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Author Topic: D-05 + K&K Pure Western Mini?  (Read 3913 times)
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« on: April 06, 2007, 06:36:35 AM »

Greetings all, after reading some posts I think i've come to the right place 

So I just bought myself a new Larrivee D-05. And I just about went nuts looking for the right pickup. I'm new to the pick up scene so I'm pretty lost when it comes to what is good, what isn't and what is overkill. The nice folks over at harmony central suggested K&K Pure Western Mini system. I have never heard of them, and because I've been looking at Fishman's and L.R. Baggs systems, the low price of K&K Pure Western's has got me skeptical. After doing some research all I hear is nothing but good reviews about this pickup. But I wanted to hear from users of Larrivee guitars as well.

I mainly play in a live/stage environment with a full band, but also with a partial band with the acoustic as the main instrument. I also hope to do some recording in the future.

So what do you all think? Will it be good for the above situations? Can I go wrong with the Pure Western Mini?

Oh, and I plan to use a LR Baggs Para DI as well. I hear it makes a good combo.

Thanks!

Adrian
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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2007, 01:35:47 PM »

I have a D-05 with a K&K Mini.  It sounds wonderful.  I use the K&K Pure XLR preamp.  I a/b'd with a Baggs PADI using an A/B switch so I could hear the difference immediately, and the K&K sounded slightly better.  A bit more natrual and woody.

Granted, the PADI is a great preamp, and has an extra band of EQ, so it really is a toss-up. You'll sound great with either.

Congrats on your new D-05! 

David
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2007, 05:06:43 PM »

I use the K&K Trinity system with preamp in my SD-50 for mainly solo performance, It is an active/passive combo, the mini transducers with an internal mic. You can come out of the preamp with a channel for each if you like, ie when recording, or blend with the controls on the preamp. Or you can just plug straight into a PA without the preamp and the passive mini does a fine job. The Trinity system is more expensive, if that makes you think you're getting better quality, but the internal mic might be overkill for your intended use - especially if you're going to record in a studio with high end condensers. Prices seem to have gone up since I bought mine last year, but I'd recommend the K&K regardless of price. Like your Larrivee guitar, did paying less than a Martin or Taylor make you think you were getting a lower quality instrument?
 
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« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2007, 02:35:15 AM »

Awesome guys, thanks for the response. To hear first hand from another D-05 owner is quite reassuring, David. On the more practical side of things, is the K&K XLR preamp smaller or larger than the Baggs Para DI? The new hard shell cases that came with the guitar has a slightly smaller compartment. I can fit the Para DI, but its on a slant.

Also, did you install the Pure Western with the super glue (permanent) or with the tape strip (removeable)? My fear is that if the pickup busts, that would be bad if I had gone with the permanent installation route. Lastly, how do you find having to use a preamp to adjust levels? I'm used to an onboard system, and killing the volume when I want is sometimes important.

Swainsong: You're quite right about cost vs quality. Thanks for your input. I could do lots of research, but to hear first hand from experienced musicians means a whole lot more. And again, you're right, I think the Trinity system might be a bit over kill.

I read on the K&K site that their engineers were able to get the output almost par to the standard western pures. So are there two versions of minis floating around out there now? One that is older with less output, and one that newer which has more?

Lastly, I play in church on stage for the youth, and sometimes it can get pretty loud. I always have a floor monitor beside me too. In a couple of other threads I read you mentioned that this may cause feedback. Is the Pure Western still a good choice for me? Then there is the preamps, I read that the Pure XLR matches the Pure Western better, but if the Para DI gives a bit more control (feedback, mids, etc.) Then again if the Pure XLR can remedy feedback, and high mids problem then I'll go for it. I only want to invest in one preamp for now, so I just want to make sure I'm making the best choice.

Thanks

Adrian

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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2007, 03:49:50 PM »

Firstly, I'd recommend using the glue for a permanent installation. The tape only adds a buffer between the transducers and bridge plate resulting in a loss of sound quality. And there are no moving parts to “bust” in these transducers. The risk in removing glued transducers is damaging the transducer, not the guitar.

Secondly, the difference between “standard” and “mini” is size. There is no “standard mini”.

And thirdly, do you require an XLR connection for your preamp with all them knobs, or is that overkill? Yes, the XLR does have a gain control for dealing with feedback, but the K&K Pure preamp with ¼” jacks and 3 band EQ might be all you need. And you can't beat the price for the quality you get. It measures 2.5 x 3.5 x 1.25”, which should fit into any case compartment. It also has a belt clip for easy access. I've only had issues with feedback with my dual channel preamp when I'm using the internal mic, not the passive transducers alone, but I attribute that to low volume monitors and me wanting to crank it up.

