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Reviews/Demos

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*The below reviews taken from KKSound.com

PowerMix Trinity | Pure Western | Trinity System


PowerMix Trinity

From Guitar World Acoustic, October/November 2005:“Awesome, Pure and Simple.” K&K PowerMix Trinity System by Emile MenaschéThe K&K PowerMix Trinity System is proof positive that “more is better.” Each component of this three-part hybrid pickup/mic rig sounds exceptional and would be very useful on its own. Yet it’s the blend which, when mated to a flexible internal preamp, delivers as vivid an amplified acoustic guitar sound as I’ve heard.The system consists of a soundhole condenser mic, an under-saddle piezo and — the star of the show — the Pure, a three-element body sensor pickup that attaches to the bridge plate inside the guitar. Each has its own volume control, mounted to an unobtrusive housing that sits in the soundhole. Controls for tone are located on a preamp board designed to be mounted inside the guitar and operated by means of a screwdriver.Although the user has complete freedom to mix the pickups as he sees fit, the Pure is capable of delivering the main body of the guitar’s tone all by itself. Its three sensors operate as a unit, with each sensor assigned to capture two strings to deliver full, natural sound.The Trinity Condenser mic adds size and dimension and detail, giving the tone a 3-D quality. Instead of sitting inside the guitar, subject to resonant peaks and valleys, it resides on a stem. This allows you to point the mic up the soundhole towards the strings, thereby capturing their direct vibrations with minimal reflections from the body.

The FanTaStick piezo adds top end detail and a little of that electric cut you need to stand up to the din of a rock band. In solo situations, its judicious use can add some spice to the tone without making the guitar sound nasal.

The preamp is powerful, though the fact that it’s internally mounted means that EQ adjustments on the fly are difficult. On the other hand, K&K is designed to mount without forcing you to perform major surgery on your guitar. Still, this complex system should be installed by a pro.

The K&K PowerMix sets a new standard for acoustic guitar realism. This is a truly professional setup that can cover all the territory you and your guitar are likely to traverse.


Pure Western

Submitted to Harmony Central at: 23:21, 5/3/2005Model of guitar or bass: Maton M225Perceived output level: Although passive, the Pure Western seems to have a similar output to other active pickups
Tone: Very balanced. Initially it was quite middy but that turned out to be the amp and my guitar doesn’t have a lot of natural bass for a dreadnaught. I pulled the mids out of the amp and was left with a very beautiful tone – very close to the much sought after ‘my guitar only louder’ tone.Comments: As far as I’m concerned, this is it. There really is no point trying any other product. I’m hoping to get a Maton 12 string later in the year and a K&K Pure Western will be going straight into it. I thought long and hard about what pickup to get and put a lot of time into researching what was available. I’m glad I did and very glad I came across the K&K Pure Western. My decision over what to get was based on a few parameters: primarily not wanting to cut a hole in the side of my guitar for onboard elctronics. I also didn’t want an undersaddle piezo as I hate the compressed sound they normally give. I’ve been playing for 18 years, mainly acoustic, and always disliked the sound of amplified acoustics. My guitar was a present from my wife and, like her, is beautiful. I knew I wanted a Maton and played all the 225’s in the shop and some others when choosing it- this one just rang out beautifully and floored the rest. Even the staff guys couldn’t bellieve it when they heard it. I really lucked onto a good one. So, the last thing I wanted to do was cut a hole in the side of it and add a whole lot of weight with an onboard preamp, battery and controls. Maton make great pickups (I know someone who did the Taylor factory tour and even the Taylor guys were talking about how good Maton pickups are). Unfortunately, Maton only do onboard electronics and at $400 for a retrofit, I was keen for something else. I really like the idea behind bridge plate transducers which led me to the LR Baggs I-Beam, B-Band AST, PUTW 27 and K&K Pure Western. I read everything I could find on the net about them and the reviews certainly point to the K&K being the best option. When I heard the K&K Pure Western on Shoreline Music’s mp3 page I got a tingle up my spine – I could not believe that sound came out of a pickup. The K&K sounded better than anything I’d ever heard, involved no drilling, soldering, routing etc and was the cheapest option. You have to glue it to the bridge plate which is a little tricky and hunched over your pride and joy with superglue, gloves, safety goggles, a torch, mirror etc is quite an anxious experience. In the end it’s pretty easy actuallly and there’s nothing like a bit of job satisfaction. Initially I was a bit concerned because, as stated, my guitar sounded a bit middy. A few emails between Dieter at K&K and myself got me sorted (he’s very helpful as is well stated). I think K&K know they have a leading product and any problem is more than likely going to be at the users end. They just subtlely help you eliminate all the variables until you find it. In my case, I just needed to turn the mids down. Pretty simple really and now I have exactly what I was looking for. My guitar weighs the same, sounds the same and looks the same. I just have an endpin jack where the strap pin used to be. From there a lead runs to 3 small transducers glued to the bottom of my bridgeplate. This incredibly simple setup just happens to give one of the cleanest and most natural amplified acoustic sounds you’re going to find for any price. If you’re doing a lot of gigs in different venues you should probably get a preamp or DI box, however, if you just need to plug into an amp occaisonally, you may find you’re cool without one. Many people are concerned about feedback with this style of pickup but as it attaches to the bridge plate and not the sound board, this isn’t a big problem as the bridge plate is quite solid. It hasn’t been a problem for me and I need to stand right next to the stage amp. If you want to keep it simple and sound amazing and acoustic, get a K&K Pure Western. If you like fiddling with knobs and EQ’s and don’t believe how good this pickup is, you’ll probably end up spending hundreds or thousands of dollars just trying to emulate what your guitar would have sounded like with a K&K. Kind of makes me want to buy another guitar just so I can install another one.On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic valueSubmitted by: Matt (Sydney, Australia)


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 9:39, 5/1/2005

Model of guitar or bass: Larrivee OM-09

Perceived output level: Less than an active pickup but good enough.
Tone: Warm, Natural sounding. Clear.
Sonic evaluation: It really does sound nice, very close to the actual sound of the guitar with no ‘quackiness’. There’s a slight imbalance with the outer strings (low and high E) having slightly less volume however with a little EQ (-6dB cut at around 2.5Khz mid frequency range and a little boost (+3dB at the high and low frequency ranges) it all comes together nicely. Much, much better than the iBeam active it replaced (and over half the cost!).

Comments: These pickups are great. Not easily found in the UK, probably because they’re a little difficult to install (my Luthier didn’t enjoy the process). I particularly like the fact that it needs no battery (so no worrying about replacing it just before gigs). Also, it’s very usable without a pre-amp or EQ, (although better if you can manage it). At $89 it was an absolute steal. I’m going to install one on my Brook Taw too, and also install the bass one on my acoustic bass guitar.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 21:33, 4/18/2005

Model of guitar or bass: Taylor 414

Output level: High output plenty of power anf fullness of sounds
Tone: IT has a very full tone , not too bassy as some reviews say .I used the tape on mine and it gives a great sound.

Comments: I would replace it if it were destroyed .Think I might get one for my other guitar just cause it would be great to add. Been playing for 15 years finally have the set up a I want a great bright clear sounding acoustic and a very responsive pick up could not be happyer. THe folks at the factory sent me a cd of some sound samples which really help with my decision .I looked at all kinds of passive undersaddle pick ups and everyone has their opions but this one produccess a true to life sound .Installing it was fun took about a hour just get every thing together first and read the instructions 4 or 5 times first . The trick for me was lining up the tape whilst looking through the pegs holes .Anyway you won’t be dissapointed I brought one of the “seconds” which claimed to have a cosmetic blemish but i’m damned if I could tell……

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 9


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 8:00, 2/25/2005Model of guitar or bass: 1995 Taylor 422

Perceived output level: Suprising high output for a passive pickup
Tone: Natural and balanced

Comments: Would replace if destroyed and will purchase this pickup for other guitars I own. Been playing 35 years. The natural sound is increable. It was a somewhat harder to install on the pinless bridge Taylor. This guitar has never sounded this good plugged in.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: R.F. Daily


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 9:22, 9/25/2004

Model of guitar or bass: Samick Custom

Perceived output level: Excellent. No pre-amp needed!
Tone: Very Balanced. Very true to my own guitars sound. I’m extremely impressed.

