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Martynas
04-29-2016, 09:52 AM
Anyone has External pickup? if yes whats the quality of sound? doesnt it get worse after month or two? which one would you recommend?

deschutestrout
04-29-2016, 10:23 AM
Just throw a K&K twinspot or Misi in her. My suggestion anyway. I haven't had much luck with externals. Do you plan on gigging with the uke? If so, a pickup is very useful. If not...I would ask why you need a pickup.

Martynas
04-29-2016, 11:22 AM
Yep for uke. Those normal pickups cost a lot so i thought maybe these will be ok

deschutestrout
04-29-2016, 12:15 PM
Yep for uke. Those normal pickups cost a lot so i thought maybe these will be ok

I know it is for your uke :-). Do you plan to perform with it? If so, those cheap stick-ons won't serve you as well, or sound as good as a KK or Misi. If you're wanting it just so you can amplify for your own enjoyment, you may be disappointed in the sound of ANY pickup, as compared to the sound your uke is capable of make all on its own...especially the sweet uke you just purchased. Good luck with your decision!

Kanaka916
04-29-2016, 01:01 PM
Check out JJB Elctronics (http://www.jjb-electronics.com/our_products.html) ...

kohanmike
04-29-2016, 09:21 PM
I buy my preamp/pickups directly from China for $15-30 and install them myself. Nine out of ten have been good, one went bad almost immediately and I got a refund.

Martynas
04-29-2016, 10:11 PM
I buy my preamp/pickups directly from China for $15-30 and install them myself. Nine out of ten have been good, one went bad almost immediately and I got a refund.

its hard to install them? do i need special tools? or i just need to know wide of holes i need to drill? are normal drill heads ok for this job?

Croaky Keith
04-29-2016, 11:16 PM
I believe you have just bought a good quality uke, so I would suggest not trying to put in a pick up, (unless you are willing to pay to have it done).

In theory, it is easy, but may not be in practice, & I wouldn't want to risk damaging a quality uke.

Some of the cheap clip on mics may serve you well enough for what you want. I do have a couple of 5 clip ons that work, but they also amplify my hand movements, so you would have to consider that. Otherwise, you could use a microphone close in the the uke, & amplify that way.

Martynas
04-29-2016, 11:25 PM
im not going to do that on my Kanilea! first ill try to do that on my makala 40 dollars uke and if everything is ok i will reinstall that pickup to my Kanilea or other concert size uke

kissing
04-30-2016, 12:38 AM
If you want something that is high quality AND cheap, get an Artec undersaddle pickup:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Piezo-Pickup-ARTEC-PP404U-for-Ukulele-PREMIUM-QUALITY-/331610291574

I know for a fact that a certain reputable high-end ukulele company charges $99 for these same units, but I won't mention who they are ;)

With this, you will also need an endpin jack like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/NO-SOLDER-STRAP-PIN-ENDPIN-JACK-FOR-GUITAR-chrome-/190644509857?



I have successfully installed this pickup, as I posted here
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?104467-DIY-First-Time-Undersaddle-pickup-project


However, my advice is... don't do this on an expensive ukulele like a Kanilea.
If I was to install this pickup on an expensive uke, I would order the parts and take it to the guitar luthier to install it for me.
He may charge a bit for the installation, but at least the parts are cheap.

Also, if you want a better quality sound, get the luthier to SOLDER the undersaddle to the endpin jack.
The no-solder plug-in option is susceptible to hum.




The BEST option is to get the store selling you the Kanilea to install it for you. If you're going to spend that much money on an ukulele, why ruin it by being cheap with the pickup? You will most definitely ruin your ukulele if you try to install it yourself. Luthiers are trained and have done this sort of thing for years.

Martynas
04-30-2016, 01:59 AM
If you want something that is high quality AND cheap, get an Artec undersaddle pickup:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Piezo-Pickup-ARTEC-PP404U-for-Ukulele-PREMIUM-QUALITY-/331610291574

I know for a fact that a certain reputable high-end ukulele company charges $99 for these same units, but I won't mention who they are ;)

With this, you will also need an endpin jack like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/NO-SOLDER-STRAP-PIN-ENDPIN-JACK-FOR-GUITAR-chrome-/190644509857?