 

I don't know much about the Baggs stuff, or how their customer service rates, but if you have any questions about what K&K system is best suited to your specific needs, why not email them directly, info@kksound.com , or give them a call at 1-800-867-6863.

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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2007, 07:05:30 PM »

Thanks for answering all my questions. Christy at K&K emailed me back stating that "In the event removal is necessary, this can be accomplished without damage to the guitar and the transducers can be replaced individually." So that is reassuring to know. I guess when the time does come (if it comes) to remove the PU I have to find someone that can do it well.

As for the preamp, my friend has a PADI so I'm going to hold off on buying one right now and test it out on his. I'll let you all know how it goes in the next week or so. Hopefully I will be able to add to all the positive feedback on the K&K Pure Westerns. 

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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2007, 02:16:26 AM »

So... I talked to Barry at Ewart Guitars here in Vancouver and he threw another PU into the mix... the Fishman Ellipse Matrix Blend. Apparently he has gotten a lot of rave reviews from his pro, big name clients. Does anyone have any experience with this PU? Is it compareable to the K&K Pure Western?

Adrian
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« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2007, 03:55:41 AM »

My friend has the Fishman Ellipse Blend on his Martin OM-28V, and I have the K&K on my Guild GAD-50. We both like the sound of the K&K better. It is more natural and you can plug it in direct with enough volume if you want to...all without a battery. Amazing how they do it.

Jeff
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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2007, 04:36:13 AM »

Hi Adrian,

I play my K&K pure mini equipped OM-03 at church on a weekly basis.  On Sundays, I lead the Jr. High worship w/ just me and my guitar.. but every first Friday night of the month our entire youth group (h.s. and jr. high combined) has a dedicated worship night.  On these nights, we have a full band consisting of a keyboard, bass guitar, electric guitar, up to four vocalists, and a completely mic'ed drum set... so needless to say, it can get extremely loud (often too loud for my preference, but that's how our pastor likes it).  Well on those Friday worship nights, I simply use a feedback buster and use the phase button the on Pure XLR preamp to eliminate any feed back.  The Pure XLR preamp is really a great tool.. and it really enhances the sound of the pickup.

In regards to the Fishman Ellipse Blend... I personally would choose the K&K mini over it.  Fishman seems to come out with new products each year.. but at the end of the day, they're still essentially the same UST/Mic combo they've had for decades.  Besides, the Ellipse Blend is a pretty hefty piece of equipment that's stuck onto the inside of your soundhole... I don't care what anyone says, that's GOTTA have an affect on the unplugged sound of a guitar.

Hope that helps.


-dan
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« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2007, 05:33:46 AM »

Your replies are like answered prayers, I thought I would have trouble finding a comparison between the Ellipse and PW. I was beginning to feel frustrated since my D-05 is my first higher grade guitar, I wanted to do it right ya know? Thanks for sharing your experience & knowledge on this.

Dan, the kind of playing environment fits what I play with to a tee, youth group and all, so I am glad to hear the the PW can perform in loud setups as well. Speaking of bands, I was just talking to the youth pastor and we need a full band badly, so I am praying for that. We have people who can play, but their availability is sporatic. I'm curious about your Friday dedicated worship nights, could you tell me more about it? Like do you use it as an opportunity for outreach? Did it come out of an interest from the youth itself or was it something you guys just decided to try out?

Thanks again guys.

Adrian
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« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2007, 05:38:06 AM »

Just got back from my regular gig with the local fingerstyle guitar club and one of the members played a D-03 for his set, which I thought sounded great (althought he did have some feedback problems). I asked what he was using for a pickup and he said the Fishman Matrix. Then he added, “I think yours sounds a lot better, though, but your K&K has an internal mic, eh?”

Well yes, it does, but tonight I wasn't using my preamp and didn't have it turned on!   

The most popular p/u of the TFGA membership is K&K, and that's the only brand our sponsoring luthier carries as a dealer (he used to build his own amplifiers way back in high school) because he believes it's the best one out there regardless of price. That it's less expensive than most everything else on the market is merely a bonus.

Good luck with your choice.
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« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2007, 05:54:10 AM »

Adrian,

Do you have an email address I can reach you at?  I'd pm you, but I think you need at least 10 or more posts in order to use the pm functions.  If you want, you can email me at dpark1128@gmail.com.  I'd love to discuss youth worship with you.


