I recently had an LR Baggs lyric acoustic guitar microphone installed in my 2011 Taylor GS Mini. This is one of the original GS Minis that came without electronics but had the internal bracket for the optional ES-Go magnetic soundhole pickup, now discontinued. I had this pickup for a while but was never satisfied with the fully passive design, and so decided to upgrade to something active.
The Lyric from LR Baggs is a miniature microphone installed on the inside of the guitar, stuck to the bridge plate using double-sided tape. Being a microphone it does not suffer from the honky/quacky sound of typical undersaddle piezo pickups, and being placed inside the guitar is much more resistant to feedback than an external microphone. It also enables complete freedom of movement for the performer as there is no need to stand in a fixed position in front of a stand-mounted microphone.
My conclusions after testing:
- The Lyric sounds a LOT better than a conventional undersaddle piezo pickup! I had originally thought that the placement inside the guitar would result in a very strange, resonant sound (after all nobody listens to an instrument with their head inside it!) but LR Baggs have managed this issue very well and the Lyric sounds very natural and balanced across the tonal spectrum.
- The sound, while balanced, is on the bright side and a bit thin when compared to an external microphone – presumably this is due to the microphone design which lacks the proximity effect of a conventional cardioid microphone. In order to compensate for this Baggs has provided a presence adjustment next to the volume control so that the tone can be fine-tuned. This aspect of the sound could also be due to the small size of the GS Mini.
- Because the mic is so close to the soundboard of the guitar, the sound you get is very dry and almost completely devoid of the reverberation that you would hear were you listening to the guitar acoustically. This is probably a good thing if you play in a loud band, but for solo artists it may be necessary to add additional reverb to the signal using an external effects unit or pedal.
- Although the fixed position inside the guitar is great for consistency, the downside of this is that you cannot experiment with different mic positions as you can with an external mic. Nor can you experiment with different microphones. So the lyric is perhaps best suited for live applications rather than as a recording tool.
- The signal from the system is on the low side, so a good active DI box is recommended, such as the Radial J48.
In short, the LR Baggs lyric is a very good middle ground between piezo pickups and external microphones, and an ideal solution for playing live. The sound straight out of the system is very direct and slightly sterile sounding but nothing that cannot be improved with some EQ and/or reverb.
Purchase the Lyric via my Amazon Store: http://astore.amazon.com/glbpro-20/detail/B00BC3OVHM