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Author Topic: K&K Pure XLR Preamsp vs. Baggs PADI  (Read 3933 times)
MJG
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« on: January 21, 2006, 03:17:45 PM »

I believe that the K&K preamp would most likely be more compatible with the Pure pickups, but how much more than the PADI?  I am thinking is terms of economics...as I already own the PADI.  Is the difference that much better with to justify $139.  I know it is subjective, but let me know what your ears are telling you.

Thank you,
Mike
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dberch
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2006, 07:35:58 PM »

Hi Mike.  I'm glad to see your post.  The Pure XLR preamp is a new product that I wasn't aware of.   Looks just like the old Pure with the additon of XLR out and a phase reversal switch.  Nice!

I have the K&K Pure external 1/4" preamp and a Baggs PADI.  They are both GREAT units.  I have done an a/b comparison - literally with an a/b switch so I could hear the difference instantly.  To me the the K&K comes out on top, but the difference is subtle.  The K&K just sounds a tiny bit more natural, due, in my opinion, to the cleaner signal chain - fewer components for the signal to pass through. 

I always start with the K&K, and if I have any room problems to fight, such as low register feedback, then I swap it out for the PADI.  This happens maybe 1 out of 10 times.

My recommendation would be to use your PADI.  They are great units, and a bit more versatile than the Pure.  You might want to keep your eye open for a used Pure one on eBay, etc.  That's what I did and got my Pure for 60$US.

My biggest complaint with the padi is the false advertising.  They claim it has a notch filter but if you look at the manual, it's really a sweepable mid boost/cut control, not a notch filter. A notch filter is much more narrow curve and kills problem frequency (aka feedback) more effectively without effecting the overall tone.  PADI doesn't do that.  It cuts a wide curve of sound.  Also, it only cuts 8db!  Which I've found isn't enough in some cases.  Nearly all real notch filters cut 12 - 20 db.  I once had feedback that the PADI did not help, and I had to stop in the middle of a show to move speakers and monitors around to take care of it. 

Ok, I'm rambling.  I stop now.

Hope this helps,
David
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woody b
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2006, 08:25:19 PM »

I'd just stick with the PADI.  I'm sure the K&K is a good preamp but since you've already got a PADI why buy another.    I've heard of a few problems using a K&K with a PADI but if you understand all of the controls on the PADI you won't have any problems.    The biggest problem people have when using a K&K with a PADI is having the gain too high.   
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MJG
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2006, 08:27:45 PM »

David:

Thanks so much for the thoughtful reply.  It's nice to hear from someone that has literally a/b'd them like you have.

I will accept your advise.  Although the XLR Pure preamp/DI looks like a nice product, it will limit me if I want to add the Fantastik UST in the future, making it a Powermix system.  So I think I will lead with the PADI and if I feel that the UST is needed, I will then buy the Dual Channel preamp, like this, http://www.kksound.com/pdf/DualChannelProST.pdf ...or another blender.

Somehow I have feeling that in my application, leading praise and worship in church, the Pure may just be enough.  But I will start off with replacing my B-band AST with the Pure and build upon that if I need to.

All the best,
Mike
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MJG
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2006, 08:31:49 PM »

I'd just stick with the PADI.  I'm sure the K&K is a good preamp but since you've already got a PADI why buy another.    I've heard of a few problems using a K&K with a PADI but if you understand all of the controls on the PADI you won't have any problems.    The biggest problem people have when using a K&K with a PADI is having the gain too high.   

Thanks Woody B...  I'll watch that gain control.

Mike
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sublro
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2006, 03:10:58 PM »

Hi -

Just a couple things to add. I have the Para DI and my bandmate just bought the K&K Pure XLR preamp so I've had a chance to do some comparison head to head.

1) I agree, the K&K has a SLIGHT sound edge. Just sounds a tad more open and natural. I believe after some careful reading that this is because the K&K is a proper impedance match for the K&K pickup (1MOhm) where, the Para DI is in the range (10MOhm) where K&K literature states that the Pure Western Pickup will start to sound a little harsh and overdone.  From the K&K site...

"Can I use any preamp with the Pure Western Pickup?
Yes you can. But please keep in mind that many preamps are designed with undersaddle pickups in mind. The Pure System will work with any preamp, but it might not be the optimum fit. Too high input impedance (10+ Meg, good for undersaddle pickups) makes preamps very sensitive especially in the bass frequency range. With the Pure Pickup you do not need to boost the bass, it has a natural fundamental bass response to begin with. Again, it will work but you may have to roll off the bass."


2) The para DI wins out in terms of more tone shaping controls, and for playing out, that sometimes is more important than achieving the utmost in natural tone - and again, I'd never have any complaint about the sound from the ParaDI. Difference is only noticable in direct A/B testing.

3) as to gain control, all preamps I've seen (including the K&K) pretty much agree and give instructions on how to set the hottest (most) gain, just shy of  distortion, as the best for sound. After reading this and trying it out, I definitely agree that this is central. My bandmate's K&K Pure Western Pickup and Preamp were sounding decidedly mediocre and feeding back at first, then we read and followed the gain control instructions, and VOILA! - MUCH better sound and the feedback was gone. So READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS - THEY MATTER!