Comments: It’s great! Why? It’s the best value for money I’ve seen for a pick up (and I’ve been checking out a few I can tell you!). I have been playing for about 25 years (scary I know), and have had various guitars (samicks, Takamine, Washburn 6 & 12 strings), and this is the best on board sound I’ve had. Today I did some recording vs my friends Gibson (sorry, not sure which one) with a pre-installed pickup. His sound in was great with the microphone, but lousy with direct line in from pickups – it was so much more scratchy and metallic. Mine however, had very little variation from the mic sound. Amplified, I had almost as much volume as his guitar did with a preamp, and no more feedback problems than his. All I can say is, don’t be fooled into paying bucks just for brand names. If your looking for a great pick up at a great price, do yourself a favour and check these out.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 23:44, 8/30/2004

Model of guitar or bass: Tacoma DR-20

Perceived output level: about same as the sound-hole pu w/ built in pre.
Tone: very clear top end, warm mids/ pretty well balanced
Sonic evaluation: to my ears, very transparent in that it sounds alot like my acoustic naturally, just louder. Top end a little briter than the actual sound of the guitar. I run this direct into a board with eq pretty much flat, still need more playing time to see if it performs better with low roll-off switched in or out with the bass turned down.

Comments: Here’s a note I sent off to the manufacturer……

Just got my Pure Western transducer yesterday, and had to immead. install it. Install went w/o a hitch (15 min), I glued them direct to the bridge plate. The instructions were clear and well written. Since I was using a soundhole pickup, I was able to AB them through my PA system. I was originally thinking about using both to blend the best qualities of both. I pulled the soundhole PU out. No comparison! While the Fishman was quite good, the PW killed it. I love the warm/transparent quality to the sound. And where-as I had to tweak the EQ a bunch to get the Fishman to sound good, the PW pretty much sounded great right out of the chute. Thanks for an awesome product and making it available at such a great price on EBay. These are going in all my friends guitars. Thanks!! Matthew Miller

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 9


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 13:02, 5/31/2004

Model of guitar or bass: Martin D-1

Perceived output level: K & K’s Pure Western is very hot compared to the Fishman…great output level for a passive pickup.
Tone: The tone is exactly what I’ve been looking for. It is extremely balanced, very natural and allows me to play any style I choose without a change in tonal quatlity.

Comments: I’ve been playing for about 16 years and have had my Martin D-1 for 10 of those years. I installed the pickup myself using the excellent instructions provided. The use of superglue created some anxiety, but I practiced the installation without superglue several times before the final (and successful) installation. I wish the three transducers were somehow connected to make the installation easier. If the pickup gets damaged then my guitar will likely be damaged also…so I would certainly replace both. For under $100, this pickup is an excellent choice for anyone. I have yet to find a pickup that sounds as natural as the Pure Western. It truly sounds like my guitar. What more could I ask for? I plan to install the Pure Mini Western pickup in my Larrivee Parlor next.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: Pete K.


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 10:20, 5/31/2004

Model of guitar or bass: Simon and Patrick SP6 Spruce

Perceived output level: Not less than half that of my Rare Earth, so hot enough to use as is
Tone: Very realistic and natural. Only need a slight EQ tweak and that’s more because of the tone of my amp!

Comments: This pickup is certainly worth the money and well worth replacing if stolen. If you don’t believe how good it is you can listen to samples on the K&K site. I was a bit skeptical, but that sort of sound is what you can expect with a decent guitar. I listened to other manufacturers’ audio samples after I bought this and was not so impressed.

It doesn’t get a 10 because it’s not quite good enough to send you over the moon, but it does give a very good sound at a very good price.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 9

Submitted by: Andrew Cook


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 0:11, 3/31/2004

Model of guitar or bass: Armbrust custom-made

Perceived output level: Output (passive) is high enough to be handled by any decent soundboard and bring the guitar’s sound up to viable levels.
Tone: The natural beautiful sound of my guitar with all its intricacies but loud enough for live gigs.

Comments: I’ve been playing for almost 40 years. I love the sound of good well-built acoustic guitars made from quality woods but hate what electronics too often do to their sound. I have a ’62 Gibson SJ25 that I bought in 1967, my “Grande Dame”, which has just about the sweetest sound of any guitar I’ve ever heard. I tried using it on stage with a Bartolini and other sound-hole pickups and was always sorely disappointed. I’ve played and listened to any number of those guitars with the “under the saddle” piezo pickups and found them all sorely wanting. They all sounded dry and unnatural (yes, and even “quacky”). Well, after installing the K&K Pure Western into my Armbrust (make sure you follow the company’s instructions… Kind of intimidating dealing with the “permanent installation” using crazy glue but when all is said and done, not that big a deal), I will soon be installing the K&K into this fine bird. You may get as natural a sound with other pickup systems that incorporate active electronics, mixers, batteries etc. (although after reading all the reviews on this website and listening to a bunch of MP3’s online of various guitars such as Taylors, Larivees, etc., recorded with IBeams, Baggs and other systems, as well as the K&K, I put my money on the K&K), but you won’t find anything this hassle-free (just plug it in) that sounds this good for under $100 or maybe even $200 or $300. It won’t make a bad guitar sound good and it won’t replace Niemann mics in a studio (it won’t turn lead into gold either), but if you’re playing live gigs and have a good or great sounding guitar and want its tonal characteristics reproduced faithfully at gig levels without worrying about pre-amps, outboard EQ’s, batteries, etc., THIS is the one. Just tell the soundman to set everything “flat” and if his equipment is any good, you’ll sound great.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: Andre Germain


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 11:06, 3/21/2004

Model of guitar or bass: Martin D – 15s

Perceived output level: Louder than the Rare Earth, equl to an Active Matrix.
Tone: Blanced mids and clear treble, boomy somewhat muddy bass. But, no quack.

Comments: I would get another one. I have been messing with acoustic pickup combinations for over 6 years, played guitar for over 30 years. This pickup will probably sound good alone on acoustic amps with weak bass, as it has great low end. Also, it will probably sound good in small body guitars. On a large body D 17s, with a SWR amp, you need a magnetic pickup for the bass (no getting around it). Without a magnetic pickup, you will get massive muddy boom. Nevertheless, This is the best sounding acoustic pickup for under $100. Furthermore, it is passive and has about the same output as my active Fishman Rare Earth (both chanels on the SWR are at the same gain setting). It can get to high volumes without feedback if you turn down the bass. Installed easly in less than 20 min. Someone wrote “Try it for yourself and see”. I did, and was blown away. I wish K & K would build a passive systm with a combination magnetic pickup and the Pure Western so that we can crank up the acoustic without feedback.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: SLS


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 9:46, 2/13/2004

Model of guitar or bass: Avalon Dreadnaught

Perceived output level: output about equal to most pasive pickups, loud for an acoustic transducer
Tone: very well balanced, good definition, nice strong bass fundamentals without being overbearing, strong mids, warm highsI

Comments: I would definitly buy it again if it were destoyed. I would highly recommend this pickup to anyone with a great sounding acoustic – for a crappy acoustic it might not work so well as it really lets you hear the guitar as much as the string.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 13:15, 1/31/2004

Model of guitar or bass: Ovation Custom Legend 12 string w/ Optima pre-amp, mid-depth

Perceived output level: Same as orig. p/u. I left my vol. settings the same on the guitar & at the soundboard.
Tone: Well-balanced, finally plenty of base.

For which styles and positions is this pickup (un)suitable: Contemporary worship, anywhere from a rock to a folk-rock feel. This p/u fits in perfectly. Sounds articulate with delicate picking, sounds perfectly natural strumming hard and fast. People used to tell me it sounded like a banjo when I played far up the neck. That problem’s gone!

