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Is M80 swappable with my existing M1 Active 1.8" cabling [Archive] - LR Baggs forum


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08-04-2013, 08:50 AM
First time here. Looking at getting the M80. Proud and satisfied owner of M1 Active for a number of years. I like the idea of more body amplification, battery checker and the ability to switch to passive mode. My luthier installed end pin jack and cabling for the M1. Can I use the existing cable and simply plug in the M80?

1975 dreadnought Martin clone
Finger picking and strumming style
Wireless Line 6 Relay ( for wandering around the audience)

Two amplification modes:
BOSE L1 Compact using line out no guitar preset on Channel 2 the BOSE guitar preset on the L1 compact is too boomy for my ears
BOSE T1 mixer using M1 Active Tonematch preset into line out on Compact
Also have BOSE L1 Model II and use it for larger venues always with the T1 Tonematch

Thanks for your help.

08-05-2013, 08:52 AM
The M1A and the M80 use the same output harness. So you can use the M80 with the jack that is already installed, and without any modification to the guitar.

08-06-2013, 06:02 AM
Thanks Caleb! Just another question regarding the M80. I have watched all the performing artists and note that they are seated. Since I am often moving about among the audience will the M80 be too senstitive to my movements? I often play a duo where the other player is using an arranger keyboard with drums,bass, etc. My thought is the M80 will help me cut through the mix when I play with him. Thanks again.

08-06-2013, 10:41 AM
The M80 is sensitive to the body, but not overly so. I've seen the M80 used live by some very active and energetic bands, as well as playing it myself, and I've never noticed any over sensitivity.

08-06-2013, 11:00 AM
Thanks Caleb. Off we go!

08-06-2013, 05:04 PM
And we have lift off! Picked up this afternoon (pardon the pun) easy switchout and a noticeable improvement over an already good M1 Active. Very happy! Thanks to Lorne and all the crew at LA Baggs!!!

04-07-2014, 05:25 PM
I will add to this rather than start a new thread since my subject is related.

I just bought an M1a the other day and had it installed in a Recording King guitar that I bought the same day. It was a spur of the moment thing, and at the time I didn't realize that there was an improved model: the M80.

I was interested in exchanging my M1a for the M80 and was wondering if the endpoint jack assembly was close enough that one could be substituted for the other in the retail packaging.

On the other hand, I'm not sure if maybe the M1a might not be a little better for me personally. I play jazzy arrangements of pop and Christian tunes. I play fingerstyle with no nails and hence the sound coming from the strings is quite soft. After struggling with fret and body noises with a piezo, I stumbled upon the idea of using a magnetic pickup. That worked really well with my style and lately my two guitars have been a Loar archtop with a floating pickup and an Ibanez with a magnetic soundhole pickup. Two different looks but really a similar sound.

Anyway, as much as I like the magnetic pickup, I missed a bit of the acoustic sound with it. I listened to lots of online demos and liked the M1 the best of any. I'm not really after a purely acoustic sound. I just want a little bit of acoustic sparkle mixed in with the jazz-boxy sound.

When I listen to the M1A, I really like it a lot. Much more than the purely magnetic sound I was getting, but I feel like if I could adjust the blend, I would go for a little more magnetic and a bit less body. I am getting a touch more fret squeak than I would like. Keep in mind that my style is soft so the noises are relatively louder. This is related to my style in particular. I am going for a sound along the lines of of Martin Taylor on his Vanden archtop: a jazz box with bronze round wound strings with a piezo blended in for a little high frequency sparkle.

As I read up on the M80, I understand that the blend is about 60% magnetic to about 40% acoustic. On the M1 I have read that it is about 80% magnetic to 20% acoustic. I also understand that the EQ is different on the M80 and that the acoustic part emphasizes lower frequencies.

These two things would probably be good for 99% of all users, but they both scare me. I turn the low frequencies up a bit and do bass lines under everything. I kind of like the magnetic pickup in this range. I don't play my guitar like a drum at all. Then the 40% blend: at 20% I already am looking at raising the pole pieces and putting felt or cork at the soundhole mounts. It seems to me that the M80 would be a step away from this.

If I could actually try them both out I would know in just a couple of seconds which one would suit me better, but I haven't got that chance where I live.

Here is me playing with the regular soundhole pickup that doesn't add any body resonance:

And here is my playing the same sort of style with an archtop:

Which would be better for this type of playing? The M1 or the M80?

04-07-2014, 06:17 PM
I just found this. Not in English but you can tell which is which by watching him change the plug. A mic comparison of the M1a and M80 with a soft fingerstyle, and while they both sound pretty, the m80 is clearly better sounding even with soft fingerstyle.

