View Full Version : Pickups

01-14-2016, 02:16 AM
Hi guys I am thinking of linking my pono bari to pick up ,I have no idea what to do ,sure have read plenty on the net but it starts to get confusing.
What I think I have settled with is an external pick up (schaller oyster 723 ) pick up and a roland cube amp,just wondering whether any of you guys have use either or use somthing similar or can give me some advise .I am not playing for anyone just me in the living room
Thanks in advance .......:confused:

01-14-2016, 02:28 AM
I just went through this, and it is tough to make a decision. There are so many pickups and amps out there, and everyone thinks their setup is the best, but there probably isn't a "best", because there are so many good ones out there.

I have a MiSi pickup, and a Vox Mini3 amp. Works fine. I like the MiSi because you can just charge it up. I like the Mini3 because it runs on batteries, has a lot of good features, and I can take it anywhere.

Brad Bordessa
01-14-2016, 08:20 AM
A stick-on pickup will teach you a lot and do the trick for starters. But a Pono is a nice uke and the next level up in quality would be something that goes under the saddle. The MISI and LR Baggs Five-O get lots of love here. I have the Baggs and think it's great.

Can't go wrong with the Roland Cubes. For a larger, but still relatively small amount you can get a real, high-quality acoustic amp like the Fishman Loudbox Mini. Depends what you want to do.

01-14-2016, 09:49 AM
I've tried stick on pickups but never got on with them - they pick up too much body noise for me.

My choice on all ukes I have modified is to fit an under saddle passive, run that through a pre amp box then into an amp.

The pre-amp is not totally essential, but can be if you want to plug into a mixing desk or recording desk not an amp.

For pickups I use either Shadow or Fishman, but agree that MiSi are nice. For pre-amp - all mine are LR Baggs

For amplifiers - Roland I am a big fan of - I personally use the mobile cube and also the AC33 acoustic for a bit more power. The AC33 is particularly sweet.

01-14-2016, 01:13 PM
buy once/ cry once
Buy a quality system, and you won't have regrets then have to deal with selling it off to get what you should have bought the first time!

01-14-2016, 09:55 PM
I think the issue there is 'define quality system'. I have a custom built solid body and discussed specs throughout with the luthier - he recommended a cheap passive US pickup that cost about half what Fishmans version costs as he had good experiences and feedback from them. I went with it on the basis it could be upgraded if I needed. The pickup is made by Artec - is cheap - sounds great, clear / full and has a great output for a piezo.

All of that said - even the cheapest after market pickup strips are, in my opinion, far better quality than 90% of the branded 'pre-installed' stuff that come with batteries and control panels on most mass market ukuleles - I rarely find one of those that sounds nice. (unless you go very high end)

01-14-2016, 10:17 PM
I agree with brad's and dwh's recommendations.

The roland cube should work well with a uke. It is commonly recommended. I plan on getting a vox ac4 10" or 12". Currently I don't even have an amp and plug in directly to the audio interface and use the demo for garage band 5. The problem with that is it doesn't work with my DAW unless buying the full version(I think anyways as it quit working.)

Croaky Keith
02-02-2016, 02:56 AM
I have just bought a cheap (as in 5) clip on pickup & it seems to work O.K. for very little outlay.

It is clipped onto a Makala Pineapple, going to a Honeytone mini amp (33), which is amplifying the strings O.K.
(But it also picks up my hand movements, so need to keep them still.)

I bought this mini amp to try out my electro accoustic, (Kala KA-SEME), & whilst it works, it isn't great.
I have a Roland Micro Cube GX coming, which should improve the sound output quality of both systems.

02-02-2016, 05:43 AM
There are contact microphones of better quality, but something that works well and gives you genuinely good sound is typically somewhat costly. Schertler manufacture a range of contact microphones for acoustic string instruments, with the Basik (https://secure.schertler.com/en_IT/shop/pickups/basik-set) being their least expensive offering.

02-05-2016, 01:56 AM
I think that people commonly find cheap pickups work of a fashion, but in my experience, what sounds ok through headphones or a 5watt tin can battery amp sounds quite different plugged through a PA. The moment you plug in to a bigger system - all the failings, muddy noise etc are exposed.

As such I stick these days with what I know works well, and avoid cheap options. False economy

02-05-2016, 03:08 AM
The OP talks about playing at home in the living room.

Fair point, it does depend on one's expectations. There are a lot of people who are perfectly happy listening to music on laptop speakers and earbuds, and since that is all they usually hear, it seems just fine to them as there is nothing really there for comparison.

On the other hand, once you do experience something that is of higher quality, and the difference is so substantial that you can actually hear or feel that difference (and don't just imagine it, which I believe happens with sound past a certain point, where then the knowledge of the price tag affects the perception), it's hard to go back or settle for something less.

For example, I used to be mostly satisfied with a small set of twenty years old speakers that weren't stellar or expensive even when new, and I could also make do with my old laptop's sound system, which was better than what laptops usually come with it. And then I bought studio speakers, and the difference was so contrasting and obvious that I now even experience my $200 headphones (not that expensive as far as headphones go, but still not entry level) as really underwhelming, when before I thought they were great.

It's just all relative, as you wrote, and depends on the purpose and intent. It's probably a bit (or a lot) like with ukuleles. When you start hearing the difference between different qualities of ukuleles (which I don't think everyone does, especially not when starting out and player skill matters much more than the instrument), and you come to appreciate the better sound that expensive ukuleles often (not always) have, it's harder to be satisfied with what was once just fine. (But at the risk of sounding heretical, I believe that in a lot of cases the sound quality gain from improved skill is more substantial than the gain the same player gets from an improved instrument, assuming one isn't Corey and the "lesser" instrument isn't an extreme cheapo or defective.)

Anyway, yes, I agree with you, and I also agree with Baz -- both valid views, just depends on what you want to achieve and what you're used to. :) There's also the whole diminishing returns thing. Going from my old speakers to the studio speakers was a big step. Buying twice as expensive studio speakers would give me a relatively tiny improvement, and I doubt I could hear it. The first expense was sensible, the second one wouldn't be, for me.