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Experience with K&K Pure Mini?


dhanners623
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Ok helpful. I have it in one of my guitars and prefer it by a wide margin over saddle pickups. They sound very natural picking and strumming while being fairly feedback resistant. I would recommend a preamp or an active DI especially if you're sending it to a house sound system. If you're using an acoustic amp - no problems just plugging in direct. After using active systems in my guitars for years, it felt great to have something easy to install and without the need for batteries.

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14 minutes ago, groovadelic said:

Ok helpful. I have it in one of my guitars and prefer it by a wide margin over saddle pickups. They sound very natural picking and strumming while being fairly feedback resistant. I would recommend a preamp or an active DI especially if you're sending it to a house sound system. If you're using an acoustic amp - no problems just plugging in direct. After using active systems in my guitars for years, it felt great to have something easy to install and without the need for batteries.

Thanks. Yeah, I don’t like batteries in guitars, and in a perfect world, I’d just mic the guitar.

One other option is I have an unused Baggs M1 Active sitting around that I could use; I’d just need to get the endpin hole reamed out for the endpin jack. I use M1 passives in my J-35 and Farida OT-22, but I’ve no idea how the M1 Active sounds. 

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I like the K&K but it’s too feedback prone for my needs. It’s a nice sounding thing in a quiet room but when the more subtle aspects of the tone/overtones are lost amongst bar chatter and ambient noise, the fundamental tone of the K&K is quite midrangey and honky, even with extensive EQ work. 
 

I have one in my ‘67 J45 and had one in a D18, it suited the Martin better than the Gibson but is adequate in both. They work better for 12 strings in my experience. If I’m playing out, I always grab my SJ200 or Maple AJ, both of which are Sunrise equipped. 
 

I’ve preferred soundhole pickups for a long time…better feedback rejection and they fill a room more efficaciously in my experience. The M1A is an excellent pickup, I think you’d enjoy it. The fundamental tone is very similar to the M1 as you would expect, just a bit louder with a balanced output that can go straight into a low-Z input if required.

 

Keep us posted on which direction you go in!

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Oddly, the K&K Pure Mini is the only under the hood pickup I own other than my 1956 Harmony H40 which has a factory installed Gibson P13 mounted underneath the fingerboard extension.  Kind of scary because they had to remove the upper transverse brace to make room for it.      

Anyway, as I have no use for batteries or any system which places something between the saddle and the top of the guitar, I have lived on a steady diet of soundhole pickups. But I have the K&K in my Fairbanks which Dale installed for the original owner.  These as it turns out are not surprisingly a favorite among vintage guitar folks because not only can you attach the transducers with double sided tape but you can get them with a 1/8" jack so you do not have to drill out the end pin hole. 

The K&K Pure Mini sounds clean and natural and I have not had any problems with feedback.  One downside to it is if you do not choose to plug directly into an amp, soundboard or whatever and prefer to go with a preamp the pickup has to be matched with one which has a low impedance of no more than 1 Meg.  That rules out a large number of preamps.  I do not go that route though, so it has never come up.

Also, I have been told that if you go with only two of the three "buds" it gives you a better balance.  I have not tried this though so cannot speak from personal experience.

Edited by zombywoof
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Thanks Jinder and Zomby; those are both helpful.

For the time being, I may just take the guitar in and go the M1A route. It seems less intrusive for now. I can always try the K&K later.

The guitar in question is a mahogany dread built for me from a StewMac kit by Twin Cities luthier/repairman Kevin Schwab. It is a D-18 clone, and I’ve had it since October 2011. It has aged beautifully and is my best-sounding guitar, but I so rarely take it out because I don’t know if the sound person is adept at miking guitars. Sometimes it is just less hassle to plug in. But I have gone the Lyle Lovett route and refused to have any holes cut in my guitar — even enlarging the endpin hole — because I want the guitar to remain as it was built. (As an aside, I understand that while folks at Collings say Lovett’s guitars remain uncut for pickups, they do complain that the tape he uses to secure the cord from his Sunrise pickup screws up the guitars’ finishes.)

Edited by dhanners623
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1 hour ago, zombywoof said:

While I certainly get it that a guitar is a tool and needs to be able to do what you want it to, I am still one who sees Acoustic Electric (or vice versa) as an oxymoron.

Yeah, once you plug in, it’s not really an acoustic any longer. And I’m convinced that 98 percent of those in any given audience doesn’t know the difference between a pre-war Martin or Gibson and a cheap Asian knock-off. Their only yardstick is whether you can hear the guitar or not.

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K&K's are perhaps the best of the transducer-style pickups, quite natural and acoustic.  They can be 'woofy' in poor sound systems and, if your left hand technique is heavy and percussive they can be 'thumpy' (yes.....I know you're a lefty).  I found a fix for these issues:  a good compressor, properly dialed in so as not to audibly alter overall tone but control transients.  Highly recommended for K&K's used live with varying sound systems............just do it.......you can thank me later.

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I have K&Ks installed in my J45-TV and my Martin D15. I don’t think they sound great into the board alone. They need some EQ and specifically to dial back some bass and lower mids. They are definitely feedback prone. You will need a soundhole plug.

I like the Fire Eye Red Eye preamp. It’s simple, has some minimal tone control, and a boost for solos.

ps I played out last night with the Martin D15 direct into the board, and I wish I brought the preamp. I had intended to play electric.

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It is usually best to just buy the K&K preamp designed for the pickup! It can cause problems by only wanting 1M or whatever it is.

You can also run it from the K&K preamp to another with more controls and gadgetry...feedback stuff, EQ, line out etc. I do that and it sounds really good.