04-08-2014, 05:49 AM
First of all let me apologize for calling the company founder Lorne instead of Lloyd and the company LA Baggs instead of LR! :o
I guess I was so enthusiastic about my new M80!. In response to your question Lkingston I would highly recommend the M80 and have no regrets about using it. On top of the sound you also get the added battery level indicator which is very useful. Of course the amp or sound system you use is very important. Based on your videos I think you'll do just fine. Thanks for sharing and let us know how you make out.


04-14-2014, 07:38 PM
These days I do more video than music, and when I do do music, it's sort of sneaking it in. Anyway, here is a video I did for a local Celebrate Recovery program (a Christian 12 steps program). The guitar is my winging the song "Faling in Love With Jesus". This is an inexpensive Recording King guitar (which I adore) and the M1a pickup. No EQ. Just a little reverb. This is pretty much exactly the sound I was going for. A sort of jazz boxy sound with just a little soundboard sparkle, sort of like what Martin Taylor gets from his Vanden signature model archtop with the blend between piezo and magnetic pickups. Anyway, for what it's worth here is the video with my M1a guitar playing:

If you listen closely you can hear the guitar body rubbing against my clothes. That's because the playing style is so soft and so amplified. That's with the 20% body sound of the M1a. I would expect the M80 to have 40% body sound and be a bit much with my style (but better for almost everyone else) I really hope to be able to try one soon just to know for sure. In the meantime, I am really very pleased with the sound of the M1a.

04-15-2014, 08:34 AM
The M80 is definitely more body-sensitive, but really, it's mostly in the low end. So handling noise is slightly more noticeable in the M80 than it is in the M1A.

The M1A also has more of that very unique "boxy" magnetic sound. So I think that for your applications, the M1A sounds like it would suit you better.

The audio sounds great too! Nice playing.

04-17-2014, 04:44 PM
One last question about the M80 vs the M1a: How is the M80 for fret squeak? Twice the body sensitivity might exaggerate the squeak but the way the body sound frequency response is in a lower range which could possibly make it even less of an issue than with the M1a in spite of the greater sensitivity. Can someone with experience compare fret squeak between the two?

04-18-2014, 02:20 PM
This might be a little more subjective, but I can at least share my thoughts.

Since the M1 and M80 are magnetic pickups, string noise can be more prominent than other types of pickups, by nature. The M1, not having as much body in the signal compared to the M80, should have slightly more string sound in the signal. There is still quite a bit of string response in the M80, but in my experience, the body sensor masks this more than the M1 does.

I personally think that EQ is a much more exact way to remove excessive string and fret noise, when necessary. When I have new strings, or use a pickup that has a lot of "squeak", I usually cut a small amount of 2-3kHz. This typically does the trick, but as always, use your ears to fine-tune the EQ to fit your instrument, pickup, and playing situation.

07-04-2016, 04:20 PM
OK, I'm back. When I was last here, I had just bought an M1a and had it installed, only to get home and realize that there was the new and improved M80 version.

The other day, I found a really good deal on a Martin DX1 with no pickup. I just ordered an M80 for this guitar.

I also checked out the Anthem system demos, but while it sounds more realistic, I don't find it as pleasing.

One of the things that drove me nuts with the M1a is that I could hear my clothing squeaking against the glossy finish of my Recording King acoustic. I'm hoping with the satin finish on the HPL body and the lower frequency spectrum of the M80 this won't be as much of an issue.

Also, I use a Tech 21 Para DI when I go straight to PA, and a Henriksen Bud amp otherwise, and both of these options have enough preamp gain to let me use the M80 in passive mode, which is tempting. I'll try both modes when I get the pickup.

I watched some online demos of the new Session DI and what is going to keep me using the Tech 21 Para DI is the blend control. With the Tech 21, I always play with a blend of saturated and straight sound. What this gives me is a really cool subtly saturated sound but it keeps the clarity that even the subtlest saturation amount kills. I wouldn't use the saturation without the blend control and the Session DI doesn't have it. On the other hand, the multiband EQ compression sounds fantastic.

07-05-2016, 09:38 AM
Hey Lkingston,
It sounds like you are going to enjoy the M80!

On a side note, satin finished guitars usually have more body noise, but that really depends on the pickup. Hopefully the M80 will pair really well with the Martin.

Let us know how it goes. It would be great to hear your thoughts.

07-06-2016, 09:33 PM
Well I got the M80 today, and popped it in my new Martin DX-1 right before heading off to an open mic. Wow, I really like this pickup. Once I got home I tried it through my amp (an Henriksen Bud). It sounded a little boxy, but putting the amp on a stand instead of the floor and dialing out a little 420 Hz fixed that. I've just spent the past couple of hours fine tuning the pole heights and it really is feeling and sounding very good.

