I apologise in advance if this newby question covers old ground, but I have recently bought a nice LR Baggs combo for my acoustic mandolin.
It is an LR Baggs Radius pick-up and Gigpro pre-amp.
I test-ran them at a music store yesterday, and was struck by how the sound I managed to generate was nowhere near 'natural'. At the 'front' of every note was a percussive 'thud', almost like a bass drum, that ruined the natural acoustic sound I was looking for.
As I know nothing about amplifier settings or pre-amp settings, all I could do was experiment with different picks and different pick techniques. A thinner pick seemed to reduce the volume of this 'thud', but not enough to eliminate it.
Since I am such a newcomer to amplification/pick-ups I am fully aware that I bring a minefield of ignorance to the table, but if anyone could point me in the right direction towards a set-up that would give me a neat, crisp, clean acoustic sound to my amplification using the above equipment, whether by pointing me towards optimum placement of the Radius or optimum settings of the Gigpro or improved settings for the amplifier or altered techniques/choices of pick - or, indeed, a combination of all of the above, I would be very grateful.
As this represents my only possible source of advice on a matter that is alien to me, I am hanging onto my optimism for now!
If you have not used a body sensor before, or have previously used something other than a body sensor, the attack response(the thump you've encountered) can seem overbearing or exaggerated.
Because the mandolin is such a small body, there is a pronounced pick attack and a fairly quick decay in sustain. Because the Radius-M is detecting the body's response to string energy, the attack can be the strongest part of the signal.
Here are some factors that can affect how present pick attack is in the signal:
Placement of the pickup can greatly affect how it senses the energy from the strings. Experiment a lot with placement to find the location that presents the least thump.
The length of cable between the pickup and the first active input is important. If the cable is longer than 12 feet, it can interact with the pickup specs and add bass response to the signal.
If you are not connecting to the Gigpro first but rather a preamp or circuit without a high impedance input, that can also introduce unwanted bass to the signal.
Thanks for the valuable input. I was experimenting in a music store (I don't have an amp at home), using a custom-made good quality patch cable from the tech guy in the store that connected the Radius to the Gigpro, with the Gigpro connected to the amp by a decent Planet Waves 20 ft cable.
Now that you introduce me to the concept of 'pick attack', I suspect that pick-up placement is going to be the biggest factor, as I had no time (or knowledge-based insight) to experiment with placement of the sensor.
I believe you are correct. Placement is crucial because how the pickup responds to the instrument is the beginning of good amplified sound.