Comments: I’d buy another one of these in a heartbeat. My Ovation presents an unusual situation with it’s fan bracing. I’ve installed I-Beams,but placement is critical and requires an open bridgeplate area.These transducers fit nicely between the braces in my guitar, and since there is no bridgeplate,supergluing directly to the soundboard seemed like a great idea for sound-transfer. Had 3 long talks with K&K’s tech. He was glad to talk me through this not-very-straightforward installation. I feel like I have perfected my guitar!! Though I’m an Ovation fan,my $1,500 12-string didn’t sound any nicer than a $200 guitar when I plugged in! Now, that beautiful sound that I hear coming from the soundhole is exactly what I hear from the house speakers! Next up is my Seagull S6 CW.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: John


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 18:39, 1/16/2004

Model of guitar or bass: Ibanez Artwood 1

Perceived output level: alot louder than I imagined, especially for a passive unit
Tone: very well-balanced… booming bass and crisp clear trebles and highs. no crackling piezo plastic effects.
Sonic evaluation: I’m still searching for an acoustic amp though I’ve been plugging into a karaoke machine Yes, that’s right! The K & K Pure Western sounds wonderful. Just imagine what it will sound like with a real amp.

Comments: I most likely would buy this pickup again since I haven’t found another one that comes close to giving uncolored pure acoustic sound. Sometimes simplicity is the best. I installed it myself directly to the underside of the bridge. This permanant installation provides 20% more performance than using the removable tape. Besides, why would I want to remove it when it sounds better than anything I’ve heard from the “big manufacturers”. It was relatively easy to install, but if you do it yourself take your time and be careful with your instrument. I listened to several pickups on the internet ie: DougYoungGuitar.com and the K & K products seemed to provide the tone I was looking for. I was apprehensive that this transducer would pick up unwanted banging, booming or thumping sounds from the guitar… Not! no noise problem. When I get a more upscale guitar like Taylor or Martin I would consider an upgraded K & K product like their Ultra Pure or Trinity systems which include preamps. Until then, the Pure Western suits me fine. I bought direct in case I needed help or had questions. The K & K people are a pleasure to do business with. If you’re looking for “natural” acoustic sound check out K & K and let your ears be the judge.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: Gary in Kentucky


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 5:59, 12/6/2003

Model of guitar or bass: Gibson Wm-45

Perceived output level: Seems to be pretty close to the Fishman ‘s output , 1 1/2 notch on the volume .
Tone: natural with a bit extra on the bottom

Comments: Would I buy again ! Big YES. Been playing for about 20 years. Have a few other acoustics , Yamaha, Ibanez , Mansfield and a Yamaha SA-90 ES-335 copy. This sounds just like the guitar it’s installed in . I bought it after reading the posts on this board.When I first plugged in I was disappointed .I was expecting the kind of sound you get with a fishman only better but the K+K has no electric sound to it at all . I have a fishman in a cheap Yamaha and it sounds pretty good but after last night it sounds totally electric . If you love the sound of your guitar then this is the pick-up but the old saying “garbage in – garbage out ” holds true. Don’t expect it to increase or mask the sound of your instrument. I am really impressed with it and cheaper than the fishman and cheaper to install. After reading the installation instructions I chickened out and took it into the shop to have it put it ($30). I look forward to having a chance to use it in public, I am a happy camper!! One thing is that it picks up everything , squeaks , fingers on the body of the guitar, missed hammer ons .My technique needs work , you can’t hide with this.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 9

Submitted by: John


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 16:24, 9/22/2003

Model of guitar or bass: Martin DM

Perceived output level: Hot, even without a preamp
Tone: Balanced and beautiful

Comments: I’m extremely glad that I chose this pickup. The only thing that made me at all nervous was gluing in the pickups with the superglue. It worked like a charm (only once did I have a fingertip glued to the underside of the bridgeplate… got that off quickly!). It would be a disaster to glue the pickups in the wrong place. I decided to go with the permanent installation to provide better signal (you can install it with a supplied piece of tape that allows you to remove it if you want, but the output is supposed to be 20% less). It was a bit of a gamble, but I’m please with the result, so no removal will be necessary. You can hear the style of what music I play by trying out the demo track for “That Girl” at www.birdhousegourds.com. Great job to the folks at K & K!

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: Jerry


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 8:26, 7/29/2003

Model of guitar or bass: Martin OM18V

Perceived output level: very good output, strong enough that a preamp is not required
Tone: balanced and warm, sounds natural like my guitar
Sonic evaluation: I am plugging directly into a Crate CA112-D acoustic amp and the K&K Pure Western is delivering plenty of volume and a warm tone. There is not any odd noise at all. It sounds just like my guitar, just louder.

Comments: I am very satisfied with the K&K Pure Western and have no regrets. I have been playing for a few years. I installed this pickup myself and although it was tricky it was easy to install. I chose this pickup after hearing about it on The Unofficial Martin Guitar Forum. I would also like say that it was a pleasure buying experience with MaurysMusic.com

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 9:36, 6/16/2003

Instrument Model: Raimundo 140

Perceived Output Level: Loud enough to hear even with NO pre-amp

Comments: I would definitely buy this again if it were stolen or vandalized in some way. I have been playing a couple years, and I’m getting ready to play in front of our youth group. This pickup sounds pretty much like my guitar sounds through a mic only possibly MORE sensitive or it compresses the sound slightly. It captures nuances of different kinds of string vibration that under saddle pickups just can’t (because of the type of pickup and location). The one problem is that I was sweating bullets installing this thing. The bridge plate is further from the soundhole on a classical than on a western guitar, and I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get my arm in there, and make it all the way to the plate, let alone retain enough finger dexterity to glue a transducer in a precise location. I used the adhesive strip glue thing because I was scared I might goof up. Sounds fine to me! Anyway, install went easier than I thought, although it was scary drilling a hole in my pristine classical (with no strap pin). This sounds better amplified than the Ramierez classical with fishman blender that I played at the store, and I would guess that since there’s no mic, it is less feedback prone (although I haven’t tested this). Delivery was quick and painless! I can’t believe this thing cost only $92. Karla was great in handling my order.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 17:09, 3/25/2003

Model of guitar or bass: Martin 000-28

Perceived output level: Perhaps a bit lower than typical onboard setups that come factory installed.
Tone: Reproduces the exact tone of the natural guitar

Comments: I must admit I was a bit skeptical about installing a pickup system that only had 3 small stick-on mics and no preamp. What’s with that??? My guitar collection includes; Ovations, Takamine, Martins and Taylor. All of course with factory amplification systems installed. Two of which have stereo onboard blender systems. (All include an unsightly pre-amp hacked into the side of the guitars beautiful woods, that once set I doubt anyone ever changes or uses except to change the battery) My newest guitar a Martin 000-28 is bare bone with no sound system installed. I stumbled on to K & Ks web site and decided to give the PURE MINI system a try as the larger pickups on the PURE WESTERN were a bit large for the bridge plate inside the Martin guitar. Again more skepticism using the smaller pick-ups. I choose to go the super glue route and take the chance the system was all others claimed it to be. After a few dry runs practicing placing the pickups in place I held my breath and glued them in. Drilled the end pin hole, installed the jack and was done. More worries. Did I get them in the right place, use enough glue, get them stuck on good, etc. etc. ? At worse I could cut them out and throw the whole package away and start over. (So is all of this cynical enough?) I cleaned up everything put on new strings and was ready to plug in. Plugging in: I use a Fender XKR100 keyboard amp which is basically a PA system. Rack mount EQ, Compressor, Alesis very slight hall effect, and assorted Boss pedals every now and then. Leaving the volume settings same as I usually use and no effects applied, I couldn’t tell if I was plugged in or not as the sound coming out of the amp was exactly same as the sound coming out of the guitar. With the exception of a little less volume than the other types of battery powered pre-amps. So I moved the volume up on the amp 2 notches to get more clarification from the natural acoustic volume out of the guitar and the sound coming out of the amp. Things got better yet. Still couldn’t tell the difference from the natural guitar sound and the amp sound. Next just to see what would happen at high volume I turned the amp master and channel volume settings well over half way up and moved 10 feet away from the amp. (I would not need this high of a volume to play any size gig. Plus at higher settings feed-back problems start with my other setups) (I did get feedback but was only a foot away from the amp facing it. But to be expected as loud as I had it) Opps! More natural sound and no feed back yet. Playing finger open tunings the sound is balanced, warm, mellow and natural. The slightest harmonics are picked up easily. Then when attacked with a pick aggressively, Wow! The volume goes up and more crystal clear natural sound from single string leads to full chord strumming. No boomey base, or thinned out mids and trebles. This is going to take some getting use to.

