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Duncan Mag Mic acoustic guitar sound hole pickup for a Martin

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Posted (edited)

Hello

 

I have a Martin DRS2 that I really like the sound of, unplugged. Playing through the cheap Fishman Sonitone UST is not all that great. I CAN get it to sound acceptable, if I use an LR Baggs GigPro. And that might be the solution. But, I have been thinking about putting some money towards this in an effort to install a better onboard pickup system in it.

 

This would just be for open mic night. I have two Breedlove's and an Epi AJ45ME Masterbilt, that are very good plugged in...and so use them, but it would be nice to play the Martin.

 

Budget is under $200.

 

I heard someone play an old Ovation with a new sound hole mag mic type pickup in it. Might have been a Fishman. Sounded amazing.

 

Have looked at a number of pickups and am now thinking of a sound hole mounted magnetic, with a mic. The SD Mag Mic, seems very good. Not sure I want to go with a Baggs M1 or M80, even though they are very well reviewed....but think a mic that far into the body would sound boxy.

 

Does anyone have any experience with these types of pickups, not just the SD?

 

One issue....does not seem to be any EQ in any of these. Really do not want to have to EQ this with an external preamp or pedal...that would defeat the purpose (ease of use...jump up and play when called).

 

Thanks!

 

John

 

[my playing is mostly strumming]

 

Added:

 

Thought the Fishman Ellipse Matrix was too expensive...but seeing it under 200, used. Would that be a better option than the SD Mag Mic? It blends an UST with a mic. Has *some* sound shaping (?? Mic trim?). One advantage of this system is that you can select EITHER the UST OR the MIC...or blend both, biased either way.

Edited by navigate40

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I haven’t tried the Duncan, but the video demos sound pretty good. I have used the M80, and was really impressed by it - for a mag, it sounds really good. But I’m a recording engineer - to me, nothing beats a mic when it comes to capturing true acoustic guitar sound... and FWIW, any mic put inside the body of a guitar IS going to sound boxy to some extent. Some systems EQ the mic pretty heavily to try to compensate for that. Having said that, an onboard mic can definitely help in terms of overall sound quality IMO. But nothing’s free - they also cost more, are more complex to install and use, and can potentially be more prone to feedback...

 

Are you you planning on installing it yourself, or have someone else do it? It (the Seymour Duncan) shouldn’t be too hard to put in, but the battery box wires will have to be re-wired (to use your existing one) and the end pin jacks swapped (or re-wired), which will add to the price if you want someone else to do it...

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nothing beats a mic when it comes to capturing true acoustic guitar sound

 

Truer words have never been said.

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Hello

 

Thank you for the help, I appreciate it. I plan to do any installs myself. Have worked on several guitars, both acoustic and electric.

 

Now, thinking about the Duncan mag mic vs the Fishman Ellipsis Matrix.

 

I would use the existing 9V batt with both the Duncan and Fishman.

 

The Duncan would be an easier install, and I could try it in a couple different guitars. It apparently can be re-voiced slightly, by screwing the poles up and down. But, the mic can only be blended in, you cannot turn the mag pickup off or lower it.

 

The video's of the Fishman system are impressive. The install would be a little more involved, have to change the UST, but not that big a deal. It would be a permanent install, no switching between guitars.

 

With the Fishman, you can blend between the mic and pickup, all the way to 50-50 or just one or the other. That is nice. And....the mic is on a stalk, so that you can move it, position it, whereas the Duncan one is built into the pickup, and on the underside....but that would be in the middle of the sound hole.

 

So...the Duncan, you can raise and lower the poles. The Fishman, you can blend in mic or pickup or both and the mic has some sort of 'trim' setting.

 

The Duncan is just under $200 new, the Fishman can be had for that, used.

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The Fishman would be replacing one UST with another. I'm not sure how much you'd gain. Some Fishman preamps allow you to connect two pickups simultaneously (mine does) but it doesn't look like the Sonicore does. Contact Fishman and see if you can connect a soundhole pickup such as the Rare Earth to the existing preamp. If so, you can disconnect the UST and connect the soundhole pickup in its place. That way you'll still be able to use the tone control on your preamp. You'll spend under $200 plus a little soldering, assuming you can find a suitable connector. You'd need a separate battery for the pickup and preamp though.

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Posted (edited)

Good point about the Fishman Ellipse. It would be replacing one Fishman UST with another. I am now thinking the Duncan Mag Mic is the best choice.

 

Can try it out on the Martin, and other guitars, without having to install it.

 

Install is simple, reversible, and could use it on other guitars, if it did not work out.

 

Poles are adjustable, giving me more tone control than any other of this type

 

Mic should be similar to the Fishman, since it is right in the sound hole.

 

Reviews and sound samples are all very good

 

If I *have* to EQ it, I can use the Baggs Gigpro….which is what I do for that guitar now...so....no change. [Or, the more I play one nice, small place and get to know the sound guy...the more I can ask him to make adjustments for me]

 

Fishman has a similar pickup, but it is $100 more and no pole adjustments.

 

Thanks!

Edited by navigate40

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I appears as though the battery and output jack leads just plug into the Sonicore preamp. So, simple to disconnect those. Will leave the Sonicore preamp....it is not affecting anything.

 

The battery and output jack leads are soldered into the SD Mag Mic. So, will replace the Fishman output jack with the SD. The SD Mag mic battery lead is wired into a battery box. Looks similar to the one on the bottom side of the Martin. Have not looked, but my guess would be that I could just replace the box on the Martin, with the SD one.

 

Has anyone done that? Would seem straight forward. Might have to take the unit off the wood....just 4 wood screws.

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Rather than replacing the box, I’d recommend just soldering the wires from the SD to the existing box since you know that one fix’s your guitar already... just cut and splice them, red wire to red wire, black to black.

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Posted (edited)

Could do that, easily, though the Fishman battery leads have these small connectors. Might wire them up.

 

Edit: I think I found them. JST 2 pin. have to measure and see if these are 2.0 or 1.25mm (between leads)

...anyone know?

 

Updated update: They are 2.0mm

 

Thanks

Edited by navigate40

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Posted (edited)

Update:

 

Quick update on the new Duncan mag mic pup. Tried it on the AJ45ME, great (though the sound hole preamp gets in the way). Did a permanent install in the Martin DRS2. And LOVE it. Such great sound, makes the acoustic sound like an acoustic. Really like having the mic option, let’s you dial in a lot of acoustic sparkle and resonance. The adjustable poles are excellent…lets you balance the strings the way you want to.

 

The install was simple and quick. I did not need to take out the battery box in the Martin, though I already had. The battery and output jack wires were soldered into the pickup, so, simply undid the output jack in the Martin batt box and replaced it with the Duncan one. Had ordered a 2.0mm JST connector....but...the connector was not compatible with the one from the Martin batt box, so, just cut those leads (Martin and Duncan) and soldered. Simple.

 

Works great. Money well spent. Love the sound.

 

Thanks for the advice.

Best

John

 

[note: no feedback issues at living room volumes]

Edited by navigate40
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Thanks for the update John - glad you found something that you like and that's working well for you! :cool2:

 

 

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