Imix, anthem or m80 for my guitar and style of playing?
Hello there. I have a Yamaha FG 335. One thing I love about it is the warm, bassy almost booming sound. I play solo, mostly strumming and at times hard strumming. I play small venues, coffee houses but I also want the flexibility to play with a band once in awhile. What is the difference in systems I mentioned as far as tone & what will work best for me? I want to keep the same warm bassy sound. One thing I hate about UST is the quack when I strum hard. No disrespect to the fingerstylists but what's best for us cowboy chorders?
Last edited by pablojones; 05-11-2012 at 10:06 AM.
Add as an additional option an imix with m1.
That's a good question. There are somewhat larger differences, sound-wise, between older pickup systems and newer options.
The iMIX, for example, is able to sound very good but you may have to adjust the mix away from the most natural-sounding ratio in order to resist feedback at higher volumes. The iBeam, which produces the more natural sound of the two pickups used in the iMIX, will have a higher potential for feedback at higher volumes and is a bit less effective at cutting through the mix of a larger band.
The iMIX with the M1/iBeam combo can achieve about the same volume levels before feedback but adds body sensitivity from the M1 that you don't really get from the Element. The result is a somewhat richer, fuller sound from the primary source. Another benefit of this combo is that neither the M1 nor the iBeam require any drilling or alteration to the transfer of string energy into the soundboard. Here's a video demonstrating that particular combo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOhuE...ure=plpp_video
The Anthem is the best-sounding offering we've developed so far. The specially-tuned crossover mixing circuit cuts the microphone signal from the low frequencies, allowing you to use a lot of it without risking feedback and, when the mix is rolled toward the mic, the pickup signal is cut from the frequency range in which it sounds less natural. For the closest to the sound of your guitar, only louder, the Anthem is a serious contender for most guitars.
The M80 is the closest a player can get to the sound of an Anthem with the ease of installation that comes with a soundhole magnetic pickup. Easy to install, use and remove, it's an awesome option for the player with vintage instruments or who wants to move a single pickup between multiple guitars. The sound from the M80 is surprisingly natural, warm and woody. It really sounds like a pickup paired with either a mic or a great body sensor coming from a single magnetic source.
Please reply if I can clarify or if you have further questions.
Last edited by Bryan McManus; 05-11-2012 at 11:40 AM.
Reason: content and grammar
Wow thanks for your detailed & informative response. I will distill this down a bit further.
I'm leaning towards the Anthem or iMix with M1 or M80 (I saw that video on youtube - that's what peaked my interest in this setup!). Maybe you can help me narrow it down.
With the Anthem, will I still hear the quacking sound when I strum hard? Would this quack be greater or smaller depending on the position in the mix between mic & pickup (ie 60-40, 70-30, 50-50 etc)?
Can it cut through a full band?
With the imix as a standard setup, will I get the quack from the UST?
As far as the imix with M1 is the potential for feedback greater, lesser or the same as with the Anthem? Oh I already own an M1A - would it work with the imix?
The imix has an semi permanent EQ that cannot be adjusted on the fly as it's deep inside the guitar. The Anthem has no EQ. I like the idea of having an EQ even if I can only set it once before a show. For my needs/ circumstances do I really need an EQ?
For the M80, which is warmer & offers most bass or full body sound between it and imix with M1 or Anthem? Again, no EQ here. Do I need it?
So out of the three which would you recommend? My needs/ playing habits being:
- moderate to occasional hard strumming mostly (fingerpicking here & there)
- playing solo in small venues and coffee houses mostly (I'd like the flexibility to play with a band from time to time. Not metal but let's say a 5 piece rockabilly band)
- I want to keep a warm, full, bassy tone. No clang.
- least chance of feedback
- NO QUACK when I strum!
Originally Posted by Bryan McManus
Last edited by pablojones; 05-11-2012 at 12:40 PM.
Two versions of the Anthem allow you to pan between the Element undersaddle transducer and the Tru-Mic above the crossover frequency of 250Hz. When they are adjusted to the Element, that's all you're getting in the entire frequency range of the instrument and that's when you'll probably get some of that quacky characteristic in the neighborhood of 1.3kHz. When the mix is rolled to use all the Tru-Mic you can get, there will be no quack.
