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Can a Fishman Sonicore preamp be changed to a Fishman Matrix Infinity?


navigate40
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Hi Everyone

 

I have contacted both Fishman and Martin, twice, and have not gotten any response. Hope someone can help.

 

I have a Martin DRS2 acoustic. Love the sound acoustically, but do not like the preamp at all. Also, it's tone control does very little, if anything.

 

I would like to change this to another one. One issue may be that the sound hole mounted Sonicore preamp is glued to the top wood. I am not sure about disturbing that. Looking at the Fishman Matrix Infinity (original model, that is still available)….it looks as though the electronics clip onto a plastic mount that is glued just inside the sound hole. That mount looks very similar, perhaps the same, as the Sonicore one. And it appears as though the Sonicore electronics also clip to this mount.

 

Can anyone shed some light on this?

 

Would I be able to simple unclip the Sonicore electronics and slip in the Matrix Infinity electronics to the same mount?

 

Alternatively, is there some recommended way to get that mount off, without damaging or disturbing the wood?

 

[just looked at some pics, it appears that the piezo UST is wired directly into the preamp...so, no changing that, without changing the preamp]

 

Greatly appreciate any help.

 

Thanks

John

 

ps - the last resort is simply to use an external preamp or eq pedal. I have and that is fine, but prefer onboard control for playing open mics.

Edited by navigate40
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I'm surprised that Fishman can't (or won't) answer that. I'm not familiar with the Sonicor but I have installed a number of Matrix pickups and preamps - this is the little bit I know.

 

Aftermarket preamps come with a piece of double sticky tape on the part that contacts the wood next to the sound hole - I would assume that factory versions do also but I'm not totally sure. If that is the case the tape should come off with a little heat from a hot air gun or hair drier. What I do know is that frequently the double sticky tape does not adhere well when I install them - I always try that way first and if it doesn't stay I'll some times glue it directly to the underside of the top with a drop of gel CA (I discuss this with the owner first). In theory I could still get the preamp off by working a thin blade between it and the top but I tell the owner that it really is pretty permanent. If the factory happens to use CA it still should be possible to remove it with a thin pallet knife.

 

I can't tell you if one preamp is compatible with the other UST - I think all Fishman pickups are the same except for size. I did have a question about putting a K&K piezo into a Fishman preamp and was told (by K&K) that it probably wouldn't eq well - different transducers have different outputs. In that case we simply brought the K&K out to the jack and abandoned the onboard preamp - the owner runs it thru an external DI.

 

I don't know about the Sonicor but at least some models of the Matrix (and I believe Infinity) have some of the electronics in a little cylindrical part of the inside of the jack - the last one I installed only had the volume, tone and phase switch at the soundhole.

 

I'll add that I am not a big fan of Fishman pickups - they are frequently very hard to balance between strings. In fact I have almost totally stopped installing them. However if you are considering a Fishman pickup I would sure look into the ones with the little internal mic - blending that with the piezo seems to give a pretty realistic sound.

 

Good luck

 

 

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Most USTs are more similar than different. You shouldn't have a problem using one Fishman UST with another Fishman preamp. That said, it might not be worth it. I have a couple of suggestions: First a Fishman Aura imaging pedal. Depending on the model, you'll spend $200 or so for the Aura Sixteen on up to $350 for the Spectrum DI. Second, a different guitar. Takamine and Taylor both do a good job making guitars that sound "acoustic" when amplified. If you really like your DRS2 and don't want to use a stompbox you may have to simply live with the plugged in sound.

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Thank you both for this information. It is very helpful. And ….I am actually not a big fan of the fishman UST and sound hole mounted systems.

 

In my surfing, I came across the LR Baggs Lyric system. It seems a very simple installation and might be a more straight forward solution. It is essentially a mic system. The only issue with this would be that there is no eq at all, thought there is a presence setting. That might be OK, since I love the unamplified tone. And....no way I can test it...so....if I do not like it, I am out $200. But....seems good and I like other LR Baggs preamps.

