View Full Version : Fish and Chips as preamp?

08-30-2015, 08:29 AM
Hello. I was looking for a signal booster for my passive risa stick as I read there can be a low signal with a longer cable run of over ten feet. My current run is short(2 meters) to compensate and works fine currently, but I am looking to build a pedal board and know that each pedal will add about a foot of signal chain, therefore I am interested(IE think I need?) a signal booster. The total cable run when all said and done will be a minimum of 12 feet.

The Fishman GII preamp would be ideal but no longer available. The Danelectro Fish and Chips pedal has a boost on it though most of the EQ is not in the usable range for a ukulele(C4 to C6 I believe). It has the advantage of being very affordable too so thinking this before buying used or paying over 100 bucks for a proper preamp pedal. Also for the GII I am not so sure what power supply it uses where the fish and chips will work with a 1 spot 9v adapter.

Any thoughts or experience would be greatly appreciated.

Brad Bordessa
08-30-2015, 09:01 AM
12' is not going to break your sound unless the Risa has super wimpy output. What you hear about isn't just boosting the signal, but has something to do with cable capacitance and load. That's what a preamp does/fixes, though I'll be the first to admit that I don't really understand it. The Fish and Chips isn't going to do anything beyond boost the signal (BTW, notes and tone are sort of different things when talking about EQ - you can use all frequencies to affect your 'ukulele's sound).

See if you can borrow a preamp from somebody and see how big a difference it makes. You always have to realistically assess your weakest link and how much you want/need to spend upgrading around it. You could have the best preamp with the best cables with the best pedals into a $20,000 PA system, ....but at the end of the day you're plugging in a Risa stick. Do you hope it will sound like the most beautiful 'ukulele or do you want to have some fun with the noises a couple pedals can provide?

08-30-2015, 09:40 AM
Just looking to have fun with a jack of all trades set up. Was thinking chorus pedal, a phaser or reverb pedal, and a POG mini for accompaniment. So light, clean effects to enhance what I can do a bit. No ivory tower rig planned here. :) Thanks for your insight Brad.

08-30-2015, 12:42 PM
Booli recommended the ART tube MP preamp. You can find em cheap. for example there is one used in great condition on Craigslist here in Portland for $15

Versatile mic preamp also great for acoustic or piezo pickups and DI use. Smooth tube sound quality and low noise

It's not a parametric DI like the Baggs but good bang for your buck.

08-30-2015, 12:57 PM
It's not a parametric DI like the Baggs but good bang for your buck.

The Baggs Para DI, @$169(Amazon), provides a great ability to enhance your instrument tone and control feedback and boost power. Have a look at a review. Most pro muso's I know recommend this unit and it forms a part of their performance 'kit'.

08-31-2015, 01:17 AM
If you want a more economical solution, many people recommend a Behringer ADI21 which does much the same job as the Baggs unit at a much lower cost.

I have the bass equivalent of the Fishman GII, the BII and it runs off batteries and has a long battery life. I actually use an Ashdown acoustic preamp which is similar to the Baggs Para DI and there is no doubt in my mind it does improve the tone quality of my Risa ukes. However if you are putting your output through any effects unit, they do provide some signal boost so I find a preamp unnecessary in those cases.

If you are looking to modify the output sound, you may find it's more economical to go for a multi effects unit rather than several pedals each providing a single effect. There are good units from the likes of Vox, Zoom, Digitech for not much more than the cost of a single effect pedal. Well worth investigating, in my view. All of these are progammable allowing you to set up your own desired combination of effects.

08-31-2015, 03:30 AM
The problem with a multi effects pedal is actually with me. My bias is toward having a rainbow of mini pedals in front of me! :D More seriously though, I would probably be lost with a multi effects pedal where if I buy one pedal at a time, I would have a month or two between purchases to fully understand what each pedal can do. Also prefer buying locally so I can try before buying and the two local shops don't carry a multi effects pedal.

When I wrote this originally I was considering getting the preamp or booster first but now that I go over the responses I will wait and get the preamp if necessary after the pedals.