The M80 is definitely more body-sensitive, but really, it's mostly in the low end. So handling noise is slightly more noticeable in the M80 than it is in the M1A.
The M1A also has more of that very unique "boxy" magnetic sound. So I think that for your applications, the M1A sounds like it would suit you better.
The audio sounds great too! Nice playing.
One last question about the M80 vs the M1a: How is the M80 for fret squeak? Twice the body sensitivity might exaggerate the squeak but the way the body sound frequency response is in a lower range which could possibly make it even less of an issue than with the M1a in spite of the greater sensitivity. Can someone with experience compare fret squeak between the two?
This might be a little more subjective, but I can at least share my thoughts.
Since the M1 and M80 are magnetic pickups, string noise can be more prominent than other types of pickups, by nature. The M1, not having as much body in the signal compared to the M80, should have slightly more string sound in the signal. There is still quite a bit of string response in the M80, but in my experience, the body sensor masks this more than the M1 does.
I personally think that EQ is a much more exact way to remove excessive string and fret noise, when necessary. When I have new strings, or use a pickup that has a lot of "squeak", I usually cut a small amount of 2-3kHz. This typically does the trick, but as always, use your ears to fine-tune the EQ to fit your instrument, pickup, and playing situation.
Finally getting an m80
OK, I'm back. When I was last here, I had just bought an M1a and had it installed, only to get home and realize that there was the new and improved M80 version.
The other day, I found a really good deal on a Martin DX1 with no pickup. I just ordered an M80 for this guitar.
I also checked out the Anthem system demos, but while it sounds more realistic, I don't find it as pleasing.
One of the things that drove me nuts with the M1a is that I could hear my clothing squeaking against the glossy finish of my Recording King acoustic. I'm hoping with the satin finish on the HPL body and the lower frequency spectrum of the M80 this won't be as much of an issue.
Also, I use a Tech 21 Para DI when I go straight to PA, and a Henriksen Bud amp otherwise, and both of these options have enough preamp gain to let me use the M80 in passive mode, which is tempting. I'll try both modes when I get the pickup.
I watched some online demos of the new Session DI and what is going to keep me using the Tech 21 Para DI is the blend control. With the Tech 21, I always play with a blend of saturated and straight sound. What this gives me is a really cool subtly saturated sound but it keeps the clarity that even the subtlest saturation amount kills. I wouldn't use the saturation without the blend control and the Session DI doesn't have it. On the other hand, the multiband EQ compression sounds fantastic.
It sounds like you are going to enjoy the M80!
On a side note, satin finished guitars usually have more body noise, but that really depends on the pickup. Hopefully the M80 will pair really well with the Martin.
Let us know how it goes. It would be great to hear your thoughts.
Well I got the M80 today, and popped it in my new Martin DX-1 right before heading off to an open mic. Wow, I really like this pickup. Once I got home I tried it through my amp (an Henriksen Bud). It sounded a little boxy, but putting the amp on a stand instead of the floor and dialing out a little 420 Hz fixed that. I've just spent the past couple of hours fine tuning the pole heights and it really is feeling and sounding very good.
The Martin DX-1 is working really well with this. I'm not getting any of the squeak from my clothes rubbing against the guitar body that drove me nuts with the M1a on my Recording King R06 (with a glossy finish). I'm not sure if it is the HPL material not being sensitive, or the matte finish, or the body sensitivity going to lower frequencies, but the the body noise doesn't bother me at all with this setup. I'm also experiencing far less finger squeak which surprises me given the increased body sensitivity.
Anyway, I love this pickup. I've never experienced this good an amplified sound.
I'm also really glad I went with the M80 instead of the Anthem. My main thing is jazzbox type archtops with floating pickups and the volume control on the pickguard, and I really love that tone, so the magnetic quality of the M80 probably appeals to me more than it would to some others. The body sound added in really adds that "acoustic guitar" quality though and I like it sound very much. Having just spent so much time adjusting the height of the pole pieces to get the right string balance, I realize that the lack of individual string control of another pickup system would be a bad thing for me.
It's not just the sound, it's the feel. I really hate playing amplified guitars with stock under saddle pickups. Notes jump out. The strings squeak when I move my hands. There isn't enough low end, but when you turn it up it sounds boomy. This M80 pickup lets me play amplified the way that I do when I practice unplugged. The M1 was close, but this is quite a bit better.
Anyway, I'm really happy. There were some much better guitars at the open mic tonight, but none of them sounded near as good over the PA as mine did with this pickup. Great product!
Last edited by Lkingston; 07-06-2016 at 09:53 PM.
That's fantastic to hear!
I'm so glad that the M80 is working so well for you.
Thanks for sharing your experience.
Ok, I just put an M80 in my original Recording King replacing the M1a. It sounds fantastic! The issue of the the glossy body squeaking is simply not an issue. The sound is great like it is on the Martin. This is definitely my favorite pickup for my own style of fingerstyle playing. Jazz voicings sound beautiful and melodies and inner voicing are as clear as they are on an archtop. The sound is woody and acoustic and any taps on the body sound like you would expect them to on a miked guitar. The best thing is that playing it amplified feels just like playing it acoustically. It is not overly or underly sensitive, which has been a problem on everything else other than my floating pickup archtops.
Thanks for following up! I'm sure this will be helpful for future readers.
Not good with Carvin S600, fantastic with everything else!
Today I went over to a friend's house to practice and since we were going to need three channels (his and my vocals and my guitar), I grabbed my Carvin S600 to use as a practice PA. My guitar with the M80 sounded just horrible through the S600. The S600 has this low mid resonant frequency that seems to emphasize a nearby resonant frequency in the M80. The Carvin's three band EQ is nowhere near precise enough to deal with this. I'm not exaggerating when I say this was nowhere near good enough to use even for practice. The S600 sounds fine with other guitar pickups. It resonates, but the resonance that it adds is usually missing from piezo equipped guitars and the net result is an improvement. With the M80, it's like both the guitar and the amp were adding the same resonance it was way too much.
Meanwhile the M80 sounded awesome with three different PA systems last week and it sounds absolutely glorious with my Henriksen Bud (which is my main amp for acoustics and archtops). The Henricksen Bud is really an amazing sounding amp. I may have to sell the S600.