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Acoustic Pickup help...

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GUEST,Lane 16 Feb 01 - 11:05 AM
Justa Picker 16 Feb 01 - 11:11 AM
catspaw49 16 Feb 01 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Lane 16 Feb 01 - 11:59 AM
Justa Picker 16 Feb 01 - 12:26 PM
catspaw49 16 Feb 01 - 12:27 PM
Rick Fielding 16 Feb 01 - 12:54 PM
GUEST,Lane 16 Feb 01 - 12:55 PM
Justa Picker 16 Feb 01 - 01:31 PM
catspaw49 16 Feb 01 - 01:45 PM
Justa Picker 16 Feb 01 - 01:58 PM
UB Ed 16 Feb 01 - 02:04 PM
Lane 16 Feb 01 - 06:46 PM
Musicman 16 Feb 01 - 08:36 PM
Big Mick 16 Feb 01 - 08:59 PM
Justa Picker 16 Feb 01 - 09:09 PM
Big Mick 16 Feb 01 - 09:16 PM
GUEST,CraigS 16 Feb 01 - 09:32 PM
Lane 16 Feb 01 - 11:04 PM
catspaw49 16 Feb 01 - 11:18 PM
GUEST,Lane 16 Feb 01 - 11:21 PM
catspaw49 16 Feb 01 - 11:27 PM
GUEST,Lane 17 Feb 01 - 12:08 AM
Justa Picker 17 Feb 01 - 12:26 AM
catspaw49 17 Feb 01 - 12:35 AM
Lane 17 Feb 01 - 12:36 AM
catspaw49 17 Feb 01 - 12:40 AM
Justa Picker 17 Feb 01 - 12:42 AM
Lane 17 Feb 01 - 12:55 AM
Chris/Darwin 17 Feb 01 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,DonMeixner 17 Feb 01 - 07:55 AM
Mooh 17 Feb 01 - 08:30 AM
Lane 17 Feb 01 - 11:11 AM
Musicman 17 Feb 01 - 12:40 PM
Lane 17 Feb 01 - 01:18 PM
Lane 18 Feb 01 - 12:26 PM
Rick Fielding 18 Feb 01 - 01:15 PM
wildlone 02 Mar 01 - 01:57 PM
wildlone 02 Mar 01 - 02:02 PM
UB Ed 02 Mar 01 - 04:07 PM
cowboypoet 02 Mar 01 - 04:40 PM
Lane 03 Mar 01 - 01:32 AM
GUEST,cariboumark 03 Mar 01 - 01:25 PM
Lane 03 Mar 01 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,Sammy Hagar 03 Mar 01 - 04:56 PM
Lane 08 Mar 01 - 09:14 AM
JedMarum 08 Mar 01 - 11:46 AM
Rick Fielding 08 Mar 01 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,Carol's Friend Don 08 Mar 01 - 06:01 PM
JedMarum 09 Mar 01 - 10:38 AM
Rick Fielding 09 Mar 01 - 11:07 AM
GUEST,Rhythm Man 09 Mar 01 - 10:13 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 09 Mar 01 - 10:38 PM
Lane 10 Mar 01 - 12:12 AM
GUEST,cariboumark 13 Mar 01 - 06:48 PM
Whistle Stop 14 Mar 01 - 08:37 AM
Big Mick 14 Mar 01 - 09:19 AM
JedMarum 14 Mar 01 - 09:47 AM
GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C) 20 Nov 02 - 06:57 AM
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Subject: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: GUEST,Lane
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 11:05 AM

I have a Gold Plus Thinline pickup, still in the box and am considering installing it in my Martin. I've been told that their sound is not good because its picked up directly from under the saddle... then, again Martin says that they sound good.... what's the scoop?

Anyone have experience with installing these?

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Justa Picker
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 11:11 AM

I have one in my Martin. ..but it came factory installed. To me ears, it sounds totally un-natural and makes my D series instrument sound like an archtop when patched directly into the mixer (which in a sense is good when I want that sound when recording) but it gives the instrument a total "electrified" sound when put through a p.a.

In any event, here is a walk-through on installing the pickup.


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: catspaw49
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 11:13 AM

They have gotten generally bad reviews here......JP just gave one and HERE is another.

There are better options.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: GUEST,Lane
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 11:59 AM

Thank you..... that seems to be consistent with what I have been told elsewhere....

I'm only looking at using this for recording, not PA.... so what are the "other options" mentioned?

Should I just break down and get a good mic or????

Lane


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Justa Picker
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 12:26 PM

Yes....break down and get a good condensor mic for recording. It's the best way to go.


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: catspaw49
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 12:27 PM

Lane, we'll keep this one alive for you to get reponse from some of our "recording artsts" around here, but a good sound man and is a "Shure" bet. (bad pun) There are a few pickups that have come up that some are very fond of, so we'll let those people check in here if they wish.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 12:54 PM

Hi Lane. Martin pretty well HAS to say they're good, don't they?

Justa Picker is ABSOLUTELY and UNEQUIVICALLY CORRECT.

