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Lyric 101 (if you have never had electronics in a guitar before)

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  • Lyric 101 (if you have never had electronics in a guitar before)

    I have played as an amateur for 46 years, but only for friends. I had never had an acoustic electric (but do sing with a small acapella group & so have mic PA gear). Now retired, I decided to try open mic nights and other situations requiring amped guitar sound. So I researched (my nature) and had the Lyric installed (by a certified Baggs luthier) and I am very pleased by the tone. In the shop, we plugged it into an acoustic amp and it sounded great with gain and volume on the amp turned up about 50% or so - as the tech told me, he actually hooked it up without me noticing how. Lyric volume pot was at max.

    Now I get it home and have tested it with both a small powered PA (an Alto TX8) alone and through my Berringer Xenix passive mixer. This leads me to a very basic question not answered directly (but implied a few places) in this forum: Is the Lyric (absent any additional external preamp or other signal processing) supposed to be connected to a MIC IN or a LINE IN?

    My Googling resulted in my learning that there is a third power level commonly understood in audio circles: instrument level. Instrument level, as the name implies, is the voltage range typical of instruments such as electric guitars, keyboards, etc. It is someone higher than mic level but significantly less then line level (the only two I was familiar with running our vocal group's audio). This to appears to be exactly what the Lyric outputs... duh! now that I know such a level exists. I also learned that acoustic amps typically include a built-in preamp in the guitar in to boost instrument level to line level, just as a mixer mic in does for mic level, which explains my store experience. This additional preamping is needed because mixer guitar/instrument 1/4" mono inputs expect line level, and I am guessing the "real" amplifier circuit in an amp or powered PA does too. However, mixer mic 3-prong XLR inputs only expect mic level and include a preamp in this circuit.

    As instrument level is closer to mic level (tho "hotter"), at open mic nights I have my Lyric-ized Martin dred guitar connected to a mic in (XLR) and warning the tech to start with gain pretty low. This produced the prettiest sound in my experiments with the least tendency to feedback so I am very happy now with this understanding and with my Lyric. For gigs (if any happen) I may try an fx box which has a nice preamp along with reverb and EQ - just as others in your forum have done.

    I hope this post helps other noobs to guitar electronics. Play on.

  • #2
    Thanks for posting, ArtJolin!

    I'm sure your experience will help other musicians who are new to amplified acoustics.