I have successfully installed this pickup, as I posted here
http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?104467-DIY-First-Time-Undersaddle-pickup-project


However, my advice is... don't do this on an expensive ukulele like a Kanilea.
If I was to install this pickup on an expensive uke, I would order the parts and take it to the guitar luthier to install it for me.
He may charge a bit for the installation, but at least the parts are cheap.

Also, if you want a better quality sound, get the luthier to SOLDER the undersaddle to the endpin jack.
The no-solder plug-in option is susceptible to hum.




The BEST option is to get the store selling you the Kanilea to install it for you. If you're going to spend that much money on an ukulele, why ruin it by being cheap with the pickup? You will most definitely ruin your ukulele if you try to install it yourself. Luthiers are trained and have done this sort of thing for years.
i bought used Kanilea from ebay so no chance.
i dont even thinking of drilling my Kanilea.
maybe i can get used Martin c1k.
then pratice pickup installation on my Makala and after that reinstall same pickup to my Martin c1k and buy amp. that must be the easiest way. if i will be afraid to do it ill search for luthier who can do it.

kohanmike
04-30-2016, 06:01 AM
its hard to install them? do i need special tools? or i just need to know wide of holes i need to drill? are normal drill heads ok for this job?

The first time I did it, I used a regular drill with a high speed cutting bit, then a small sanding drum bit. After that, knowing I would be doing more, I bought a Dremel that came with all the bits necessary. The pickup under the saddle (the white bar sitting in the bridge) is the critical part, to make space under the saddle for the pickup, you have to be sure the cut is smooth and even. I actually have my local Guitar Center repair guy do that, who does a very good job.

Ukejenny
05-01-2016, 09:34 AM
My dulcimer friends have pickups that stick on the soundboard. They seem very happy with them. If you have dulcimer people in your area, maybe you can ask them what kind they use. I don't know the name of the ones they use here. I wish I could be of more help.

arpie
05-20-2016, 01:49 AM
I have 2 external KK pickups on both my Kala Travel Ukes. One has 2 pickups, one has one. They come with a 'saddle' that sticks onto your uke & the speaker attachment clicks into the saddle.

It sounds terrific!

However ....... What I found was that the double sided tape is NOT sufficient to hold the amp plug sufficiently & it rocked the 'saddle' backwards & forwards whilst playing, causing it to come off the back of the uke. I had already had tape across all the 'loose wire' ...... so they really need 2 saddles to hold the amp plug securely.

I will be contacting them about this, as what was provided does not do the job for which it was designed! I am using a heap of tape to hold the whole thing on just now .....

Apart from that it sounds terrific!! If they send me 2 more 'saddles' to make sure the amp plug stays attached, I'll be very happy!

cheers

Roberta

A member of my uke group bought the same uke & had an internal pickup & it has totally changed the sound of the uke - no longer bright & chirpy - but quite muffled - so happy I didn't go down that road.

Martynas
05-20-2016, 04:52 AM
Thats why i dont want to drill Kanilea ill probably drill my other uke

spongeuke
05-20-2016, 06:51 AM
I've tried an "out of the box solution" I attach a lavaliere type mic on the underside of my strumming hand with a wrist band. Run the cord up my shirt sleeve and to the sending unit at my belt. There is no modification to the ukulele, sound is dependent on the quality of the mic and sending unit, you can switch instruments easily, however you have to pay attention to feed back, so the speaker placement is critical as well as your placement. I don't care for most plug in amplification solutions on a ukulele as the voice seems too harsh but sometimes it is necessary and I like to experiment.

Booli
05-20-2016, 07:22 AM
I have 2 external KK pickups on both my Kala Travel Ukes. One has 2 pickups, one has one. They come with a 'saddle' that sticks onto your uke & the speaker attachment clicks into the saddle.

It sounds terrific!

However ....... What I found was that the double sided tape is NOT sufficient to hold the amp plug sufficiently & it rocked the 'saddle' backwards & forwards whilst playing, causing it to come off the back of the uke. I had already had tape across all the 'loose wire' ...... so they really need 2 saddles to hold the amp plug securely.

I will be contacting them about this, as what was provided does not do the job for which it was designed! I am using a heap of tape to hold the whole thing on just now .....