Originally Posted by pablojones
The Anthem-SL is the third version of the Anthem and it is pre-set to all Tru-Mic above the crossover, basically set to the most natural mix you can get from the adjustable models.
The larger the band you play with and the louder the stage volumes, the more you might want to use the Element in the mix because it will cut through the mix of a large and loud band a bit better than the Tru-Mic will.
The iMIX allows you to pan between the full-range Element and the full-range iBeam, although there is a low-cut filter on the iBeam channel. You can get some of that piezo quack when using the Element in the mix and you'll likely need to use some Element in most performance settings as it is the more feedback resistant source.
The Element and the M1 are comparably resistant to feedback so you should have about the same stability when either is mixed with the iBeam in the iMIX system. The Anthem system will be more resistant to feedback than the iMIX with iBeam present in the mix. The iBeam is the least resistant to feedback of all the options mentioned here. The Anthem system is capable of more natural sound at higher volumes than the iMIX.
The M1A is not compatible with the iMIX system. The gain boost applied to the signal by the internal preamp will be too much for the signal entering the iMIX and it would overdrive either iMIX channel input. Besides that, the M1A's power circuit would have to be tied into that of the iMIX and there's also the switching...it would not be a good result.
For the needs and playing habits you mentioned, I would narrow the search to the Anthem or M80.
Now you should consider how much of the time you plan to play plugged in. The Element undersaddle transducer used by the Anthem system will affect, to some degree, the transfer of string energy into the soundboard. A player who has owned a particular guitar for a long time and has never had a pickup in it will notice this more than somebody who either just got the guitar or who has already had multiple pickups in and out of it. Players with lots of guitars, both with and without pickups, might also not notice as much.
If you are concerned with preserving the acoustic properties of the guitar, either because it will be played unplugged a majority of the time or just because you want to, I'll recommend the M80.
If you're after the best amplified sound you can get, regardless of some effect on the acoustic output or tone, I'd go with the Anthem.
I hope that sheds more light on things.
Last edited by Bryan McManus; 05-11-2012 at 03:36 PM.
Reason: content, spelling and grammar
Thanks Bryan! I'll have to mull this over for bit..
Hey Bryan you mentioned with the Anthem that the unplugged acoustic tone could be altered with this pickup. Which part of the pickup would alter the sound? The actual mic element or the little box with the soundhole controls?
If the latter, is it because most of the sound comes from the top and anything installed on the top will dampen the sound?
The Anthem system uses the Element undersaddle transducer which is mixed with the Tru-Mic in the soundhole-mounted preamp/mixer/control unit.
To clarify, the Anthem's crossover circuit uses the Element for all the low frequency response and provides for mixing between the Element and the Tru-Mic above the crossover frequency. In one extreme, you can have all Element and no Tru-Mic in the output signal and in the other extreme, you can have almost all Tru-Mic but with Element handling the low end.
Hey Bryan thanks for the info but I should clarify.
I understand that when one uses this sort of pickup it can alter the unplugged sound of the guitar (you mentioned this as well as others). My question is why this is. Is it the placement of the mic or other components that affect the tone?
Originally Posted by Bryan McManus
It's because the undersaddle transducer is made of something other than what the saddle and bridge are made of. The Element is a flexible sensor strip encased in a braided shield and that is installed between the saddle(usually made of bone or a variety of man-made alternatives) and the bridge wood(most often ebony or rosewood). Some of the string energy is damped by the transducer from transferring into the soundboard, thus slightly reducing acoustic output and altering the tone a little.
The undersaddle transducer can have a more noticeable effect on the acoustic behavior of a guitar than would the Anthem's Tru-Mic fixture or the soundhole mounted preamp/mixer/control unit. If there is any change in acoustic properties to be caused by the Tru-Mic or the preamp unit, it's likely less than the effect of a player's forearm resting on the edge of the soundboard while playing.
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