Bottom line so far: Doubtful I will buy another expensive acoustic guitar with the typical pre-amps cut into the side of them. My new guitar looks natural (without the protruding knobs and sliders) and above all sounds very natural when plugged in. The PURE SYSTEM is all everyone claimed it to be in the reviews. NOTHING was over represented the slightest. Must say I am 110% happy with K & Ks system. I have no doubts their other systems are of the same quality. Plus very nice folk up to answer any questions.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: Walt Young


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 22:05, 3/21/2003

Model of guitar or bass: Gibson CL-35 Delux

Perceived output level: The output level of this pickup is slightly less than the Fishman. I play alot in church so instead of an amp volume of 3 I use 4. I see no need for a pre-amp to boost output. I read in the other review that he thought the out-put was low. This is probably because he used the foil tape for a non-permanent install. This causes a 20% drop in output. I gluded the pickups directly to the bridgeplate. It was relativly easy when done with care. There was no noticable change to the tone of the guitar.
Tone: This pickup sounds like my guitar.

Comments: I always loved the tone of my Gibson CL-35 accoustically, but was never satisfied when pluged in. I tried an external Fishman Pro-EQ-II pre-amp. This helped a little but I still was not happy. Now with the K&K my guitar finally sounds the way I want it to when amplified. Plus I have the added tone accoustically with the under saddle pickup gone. If this pickup were lost or stolen it would mean that the guitar was gone also. If I were ever to get another acoustic guitar, I would most definetly buy one with no pickup installed and then install a K & K Pure Western afterward. No hole cut into the guitar for on board controls. No battery to go dead if you forget to unplug. Just the pure sound of the guitar coming from the amp. I had to use the mini because the bridge plate on my CL-35 was not wide enough. Apparently the mini sounds the same as the full size with slightly less output. A note about installation. For some reason, Gibson drilled a small shallow hole in the bridge plate right where the middle pickup pad goes. I did not want to glue the pickup over the hole because I feared the volume of the two middle strings would be less because that pad was in contact with less wood than the other two pads. I filled the hole with Elmer,s wood filler and sanded it smooth after hardning. I then wiped the bridge plate clean with a rag lightly moistned with alcohol. I let the alcohol fully evaporate before gluing on the pickup pads. This worked just fine. The volume of each string in the same. I would suggest inspecting the bridge plate for any imperfections where the pickups will go and repairing them.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: James Flynn


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 9:27, 2/26/2003

Model of guitar or bass: Collings D1A – Adirondack and Mahogany Dreadnaught

Perceived output level: This is Mini pickup. Out put is low, at least on my guitar. Needs preamp.
Tone: I had to hear it for myself, but all those other review are true. This pickup sounds like my guitar.

Comments: I have been playing acoustic guitar for 30 years. Fingerpicking for 10. Other guitars: “Old Reliable” (1990 Ovation Elite with OP24), and 2000 Larrivee D05 with B-Band 1470AST/UST/A4 (also an excellent system). I did researh for 6 months before making this purchase. Installation note: The luthier that did the installation was not comfortable working with super glue inside the guitar. To avoid that he took measurements, then cut the Mylar(?) strip to size (leaving extra material on the ends for removal), glued the 3 SBTs to the strip, then carefully installed the strip with the pickups inside the guitar. Love it! Very natural representation of my guitar, and equally important to me, accurate representation of the way I play. All the reasons I love my guitar, the punchy tight bass, strong clear mids, and crystal balanced highs, all that comes through the speakers. I play with a thumb pick and bare fingers in styles from Chet Atkins to Doc Watson to Jorma Kaukonen. Whether I play soft or hard the Pure Western accurately represents what I’m doing. String noise and brush strokes are also accurately represented, not over-emphasized as with my other guitars equipped with Fishman and B-Band systems. A preamp was necessary due to lower output of the Mini pickups. I tried my Fishman ProEQ Platinum, which worked OK. Found K&Ks Pure preamp on EBay for $60. It actually does a better job sweetening up the mids, but lacks phase and notch filter. I’ll use the Fishman if feed back is a problem – so far I’ve been able to control it with the graphic EQ on my PA with somewhat negative effect on overall sound. See my review of K&K’s preamp for more info. The Pure Western pickup on my Collings needs some EQ to sound it’s best. Cutting a few decibels at 2.5 K does the job. Just so happens that the mid EQ on both the K&K preamp and my PA are centered at 2.5 K, which explains, to me at least, why so many reviewers say the full size pickup sounds great plugged straight in. Home evaluation: I compared this system to my other guitar: 1990 Ovation Elite with OP-24, and a 2000 Larrivee D05 with B-Band’s blended 1470 AST / UST(3rd gen) / A4 preamp system. I also love my B-Band, as it sounds very natural and record a little better than the K&K. Collings with K&K is better live. Summary: I waited until I had 3 live shows (one with full band) under my belt before doing this review. I like the K&K live even more than I did at home. I have an open-air recording (one mic in middle of room of 30 people where I used the PA mentiond above) of one of the performances. I have to admit – my Collings sounds like it is has a mic in front of it!

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: dberch


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 10:02, 1/13/2003

Instrument Model: Martin OM-01

Perceived output level: Surprisingly good – even without a preamp. Awesome with preamp.
Tone: Very natural, balanced sound.
Sonic evaluation: Extremely responsive, natural sounding pickup. I have Fishman Matrix pickups in all of my other guitars – this sounds more ‘woody’.

Comments: I wish I had known about K & K before I purchased my Fishman Matrix pickups. I would have saved money and gotten a better, easier to install pickup. Speaking of which, it took less than 15 minutes to install this pickup – I didn’t have to adjust the action afterwards either. Customer support is the best – Dieter and Karla are very helpful!!! Highly recommended!!!!

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: Larry Davidson


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 15:49, 8/26/2002

Instrument Model: AXL acoustic

Perceived output level: The sound level without any preamp is equal to a fishman with preamp set flat at 3/4 volume.
Tone: Closer to natural than anything I have heard. And without a pre amp!
Sonic evaluation: A/B with Fishman flat blew it away. Who needs a preamp? Used with a tube preamp helped round the tone. Good balance. Great tone. Natural. Round. Precise.It also has a good amount of punch. From an acoustic pickup that’s unusual.

Comments: This pickup is attached with crazy glue under the bridge. Glue included. No margin for error. When you seat it you better be sure. It preserves the interior tone of the wood and string resonance gives it a natural reverb. This IS the best. And a great price considering. I doubt I’ll find anything this good again. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value Submitted by: Robert Yavorski


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 10:47, 4/12/2002

Instrument Model of guitar or bass: Big Baby Taylor

Comments: I have heard this pickup in my friend’s Yamaha guitar. It sounded so great that I got one for my Big Baby Taylor. I used undersaddle and soundhole pickups before (in another guitar) but this is way better. I did buy an external preamp with the pickup but most of the time I just plug it directly into the house PA. It sounds so natural, responsive and warm and has plenty of output. I went with the installation directly to the bridgeplate after I talked to K&K on the phone. Very nice people by the way. Since I use the Pure Western I get a lot of comments how good my guitar sounds amplified. I would definitely buy it again if I need a system in another guitar or if this one would get stolen. Excellent product!

