Magazine article Guitar Player

Hardware D-Tar Mama Bear

Magazine article Guitar Player

Hardware D-Tar Mama Bear

Article excerpt

The brainchild of luthier rick turner and pickup guru Seymour Duncan, the D-TAR Mama Bear ($499 retail/$350 street) attempts to solve a quagmire that has vexed guitarists for years: How to make a plugged-in, piezo-equipped acousuc sound as natural as a miked acoustic. Primarily developed for live-sound applications, the Mama Bear also promises to be a boon for home-studio engineers who have difficulty miking their acoustic guitars due to limited micro-phone options or environment noise.

Using what D-TAR calls AGE (Acoustic Guitar Emulation), the Mama Bear's mission is to bring back the full, organic sound of your guitar's body, rather than the quack typically produced by under-saddle pickups. At the heart of the Mama Bear are three controls: Input Source, Target Instrument, and Blend. The 16-position Input Source selects the input signal to be processed, from ceramic piezo, coaxial film, magnetic soundhole, piezo-equipped electric, and more. The Target Instrument control offers 16 "sonic signatures," from small-bodied parlor guitars and funky blues boxes to various dreadnoughts, orchestra models, and resonators. All of the 16 target instruments are created with digital filters derived from actual recordings of classic acoustics. Blend controls the mix of the Mama Bear processing, from 100 percent effected to 100 percent source input (no effect), and all points in-between.

Using two dreadnoughts as source guitars--a Tacoma DR12 and a Guild D-40 Bluegrass, both equipped with D-TAWs Wave-Length piezo system--I plugged the Mama's balanced XLR output (a 1/4" out is also available) into a PreSonus Fire-pod preamp, and recorded the results into Apple GarageBand. …

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