LR Baggs DI's/Pre Amps

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preston61preston61 Frets: 507
edited June 25 in Acoustics

So I currently use a Fishman Aura Spectrum on my board. I'm not a huge fan of the imaging stuff, its ok, but I mainly have it at around 25% for live use. The tuner is great and the compression is useful, but once again I don't use it a whole amount (it's a one knob system, so not hugely flexible). There is EQ but its not very detailed as its just Bass. Mid, Treble. The notch footswitch doesn't really work for me, if there's feedback it doesn't seem to actually get rid of it (I could be using that part wrong though).

So that leads me to the question, how have people found the LR Baggs stuff? From my research the Para DI is a great no frills DI with a simple notch switch, effects loop and EQ'ing ability. The Venue DI has most of those things along with a boost and a (questionable) tuner. The Session DI appears to be a very impressive compressor with notch and DI options, however I get the impression that the best features of that pedal have been put in to the align series session pedal.

For those who have used any of the pedals, any of your experiences would be helpful.

(To help, I use an Avalon Dred with the forum favourite K&K Pure mini in it)

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  • crunchmancrunchman Frets: 3865

    I saw a guy yesterday who was using the Session DI.  Sounded good, but talking to him afterwards he said the notch is a waste of time.  I went home and started looking at Youtube videos of these things.  In the Youtube videos, the Para DI didn't kill the piezo quack like the Fishman or RC Bodyrez did.

    The imaging type stuff can be good in moderation.  I've got a TC Bodyrez but I only use it with the knob on 10 or 11 O'clock.  It really helps with the guitar I have that has a basic undersaddle pickup. It doesn't really help though when you have a more natural sounding pickup in the first place - like a K&K.

    The guy I saw yesterday split his signal into two which worked well.  He had one part that was basically dry acoustic, and then the other part had various effects on it.  The dry sound was predominant in the mix, which worked quite well.

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33249
    preston61 said:

    So I currently use a Fishman Aura Spectrum on my board.

    (To help, I use an Avalon Dred with the forum favourite K&K Pure mini in it)

    This will mostly explain why you're finding the Aura a bit average - it's designed to be given a pure piezo undersaddle transducer signal to work with.

    That said, even when doing that I found it fussy to set up, and even though it *could* sound magical when it was really right, it was frustratingly touchy, sounded quite poor when it wasn't quite right, and it always worried me that when going through an unknown PA with an unknown soundman it would just sound awful.

    So I have actually replaced it with the more basic and in many ways less accurate-sounding, but not very fussy, Boss AD-8.

    The LR Baggs Para DI is very good too, although I always felt it was more of a 'generic' EQ/DI than a dedicated acoustic guitar one. Less of a problem if your guitar pickup is better-sounding in the first place though, which the K&K is.

    (Sadly I can't fit a K&K to my Gibson because the bridgeplate isn't compatible with it.)
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • preston61preston61 Frets: 507

    Thanks for the feedback guys, that does help a lot. I couldn't understand why the fishman wasn't really improving the sound from just being plugged in straight to a radial DI box.

    Thanks for the Session DI comments, I've always got the impression that's more of a compressor with DI function as an extra, in which case it's quite expensive for what it is

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  • LewyLewy Frets: 701
    Another K&K devotee here and I've been through most of the pedals listed in the original post. (Spectrum, Venue, Session and Para...and a few more to boot). The thing with the K&K is that it likes to see a really high impedance input (500k-1 meg) otherwise your first order of business is having to get rid of all sorts of unwanted bassy frequencies muddying up your sound.

    The Venue and Para DI have enough EQ tweakability to deal with that, the Session doesn't....so if you want to access the key features of the Session (Saturation and multi-band compression) you have to take care of that impedance mismatch. One way which I have done in the past is to stick a Boss GE-7 between guitar and Session. That resolved the impedance issue (the Boss has a 1 meg input) and gives you the added bonus of more EQ and/or the option of using it as a boost.

    Or you could use a K&K preamp like the Pure XLR which obviously works perfectly with their pickups and gives you a decent 3 band EQ. People (mostly in US) talk highly of Red-Eye preamps too, which also have the right kind of input impedance but not sure how easily/cost effectively they can be found over here.
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  • preston61preston61 Frets: 507
    @Lewy does the Venue DI not have the same impedence? In fact, before I pretend like I know what you're on about, what are you on about in regards to impedence when it comes to the Pure Mini?
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  • LewyLewy Frets: 701
    edited June 25
    preston61 said:
    @Lewy does the Venue DI not have the same impedence? In fact, before I pretend like I know what you're on about, what are you on about in regards to impedence when it comes to the Pure Mini?
    I'm no electronics whizz and someone else will be able to explain the science better than me, but here's the practical....

    The K&K puts out a LOT of bass frequencies. So ideally it wants to see an input that has high impedance to get rid of some of them. Very few preamps have inputs in the 500k - 1 meg range that the pickup wants to see. The Baggs pedals/preamps don't for example.

    That doesn't matter so much because the Venue and (to a slightly lesser extend) the Para DI have very flexible and powerful EQ sections so you can use them to sort the sound out, roll off some bass, add some sparkle etc. The Session DI doesn't have powerful/flexible enough EQ functionality to do that, so if you want to use a Session with a Pure Mini you need to address the original impedance mismatch. That's what I'm doing by sticking a Boss pedal (1 meg input) in front of the Session.

    Make more sense?
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  • preston61preston61 Frets: 507
    Thanks @Lewy that was simple enough for me to understand and also does explain some of my EQ'ing findings
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 33249
    With a lot of dedicated acoustic preamps the problem is actually the opposite - the input impedance is *too* high for the K&K. This is because a normal unpreamped piezo pickup likes the highest possible impedance, 10M is usually recommended, so many preamps are designed for this. The K&K actually likes to see 1M or even a bit less as Lewy says.

    That said I would always prefer to go too high than too low if you have to choose, as it's easier to remove excess bass than it is to add missing bottom-end - which if it isn't there, really isn't there! And trying to boost it will usually just cause feedback.

    But a Boss pedal (EQ, or a TU-2/TU-3 tuner) has a 1M impedance anyway so it's an easy solution, especially if you want a good tuner.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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