 

[and yes, could use an external pedal for EQ and modeling...but...again....when I play an open mic....got to jump up and play...no real fiddling around....cannot even really ask the host to play with the EQ on the amps or PA...and never know if it is going to be an acoustic amp or PA].

 

How do you think the LR Baggs Lyric would be? I would essentially leave the fishman control in, take all the guts out, replace with the LR Baggs system and put the LR Baggs control on the other side of the sound hole.

 

Thanks!

 

John

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The reviews I've seen of the LR Baggs Lyric have been positive. I think you'll probably be happy with it. Some folks hereabouts like the K&K Pure Western and JJB Prestige pickups. Come back once you have it installed and let us know your impressions.

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No experience with it. I've installed other Baggs p/u's but not that one. I have done the Fishman with the little mic, it seems to work fine but is prone to feedback and takes a bit of futzing to find the sweet spot. I like installing K&K's, quite straightforward and people seem to like the sound. Most of the time people use an external DI or preamp to match impedance and boost the signal. Lots of ways to skin that cat.

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Thanks, everyone, I really appreciate it.

 

I do have other guitars to use for open mics. Two that are better suited. Better preamps and very good sounds. I just like the Martin very much and want to be able to play it out.

 

It would sound fine with a Fishman Aura or perhaps an EQ, but, as I wrote above, just want to keep it simple. The venue I play most is small, simple, jump up and play. No messing around with pedals, set up, or even changing controls on the amp or PA. Not a big deal....I am sure I could just jump up and put an Aura on the floor and go...but.....

 

Thought about selling and getting something better suited...then thought why? I like the guitar a lot. Just change the preamp.

 

It is looking as though the LR Baggs Lyric may be the best solution. I would not have to remove the fishman preamp, or even the piezo. Just install the LR Baggs and replace the output jack with the LR Baggs one. Put the LR Baggs controller on the other side of the sound hole. Could probably use the Fishman battery compartment for the Baggs.

 

Will have to see. The Lyric is $200. A Fishman Aura 16 would be that, less for used. Useful for all my acoustics. But, it would need power (does have a batt compartment) and it would not do any EQ....so....I wonder if the selections would be enough? The Aura spectrum would do A LOT. 3 band EQ, compressor, images, DI, BUT....$350 ($230 used). Hmmmmmm…...so...that would be really getting into it. More stuff, more money, needs power....worth it over a new preamp?

 

[Note added: After looking at some videos of the aura...not sure it would be the best solution. It makes your guitar sound like your guitar, just better. I want the Martin to have a more acoustic plugged in sound. Something like the LR Baggs Para DI is mostly useful for EQ....I have a couple EQ pedals...they do help. Hmmm....really is sounding as though I put in a new preamp...or nothing].

Edited by navigate40
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Right! The fishman UST seems to be soldered into the preamp. So, no disconnecting it without cutting it. Might as well leave everything in place (except the jack and the battery box connector)….that way, can reverse and go back to the fishman. The Baggs is beginning to sound like the best plan. We shall see.

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If you just need additional EQ, which is understandable since your current setup only has a single tone control, there are more options. You can use a belt clip preamp/EQ, plug your guitar in to it and then plug in to the Belt clip unit when you go on stage. The late Forum member Terry Allan Hall did that with a Baggs unit and he seemed happy with it. There should be no mods required to your guitar, although you may find you need to bypass the existing preamp and connect the transducer directly to the endpin jack. Here are three possibilities:

First, the Baggs GigPro has separate bass and treble controls: https://www.amazon.com/LR-Baggs-Belt.../dp/B001E95KEW $99.

Next, the K&K Pure Preamp has bass, mid, and treble:

https://www.amazon.com/K-Sound-KK901...ct_top?ie=UTF8 Also $99.

Finally, the Fishman Platinum Stage also has bass, mid, and treble, with variable mid and a built-in DI: https://www.amazon.com/Fishman-Plati.../dp/B00KVWKF7U $150.