Apart from that it sounds terrific!! If they send me 2 more 'saddles' to make sure the amp plug stays attached, I'll be very happy!

cheers

Roberta

A member of my uke group bought the same uke & had an internal pickup & it has totally changed the sound of the uke - no longer bright & chirpy - but quite muffled - so happy I didn't go down that road.


Hi Roberta,

I'm confused. Are you talking about the K&K Aloha Twin pickup?

Your use of the word saddle is very different from the common understanding that the saddle is the white part at the end where the strings attach, and is sitting inside the bridge?

Such as what is shown here:
http://www.get-tuned.com/images/thumbs/ukulele-bridge.jpg

Are you referring to the pickup head, i.e., the black round disk that is fixed to the soundboard and actually 'hears' the strings?

such as this:

http://www.jp-guitars.co.uk/sales/pickups_and_amplification/images/alohatwin-hr.jpg

Please advise.

Yulies
05-20-2016, 07:36 AM
Came in late to this but as a beginner and I don't have any ideas on pick ups,but for my enjoyment I use the iRig acoustic I think I works great for enhancing the sound...

Booli
05-20-2016, 07:57 AM
Came in late to this but as a beginner and I don't have any ideas on pick ups,but for my enjoyment I use the iRig acoustic I think I works great for enhancing the sound...

I have one of these too, but it needs to be said that the iRig Acoustic requires either an iOS or Android device, or computer that has a combined mic/headphone TRRS 4-conductor 1/8" (3.5mm) jack to work for both power and audio.

To use with an amp you CANNOT just plug the iRig Acoustic directly into the amp because the amp will not have the function to supply the minimum 1.5 volt DC power required to power the MEMS mic element inside the iRig Acoustic, nevermind the impedance mismatch.

Thus the REQUIREMENT to go THROUGH one of the aforementioned devices, and then OUT from the headphone jack on the iRig Acoustic into your amplifier in MONO, using whatever AUDIO APP or PROGRAM to engage the audio passthru, otherwise the iRig Acoustic will NOT work going into an amp or PA System, UNLESS it can supply what is called 'plug-in power' via the proper wiring of a 4-conductor TRRS 1/8" (3.5mm jack).

There's lots of previous discussion on the iRig Acoustic, see:

1. http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?116836-iRig-Acoustic-Mic-Interface-for-iOS&highlight=iRig+Acoustic

2. http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?117834-Where-s-my-iRig-acoustic-news&highlight=iRig+Acoustic

3. http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?118073-More-iRig-Acoustic-comparos&highlight=iRig+Acoustic

4. http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?117883-iRig-test-recording-and-shoot-out&highlight=iRig+Acoustic

5. http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?118165-Exciting-MiSi-Developments&highlight=iRig+Acoustic

stevejfc
05-20-2016, 10:25 AM
Here you go, try one of these http://myerspickups.com/ukuleles.html. They work great. The "Grip" is the recommended model.

arpie
05-20-2016, 02:04 PM
......Thats why i dont want to drill Kanilea ill probably drill my other uke......

I was really surprised how much the internal pickup (that came pre-installed with the Kala Concert Travel Uke) impacted on the sound of the uke when not using an amp - muted & dull. With the thinner body of the Travel Uke, I didn't like the thought of stuffing it full of metal & wire! This is the reason I went with an external pickup for mine (altho he hadn't actually bought his at that point in time.) Plus, there is very little room for error in the thin body ukes!!


......Your use of the word saddle is very different from the common understanding that the saddle is the white part at the end where the strings attach, and is sitting inside the bridge?......

Sorry ..... 'saddle' was the wrong word. Perhaps 'clip' would have been better?

It is the bit that holds the amp plug onto the back of the uke, with double sided tape - seen below on the lower right side (before I added the brown tape.) I guess you could just let the plug hang from the uke and not use the 'clip', but that would then put pressure directly onto the actual pickup ...... which I didn't want either.

I angled the clip/plug on a downwards 45 degree slope, so that it was in a more direct line to the cable from the amp, hoping it would not put too much pressure on the 'clip'.

I bought 2 - a K&K Sound Systems BIG SHOT External Multi-Use 3/4' Single-Head Pickup & a K&K Sound Systems TWIN SPOT CLASSIC Multi-Use 1/2' Twin-Head Pickup.