I just had a guitar repaired, setup and.....a K&K installed! So I played it direct.....ok, to the preamp, good, then to another preamp, great! And then I ran my Tonedexter on bypass with the K&K direct, great match. And then I used another similar guitar’s soundfile...even better!

I also have guitars with the K&K Trinity, which is a K&K with an internal mic attached, then run through a stereo lead to the K&K Trinity preamp, which has EQ inside the black box and a volume control for each for blending the mic sound. Absolutely superb for direct to PA.

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

Edited by BluesKing777
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8 hours ago, BluesKing777 said:

 

It is usually best to just buy the K&K preamp designed for the pickup! It can cause problems by only wanting 1M or whatever it is.

You can also run it from the K&K preamp to another with more controls and gadgetry...feedback stuff, EQ, line out etc. I do that and it sounds really good.

I just had a guitar repaired, setup and.....a K&K installed! So I played it direct.....ok, to the preamp, good, then to another preamp, great! And then I ran my Tonedexter on bypass with the K&K direct, great match. And then I used another similar guitar’s soundfile...even better!

I also have guitars with the K&K Trinity, which is a K&K with an internal mic attached, then run through a stereo lead to the K&K Trinity preamp, which has EQ inside the black box and a volume control for each for blending the mic sound. Absolutely superb for direct to PA.

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

That sounds like a long signal chain, as they say. I was hoping for a bit more simplicity. I rarely have the patience to keep sussing out the EQ. If I’m going to go the pickup route, ideally, I just want to plug in and play.

I know some folks are anal about their sound, and if they have the finances/gear/expertise/patience to be that way, more power to them. But I’m of the belief that once you plug in, it’s going to sound something like an acoustic guitar, but you’ll never really capture the guitar’s true acoustic sound, so why try? I suppose there are some systems that do that, but they are way more than I would ever care to spend.

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19 hours ago, dhanners623 said:

Yeah, once you plug in, it’s not really an acoustic any longer. And I’m convinced that 98 percent of those in any given audience doesn’t know the difference between a pre-war Martin or Gibson and a cheap Asian knock-off. Their only yardstick is whether you can hear the guitar or not.

I completely agree. I have never heard anyone who doesn’t play guitar(99% of the population) comment on the quality of acoustic tone when listening to a song. Ever. Those same people don’t even notice what make/model guitar is being played. And if told, it would have no real meaning to them. 

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On 8/21/2022 at 9:39 AM, Kwlsky said:

I completely agree. I have never heard anyone who doesn’t play guitar(99% of the population) comment on the quality of acoustic tone when listening to a song. Ever. Those same people don’t even notice what make/model guitar is being played. And if told, it would have no real meaning to them. 

You are 1,000,000,000% correct.

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An advantage of the K&K pickup not thought of - no controls on the soundhole in the way like some pickups - if the room you are playing is too noisy, or you are going to play with rowdy musos perhaps, you can slip the soundhole pickup of your choice in the hole, run the lead out and tape it out of the way.......

 

BluesKing777.

 

Edited by BluesKing777
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Thanks, all. Your insightful replies remind me why I come here. When the trolls stay out of it, there is a lot of helpful information to be learned from the experience here.

I’ve decided that for the time being, I’m going with the M1A. It’ll require reaming out the endpin hole to accept the endpin jack, and that seems the less invasive approach. It is also the least expensive right now, since I already have the pickup. If I decide later to go with the K&K, it won’t be a big issue fitting it.

I already called Jim Fleeting, a luthier/repairman (and Roberto-Venn alum) here in Manchester and I’m taking the guitar in Monday. He says he even has the reamer Baggs recommends. I took the J-35 in to him last year for a quick adjustment and he did a great job and carried an air of competence.

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3 minutes ago, Murph said:

I've heard good things about them, but never used one.  I always mic my guitar, resonator and mandolin with an SM57, sometimes straight into my Bose S1-Pro, then line out to larger rigs.

Best of luck, David.

Thanks. All things considered, I’d rather mic the guitar, too. But when I play anymore, it seems like I’m just using whatever system/mics the venue has, and the quality varies widely. Plugging in will just be easier. In a “listening room”-type venue, I’d still try to mic the guitar if I can.

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Of course if you want a true KILLER live acoustic, the Maton EBG808 (00 deep body size) is the machine with a Maton dual source AP5-Pro pickup system as used by Tommy Emmanuel. Yep, all he does is plug in his EBG808 to the PA, turn everything on full, including the internal mic....he uses headphones to avoid feedback.

I have 4 808s of various woodage and they are sensational.

Here is a video from Artisan guitars of the TE production models:

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

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16 hours ago, BluesKing777 said:

 

Of course if you want a true KILLER live acoustic, the Maton EBG808 (00 deep body size) is the machine with a Maton dual source AP5-Pro pickup system as used by Tommy Emmanuel. Yep, all he does is plug in his EBG808 to the PA, turn everything on full, including the internal mic....he uses headphones to avoid feedback.

I have 4 808s of various woodage and they are sensational.

Here is a video from Artisan guitars of the TE production models:

 

 

 

BluesKing777.

 

 

Both the guitar and pickup are beyond (way beyond) what I want to spend….

Then there’s the main issue: I’m not Tommy Emmanuel. His audiences, I’d posit, tend to be more sophisticated with what they expect to hear out of a guitar. He is more sophisticated with what he expects to hear out of his guitar. I’m not, and neither are the people I play for most of the time. So for me, it is a matter of balancing cost and expectations and trying to make the guitars I already have sound darn good on the music I play on them. Which they do.

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