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Author Topic: Mic or Pickup?  (Read 792 times)
Skip Ellis
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« on: June 22, 2017, 03:57:00 AM »

Are there others, like me, who just don't like the sound of pickups of any kind in acoustic guitars? To me, they just all sound artificial and will never deliver the guitar's
true voice like a good microphone. I know it can be a hassle in a live situation but it can be done (ask Mr. Rice). As much as I love Doc Watson's music and Gallagher guitars (used to be a dealer back in the day), I just never thought Doc's amplified tone brought out the best in what are very fine instruments. I know he used different systems and  pickups over the years but none of them ever sounded right to me. Of course, it probably wasn't practical to mic him but I think it would have sounded much better if they had done it some way. I've always admired Tony Rice for sticking to using a mic on the D-28. Ricky Skaggs has admitted to butchering quite a few vintage guitars to add pickups and preamps. I think he's using the Lyric now - at least he's been talking about them in a video. I'm not sure, but I don't think Norman Blake adds pickups to his guitars - I think he's a microphone guy.
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obe-wan
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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2017, 08:45:38 AM »

For me it's a happy medium to use on board pick ups. If you've got a regular gig at a known venue, and you're using your own PA, or are familiar with the house PA I reckon mics would be fine, but for me playing different places in different situations I accept that my tone isn't going to be as genuine as a mic'd guitar and settle for my Baggs Element through a Baggs Para DI, into the PA. Another plug in and play option I'm considering is a good acoustic amp used as a monitor with a line out to the PA.

Played through a Acus 6T Simon (Basically a Shertler) 130w amp today. Very nice! Still not the same as a mic'd guitar but a very good organic acoustic tone.

Cheers, Scott.
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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2017, 02:40:16 PM »

Are there others, like me, who just don't like the sound of pickups of any kind in acoustic guitars? To me, they just all sound artificial and will never deliver the guitar's
true voice like a good microphone.

You're not alone. Piezo's give me an ice-pick vibe, it's brittle tone ruins a song for me. I remember once discovering Eva Cassidy for the first time, decades after her tragic illness, and when I went on-line to hear her live concerts they were all ruined by her damned guitar. Sad to have a legacy ruined like that.
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2017, 03:13:34 PM »

I do prefer a mic but you can't use them at a lot of gigs.I use an Baggs Anthem SL it come's close but it will always be different sounding,you just get use to it.
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2017, 09:30:09 PM »

I have tested many pickup systems and have found some to closely represent the guitar's tone.  For my own pleasure listening, I prefer a nice acoustic room with no amplification at all.  For recording, I am not a quiet enough flat picker to get great results from a mic alone.  My favorite pickup/mic combination of all the ones I have tested is the Schertler Magnetico AG-6 soundhole pickup that has a miniature condenser mic that plugs right into it with separate volume controls.  Sounds like the guitar with the right blend of mic volume and is not pick or top sensitive.

*Update*  I recently have been testing the EMG ACS acoustic soundhole pickup with some very good results...  Zero noise and great dynamic range.
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George
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2017, 10:04:04 PM »

For me, playing live and preferring to stand, it's the ability to move around and not worry about being on mic that has me using on board electronics. Sound becomes secondary to performance. A good DI and a quality PA help, as well.  In almost any other situation, mic me. That being said, I quite like the Fishman Infinity Matrix system that's in my D-35. I like the inside of soundhole volume and tone dials a lot too.
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« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2017, 12:33:25 AM »

For anyplace I play, K&K.

