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Acoustic Guitar Pickups: What's Your Preference?

Between soundhole pickups, under saddle transducers, and soundboard transducers, which is your preferred choice and product? If you will, please share your rationale for your preference. I would really like to learn more.

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I like the K&K pure mini, a soundboard transducer.  It sounds great, requires no battery in the guitar, and it's easy to install.  In addition, it is better with an external preamp but it isn't necessary.  The only drawback is that it can be prone to feedback but it hasn't been a problem for my settings: parties (with drums etc.), coffee houses, and church.  If I plug into an acoustic guitar amplifier, like a Fishman Loudbox, it's fine, if I plug into a PA mixer it's better with at least a DI box if not a preamp like a Baggs Para Acoustic DI.  Compared with sound hole pickups or under saddle transducers that I have used in the past it sounds much better and is much less hassle, especially if you have to change a battery through the sound hole!

Agreed. I have K&K minis in all my instruments - several  guitars, a mandolin and a bouzouki. Works v well in all cases. I love the sound and convenience. I use a K&K XLR Pure preamp all the time. If I will be playing more than one instrument on any particular occasion I set up the preamp sound with the instrument I'll be using most. When I need to change instrument I leave the eq alone (except maybe a little volume tweak) and as a result the differences between instruments shine through - the differences in tone and dynamics of each (guitar) remain substantially intact. Excellent and cheap system; always v quick to set up and good sounds guaranteed.

So, would it be wiser to go with the K & K Ultra Pure Mini (includes the soundhole mounted preamp) or just go with the regular K & K Pure Mini and an external preamp?

I personally prefer the external preamp because I don't want a battery inside the guitar that's only accessible through the sound hole and because I have multiple guitars with the same pickup.  If you have only one guitar and don't plan on getting another, the included preamp is more convenient (except for the battery).  It depends a little on your whole amplification system.  If you go straight to an acoustic guitar amplifier you may not need a preamp, if you go straight to a pa mixer that is pretty close (say through a 15' cable) you may not need a preamp but that depends on the mixer and the type of signal it likes best.  It's difficult to say not knowing what your whole amplification situation is, what setting, size of room(s), how often you amplify, the importance that your amplified sound be like your natural unamplified sound,  band with drums, what kind of audience (undivided attention or diners), what type of amplifier(s) will you use, what else is in your signal chain (effects pedals etc.), how long your cable runs will likely be, etc, etc., ....  Lots of pros still use a decent microphone.  The pickup is just one piece of the amplification puzzle, so it's difficult to make a clear recommendation without knowing more about what you're up to.

I play solo fingerstyle guitar and have owned, tried or used just about every pickup out there.  The K&K mini is a pretty nice pickup.  I prefer the PUTW (Pick Up the World) #54.  It is a film based 2 piece SBT piezo (the K&K is a ceramic based  3 piece SBT piezo).  The PUTW #54 is a bit more accurate (in terms of dynamic, tonal and amplitude responses) and a bit more linear than the K&K, IMO.  And it just sounds nicer.  Being film based, the output is low, so it is (nearly) mandatory to have the first gain stage/impedance buffer close to the pickup, certainly no later than the endpin.  Contrary to popular opinion, that should be done with any passive pickup, including the K&K mini.  Simple signal hygiene.

I blend it with an external or internal mic as part of a dual source setup.

The Trance Audio Amulet is another very nice pickup.  Very nice indeed.

I have K&K mini in my guild and just replaced the pickups in my 1997 collectors edition wide guitar with fishman matrix infinitysystem. The upgrade for the ovation was alterations. Just had to make a new saddle. I used tusq from graphtech. can not use shims .. it took some time. All pickups for acoustic guitar will  alter the sound somewhat. K&K, LRbags, BBand, Fishman all make quality pickups. After installing the new fishman in my ovation that is my choice. The fishman is a ust pickup. What  amazed me is that I did not get the piezo quack that I use to get and did not need the DI box to plug into the PA to get a good sound 


There is a discussion in the Walden group - - that mentions experience with the K&K Pure Mini and the Schatten HFN - both SBT's - both well thought of...

Matrix Xfinity or P90.

I have 2 P90's on my Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin II...hollowbody archtop... ;-)


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