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L.R. Baggs Voiceprint D.I.
 
A highly anticipated processor that uses impulse-response technology to enhance acoustic pickups.
November 13, 2020

 

Ever since he began tinkering with piezo pickups for the guitars he was building in the early 1980s, Lloyd Baggs has been at the vanguard of acoustic amplification. And while the list of L.R. Baggs products that have become industry mainstays is long, the company’s new Voiceprint ® D.I. is probably the company’s most ambitious development to date. Using impulse-response (I.R.) technology in combination with an iPhone app, the Voiceprint D.I. is an advanced pedal-format processor designed to enhance the sound of acoustic guitar pickups with user-made I.R. presets. (While currently optimized for guitars, it is not out of the question to use it with other instruments.) I first got a chance to check out a prototype of the Voiceprint D.I. during a visit to the L.R. Baggs shop in the fall of 2019, and I was happy to have a chance to put one through its paces in the Peghead Nation video studio. 

Housed in a mid-size pedal format, the Voiceprint D.I. is designed to work in tandem with a specially developed iPhone app called AcousticLive™ (currently, only Apple iPhones are supported). Once the Voiceprint D.I. is set up and has been loaded with custom Voiceprint presets, it functions as a stand-alone pedal, but in order to make the unit functional, the app is required. Combining the Voiceprint D.I. with an iPhone and the AcousticLive app serves two purposes: At the hardware level, the iPhone’s built-in microphone is used to capture the instrument’s acoustic sound as a starting point for creating the impulse-response preset. On the software side, the AcousticLive app analyzes the instrument’s tone and then uses this information to process the pickup signal to match the acoustic sound as closely as possible. The app also includes a powerful EQ, an anti-feedback function, phase reversal, the ability to store multiple presets, and more. Communication between the phone and the Voiceprint D.I. pedals is wireless via bluetooth. 

Capturing Voiceprint presets is a straight-forward process. Using the AcousticLive app, the iPhone is placed in front of the guitar, and video within the app offers step-by-step instructions for playing a combination of strums, scales, picked passages, and percussive taps on the instrument’s bridge. Once captured, the patches can be named and saved before they’re transmitted to the Voiceprint D.I. pedal.

The pedal itself has a streamlined design. Two foot switches are used to control mute and bypass functions and to step through saved patches. A display shows the active preset and parameters, and there are four control knobs, for output volume, anti-feedback, voice (which selects the blend between straight pickup signal and Voiceprint preset), and select (which scrolls through the presets). A “pad” button allows incremental reduction of the input sensitivity. The unit has ¼-inch jacks for input and output as well as effect send and return, and an XLR output with a ground-lift function. A USB port allows future firmware updates. Power comes from an external power-adapter; there is no battery operation. 

Even though both the Voiceprint D.I pedal and AcousticLive app are highly sophisticated, I found them intuitive and user-friendly. I had captured and installed my first Voiceprint preset 15 minutes after unpacking the pedal, and the results were highly satisfying right off the bat. I spent the most time experimenting with it using my custom Martin OM with an L.R. Baggs Anthem SL pickup system, but I also tried it with a Taylor Big Baby with a Fishman Acoustic Matrix pickup and a Taylor 514c with an L.R. Baggs Anthem set only to use the system’s Element undersaddle pickup. Even though I’m able to make all these guitars sound good using more traditional methods (I typically use an L.R. Baggs Para Acoustic D.I. to help shape my guitar’s amplified tone), it was stunning how quickly the Voiceprint D.I. and AcousticLive combination allowed me to optimize each instrument’s tone, in each case creating a more realistic, natural voice coming out of my AER Compact 60 amp or headphones. I was also very impressed by the AcousticLive’s powerful EQ. As someone who has often struggled with dialing in multiple guitars in performance, the ability to fine-tune and create presets for each of my instruments makes the Voiceprint D.I. and AcousticLive combination highly appealing for this function alone. 

Without a doubt, L.R. Baggs’s lengthy development for the Voiceprint D.I. and AcousticLive app are paying off in a major way. While there are other products that use fundamentally similar processing technology L.R. Baggs has made the creation of custom impulse-response patches quick, easy, and painless while keeping the hardware easy to use during the heat of a gig. A major “Bravo” is in order!

SPECS: Impulse Response–based acoustic instrument processor. Pedal format with two foot switches. Hardware controls for volume, anti-feedback, voice, and patch selection. Pad and ground lift switches. ¼-inch input, output, and effect send and return. Balanced XLR output. External power supply. Designed to work with L.R. Baggs Acoustic Live app for Apple iPhones (iPhone 6 and later). Designed in USA, made in China. $399 street. lrbaggs.com

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    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com