K&K Sound Pure Pickup for Acoustic Bass Guitar

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by Robert Spencer, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. I am hoping to get information about using the K&K pure sound bass pickup system on my Hohner AEB- 40. The sound i get from it now using tapewounds & Wedgies rubber picks is good and sounds acoustic but I want more uniformity from string to string & note to note.
    Anyone having used this system is welcome to comment here about it. Thanks & take care. Bob
  2. Gintaras


    Dec 11, 2004
    Kent Island, Md.
    i had a set in an Epiphone el Capitan. Used it with an external K&K preamp. IMO...Big improvement and much more of a natural acoustic sound.
  3. Thanks Gintaras, What is the preamps job & where is it placed?
    I think the ElCap basses are really nice. I bet it was a nice set up that way. Take care. Bob
  4. Gintaras


    Dec 11, 2004
    Kent Island, Md.
    Its basically the tone controls for the K&K pickup. it is an external box and can be clipped on your belt On my bass the pickups were wired directly to the jack and from there I had a short cord to the preamp and then to the amp.
  5. So by running from bass to preamp then to amp you can still use the onboard EQ and have a blend of the two (onboard EQ & K&K Preamp)? Thanks & take care. Bob
  6. Gintaras


    Dec 11, 2004
    Kent Island, Md.
    No, I bypassed the onboard eq and had the k&K wired directly to the jack. The onboard remained there just to fill the hole. Not sure if the K&K will work with the onboard. You should send and email to K&K to get the answer.
  7. Seems like in that case you could have used two seperate input cables, (one from each jack ) to an amp with two chanels to get stereo output. I`ll contact Bob Gollihur for more info. You told me what I wanted to know ( that they provide a natural acoustic sound). Thanks again . Bob
  8. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    how well-behaved was the system at louder volumes?

    i like the idea of being able to get away from that typical stringy, almost piano-y sound of under-saddle pickups on ABGs for something that sounds more "acoustic".
  9. AnchorHoy


    Dec 29, 2008
    New Jersey
    There's a bit more to it than that......

    Using an active preamp with the K&K pups (there's actually three separate passive transducers wired together into one output) can sometimes give a dramatic improvement on your tone, depending on the instrument. While the pickup by itself is often powerful enough to drive a high-impedance input directly - if you use a guitar cable no longer than 10' - , using a preamp paid off very well with my flat-top 6-string: much more sensitive dynamics ("touch sensitivity"), and the already good tone was noticeably better

    This is the lowest-cost option. IME moving up to the Pure XLR preamp is well worth the extra ~$50 for a couple of reasons:

    1 - One of your output options with the Pure XLR is to use the preamp as an active DI, sending a nice clean low-impedance signal directly to PA mixing board. This can be very useful whenever you play a venue that has PA support. You also have the option of running it on phantom power - a potential life saver if you don't carry spare batteries in your gig bag

    2 - The high-impedance output is still useable even if you send the board a LoZ signal through the DI jack, thus you still have the option of using an onstage amp of some kind for a personal moniter that is completely under your control. This can sometimes be the best of both worlds: the FOH engineer has total control over how you sound in the mains and you have total control over what you hear onstage

    3 - The Pure XLR has a phase reverse switch that occasionally comes in very handy. Phase cancellation is something better explained by more knowledgeable folks than me, but suffice it to say that if it is happening, you're not going to like what you hear. The advantage to the Pure XLR is that the remedy literally takes about two seconds, plus A/B comparisons are just as quick and easy

    4 - For my 2¢ worth, the very compact K&K Pure belt-pack preamp seems like a good idea but doesn't work out as well in practice as you might think

    First off, the control knobs are tiny and can be very hard to see and use quickly and effectively - especially onstage

    Secondly, having the thing hanging off your belt means that the output jack on the unit is pointed straight down, and thus presents the constant danger of your guitar cord pulling out at a Very inconvenient time. Go ahead, ask me how I know this......

    Having spent quite a bit of time using both onstage, IME the added benefits of the Pure XLR over the belt-pack version more than make up for the higher price. Finding a good place for the thing onstage isn't as big a hassle as it would seem at first, the output and control options are a definite improvement, and having human-sized controls with labels that can be read at a distance is a big plus

    FWIW Shoreline Music has the best prices I've ever found on K&K gear, hands down - the prices you see on the catalog pages of their website are shipped within the Lower 48 states. I'm a repeat customer and have been consistently impressed with both their prices and service
  10. AnchorHoy


    Dec 29, 2008
    New Jersey
    Better than you might expect for a soundboard transducer on a large acoustic box. If the moniters are really loud and aimed directly at the soundboard, it's gonna feed back.... OTOH if the moniters are at a reasonable level, it's workable. I've found that simply backing off a foot or two can often make a big difference. Standing off-axis from the moniters also helps a lot

    Note that all of the above is based on a completely open box with no soundhole plug. A soundhole cover will help out but will also affect the tone of the instrument in ways that I'd don't care for. YMMV

    This is where the K&K really shines. I've never heard an under-saddle piezo pickup that could even touch it. Frequency response is Much broader than an under-saddle piezo, with the difference being especially noticeable in the lows and low-mids. In my application (OM sized 6-string) I actually need to roll off a bit of low end to bring everything into balance

    Also, if the input gain on the preamp is set correctly the thing will absolutely positively not "quack" no matter how hard you hit the strings

    IME the rave reviews are absolutely justified. It really is "your instrument, only bigger", the only caveat being that transducer positioning can be critical for best results. It may be worth your while to do a couple of different trial placements with double-sided tape before nailing down the transducers for good with the superglue gel. I happened to get excellent results (on a 6-string, mind you....) by following the company recommendations exactly, but others have reported needing to compensate for somewhat weak highs by shifting the treble-side transducer slightly. This seems to be more of an issue with dreadnought bodies than it is with something smaller like my OM
  11. Thanks AnchorHoy for great first hand information. Take care. Bob
  12. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I ran the pure system in a CB-10. Liked it a bunch. I used the Fishman Pro Platinum DI as my pre. I also used feedback busters at higher stage volume. Something i consider essential with ABG.

    Tonally the pure was that. Really liked it a lot. If it had been fretless, I'd have hung onto it. Even so I gigged it a ton.
  13. 4Mal can the Pure Sound PUs be wired into the onboard preamp to use in combination, saving the cost of K&K pre? My bass is a Hohner HAB-40 w/ what I think is a Fishman EQ. Thanks & take care. Bob
  14. I`m bumping this thraed as an update. I said previosly that I would report back with results. I did buy the JJB bass pickups & installed them. As hoped the sound they produce is not only more natural and acoustic but more even from string to string & from frert to fret. The down side is a loss of volume which is too great to tolerate. That the sound itself is improved is encouraging so I am now considering a preamp to regain the loss of volume I am experiencing.
    At the time of purchase the manufacterer suggested that I would not need a preamp but that is obviously not the case. So I am inquiring here about a pre. Here is one suggested for an acoustic bass & from a manufacturer that I trust. Anyone care to give an opinion as to the degree of volume to be gained by using it. As it is now I have to run my amp in a high feedback range to get an acceptable volume which in itself is not acceptable. I have no experience with a preamp at all. Any opinions will be appreciated. Thanks & take care. Bob