Few would argue that microphones provide the best way to accurately capture an acoustic guitar’s sound, but mics are impractical for most performance situations, and that’s why numerous pickup systems exist that combine an internal mic with an under-saddle or soundhole transducer. L.R. Baggs’ Anthem ($299 street) mates a noise-cancelling, feedback-resistant mic with an Element under-saddle pickup in a tidy package that attaches to the bridge plate with peeland- stick adhesive. The Anthem Tru- Mic also includes a soundhole-mounted module that incorporates the controls and preamp. While the installation process isn’t rocket surgery, there are steps that involve drilling into your guitar, so you will probably want to enlist a qualified guitar tech to do the job for you.
Tested in a sweet-sounding Gibson J45, the Anthem yielded well-balanced sounds through a Fishman Loudbox Mini and a ZT Lunchbox Acoustic. The Anthem’s mic carries the guitar’s mid and upper ranges, while the Element piezo pickup covers the bottom. With a little tweaking of the Mix control to favor either amplifier, it was easy to get refined, open, and airy sounds that were faithful to the J45’s acoustic voice. Feedback wasn’t an issue at the volumes we were testing at, and the system was also free of harsh transient spikes.
If you want more realism and dimension in your amplified acoustic sound but don’t want to be burdened by a complex external interface, the Anthem Tru-Mic is worth investigating. This system is easy to use, it sounds great, and aside from the controls that peek slyly from the soundhole, no one could guess the technology that’s hidden inside your “acoustic” guitar.
KUDOS Transparent sound. Controls are conveniently located
CONCERNS Professional installation is recommended.
CONTACT L.R. Baggs, (805) 929-3545; lrbaggs.com