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Acoustic Guitar 09/2001

From the article: six new pickups put to the test

By Teja Gerken, Acoustic Guitar September 2001

B-Band AST

B-Band's new AST, or Acoustic Soundboard Transducer ($149.95), represents a new direction for the Finnish company. Using the same electret film found in B-Band's acclaimed under-saddle pickups, the AST mounts directly to the inside of the guitar's top using sticky putty. The active pickup uses B-Band's new endpin-mounted 2150 preamp, which can also accommodate an internal mic (which requires an external blender, such as B-Band's Entity) or a second AST (with an equal mix of both pickups going to a mono output). The installation is simple; the battery clip is attached with Velcro, and as long as the guitar's endpin hole is large enough for the jack, the pickup should go in easily. Placement is crucial with all soundboard transducers, but I got good results with B-Band's recommended location under the bass side of the saddle. I was impressed with the pickup's wide dynamic range. For both fingerpicking and strumming, it captured the guitar's volume without compressing the tone or sounding artificial. It did have a slightly boxy edge with a bright midrange peak, and while it wasn't prone to feedback, it's sound became increasingly tubby and difficult to control at higher volumes. The B-Band would be useful for players who don't need a lot of volume, and it will also appeal to home recordists who want to get a reasonably acoustic sound without using microphones.

Teja Gerken

© Copyright 2001 Teja Gerken, Acoustic Guitar