Mandolin and violin enthusiasts are among some of the best trained and skilled group of musicians as a whole. That said, they are also some of the pickiest. Picky…yes, yes, yes, another cornball pun, but all joking aside, that sensitivity is often for good cause. Both the mandolin and violin capture sonic expressions many other instruments can’t achieve to size, string tension and technique of performance.
LIST PRICE: $189.99
WEBSITE: L.R. BAGGS
Mandolin and violin enthusiasts are among some of the best trained and skilled group of musicians as a whole. That said, they are also some of the pickiest. Picky…yes, yes, yes, another cornball pun, but all joking aside, that sensitivity is often for good cause. Both the mandolin and violin capture sonic expressions many other instruments can’t achieve to size, string tension and technique of performance. A regular sound hole pick up won’t cut it on a Loar mandolin or a Stradivarius; those instruments are of the highest grade-no competitors, almost a monopoly. No luthier on earth would cut into either to install a bridge pickup. Plus a bridge pickup would mostly pick up the strings, not the tonal resonance of the instrument. Of course there’s always a microphone. Yeah, everyone loves a good old stationary mic that they have to play through, a la Flatt and Scruggs and the feedback factor. Developed primarily by Bo Radis (transducer department manager), with assistance by Micah Marquettthe, the Radius pickup is a small wonder. It was developed primarily for the mandolin but may be used successfully on many other smaller, high-pitched instruments, including the violin. At the heart of the transducer is a highly flexible beam with a .004″ thin film sensor, similar to mic diaphragm material, attached to its surface. The beam is held in equilibrium and dampened by another LR Baggs innovation: opposing Neodymium magnets. The sensor floats between the magnets and is not bogged down in viscous fluid or clamped between elastomeric pads, so it is completely free to respond instantly to the smallest nuance without artifact or coloration. Also, the magnets are tuned to progressively dampen the sensor and respond naturally to the dynamics of the instrument. The frequency response is linear, silky smooth and accurate-with an astonishing natural and effortless sound. Unlike most soundboard transducers, the Radius is also very tolerant to placement and works well in a variety of locations. The output of the device is strong, which allows passive use with a normal length cord, without a preamp into most acoustic amps. The case is injection-molded of a non-resonant, conductive ABS material-developed in collaboration with a respected plastics manufacturer. The CAD-designed case acts like a vault for the transducer insuring ultra quiet operation. The Radius may be mounted to the outside surface of the instrument with a removable, non-destructive adhesive or to the inside with VHB adhesive. The Radius “kit” includes adhesive, 1-1/4″ stereo jack and a side mount jack holder to enable internal or external mounting.