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Day after day 05/26/2014

Takamine CT4-DX : Day after day's user review

«  Your piezo needs 18 volts! »
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This is yet another preamp brand! ^
For those who are not fluent in the "Takaminien", the Japanese brand chosen for more than 25 years to produce all preamps range "pro series" in the same format. They are all interchangeable (not careful with the G series guitars)
And thus these vile black boxes that disfigure the guitars of Japanese house can be replaced by another! They call it "The sound choice"
And this are made possible because the sensor of the house (see my review on EAN10C) has hardly changed since that time!
But back on topic. Another preamp? Yes! A lamps? No! And precisely. For the record, the "famous" preamp "Cool Tube" was removed from the models sold in Japan and replaced by this one!

As I am the first I start but you can also have a look at the website of the brand!

This preamp is a "dual source" ie in addition to the main sensor, it can accommodate a second.
And suddenly the caractériqtiques are different depending on whether you chose to "roll" with a single sensor or two.

With a sensor: 4-band EQ, Volume, two anti-larsens filters that serve more than expected!
With two sensors: 2 +2 bands EQ (bass and treble for each of the two sensors) and 1 +1 anti-feedback (always one for each sensor) filter.

In both cases you have a tuner and a general volume!

But the real feature of this amp is in my opinion not the original settings it offers. The real trick is that the signal received by the sensor is pre-amplified with a voltage of 18 volts!
We find this "originality" in piezo D-tar equipping guitars Guild top ranges.
The Americans say "to run 18 volts into the piezo signal" and the least we can say is that it means and that it's worth it!

UTILIZATION

The manual. I did not read. Mine is in Japanese and as I do not like to throw in full view, I chose to leave the sides ;-)
We start simple. All "zero"!
First observation: the sound is clear. Too bright and too metal itself.
Yes but it does not sound "piezo" ... The bass is less "boardy" and treble are less quack. It is as if they had "unbridled" sensor!
So we cheat a little, play with four bands and two anti-larsens filters are used more to equalize the sound that really fight a nasty frequency since the system is already resistant Takamine out.
And when you have a little work depending on the situation and the rest of the processing chain (amp, sound, effects ...), you get what it takes to reduce excess light and keep the defined and full of the sound.

SOUNDS

With 4 bands plus two anti-feedback filters, you ambarras choice to vary the sound.
Once adjusted to approximate the acoustic sound of the guitar well ... This is still not the true acoustic sound of the instrument!

But it's clean, it's very realistic, not aggressive at all (despite the doubts at first), it packs a punch and it pierces the mix with insolent efficiency.
For a concert of finger-picking I do not know. But for a singer or guitarist in a band where it is on: you will enjoy.

A small preamp lamp just behind it and you heat your sound what it takes (on my amp Vox AGA 150, one of cannal offers a preamp and it is frankly very good!).

Notes:
- I have not tested with a second sensor. I do not see the point but I'll try to time by curiosity.
- Given the (too) high clarity of signal, I think it will better serve a guitar preamp with a cedar and mahogany as a duo spruce-maple back ...

OVERALL OPINION

The trouble with acoustic guitar is that there is still no perfect system.
The condenser microphone to the guitar remains the best solution to capture your instrument but is unusable live.
And this is where it will be tradeoffs. With this preamp you make less.
There are more "acoustic" as the LR Baggs Lyric but it is less precise and tends to drip when you attack a bit ...
A good sound engineer and / or a 15 band equalizer would address this concern may be but in the meantime, if you play with your amp alone or in a small ensemble, this preamp will make your old Takamine a formidable tool: a spacious sound clear and very realistic! Very very good job.

Note: To compare with other preamps CT4B the mark-II "simple and effective" or Cool Tube CTP-2 (a good choice, but its battery life is miserable) that are also very good tools.