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LR Baggs Anthem SL Acoustic Soundhole Microphone/Undersaddle Guitar Pickup Reviews

4.5 stars based on 26 customer reviews
Questions about the LR Baggs Anthem SL Acoustic Soundhole Microphone/Undersaddle Guitar Pickup?

Questions about the LR Baggs Anthem SL Acoustic Soundhole Microphone/Undersaddle Guitar Pickup?

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  • from Ypsilanti, MI October 11, 2016Music Background:
    Touring artist, session guitarist, songwriter

    Full spectrum, hassle-free

    Like many guitarists who primarily play stage acoustic, I spent over 3 years obsessing and fussing over getting the right stage tone. I tried multiple systems, and asked countless other guitarists I met what they were using. I've heard people with passive soundboard transducers, undersaddle pickups, and soundhole humbuckers sound great, but then I'd hear the same system disappoint in other environments. I wanted a system that would give me a good balance of accurate tone and "plug-and-go" simplicity.

    Enter the Anthem SL. My tech installed one into a repaired/restored Martin D-15 "project guitar," a couple weeks before we hit the road for a 30-city tour. The results were stunning. We played rock clubs, listening rooms, coffee shops, pubs, and a handful of open mic showcases. Most nights I used my LR Baggs para DI, but some nights I just used whatever DI box was available on stage. Every night my D15 sounded big and full, with just enough "air" to make it feel like a real mic'ed instrument. You can run the anthem quite loud without feedback, too.

    I've tried both the full Anthem and the Anthem SL (and have traveled with both). In all honesty, I like the SL better. Rather than having a gain setting and a blend pot (as in the full Anthem), the SL offers a mic gain adjustment (relative to the fixed pickup gain level), and a single volume pot. Set it, forget it, play, no fiddling during a performance. IMHO, there's not much reason to want to blend more pickup into the signal. Also, the control section of the SL is a fraction of the size of the full anthem's, meaning way less "stuff" mounted beneath your guitar's top, allowing it to flex and vibrate as freely as possible.

    While I would not do a recording session strictly DI with the Anthem, it has definitely saved my butt in recording situations. For one project, I was a session guitarist in a live room with a cellist and vocalist, and bleed was a necessary reality. During mixing, we were able to utilize the direct signal of the Anthem during small spots where the mic'ed guitar signal couldn't be used. The recording engineer noted that the Anthem SL was the truest DI guitar sound he'd ever heard. Also, if you are playing live and capturing a board feed, the DI signal of this pickup is far superior to anything else I've heard come out of a DI-only live recording.

    I now have three instruments with an Anthem SL installed. The Martin D15 dread, a Waterloo WL-14 (similar to a Gibson LG), and a Blueridge dread. Since the Blueridge was something of a backup guitar, I installed the SL myself, and it was a piece of cake. Used a typical power drill for home repairs, and a step drill bit with some painters tape over the endpin hole.

    Great system, super consistent, noticeably hi-fi, and affordable. If you have a guitar that you love, pop an SL into it!

  • from Elie, Canada September 12, 2016

    Anthem SL

    Installed this pick-up in my Gibson J-45 True Vintage. The install was pretty simple.

    Sounds great. Worth the money.

  • from Central Cal April 21, 2016

    Great Pickup

    I put this in my custom made, squareneck, flat top slide guitar. It faithfully reproduces the sound of that instrument. It's great to be able to adjust the levels between the undersaddle pup and the bridge plate mic. The volume level adjustment is a plus but I generally just leave it wide open. Sounds exceprional copled with the LR Baggs Venue Preamp. Simple install

  • from April 12, 2016Music Background:
    30 years of gigging, now a hobbyist

    best I've tried

    HO

    LEE

    COW

    After using a bunch of different pick up configurations over the last 40 years, I came to the conclusion that everything is just not quite good enough. Nothing that I tried really did justice to the tone of the guitar... Until now. The LR Baggs Anthem floored me

    I installed it myself (it took about 45 minutes) and immediately plugged it into my faithful Twin. Full rich tone while not losing the chime of the guitar.. Wonderful tone that doesn't mask what your guitar sounds like. Near perfection. It really doesn't change the tone of your guitar. If your guitar sounds bad, you'll get more bad. If it sounds great you'll get more great.

