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Thread: M80 or Anthem?

  1. #1
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    M80 or Anthem?

    Hi

    I have been gigging 2 acoustic guitars with LB6 and a Baggs pre-amps on stage for well over a decade and am very happy with the sound. Infact they've attracted numerous positive comments about the quality of the amplified sound. Generally I've DI'd the guitars straight thru the desk with a flat channel EQ and a little effect. I use the sweepable mid-range regularly to fine-tune to different rooms and PA EQ patterns.

    My only problem has been that at the foldback volumes needed in noisier rooms (eg. busy pubs), both guitars feedback in the lower G to B range (98 - 120Hz). My luthier tells me that this is a common resonant frequency in acoustic guitars. You know the scene - you forget to drop the volume on the instrument and saunter off stage to grab a beer and the A string takes on a life of its own until its banging like a barn door in a gale.

    I've regularly used a soundhole plug, and this makes a small difference, but not enough. Cutting the bass level on the preamp solves the problem, but it robs the guitar of the warmth that I'm after by using an acoustic guitar in the first place. I've found that cutting that frequency range at the 31band EQ post-desk works best, but it still takes out a big bite out of the warmth of the guitar. I also own a ParaDI and have found that the notch filter on this helps, but still at a high cost to the warmth of the sound. Generally I've got around it by judiscious damping with the heel of my pickin hand - but its not ideal.

    Now I wish to amplify a 30yo Maton acoustic guitar for use on stage and I'm keen to get a rich warm sound, but avoid these feedback issues. I'm happy to drill a few small holes in the old girl, but won't be cutting a hole in her side for a pre-amp. From what I gather, either the Anthem or the M80 are the way to go for a rich warm acoustic sound, and are purported to provide a significant improvement in feedback resistance.

    The Anthem sounds to me to have a slightly richer sound (this is expected given that it is a mic, rather than a magnetic PU), but what I don't understand is why, with the cross-over is set to 250k (around the open B string), I wouldn't continue to have the same feedback problems as before. ie. the bridge piezo is still in charge of the frequency where it gives me problems with my other guitars.

    I like the minimal interference to the instrument of the M80 - but I'll go with the richer tone of the Anthem if it isn't going to feedback at high stage volumes.

    Is the M80 less likely to feedback at higher stage volumes that the anthem?
    Is it normal for acoustic guitars to be vulnerable to feedback from lower G to lower B?
    Have I missed something obvious in the feedback resistance of the saddle piezo pick-ups in my other guitars?

    Please excuse the tome
    Cheers
    Graeme

  2. #2
    Hi Graeme,
    It is difficult to say if a pickup is more feedback resistant than another. There are a lot of variables that go into feedback.The M80 might be more resistant in some situations, and the LB6 could be more resistant in others.

    In general the M1 is the most feedback resistant pickup that we have, then the LB6, the M80, and the Anthem/Element. This varies a lot from guitar to guitar, and venue to venue. The M1 and M80 have a little more tonal flexibility because they have adjustable pole pieces. This allows them to customize string balance and body response with a simple adjustment.

    So I would definitely recommend the M80 over the Anthem, but I can't say for sure if it will solve all of your problems.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Caleb.

    The feedback that I have endured at loud gigs is always between lower G and Lower B, irrespective of the venue and irrespective of which of my two guitars I use (both professionally fitted with LB6).

    Is lower end feedback the more common variety in steel string acoustic guitars?

    It would be interesting to take one guitar, point it at the monitor, and wind it up till it feeds back with each of the LR Baggs pickup options, one at a time, to see if they take off at different frequencies and/or volumes.

    Sounds like the M1 is the safer bet for me to minimise feedback.

    It'd be nice to know how much tone I'm sacrificing to minimise feedback during the 10% of my gigs with high monitor volumes. Tasmanian music shops don't keep M1 or M80 on the shelf so a live comparison is not an option for me.

    Can you recommend an online resource where I can listen to the differences in tone between the M1, the M80 and the anthem?

    Also, when you refer to the M1 as the most feedback resistant PU you make, does this include the M1a as well? I ask because I like having a volume dial on the guitar itself. I will still use the ParaDI on stage to eq to each venue so the passive M1 is an option.

    cheers
    Graeme

  4. #4
    Our Engineers did a feedback test with the LB6, the M1A, the Anthem, the M80, and some others. Placing the pickups in different guitars, and placing them in front of a PA. All of the pickups fed back at different volumes, the results gave the information that I provided earlier. All of the pickups on almost all of the guitars fed back in the low F# to A range, with a couple of exceptions. The exceptions had to do with a Crafter guitar with an uncommon bracing pattern. It fed back around the Bb to C range.

