the UST messing with your saddle height, one thing I forgot to mention. You end up sanding the bottom of your saddle. Also easily done- flat sanding block, sand a little, check it, sand a little, check it, so on. I had a tech do this for me once and he charged me $20. I did it the next time for free.

Again, happy to help

-A
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jonlee
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« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2007, 10:46:53 PM »

Yes. What I did is mount the control on a piece of peel & stick velcro and that way it's adjustable. When I use my feedback buster the control is far enough out of the way, it doesn't interfere. I'll take a picture if you want.

I only have my controls barely sticking out anyway, you can't even see it. And since I play solo gigs most of the time, I rarely have feedback issues. However, the only problem I can see you having is if you frequently mess with your volume knob. Once I have mine dialed in, I never mess with it. I just use the PA controls if I need to.

Also, Maxferry is right about the UST messing with your saddle height, one thing I forgot to mention. You end up sanding the bottom of your saddle. Also easily done- flat sanding block, sand a little, check it, sand a little, check it, so on. I had a tech do this for me once and he charged me $20. I did it the next time for free.

Again, happy to help

-A

ahh please. pictures would help. :)
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sdelsolray
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« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2007, 11:03:35 PM »

jonlee, this is one of the difficulties I have with active systems with onboard controls, batteries, what have you. It's also one of the reasons I went with the K&K, since it's a passive system. You can get more elaborate systems from K&K that are dual source and can be used with external preamps/controls, and this wouldn't require any mods to axe itself. Another problem with using a UST is the fact that you may have to modify the saddle so that it won't be too high when the transducer is in the slot, which means having to pay to have it installed and set up.

Of course, the prime consideration is how it sounds...no issue with the K&K there. You might not even need a preamp or dual source with this, as the basic Pure Western sounds great just as it is, running direct into a mixer with mic preamps. The only potential issue is that the low impedance output of the K&K might not be compatible with equipment that's designed to work with a typical high impedance UST, in which case you would need their external preamp to match impedance.



The K&K mini is not a low impedance pickup.  It is a high impedance pickup.  Piezo pickups have variable output impedance depending on frequency and signal strength (voltage).  Although the nominal output impedance of a K&K mini is lower than the nominal output impedance of most USTs, it's still a high impedance pickup.  On the input side, you need at least a 1 megohm input impedance load, which is much higher than a mic preamp which typically has about 1k to 3k ohm impedance.  A K&K mini will not work plugged directly into a mic preamp with such a low input impedance.

Also, for what it's worth, I did some experients with a K&K mini and a DI I have with switchable input impedances (1.5k, 100k, 1 megohm and 10 megohm).  There was no appreciable difference in sound between the 1 megohm and 10 megohm input impedances, quite a difference with the 100k input impedance and the pickup didn't work much at all at 1.5k.  I realize that K&K historically has said the 1 megohm is better than a 10 megohn for the K&K pickup.  But those statements began when the K&K Standard was the K&K pickup for sale, not the mini.  All I can say is that I can't hear a difference using a K&K mini with 1 megohm or 10 megohm, all other things being equal (same guitar, DI, amp, speakers, etc.).
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aaronjnoone
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« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2007, 11:13:49 PM »

Here's the remote control unit with a piece of velcro on it. The other piece (of velcro) is mounted just inside the soundhole. http://i13.tinypic.com/4cboghc.jpg

Here's a kind of lousy shot of the unit installed. If you look closely on the left you can see the knobs sticking out. In this position my feedback buster is easily placed in the soundhole. http://i16.tinypic.com/43gqums.jpg
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maxferry
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« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2007, 06:04:48 AM »

"The K&K mini is not a low impedance pickup.  It is a high impedance pickup.  Piezo pickups have variable output impedance depending on frequency and signal strength (voltage).  Although the nominal output impedance of a K&K mini is lower than the nominal output impedance of most USTs, it's still a high impedance pickup."

Yes...it is a high impedance pickup, however compared to virtually all USTs it is quite a bit lower...1megohm vs 10megohm.

"A K&K mini will not work plugged directly into a mic preamp with such a low input impedance."

Interesting...I see your point, however the fact remains that it does work, and it works extremely well. I plug directly into the mixer through the onboard mic pre, dial in the gain (with the channel fader at 0dB) and get a near perfect likeness of the unamplified tone of the axe. I do the same thing with the output of the Fishman Blender preamp on my other acoustic...that works too, and it even requires about the same amount of gain. I've also plugged the K&K into a Carvin mixer at a local cafe where I frequently play, with the same results.

"I realize that K&K historically has said the 1 megohm is better than a 10 megohn for the K&K pickup.  But those statements began when the K&K Standard was the K&K pickup for sale, not the mini.  All I can say is that I can't hear a difference using a K&K mini with 1 megohm or 10 megohm, all other things being equal (same guitar, DI, amp, speakers, etc.)."

I think what they are saying is that 1megohm is better than 10megohm for live players (at least that's the way I read it), due to longer cable runs, and they're right because the lower impedance mitigates the effects of capacitance in the long cables typically necessary on stage.

I can only draw comparisons as to the sound from the equipment I have at my disposal, but I did notice a markedly poorer tone when I plugged the K&K directly into my guitar amp, whereas the Fishman output into the amp was fine...not as good as through the mixer (owing I suppose to the fact that it's voiced as an electric guitar amp), but way the heck better than the K&K. I infer from this that the impedance mismatch accounts for the difference through the amp. Why the different impedances of the K&K and Fishman would work so equally well through the mixer...welll...don't know, don't care.



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sdelsolray
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« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2007, 10:26:21 PM »

I think what they are saying is that 1megohm is better than 10megohm for live players (at least that's the way I read it), due to longer cable runs, and they're right because the lower impedance mitigates the effects of capacitance in the long cables typically necessary on stage.

Why would an input impedance of 1 megohm (which is a higher load) cause less capacitance in the cable preceeding that input when compared to a 10 megohm input impedance (which is a smaller load)?
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