The Martin DX-1 is working really well with this. I'm not getting any of the squeak from my clothes rubbing against the guitar body that drove me nuts with the M1a on my Recording King R06 (with a glossy finish). I'm not sure if it is the HPL material not being sensitive, or the matte finish, or the body sensitivity going to lower frequencies, but the the body noise doesn't bother me at all with this setup. I'm also experiencing far less finger squeak which surprises me given the increased body sensitivity.

Anyway, I love this pickup. I've never experienced this good an amplified sound.

I'm also really glad I went with the M80 instead of the Anthem. My main thing is jazzbox type archtops with floating pickups and the volume control on the pickguard, and I really love that tone, so the magnetic quality of the M80 probably appeals to me more than it would to some others. The body sound added in really adds that "acoustic guitar" quality though and I like it sound very much. Having just spent so much time adjusting the height of the pole pieces to get the right string balance, I realize that the lack of individual string control of another pickup system would be a bad thing for me.

It's not just the sound, it's the feel. I really hate playing amplified guitars with stock under saddle pickups. Notes jump out. The strings squeak when I move my hands. There isn't enough low end, but when you turn it up it sounds boomy. This M80 pickup lets me play amplified the way that I do when I practice unplugged. The M1 was close, but this is quite a bit better.

Anyway, I'm really happy. There were some much better guitars at the open mic tonight, but none of them sounded near as good over the PA as mine did with this pickup. Great product!

07-07-2016, 09:29 AM
That's fantastic to hear!

I'm so glad that the M80 is working so well for you.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

07-12-2016, 01:44 PM
Ok, I just put an M80 in my original Recording King replacing the M1a. It sounds fantastic! The issue of the the glossy body squeaking is simply not an issue. The sound is great like it is on the Martin. This is definitely my favorite pickup for my own style of fingerstyle playing. Jazz voicings sound beautiful and melodies and inner voicing are as clear as they are on an archtop. The sound is woody and acoustic and any taps on the body sound like you would expect them to on a miked guitar. The best thing is that playing it amplified feels just like playing it acoustically. It is not overly or underly sensitive, which has been a problem on everything else other than my floating pickup archtops.

07-12-2016, 02:17 PM
Thanks for following up! I'm sure this will be helpful for future readers.

07-13-2016, 06:55 PM
Today I went over to a friend's house to practice and since we were going to need three channels (his and my vocals and my guitar), I grabbed my Carvin S600 to use as a practice PA. My guitar with the M80 sounded just horrible through the S600. The S600 has this low mid resonant frequency that seems to emphasize a nearby resonant frequency in the M80. The Carvin's three band EQ is nowhere near precise enough to deal with this. I'm not exaggerating when I say this was nowhere near good enough to use even for practice. The S600 sounds fine with other guitar pickups. It resonates, but the resonance that it adds is usually missing from piezo equipped guitars and the net result is an improvement. With the M80, it's like both the guitar and the amp were adding the same resonance it was way too much.

Meanwhile the M80 sounded awesome with three different PA systems last week and it sounds absolutely glorious with my Henriksen Bud (which is my main amp for acoustics and archtops). The Henricksen Bud is really an amazing sounding amp. I may have to sell the S600.

07-13-2016, 07:10 PM
This horrible experience with the M80 and Carvin S600 has me wondering about LR Baggs Anthems, Lyrics, and M80s and acoustic amps in general. I've read some posts by some people who are pretty frustrated with the sound of their LR Baggs pickups. This has puzzled me because I think that these are the best sounding pickup systems around.

Could it be that some of this frustration stems from using acoustic amps which are designed to add low mid resonances that are missing from piezo equipped guitars and these are redundant with the bountiful low mid resonances of LR Baggs pickups which don't need and in fact might be hurt by this compensation? I haven't tried it, but I am pretty sure that a Lyric or an Anthem system would also sound terrible through the Carvin S600.

If I just had the S600 and had tried that first, I would have hated the sound of the M80. Meanwhile, with the Henricksen (which sounds very much like a balanced PA system), the M80 gives me the best acoustic I have ever had. I wonder if some of these people that are complaining in some of the other threads might be over the moon happy with the sound if it they heard it through a different amp or a PA system.

07-14-2016, 09:07 AM
You're definitely right on with some of your comments. So many people out there don't realize that many acoustic amps do a terrible job representing the acoustic guitar's full range, especially compared to a full PA. Acoustic amps typically lack real low end, so they make up for it by enhancing the low-mids. This can make some pickups sound bigger, but with others it can really enhance a frequency range that you wouldn't want to bring out in any other system.

