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Acoustic Guitar 02/2000

By Teja Gerken, Acoustic Guitar Feb 2000

EMF New2 Frontier

The New2 Frontier ($319.99, [860] 236-7134, www.b-band.com) from Finland's EMF company answers the call from players who want on-board control for the acclaimed B-Band pickup and microphone combination (see "Amplification Q&A," November '98). With a preamp and controls that mount into the side of the guitar, this system requires significant modifications to the instrument, but it's still less invasive than those that require a large cut-out in the guitar to house the entire preamp assembly. The controls include volume, high ("edge") and low ("bottom") EQ, and a microphone control that adds the mic to the pickup's signal and allows for phase reversal. The New2 Frontier offers blended mono output, but the mic's unprocessed signal is also accessible through the ring of a TRS stereo cable. EMF's new microphone now clips to a brace and allows a variety of positions. Installation of the preamp in a guitar with unusually thick and curved sides could lead to problems, since the ontrols need to stick out through the plastic cover plate. You could leave the plate off, but you'd need to be careful that the mounting screws aren't then long enough to do damage inside the system.

The mic adds a lot of realism to this already natural-sounding and "quackless" under-saddle pickup. Once I dialed in the internal trim pots for the mic's gain and low cut, I found it easy to use the system's controls to get a good sound on the fly. With it's great-sounding pickup and flexible mic, the New2 Frontier would work well for those who are looking for a very realistic sound, don't want to deal with a lot of outboard gear, and don't mind altering their instrument.

Teja Gerken

© Copyright 2000 Teja Gerken, Acoustic Guitar