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View Full Version : Question about combining the I-Beam Active with an Element Replacement Pickup



ALCaldwell
02-15-2012, 05:57 PM
Hello! My name is AL and I'm brand new to the forum here.

A friend of mine has a Martin DX1 Dreadnought and has recently installed the I-Beam Active. Unfortunately, for live performances there is still way too much bass and lower-mids. At the FOH, we tried a low cut as well as lowering the bass but it still doesn't sound all that great. I suggested that adding an undersaddle piezo might help to balance out the sound.

I saw the LR Baggs Element Replacement Pickup w/2.5mm Mini Plug and thought it might be a good solution. But I'm a little confused because the I-Beam manual and the overview from the site aren't exactly the same.

On the LR Baggs site, it says "There is even a second passive channel available if you would like to add a magnetic or undersaddle pickup to compliment the iBeam." Sounds great!

But then the I-Beam manual says: "10.1 Adding a second pickup: It is possible to add a second pickup to the iBeam Active; however, to avoid crosstalk, the second pickup must have a low impedance output. This requirement essentially eliminates everything but magnetic pickups (such as the M1). Do not use high impedance pickups like the LB6 or Ribbon Transducer with the iBeam Active System."

The element isn't a magnetic pickup. So will this work?

Thanks!
-AL

Caleb_Elling
02-16-2012, 09:15 AM
Hi Al,
Unfortunately, you have come across a misprint on our website. The Element is not the correct impedance for use on the iBeam Aux channel, and it cannot even be used passively. The M1 is really the only thing we recommend using in your situation. You could try using the iMix preamp which would allow you to use the Element and iBeam and blend them together or run in stereo. Any of our dealers can order a custom version of the iMix to include the parts that you need (Element, M1 or iBeam combos).

-Caleb

ALCaldwell
02-16-2012, 12:41 PM
Thanks for the quick response Caleb!

myso
07-16-2014, 01:39 PM
Hi Al,
Unfortunately, you have come across a misprint on our website. The Element is not the correct impedance for use on the iBeam Aux channel, and it cannot even be used passively. The M1 is really the only thing we recommend using in your situation. You could try using the iMix preamp which would allow you to use the Element and iBeam and blend them together or run in stereo. Any of our dealers can order a custom version of the iMix to include the parts that you need (Element, M1 or iBeam combos).

-Caleb

Hi,
this is quite an old post, but I hope I'll get a reply anyway.
There is a clear statement in the manual that the active iBeam can be combined with M1, however there are no instructions on how to install it.
I haven't found any material on this on the web.

So, how can it be done? Can I adjust the blend between ibeam and M1?
I like the sound of the ibeam, however it feedbacks even in low volume situations. Therefore I would like to blend the signal towards the M1 until the feedback stops and use as much of the ibeam signal as possible in any given situation.

Thanks in advance for the reply.

Caleb_Elling
07-16-2014, 02:36 PM
Hey myso,
The M1 Passive can be added to the output jack of the iBeam Active, but it will only support stereo output with no on-board blending. You would need a stereo cable and a stereo external preamp (or two mono pre's), in order to utilize both pickups. It's not the easiest setup to work with unless you are already using a stereo setup.

The other option is to use a preamp like the iMix, inside the guitar, to replace the iBeam's preamp and blend the two pickups on-board.

These are the two options for blending the M1 and iBeam together. If you are interested in more info for either configuration, let me know.

myso
07-17-2014, 01:40 AM
Hi Caleb,
thanks for such a fast reply.
First of all, what do you mean by " it will only support stereo output"? That the signals from the two pickups will be mixed in a fixed ratio?
What do you think about placing a potentiometer before the ibeam input to the preamp? It would take a bit of a hacking, though...

I've checked the iMix already, but the pickups are connected via jack connectors, whereas my ibeam is fixly connected to the preamp if I remember correctly.
If I went this way I'd like to buy as little new parts as possible, definitely not the whole setup, since I paid $149 for the ibeam active already.
What would have to be in the custom order for the upgrade to imix?

Caleb_Elling
07-17-2014, 09:00 AM
When I say "stereo only", I mean that you will not be able to use a regular guitar cable or a regular (mono) amp/preamp and get both signals coming through. I'm sorry that this was not clear. It can be a complicated subject.

Only a stereo cable and a stereo preamp will give you the ability to blend the two pickups without loosing your signal quality. This combination of pickups will definitely require much more gear to accomplish correctly, no matter how it's done.

The iMix is by far the easiest way to blend the pickups. The M1/iBeam iMix is still about $350 as a whole system. You can purchase parts individually, but that is generally even more expensive, even if you already have the iBeam pickup.

The iBeam is an excellent pickup for certain players and playing situations, but like any soundboard pickup, it will encounter more feedback compared to other kinds of pickups, if you do not have the necessary tools to control it (ie. a good EQ with a notch filter). If your iBeam is not working well for your situation, and you do not want to add extra gear to your setup, it may be easiest to try and sell your iBeam and buy a pickup that will suit your needs better.

If you would like a better pickup recommendation, I would be happy to help. Or I can help you try to figure out how to optimize what you already have.

myso
07-17-2014, 03:06 PM
Oh, now I get it. So the input for jack of the iBeam active is a standard stereo input and the second signal path is unused unless the M1 is added to the set up. But when it is each signal goes out separately, right? The volume control works for both signal paths linearly, or the M1 is all the way up at all times?

If it is so, can you recommend a stompbox for blending the signals? Or a simple blending "gadget" that has a stereo input and a mono output.

Thanks!

Caleb_Elling
07-17-2014, 03:48 PM
The volume control still only effects the iBeam. The M1 would only be adjustable by the blending preamp.

If you need a blending preamp, we make the Mixpro. You could also use a basic small-format mixer, with two or more channels to blend the two pickups together(Mackie, Behringer, and many other companies make them). Either option would work pretty well.

myso
07-17-2014, 04:37 PM
Thanks a lot, Caleb. Your input was amazing, keep up the good work! Thanks.