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: Luke McGlothlin


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 10:04, 3/15/2002

Instrument Model of guitar or bass: Tacoma Roadking

Perceived output level: Very good output level for a passive pickup. I can plug in anywhere and it sounds great.
Tone: very warm and balanced

Comments: If it were stolen I would replace it immediately. It is the best acoustic pickup I have ever heard. I’ve been playing since 20 years. It really sounds like my guitar without that harsh undersaddle piezo quack. Frequency range is superb, especially nice is the rich bass response. I do not use any preamp and get good volume and good gain before feedback just like that. I guess this is the best acoustic guitar pickup availabe.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: Patric Stricker


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 9:21, 12/5/2001

Instrument Model of guitar or bass: acoustic dreadnought

Perceived output level: Similar output to an undersaddle peizo with an onboard 9 volt powered preamp
Tone: balanced

Comments:
 I have a 12-string with an undersaddle peizo and onboard pre-amp, and a 6-string with the K&K Pure Western (which I installed myself without difficulty). They both sounded great to me every time I took them out. Recently I began a recording project, and recorded both guitars using only the pickups. Thus for the first time I got to hear just the sound of the guitars through their respective transducers. I was amazed at the difference in sound between the undersaddle peizo and the K&K Pure Western. THe K&K really does give a far more natural, warm and accurate guitar-like sound. Plus the K&K’s passive output signal was almost exactly as strong as the pre-amped peizo. Given K&K’s excellent prices, I think this pick-up is magnificent. I use a number of their other pickups (Big Shot, Twin Classic, etc.) on my other acoustic instruments.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 16:59, 8/5/2001

Instrument Model of guitar or bass: Alvarez/Yairi DY96 Jacaranda Dreadnaught

Perceived output level:
 Since it’s passive, it’s output is about 2/3 to 3/4 of Fishman Matrix 1
Tone: Very balanced. Much more bass response than Fishman. Can be a little “Tubby” or “Boomy” if your EQ settings were for the Fishman

Comments: Here’s the straight scoop, and I’ll try to not be too wordy. Is it the “holy grail” of acoustic amplification? No. Does it sound as Natural as a mic’d guitar? No, of course not. Is it better than any under saddle Piezo I’ve heard? You bet it is! I think that dual set-ups such as K&K’s trinity or the Baggs Dual Source that incorporate a pickup and consensor mic are still probably the closest to a mic’d guitar without all the problems a mic’d guitar gives. i believe that the philosophy of contact pickups are more natural than under saddles,if not, why would LR Baggs, the pioneer in under saddle pickups come out with the ibeam? It just makes sense. An under saddle piezo picks up the signal of the string through the saddle and right to the pickups (ie. picks up the sound of the strings and saddle, Mahogony will sound the same as rosewood, Martin will sound the same as Yamaha) With an under bridge transducer, at least the signal passes through the sound board, giving it some “wood”. Also, contact pickups sound more natural to me because you can hear the guitar “thump” if you tap or hit it in a percussive way and will also pick up more string noise than an under saddle(some people may not like that, I think that is part of a natural “mic’d” sound) As far as K&K goes: I compared this to 3 other soundboard type transducers; the ibeam, Pick Up the World, and the B-band. From other reviews I’v e read, the ibeam sounded more like an under sdaddle than the others and a little tinny. The PUTW probably would have sounded just as good as K&K, but they “had” to have a preamp (another $100.. if you bought there power plug, plus it was kind of an eye sore sticking out of the end plug like that) The B-band looked like a copy of the K&K except it only had 1 pickup (the 2nd was an extra option) whereas K& K had three pickups, one for each pair of strings. I talked with K&K and they assured me there would be no tonal loss by not using a preamp and were pretty confident when I asked them about there competitors that they were the first and the best. I got one in and will have to say that installation is not “quite” as easy as expected. To get the best possible sound, they recommend adhering the pickups with super glue directly to the soundboard inside the guitar (silicone, apparently, does not transmit the vibratrions as well as super glue and neither does 2 sided tape. Perhaps a reason why they say they sound more “warm” and “woody” than there competitors). You only get one chance, and if you don’t hit the mark the first time, you take the chance of ruining the pickup if you have to pry it off and try again I did manage to get them installed without ruining them but they weren’t exactly where they were intended to be. It doesn’t seem to have mattered because K&K said you could be off as much as a 1/4″ and still sound fine. This was another plus over the PUTW I had looked at, who said positioning was critical and you may have to reposition several times to get the best sound. When I finally got it in, I was impressed at the volume for not having a preamp. No tinniness and the bass was there just like they said. I had to turn my amp up to 2 instead of one. Although I still use the Zoom 504II (the best $80.00 I’ve ever spent on making my guitar sound better, by the way) to make it sound more natural (probably because of my amp. If I went through a PA it may sound OK as is) It did sound alot more natural than my Matrix. In fact, I went ahead (at K&K’s suggestion) and used the Fishman strapjack/preamp with the K&K and now it’s got the volume the Fishman had. As far as bang for the buck, I think that this is better than any under saddle piezo I have heard. Installation is easier than a Fishman (although I would recommend something with a little more handling time, like maybe epoxy) And a preamp really isn’t necessary to get good tone (I like it hooked to my Fishman preamp because it means I don’ have to turn my amp as high and I get less hiss from it. It doesn’t sound any better with a preamp, just louder). Like I said, it’s not a Neuman microphone but it sounds comparable to the Fishman Blender or baggs Dual source pickup/condensor mic combination systems and costs less than the Matix or RT System! In short, it’s the best pickup system I’ve heard that doesn’t cost $250+! I take off 1 point because there has got to be a better way to install it than with super glue. I understand the theory behind it and K&K has said they are working on a jig settup so you can get it on right the first time. I am really anxious to try this over the house PA at the next open mic. I would buy another one again although if I had the money I would check into the K&K trinity that uses the Pure Western with a condensor mic. I would be willing to bet it would be the ultimate pickup system out there!

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 9 

Submitted by: Mike Grimes


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 10:08, 1/13/2000

Instrument Model of guitar or bass: 1983 Takamine G330

Perceived output level:
 Compared to what I had, this pickup is the holy grail of tone for me. My old magnetic sound hole pickup was too artificial sounding for my tastes and it favored the b string above all others.
Tone: To me, the sound is very balanced. No string seems to dominate. They just seem to co-exist to the betterment of tone-kind!

Comments: If I lost this setup, I would not hesitate to replace it. I also own an electric guitar setup that I won’t go into now. I love this thing and hate nothing other than I wished I had bought one ten years ago! The only comparison I could make was to my old Dean Markley. It’s not exactly easy to “A”-“B” pickups and strings and such on the same equipment, especially since it doesn’t just pop in and out. I installed it myself following their very clear instructions. Fortunately I don’t have really big hands so reaching into the sound hole was not much of a problem. When I first tried it out in my house, I thought I might need to add some kind of an e.q. device but when I plugged in at church, I was absolutely ecstatic over the sound coming out of my Acoustasonic Jr. I want for nothing. It sounds like my guitar. What more could I want? I would recommend this to anybody. I saw their ad in the back of Acoustic Guitar magazine and checked out their web site. I emailed them and corresponde with Karla several times. It seems like a mom and pop operation, but that’s what I like about it. Just some folks making a great product out of Coos Bay, Oregon!

