Martin Guitars 000C-16RGTE AURA

Martin confirms its allegiance to Fishman's Onboard Aura with this more affordable 16 Series electro

Martin's first electro equipped with Fishman's Onboard Aura system was the high-end Special Edition OMC-Aura. With The 000C-16RGTE is offers a less expensive Aura-equipped electro.

 

Construction and features

 

The 000C-16RGTE's intrinsic construction is exactly the same as models higher in the 16 series. Inside the finishing is a bit rough, but the woodwork itself is, as ever, precisely executed. Being a 16 Series model, we find Martin's cunningly economical scalloped 'hybrid A-frame' soundboard bracing.

 

The top is a bit streaky, but its bold herringbone rosette and perimeter purfiing are typically clean cut. Back and sides are plain, and there's white binding all round.

 

All Martin 16s have a mortise and tenon jointed neck, with an L-shape neck block and upper-bout A-frame for support. All 'GT' 16s have Black micarta (resin composite) rather than wood fingerboards. It is clean as a whistle, topped by an equally shipshape nut. Tuners are not the smoothest around, but they're functional enough.

 

The bridge may be a plastic ebony substitute, but it's as tidy as it is convincingly wood-like.

 

Sustaining a facade of pristine, traditional nitro-cellulose lacquer (enough to benefit the tone too), this otherwise matt-satin finish allows Martin to deliver a lower price point. It's all very neatly applied, anyhow.

 

The 000C-16RGTE Aura's neck has a depth that tapers from 21mm (first fret) to 23mm (10th fret). Optimal string spacing keeps everything feeling free and easy. As we expect from Martin, it's hard to fault this guitar on playability. The fret crowns need an extra once-over, but that really is it.

 

Aura system

 

The Onboard Aura control panel is familiar, intelligible and feels positive, and the system essentially operates much like the Fishman's Prefix Premium Blend pickup system. However, instead of the under-saddle pickup blended with a real microphone, the Aura blends digital Acoustic Sound Images with pickup tones to create realistic studio mic'd sounds. It also offers more sophisticated digital EQ and phase options (including memory function) with 'seek and destroy' anti-feedback.

 

In use

 

Like the similarly constructed OMC-Aura, the 000C-16RGTE Aura has its tonal quirks. While there's healthily resonant bass, with a reverberant clunk to every pluck of the bottom strings, and a soft well-balanced wash of mid-range colour, there's not much sparkling attack or sustaining chime when you hit the top strings. While there's no unpleasant scratchy presence, the treble sounds a bit damped, lacking the crisp sensitive touch when you're fingerpicking. As a result, it actually sounds better driven harder with a plectrum.

Monitoring through the new Fishman Loudbox Performer amp, the onboard Aura's Sound Images deliver astoundingly realistic mic'd-up sounds. However, it's generally a more scooped version of the acoustic tone, with more bass and all that missing sparkle restored. The digital processing produces a slightly brittle acoustic image, but with the right blend and EQ settings, the plugged-in tone is - arguably - far more satisfying than the natural sound.

MusicRadar Rating

4.5 / 5 stars
Pros

Clean build. Uncannily realistic virtual acoustic tones.

Cons

Real acoustic tone are a bit flat. Fret surfaces feel rough.

Verdict

This model may not be a real classic as an acoustic, but plugged-in it is truly a revelation.

Back and Sides Finish

Satin Natural

Back Inlay

None

Back Material

Solid East Indian Rosewood

Body Binding

White Boltaron

Bracing

Hybrid X Scalloped

Bridge

Belly

Bridge Material

Black Micarta

Bridge Pins

White w/black Dots

Case Included

Yes

Country of Origin

USA

Cutaway

Yes

Fingerboard Material

Black Micarta

Inlays

Abalone Dots

Neck Finish

Satin

Neck Material

Select Hardwood

No of Frets Clear

14

No of Strings

6

No. of Frets

20

Nut Material

Corian

Options

Available left-handed at no additional charge

Pickguard

Yes

Pickguard Colour

Tortoise

Pickup Type

Fishman Onboard Aura

Rosette Details

Bold Herringbone

Scale Length (Inches)

25.4

Sides Material

Solid East Indian Rosewood

String Spacing (In)

2.125

Top Finish

Polished Gloss

Top Material

Solid Sitka Spruce

Width at 12th fret

2.125

Width at Nut (Inches)

1.6875

Review Policy
All MusicRadar's reviews are by independent product specialists, who are not aligned to any gear manufacturer or retailer. Our experts also write for renowned magazines such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Computer Music, Future Music and Rhythm. All are part of Future PLC, the biggest publisher of music making magazines in the world.

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