The very best pickup in the world still doesn't amplify accurately the sound of YOUR guitar. I find that the "Pick Up your World" sensors work fine for banjo and mandolin, but the resonance of a fine guitar is really hard to replicate at a higher volume.

I use the Fishman Rare Earth pick-up (when absolutely neccessary) and so do many other pros, but gimme a good mike and an "acoustic-friendly" sound person anytime.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: GUEST,Lane
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 12:55 PM

Is there a condenser mike that's affordable on my limited budget? I dont want/need studio quality stuff, I'm just a home recorder that wants to get something half way decent without breaking the bank... whether it's a pickup or a mic.....and I'd like to capture at least a good part of the fine sound of my Martin...... do I want too much? :)

Lane


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Justa Picker
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 01:31 PM

AKG C1000S - around $150.00 (U.S.)


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: catspaw49
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 01:45 PM

I've still had good luck with the old Shure 57. On a Hammered Dulcimer, playing outdoors through a PA, its still the best thing I've heard and it still works pretty well on guitar and in a recording setting. They can be had real cheap.....less than a hundred, US.

I think JP has a great option and his knowledge and Rick's on this subject is damn good.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Justa Picker
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 01:58 PM

The best set up I have found for recording acoustic guitar is the use of 2 mics. I use the C1000s and position it (on a mic stand with boom) arced over the guitar, so that the mic is practically pointing straight down, positioned about 10-12 inches from the guitar neck and directed at the area around the 18th fret. (You definitely want to keep it away from the sound hole as you'll pick up all kinds of unwanted overtones, and bassy boominess.) The C1000s captures all the immediate tone and clarity of the attack as well as the subtleties of the dynamics in your playing.

Then with a Shure SM-58 (or SM-57...I use a 58), you position it about 2-3 feet in front of the guitar to catch all the other ambient tone. Blend both of these signals in stereo, add a touch of reverb, and your recordings will sound as good as anything Leo Kotke puts out. Mind you, I'm a fanatic about this sort of thing. Others may find acceptable results to their ears, with much less.


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: UB Ed
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 02:04 PM

Lane, as a guest you may not be aware of the search features in the Cat. From the main page enter "pickup" into the search field. That should generate multiple hits from previos discussions on the subject (although I can't find my thread any longer!). I only suggest this if you really want to dive deep.

After deciding on my most recent guitar, I'm now going through the best pickup debate. I need to move around when I play (to get out of the way of the boudhron player)so a mike is not an option. This is what I think I've learned so far:

1. Currently a pickup doesn't exist that faithfully and accurately captures the natural acoustic sound. Those that concerned about this generally will mike the instrument (SM57)

2. Combo piezo/condensor mikes offer versatility. Potential downside is Banshee screaming feedback when playing live. Apparently piezo predominantly used for live and condensor predominantly used for recording.

3. The best pickup in the world will sound poor through a poor sound system.

4. Keep it SIMPLE. I can't see myself taking up two PA channels for one guitar and the EQ needed for live condensor mike

5. Everybody's ear is different. I currently have Martin Thinlines in both my Martins and they sound pretty good. I am fortunate in being able to play through a Mackie.

Lane, good luck to ya. IMHO sounds like you're gonna wind up with Spaw's 57.


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Lane
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 06:46 PM

You folks are being so helpfull - thanks! I agree that it looks more like I'd be dollars ahead as well as acoustically better off to spring for a mic - I have looked at the SM57 before and, knowing little about mics, that looks like a good option for me. Is it worth a little more for the AKG C1000S mentioned or something else like that? I'm recording on a Fostex 4 track, nothing fancy, and just trying to do vocals and guitar....

Thanks, once again... much appreciated! Lane


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Musicman
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 08:36 PM

i have sm57, 58 and AKGc1000s.

i have used both the 57 and 58 in live and (modest) recording sessions and the 1000 in recording sessions... (modest, in my home....)

The 1000 is far superior to the others for the pickup area and gives a great response without having to be so close to the instrument....

If your buying one mic for this purpose only, i would recommend the AKG over the Shure.

just my $.02 worth....

musicman....


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Big Mick
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 08:59 PM

Lane, (love that friggin' name!!!!!) for what you are attempting to accomplish, you would be well served with the SM-57 recommended by several already. For about a $100.00 you will be able to record on your Fostex just fine. Justa Picker is right on the mark (I have enjoyed this person's postings since the first minute they showed up on the Cat) for high end recording. But that is not what I hear you saying. I hear you saying that you are a person new to this and you have a Fostex 4 track and want to experiment and make recordings good enough to play for friends. In other words, you are just entering into this. Pick up an SM-57, you will be able to use it for live performance as well to mic your instrument.

Oh........yeah............and get ready to start spending money. Cuz once you start down this road, you will want more.

All the best,

Big Mick Lane


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Justa Picker
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 09:09 PM

Lane,
Big Mick is of course right as well. I've owned a 4 track Fostex in the past, and you can make very decent home recordings on it. The SM 57 will get the job done for you.

If you want that additional clarity and "spark" (that only myself, a few other guitar nerds, and some canine species can hear) then spend a few bucks more and get a condensor. It will make whatever you record sound a tad better.