    Feedback in most guitars comes from sympathetic resonance to the guitar's top resonance frequency. This frequency is usually in the F# to A range.

    There are a couple of places online to hear the M1A and the Anthem, but the M80 is still new. So not a lot of sound or video clips are available yet. YouTube is always a good resource. You can also go to http://www.dougyoungguitar.com/pickuptests/

    The M1 and the M1A are equally resistant to feedback. So my reference was made to the M1 family of pickups.

  5. #5
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    Suggestion

    GRAEME: It sounds like you are a pro (or at least semi-pro), and obviously give a lot of thought and care to your instruments. I mean no offense to in making this suggestion about something you have, most likely, already checked.

    But: have you checked to make sure that the wiring on either or both pickups has not come loose and and is now grazing the front or back of the guitar?

    Brent

  6. #6
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    I've been using an M1A run thru a Para DI with excellent results. The sound acoustically is very good.
    MikeW
    "He Who Sings, Prays Twice."

  7. #7
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    Hi Brent

    Thanks for your reply and no offense taken whatsoever - I'd class myself as a semi-pro because the earnings have yet to exceed the expenditure on gear

    I took your advice and used a small mirror and pencil torch and checked under the bridge of my guitars with LB6 installed. All looks as it should under there.

    From one of Caleb's replies (above), and from my experience, any pickup will feedback given sufficient volume - so this is as much about stage management as about guitar setup. I'm just after a little more headroom on stage in loud rooms than I'm getting with the LB6, without sacrificing the warmth that attracts us to acoustic guitars in the first place.

    Graeme

  8. #8
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    Hi Mike

    Thanks for your testimonial. I'm definitely leaning towards the M1a through my para DI.

    Have you ever had to contend with stage volumes sufficient to produce feedback through the M1a?

    If so, what frequecy was the feedback?

    And was the Para DI notch filter successful in dealing with it (and still sounding like an acoustic guitar)?

    Cheers
    Graeme

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by graeme View Post
    Hi Mike

    Thanks for your testimonial. I'm definitely leaning towards the M1a through my para DI.

    Have you ever had to contend with stage volumes sufficient to produce feedback through the M1a?

    If so, what frequecy was the feedback?

    And was the Para DI notch filter successful in dealing with it (and still sounding like an acoustic guitar)?

    Cheers
    Graeme
    Haven't really played with really loud volumes causing feedback. It's just the right combination to produce a great sound.
    MikeW
    "He Who Sings, Prays Twice."

  10. #10
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    Hey graeme,

    Thought maybe my experience with the m80 might be helpful. I am a worship leader / guitarist and I never liked the piezo sound. As such, I installed Active iBeam pickups in my Tacoma Dreads and was quite pleased with the natural and full tone of the iBeam. They sounded like my guitars - just louder.

    Recently I picked up a custom-built Dread from Jeremy Knight in Grants Pass, Oregon and was thrilled with it's bell-like tone. However, when I went to install another iBeam - even with multiple tries with various placements - I was unable to get the sound I wanted and that I knew the guitar was capable of.

    My first thought was the Anthem - especially after doing research and hearing the great reviews. However, when I brought it into Bigfoot Music, the tech recommended that I not install the Anthem, as the unique bridge design of the Knight may not give the desired results with the Element part of the Anthem. He mentioned the m80 as a possibility.

    Now I've never been a fan of the metallic tone of sound hole pickups - but decided to do some more research. Needless to say, I ordered an m80 from Bigfoot and put it in my guitar last week. Real easy install - as I'd already enlarged the strapjack hole to accommodate the iBeam. Sunday was my first time playing the Knight in worship.

    All I can say is WOW! The bell tone of the guitar comes through without the expected 'electric' sound - and the rosewood body of the tone comes through as well. I'm thrilled with the clean & clear tone of the m80 and this guitar! It surpassed my expectation. As for feedback, I always had it with the iBeams, but my Venue DI was able to knock it out. The m80 had No Feedback and I could turn the notch-filter completely off. Admittedly, we don't have the stage volume of some bands, but I was impressed its feedback suppression.

    The reality - not every pickup design is the 'right' one for every guitar. But if you're so concerned with feedback and still want great acoustic tone - the m80 may be a great choice for you. Plus, you can try it without drilling holes.

    GT

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