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Thread: Mi-Si Acoustic Trio Pick-up quick review...

  1. #1

    Default Mi-Si Acoustic Trio Pick-up quick review...

    Mike (HossierHiver)and Tookta over at Mainland Ukes just sent me my Classic Mahogany Tenor and Mike dropped a pick-up in it for me. We don't really need another Mainland review - so suffice it to say it's quality WELL above what I would expect for the price. Incredible player, wonderful tone, just great all around. It's on par or better with anything out there at twice the price. Surpassed expectations on all counts. Wonderful uke, and great company.

    Onto the pick-up.

    I've played instruments with under-saddle pickups of varying kinds (both passive, and active) for decades. Generally they either fail on one or two counts... Tone (bass and mid-range are hard to get right) or (with all of my other ukes) balance. By balance I mean one side or another is substantially higher in volume and or tone than another. My Pono pick-up and my K-Wave pick-up both have the latter problem so bad as to render them nearly unusable (the Pono pick-up is literally unusable at the moment because of the issue).

    The Mi-Si is active (powered), but without the usual battery/EQ/pre-amp housing. It uses a simple capacitor and a 1/4 inch-to-wall plug system that charges the little devil in just a few seconds. That means no battery, no big holes in the uke... Check out RussBuss' installation review here for good pics of the simple install.


    Mi-Si claims that 60 seconds of charging gives you 16 hours of playing, and that seems about right. I charged it when it arrived, and have been practicing on my amp non-stop, as well as performing without any issues at all. It's slightly unnerving at first to plug a standard 1/4 into the usual jack, and then pop the other end into the the wall socket - but it works and is darn convenient.

    The tone is dead-on-perfect to my ear - nice mids, thumpy bass, and full treble. It seems to grab overtones I didn't know I even had in my strum - in a good way. The balance issues are gone too. All four strings are nice and even and responsive, I don't need to adjust my playing to compensate - it just works.

    I will say that I prefer the tone I can put out through a simple PA system over my usual Fender Power Chorus amplifier... this is colmpletly different than my other acoustic pick-ups. Generally, I need the Fender to compensate for the weedy piezio, and model the missing tones. The Mi-Si seems to do MUCH better without it, and in fact it's too responsive for the amp. I find myself cranking the amp way down and backing things off to get a more pure tone, just too much fuss. That's the amp's fault - not the pick-up. I pugged it into a few PAs over the last few days and it absolutely sings. Perfect.

    In short - best damn acoustic pick-up I've ever used so far. The only con is the potential to lose the plug. I'm told I can just touch a 9 volt to the outside and inside rings of the 1'4 inch port to charge it in a pinch - so I'll just make sure I carry a spare.

    5 stars for the pick-up and 5000 stars to Mainland and Tookta for getting her little hand in there for the install so I didn't have to!

    Videos soon - I may pick up a Fishman PA to compliment it first.

    Russ' Install Process

    Mi-Si Site
    Last edited by GrumpyCoyote; 07-31-2009 at 10:32 PM.

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  2. #2

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    Thanks for this, GC. My Mainland arrived yesterday with the Mi-Si installed. Ditto the thanks for the install. Questions: Is it recommended to charge the uke before each time you gig? Does the charge stay built up over time if left unplayed plugged-in? Is there harm in charging it if it's already "half-charged"?

    I'm playing it tomorrow in church, and had it not arrived so quickly, it would have been the Oscar Schmidt with the $2 Radio Shack transducer.

    Great review. One suggestion for Mainland: When I was shopping, I looked at the Mainland website, and checked out the options on the uke I wanted. "pickup installed" was not an option. The website seems to indicate that if you want one, you have to buy the trio and install it yourself. So I shopped elsewhere and narrowed my search to two other manufacturers until UkeRepublic told me it was an option. Suddenly my choice was a no-brainer. Maybe add that as an option.
    Last edited by Captain_Lovehandles; 08-01-2009 at 04:34 AM.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain_Lovehandles View Post
    Thanks for this, GC. My Mainland arrived yesterday with the Mi-Si installed. Ditto the thanks for the install. Questions: Is it recommended to charge the uke before each time you gig? Does the charge stay built up over time if left unplayed plugged-in? Is there harm in charging it if it's already "half-charged"?