The Single Head works perfectly on my small Portable Amp and bigger Amps. The Twin Head works perfectly on my small Portable Amp but not on our bigger amp for some reason. I will try it with a buddy's amp soon to see if it is OK on his. I don't use a preamp (tho I bought one) and the Single Head works fine on my buddy's amp without the preamp.

I use the 'single head' pickup uke way more than the 'twin head' pickup & the clip totally fell off fairly early in the piece. The 'twin head' clip has moved but not totally fallen off yet - tho if I played it more, it would. It is a Low G & I use it more for TAB playing.

If there had been 2 of the 'clips' for the plug to sit in, it would have a much firmer hold to the uke & wouldn't move much, if at all.

I have been in touch with the company I bought them from & they are going to get back to me about the problem. I don't want to just use more glue to fix it as I don't necessarily want it to be permanently attached .......

Here is a 'before & 'after' pic ......... I just used the white tape to control the line between the actual pickup & Amp plug.
91265

HEAPS of tape to hold the plug in place.
91266

cheers

Roberta

The Myers pickup sounds interesting!

AndrewKuker
05-20-2016, 02:45 PM
The Prodipe company just sent me a clip on mic pickup, the GL21, and it's not bad. Not for everyone, but I'm gonna pick some up. You can see it here http://luthermusic.com/products/mic/instrument/prodipe/prodipe-gl21.html I think our price would be about $100. Pretty good sounding mic IMO.

Tootler
05-20-2016, 10:48 PM
I've used one of these (http://www.microvox.co.uk/banjopage.htm), microvox pickup. Like the Myers and the Prodipe, it's a miniature condenser mic. They all need power. I believe the Myers comes with a psu, the Prodipe needs phantom power. Microvox have their own power supplies which you need to buy with the pickup but once you have one, the others can use it. I have three, an M500 as shown in the links for my ukuleles, one for wind instruments and a very neat harmonica mic. They give much more faithful reproduction of the sound than under saddle or sound board piezo pickups. That said, I mostly use my Risa solid ukes for open mics because it's just so convenient but the sound isn't as good as the use of a mini condenser mic which captures the sound of your isntrument much more faithfully than a piezo pickup. An under saddle piezo is convenient, though and sound people tend to be used to them.

Another solution I have seen and have tried is to use a large diaphragm condenser mic and stand about 18" from the mic. It will pick up both your voice and the uke and, once again, gives realistic reproduction of the sound. This technique is used by many Bluegrass bands and band members will simply move closer to the mic when they take a solo. I've seen both Del Ray and Phil Doleman use this technique and it's very effective. There is scope for movement as the sensitivity of the mic means you don't have to stand so close and there's no need for a separate instrument mic. The result is very realistic sound. Condenser mics need phantom power but most sound systems will provide that. You can buy phantom power boxes that you can use if the sound system doesn't have phantom power. I have a battery one that takes two 9v batteries and will supply two mics. If you are playing solo a small diaphragm "pencil style" condenser mic will serve almost as well and you can get ones that take internal batteries. I have a Shure PG81 that I've used for this and it works very well.

phil_doleman
05-21-2016, 12:39 AM
Just popped by and I'm being talked about :-)

I do often use a large diaphragm mic, and it works wonderfully with listening audiences, but more recently I've been using a simple, plain old Shure SM57 at some gigs (combined with an SM58 for vocals). You do have to stay closer to it, but there's more volume before feedback (handy for those rowdy gigs!) and it sounds great. Also for me it's important that, whilst I carry my own, most venues I end up playing already have exactly those mics, which means they know how to get the best out of them. Many venues also have the pencil condenser that Geoff mentions or similar, and I've used those to good effect, too. Large diaphragm mics can scare some sound engineers!

Anyway, to get back on track, the best external pickup is a mic!

UkerDanno
05-21-2016, 04:55 AM
Another solution I have seen and have tried is to use a large diaphragm condenser mic and stand about 18" from the mic. It will pick up both your voice and the uke and, once again, gives realistic reproduction of the sound.

like a Shure super 55? I've seen those used before...

robedney
05-21-2016, 05:12 AM
Just popped by and I'm being talked about :-)

I do often use a large diaphragm mic, and it works wonderfully with listening audiences, but more recently I've been using a simple, plain old Shure SM57 at some gigs (combined with an SM58 for vocals). You do have to stay closer to it, but there's more volume before feedback (handy for those rowdy gigs!) and it sounds great. Also for me it's important that, whilst I carry my own, most venues I end up playing already have exactly those mics, which means they know how to get the best out of them. Many venues also have the pencil condenser that Geoff mentions or similar, and I've used those to good effect, too. Large diaphragm mics can scare some sound engineers!

