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New Lyric - first impressions

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  • New Lyric - first impressions

    My guitar is a Martin D35S 12-fret short scale sloped shoulder dreadnought. My use of the Lyric is mainly in my music room, either solo or with a couple of friends, at modest sound levels to enhance the natural volume of the instruments. I might try the Lyric instead of a mic for my solo recordings but its main function is for intimate jamming. Feedback is not a concern for me unless performing opportunities come along down the road.

    I thought I might have to enlarge (countersink) the end pin hole diameter on the inside of the end block - because my end block is thicker than standard end blocks. But I was able to screw the barrel cover three full turns onto the threaded jack casing. I had to discard the inside nut, flat washer and star washer to get enough external jack projection for the strap jack. So internally, the jack is secured to the end block by only the barrel cover. But I added Loctite Red to the threads and I'm fairly confident it will hold.

    Next week I intend to listen to the Lyric through earphones with speakers off and compare it to the SM57 mic I use for recording. This strikes me as the truest comparison i.e. no speaker volume to cause the guitar body to resonate beyond unplugged sound.

    For the last two days I've used it for room reinforcement i.e. jamming mode. Signal chain: Lyric > Para DI > Mackie Mixer > QSC-8 powered speakers.

    On a hunch, I located the Lyric mic horizontally on the soundboard roughly in line with the bottom wing of the bridge i.e. the high E string side. Years ago I found this specific location on the outside of the guitar produced the only usable tone from the FRAP pickup I was using.

    I found that keeping the Lyric volume and the PARA DI gain at max produced the "truest" tone.

    I set volumes to achieve room sound of approximately 60% speakers vs 40% from the guitar itself. Trying for a louder room sound by raising speaker volume starts overloading the guitar and the room – and natural guitar tone is the casualty.

    Even with this modest 60/40 boost, I had to drastically cut the PARA DI LOW to around 8 o’clock - possibly because the speaker/guitar room feedback was artificially hyping the low end. All the other PARA DI knobs are essentially flat. The Lyric sensitivity control had to be dialed down a hair (less than 10%) from max - any more reduction, and a bit veiling can be heard over the higher frequencies.

    This is the playing environment I have used with all my previous acoustic pickups i.e. smaller room and 60/40 split - so I'm fairly comfortable in comparing them. Here goes:

    FRAP - very natural, close to unamplified guitar tone – quite feedback prone, very finicky placement on outside of guitar was required - dangling wires etc.

    I-Beam - fairly close to natural tone but tricky to place to achieve good low to high frequency balance - tends to be too bright or too boomy. Some artificial artifacts in the sound but fairly subtle – perhaps a little strong on the picking transients.

    D-Tar Wavelength - typical UST quacky artifacts - no redeeming qualities for me except perhaps high volume situations which I rarely needed.

    Anthem - fairly close to natural, better job on high frequencies than I-Beam but UST quack is still noticeable especially on low strings

    Lyric - very natural, the sound from speakers is very close to the sound of the unamplified guitar when using modest speaker volumes in a confined space – and the audible big, rich but natural sound is inspiring.

    Before purchasing, I checked out a dozen or so YouTube reviews/comparisons of pick-up options similar to the above eg Trance, K&K, Ibeam, Anthem and Lyric. The sounds I heard were consistent with my own experiences above.

    I think I have finally found a pickup that does what I need with no discernible negative aspects.

  • #2
    Thanks for sharing, Mike!

    Was that mic placement the first thing you tried? Or did you try another position to start?

    I'm just curious.


    • #3
      Hi Caleb

      That was the first position I tried but I knew I would be changing strings soon. So if I was disappointed with the sound, I could at least switch to the standard positioning in hopes of improving the result.

      With the good sound I'm getting now, I could leave it in its current spot when I change strings but I'm inclined to move it to the recommended position for the sake of due diligence. If it doesn't sound as good I can easily revert to the current spot.


      • #4
        You can try the standard position, but if you like the sound that much, I don't know how much room there will be for improvement.