I bought the M1a late last year and finally installed it into my Martin 000x1, and am having problems with a distorted signal from my p.a when strummed. I know that the signal will begin to distort when a battery is dying, and when the battery is replaced the distortion seems to go away, yet it soon returns. I definitely did not get 1000 hours from the battery (closer to 4) and the replacement battery ever less! Is any help out there regarding my situation?
It would be good to check for a short in the battery switch contacts. If you have a meter with which you can check continuity as well as a TRS cable, it's possible to test for such a short in the following way:
With nothing plugged into the 1/4" output, disconnect the output harness' 1/8" plug from the pickup and check for a short between the RING and SLEEVE contacts.
If you find a short, you have probably just identified what is causing the batteries to drain and the signal to distort. If not, do the next step:
Plug the 1/8" connector back into the pickup and then plug the TRS cable into the 1/4" output jack. Now check the other end of that TRS for a short between the RING and SLEEVE contacts. If there is one, it should indicate the short is occurring within the pickup and not in the output harness.
Please let me know what you find or if you're not able to do that test.