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Lyric boominess/feedback - swap for Anthem?

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  • Lyric boominess/feedback - swap for Anthem?

    Hi there, longtime Baggs M1 user and very happy with it in a cheap and cheerful Simon & Patrick Songbird, mostly in a rock context.

    Just bought a Martin 000-15M and decided to try a Lyric after listening to some demos -- it sounded better than anything.

    Install went very simply but I definitely have issues with the sound. Overall the tonal quality is what I heard on the demos, very nice, BUT --

    1. It's very feedback prone even at modest volume levels (eg me playing at loudish room volume). I can control it to a certain extent by keeping it out of the main beam of the amp or monitor, but I can tell it's fixing to feed back the moment I relax. I have to notch about 6dB out at around 250 Hz and another notch up near 1K. And even then it has this boomy quality that tells me the whole thing is ringing.

    2. Handling noise is extreme even with the presence all the way down. I've read of this being due to a satin finish body... not sure I can stand it.

    3. Bass feels very unfocused and 'messed with'. I guess that's because of phase and compression magic being worked in the hardware but it's not really happening for me. It's not that there's too little of it, just that it's woolly.

    4. The biggest issue is that even when I'm recording with no monitoring at all, there are quite severe resonances in the output. For example, if I walk up chromatically on the A string from A220 to A440, then the C at 261Hz really booms. Like I say this is without monitoring, just a resonance in system. This probably explains #1. Acoustically the guitar doesn't have a pronounced resonance here, maybe a dB or two, but it's 6dB or more on the pickup.

    The recorded sound is very nice *apart* from these resonances. I played through a Fender Acoustasonic with everything flat, a good small PA I own, and direct into the computer through a Tascam interface, everything flat.

    I'm not really interested in doing a whole bunch of tinkering or EQing to get it to sound right, and especially not fighting feedback even in small club setting.

    My question is, if I return the Lyric and swap it for an Anthem, am I like to run into the same issues? If so, what else can you suggest?

  • #2
    You can hear what I'm talking about here:

    https://soundcloud.com/sportswriters...-w-baggs-lyric

    This is straight into a Tascam 1641 with the presence control all the way down, no monitoring or EQ as I played.

    There is a clear booming resonance around 260 Hz (middle C) and again around 350 Hz (G above middle C).

    Comment


    • #3
      I tried moving the pickup to position #3 (treble side position, the other side of the bridge pins) in the diagram I've seen which cured some of the bass boom but moved the resonance an octave up, so now at modest volume it whistles at about 600Hz. Even when it's not feeding back this massively affects the way the guitar sustains, because that note rings longer than everything else. It's also doing something very weird with the phases higher up in the frequency range, not in a good way at all.

      I'm bailing on this pickup for this guitar, doesn't seem like a good fit at all.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi John B,

        I'm sorry you are having some troubles with your lyric.

        First and foremost, the Lyric is a microphone and is also outstandingly feedback resistant, for a microphone. Using any kind of microphone in direct line of an opposing speaker will cause some level of feedback without notching, EQ, phase inversion, etc. Also, since the Lyric is a microphone, it will pick up handling noise, just like a handheld microphone makes noise when it is handled or moved around. The Low end/ bass response on the Lyric is best described as accurate. It will only reproduce the low-end the is being produced inside of the guitar.

        Something like the M1 (a magnetic style p/u) is going to be much more feedback resistant, less prone to produce handling noise, and will have a more focused and tight low end/bass response.

        As for the EQ, any pickup that you put in your guitar will need some kind of EQ. Yes, some will need more than others, but to one degree or another something will need to be added or cut out to accurately reproduce and/or enhance the tone of your instrument.

        In regards to the recording you put up, I think that it sounds great. I am not sure if I am missing something, but maybe you can post another recording of you playing chords? I would like to hear the resonances you were speaking of to rule out the placement of the Lyric. Again, I think it sounds really good.

        To be completely honest, the Anthem will be more feedback resistant than the Lyric as well as have a tighter low end response.

        At the end of the day, the sound and tone you are looking for as well as the setting in which you will be playing will have the greatest impact on which system I would suggest for you. It really does depend on what, how and where you will be playing.

        I hope this helps you decide on what is best for you. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

        Morgan

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Morgan, thanks for the response.

          In the recording, the notes were played at the same level but you can see from the waveform on Soundcloud (and also hear if you listen) that the C on the A string really 'blooms' and is at least 6 dB louder. It looks like a crescendo on the waveform but as I say I played the notes evenly. The same happens to the G on the D string, which is a related frequency.