If you send me a Personal Message (see the drop down box at the top of this page) with an e-mail address, I'll send you an MP3 of a fairly short solo acoustic recording I did using the method I described previously, recorded from my home studio.

Thanks for the compliment Mick. Much obliged.


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Big Mick
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 09:16 PM

You are welcome..........ain't nuttin' but the truth.


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: GUEST,CraigS
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 09:32 PM

At risk of being called conceited, I would propose that ribbon mics are best for recording guitar. The reason is that, close up to the sound source, they give more presence due to a difference in response over coil mics. My favourite is a Beyer M260, but it's historic. About twenty years ago there was a specific condenser mic for guitar which had a sort of rubber tripod to stick it to the front. I think it was made by Kelsey. I thought at the time the man tried to sell me one that it was too clumsy for stage work, but might be good for recording.


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Lane
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 11:04 PM

OK... so I think you folk have me convinced to go to a mic and bag the pickup idea....now, I'm watching for a c100s (e-bay et al) but it sounds like a SM57 will do me fine... now, I see lots of SM58s out there, but not many 57's.... is there a big difference?

Any other ideas on how to do adequate recording will be apprecitated.....

Thanks so much, eveyone, for your help! Lane


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: catspaw49
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 11:18 PM

The 58 is a slightly better and better looking mic, very similar in performance, but the 58 is benerally considered better on vocals..........Good prices HERE. Great prices HERE (This site may have some info too)

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: GUEST,Lane
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 11:21 PM

Catspaw.... your last message... did you mean to say that the 57 was slightly better? Or the 58?? I think there was a little typo there... not that I've ever typo'd!

Lane


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: catspaw49
Date: 16 Feb 01 - 11:27 PM

Typo? Me? BENERALLY is a word isn't it?

No Lane, I think the 58 is a better mic to a small degree, but it is generally (got it right) better on vocals, although it is used by some on instruments. The 57 is pretty much the "standard" instrument mic......may not be the best word, but everyone uses them still. A great string mic......like I said, Hammered Dulcimer is tough to pick up properly because of the harmonics and overtones and it works very well on them.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: GUEST,Lane
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 12:08 AM

OK, got it, Spaw.... sounds like we're getting down to thin hairs... I want to record both my Martin, and vocals, but each on its own track...... I'm gathering that either would work well for that, with the 58 being somewhat better.....

I can imagine that a Hammer Dulcimer would be real tough to record.... if it works for that it should work for my little six string!

Lane


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Justa Picker
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 12:26 AM

The SM-58 is considered by most musicians to be the defacto standard for live vocals. It is also omni-directional, which means it can pick up sound from multiple directions instead of just straight on. It has a bassier sound (which some might call "warmer") and that is apparent when you also record with it. More often than not, if used in a live or a recording situation, you'll be rolling off some of the bottom end of your voice on the board and perhaps boosting the mids and the highs a bit to compensate. It is a very smooth sounding microphone, hence the vocal appeal.

With instruments, in this case a guitar, the recorded bottom end will be more pronounced whether live or for recording. If you are using a dreadnaught sized guitar you'll likely want to limit the bass response from a microphone (since the dreadnaught itself should provide ample bass) and hence the reason for using a 58 as an ambient microphone rather than for close-up mic-ing.

The 57 on the other hand is a more uni-directional microphone and has a stronger detection of midrange and higher frequencies (than bass) which is why you often see it used with bands mic-ing instruments like drums, cymbals, saxophones, acoustic guitars. It adds very little bass "coloring" to the overall sound, and enhances the sounds of midrange and trebley sounding instruments. Both the 57 and 58 are virtually indestructable as well, hence their popularity.

If you don't want to spring for a condensor, then the 57 would be your best bet - for now.

But, if you dig the sound of what you start recording, and figure down the road you might want to hear even better and truer quality recordings, you'll end up buying a condensor anyway and will have spent twice on microphones. A decent condensor will yield a truer, more accurate representation of the sound of the instrument (or your voice) WITHOUT adding the additional "coloring" that a 57 or 58 might. In the long run, for the extra 40 or 50 dollars it might cost you, the condensor makes more sense, provided your pocket book can handle it.


And Mick is right. Once you start down this road, it will never end. You'll be constantly broke or squeezed for cash, and loving every minute of it. (You will learn to love Kraft Dinner and peanut butter sandwiches and wear the same clothes in your closet for years.)


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 12:35 AM

Great info JP............I like the 57, but I'm not in the recording end, except occasionally, and the main instrument I get concerned about is the Hammered.

The best point JP made is one I like to think through on a lot of things and that's figuring "down the road." If a few bucks now is critical, as it often is around here, then I do what i have to do. But if I can spring whatever extra is needed for something that will do me a better job "down the road," then that's the way I try to go. Think hard on that before you buy Lane. To me, that's the best advice we can give you.........mics, guitars, household appliances, whatever.........try to think what you have and where you may be going. If I can afford it, I prefer to overbuy.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Lane
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 12:36 AM

Hell, I'm already doing the Kraft Mac and chesse and Peanut Butter thing.... and quite happy with it! So, yeah, getting the right mic may be a greater priority, right? Jeez... you've got me worried, though.. am I headed for yet another addiction? Fly fishing has been a serious one, then buying this Martin got me "re-hooked" on acoustic music... and now this? What will I do?????

