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Author Topic: K&K Double Helix soundhole pickup  (Read 1673 times)
George
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« on: November 02, 2016, 11:50:42 PM »

Just purchased one of the new K&K Double Helix soundhole acoustic guitar pickups, and just like other K&K products, it performs excellently and exactly as advertised.  During my tests I am going to compare it to several other ones including the Seymour Duncan acoustic tube SA-1, Schertler AG6 Magnetico, EMG ACS, Fishman Blackstack and the MiSi Magpie.  I may also try blending it through a preamp with a K&K Pure Mini, which is another factory option...

Anyone else tried one?
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George
mike in lytle
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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2016, 12:35:04 AM »

Just purchased one of the new K&K Double Helix soundhole acoustic guitar pickups, and just like other K&K products, it performs excellently and exactly as advertised.  During my tests I am going to compare it to several other ones including the Seymour Duncan acoustic tube SA-1, Schertler AG6 Magnetico, EMG ACS, Fishman Blackstack and the MiSi Magpie.  I may also try blending it through a preamp with a K&K Pure Mini, which is another factory option...

Anyone else tried one?
No, not tried, but would be interested in the review. You say it performs excellently, but when I listened to the demos on the website, it all sounded like rubber.
Have an acoustic tube, and Baggs M1, and some old crap PU's, and am looking for something to stick in the L-02-12 and LV-10.
Real happy with the stock UST on the C-05's.Mike
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George
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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2016, 08:14:58 PM »

I am happy with some UST's on some guitars as well.  My interest in soundhole mounted mag pickups goes back many, many years and I have tried so many different ones I have lost count.  I constantly search for the sound hole mounted pickup that would equate to the holy grail of such.  I am impressed with the design of the K&K Double Helix for its differences, it appears that a tremendous amount of thought went into the engineering of it.  The top is contoured like what I think all soundhole pickups should be, to compensate for the high B and high E string differences in output amplitude.  There are individual pole piece adjustment screws as well.  It is unusual to see a mag pickup with a phase switch built into it, but this one does.  Another feature that I really like is the Gloss/Steam switch that is also fairly easily accessible underneath the strings.  The attenuation/bandpass filter tonal change implemented by this switch is a very nice feature that adds a great deal of versatility to this pickup, although I think the naming convention is more from a marketing hype than the reality of the tones they produce.  The mounting concept is substantial and effective.  The height of the pickup top from the strings is just about right.

I am a noise, or lack thereof, obsessive/compulsive fanatic.  I don't play through amplifiers, but through high definition recording systems instead.  Through a good set of studio headphones you can hear the slightest noise, whether from body contact, picking, strap movement, clothing, or just whatever.  I find all of those things totally undesirable in a recording environment.  I am also not a finger picker just a flat picker, so some pickups amplify the sound of the pick when it touches the top of the pickup, some much worse than others.  For years I have been practicing my fingering techniques in an effort to minimize string squeak, although sometimes I think it adds character...  I would describe myself as a better recording engineer than a guitar player...

All that said, my testing will be from a more "quality of reproduction with the least adverse effects" perspective and how it impacts my listening ear and my performance expectations.  My 50+ years of electronics education and experience will comprise a technical assessment of performance.  Some of the pickups I am comparing to have already been less than I expected for one or more reasons and not always because of tonal quality issues.  Usually there are issues with mounting, adjustments or lack thereof, string amplitude balance, noise, connectivity, etc. etc. etc.

I have not found any user reviews for this product and I may not be highly qualified to do it, but I am going to give it a try.  I have only heard one good quality recording of it online and it was not a music style I like.  There are a lot of K&K users here and I think this product deserves a shot...
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George
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« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2016, 10:45:28 PM »

If you haven't tried one I found that the Baggs M1 active to be a nice pu.Have installed a few in Gibson flattops and they always sound great with no floor noise.
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mike in lytle
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« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2016, 02:21:37 AM »

 
OK, that is  really good  answer.
Maybe when you move back to central Texas you can come down and help me record.
I'm pretty much lost on that stuff.
Mike
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« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2016, 04:15:37 AM »

Looking forward to your review...  and samples, if you'd care to.

Ed
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George
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« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2016, 04:34:48 PM »

I spent most of this Saturday testing new group of acoustic sound hole pickups.

The K&K Double Helix is not at all bad.  It rated around #3 on my list (following the Schertler AG6 Magnetico and the Seymour Duncan SA-1 Acoustic Tube) for the group I tested this time.   It did not come out on top of my tests, at least to my satisfaction for the way I play and overall installation/operational expectations.  I would be interested in someone else's opinion.

Solid mounting system.  Height of the top to the strings is just right.  Individual pole piece screws are very effective for adjusting string amplitude.

Tonal quality and string balance were very good.  It sounds like the guitar.  It did not sound "magnetic" to my ears.

Gloss/Steam switch works well as advertised, but not sure if everyone will need it.  Depends on what you are doing as to which one to choose.  I would not call it that, more like clean Mellow or Full.

Output level is very good.  Noise floor is relatively quiet.  No volume or tone controls, but I did not miss them.

The pickup was not sensitive to picking up body noise at all.

The only cons are its susceptibility to hum, if you get fairly near a strong 60 hz source you will hear it. 

The other thing that disappointed me was how loud the pick "clicks" are when you dip between the strings and contact the top of the pickup, in a recording situation you will hear it as a tap.  A finger picker would likely never notice it.

I did not get an opportunity to blend it with a K&K Pure Mini yet, but suspect it would be fine for that application.
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George
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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2016, 09:43:19 PM »

If you haven't tried one I found that the Baggs M1 active to be a nice pu.Have installed a few in Gibson flattops and they always sound great with no floor noise.

Thanks Rob.  I have never tried one because they say they are intentionally sensitive to top movement, which generally means they will pick up and amplify every top noise.  Is that what you have found?
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George
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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2016, 09:49:55 PM »

Not at all,I've installed them in a least a dozen Gibson's,a few Martins and 2 Larrivee's.
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« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2016, 06:39:07 PM »

went to their website, had a listen, not a lot different than any other magnetic pick up out, there, yes the phase is a good idea, but any pro pre-amp has that option as well.
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