From the January 2019 issue of Acoustic Guitar | BY GREG OLWELL
For years, Fishman’s endpin-mounted Matrix Infinity acoustic preamp and undersaddle pickup have been an established standard for acoustic guitarists needing an onboard pickup. The company recently updated the system, so we requested the Fishman Matrix Infinity Mic Blend ($299 MAP), which Fishman sent preinstalled in a recent Martin OM-21. The arrangement features a redesigned preamp with the Acoustic Matrix undersaddle pickup and a blendable cardioid condenser mic. (A version without the mic and blend control, called the Infinity VT, is also available for about $160.)
Fishman was able to redesign the system to be more capable of working for the wider range of guitar sizes—and styles—players use today. They also redesigned the shape and placement of the soundhole-mounted controls to be reachable, but out of sight. The small mic inside the soundhole can swivel from pointing toward the back to the strings—I favored a position angled toward the back. A slider switch on the control module selects between two preamp voices—one that yields a neutral response to help control boominess and low-end feedback, and another that provides a subtle boost in bass presence, which gave solo playing a richer, more expansive sound.
I tried the Matrix Blend through several acoustic amps and a portable PA. The soloed undersaddle pickup sounded much like you’d expect, solid and punchy with a dash of classic piezo edginess. Mixing in some mic signal rounded out the tone, giving it a rich body that was rewarding. Speaking of tone, the onboard tone control is useful for subtle sculpting, but don’t expect extremes on the bright or dark spectrum. The new Matrix Infinity Blend didn’t have a bad sound anywhere on the control’s range.
While the changes may mostly be hidden from players, the results aren’t—your ears will tell you that the new Matrix Infinity Mic Blend is the best Matrix Infinity yet. fishman.com
This article originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.