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value 

Submitted by: PaulR


Submitted to Guitar Notes (http://www.guitarnotes.com/)

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0

Comments: The K&K Pure Western is probably the best deal on the acoustic pickup market. It so closly captures the inherant tones of the guitar it’s placed in that it simply makes the instrument with all it’s traits louder. now, of course, this also brings into account the quality of the amplifier it’s plugged into, but, by far it has such a wonderful ability to draw from the guitars own voice that even a lesser quality amp will sound naturally acoustic. Though I’ve only had experience with the pure western, a simple, three transducer system, from this I can only imagine K&K’s other pick-ups are only more true to an acoustic sound. I requested the companies cd for a better understanding of the sound and may I say it (the cd) provides the best understanding of what to expect from the pick-up. My pure western was installed into a Taylor 410. I had it installed by a local music shop as the Taylor has no bridge pins or endjack and I wasn’t comfortable with the inside of a guitar to do it myself, but I think I would be inclined to do a retrofit for a guitar with endjack holes already in place. Back to the sound quality. It’s superb! Extremely natural and brings out the instrument it’s placed in. If it’s a big dreadnaught, it’ll sound big. I would only guess this pick-up would make a smaller (concert) guitar sound simply amazing. Imagine being miked with a high end mike and perfectly positioned in front of it- never moving from that spot and you have what this pick-up does for your sound. I’ve tried it through a variety of amplifiers and actually found it works better with a P.A. or keyboard amp than one of the acoustic amps on the market save for the trace elliot. Many of the acoustic amps available now simply expect you’ll use an under-saddle and shape their tone accordingly. For the best sound, I found a keyboard or P.A. to work just fine. They provide uncolored sound from the start. I also use a preamp, though mostly for tone shaping of the instrument seperate from the amp. This pick-up plays fine by itself, as compared to undersaddles that need the extra boost. This is a direct from manufacturer deal, so buying it sound unheard was a concern, but their cd does the sound quality of the end result justice. And they’re the nicest folks you’ll ever want to do business with. And the price, around $100. is the deal of a lifetime, once you hear what your guitar sound like plugged in. Now, feedback might be a problem in some situations, but we’re talking quality acoustic sound here, not heavy metal-unplugged. Strum, flatpick or fingerpicked, it’s natural and that’s what I’ve spent way too much money on sound hole and undersaddle pick-ups to get, only to be disappointed until now. Are you sure the rating system only goes up to 5? Ii’d give it a 10 plus.

Reviewer: Walter Noller

Post Date: 10/20/2001


Trinity Western

Submitted to Harmony Central at: 12:11, 9/23/2005Model of guitar or bass: Epiphone AJPerceived output level: It’s as hot as you’ll ever need, although the mic can feedback.
Tone: Whatever you want it to be. I found it a little bassy, so I made some adjustments to it. No hum, hiss, or anything like that.
Sonic evaluation: It will surprise you. It honestly sounds just like whatever guitar you install it in. I could hear every little nuance of my guitar on the recordings I made with it, even the things I wish were different. Still, my guitar now sounds better plugged in than a $10,000 Martin with a piezo. When I can afford a nice guitar, this system is coming out of this guitar and going into the new one. I can’t imagine the beauty. For now, this system in any cheap acoustic will sound better plugged in than a nice guitar with a factory piezo pickup installed.Comments: The preamp is nice. It allows you to split the output into a mic and a pickup channel for seperate processing if you want. Also, while I thought having the controls internal (you have to take the cover off and use a jeweler’s screwdriver to adjust the gain and EQ) would be a pain, it actually allows you to spend an hour or two recording it and setting it precisely, then forget about it. And you still have mic and pickup volume controls handy on the top. Another advantage of the external belt-pack preamp is that you can install the pickup without intruding on the guitar at all.All in all, I honestly consider this the perfect acoustic pickup system. It faithfully amplifies the tone of an acoustic guitar, it doesn’t damage the guitar on installation, it allows for tone control, and it’s completely removable. This is a major feat in acoustic amplification that shouldn’t be overlooked.On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic valueSubmitted by: Dave Cook


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 4:46, 5/31/2005

Model of guitar or bass: Taylor Big Baby

Perceived output level: Great. High output without noise. Probably double than RearEarth.
Tone: Trinity sounds great. Especially transducer. It sounds like Big Baby.That’s all I was hoping for.
Sonic evaluation: Transducer is great. Mic is not necessary especially if you have one already. I use it with K&K preamp and TLAudio 5051. Transducer thru 5051 sounds wonderful. Hot, clean signal.

Comments: Great system. Transducer best I’ve heard. Mic and preamp not necesery if you already have one. In this case save your money and buy just transducer. It’s a joke to compare it to Fishman RearEarth. RearEarth sound is shameful when you hear K&K.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: Papundek


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 16:39, 8/8/2004Model of guitar or bass: 1995 Guild D-26

Perceived output level: I played one outdoor show in a quiet venue, and the levels were perfect. Can’t wait to get it into a noisy bar!
Tone: Warm, warm, warm. There is no bassy, middy, etc. Any of this can be compensated for using the eq in the pre-amp.
Sonic evaluation: It varies – my PA uses a Yamaha AG-Stomp into a Mackie DFX-6 to a combination of JBL EON mains & Mackie 450 monitor. For solo work/very small venues replace the JBLs & 450s with a Trace Elliot TA50. Home recording is done on a Boss 1180CD (can’t wait to plug my guitar into that!). Other than that, whatever the house sound system consists of…

The sound of my Guild through my PA was unbelievably accurate. The Baggs system crapped out on the lows a lot, and I spent a lot of time trying to notch those frequencies back. The pre-amp’s eq settings are actually inside the pre-amp box, so you need to open it up to set bass, mid, treble, & gain for both sources. I set everything to the middle, since I was in a hurry – and ended up tweaking a tiny bit on the AG Stomp & the board – but sonically…a dream come true. (I expect that I’ll do some more tweaking on K&K end – but not just yet…)

Comments: If this pickup was taken (obviously along with the guitar!), I would definitely, positively, absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt buy another one.

I searched high and low for a dual source pickup system that was reasonably priced, acoustically accurate, and didn’t require cutting another big hole in my guitar. In one of the Fishman reviews on this site, I found a reference to K&K sound systems. I read the K&K reviews and then went to the K&K Sound site. The Trinity system was exactly what I was searching for.

I ordered this system online and had intended to have one of our local luthier’s install it, but I got a call to play an acoustic show on short notice. My last effort at installing a pickup in an acoustic guitar resulted in 2 trips to the “professionals” to undo the damage that I had wrought. Thus, I was understandably hesitant to wreck another instrument. However, on the day of the show, I took a deep breath, and installed the Trinity system all by my lonesome. It took about an hour from start to finish. With great trepidation, I plugged in and…

WOW!!! I couldn’t believe my ears. It was my guitar – only louder.

I received many compliments on the sound of the guitar at the show that night. The musician on the bill with me was very impressed with the warmth of the sound and the overall accuracy. (I think the Trinity system sound has made a believer out of him as well.)

I have played guitar for about 12 years now – mostly coffee shops, open mics, a few bigger venues as part of various bands, and I’ve played friends’ Martins, Gibsons, and Taylors with their Fishman systems, and those really don’t compare to the K&K Trinity sound. I have been doing some home recording recently, and believe that I am ready to step up to a more professional effort. I can’t wait to hear the sound through the Trinity system.

This is a truly superb system.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: Julie


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 15:43, 7/22/2004Model of guitar or bass: Larrivee J-10KK (all koa)

Tone: balanced
Sonic evaluation: It sounds reallllllllly good. Very little to no quack and very neutral sounding. Remarkably so and for the price it’s a steal.

Comments: I listened to sound samples on the web and to my ears this sounded the best. And now that it’s in my guitar I am truly impressed, have no regrets, and feel that nothing is missing from the amplified tone.

A phase switch on the preamp would be nice but so far I’ve not had problems with feedback at my live gigs. If it does creep up, just move or back down one of the volumes on the preamp. But I always do a soundcheck first and I don’t have any comlaints here.

I have gotten compliments on the tone.

My Martin HD-28 has a Sunrise soundhole pup and Fishman Thinline pickup. That sounds great but was far more expensive than the K&K and I think the K&K does sound more natural and uncolored.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: Jim


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 16:31, 5/6/2003

Model of guitar or bass: 1931 Martin 2 -17 “Little Sweetie”

Perceived output level: Nice balance between the transducer and the mic.
Tone: Glorious – Woody Soundstage
Sonic evaluation: I record straight out of the preamp directly into my digital recorder always 100% DRY. The electronics are very low self noise and their ingenious space saving design puts them inside the preamp case out of the way. Both transducer and mic are free from sonic signature revealing all there is to behold from this vintage Martin.

Comments: Over the years I have had the opportunity to record this guitar with many a classic microphone but frankly, I was always left wanting. The WOOD and AIR achieved in my recordings with the K & K Sound Mini Trinity Western is EXACTLY what I have been hearing in my thick Italian head all these years!