That's it for now. Good luck!
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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2006, 03:40:48 PM »

So READ AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS - THEY MATTER!
+1 on that!   And ask for directions when you get lost!   :WNK>

Great comparison review, Rob. I agree about the impedence matching in Pure vs PADI - makes sense!   Good to hear someone else substantiate my findings.  Thanks!
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MJG
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2006, 05:54:51 PM »

Yes guys, great info. indeed.

So if the the tone is only marginally better and only noticable while a/b'ing the two preamps, yet the PADI has better tone shaping ability and feedback control, the winner then is the PADI.

Do you see it this way?

Thanks for all the great feedback.

Mike
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dberch
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2006, 06:21:07 PM »

Yep, in your situation my recommendation is use the PADI you already have. 
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ronmac
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2006, 06:42:02 PM »

Yep, in your situation my recommendation is use the PADI you already have. 

+1
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Ron

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« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2006, 03:59:03 PM »

OK, but this begs the question....would you make the same choice if you didn't already have a PADI?  By the way, I'd be using it onstage exclusively.
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dberch
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« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2006, 07:23:04 PM »

Nope.  If I didn't already have the PADI, I'd get the Pure XLR.  Fantastic preamp, and matches perfectly with K&K.  One of the changes they made from the originaly version (besides adding XLR out and Phase reversal) is full size knobs for all the EQ and Volume functions.  Much easier to see where it's set and make adjustments.  Can't say anything bad about it.  I've use mine several times now and like it even more. 
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MJG
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« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2006, 07:57:19 PM »

I bought the K&K and absolutely love it....   You know, I here people on forums talk about how audiences come up to them after and show and say..."you guitar sounds great".  I've always been a bit jealous of that.  Well guess what, it happened to me twice the first time I played with the K&K in it.  And then, another time the second time I played.  Great pickup, no regrets.  It works just fine with the PADI.  When I get another guitar, I will certainly buy another K&K as well as the Pure Preamp.

Mike
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Guyute
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« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2006, 08:30:13 PM »

OK, I'm just about sold.  Now here's the question.  My other guitar has a Fishman Stereo Blender and I've heard that it could conceivably benefit from an outboard preamp, too.  So my other question is, is this impedance thing going to be freaky if I plug my Fishman guitar through the K&K?  If I do decide to use it for both guitars, am I better off taking the battery out of the Fishman's onboard?  And if so, maybe I should think about the Quantum?  :GRN>

Sorry for all the stupid questions, but I've never really used a preamp (other than the Fishman's onboard one).

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dberch
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« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2006, 09:09:26 PM »

Guyute, there are no stupid questions!  Your Fishman blender system is an active (powered via internal battery) preamp, and you should not need an external preamp with it.  It won't work properly without the batter.   If you do use an external preamp, you'll need to turn the gain down.  You should be able plug your Fishman blender straight into a amp/PA and get good sound.   
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« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2006, 10:37:58 PM »

Oh, I do that now.  I just think that if I've got it, I'll probably use it...at least just to see if it's cool or not.  If nothing else, it does give me the ability to send a balanced signal to my Mackie.

Anyway, I've pretty much decided to go with the K&K.

Thanks to all for the replies :)
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sdelsolray
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« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2006, 02:47:18 PM »

I believe that the K&K preamp would most likely be more compatible with the Pure pickups, but how much more than the PADI?  I am thinking is terms of economics...as I already own the PADI.  Is the difference that much better with to justify $139.  I know it is subjective, but let me know what your ears are telling you.

Thank you,
Mike

You can change the input impedance of the Baggs PARI DI from 10 MegOhm to 1 MegOhm with a 10 cent part.  It's a simple resistor swap.
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Guyute
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« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2006, 04:35:58 PM »

But wouldn't that void the warranty?  Personally, I'm not comfortable getting into my gear with a soldering iron, but I understand that some are.
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sublro
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« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2006, 04:56:40 AM »

You can change the input impedance of the Baggs PARI DI from 10 MegOhm to 1 MegOhm with a 10 cent part.  It's a simple resistor swap.

Details?

- I'd be inerested in doing this, but would definitely need to know exactly what I'm doing. Is the replacement a snap-in kinda deal or would it be soldering etc.?
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Rob 

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« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2006, 02:05:31 AM »

Desoldering the old resistor and soldering in the new one is what's involved.  I did it with a Baggs MixPro, which has the same preamp as the PADI.  It's the resistor just before the FET in the signal path.  Actually, a Baggs employee turned me on to this over the phone.  Very helpful. 

A K&K Pure Western (Standard or mini) works best with an impedance load of about 1 MegOhm.  With that load, some of the frequency responses of the K&K pickup are cut, generally in the bass and low mid area.  Most preamps use a 10 MegOhm load (which is less resistance).  When you use a K&K pickup with this load you end up getting the full output of the pickup, without any attenuation of those low frequencies.  The K&K pickup is overbassed, thus many folks have to use EQ to cut the bass and low mids when using a 10 MegOhm impedance load.

By swapping resistors to a 1 MegOhm load, you end up with the frequency cuts.  Many other pickups will not work really well with a 1 MegOhm load, they might sound a bit thin.  Mags will like it, but most piezo USTs won't.
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