Anyway... I'm shopping the Shures and leaning toward the 58, but I'm also watching for a deal on a c1000s... Spaw's links for prices were great... new prices at what they're going for used on e-bay... but I didnt see the condensers there.... I'll keep looking.

BTW...I'm new to Mudcat, but I have to say, you are the most responsive and helpful folks on this stuff... .THANK YOU! Lane


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 12:40 AM

Ya' know, if you add a bit of honey the peanut butter goes a lot further.....(:<))

We'll get you into G.A.S. too............That's Guitar Acquisition Syndrome. I think JP has it REAL BAD.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Justa Picker
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 12:42 AM

Spare the rod and pick us a reel!


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Lane
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 12:55 AM

GAS, I'm coming to understand... I only have three though.. does that qualify me as a patient?

Justa... it took me a while... but I get it now... "spare the rod and pick us a reel".... VERY GOOD! Lane


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Chris/Darwin
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 06:32 AM

I have had a Martin Slimline in my guitar for ever - running through a Passac preamp, which is tuned to the body resonance of the guitar. The net effect of this is to produce a very natural sound for a bridge pickup, with very few problems with feedback. A number of sound technicians have told me it is the best sounding pickup they have ever heard in a guitar.

However, no pickup sounds the same as the acoustic sound you get sitting in front of the guitar. You can only capture that with a good instrument mike. You need something with a flat response down to the bass resonance of the instrument, plus a clean flat midrange and top end. I have used a Beyer M800 for recording, and it is good.

Voice mikes are a good choice for live performances, because they have fewer feedback problems than instrument mikes. However, all mikes have feedback problems on stage. Sound reflects off the front of the instrument, causing high frequency peaks, and the resonance of the body is amplified.

The Beyer is OK for stage performances, but it has good bass response, and this can be a major disadvantage in the feedback department. Cnsequently, I always rely on the Slimline.

Regards
Chris


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 07:55 AM

I was wondering if we had left a quality preamp out of this discussion. Chris/Darwin seems to be the first mention of a preamp. If we are using a piezo pickup or any transducer type equipment I was under the impression that a preamp was a requirement, no matter how much equalization your board has. And the archtop sound would be the result without one.

My Guild F-30 has a Fishman on board and I use a Barcus Barry pre amp. Pretty minimal but OK. I use the same rig on my Banjo and it is just plain flukey, sometimes great, sometimes truly dreadful.

AS to the microphones, add me to the Shure list of appreciative users.

Don


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Mooh
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 08:30 AM

I have grown to dislike saddle pickups of all kinds. The only one I found acceptable was a Baggs in my Godin semi-acoustic electric fretless bass which was always heavily preamped. The combination of factors like fretless/bass/semi-acoustic/etc made it a very different animal than normal acoustic guitar applications.

The installation (look for frets.com for installation tips) is critical. A clean and flat saddle slot, saddle bottom profile, and an absolutely unmarred transducer are a good start. Nonetheless, without a preamp, preferrably a very good one, a saddle pickup will sound lousy to my ears.

The only place I like piezos of any kind are when they're mounted against the soundboard. I currently own two guitars equiped this way, but each are dual piezos and they're really intended to be used as a "threshold" (minimum) signal source and/or in conjunction with a mic or soundhole pickup.

Don (above) is correct, the preamp issue is paramount. I generally like to use a preamp on every guitar signal regardless of its source. Sending that signal via a direct box to a board with good mic preamps is also vital. You don't need a direct box and preamp dedicated to each guitar if you use an A/B box or other switching mechanism.

Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Lane
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 11:11 AM

Well, the preamp question is a new one in the thread... I was of the impression that, since I'm talking about recording only, not PA, my Fostex will accept a mic without pre-amping... am I confused again?

Back to pick ups: I'm no longer thinking of using this Thinline based on what you folks have told me. So that means that I either go to some other kind of pickup, or, more likely that I find myself a mic. Is there another pick up option I should be looking at?

Now, on mics..... I'm pretty much leaning toward a SM 58, but now I have another question.... along with mic-ing my Martin and vocals, I would like to be able to record a small group of folks singing - I see from reading on the C1000s that it does that well, but I also cant find one of those for less than 199.00.... the question is, will a SM 57 or 58 serve this other puprose as well?

Again, thanks to all of you for the great help Lane


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Musicman
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 12:40 PM

Lane... being new to mudcats you may not realize, it tends to sneak up on you... that you are about to be hooked to another addiction.......

THE MUDCAT THREADS!!!!!!

Yes, this is a serious addiction and very hard to quite... there are some help groups out there.. mostly in the mudcat itself.. however their success rate is limited.... (people just don't seem to want to quit!!)

SYMPTOMS:

The thread page becomes a daily part of your computer routine; you make it your home page; you begin to recognize names of the people in the threads and get to know them... likes/dislikes/where they live etc.....; you begin to check the threads several time/day, then several times/hour.. then... well you just don't leave; one of the worst symptoms.... you think you begin to understand spaw and his humour (that in itself is an impossibility, we've all tried to no avail); you realize there is no hope for spaw and pray for him on a daily basis.....