Thank you Dieter.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: David E. Moretto


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 21:16, 3/26/2004Model of guitar or bass: Collings D1S

Perceived output level: The signal is a goos standard strength
Tone: Perfect – (OK, almost perfect) clear, yet woody

Comments: This is truly the best I’ve heard – and after 30 years of playing, I’m VERY fussy. Beats Fishman Rare Earth Dual Source, beats Highlander dual source systems as well as all others I’ve heard. Damn! It sounds soooo good…. I just wanted you’all to know.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: Oregunguy


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 9:41, 7/1/2003

Model of guitar or bass: Epiphone EJ-200

Tone: Imagine Neumann Mics in a Studio
Sonic evaluation: Go to the K&K Sound web site and listen to the comparison between this system and a high end Neumann mic. Listen with good headphones. You won’t hear a difference. (Baggs did this test with its I-Beam system, having Phil Keaggy play. The Neumann on that recording sounds like the Neumann on this recording, but the I-Beam was only a pale imitation of the Neumann.)

Does it make sense to put a $300 sound system in a $400 guitar? It does if the result sounds like a $2,000 guitar and a $5,000 microphone in a studio. (Garbage in, garbage out still applies here, but many guitars have a lot more in them than you might imagine.)

The night after I installed the Online Trinity Western system, I gigged with it. The competition was a 5?? Taylor, a really wonderful 1953 Martin D-28 with spectacular unamplified sound, and a 1928 Martin 00-42. (Yes, one guy brought an $18,000 guitar to a gig!) All guitars went through the P.A. system with cheap direct boxes. The Epiphone wiped them all out. Everyone agreed that the Epiphone was the most distinctive and had the most beautiful tone, even though it was clearly the least impressive unamplified. This wasn’t due to the guitar, but the pickup system. (And I wasn’t even playing it. I play lead, so I loaned it to another guy.)

Remember the sound of Stephen Stills’ guitar on the first Crosby, Stills, and Nash album, especially that solo on “Suitte: Judy Blue Eyes”? That’s the sound of the K&K Sound Online Trinity System.

Have you heard Phil Keaggy’s highly percussive tour-de-force playing on his custom-made acoustic? That’s what the Online Trinity System sounds like: gorgeous and utterly alive.

omments: The only thing I’ve heard on the market that can match this sound is the new Expression system Taylor is using (it’s quite similar), but that isn’t available by itself. There are separate volume controls at the sound hole for the three transducer pickups (one control) and the mic. I usually use the transducer volume, setting it according to whether I’m using pick or fingers. I set the mic volume during the sound check, dialing in as much as the room will allow without feedback (sometimes that is a lot, but sometimes it’s none), then don’t touch it. Even without any mic the transducers sound great–the mic just adds that little extra.

The pre-amp controls are adjusted with a jeweler’s screwdriver. This sounds like a pain, but the thing is, once you have the tone YOU want, you can just leave it. I was very happy with the tone the way it came from the factory, actually.

Installation took me two hours. The directions were good. What took so long was that I didn’t want to place the pre-amp right on the Epiphone label. After all, it’s held in place with velcro, and the sticky stuff won’t come off the label. Here’s what I did. I had an 8′ roll of industrial strength 2″ wide velcro near at hand, so I used that. Picture the label, centered between two braces that are four inches apart. I put a 2″ piece of velcro on each of these braces and flowed it onto the guitar back on the side of the braces away from the label. Then I took a 9″ piece of this 2″ wide velcro, took off the protective paper, and plopped the 2″ square pre-amp right in the middle. Then I folded over each end so it covered what was left of the sticky stuff. So picture a 2″ pre-amp with about 1 1/2″ of furry velcro sticking out from two sides. I simply pressed this velcro onto the velcro on the braces and guitar back. The pre-amp, thus, sits on a little velcro hammock 1/2″ above the label.

Am I satisfied with this pickup or still searching for THAT sound? The search is over. I wanted that incredible, warm, rich, percussive, resonant, very-expensive-microphone sound, and now I have it. Search over. All done. I don’t think it could possibly be better. I’m off the market.

If you aren’t completely satisfied with the pickup in your acoustic, rip it out and put in this system. It’s much cheaper than buying a more expensive guitar and still not having that special tone because the pickup isn’t up to it.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: Ed Christian


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 22:17, 9/25/2002Model of guitar or bass: Larrivee D03

Perceived output level: Output is more than suffient
Tone: The tone is the best I have heard

Comments: First off the question about if it were stolen would I buy another. Well my guitar was not stolen but I did buy another! Actually I bought a second guitar for alternate tunings live and I am installing the K&K in my second guitar like my primary guitar. After reading the glowing reviews on this website I bought my first K&K system without ever seeing or hearing it. ( They did send my a pretty impressive Demo CD) I had nothing to compare it to. Now that I have used the K&K and while I cannot find anything that sounds better. I was ready to buy a Taylor,even though I am not a fan of their acoustic sound I though the electronics should sound good. Well was I wrong! The Taylor(although louder without feedback) simple sounded like and Ovation and all the other Quacky under saddle pickups. I was spoiled and realized I has the best system. So I bought another Larrivee and ordered another K&K Trinity Western system. OK it does sound great but there are a few things. First, the preamp needs more eq especially the mic side. All it has it bass and treble. Although there is a mid eq on the pickup side there is no notch filter or selectable mid range. This is the reason I have added 2 parametrics EQs to my system and yes it is a pain to haul them but I could not live without them. Next, the jacks on the preamp do not hold cables because they are missing the notch on the insert to hold them properly. This is a pain also. It makes wearing the preamp impossible. Next, any mic system is going to feedback and this is no exception. I found the best placement of a mic when recording acoustic guitar is at the 14 fret. Placing a mic inside a guitar is problematic to say the least. I have found the best place for the internal mic is external. What I have done is mount the vecro at the base of the neck and point the mic up out of the guitar as close to the bottom of the fretboard as you can get without touching it. The mic should just clear the soundhole and point to the strings at an angle. I use the cable tie to secure the gooseneck to the underside of the edge of the soundhole. That keeps the mic from bouncing. Lastly be forewarned. The installation is not for the faint of heart. If you have any doubts find a good luthier. K&K provides and easier stick on sheet to attach the pickups but you loose up to 30% of the sound. The best way is to superglue the 3 contact pickups under the bridge on the inside on the guitar looking thought the peg holes into a mirror inside the guitar with a light. Its a little awakward and the superglue does not allow much screw up time. Also if you make a mistake or want to remove it well…. The upside is it does sound better than any other system I have heard. It does the best job in capturing the natural string sound and resonant wood quality of my guitar without the sharpness and ugly sound of many other systems.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: Brooks Reid


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 14:41, 7/23/2002Model of guitar or bass: Lowden O 10

Tone: Wonderful woody and balanced

Comments: This system is absolutely amazing. The pickup itself sounds so good and true, it’s unbelievable. And the mic does ad some extra air to the sound. Installation was a little different than described in K&K’s manual due to Lowden’s pinless bridge. After calling K&K, I got some helpful advice. They recommended to temporarily stick a piece of an old low e-string through the left pre-dilled hole in the saddle slot (my guitar has two factory predrilled holes for eventual undersaddle pickup installation). Like this I got a perfect guide for the installation of the bass pickup. Then I glued the other two pickups right next to it. I did go with the direct-to-wood installation. It turned out to be very easy. K&K also recommended a special mic placement and installing the mic was a snap. When I first plugged in the system, I thought WOW — amazing – this sounds terrific! After playing around for a while I adjusted the dual channel preamp a little bit to perfectly balance mic and pickup. I get very good volume before feedback but most important I get the tone I always dreamed of. I recommend this system to any acoustic guitar player, it doesn’t get any better than this. A perfect 10!