-dan
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« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2007, 07:49:00 AM »

Just got back from my regular gig with the local fingerstyle guitar club and one of the members played a D-03 for his set, which I thought sounded great (althought he did have some feedback problems). I asked what he was using for a pickup and he said the Fishman Matrix. Then he added, “I think yours sounds a lot better, though, but your K&K has an internal mic, eh?”

Well yes, it does, but tonight I wasn't using my preamp and didn't have it turned on!   

The most popular p/u of the TFGA membership is K&K, and that's the only brand our sponsoring luthier carries as a dealer (he used to build his own amplifiers way back in high school) because he believes it's the best one out there regardless of price. That it's less expensive than most everything else on the market is merely a bonus.

Good luck with your choice.

Hah! That's awesome to hear. And again, very timely. I also listened to some recorded samples and if it sounds like that I can't really go wrong can I? I'm pretty much sold on the K&K, I figured I'd be paying for the name if I went with Fishman, it just takes time to get over that in my brain. I'll be letting you guys know how it goes. Now I'm really excited bigrin


Adrian,

Do you have an email address I can reach you at?  I'd pm you, but I think you need at least 10 or more posts in order to use the pm functions.  If you want, you can email me at --email address--.  I'd love to discuss youth worship with you.


-dan

Looks like I'll have to hang around a little while yet, and get that PM function activated

Oh, and I've also sent you an email.


Stay tuned...

Adrian
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« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2007, 03:15:06 PM »

 afro

The k&k is one of the best pickups available and the low price is just icing on the cake.  Plus you won't have to put any holes in you bridge/soundboard to install it.  It can be removed(carefully with a razor blade) in the future when technology improves and the pickup is out of date or breaks for whatever reason.  The D-05 also comes with the endpin drilled so you won't have to worry about that either.  It should work fine with your current pre-amp.
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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2007, 09:29:25 PM »

afro

The k&k is one of the best pickups available and the low price is just icing on the cake.  Plus you won't have to put any holes in you bridge/soundboard to install it.  It can be removed(carefully with a razor blade) in the future when technology improves and the pickup is out of date or breaks for whatever reason.  The D-05 also comes with the endpin drilled so you won't have to worry about that either.  It should work fine with your current pre-amp.

Ahh, thats how they do it. I thought they would use some solvent or something. Less is more I guess. No hole cutting or batteries is a strong point for me. In fact I just dropped my guitar off at the shop and it should be installed by tomorrow. I'll let you all know how it goes and what the results are. I'm pumped. 
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« Reply #15 on: April 14, 2007, 01:05:18 AM »

Interim Update: I wanted to wait until I was able to play it with a full band, but I just can't. At the shop I plugged it into a fender amp, and I didn't quite understand the phrase "sounds like my guitar only louder" until I experienced it for myself. That is exactly what it is. I'll be playing at the church tonight, will let you know how it goes with the volumes cranked a little more.

Adrian
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« Reply #16 on: April 16, 2007, 01:20:22 AM »

How did it go at church?

Jeff
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« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2007, 09:21:27 AM »

How did it go at church?

Jeff

Okay. So at first I played it at an impromptu worship (music) night, and was getting pretty disappointed. Mainly because I had no monitor, and was not able to do a sound check so even though I was using a PADI I couldn't hear myself and therefore wasn't able to adjust my tones and whatnot. But, I went the other night with my friend and tweaked it to my hearts content. It was amazing. It sounds like my guitar, but louder. Really. I had trouble telling the difference between what was coming out of my guitar and what was coming out of the speakers. I kept cranking up the volume but my proximity to the guitar was too close. I got my friend to play while I stood somewhere else to hear the sound from the speakers and let me tell you friends, the sound was so pure (heh). I haven't played it with a full band yet, so I will post about that when I get a chance. But so far I am 100% happy with my decision.

Now, I really liked the PADI because it has so many functions. I'm trying to decide between that and the Pure XLR. The sound I got from the PADI was awesome, but that be because I have inexperienced ears. Can anyone tell me if there is a huge difference functionality wise? I mean will I miss the tone notch thing (please give me the correct terminology) and mids adjustment? Is the Pure XLR just as good in cutting down feedback if I should need to? etc. etc.

Thanks for all your comments and suggestions.  bigrin
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« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2007, 01:32:01 PM »

Now, I really liked the PADI because it has so many functions. I'm trying to decide between that and the Pure XLR.
Great report, Phyrephox!  Glad it's working out for you.  If it were me, I'd keep the PADI.  The Pure is a trade-off: slightly better tone, for slightly fewer EQ functions.  If you are that happy with your tone through the PADI, why mess with it  .
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