Anyway, to get back on track, the best external pickup is a mic!

What Phil said. I love piezos, and I work with them every day. However, it's important to remember that any piezo -- no matter the cost -- is doing the same thing; it's sensing vibration at the spot it's stuck too (or, in the case of an under-saddle pickup, what's pushing on it). In other words it's very localized. Take a two by four, add a bridge, saddle, strings, etc. and put an under-saddle pick-up on it and it will sound like any of the K brands with an under-saddle ("USP") pickup. A USP will, in fact, sense body vibrations (which is what makes your uke sound distinctively like your uke), but these are overwhelmed by the much stronger signal from the direct pressure of the saddle. You can get a lot more out of it by adding additional transducers (more piezos) at other body locations (carefully selected) and then carefully mixing the signals -- but this gets complicated.

So, if it's good acoustic sound you're after, sticking a carefully chosen mic in front of your uke will much more faithfully reproduce the sound you paid for in the first place. Condenser mics tend to capture the high end a little more faithfully, but the SM57 is a great mic, a workhorse and very hard to kill -- and most folks couldn't tell the difference. There is a downside, however, and that's that you are stuck in front of the mic -- not a big deal for most of us, but imagine someone like Taimane Gardner not being able to mover around the stage :)

phil_doleman
05-21-2016, 05:40 AM
The Shure 55 is actually a dynamic mic, and a hypercardioid one at that (high feedback rejection, but narrower, more focussed pickup pattern). It will work though, I've used one to pick up vocal and uke, but it wouldn't be my first choice. They do look cool though!

kissing
05-21-2016, 07:11 AM
My philosophy towards pickups is that they're a convenient way to produce clean, usable amplified electric tones.
Undersaddle pickups are immensely superior for this purpose than any other type.
External pickups, such as ones that stick onto the soundboard or attach to it by some temporary means will always compromise the convenience, cleanliness and usability of an electric tone. They will often require more equipment, such as an external preamp and/or DI-box to be usable, wheras a good undersaddle will generally be able to plugged directly into an instrument amp to have a usable, strong tone.

Hence, in my view, undersaddle is the way to go if you simply wish to amplify.




For a faithful acoustic reproduction of the 'unique' sound of your instrument - record using a microphone in studio (or bedroom studio) settings, or perform with a microphone placed in front of it. This "faithful acoustic reproduction" option kinda (in my opinion) negates the need for an internal microphone setup nor investing in your own performance microphone for live playing. Generally the venue will have microphones and PA systems available for you.
What you can invest in is a good quality microphone for recording purposes if you ever intend to make any recordings.



As for undersaddle pickups and "faithful acoustic reproduction" - this will entirely depend on the quality of your other equipment (amps, preamps, etc).
But then again, you have to ask yourself, can your listeners really tell the difference nor do they care that much? As long as you get a good signal and have tweaked with the tone to have a pleasant ukulele sound come through the speakers, all they will hear is "ukulele".

robedney
05-21-2016, 07:25 AM
From "Kissing", above:

"My philosophy towards pickups is that they're a convenient way to produce clean, usable amplified electric tones.
Undersaddle pickups are immensely superior for this purpose than any other type.
External pickups, such as ones that stick onto the soundboard or attach to it by some temporary means will always compromise the convenience, cleanliness and usability of an electric tone. They will often require more equipment, such as an external preamp and/or DI-box to be usable, wheras a good undersaddle will generally be able to plugged directly into an instrument amp to have a usable, strong tone."

