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Various sound problems with Anthem Stagepro

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  • Various sound problems with Anthem Stagepro

    Hi,

    My apologizies for this quite long problem description, but I just want to be thorough in my explanation so -hopefully- I get some good advices.

    For several years I own a Larrivee OM-05 which came with an Anthem Stagepro preinstalled. I have used it amplified a few times 5 or 6 years ago without noticing anything strange (except for point 3 down below). After that I only played guitar at home and never plugged it in again until a few weeks ago when I decided it was time to go "on stage" again. Now I have several problems which are driving me a little bit crazy, because this is my favourite (and most expensive) guitar.

    1. Constant hiss (white noise)
    There is a large amount of hiss (white noise) in every blend setting (100% mic, 50% mic, 100% piezo). This makes playing through an amp impossible. The noise is noticable from fairly medium volumes and up. Playing at "stage volume" level is impossible.

    2. Lots of piezo 'quack'
    As soon as I blend in the piezo, there is a lot of 'quack'. I know that this is a common issue with UST's, but I own cheaper guitars that don't have this many harshness/quack.

    3. Big volume differences between strings
    The low E string is way to loud compared to the other 5 strings. This occurs with every blend setting.

    4. The 100% mic blend sounds muddy and a bit overdriven
    I prefer playing with a 100% mic blend since this -indeed- does represent the acoustic guitar sound best, even with the current sound problems. But unfortunately the 100% mic blend sounds muddy and even a bit overdriven, like I have put an overdrive pedal with minimal settings between my guitar and mixing desk, which of course I didn't

    Of course I tried a lot of things to address all the problems I mentioned, but none of them ruled out any of them completely

    - Exchanged cables: no difference
    - Using a Fishman Tonedeq preamp/DI with al kind of settings (DI out, line out, low cut filters, compressor): no or very very little result
    - Using an EQ pedal: small difference since you ofcourse can dial out some of the 'quack' and the volume difference between strings, but not satisfying enough
    - Recording guitar into a Boss loop pedal and playing it back: all same problems in the sound
    - Using a mixing desk (Yamaha MG06) with headphones (AudioTechnica) and using a Bose S1 Pro powered speaker: all problems occur in both situations


    From what I read and hear (Youtube) everywhere the Anthem (Stagepro) system is a state-of-the-art system and should sound really true to the original acoustic sound without any of the problems mentioned above. I would be very happy if my Anthem system did the same... so: are there people around here or techs from LR Baggs who can help me further with the next steps?

    Thank you in advance,

    Bart
    Last edited by Bart1981; 06-18-2020, 09:06 AM.

  • #2
    Hey Bart,
    Thanks for posting.
    It sounds to me like there are a few things going on here.

    I think that issues 2 and 3 are likely related to the saddle material/installation. If the string to string balance is off, then the saddle is probably not making even contact with the pickup/saddle slot. A local guitar tech should be able to repair that issue pretty easily. If the pickup is overly quacky, you might consider an alternate saddle material as well. I have a Larrivee here at the shop that I've been working on, and the stock bone saddle sounded very harsh. So I changed the material to a Micarta saddle, and that helped a lot.

    Issue 4 should be easily resolved by adjusting the Mic Level control behind the battery compartment. You can see exactly how to do that in this video: https://youtu.be/g48DAmIvD1Y

    Issue 1 is the one that I am not quite sure about. If the noise level isn't changing with the mix, then it would seem that the preamp is acting noisy in general. The Anthem systems do have a pretty low output level compared to many active systems, but you should be able to get a good, clean gain boost from your amp or mixer. Would you be able to send me a sample of the noise compared to the signal level? My email address is [email protected].

    Let me know what you think.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Caleb,

      Thank you for the quick response. I will go and try out your advices plus recording the noise/signal level for you! I'll come back to you when I have an update.

      Thanks again,

      Bart

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Caleb,

        A discussed I recorded my guitar for you to check the signal/noise ratio. I plugged the guitar directly in a Boss RC-3 looper and recorded various audioclips. All EQ settings on the Anthem were flat, volume 100%. You can download the audioclips at this URL: https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...BMVnnbnRZ1TiIN
        1. BlendHalfway-Clip1.wav: strumming with pick, 50% piezo/50% trumic
        2. BlendHalfway-Clip2.wav: fingerpicking, 50% piezo / 50% trumic
        3. FullMic-Clip1.wav: strumming with pick, 100% trumic
        4. FullMic-Clip2.wav: fingerpicking, 100% trumic
        5. FullPiezo-Clip1.wav: strumming with pick, 100% piezo
        6. FullPiezo-Clip2.wav: fingerpicking, 100% piezo

        In clip 3 the muddiness of the trumic is noticable.
        In clip 5 and 6 the harshness of the piezo is noticable
        In clip 1, 3 and 5 the off-balance of the low-E string volume is noticable.
        In all clips the white noise is there as soon as you crank up the volume to louder settings.
        I haven't adjusted the trumic balance yet, because I still have to find a fitting screwdriver.

        I hope to hear from you again

        Bart

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the detailed report.

          It absolutely sounds to me like the Mic Level is set way too low. Turning that up should give you a much clearer and more defined sound from the mic.

          The Piezo-only tone sounds pretty normal, honestly. Undersaddle pickups, like you said, are notoriously harsh and quacky. They will vary from guitar to guitar, but they will usually need some EQ to get the most out of them when used alone. They are great for certain things, but they work best in-tandem with other sources (like the Anthem mic).

          The loud low-E string should be a relatively easy fix for a local Luthier or guitar tech. Balance issues are sadly a common issue for all undersaddle pickups, but because it's a common issue, most shops can fix it easily.

          I wasn't able to hear the noise at all until I downloaded a clip, loaded it into my DAW, and cranked the level up. At that point, I did hear the noise, but the signal level was significantly louder. If you want to email me directly at [email protected], I would be happy to arrange to have you send the preamp in for testing. If the noise is really a problem, we can take care of that for you. I can also get you a replacement mic tool so you can make easy adjustments.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Caleb and the whole LR Baggs team,

            I want to say thank you for the excellent handling of the issues with my Anthem Stagepro as described in this topic. I sent in my defecte pickup system and today I received a brand new Stagepro Anthem to replace the defective one. This is outstanding service which makes me a completely happy and satisfied LR Baggs customer. Perfect!

            Thanks again, all the best,

            Bart

            Comment

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