    Should have done this sooner

  • from Kailua, HI February 24, 2016Music Background:
    Professional Guitarist

    I cannot use traditional undersaddles again

    I opted for the less expensive SL version rather than the full anthem after extensively trying out both the anthem and the lyric. IMHO, the Anthem SL is the closest I've ever used to a plug-and-play, "your guitar but louder" solution. This thing sounds absolutely amazing IF you are expecting the sound of a mic. If you are used to the overblown presence of a traditional UST, or the fat and solid tone of a sound hole mag, this will seem thin. But when recorded and looped back, nothing sounds more full and natural at the same time. The amazing thing is, Baggs has managed to create multiple systems that are both MORE sensitive to the guitar's body and MORE resistant to feedback than older pickups previously hailed for natural tone. I get as much gain before feedback with the Anthem SL as I did out of the standard Element system. I also get better string-to-string balance, due to the nature of a mic rather than a UST.

    This system is very simple to use and takes little EQ, but beware: it will not make a bad guitar sound good! It picks up the sound that's in your instrument. If your guitar has poor tone, or is poorly set up, this pickup will reflect that. However, if you have a great acoustic and want to capture it live, this is an excellent solution. For those who play in a band, I would also recommend the LR Baggs lyric. It has an even more natural sound, but is less prominent on the bass due to the lack of a UST. In a band, this is no problem, as the bass takes those frequencies. For solo work, the anthem is a stellar choice for anyone who truly values natural tone.

  • from Raleigh NC December 2, 2015Music Background:
    Self taught guitar and luthier

    Great Tone!

    Purchased this pickup and sweetwater had it at my door in 3-4 days. Took about an hour to install it. It does require some adjustment to get the blend of the saddle element verses the soundhole microphone right. This will depend somewhat on what system you are playing through. I use it through a PA system at church and opened up the microphone more than using it through my fender tube amp at home. It comes with a small wooden device to adjust the blend right beside the volume control - very easy. I cannot tell you how good this pickup sounds. Great bass response with good high end without too much string noise. No acoustic pickup is perfect but this one is the best that I have used. I would buy it again and plan to with any future acoustic set ups.

  • from November 19, 2015

    Best Acoustic guitar pickup ever.

    The Anthem SL or regular Anthem acoustic pickup are great. I personally have the SL version, and I love the simplicity of just a volume knob. Once you get the right balance between the mic and the under saddle, leave it alone. If you like tonal options with your acoustic instrument go for the regular Anthem, otherwise for $199 the SL is a steal of a deal. Great pickup!

  • from West Point, Mississippi September 1, 2015Music Background:
    16 years guitar

    Fantastic Sound

    I've installed pickups in several acoustic guitars over the years. Mostly my own guitars, or those of friends. I've installed soundboard transducers, under-saddle transducers, internal microphones, and even magnetic pickups. I've used K&K, LR Baggs, Fishman, and even off named brands.

    While I don't think it's possible to create a pickup that perfectly reproduces the tone of a guitar, there are obviously brands and models better than others. That being said, this is the most accurate pickup I've had the pleasure of installing, to date.

    About a year ago, I installed a K&K Fantastick with an LR Baggs end pin preamp in my Martin D15m. It sounds pretty good. I was in no way let down, and I paid about $130 for both pieces separately. But I'd been looking for a pickup to throw in my Epi Masterbuilt. A few months ago, I came across the Anthem SL. I bit more pricey than the setup I put in my Martin, but I decided to bite the bullet and see where it would get me.

    Now my $600 Masterbilt sounds better amplified than my $1,300 Martin. WHAT???

    I've tried internal microphones in two different guitars. One was my Yairi DY-71, and the other was an older Epiphone PR-350. With both guitars, I got feedback, though not as much on the Epi. Presumably because the laminate, yet nicely aged top wasn't picking up quite as much resonation for the PA speakers. The feedback I was getting with in the lower frequency ranges, with both guitars.

    Taking this into consideration, it makes perfect sense that LR Baggs would come up with this configuration. Making the under-saddle pickup responsible for the low end tones means that the microphone can be assigned to the midrange and treble frequencies that commonly don't cause feedback.

    I'm extremely happy with this pickup, and will be buying another one soon to replace the setup in my Martin.

  • from Tulsa July 10, 2015Music Background:
    20 years of guitar/5 years as studio engineer

    Great pickup!!

    Just had this installed into my new Guild GAD-125 and MAN does it sound killer!! Natural sound at high volume with no feedback. Plugged it straight into Mackie Board through QSC powered speakers and it's just sounds great. Also plugged it into a Fishman D.I./Pre/EQ And honestly, I think this pickup does just fine as a standalone system without the Fishman. Sweetwater customer service is superb too.

  • from July 10, 2015

    Gave my old guitar new life

    I've always liked how my old Martin sounds in a room but never liked how it sound plugged in. This LR Baggs pick up sounds incredible and has given my old guitar new life. I went ahead and installed it myself which wasn't too difficult but took a couple of hours. I thought I might have some trouble with feedback since but this has not been an issue at all. I couldn't be happier!