These are just a few of the more common symptoms. Of course they vary slightly from person to person, and also in the order and degree of their impact on you. But beware, when you start to sympathize for spaw there is no hope... you are HOOKED!!!! Might as well enjoy it.....

PS, i use the fishman rare earth blender in my guitar for live performances. (that was the original question, right?)

Musicman


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Lane
Date: 17 Feb 01 - 01:18 PM

Musicman..... thank you for the alert, but I'm afraid it's too late.... I'm a goner! This is the best, most active and helpful forum that I have found anywhere and I guess that I AM, in fact, hooked.

Justa sent me a sample MP3 today which is fantastic and all of the others have been SO helpful....

I'm just a middle aged guy that has a very long way to go to achieve some level of guitar prowess and am well behind most here, I'm guessing.... recording is only a part of what I need help with... I need to learn to play the thing, too!

So keep the sage advice coming - yes, the pickup was the original question, I think, though I'm not so sure because the addiction seems to have clouded things a bit!

Lane


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Lane
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 12:26 PM

Thanks to all of you for the wealth of information... I have decided to pass on the Thinline pickup and have ordered a SM58. It sounds like the right decison (hopefully) Now I simply have to develop my guitar skills to the extent that I can make music worthy of recording!

I will stick around in these forums in search of more jewells of information and encouragement -

Thank you, All!

Lane


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 18 Feb 01 - 01:15 PM

Yah, Lane, you're right. Good info. One simple little thing you can do that will pay off in spades is record your guitar (playing the same thing) at least a dozen times (little thirty second excerpts will do) from every angle you can think of. You might be surprised at the optimum placement.

On my former working Guitar (a Japanese Lowden) the mike aiming at the 16th fret and coming in at a 45 degree angle provided a great sound either when recording or live. On my Martin 0-18, that set-up totally sucks. With the Martin I place it about 10 inches away straight into the hole, and it works wonderfully.

Do the same with a D-28, and you're asking for feedback and overtones.

Do the same with a Telly and we'll send you packing.(that's a joke)

Rick


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: wildlone
Date: 02 Mar 01 - 01:57 PM

Click here .
For tests on pickups for accoustic instruments on mp3.
dave


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: wildlone
Date: 02 Mar 01 - 02:02 PM

DO NOT CLICK ON THE ABOVE! SCREWED UP CLICKY
TRY THIS "click" .


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: UB Ed
Date: 02 Mar 01 - 04:07 PM

Dave, Went to the second blue clicky and poked around. Didn't see anything on pickup tests. Advice?

Ed


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: cowboypoet
Date: 02 Mar 01 - 04:40 PM

I have yet to hear a pickup of any kind that doesn't make a guitar sound like a cigar-box banjo. I've looked all over. The closest I ever got was a Baggs, but there was still that plunky rubber-band overtone -- just less of it. Sometimes you gotta, but don't if you ain't.


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Lane
Date: 03 Mar 01 - 01:32 AM

Well, after all the sound advice that I found here, I have scapped the pickup idea and gone with a SM58... it sounds good, for the most part, except for the high strings which sound kind of twangy.. I'm thinking that I just have to experiment more with placement.... now I need to figure out how to do some effects and some clean up of recording in my computer before putting it on cd....


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: GUEST,cariboumark
Date: 03 Mar 01 - 01:25 PM

For what it's worth from a sound-guy's point of view...

The best sounding STAGE rig I've ever heard is Michael Hedges' Martin... if any of you had the pleasure to hear and see Michael, you know what I'm talking about. If you point your browser at www.nomadland.com, you will find details about Michael's stage rig, studio rig and sound system.

Any mic,amp,PA,pickup will degrade the natural sound of your instrument... the trick is to mic,amp,PA and pickup in such a way that your instrument, although sounding diffrent, sounds good! If you get that with a SM 57 or 58... GREAT! Don't be afraid to play around with diffrent micing locations... try playing into the mic while holding the guitar between your knees (to let the back of the box ring)... mic from behind... mic the neck... let someone else play it while you crawl around in front of the guitar looking for the "sweet" spot... compress the hell out of it... play through your home stereo... have fun!

Of course, on stage is a diffrent story. I like to have a stereo mix with an out front acoustic. I'll feed the saddle back to the artist as a monitor (for feedback reasons), and mix the piezo and saddle and mic for the front of house. Also, Baggs makes a great pre-amp with some tone control and a phase selection (again, for feedback reasons).

good luck!


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Lane
Date: 03 Mar 01 - 02:54 PM

Whoa! That's getting a little techy for this simple fella... but, I understand your point... experiment, move my mic here and there - even behind? Wouldn't have thought of that.....

Here's the deal... I just do my Martin and my marginal vocals... and I have a little 4 track Fostex (tape)... I dont expect studio quality, but I'd like to get something that I can stand to listen too... and maybe let someone else here - just maybe.

