Ibeam vs Anthem SL
I currently have an OM style Martin guitar that I really love the acoustic tone of. I have pretty much overlooked most UST's because I don't want to change the acoustic tone of my guitar. I was considering the Ibeam for ease of installation, but I've read some things online about bad feedback and the tone being "inferior" to that of the Anthem and Anthem SL.
I'm almost 90% sure that I would be happy with the Ibeam, but some of what I've read just intimidates me a little. I don't mind spending the extra money on the Anthem SL, but I will be playing my Martin acoustic probably 95% of the time. I really just want a means to be able to play my Martin live if I choose to. My Seagull S6 with M1A and Para DI will get the bulk of the gigs.
So, if anyone can help, will the Ibeam be a decent sounding pickup that will work with low volume church playing? I'll be plugging into a PA through a Para DI and we never get loud in volume.
The iBeam is a very good sounding pickup. It can be prone to boominess and sympathetic resonance feedback at moderately high to higher performance volumes but, for low volume amplification, the iBeam can shine.
I can recommend it for the playing situation you described.
Something to consider, however, is the bracing pattern of your Martin's soundboard. Is it a standard modern OM or is it one of the Vintage, Vintage Reissue, Marquee or Golden Era series made by Martin to replicate classic guitars from the early half of last century? If it is one of those, or has what Martin refers to a "forward shifted" or "forward" X-Brace pattern, the iBeam's intended mounting location may be choked by proximity of the braces to the string pins.
The iBeam is 2 7/8" in length and 7/16" wide with rounded corners. If you can fit a dummy of that footprint in the desired location with space around the pickup so it's not close to the braces or the pinholes, it should be a successful install.
If the bracing pattern would appear to obstruct the iBeam's placement, I would not go with the Anthem system unless you really really want to because you will play the guitar acoustically 95% of the time. The undersaddle pickup can have a noticeable effect on the acoustic response.
In that case, I highly recommend our M1Active body-sensitive magnetic soundhole pickup with built-in preamp. It's responsive to both the strings and the body, providing a response that is, in many ways, similar to the iBeam but with crisper string attack response and none of the piezo response characteristic known as quack. Being a magnetic, it has a smoother characteristic to the sound and produces a slightly accentuated upper midrange and treble which works quite well with fingerstyle playing. The M1A can also be easily moved between multiple guitars.
Please reply here, to [email protected] or call 805-929-3545, ext. 111, if you have further questions.
My Martin is an SWOMGT...so I'm hoping modern?
I decided to go with the Ibeam and ordered it this morning, so I'm hoping it fits my guitar. Anyways, I'm sure it will work just fine and thanks for the help!
Thanks for the clarification. I was just reading your email from the support form on our website. The specs for that guitar do not mention forward bracing so I suspect you are correct.
Please let me know if you encounter any issue with installation or use of that pickup.