    I'm playing it tomorrow in church, and had it not arrived so quickly, it would have been the Oscar Schmidt with the $2 Radio Shack transducer.

    Great review. One suggestion for Mainland: When I was shopping, I looked at the Mainland website, and checked out the options on the uke I wanted. "pickup installed" was not an option. The website seems to indicate that if you want one, you have to buy the trio and install it yourself. So I shopped elsewhere and narrowed my search to two other manufacturers until UkeRepublic told me it was an option. Suddenly my choice was a no-brainer. Maybe add that as an option.
    I'm not sure on the length of time it will hold a charge yet, but I played for two days before I charged it again - so it'll hold for 48 at least. I didn't
    bother to give it a zap before my performance, but I suppose it would have been the best plan.

    It's a capacitor, not a battery - so you can't really "over-charge" it. That said, I wouldn't leave it plugged in for longer than a minute or two, as I'm not sure if the heat builds up. Since it only needs 60 second for 16 hours of play time, it's pretty easy to give it a zap just before you go on if you have to.

    Download my music @ ReverbNation
    Shameless plug for my videos.


  4. #4

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Thank you for the review. I've been debating whether or not to cave, and drop one of these in my Pono (to replace the garbage stock pickup). Your review makes me want to buy one this instant. I can't wait to hear it.

    Does anyone know of any videos which show how to install it? Russ' pictures help, but a video install would be awesome.

  6. #6
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    excellent review Grumpy! i'm glad you did it because my review would have been one sentence long, "it sounds good to me".

    also, i had spoken with Dominator shortly after installing my Mi-Si and he also mentioned that you can't overcharge the capacitor. he said that that 8-10 hours worth of play time is actual play time. so you can play an hour today, wait a week, play another hour, and so on until your 8-10 hours is up. it should hold the charge between uses. cool stuff! and keeping a 9volt battery in your case for emergency charges is way convenient too.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gcow55 View Post
    Thank you for the review. I've been debating whether or not to cave, and drop one of these in my Pono (to replace the garbage stock pickup). Your review makes me want to buy one this instant. I can't wait to hear it.

    Does anyone know of any videos which show how to install it? Russ' pictures help, but a video install would be awesome.
    this is the video that i used as a guide:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdLUDWoh-cE

    however, since you're replacing an existing pickup, i'm guessing you won't need to do any drilling. so even better!

    let me know if you have any specific questions regarding the install. i'll be happy to share what little i know about such things.

  7. #7
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    Just wanted to throw out a shout on the MiSi trio system. I am sponsored by MiSi and have been using the system in my G-string Ukuleles since seeing them at the Anaheim NAMM show in 2006. I play professionally from small venues to full concert stage productions. Probably have +500 live performances on the same MiSi pick-up and have never had any repair issues with it. I have many friends who have used the same system with the same results.

    Some months ago I was given one of the new Fender Ukulele's to test and review. After trashing the OEM pick-up system, the first thing I did to the Fender was install the MiSi trio. Huge improvement to an otherwise entry model ukulele.

    Great Review on the MiSi and the people at MiSi are some of the best I have worked with. Aloha.....

  8. #8

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    Played it today at church (through my Genz Benz Shen 60 and it does indeed sound scrumpdillyicious.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    Hilo, Hawaii
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    Got a MiSi installed in my Moore Bettah Tenor and love it. It's light, needs no battery, and sounds great. I don't play much electrified, but it's good to know it's there if I need it.
    "Fish Prints With Aloha"http://www.takeogyotaku.com
    Low G or High G? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWC4VFON998
    Moore Bettah Tenor Review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFkOapP6FzM
    Savarez Alliance string review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzcyJmnetvg

  10. #10
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    Just got the Mi-si pick up installed on my Kamaka and I love it!? Anyone that is thinking about getting a pick-up should consider getting this one. Pretty good price and it sounds great.
    ___________________
    Kamaka HF-3 w/Mi-Si Pickup "Kino" | Pono MPTSH w/Mi-Si Pickup "Kenji"

    "As usual, there is a great woman behind every idiot."
    - John Lennon

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