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Trance Amulet M-VT Phantom

The Amulet M-VT Phantom pickup from Trance Audio, Inc. is a phantom powered, brideplate-mounted, multi-transducer, low impedance (low noise), feedback resistant pickup that includes an onboard pre-amp and a soundhole-mounted volume and tone control.

Trance Audio offers three additional models that are 9v battery powered. The Amulet M has no onboard controls. The Amulet M-V includes a soundhole-mounted volume control, and the Amulet M-VT adds a tone control.


The Amulet

Two separate polyplanar transducers measuring 1 inch long by 3/8 inch deep that Trance calls their “Acoustic Lens™” are non-destructively attached to the bridgeplate directly beneath the saddle using a special double-stick adhesive, and plug into the integrated pre-amp/endpin jack. These Acoustic lenses are distinct in their design when compared with the more common contact transducers, in that they are engineered to produce a very low output signal and thus require a very high input impedance to amplify.

Trance Audio says the Acoustic Lens transducers are triaxial sensors, meaning they pick up vibration horizontally, vertically and laterally. The result is a body sensor that approaches the qualities of a microphone without the drawbacks.

Trance Amulet Installed

Trance Amulet M with cable

Plugged into an amp or mixer providing 48v phantom power (or a separate phantom power adapter), the guitarist experiences a high fidelity, low noise, feedback resistant pickup system with no batteries to be concerned with. The Amulet M pickup is also available in a 9v battery-powered version, and you can selectively choose to add a soundhole-mounted, single-wheel volume control (M-V model), or a twin wheel volume and tone control (M-VT model), if you so desire.

Trance Amulet Installed

Trance Amulet Installed in a 12 String

I can heartily recommend the Trance Amulet M to any acoustic guitarist on the basis of its ability to accurately reproduce your guitar's tone. The Amulet is really in a league of its own, in this regard. Why then is not the end-all, be-all, ubiquitous acoustic guitar pickup? Few pickups have as exacting an installation/placement requirement. As a result, this pickup may be extremely difficult or impossible to install, or not be the best choice in the following situations:

  • The location of the braces in most fan-braced or Kasha-braced instruments will likely prevent a successful installation of the Amulet.
  • Steel string guitars having extremely small bridgeplates (such as many of the early Martins) may not have sufficient space between the string holes and the X brace to accommodate the Acoustic Lenses.
  • Guitars featuring pinless bridges will require extra care and effort to achieve proper locating of the Acoustic lenses.
  • Split saddle guitars (such as Lowdens) may have sufficient bridgeplate real estate, but the output of the pickup may be compromised.
  • Anything mounted to the bridgeplate (such as the JLD Bridge Doctor) will interfere with proper placement of the Acoustic Lens.
  • Non-standard bridge designs (adjustable bridges, floating bridges) telegraph the kinetic energy of the plucked strings differently than the flat saddle slot design the Acoustic Lens was engineered to best amplify. The results may not be satisfactory.
  • The Trance Amulet M is not recommended for Carbon Fiber instruments

NOTE: The Amulet M pickup does not suffer alone in these scenarios. The Dazzo, along with the LR Baggs HiFi and HiFi Duet are two additional examples that also have installation limitations.

So we have a rather long list of restrictions to consider, but I believe this highlights the significance of the Amulet M pickup system. It was engineered specifically to excel when installed into a wooden acoustic guitar having a flat, straight-line saddle slot and a bridgeplate with sufficient room directly beneath the saddle to accommodate the two Acoustic Lens pickups (in other words, most modern X-braced guitars). Players of these guitars can now have one of the most accurate, feedback resistant and least fussy pickups available, anywhere.

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How does it sound?

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Coming soon...

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I really like this pickup. If it can be installed on your guitar, I cannot imagine anyone not liking it. I still maintain that if you are insisting on hearing your guitar, only louder, start with a microphone, and learn to deal with the EQ and feedback issues. For many (if not most) performing guitarists, a microphone is just not practical. The Trance Amulet M-VT Phantom may be just what you have been looking for.

You can read more about the Trance Amulet M-VT Phantom pickup on their website » Trance Audio Amulet M Phantom

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