          This manifests itself as the guitar really wanting to feed back on middle C so I have to notch that out.

          Other than that I fully agree it sounds very nice.

          As to what I'm looking for, the M1 is great for the rock context where we are playing loud. I've never had to EQ it very much at all.

          I bought the 000-15m for quiet acoustic gigs where I am fingerpicking and I wanted a much warmer, more natural sounding pickup. Most of the time I am solo or with a cello or cajon or something like that. So the volume is low. But even at the volumes I would play in that context I find the Lyric is too 'ringy', with very obvious resonances that want to blossom into feedback if I turn up or accidentally get hit by the beam of an amp or monitor.

          I like the sound of it a lot, apart from that!

          I guess I should try the full version of the Anthem.
          Last edited by John B; 06-18-2015, 04:49 PM. Reason: added detail

          Comment


          • #6
            Similar Results

            John:

            Your experience sounds a little like mine. I had the Lyric in a Larrivee L-03. The handling noise from the satin finish was apparent, as well as some odd sounding notes I couldn't dial out. I tried repositioning the microphone all over the bridge plate and it just wasn't working for me. To be honest, the problem notes sounded a little "off" even when the guitar was unplugged and I sometimes heard handling noise when using an external microphone. The Lyric just seemed to make the problems more apparent. I kept the Lyric and sold the guitar.

            I moved the Lyric to my beater guitar, an ancient MIJ Hohner dreadnought, and it sounded quite good. I bought a second Lyric for a Guild dread and it sounds fantastic . . . but not with the microphone in any of the "recommended" positions. After trying all the recommended ones, I put the mic alongside the X-brace on the bass side, opposite of position 3. It really does sound like a good external mic with that guitar.

            I just bought another Guild and got rid of the Hohner. Again, I kept the Lyric and sold the guitar. The Lyric sounds good in my new Guild. I'd like to move the mic around a bit to optimize it even more, but I'd need some more adhesive strips. I really think that the Lyric should ship with a bunch of them so we could try a few different microphone positions before we run out of the VHB tape.
            Last edited by Big-Al; 06-19-2015, 09:00 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm actually having a really hard time with this!

              I do love the tonality of it -- it genuinely sounds like a mic'd acoustic -- and that's making me very reluctant to uninstall. I'm also reluctant to put something under the saddle that is going to kill the tone on a very vibey guitar.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi John,

                I love the Lyrics ability to translate tone as well.

                I personally thought the sound clip you left on here sounded great! I would keep that and just dial in some simple EQ.

                Good luck on your tone hunt and I hope you can lock down what you are looking for!

                Comment


                • #9
                  OK, I'm persevering with this and posting my notes in case it helps somebody else. Going back to my original post and the issues I reported...

                  1. It's very feedback prone even at modest volume levels (eg me playing at loudish room volume). I can control it to a certain extent by keeping it out of the main beam of the amp or monitor, but I can tell it's fixing to feed back the moment I relax. I have to notch about 6dB out at around 250 Hz and another notch up near 1K. And even then it has this boomy quality that tells me the whole thing is ringing.
                  The answer to this seems to be mostly EQ. I had my other guitarist (who's a professional soundman) EQ the guitar as we played through a PA and a Presonus 24.4.2. We ended up with high and low shelves, a really savage cute around 190 Hz and another BIG cut in the high mids, like 1-3 kHz. With this it sounded nice and didn't have any tendency to go into oscillation when I stepped in front of the monitor.

                  On my Fender Acoustasonic this means basically cutting the 'mid' control down to almost zero, and using the notch filter to home in on the main resonant frequency. There is still a bit of a ring in the highs but at least it's not threatening to go off on me.


                  2. Handling noise is extreme even with the presence all the way down. I've read of this being due to a satin finish body... not sure I can stand it.
                  Either I've gotten used to this, EQd it out, or changed my playing style because it's not really an issue any more. I will say that this pickup does NOT like a ton of gain. If you want volume, you need to play the guitar harder.

                  3. Bass feels very unfocused and 'messed with'. I guess that's because of phase and compression magic being worked in the hardware but it's not really happening for me. It's not that there's too little of it, just that it's woolly.
                  Changing the pickup position fixed this.

