If you’ve played a higher-quality acoustic guitar with a factory-installed pickup recently, there’s a pretty good chance that the transducer was a Fishman Acoustic Matrix. For the past two decades, this undersaddle device has been the most popular acoustic guitar pickup on the market. Guild, Martin, and other makers have relied on its revolutionary design—a single piezo strip, rather than individual crystals for each string—to deliver clarity and a more natural response in their instruments.
This year saw an evolution of the Matrix system and the introduction of the Matrix Infinity VT (undersaddle pickup only) and the Matrix Infinity Mic Blend. In both cases the preamps have been designed and some extent re-voiced with full-frequency modern acoustic amps in mind.
For many players though, the Mic Blend system is the big news. As the name suggests, it combines a mini soundhole microphone and an undersaddle pickup—and I can say without reservation that it’s the best-sounding Fishman package I’ve tried to date.
True to Dread
For testing, Fishman sent the Matrix Infinity Mic Blend installed on a very nice instrument—a recent Martin D-18 that has a commanding personality when played unplugged. (The undersaddle pickup, by the way, is available in wide, narrow, or split saddle configurations to accommodate various saddle sizes on different guitars.)
The D-18 certainly felt heavier than average for having the Fishman electronics onboard. But I really appreciated that the system requires no unsightly modifications to the guitar. The preamp’s 9V battery pack is attached discretely inside the guitar via a Velcro patch, and the tone/volume knobs and blend control sit under the top on opposite sides of the soundhole. The rotating microphone is also installed under the top close to the soundhole where its position can be easily readjusted.