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Thread: Need pickup advice for my kala

  1. #11
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    Probably a good choice at your price ratio and a good spot to start learning. Thereʻs only so much advice you can solicit from a forum before you just have to waste some money trying things out. Sometimes they work, sometimes they donʻt. If youʻre not playing super loud, the K&K will probably be fine, though a preamp of some sort would go a long ways towards making your life better on stage.

    Keep in mind that your install location will change the tone a lot. I had one for years and thought it sounded terrible. Had someone move it and it was much better. You might have to experiment a bit.
    Peace,

    Brad Bordessa

    My original folk rock album, If Only, is available now!
    'Ukulele Chord Shapes - 55 pages of all the chords and know-how you'll ever need to stay found on the fretboard.

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hippie Guy View Post
    Probably a good choice at your price ratio and a good spot to start learning. Thereʻs only so much advice you can solicit from a forum before you just have to waste some money trying things out. Sometimes they work, sometimes they donʻt. If youʻre not playing super loud, the K&K will probably be fine, though a preamp of some sort would go a long ways towards making your life better on stage.

    Keep in mind that your install location will change the tone a lot. I had one for years and thought it sounded terrible. Had someone move it and it was much better. You might have to experiment a bit.
    I'm definitely going to play around a bit with the location before securing it more permanently. I should be able to get a pre amp pretty inexpensively at some point.

  3. #13

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    Well, I ordered one on Saturday and got it today. I have painter's tape holding it in a temporary position, but I'm pretty pleased. Next week be getting a preamp. Other than the one k&k sells, do you have any other recommendations? Something simple. A57FF51E-1B50-4DAD-A8D9-C78866D40773.jpg

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshsimpson79 View Post
    Well, I ordered one on Saturday and got it today. I have painter's tape holding it in a temporary position, but I'm pretty pleased. Next week be getting a preamp. Other than the one k&k sells, do you have any other recommendations? Something simple.
    There are hundreds of QUALITY options for external preamps, most popular on UU, as well as used daily by professionals around the world:

    Budget preamp: Behringer ADI-21 $29-39 everywhere
    see: https://www.amazon.com/BEHRINGER-V-T...dp/B000KITQK2/


    High-end preamp, considered one of the best: LR Baggs Para DI $189-199 everywhere
    see: https://www.amazon.com/LR-Baggs-Para.../dp/B001E95KEC


    With either of these, you can't go wrong, just depends upon your budget and how discriminating your hearing perception is, but most folks that are not audio engineers will be hard-pressed to tell the difference between these two units in a blind test.

  5. #15
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    I am a believer in the Baggs Para DI. It might be more expensive, but it will last a lifetime and be worthy of any setup.
    Keep Strummin'

  6. #16
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    I've just been looking at options for pickups over several days.

    Personally I've decided on a Adeline AD-86, a Passive Pick Up system consisting of three stick on pickups, Bass, Mids, Treble, with Volume control and Tone Control. I'll be using it externally as I want to to use the same for different Ukes and don't want to be permanently installing a pickup at this current stage.
    I'm all for the volume control btw, I can't stand feedback from mics and speakers etc, I don't think anyone likes it.

    So, I've also been checking out some Pre-Amp Units. The Behringer V-tone is one of the ones I was interested in. I read some reviews, I could only find a few , but some people mentioned a Hiss, and one person mentioned that after lining the inside of the unit with Copper Foil the Hiss was gone and it worked very well overall.

    After all that, I'm actually not that interested in Pre-Amps at this current stage, but thought it's worth a mention anyway.

    The only reason I'm personally not interested at the moment is because I think in my case it can wait. I'd really only want it for running through a PA at Open Mics or something, and at this time I'm just not attending any. My Piezo Pickups actually sound really good run straight through the Passive (Piezo) Input of my 75W Twin Speaker Storm Australia Acoustic Amplifier, and it has Notch Filter incorporated into the Amp, so for me it's simply not necessary at the current time.
    I think they are a good idea though, particularly if intending to run through a PA system. I can't speak for other Acoustic Amps, the Storm AET75 is the only one I own. Other than that I've got a Roland Cube 15X which only gets used for electric guitar or my Ukebird.

    Anyway, if you're interested in the Behringer Acoustic V-Tone unit, I just thought to let you know about the Hiss and that lining the inside of the unit with Copper Foil will eliminate the Hiss, similarly as it works with Magnetic Pickups in a Electric Guitar.

    Of course, if you're interested in spending more and getting the Baggs unit, then it doesn't really matter, I've read they are very good and highly recommended, just more expensive.

  7. #17
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    The reason for using a preamp is not only volume boost, nor fiddly knobs to modify the eq but for IMPEDANCE MISMATCH between ALL piezo pickups under the sun, and what they plug in to.

    This is not my sole opinion, but instead it is proven scientific fact.

    The page linked below in my signature has links that detail all of these issues and how to remedy them, from the technical explanations I've previously written here on the forum, as well as the suggestions of others, some of whom have even more experience doing professional audio than I do.

    It would not only save time and frustration to read these threads, but also help to manage one's expectations for each given level of budget.