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: Les Knave


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 10:28, 7/15/2002

Model of guitar or bass: Martin 00-18

Perceived output level: it is very high output with the preamp, adjustable to whatever your needs are
Tone: Very balanced, as you can adjust the e.q. and dial in the sound, i found it very accurate

Comments: I would definately get another one of these systems, the fact that you get the preamp, cord and pickup system for the price charged, i am blown away, the preamp is so clean that i never use my Rane anymore, very good job k&k

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: andrew


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 13:22, 6/9/2002Perceived output level: Very high output from Trinity transducers (you can use them direct w/o a preamp)
Tone: Very well balanced and clear. Reproduces the natural acoustic sound of my guitar

Comments: This is the pickup I’ve been waiting for. I tried almost everything on the market and for my money, the Trinity system is the best sound and best value available anywhere!

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 9:25, 4/7/2004

Model of guitar or bass: Guild F50 Jumbo

Perceived output level: normal from preamp output
Tone: Balanced and natural after adjustment.

Comments: This is a great combo pickup, but be warned. You MUST adjust the internal tone pots to match the guitar it is installed on. The middle setting of these pots was way too much midrange on my guitar. After adjustment, it is the most natural sounding pickup I have heard, better than the Fishman Matrix or others.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 9


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 14:47, 7/30/2003

Model of guitar or bass: ‘Prototype’ J-200T Gibson 12 string

Perceived output level: Whether through a PA or an acoustic amp the warm lows and ability to capture the high jangles the pick-up performs remarkedly well.
Tone: The tone can be balanced by the products pre-amp (fits on belt) knob adjustments between the transducers and the microphone picups.

Comments: Just bought the system and would replace it in a heart beat. Been strumming since I got my first guitar (an Alamo) in 1957. I have a dozen collectables that don’t get much attention any more. The clarity and absolute acoustic purity knocks me out. There is some feedback from the goose neck mini-mic which I suppose is to be expected but that can be controlled by the dial on the preamp.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: John


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 9:24, 8/13/2002

Model of guitar or bass: James goodall grand concert

Perceived output level: IT is very crisp and the adjustable preamp gives you plenty of spunk if you need it.
Tone: The preamp is completely adjustable and can be dialed in to create the guitars tone
Sonic evaluation: I plugged the pickup in passively without the preamp, i recorded it and then listened to the recordings i made with the I-beam. My god there is no comparison. Hook up the preamp dial the mic in at about 20% and the thing shimmers. It sounds better than a mic because it is a part of the guitar. It Rules!!!!!!

Comments: I would not like to see it get stolen then my goodall would be gone too. It beats, hands down, any pickup i have ever heard or had the misfortune of buying and then finding out it was a piece of shit. I would reccomend this pickup to anyone wanting a pickup that will accurately represent their guitar.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: clarence Jorgensen


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 16:12, 5/22/2002

Model of guitar or bass: Martin D-15

Perceived output level: Strong output with the preamp. Gain is adjustable for the mic channel and the transducer channel. I have run the tranducers passively and output was acceptable and this can be used easily without the preamp.
Tone: I think the tone is great. No quack. Treble and bass are adjustable on the mic channel and treble, middle and bass are adjustable for the tranducer channel in the preamp. I tweaked the settings for my guitar and I think it sounds like my guitar. It is very natural. I doubt you will be satsified with the sound until you set it up for your guitar and equipment. I cut the bass completely on the mic channel to avoid feedback and reduce boominess. The mic channel adds a nice airiness to the sound.

Comments: I have been playing for 34 years. I am very satisfied with this system and highly recommend it. I am really surprised that more pros are not using this system. I was afraid feedback would be a problem with the mic, but it has not been so far (although I am not playing at ultra high volumes either). My only concern about this system is that the preamp gain and tone controls are trim pots inside the preamp. I think it would have been nice to be able to have sliders or knobs available to set these on the fly. There are volume controls for each channel however. In all fairness it does seem to work well to set them and forget them. The equalization can be done on the PA board or on the amp. I chose this product after considering several options. I definitely wanted a two source system with one channel being a condenser mic. I ruled out all the under saddle systems because I hate that sound. I considered systems that used magnetic pickups. However, I really did want anything in the sound hole. Other than installing the jack, the guitar looks unaltered. I think this is a great system and it should be looked at seriously. The one I bought had a slight flaw and was sold on eBay. Slight is the word – almost not noticable. (A tranducer was slightly misshapenned). It is a pricey system so I give it an overall rating of 9, but for the price I got it for I give it a 10.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 9

Submitted by: David Shade


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 14:18, 9/5/2001

Instrument Model of guitar or bass: Gibson J-100

Perceived output level: Comes with variable gain preamp. Very hot if needed.
Tone: Natural. Depends on what your guitar sounds like.
Sonic evaluation: I was always of the opinion that acoustic pickups were a necessary evil. I play a Gibson jumbo and with the Deuncan Sadducer in it, it sounded OK, but a $200 guitar with the same pickup would have sounded the same. This rig brings out all of the character of the instrument. Nice round lows and low mid, crisp highs and the mic does a great job of filling in the “wood.” It really brings out the open tone of the guitar.

Comments
: I have heard at least a dozen different acoustics through our house. Baggs loaded Martins, Fishman stuff, Taylors, Tacomas just to name a few. I stand on this Trinity as being the most natural sounding of all. It is also one of the most affordable duel source rigs out there.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: Charles


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 20:11, 7/27/2001

Instrument Model of guitar or bass: 1954 Martin D-18 Acoutic

Reason for pickup change: Wanted something of much higher quality and much more versatility — And did this thing ever deliver the goods — Incredible. I would recommend that all premium acoustic guitar manufacturers stop applying such vastly inferior onboard amplification systems on such nicely crafted guitars and contract with K&K sound for their amplification systems.

Perceived output level: Since this trinity system comes with a very nice preamp, which can be used for acheiving a blend of either pickup, or e.q. for either channel output is virtually limitless
Tone: Their preamp allows you to shape the equalization of either pickup. So you can dial in a very sparkly high to very warm tone or anything in between.
Sonic evaluation: This thing works well direct into a board, into any acoustic amp I’ve tried. I happen to own a Trace Elliot Cube amp, but I’ve even tried it through various fender guitar and boutique amps, not really suitable for acoustic amplification, and this still replicated the acoustic sound without any problem. Seriously folks, if you don’t already have an onboard system in your acoustic guitar, or simply perceive that an improvement could be had, look no further. This is the holy-grail — the mother of all acoustic pickup systems. I nearly crapped my pants when I heard it. And believe me I’ve heard plenty of acoustic pickup systems in my day.

Comments
: If it were stolen, I’d buy another one within 5 minutes of finding out it was gone. Unfortunately, my 1954 Martin D-18 would probably be gone right along with it. I’ve been playing 25 years. My list of guitar gear is too long to mention without boring someone. I compared it to about 70% of the most popular acoustic amplification products reviewed on this HC site. This includes comparisons to Taylor’s systems, etc. By the way, their technical support is unreal! My Luthier had a couple of installation questions that were handled promptly and with great technical apptitude, courtesy of K&K sounds technical engineer. I don’t hand out 10s very easily. In fact if I could, I would give this thing an 11 — one louder!

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: Oscar Hidalgo


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 12:32, 10/9/2001

Instrument Model of guitar or bass: Tacoma Road King

Perceived output level: not bad passively, but always use it with the pre amp and is delightful
Tone: I could hardly believe it when i heard it. It was exact, i mean exact to the guitar.

Comments: I tried all the fishman stuff as well as L.R. baggs new pickup, this was not only the best sounding but the least intrusive and no one came close to the price to feature ratio.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: vincent murro


Submitted to Harmony Central at: 13:49, 8/24/2001

Instrument Model of guitar or bass: Webber Om, Gibson L130, Tacoma Pm20 and Larrivee Om

Perceived output level
: When used passively, it is not as loud as the active pickups but one more notch on the board volume and viola.
Tone: Completely natural, sounds as close to the guitar it’s in as anything i have ever heard

Comments: I will always use these pickups, i have used the rest and what a waste of time and money it has been. I have been playing for 23 years. I love the accurate representation it gives me, either passively or through the preamp.I have listened to the other pickups as i usually play the NAMM shows, These companies are trying to put a new spin on Dieters Technology. K&K’s are the best.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value

Submitted by: Carl Tosten

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