As I'm sure was intended, you can plug in directly so long as your under-saddle pickup has on board active preamps (like lots do). If not, you always want to run a piezo signal through a piezo-friendly preamp of some sort (many external boxes are available). Running a piezo directly into an amp results in piezo "quack", which hurts my ears :)

kissing
05-21-2016, 07:42 AM
From "Kissing", above:

"My philosophy towards pickups is that they're a convenient way to produce clean, usable amplified electric tones.
Undersaddle pickups are immensely superior for this purpose than any other type.
External pickups, such as ones that stick onto the soundboard or attach to it by some temporary means will always compromise the convenience, cleanliness and usability of an electric tone. They will often require more equipment, such as an external preamp and/or DI-box to be usable, wheras a good undersaddle will generally be able to plugged directly into an instrument amp to have a usable, strong tone."

As I'm sure was intended, you can plug in directly so long as your under-saddle pickup has on board active preamps (like lots do). If not, you always want to run a piezo signal through a piezo-friendly preamp of some sort (many external boxes are available). Running a piezo directly into an amp results in piezo "quack", which hurts my ears :)




Nope, I meant exactly what I stated.

A good quality passive undersaddle piezo produces a usable and clean through an amplifier without the need for active onboard preamps or external preamps.
I will emphasise that here is a HUGE difference between what I consider to be "good quality piezo" and "bad quality piezo".
Some piezos sound brittle and unpleasant, and those are types I tend to avoid.

Here's an example of me playing a passive piezo electric plugged directly into an amp with absolutely no active preamp in between:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNIimZxy3iw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNIimZxy3iw


Typically I find 'piezo quack' on lesser quality piezo units.. and on soundboard transducers and external pickups.
A good quality undersaddle doesn't quack.
In fact, some poor quality pickup systems with a cheap onboard active preamp produce the worst quack.

Unfortunately, a lot of acoustic-electrics that we see today that come with an undersaddle pickup pre-installed in the factory may come with a poor quality piezo unit (unless they specifically mention a reputable brand name). I have had good success in replacing the generic undersaddle piezo in those cheap "Belcat" systems with a better quality one to find that it drastically improves the tone of the instrument. Passive piezo's don't necessarily "quack" - bad passive piezo's do.

Martynas
05-21-2016, 07:44 AM
does this need preamp? http://myerspickups.com/thegripseries.html

kissing
05-21-2016, 07:49 AM
Whatever you feel is worth your money.
I'm in the school of thought that you should just order a good quality undersaddle pickup and have a professional install it for you.
Once installed, it will function perfectly for a lifetime and beyond.

Personally I find external gadgets like that to be cumbersome and inconvenient.
An undersaddle pickup is out of sight and is always there for instant plugging in.

Martynas
05-21-2016, 08:07 AM
i dont think i have luthiers in my city

Tootler
05-21-2016, 11:30 AM
Nope, I meant exactly what I stated.

A good quality passive undersaddle piezo produces a usable and clean through an amplifier without the need for active onboard preamps or external preamps.


That's not necessarily true. It's true that a passive piezo pickup will work with most of the combo amps that people on this board seem to use. However going into the mixing desk on a PA system, the preamps on the desk do not always provide the gain needed to drive the main power amp of the PA system. This is certainly true of one open mic I go to where it's necessary to output my Risa ukulele through an external preamp. The organiser of the event has a fishman preamp which does the job very nicely. Someone else I know uses an EQ pedal and I have an acoustic preamp that does the job very nicely and I've also used an effects pedal when I wanted a particular effect. The point is that if you are going through a mixer, the signal from a passive piezo pickup may need a bit of a boost to get sufficient output to the main PA amp. An advantage of an external preamp is that they are generally better quality than the built in ones on lower to mid range ukes that many people play.


does this need preamp? http://myerspickups.com/thegripseries.html

If you check your link you will see they say there's a built in preamp so you don't need another one. You will be OK straight into your amp or PA.

stevejfc
05-21-2016, 11:49 AM
does this need preamp? http://myerspickups.com/thegripseries.html
No pre-amp needed. Though I agree that a fixed undersaddle pickup is far more convenient and unobtrusive, the Myers has the flexability to be used and moved to several ukuleles and other string instruments.

Booli
05-21-2016, 01:11 PM
Nope, I meant exactly what I stated.

A good quality passive undersaddle piezo produces a usable and clean through an amplifier without the need for active onboard preamps or external preamps.
I will emphasise that here is a HUGE difference between what I consider to be "good quality piezo" and "bad quality piezo".
Some piezos sound brittle and unpleasant, and those are types I tend to avoid.