If a player doesn't have good enough EQ to counteract a cheap amplifier's natural response, many higher quality pickup systems will sound cheap and underwhelming.

07-16-2016, 08:10 AM
OK, a little more on this. Looking at an RTA, I can see the problem. The M80 has a strong resonance at around 200 hz. On the Carvin S600 this resonantes the cabinet like crazy when I turn up the guitar a little. I hadn't noticed it on my other amps, but when I turn it up on them I get a pretty bad 200hz resonance as well and at loud volumes it is equally problematic. Scooping out 200k with a Boss pedal EQ fixes this. I kind of wish I didn't have to carry around the EQ, extra wire, and battery just for this, but oh well. At least it is fixable.

07-16-2016, 09:34 AM
Another note. I saw a country band last night where the acoustic guitarist was using an M80 pickup. The guitar sound was pretty trebly and thin. Otherwise the band sound was top notch. My guess is that the sound guy was running into mid low resonance on the guitar and rather than find it he just cut all the lows. This is exacty the sort of thing I try to avoid.

Thinking about this and how to make my setup as simple as possible:

The M80 sounds really good with a bit of 200hz scooped out, even at louder volumes. It looks like the notch filter on the Session DI would take care of this nicely while providing a nice DI box and some additional sweetening.

This leads me to two questions:

1) The only control I see on the notch filter is the sweepable frequency, but no cut amount. How does this work? Does it sense the amount of resonance at that frequency and adjust itself? If so, how effective is this?

2) Would the Session DI provide enough preamping to use the M80 in passive mode? If I'm going to use an external preamp anyway, I may as well avoid the extra preamp stage. Is there enough boost in the Session DI for a passive pickup?

07-16-2016, 01:29 PM
Ok, I found a good deal on a used Session DI and decided just to go for it. What I really need is the notch. Hopefully the touch of saturation and EQ/compression will sound as good as it does on the Charlie Worsham demo... ;-)

I'm still interested in learning as much as I can about the notch filter in the Session DI and Venue boxes. Does it sense and scale the amount of cut needed? How sharp is the Q? Etc.

07-18-2016, 09:12 AM
The Notch on the Venue and Session is a very simple control, designed to cut out resonant feedback frequencies. It's a very deep and narrow cut, the specifics of which are in the Venue manual.

It's a -21db fixed cut, sweepable from 60Hz to 320Hz, 1/8 Octave Q.

The Notch actually has a very slight boost on either side of the cut as well, which makes it sound more natural.

07-19-2016, 09:52 AM
That notch should work really well then. A little more on my bad Carvin S600 experience. When I got home I tried the amp again and it sounded fine until I turned it up pretty high. That day we were practicing in a big warehouse type room with no air conditioning so we had a couple of big fans running. To compensate for that I guess I had turned the volume way louder than I had realized, hence the bad guitar body resonance. It hadn't sounded that loud so I didn't realize how much it was turned up. Yeah, I need a notch if I am going to do that.

Im looking forward to getting and trying the Session DI.

07-31-2016, 09:54 AM
Well I've had the session DI of about a week and it seems to work quite well with the M80. I just put the M80 into passive mode this morning and I have to turn the level all the way up on the Session DI and the level is still less than it should be but useable. Went back to active mode.

The notch filter seems to sound best turned all the way clockwise which seems to make the pickup sound less boxy as well as being less prone to feedback. The high pass sounds beat at 80Hz cleaning up low frequency mud and boom while leaving the fingerstyle bass feeling I'm going for intact.

The XLR output seems way hotter than any sound guy is expecting. Phantom powering works well. I've had a rechargeable 9.6v battery in it for about a week and the battery meter is still showing a full charge. A touch of saturation does improve the sound.

I especially like the EQ/compressor for my style of playing. It really is just a very transparent compressor, but I like that if it's compressing a melody note, it doesn't duck the bass and vice versa.

08-01-2016, 09:18 AM
Glad to hear that it's working well for you. The compression is definitely my favorite feature on the Session. Like you said it doesn't come down too hard on the bass, so you can still play dynamically.

Thanks for sharing!

08-05-2016, 05:11 PM
I changed my mind on the Session DI after trying it playing out live. It just didn't work at higher performing levels. The notch filter isn't enough to get rid of the low mid frequency feedback and once I punch the volume a little it is unusable. The compression and saturation at performing levels only makes it worse. I have it for sale on eBay. I can get the feedback resistant EQ I need on my Tech21 Para DI so I'm going to just use that. The Session DI might work for others but not for me.