I have the SM58 and another mic, a low end something-or-other.... I've been a little dissapointed in the guitar sound with the 58, only because the high strings sound twangy, the bass stuff sounds pretty good (accounting for my skill level).... maybe it's mic position? Should I try two mics or is that going to just complicate things?

Thanks for any advice...

Lane


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: GUEST,Sammy Hagar
Date: 03 Mar 01 - 04:56 PM

To get the most out of my stratocaster, I prefer the heavy-duty humbucking pickups, and the Pearson "Knuckle-buster" heavy duty strings. My best advice on amplification is to use the Krate Red Voodoo Stacks. If you've got a crowd of 10,000 or under, one stack is plenty. The 1200 watts gives me plenty of attack, sustain, and controlled feed-back. For stadium gigs where a crowd of 30000 demands the maximum in sheer power, two stacks are really plenty. Any more and you can actually maim people sitting close to the stage.

As far as finding a pick-up that maintains the true sound of my guitar, well, I haven't been able to actually hear my guitar since the Van Halen 51/50 Tour in 1987.

Mas Tequila!

Sammy


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Lane
Date: 08 Mar 01 - 09:14 AM

Thanks, Sammy... I think... I was, well, thinking of something a little more accoustic, and my audience is usually a little less than your 10,000


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: JedMarum
Date: 08 Mar 01 - 11:46 AM

Wow - sorry to get into this discussion so late, but solving the pick-up vs. mic for your guitar equation has a lotta variables. I believe the solution has to be determined by the application.

Microphones, generally speaking, are the enemy on-stage. If you're in a concert environment; good stage, good sound equip, someone running the mix/eq, mics can almost always be used well, and are often preferable because you get a much more natural sound ... however, for clubs, loud or bad rooms, short sets, you can't beat the versatility and control of a good pick-up, and the reduced hastel of a pick-up is a great advantage. I use either or both, depending upon the environment.

I use a Fishman Matrix in one of my guitars, and a Fishman Rare Earth in another. Both are wonderful pick-ups and give me a sound with which I am happy enough - even though, when the opportunity present itself, I use a mic too. It seems to me most good vocal mics are also good guitar mics.

It is my understanding that condensor mics, add a significant problem with feedback, and therefore EQ. That is to say, under ideal pro sound stage circumstances, they do not offer much problem, but in the club/pub/festival world, they may add to your problems. I have no personal experience with condensor mics in these live stage environments, so I am just passing what I've heard, and what makes sense. I know, though, that many players install condensor mics inside their guitars (sometimes in combination with a pick-up like the Fisaman Blender) - and this may help reduce the feedback problems.

In short, if I am only going to have one or the other (a pick-up or a mic) - I would use a good pick-up, because of its versatility. Besides good sound stages will typically have their own mics, and won't rely on me supplying them.


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 08 Mar 01 - 12:29 PM

Well I'll tell you one thing, the folks at "Pick Up the World" have been great. I explained about some problems I was having with installation, and they answered every one of my questions. Good customer service.

click

Rick


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: GUEST,Carol's Friend Don
Date: 08 Mar 01 - 06:01 PM

I read all the above threads and since I do about 45 sound jobs a year (mostly medium folk/acoustic concerts), I thought I'd toss in my two cents worth. Most of the advice on the SM 57 is pretty good, but I've gone to the Beta 57's which can easily double up as a vocal mic without the excessive bass proximity that a 58 generates (also the pattern is tighter, which makes a difference on a monitored stage as opposed to recording). If you're only recording, you might want to try an omni-patterned mic, which will give you a much better "natural" sound than any cardiod ( which attenuate from the rear).

A good condenser is the Audio Technica MB 4000 which can be shopped at about the same cost as a 57 (a Beta can be shopped for thirty dollars more than regular 57, e.i. You have to know someone - get a friend who regularly buys sound gear to get it for you on his discount).

If you can get two matched mics try a Y pattern placement. Put the mics (either on two stands or a double head stand) into a horizotal V configuration with the ends and cables of the mics headed out-board at a 45% angle and the heads closing to within one inch. Place this arrangement 6 inches out from where the neck meets the guitar body. I use this a lot on classical guitars or flamenco, and it sounds great. You can use this on stage, but watch the mic aimed towards the sound hole "(bleed off BOTH bass and treble and bump 800 hz). Lane, What I'm reading into your statement is that you already HAVE the Thinline, so go ahead and put it in, providing you don't get raped in installation costs (remember your guitar warranty may limit your choices and installation). If properly installed, it does no harm until its used and it can provide a back-up to a warmer mic'd application by using two available channels. Also, even if it sounds a little too "electric", it's better than playing "air guitar to the folks in the third row" (if you're fronting for Suzi Rottencrotch and all the "best" channels are taken). Preamps are important too, though, with the exception of the Platinum, most of Fishman stuff is, in my opinion, just not that good, and vastly overpriced. Dispite their rock 'n roll reputation, Boss puts out a damn good seven band EQ with +/-15 db level at $90 'merican, if you're going 1/4 inch to the amp. If not, couple the Boss to an Berhinger DI ($60.) and go XLR to the mixer, (the DI is active and phantomed, with two really good 20 db pads ).

