Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

When it doesn't fit anywhere else
 #107581  by strumminsix
 Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:33 am
I'm doing alot more acoustic gigs and my Alvarez Yaire WY1 (with 600 pre) is going into a DI box then soundboard.

But going direct into the PA doesn't sound nearly as good as when it went from my Fender Acoustasonic on its own.

I know that's against conventional wisdom that it sounds better through the PA.

Question - would I just be better off getting out outboard preamp and going through the PA? If so what are the recommendations!

I was thinking of buying a LR Baggs Venue:

I own a Presonus Eureka but was wondering if the Baggs isn't better voiced for an acoustic.

Thoughts? Thanks!
 #107599  by playingdead
 Sun Jan 08, 2012 6:47 pm
I know it seems like every time I answer someone's question, I happen to have the item for sale ... LOL

But any guitar with an undersaddle transducer can be remarkably improved using a Fishman Aura preamp. You load it with downloadable images from the Aura website until you find the perfect one for your guitar, then you blend the image with your guitar's regular output. The one I use is the Aura Spectrum; it gives you the option to load dozens of images for your guitar, the blend control, tuner, onboard compression, 3-band EQ for your non-image sound, and automatic feedback suppression.

I recorded this sample direct, first with just the output from my WY1-K (almost sounds like there's a phase shifter or chorus on it, but that's just the undersaddle pickup), then using the Aura image. Dramatically better, gets rid of the quacking and sounds like a real mic'd acoustic guitar. I forget which one I used on the WY1-K now, you hook up the Spectrum to your computer and audition a bunch of 'em and load the ones you like. You can adjust the blend so it sounds right at the venue.

They are $335 new; I have a gently used one for $250. ... and-preamp

Goes without saying, but the quality of the PA has everything to do with how the acoustic will sound over it. My guitar sounds great through my QSC K12 speakers and the Aura preamp.

I'm ordering a Martin with the Aura onboard, so I no longer need the outboard preamp.
 #107668  by KCJones
 Tue Jan 10, 2012 1:47 pm
Just curious, is that Fishman Aura preamp a "modeling" preamp. Meaning is the sound and tone going to be identical regardless of what guitar you plug into it if you have the blender set at 100% Aura and no original tone blended in?
 #107683  by playingdead
 Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:19 pm
Strummin, I've used it with a Gibson CJ-165 guitar with a Baggs Element pickup, as well as the Yairi (not sure what the pickup is in there, it's the stock electronics on the WY-1) and both guitars sounded really good once you find the right image.

To give answer the other question, no ... a given image won't sound the same with any guitar. You are still hearing your guitar, but with the Aura processing applied to it. It's not really modeling, per se.

The way it's done is the folks at Fishman take a given guitar with a pickup already installed in it. The guitar is miked with a number of different high quality studio microphones -- Schoeps, Neumann, Soundelux, DPA etc. -- and recorded on one channel with the mic, and the signal from the pickup is captured on a second channel. These two recordings are then processed, and the resulting image basically applies the exact EQ curve of the mic'd guitar to the signal coming from the pickup, and the result is the guitar sounds like it's mic'd even when the mic is not there. Typically, you'll find 4-6 images of each guitar with a different mic on it.

So, if you happen to own the exact guitar from the image with the same pickup in it, you play it through the Aura and you get the studio mic'd sound. If you don't have the exact guitar, you sit there and audition dozens and dozens of these profiles until you happen on one that's reasonably close or that sounds good to your ears.

With my Gibson CJ-165, there were about six that sounded nice, all slightly different (and with different mics). One of my favorites was a Gibson J-185, which is basically a slightly larger version of the 165 with the same pickup, so that made sense.
 #107700  by KCJones
 Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:01 am
Yes, Playindead, thanks for the great review and insight on the Aura. I'm exacly in the same position as Strummin in that I'm researching outboard pres for my acoustic, and have narrowed it down to the Aura and the Baggs Venue . Fact is my acoustic sounds pretty good direct (PA or recording counsel) with just its onboard preamp. But I need more self control on stage (no pun intended lol), as well as a bit hotter signal. Since my tone is already good, I'm leaning towards the Baggs Vevue for the variable boost switch for leads. But, I have no way of trying the thing befor purchasing. So,

Strummin, I'd be interested in your review of the Baggs if you actually get a chance to play through one.
 #107706  by strumminsix
 Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:30 am
I spoke to LR Baggs and they said that the preamp in the Venue DI does color the signal similar to what acoustic combo amps do.

So I called up my guy at sweetwater and have one coming in this week and will report back in a few day :)
 #107707  by Maybeck09
 Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:42 am
I use the old Para DI box from my Martin with K&K Mini. Great for toning the sound a bit. Especially because my Martin is an HD28v-great guitar but can get dark and bassy- the Baggs DI helps EQ that out a bit.Then direct into the PA.

I always thought the interface on the Baggs was goofy-these little,tough to read knobs and the sort of pedal/rack mount box? The new one looks much more stage friendly with pedals and better controls. Should be a good (and simple) fit for your acoustic rig. Good luck.