                  4. The biggest issue is that even when I'm recording with no monitoring at all, there are quite severe resonances in the output. For example, if I walk up chromatically on the A string from A220 to A440, then the C at 261Hz really booms. Like I say this is without monitoring, just a resonance in system. This probably explains #1. Acoustically the guitar doesn't have a pronounced resonance here, maybe a dB or two, but it's 6dB or more on the pickup.
                  This is basically the EQ problem as described above. You need AT LEAST two notches to be able to kill the fundamental resonance and its first harmonic. Once they are tamed the whole system calms down.

                  The flipside of all this is that, yes, you get the sound of the guitar and if you were using an external mic you'd be doing pretty much the same thing.

                  I think what I may well end up doing is keep the lyric but double-fist it with a magnetic pickup like the M1a or Fishman Rare Earth just so I've got that as a fall back (as opposed to mixing the two).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi John B,

                    Thanks for posting what you have discovered. I am sure it will be a huge help for anyone that has questions about the Lyric.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Ha, sorry if this is running on and on BUT:

                      Here is the simple and quick fix: the Para DI, which I just got today.

                      Essentially it incorporates everything above. With a low cut, notch, and slight mid cut I was able to get a good sound in less than a minute. The same settings worked both through the PA and an Acoustasonic set flat. Presence and treble flat.

                      That's all she wrote. Sounds great.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Awesome!

                        The Para DI is a really great unit. I'm glad that it is working out so well for you.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks! (and a request for a bit more info)

                          John,
                          Thanks for the trouble shooting and sharing what you found. I just have a quick question: where did you end up placing the pickup? I was holding off on buying a guitar that already had a Lyric installed, as I'd heard about the feedback problems (but even people with feedback problems really loved the sound, as you did). I was thinking of getting a Para DI anyway, so I'm really glad that it tamed the feedback and resonance issues.
                          Thanks again,
                          Steve

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I used position #3 on the diagram, which was far better than anything else I tried.

                            I think I spoke too soon though. Although I can get a very nice sound using the setup I described, I took it to an open mic the other day and (using the ParaDI) instantly incredible feedback which I was only able to resolve by turning the monitoring WAAAAY down until I could barely hear the guitar. Possibly some futzing with the ParaDI could have fixed this but you don't generally have time to do this, or move the monitors, or, well, you get it.

                            Consequently the Lyric is going back and I'm swapping it for an M80. I checked it against the M1A which I have in another guitar and it was surprisingly close, apart from the low end. The M1A has been absolutely bulletproof in every situation, the only shortcoming being the lack of low end when being percussive on the body. Will report back.

                            My conclusion is that the Lyric is a very nice sounding pickup IF you have control over the monitoring and stage sound, and time to dial it in. It sounded awesome in my studio and my rehearsal room. It would be great for recording if you didn't have a decent mic. I also play almost entirely fingerstyle which may mean the M1A sounds more mellow to my ears than it would to someone who played it with a pick.

                            The ParaDI is a keeper though, fantastic little box. I love it.
                            Last edited by John B; 07-11-2015, 05:44 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by John B View Post
                              I used position #3 on the diagram, which was far better than anything else I tried.

                              I think I spoke too soon though. Although I can get a very nice sound using the setup I described, I took it to an open mic the other day and (using the ParaDI) instantly incredible feedback which I was only able to resolve by turning the monitoring WAAAAY down until I could barely hear the guitar. Possibly some futzing with the ParaDI could have fixed this but you don't generally have time to do this, or move the monitors, or, well, you get it.

                              Consequently the Lyric is going back and I'm swapping it for an M80. I checked it against the M1A which I have in another guitar and it was surprisingly close, apart from the low end. The M1A has been absolutely bulletproof in every situation, the only shortcoming being the lack of low end when being percussive on the body. Will report back.

                              My conclusion is that the Lyric is a very nice sounding pickup IF you have control over the monitoring and stage sound, and time to dial it in. It sounded awesome in my studio and my rehearsal room. It would be great for recording if you didn't have a decent mic. I also play almost entirely fingerstyle which may mean the M1A sounds more mellow to my ears than it would to someone who played it with a pick.

                              The ParaDI is a keeper though, fantastic little box. I love it.
                              John, where is this position 3 you speak of? I bought my D28 with the Lyric already installed and while I usually love it, sometimes, like tonight, it's a little tinny. I also have the Para DI. It sounds about 90% like the guitar unplugged, but like I said it's a little treble heavy and bass light. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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