The latest version of Fishman’s legendary Matrix pickup adds an updated preamp and internal microphone.
by Teja Gerken
April 23, 2018
When the Fishman Acoustic Matrix pickup was introduced more than 20 years ago, it was one of the first undersaddle pickups to use a continuous piezo film rather than the individual piezo crystals found in earlier designs. The result had a more natural sound with fewer string-to-string balance issues, and today it is the best-selling undersaddle pickup in the world. Over the years, the Acoustic Matrix pickup has been part of many systems, including versions that are factory-installed in acoustic-electric guitars. But the standard Matrix pickup system designed for after-market installation has been a mainstay in Fishman’s line. This year, Fishman introduced its latest versions, the Matrix Infinity VT and the Matrix Infinity Mic Blend. We had a chance to check out the Matrix Infinity Mic Blend, which Fishman sent to us installed in a Martin OM-21.
Fishman says that it has revoiced the Matrix preamp in response to the wide availability of modern acoustic-instrument-specific amps, which barely existed when the system was first introduced. Rather than a compromise that sounds good even when played through electric guitar amps or generic DI boxes, Fishman has now optimized the preamp for today’s more full-range and natural-sounding amplification options.
The newest feature of the Matrix Mic Blend is the addition of a miniature microphone attached to a swivel-mount that installs inside the edge of the soundhole. The mic is controlled by a soundhole-mounted module with an adjustment wheel that varies the amount of mic signal added to the pickup sound. Another soundhole-mounted module includes controls for volume and tone, and the tone control activates a mid-scoop rather than being a simple bass/treble adjustment. An additional tone-shaping feature is the “voicing” switch, which toggles between a flat setting and a slight bass boost.
I was eager to take the system for a spin, so I plugged it directly into a Fishman SA330x personal PA system. I started out with the mic turned off and the voicing switch in the flat position, and the results were immediately impressive, producing a nice punchiness, excellent string balance, and a pleasing overall tone. Fishman suggests using the voicing switch’s bass boost function with smaller guitars, and I did find that on the OM I preferred the slightly richer sound that resulted from activating the switch. I’ve long been a fan of systems that combine pickups and internal microphones, and I wasn’t disappointed when I added the mic to the Matrix tone. The sound became richer, more full-range and natural, without losing the punch and definition of the piezo pickup by itself.
Overall the Matrix Infinity Mic Blend is without question the best Matrix system yet. If you’re not interested in adding an internal microphone, then the Matrix Infinity VT is also worth considering.
SPECS: Acoustic guitar pickup and preamp system. Acoustic Matrix undersaddle pickup and miniature microphone. Endpin-mounted preamp with solderless connections. Soundhole mounted controls for volume, tone (mid-scoop), and mic blend. Voicing switch with flat and bass-boost positions. Mono or stereo operation. Low-battery LED indicator. Powered by nine-volt battery. Pickup available in wide, narrow, and split-saddle formats. Designed and engineered in the USA. Acoustic Matrix pickup made in the USA, preamp assembled in China. $299.99 street. fishman.com
Comments and Discussion
Although I think this was a great demonstration, it would have been helpful to include just a bit of strumming. Thanks.
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