James Macklin
James Macklin Jun 02, 2018

Hi Chris,
I couldn't help but notice you've appeared to be using a pickup in one of your Martins when you play in the Live From Here band. Just curioius what kind it is? Sounds great!

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Jun 20, 2018

Thanks James! The pickup is a LR Baggs Lyric and I'm blending it with a Joe Mills mic via a Grace Felix preamp. The Grace is really great and aside from the guitar maybe the best component, I think. I also really like the K&K pure mini as a pickup. It doesn't sound like a natural acoustic guitar, but it captures a lot of useful stuff. Combined with a mic it can really work well I think.

James Macklin
James Macklin Jun 24, 2018

Awesome, thanks Chris! I looked into the Grace Felix. Between that and the Neumann you use for the gigs with Julian you clearly go for nothin' but the top of the line! 
I have a K&K pure mini in 2 of my guitars right now, so I'm glad you like that pickup. I agree there is some nuance lost for sure, but when you're trying to do Travis-style groovers like I tend to pull out at gigs you can get away with a little bit. I'm considering down the road upgrading to the Trinity Pro, which basically adds an internal mic to go with the mini. 
Thanks for the info! Hope PB or you and Julian make it down to New Mexico sometime!

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Jun 25, 2018

The thing that I love about the Felix Is that it really gives you some very useful (and high quality) eq options for tweaking the sound. And it has a super pristine audio path and lots of provisions for routing the sound. It‘s kind of like a deluxe Swiss Army knife, which can be very useful. When you’re amplifying an acoustic guitar with a pickup and an internal mic you are going to be amplifying all sorts of odd sounds and resonances that only exist within the box, so having good eq to eliminate issues really can help. I also use an Empress ParaEQ on the effects loop of the Felix to have even more control. 

Another great preamp is the Radial ToneBone PZPre. That’s what we were using in Punch Bros until we discovered the Felix. It’s quite a bit cheaper than the Felix but sounds really great. It can’t handle a stereo signal and power an electret mic the way that the Felix can - and for me at this point those things are important - but it has a nice fat musical quality and a pretty good eq section. 

James Macklin
James Macklin Jun 26, 2018

Really great to know about the Felix! I never really thought about all of the challenges associated with the pickup and mic combination, but that's mainly because I've seen people use blender systems that are all integrated. Good to know.

I actually do use a Tonebone PZPre, and am glad to know you used use it with Punch Brothers! I agree it is a great preamp. I usually have to kick in the lowpass filter and the eq is pretty nice. The boost is pretty good too. For what I'm doing/using right now, it works really well. Depending on the gig, I'll either just take a line out of the Tonebone into a PA, or if I'm doing a solo gig then I run it into an AER Alpha amp. 

Thanks for all of the information!!

Paul Lawler
Paul Lawler Feb 08, 2019

Sorry for resurrecting a dead thread... I'm new to live acoustic sound.  I'm looking to get start with blending two sound sources, what's a good alternative to the Mills mic?  Looks like they're unavailable on his site.  I have the K&K mini pre and it feels like something is missing.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Mar 03, 2019

Yeah, the Mills mics are hard to find. Other than the Mills, I’ve actually only ever used an Audio Technical ATM-350. It’s a lavelier microphone that Punch Brothers’ sound engineer, Dave Sinko, helped me out with. To be honest though, that setup was pretty complicated and I wouldn’t recommend it. As James mentioned, K&K makes an integrated system with a proprietary mic, the pure mini and a blender. I’ve never used it, but based on my experience with K&K I bet it’s good. There are a handful of other pickup manufacturers with good reputations who offer similar integrated products. 

JiMyeong Seo
JiMyeong Seo Dec 05, 2019

Oh! This is what I was looking for. I'm trying to resurrect this story again. Sorry...

From the top, you said using both L.R. and ATM350, so are there two holes in the end pin of the guitar?!

I get so stressed every time when i'm in stage of bluegrass. I think this will help. Thank you Critter.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Dec 27, 2019

Hi JiMyeong, 

With my current setup using the LR Baggs and the Mills mic, both signals are carried out of the guitar via one stereo TRS cable and stereo jack. I had a great tech who was able to wire this up for me. But when I was using the K&K and the ATM350 I had a single mono TS cable for the pickup coming out of the end pin jack and we just basically clipped the ATM 350 into the soundhole and wrapped it around the strap button on the neck to lock it and then across the back of the guitar. So there were 2 cables coming off of the guitar. I'll see if I can find a picture from that era to better show you what i mean!

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Dec 27, 2019

OK, these are not the most flattering pictures of me personally, but you can see how we attached the ATM350 using an alligator clip (wrapped in tape so that we didn't harm the guitar's finish) in the first picture and looped it around the strap button. In the second picture you can see the two cables coming off of the guitar. The belt pack that you see me wearing is for my in ear monitors. Hope that helps!

JiMyeong Seo
JiMyeong Seo Mar 25, 2020

Thank you very much. I fixed the pickup based on what you said. Thank you! I am very satisfied. I could not join your camp because of the virus, but I will wait for another day to see you. Thank you, Critter! Take care of your health.

Chris Eldridge
Chris Eldridge Apr 12, 2020

Great, glad it worked out! I'm sad about the camp as well, but we're hoping to reschedule! You stay safe as well and I look forward to seeing you sometime before too long!

 
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