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Acoustic Guitar 11/1998

From the Article: Integrated Systems

By Teja Gerken, Acoustic Guitar magazine November 1998

The B-Band may well be the most natural-sounding under-saddle pickup available.

Hailing from Finland, the EMF B-Band ($195.95 as tested), is a new entry into the acoustic amplification market. Available in several different configurations, including pickup-only systems and versions with on-board controls, the product's most interesting aspect is that although it is mounted under the saddle it does not rely on piezo technology. Instead, the pickup consists of a thin elastic electret film, which EMF describes as "microscopic lens-like gas bubbles." Another interesting design trait is that rather than being connected to a cable, the pickup itself plugs straight into the endpin-mounted Core preamp.

Installation of the pickup is easy because of its very thin design, so you don't have to shave away much of your saddle. EMF recommends drilling a 45-degree hole through the bass side of the saddle slot, rather than the straight hole necessary for installing most under-saddle pickups, which could prove to be problematic with certain guitars as it may interfere with braces. The systems gooseneck-mounted microphone is installed inside the guitar with the help of self-adhesive aluminum brackets.

Although the system is shipped in such a way that it powers the mic, players who'd rather use external phantom power can perform a relatively easy modification to the preamp in order to avoid damage to the circuitry.

The B-Band provides separate pickup and mic signals through a stereo output, and there is no blending capability at this time. The B-Band may well be the most natural-sounding under-saddle pickup available. Even before I blended the mic, the pickup produced a very satisfying tone, almost completely void of the "quacky" attack that piezo pickups are often criticized for. The mic only added to this sense of realism, resulting in a great-sounding system that should be checked out even by those who haven´t been happy with conventional under-saddle pickup designs.

Teja Gerken

© Copyright 1998 Teja Gerken / Acoustic Guitar

Notes from EMF Acoustics (not printed by Acoustic Guitar magazine): The microphone mounting has been updated. No longer do we use the self-adhesive aluminum brackets to mount the mic. Instead, an "alligator" type clip now secures the gooseneck mounted mic to a brace inside the guitar.