The C.F. Martin guitar company has generated quite a buzz in the six string community this past two months with the announcement of their new Retro Series acoustic/electric models. These are standard Martins, utilizing the new F1+ Aura pickup and preamp sytem from Fishman.
One of the chief complaints that acoustic guitarists have had about using an acoustic/electric for stage work is the fact that too often, guitars that sound good amplified don’t sound so hot acoustically, and vice versa. The Aura has been a great success for Fishman in addressing this issue, using what they call sound imaging. It is designed to allow the performing guitarist to blend the output from an under saddle pickup with a digitally processed signal, modeled to reproduce the response through a high end studio microphone.
The Aura has been available on Martin guitars for some time, and in the video below, Chris Martin describes how an offhanded remark to Larry Fishman led to an audio research project that they believe took the Aura up a notch.
Martin’s Retro series is billed as a collaboration between craftsmanship, electronics and research. Working with Fishman, and celebrated audio engineer Bil VornDick, the research team recorded and measured the acoustical properties of a number of highly-valued vintage guitars in the Martin museum. This audio was then used to model the signal processing for these new guitars
As Tim Teel with Martin puts it, these new instruments have the sound DNA of the classic dreadnaughts infused electronically into the guitars.
There are currently 4 Retro Series guitars in production, with delivery expected in the next few months:
More details can be found on the Martin site, or from your favorite Martin dealer.