Like most acoustic guitar players or any musician for that matter I have spent years in pursuit of the elusive "tone" when playing an instrument. Throw in the "live" situation into the mix and a whole new world opens up to explore. Often as musicians we tend to run in packs. A certain guitar, pedal, amp, becomes the norm in our group and we all tend to rally around that particular piece of gear. For quite a few years now I have settled in with brand "X" acoustic guitar pickup. Fairly well known among acoustic guitar gearheads, I have found it reliable, predictable and consistent. 
Recently I have had the opportunity to acquire and install the LR Baggs "Lyric" acoustic guitar microphone into one of my guitars. http://www.lrbaggs.com/pickups/lyric-acoustic-guitar-microphone

I was able to preview the microphone this year at the NAAM show in California and was fairly well impressed. I decided to "take the leap" and stray from my "go to" brand "X" pickup and try something new out. Here is my take on it. 


1. INSTALLATION:
I put this thing in myself. The most difficult part was reaming the hole for the jack in a pretty expensive guitar. I went to the hardware store and bought a brand new T-handle hand reamer, removed the end pin, put some tape around the hole and slowly, ever so slowly enlarged the hole to make the new jack fit. After a few attempts at adjustments the jack fit perfectly. 
Next was installation of the microphone. I searched youtube and found a good video of installation and pretty much just copied what they did. It is a no brainer to finish the installation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48I5vsXNo2k
One thing to note is that I set a few of the string pins into the bridge when putting the microphone on to make sure there was room for both the pin and the ball end of the guitar string and it wouldn't be hitting the microphone. The microphone, volume control and battery case are all mounted with double stick tape. Gotta love modern technology! 


2. SET-UP
In the spirit of full disclosure here is the set-up I am using this microphone in. 
1. Goodall OM guitar
2. LR Baggs Anthem DI
3. LR Baggs Lyric Microphone. 


3. SOUND QUALITY
Be forewarned. This microphone has some good and some bad. The good is, it sounds extremely close to the natural sound of your guitar. The bad is, it sounds extremely close to the natural sound of your guitar! If you like the way your guitar sounds, you will like it through the LR Baggs Lyric microphone. 


4. ROAD TEST
I took this set-up out on the road for a couple different events and gave it a whirl. One venue had wedge stage monitors and the other had in-ear monitors. 
In both situations the microphone delivered the natural acoustic sound of the guitar. 
On the stage with the wedge monitors, there wasn't a problem with feedback even at moderately loud stage volumes which is usually one of the big problems with microphones. The circuitry in the microphone does a great job of keeping the natural overtones of the guitar while almost perfectly and invisibly eliminating rumbling lows, harsh mids and squeeling highs of the inside of the guitar. In my ears, it does give the guitar a slightly compressed sound but not so much that it takes the life out of the sound. Most would probably not hear it unless listening for it. 
Combined with the LR Baggs Venue DI and a little tweaking I was able to dial in a great tone that fit just where I wanted it in the sonic mix of the band. 
Another great thing about this microphone is that you can really get after it and play your guitar aggressively and it retains the natural sound without adding the "honk" of most piezo pickups when you play hard. 

I know there are a lot of choices out there but this microphone made my guitar a joy to play, inspirational and it quickly spoiled me! If you are in the market for a pickup for your guitar check this thing out. Do your homework, read some reviews, ask people, don't be afraid to rebel against the "pack" and make a well informed decision. As for me, I love this thing! 

jb




 


Comments

John Hix
05/29/2013 16:06

Thanks for a great review, John. Someday my current rig will pass on, and this is one of the items I've been thinking about for my Martin. So you're playing a Goodall? Dang...

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05/29/2013 21:17

Great honest review. I have been installing LR Baggs pickups in all my builds and they are great. Great to know the Lyric is living up to the hype. (And yes, that is my real name!)

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08/31/2013 10:08

John, great review. Curious as to how you feel about the lyric after Using it for several months. Have you used it in a situation where you have competed with a lot of stage volume? Drums, bass etc? I love the possibilities but am concerned about it with the set up at our church. Thanks!

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08/31/2013 17:59

Hi Matt, I have been using the LR Baggs Stage Pro Anthem in one of my builds in church. No problems with hearing it. We are using pretty standard foldbacks etc. I have also used a couple of different builds with other LR Baggs pickups (iBeam and Element) in our church too and they have all performed really well. Best acoustic pickups by far.

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08/31/2013 19:09

Thanks John. Question for the anthem. How much did it change the unplugged sound of your rig? I've got a new Breedlove OM and I really want to keep the natural sound when it's not plugged in! Thanks

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04/07/2014 06:42

In my ears, it does give the guitar a slightly compressed sound but not so much that it takes the life out of the sound. Most would probably not hear it unless listening for it.

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