If you go condenser, use an ART MP tube preamp ($100.) which will send phantom power to the condenser, and smooth the even-order harmonics, and your still $70 shy of a Fishman, (but you'll EQ at the mixer). Another excellent (but non-tube) preamp is the LR Baggs Para-acoustic DI ($150.) with 5 band EQ (two of those swept-parametric), with an effects loop (real handy for a wee touch o'chorus).

NOW Guess what? I realize that there are very few people who understood the above techie-talk, so print out the above statements and find a good sound man, who is not a rock 'n roller, to explain them to you. I basically agree with most of whats been said above, with some prejudices against over-advertised and under-engineered gear. If you don't hook into someone who has the time and expertise to explain and let you try out various combinations of mics, pick-ups and pre-amps, then just fill up your your pockets with cash and back the truck up...cause, for a few bucks more, there's always a better sound out there .


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: JedMarum
Date: 09 Mar 01 - 10:38 AM

Yes, Rick - I have been very pleased with the pick-up the world product, too. Although I haven't tried it on a guitar. I am thinking about trying it on the banjo.

No one has challenged my comment about condensor mics being a feedback and stage noise problem. Does anyone have any real experience with this?

The level of performance I am at, says that I rarely have ideal stages - I frequently don't know what I'm walking into, can't always pay a sound man, and have to be as versatile as possible. Under those circumstances, a good pick-up is generally preferable because you can get at least a pretty good sound from your guitar, you control it pretty easily, and it gives you very few problems.

I have friend who has a great martin with the Gold Plus Thinline pickup installed, and he so disliked the sound he used his Takamine mosto0f the time, not as good a guitar, but much better electronics. He is now reworking his pick-up with I believe a fishman blender. I have to agree that his Gold Plus pick-up sounded pretty bad, even though the guitar was beautiful.


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 09 Mar 01 - 11:07 AM

Thanks for the detailed post Don. I've suggested on numerous occasions to Festival artistic directors that instead of the usual "hot licks, songs of the road, acoustic styles, etc. they let me do a workshop on "knowing your instrument, understanding Mikes, and learning to communicate with your sound person". Never seems to be much interest, but I think it's crucial.

Sometimes players forget that for most sound people, Rock and Roll is their bread and butter. If you want good sound you have to be able to communicate what you want. Just saying "can I have a little more uhhh, 'presence'" just doesn't work.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: GUEST,Rhythm Man
Date: 09 Mar 01 - 10:13 PM

Lane,

Too bad I didn't get here sooner with the best and most simple solution. Better late than never:

Buy a Takemine LTD!

Rhythm Man


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 09 Mar 01 - 10:38 PM

From old memory, my ear is now so poor at high frequencies that I can't adjust a sound system anymore. Omnidirectioal mikes can kill you with all the stuff they pick up, audiences as well the performers. Two cardiods mounted one above the other and aimed at 45 derees each side of center will give you mostly what's in the half sphere that's centered along the line between them (and don't pick up the monitors like the omnidirectionals do). With super cardioids you can narrow the field down a bit more from 180 degrees.


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Lane
Date: 10 Mar 01 - 12:12 AM

Rhythm Man

Well.... thanks, but I just bought my Martin.... buying another will have to wait. I am beginning to regret not buying it with a good pickup installed...but so goes it...I'll have to make do with my SM58, I guess.....


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: GUEST,cariboumark
Date: 13 Mar 01 - 06:48 PM

Lane,

The SM58 is world renown as a vocal mic... but that doesn't mean that it can't sound good as an instrument mic. The rub is, live vs. Memorex. I use 58's live for everything from soup to nuts. Not my first choice in many cases, but its what I have when mic-ing various bands. They have a "presence" (which means they are biased to pick up frequencys) at around 10k, good for some vocals, but probably accounting for your "twang".

For recording to a 4track as a hobby, you can do better than a 58, but can get surprisingly good results with an hour or two of experimentation.

I wasn't kidding about crawling around in front of your guitar with your ear searching for the Martin's "sweet spot"... it has one (probably several). Once you find an interesting spot... on the lower shoulder, below the neck is a favorite, or the rear bout by the pin... stick a mic on it and see how it sounds. As far as using 2 mics... I wouldn't be afraid to try it, but the problem you have is when the sound that one mic is picking up is 180 out of phase whith the other. Those mics will cancel a certain frequency(s) out.

If you haven't looked at www.nomadland.com yet, do! The equipment specs have some great ideas. Basicaly, the idea of blending (not as in Fishman, which I don't care for, I'll explain later) taken to a very high level. The highs from one type of pickup EQd out and blended with another type of pickup thats had the lows EQd out. Sound reinforcement, and recording is a compromise... it aint never going to sound as good as your Martin, just find the best "recording" sound, and the right "live" sound and pull them out as needed. Listen to any Ani DiFranco record to hear this... she compresses the hell out of her Alverez, cuts all the highs out, and its got a great bite! Its not the best example of "How a guitar is suposed to sound 101" but it suits her playing.