  • from Toledo, Ohio December 29, 2014Music Background:
    Always learning

    Worth every penny!

    Purchased my first Martin guitar a few weeks ago. I wanted a pickup which would reproduce the same beautiful sound I heard from the guitar. The reviews of all the pickups were extremely helpful. I decided on the Anthem SL because the Anthem Tru-Mic wouldn't fit with framing of my Martin. I installed it myself per the instructions on the LR Baggs website.
    I was able to install it with no problems. Took me about 1 1/2 hours including gathering all the tools, removing the strings, installation and restringing the guitar. DON'T do it yourself if you don't have the proper tools. Read and reread the instructions and think it through completely before starting. If there is any doubt take it to a professional.
    This pickup reproduces the same sound I hear out of the guitar. It's a great product. I would recommend it to anyone. I'm very pleased with the Anthem SL. I seldom write reviews. When I do it's because I'm either very disappointed or extremely pleased. Great pickup! Buy it!
    Thanks Sweetwater.

  • from Issaquah, WA USA August 2, 2014

    Excellent!

    This is the first acoustic pickup I've tried where I can actually say WOW! It really replicates the sound of the guitar perfectly. I had this put in a Taylor 414, and Tyler was very helpful in helping me figure out if the volume knob would fit in the soundhole with the tight bracing of the smaller body, thanks Sweetwater.

  • from Wilderville, OR July 8, 2014Music Background:
    Songwriter

    WOW- I LUV IT!

    From live to the studio, this pick up is giving me all I had hoped for and more.

  • from Portland OR June 20, 2014Music Background:
    A Performer - singing and acoustic rhythm guitar

    Best there is

    I love the Baggs Anthem. I prefer the SL version because I do not need to adjust the balance between the mic and Element once it's initially set. And since they are electrically identical, saving $100 makes it my preference.

  • from Mesick, MI February 27, 2014

    Excellent acoustic system

    I ordered the Anthem SL system because the more expensive Anthem soundhole system control unit will not fit in a Martin 000-15M. The bracing in its smaller body is different around the soundhole then on a dread. Anyway, installation was not difficult, but if you have any doubts about your skills it might better left to a professional. The sound is absolutely prefect! I left this one adjusted just as it came out of the box. I've tried it with both a bone and tusq saddle with great results. Sweetwater service and pricing was great as usual. Thanks,Sean

  • from Fairview, OR April 17, 2013Music Background:
    Performing Singer/Songwriter

    Studio sound live

    I love the new LR Baggs Anthem SL. I had it installed in a 2003 Taylor 314-L2, limited edition with Big Leaf Flame Maple back and sides. The clarity of the signal is studio quality, clear and crisp and just like the natural sound of the instrument. But what's really amazing is there is NO FEEDBACK even when playing with a full band.
    The SL version is $100 less than the Tru-Mic, but electrically they are virtually identical and sound the same... I know, I have the Tru-Mic in my custom Breedlove.

  • from April 15, 2013Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Musician and Guitar tech

    Really nice service sound and great tone

    I love LR Baggs pickups, the sound and the tone its like no other pickup
    the element is the most incredible thing on this pickup
    theres no other system like LR Baggs you guys rock! and Sweetwater has the best service so recommended

  • from Jacksonville,FL October 16, 2012Music Background:
    Guitar builder and player 40 yrs.

    LR Baggs Anthem SL

    I recently put the Anthem SL in two guitars. One was a dreadnought and the other a 000 size. I was immediately impressed with the true acoustic sound the pick-up displayed when amplified. Both guitars sound equally good. I didn't think I needed to invest in the more expensive Anthem because I'm not a professional musician and didn't need the balancing feature between the under saddle transducer and microphone. The factory setting is fine for ocassional plug-ins. Besides, you can control the balance using the adjustment screw on the volume control. I found that setting the balance heavy toward the under saddle transducer and a little for the microphone worked best for me. I would highly recommend this pick-up for anyone who wants to amplify their guitars' true acoustic sound.

  • from Princeton January 19, 2012Music Background:
    Pro Musicain

    Anthem SL Classical is Fantastic Tone

    I have been following the development of the Anthem SL Classical for some time. I have never been very happy with the way pickups sound in Nylon Flamenco guitars. I had Mark Magdichx1265 order one of these from LR Baggs and I could not be happier. Once you mix in the (tru mic) and blend it in. The sound sounds like your guitar. I am so looking forward to being able to turn up my DeVoe and play loud with no feedback. I also found that the install did not change the tone of the guitar unplugged. This is truly a game changer product. If you have determined that a pick up is the right thing for you and your guitar this is really the only way to go. I think I may even try to go wireless as we.. Flamenco Fusion on my guitar loud with out feedback and bleed in from using mic is so very welcome. My review is directed at the LR Baggs Anthem SL Classical specifically voiced for Nylon Strings. Thanks Sweetwater and L.R Baggs