Ed
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2017, 03:44:39 AM »

I have completely gone to an Audio Tech AT 2035 Cardioid Mic for both guitar and voice.  Playing gigs of about 100 people or less, that is all I use and I haven't found a PA system yet that doesn't like it, provided it has phantom power and I turn off the monitors if they are using them ( I don't need monitors cause I pretty much know how I sound and I play mostly with just 1 other guy who plays lead through the same mic).  Our own Uncle Rob was the one who turned me on to using a cardioid condenser mic and since I switched from both my Fishman and LR Baggs PUs to using the mic I have never been happier.  Some of the new cardioid condensor mics are absolutely amazing.
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2017, 01:04:26 PM »

The DPA 4099G is a guitar mounted (temporary and removable, not permanent) cardiod condenser mic that you position near the 12th fret.  Since it is mounted to the guitar it moves with it.  Careful adjustments with placement and angle allow a wide variety of responses.  Not too prone to feedback either.
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2017, 01:52:53 PM »

The DPA 4099G is a guitar mounted (temporary and removable, not permanent) cardiod condenser mic that you position near the 12th fret.  Since it is mounted to the guitar it moves with it.  Careful adjustments with placement and angle allow a wide variety of responses.  Not too prone to feedback either.

Is it wireless? That's what I've been thinking for some time now.
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« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2017, 02:11:54 PM »

For any place I play, a K&K is all I need...  no fussy placement issues, no feedback issues, no stationary requirements.  I only play in small places.  What a pickup loses is "air" (for lack of a better term).  In a small room, the guitar itself does it.  More than once, I have thought the pickup, cable, or amp has given out.  I turn the amp off, and it sounds the same, just quieter.

In a bigger room, even with a great mic, what the audience hears is the speaker(s).  It's never going to be a pure guitar sound.

Obviously, my preference is no amp at all. 

Ed
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« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2017, 02:14:58 PM »

Two weekends ago I saw Tommy Emmanuel play an outdoor gig. Arguably the best acoustic guitar player in the world in his style from a talent and performance standpoint.  He played 3 different guitars. I don't think any of them were any of His Larrivée models and he didn't seem to have the beat up Maton with him either. He has probably been offered to endorse any pickup system in the market. All 3 guitars had soundhole covers and all 3 sounded like they had some type of UST or contact piezo pup in them because none of them actually sounded all that natural. At that venue, which was pretty heavily amplified, feedback management and as more important to him and the sound engineer crew than having a natural mic sound. All of this to say that venue matters quite a bit for selection of mic or pickup.
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« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2017, 02:47:54 PM »

Is it wireless? That's what I've been thinking for some time now.

No it is wired, but it can be connected to any wireless system with a special cable, because it requires phantom power.  Most of the wireless mic transmitters can provide this functionality.
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George
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2017, 10:01:18 PM »

I have an L03FM and a J45, and have had Anthem SL's put in both. I also use (and insist on) a Shure Beta 57 at belly button height, with a pop filter, on a swivel-with-goose-neck stand. I always play standing up, and use a Beta 58a for vocals. I find the finger-style stuff I do comes through really nicely with the  Shure beta mic backed away about 10" from the guitar face, and the Anthem SL driving, full dial at the volume wheel. I have the Anthem SL attenuator pre-set at about a third of the way back up from its mic deadstop ( 1/3 back clockwise from full counterclockwise) on both guitars.  When I go into flatpick/chording songs, I back off the Anthem SL soundhole volume dial about 30% and nose over the Shure Beta to about 5" from the soundhole. I drift a little closer to the mic quite often (or back off slightly) whenever I want to alter the song's dynamics.
In any case, what a fuss! Trying to get the perfect wooden tone out there...oiiiiii!!!
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sdelsolray
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« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2017, 12:56:22 AM »

I use both, a pickup and a microphone, for solo fingerstyle.  Each source has strengths and weaknesses, and the trick is to utilize each transducer's strengths and minimize their weaknesses.  But the transducer(s) is/are just the first step.  Use of a quality signal chain after it/them is more important, at least in my experience.  The preamp, EQ, effects (if any), blend, power amp, speakers and stage presentation/projection are critical items.
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George
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« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2017, 02:00:22 PM »

I use both, a pickup and a microphone, for solo fingerstyle.  Each source has strengths and weaknesses, and the trick is to utilize each transducer's strengths and minimize their weaknesses.  But the transducer(s) is/are just the first step.  Use of a quality signal chain after it/them is more important, at least in my experience.  The preamp, EQ, effects (if any), blend, power amp, speakers and stage presentation/projection are critical items.

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