While Martin Guitars sound gorgeous in close proximity, it’s natural ambience and tone doesn’t translate so well in loud clubs and huge concert halls. Thanks to the invention of the acoustic pickup, there’s no need to stand still in front of a microphone pointed at your acoustic guitar and now your free to move as you please on stage. While there are multiple options for acoustic pickups, Martin has chosen to partner with both Fishman Electronics and L. R. Baggs to incorporate pickups from both of these highly-respected pickups designers into their current line of guitars.
Some musicians tend to get whatever guitar is an acoustic-electric and trust that the pickups inside will sound great. However, just like guitars themselves, the pickups should be tested to see if they sound and respond they way you hope when plugged in. Since it can be difficult to A/B two pickups side by side, our friend Dave from Martin helped us demonstrate how the Fishman Aura VT Enhance System and the L.R. Baggs Anthtem System sound when installed in two of the same Martin guitar model, the OM18E, so you can understand the features of both and see how they differ sonically.
Below is further explanation of the two pickups, as well as timestamps when the different features and settings are being show in the video. Feel free to click through to the video on YouTube so you can click the timestamps and jump to the portion of the video.
Fishman Aura VT Enhance System
The goal in mind with this pickup is to get studio-quality sound from your guitar. The main component is the Enhance transducer in the bridge plate that helps capture the resonant dynamic and percussive attack of the guitar while avoiding sounds like your fingers moving across the strings, hearing the noise of the person moving the guitar, and of course feedback. The sleek and minimalist controls make sure it doesn’t look gaudy on your guitar but is still easily accessible to manipulate your controls. These controls include Volume, Tone (Mid Scoop), and Enhance blend control to activate the bridge plate transducer.
Without Enhanced – 1:16
With Enhanced – 2:29
L.R. Baggs Anthem System
If you’re not already familiar with the L.R. Baggs Element pickup, it words as an undersaddle pickup using a thin film sensor to take in the natural movement of your guitar top to help give it a truer dynamic range. On top of that, however, L.R. Baggs expanded on that technology with their Anthem pickup by adding TRU•MIC technology. Essentially, it’s a condenser microphone under the bridge plate that works as if it were outside of the guitar to give it and true acoustic tone when plugged in with wonderful frequency response, and unbelieveable feedback suppression. Similar to the Fishman Aura VT Enhance, it has an incredibly discreet design so it doesn’t distract from the overall aesthetic of your instrument. Controls include Volume, Mix control between Element and TRU•MIC pickup, Phase Inversion switch for different feedback situations, and battery check to make sure it’s got enough juice to continue playing.
Under The Saddle Piezo – 4:46
True Mic on Bridge Plate – 5:13
50% Under The Saddle Piezo and 50% True Mic on Bridge Plate – 5:34