  • from Upper Midwest June 15, 2011Music Background:
    Guitar- 30+ years

    LR Baggs Anthem SL

    Due to unsatisfactory natural acoustic sound and an irritating crackle I took out the undersaddle/microphone system on my D-18. Time for something new. I had seen the LR Baggs Anthem system demo'ed online and was impressed with its natural acoustic sound. No boomy bass or piezo sizzle. Realizing an online review does not a good product make, I took a leap of faith and ordered the Anthem SL system from Sweetwater.
    I did the install myself but if you don't have experience working with acoustic guitars please seek pro assistance.
    The sound of my Martin through a Princeton Reverb was outstanding!
    Can't wait to run it through my LR Baggs Para DI into a PA.
    Extremely satisfied with the Sweetwater service, Thanks TJ!
    I recommend the LR Baggs Anthem SL highly.

  • from United States January 26, 2014Music Background:
    Weekend Gigger

    A very nice package

    I purchased a Baggs Lyric Microphone for my new Bourgeois Slope D as I wanted a smooth mic tone and an minimally invasive installation. While I really liked the Lyric for fingerstyle music, I had a hard time getting a good strum tone that didn't sound boxy. I play through a Bose L2 and tonematch...so I have a lot of sound shaping ability. After my first gig with the Lyric, I ordered up an Anthem SL from Sweetwater and installed it today. I instantly noticed the fat low end of my slope D was present again and the mids and highs sounded like they were mic'd. I plugged in my 000 Wechter which has a Fishman Matrix Infinity to compare and it sounded like a quacky piezo by comparison. (I normally play it through a Fishman Aura to get rid of this but I was plugged straight in for the test) Bottom Line, The Anthem SL has a nice wide tone...seems like the best of both worlds. I didnt care for the large control unit on the std anthem so I opted for the SL. I will be ordering another for my JOMC.

  • from NE Missouri January 23, 2015

    Sounds Great!

    Installed this in my Martin and I'm very pleased with the results. MUCH more faithful capture of my guitar's true sound than the under saddle pickup that came stock in my 200 series Taylor. I was worried about not having the full Anthem's ability to adjust the blend on the fly, but I've found once you find the right blend setting, you needn't touch it again. Great product, and as usual, superior service from Sweetwater.

  • from February 4, 2013Music Background:
    Been playing acoustic all my life.own D35, Taka(law suit) a Palmer

    Cant ask for a better pickup that moves with the guitar

    After connecting the unit, we began adjusting the gain screw and luckily just as we hit the sweet spot, the screw dissapeared into the unit . Thats right it just pushed right into the controller and is gone but the sound couldn't be adjusted any better. I'm a real nut and and have ordered the Fishman Aura 16 to add to the quality sound. My only complaint is the jack threads are too short for a Martin D35 and we barely got enough thread to screw on the strap peg.

  • from Bluefield WV February 23, 2012Music Background:
    Pro Musician

    Sweet combination

    LR Baggs keep raising tha bar on acoustic instrument amplification.
    I'm totally pleased with the sound of the mic/pickup. I placed in my
    Huss & Dalton OM and it just brings out the essence of my instrument
    completely.

  • from Napa September 19, 2014Music Background:
    Professional

    Not for me

    I installed the SL in my Martin D16 and I'm not happy. This pickup does not capture the tone of this guitar at all (tooooo bright) and feedback is awful at low volume. Any finger taps or even brushes of the hand to the guitar is picked up. Perhaps its too sensitive. I made adjustments (with the screw) to eliminate the pickup that is causing the feedback but the tone is just not there. Very disappointed. With a lot of eq I was able to eliminate the feedback but its too much work for a live gig. Craigslist here it comes, I will keep looking.

  • from Mt. Vernon, WA January 24, 2015Music Background:
    Local singer/songwriter & acoustic guitar player

    Not a great choice

    I play relatively low volume acoustic guitar in small venues. I bought this pickup for my MARTIN 000-18 GE and had if professionally installed in December. I play through a Fishman Loudbox. However, no matter how I adjusted things, I never did get an acceptable sound from this pickup system - it did not sound natural at all. It was my first and will be my last LR Baggs product. I've had very good luck with the Fishman dual source systems as well as the K&K dual source - Trinity system and should have just stuck with that rather believing the hype. I'm paying to have the LR Baggs removed next week and also have to pay for a new saddle as well. So it's a $375 mistake for me.

Questions about the LR Baggs Anthem SL Acoustic Soundhole Microphone/Undersaddle Guitar Pickup?

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