    I'd strongly recommend that anyone wanting to get IMPROVED sound from a pickup and NOT the typically 'quacky', thin, and brittle tone that piezos offer when going direct without a preamp or DI box, to actually make time to educate themselves.

    Otherwise, 'just plugging it in' is going to punish the audience, who will not hear the music you are playing because the tone of it is drastically impaired due to the IMPEDANCE MISMATCH of piezo pickups going direct into an amp or PA without proper additional add-ons, which do NOT have to be expensive at all.

  8. #18
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    I believe you Booli.

    I read about the impedance issue, I read about the thin sound, quacky sound, as people describe it.

    It's really weird, and I can't say I know about the science regarding it all, but I actually couldn't detect this thin quacky sound that I read about.
    I tried playing without headphones and it sounded good. Then I plugged headphones in so I could only hear the Amp without hearing my Uke directly, and it sounded good.
    I tried turning up the Notch Filter, and, ahh there's that thin quacky sound, but when I turned it back down again, it all sounded good again.
    I actually had to make an effort to try and achieve this thin quacky sound, and that may sound odd, probably because it is, and as I say I can't speak for other amps but mine sounded good.
    Anyway, I will eventually get around to getting a Pre-Amp, at the moment I'm thinking probably a Behringer, and I'm not saying I couldn't benefit with one at all, just that in my personal case it can wait, but it seems odd to have a Passive Input and then have to rely on an active pre-amp, especially as my amp has the Passive Input as well as an Active Input also for the purpose.
    I don't really know what to make of it at this present time.

    In my case my only audience is my Budgies, and they love my Uke any way I play, so I guess I'm blessed with the best audience ever in that regard

    I'll gladly check out the info on your link some time. Thanks

  9. #19
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    Dean - some amps, especially if designed as an 'acoustic amp', will already have an impedance matching 'front end circuit' within it's preamp which is usually wired up as it's output feeding the input of the 'tone stack' which is your bass/mid/treble/notch-filter section, and the output of the tone-stack then feeds the input of the 'power-amp' which then goes to the speaker.

    If your amp has an 'active' input as well as a 'passive' input, using an additional preamp may be redundant when using the 'active' input, however, as long as you have 'unity gain' from your external preamp or effects, either going into the active input or via an effects loop on the amp itself, the sound should at least be passable...

    But remember, as kekani said above, there are lots of variables involved, and without looking at the schematic diagrams of the amp's circuits and technical data sheets from the amp maker, it's near impossible to predict the end result.

    I am glad it is working for you. Maybe try and set the eq and notch filter 'flat' or everything at 12-o'clock, and leaving the volume and gain also mid-level, plug into the active input and have a listen, and the passive input and have a listen - if you active input has impedance compensation or a piezo 'buffer' circuit, the active input should have more low-mid and bass frequencies and the passive input should sound brittle and thin in comparison.

    The very short reason for this is that 'uncompensated impedance', or 'unbuffered input' from a piezo manifests as a 'high-pass' filter, which usually omits ALL sound below about 500hz, and this is electrically caused by the piezo's nearly 10 million ohm impedance going into an input that expects magnetic pickups that put out from 1.5k ohms to 10k ohms, or on a PA system an XLR mic channel that expects a mic output from 150 ohms up to about 1k ohm.

    A preamp, DI, or piezo buffer reduces the ratio of the 10M ohm down to something closer to the amp or PA's input channel's design, and by doing so, flattens out the frequency response so it is closer to what your natural ears hear as resonance in the air from the acoustic sound of the instrument.

  10. #20
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    Thanks very much Booli.

    I will try the Active Input tomorrow for a comparison, it's late here atm.
    It's a lot for me to comprehend but I think I'm understanding some of it at least.
    I suspect it probably has some sort of Pre-Amp or Front End circuitry as you mentioned, as the Passive Input is before the Active Input. It is specifically an Acoustic Amplifier.
    It's a bit of an old Amp, and it's not perfect, but the sound was really quite similar to what it sounds like direct from the instrument, it was a bit difficult to distinguish which sound was coming from the Amp or the Instrument at first which is why I plugged in the Headphones, so it seems to reproduce the acoustic sound relatively well, which really is why I've kept this Amp.
    At this stage I think the High and Low (Treble and Bass) controls only control the Mic Input, and the sound reproduction of the instrument Input is seemingly relatively natural, it doesn't seem to be controlled by the couple of Tone controls it has. The only controls for the Instrument is Gain (Volume), Reverb, and the Notch Filter.
    I bought this Amp second hand a few years ago, and I got it at a good price, but I haven't used it a lot to be honest. This particular Amp is obsolete these days, they don't make it anymore, although they seem to still make some single speaker models which do appear similar functionally. It is difficult, almost impossible, to find any detailed information at all regarding this Amp online, but I can possibly find more details from the others that are still available, I'm not sure though.
    It might be a bit difficult to run it at mid volume, I live in a Unit Complex, and to be honest I'm not keen to run it mid volume through Headphones as it might be too much, but I'll see how far I can push it being reasonable about it. I'll see if I can figure out a bit more. I'm not all that good at understanding technology, but I can understand enough to get by and I'll see how it goes.

    Thank You for your advice and the information provided

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