Edited by DeepEnd
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You can leave your guitar just the way it is, and fake the whole thing.

Try one of these.

 

I only have one acoustic with a Fishman blender pick up a system in it. It's ok. The guitar is a Martin 00016c rgt.

 

 

 

 

[ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"full","title":"auraspectrumdi1_large.jpg","data-attachmentid":32503667}[/ATTACH]

 

On my mandolin, I use this. with a stick on M Radius.

 

 

 

[ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"full","title":"VenueDI-large.jpg?v=a502b5ea9e4cb74b.jpg","data-attachmentid":32503668}[/ATTACH]

 

 

Any GC will have both in stock, go with the Fishman, but try them both out. If they don't have em in stock they can order them and send it to a local GC.

 

 

 

 

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You can leave your guitar just the way it is, and fake the whole thing.

Try one of these.

 

I only have one acoustic with a Fishman blender pick up a system in it. It's ok. The guitar is a Martin 00016c rgt. . . .

The OP has already said "No" at least twice to anything in the form of a pedal or other box that sits on the floor. He/she wants to get on stage, plug in, perform, and get off stage with a minimum of gear and fuss. That means no Fishman Aura or Baggs Venue. IMHO, an EQ that clips to his/her belt is probably the best option and certainly preferable (not to mention even cheaper) to replacing the pickup in his/her guitar.

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An external EQ that I could clip to a belt might be OK. I did not realize that the Gigpro had separate bass and treb controls. I just picked up an inexpensive micro EQ pedal to try. I can use an all metal pedal board connector to connect it directly to the output jack on the guitar, and then plug into that. It is actually not too cumbersome and no chance of it scratching the body.

 

Will be checking that out.

 

But....still very intrigued with the LR Baggs Lyric system. Could make a wonderful guitar perfect for playing out. And if it was great, might try it in another guitar.

 

Right now, I am using my Breedlove Stage dread (all solid tone woods, spruce top, EI rosewood back and sides). It has an LR Baggs preamp mounted on the side (2016 model) with a 3 band EQ that I am very happy with. It has a wonderful sound acoustically and plugged in (especially since I can EQ it). Even and balanced....so my voice does not have to compete with it (good thing).

 

It would just be nice to be able to use different instruments at different times and for different genre's. Learn, expand, explore.

 

I will try the cheap 5 band EQ more and let you know. My initial thoughts are that it makes it better, certainly useable...but....it still has that piezo sound. Initially, when I started this, I thought an EQ would be the answer....now.....I am very intrigued to get a mic on this guitar and bring its natural sound out.

 

Thanks

 

John

 

[added: It is certainly possible to use an external preamp as suggested above. The venue does set up with a music stand that you could use to put one on. I just prefer not to. Want to jump up and get going with as little fuss as possible, fewer things to have to play with]

Edited by navigate40
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Added report:

 

A cheap, 5 band EQ does not do much to improve the sound of a good acoustic guitar. Might even make a good guitar sound less good. 5 bands may just not be enough, or, a simple EQ just does not color the sound enough to improve it. A better, 6-10 band EQ might, but, might as well go with an aura, at that point.

 

Still learning, but, it would seem, in my limited experience, that if you want to ….improve...the sound of an acoustic guitar, you need a different preamp. Not to criticize, but the Fishman Sonicore is a cheap preamp ($20?). It helps keep the price point of a guitar down and it does the job of amplifying it.

 

The Fishman Matrix Infinity may be superior. The ad copy states that the single tone control cuts the mids, when moving up the treb or bass...hard to say how this would be done...but....at this point...not willing to spend over $100 to find out.

 

$200 to greatly improve the amplified sound of the Martin DRS2 seems a good investment. If I do anything, the plan at present would be to do that. Might decide in a week or two. Will have to see.

 

Really appreciate the advice and the conversation.

 

John

 

[btw, Freeman, you may recall that you helped me tremendously, in correcting the awful set up of my DRS2. It plays like a dream now and was a fantastic deal. Could not replace it.]

