The Matrix Infinity offers an affordable option for active acoustic pickups.
Fishman Matrix pickups are already the best selling acoustic pickups in the world, but it seems that the folks at Fishman aren’t content to rest on their laurels. They’ve recently designed a new preamp module for the Matrix and have called the resulting system the Matrix Infinity.
The Acoustic Matrix is an undersaddle transducer requiring a small hole through the top of the guitar at the bass end of the saddle slot. That and the hole for the end-pin jack are the only permanent modifications required for the solderless installation of the system, making it instantly more appealing than systems requiring a substantial hole to be cut in the body for the preamp. The Matrix Infinity preamp is a light and shapely cylinder about the diameter of two fingers which is attached by a bolt extension to the end-pin jack. The small but functional tone and volume control are held with some seriously tacky sticky tape right inside the soundhole, keeping it highly accessible. A 9V battery pack mounts with Velcro to the heel block. I installed the system into a 000-style guitar in under an hour.
Once installed, I was able to quickly dial in the sounds and tones I desired. The feedback rejection is phenomenal – I was sitting directly in front of my amp and had no feedback at a fairly high volume. There was also no ear-twitching quack, which is remarkable for a transducer. The volume and tone control include a Bass Boost button, which could be a boon for smaller or lower-end acoustics with less bass response – engaging the switch produced an audible “whoa!” from the substantial change in bass. The tone control operates intuitively and is pretty natural sounding, although I have to admit that the system is a little more electric sounding than I’m used to. Fortunately with a good DI or outboard pre it’s a snap to get more wood and warmth into the mix.
Shortly after installation, I had a chance to put the Matrix Infinity system through the ringer in a medium-sized restaurant. The venue had a Bose radiator system, so I was able to hear exactly what the house was hearing. The clarity was remarkable; I had no problems hearing every note over the background noise and nothing got buried or dropped out at any point along the spectrum. A lot of transducers are way too hot on the B string, but that’s not the case with the Matrix. Although it seemed that the A string was a little hotter than the rest, it was not too overbearing. The dynamic response was very accurate, staying true as I moved from soft to aggressive playing and back – even with a flatpick you could hear each string clearly. I never once thought about feedback the whole night, even while playing at a fairly high volume.
The Final Mojo
The tone of the system is more electrified than I am used to, but it produces a stellar sound nonetheless. The high degree of definition and articulation are extremely impressive, and the almost idiot-proof solderless installation seriously sweetens the deal. For a street price of $129, this is a no-brainer.
you want an affordable, great sounding active acoustic pickup with fantastic feedback rejection.
you want something more woody sounding.
MSRP $209 - Fishman Transducers - fishman.com
Our expert has stated her case, now we want to hear yours. Share your comments and ratings below.