Fishman Matrix Infinity(2)

Fishman’s hip new Matrix Infinity pickup/ preamp system ($210 retail/ $140 street) is a slick, great-sounding way to amplify your favorite flat-top. What you get is the Matrix under-saddle pickup, the Infinity endpin preamp, and soundhole-mounted Volume and Tone controls. Installed in a Larrivée dreadnought, the whole deal is so stealthy that, at first, I thought it wasn’t even there. The thumbwheels for adjusting Volume and Tone are practically invisible, and the sack that contains the 9-volt battery is tucked neatly away on the bass side of the back’s upper bout. The endpin jack is the only other visual cue that there’s anything electronic going on at all.
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I plugged into a Genz Benz Shenandoah Acoustic Pro, and I was instantly struck by how natural the tone was—big and full with a sweet top end. Fiddling with the Tone control revealed that it was in the “smiley face” part of its range, with notched mids and boosted bass and treble. Rolling it toward the bridge flattens out the response by bringing back some midrange, and mellowing out the highs and lows. It’s a very intuitive control, and it’s much easier than manipulating a side-mounted EQ. My favorite setting was on the scooped side (although not fully scooped), which sounded great for strumming, and also gave a nice thump to fingerpicked lines.

The coolest part of the Matrix Infinity’s tone might just be the glorious headroom. I can hit the strings pretty much as hard as possible, and the system doesn’t squash, compress, or quack. Thanks to the efforts of top acoustic-pickup companies such as Fishman, we’re entering an era where you’ll be able to make it through an entire review of an acoustic-electric guitar without seeing the word “quack.” And that’s a beautiful thing.

Kudos Great tone. Stellar headroom. Easy-to-use EQ. Clean installation.
Concerns None.
Contact Fishman, (978) 988-9199; fishman.com

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