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Click - now I recognize the name. Glad to hear it is working for you.

 

As far as the pickup, I am far from knowledgeable - I install what people bring me and I listen to them before giving the guitar back, but I don't personally use a pup and I really don't have an amp or effects to tell much about them. I can tell you how easy they are to install, what problems I have seen, and the comments that I hear back from the users. I'll try to pass any of that along, but otherwise I'm not much help.

 

There is a discussion at one of the lutherie forums on best methods of amplifying a classical guitar (many folks are recommending the K&K with an external preamp) but one that popped up that is kind of interesting is this guy

 

https://www.ikmultimedia.com/product...acousticstage/

 

I wasn't going to link it until I saw your comment about the belt preamp being a possibility - that is how this works. Here is the discussion - note at the bottom that Hesh recommends the Baggs Lyric - in my book that says a lot.

 

http://luthiersforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10101&t=51794

Edited by Freeman Keller
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. . . Still learning' date=' but, it would seem, in my limited experience, that if you want to ….improve...the sound of an acoustic guitar, you need a different preamp. . . .[/quote']

A different or "better" preamp won't help much if at all. That "quack" effect you're hearing comes from the undersaddle transducer and the preamp can't really help. Remember that you were the one who mentioned an EQ and I simply offered some options. Your best bet is probably a different pickup, such as the Baggs Lyric you mentioned.

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Yes, I do agree. Though....there must be some difference between the $20 Fishman Sonicore and the $120 Fishman Matrix Infinity. But, point taken...any UST piezo is going to have 'that' sound.

 

Initially, when I started this, I thought a simple EQ would be the solution. It can get it to where I am more satisfied. The only issue with an external EQ pedal is that it is one more thing. A built in preamp with onboard EQ would just be simpler and easier. The main problem with the Sonicore is that the tone knob does very little. The Matrix Infinity tone knob is supposed to cut the mids in addition to dialing in more bass or treb (ad info).

 

The LR Baggs Lyric system sounds as though it would transform the plugged in sound entirely. That would be much more worthwhile, than improving the piezo. I think the Martin's natural voice is worth that investment. Just a matter of time and budget.

 

I appreciate the help and conversation....it helps a lot to be able to converse and reorient thinking.

Edited by navigate40
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Yes, I do agree. Though....there must be some difference between the $20 Fishman Sonicore and the $120 Fishman Matrix Infinity. But, point taken...any UST piezo is going to have 'that' sound.

 

Initially, when I started this, I thought a simple EQ would be the solution. It can get it to where I am more satisfied. The only issue with an external EQ pedal is that it is one more thing. A built in preamp with onboard EQ would just be simpler and easier. The main problem with the Sonicore is that the tone knob does very little. The Matrix Infinity tone knob is supposed to cut the mids in addition to dialing in more bass or treb (ad info). . . .

Yes, I'm sure there's a difference between a $20 pickup and a $120 pickup but I don't know what all the differences are. A traditional "tone" control simply rolls off the high end. It sounds like the Matrix Infinity control is more like a "contour" control, in that it works differently and uses a more complex circuit. I wasn't talking about an EQ pedal but rather a small, discrete device that clips on your belt. I'm sure you'd rather have more controls built into your guitar but a system like that won't fit in the soundhole. Instead, you'd have to cut a fair size hole in the side of your guitar for what some folks call a "barn door" preamp:

 

[ATTACH=JSON]{"data-align":"none","data-size":"full","title":"Pre_EQ.jpg","data-attachmentid":32505357}[/ATTACH]

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On 12/25/2021 at 6:02 AM, timgeoman said:

Looking to augment sonicore factory installed system on my prs tx20 acoustic  to create a dual source stereo output signal…does fishman have an upgrade kit to do that?

thanks

Maybe. I have a Fishman "Powerjack" preamp, a fairly low end model, in my Ibanez, and it can handle dual inputs but only in mono. If you'd be happy with dual source mono you're probably in luck.

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