Some posts earlier mentioned some tecniques and gear... my 2 bits... stay away from the Fishman blender, good theory, bad sound. You would be miles ahead by going the full stereo route into seperate pre's and EQ's. The other Fishman pickups, the Rare Earth in particular, has been wonderful to work with. The best non-pro set up I've worked with was a guy named Sean Michael Devine, who used a Sunrise pickup into an inexpensive (Boss?) 7 band stomp box. He records himself alot, and just gives the soundboard a good sounding signal from the stage.

As far as condenser mics on stage, I use them. Usually in conjunction with another mic... a Byerdynamic M88, as a stereo pair. No problems with feedback, unless the bright face of the guitar was turned off-axis just the right angle to reflect the monitor into the mic... rare.

I have to agree with Don, above... I would install a pickup, and fade it in just enough to compliment the mic-ing... but I wouldn't install the thinline, I'd wait untill I had the cash for a Sunrise and quality pre.

Rick has some sage advice as well, find a tutor whos guitar sound you like... and rip 'em off.

By the way, I almost never mic the soundhole.

This has been a fun discussion... thank you all.


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Whistle Stop
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 08:37 AM

Good input here, even if it does go way beyond what Lane was looking for (that's not a problem, is it?). For Lane's application, I think a 57 or 58 will do the trick just fine.

I agree with Rick that, for live "plug in and play" versatility, the Fishman Rare Earth Blender is the best guitar pickup I've yet come across -- fairly natural sound, excellent feedback resistance (I generally go with about 75% pickup/25% mic, but in high-octane situations I dump the mic altogether and just use the pickup). I have them installed in both my Lowden and my Larrivee, and run both through a Tech 21 Acoustic DI to the board (great piece of gear; it smooths the rough edges nicely). The DI also has a 1/4" line out that I run to a Carvin AG100D acoustic guitar amp for on-stage monitoring. The key to this is that I can have my instrument monitor separate from my vocal monitor, and position it differently so as to hear it better and reduce feedback potential. I often play out with a fairly loud acoustic/electric band, and it helps to have the vocal monitor right in my face, but the instruments can feed back if they are also coming at me from the same monitor ("in my face" is pretty close to "in my soundhole"), so I have the Carvin monitor/amp coming at me from the side.

As an aside, count me with the people who really don't like the under-saddle piezo pickups. These seem to have become the norm in amplified "acoustic" sound these days, unfortunately. Last night I caught a portion of a program on public television showcasing Irish musicians performing at the Kennedy center, and despite the quality of the performances and the upscale nature of the gig, most of the string-instrument performers sounded like they were snapping rubber bands. With all the technology at our disposal these days, we can certainly do better than that!

As for more critical recording applications, I am continually experimenting, and I find that different microphone techniques work better for different instruments, playing styles, and the needs of the song. For instance, on some songs (solo fingerpicking guitar pieces) I might want a big, full, round acoustic sound; one technique for this is to mic the neck/body interface fairly close (6 inches, more or less) with a small diaphragm condenser, and then have a large diaphragm condenser positioned further back from the lower bout (maybe 18" away). In other cases I might want a transparent, shimmery rhythm guitar sound (with less "woof") to lay in the track and support other instruments; this might work better with a basic X/Y mic technique about six inches out from the neck/body interface, as described by Carol's Friend Don in a posting above. Sometimes close miking is better, sometimes getting a little distance helps; sometimes cardioid patterns are more intimate, other times you might find that a figure-eight or omni pattern sounds more natural. We're talking about the quest for tone here, which is a lifelong endeavor whether you're doing it with playing technique, with microphone selection and placement, or both.

Sorry to go on so long, but this is a topic that interests me greatly these days -- hope my insights are useful to somebody.


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: Big Mick
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 09:19 AM

Excellent post, Whistle Stop.

All the best,

Big Mick


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: JedMarum
Date: 14 Mar 01 - 09:47 AM

This has been a great discussion.

I agree that the Fishman Rare Earth pick-up has a great sound. It does sound a bit electric to me, but it has such a good sound it's OK. My rare Earth does not have a mic blender.

I have a Larrivee Jumbo with a factory installed Fishman Matrix, and it sounds great. I don't know why it sounds much better then most pick-ups, but it does. Maybe the combination of the guitar's characteristics and the pick-ups strengths just work well together. But ever since I started using that guitar on-stage, every guitar player I meet comments on how great the guitar/pick-up sounds.

I understand the comments about a guitar's sweet spot. When I was in the studio, the recording engineer spent some time figuring out where his mic placements worked best. In fact he used several mic/tracks for each guitar track. When I used my Larrivee he also captured the output from the pick-up. Typically he used either four or five inputs (the fifth being the pick-up).

I have gone back to using a mic on stage for banjo and for my high strung guitar. That makes it possible for me to use both pick-up and mic on my Larrivee when I am playing it. I also find that it is very difficult to run the sound from the stage when there is more then one performing. It is possible, but distracting. Good sound is so important to the success of a performance, and if I am concerned about the sound, I am not giving my best effort to the performance.


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Subject: RE: Acoustic Pickup help...
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge (cookie and format C)
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 06:57 AM

Found one of them!

Refresh


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