Here's an example of me playing a passive piezo electric plugged directly into an amp with absolutely no active preamp in between:

[video removed]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNIimZxy3iw

Typically I find 'piezo quack' on lesser quality piezo units.. and on soundboard transducers and external pickups.
A good quality undersaddle doesn't quack.
In fact, some poor quality pickup systems with a cheap onboard active preamp produce the worst quack.

Unfortunately, a lot of acoustic-electrics that we see today that come with an undersaddle pickup pre-installed in the factory may come with a poor quality piezo unit (unless they specifically mention a reputable brand name). I have had good success in replacing the generic undersaddle piezo in those cheap "Belcat" systems with a better quality one to find that it drastically improves the tone of the instrument. Passive piezo's don't necessarily "quack" - bad passive piezo's do.

kissing - your experience not withstanding I'm afraid that your assumptions are not accurate in terms of the technical and electrical functions of a piezo at it's most basic level and need to let you know that you may have been woefully misinformed or have malformed conclusions. These are common misconceptions for those that are unaware.

Please do not be insulted, as I am only offering my post here to help clarify the understanding you have and provide a truthful explanation to help you frame your experience with piezo pickups and preamps.

Please keep in mind that I'm not knocking anything you said but trying to help educate you on scientific facts.

The piezo 'quack', low signal level, low signal-to-noise ratio, buzzing from interference, and other issues are all primarily caused by an impedance mismatch between the output of the piezo (regardless if it is a disc piezo (surface transducer, stick-on pickup), rod piezo (under-saddle transducer) or film piezo (surface OR under-saddle transducer)).

You may not realize that a piezo of any kind typically has near INFINITE impedance, but is commonly written as having 1M or 1 MILLION ohms impedance which for all audio applications might as well be infinite impedance.

As such instead of being like a dynamic mic that converts sound waves via induction, the piezo acts as a CAPACITOR.

Detailing how dynamic mics work is for another thread if there is interest - but in the short term - Wikipedia is your friend.

The way this impedance mismatch works and why all of these issues are a problem is because most microphones have an output impedance of 100 to 600 ohms, any 'mic' channel on an amp, PA system or mixer, is typically able to and designed to accept this signal.

Conversely, a guitar signal is typically around 10Kohms or 10 THOUSAND ohms and guitar effects pedals, amplifiers, amp heads, and input channels for 'INSTRUMENT' found on audio gear is rated and designed with circuits for such an impedance.

A secondary concern of the piezo acting as a capacitor due to it's near infinite impedance is that it will act as a high-pass filter, and audio frequencies below 300hz are typically rolled off on a slope of about 8db per octave DUE to the input on the guitar amp/mixer/PA system expecting something around 600 ohms like a Shure SM58, or around 10k ohms like a guitar signal.

This can all be proven with math, and if you like wikipedia and other sources have a very thorough walk-through linked in some of my threads below.

So, to simplify, a PREAMP of any kind is used to correct this IMPEDANCE MISMATCH.

There are many other factors at play here and I'll save you the torture of the physics and electronics lessons, but what I am saying here is not to put down anyone's opinions or experience, but to share what I have learned in doing audio production and live sound reinforcement both as a hobby and professionally for a second income as a DJ, sound engineer and recording engineer.

I also have had a lifelong hobby with electronics and have designed and built my own pickups, preamps and other gear (but that is beyond the scope of this thread).

I have discussed this extensively here on UU in some 114 threads which you can read here:

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/search.php?searchid=8017266

Having said the above, it is entirely possible that the way you are plugging in your own piezo to whatever amplifier, and getting a clean sound (that YOU like) is because either the input circuit of YOUR amplifier or mixer HAS it's own preamp inside, or was otherwise designed to be adaptive to the input level impedance.

In fact, MANY 'acoustic' amplifiers do this by default and some have an option via push button for this function such as my Kustom Sierra 30 acoustic amp.

Please take some time to educate yourself as to why this all works by looking at the link above and resulting threads before continuing to say information that does not match the physics and electronics as fact.

I appreciate your contributions here in the forum, but bad information is worse than no information.


That's not necessarily true. It's true that a passive piezo pickup will work with most of the combo amps that people on this board seem to use. However going into the mixing desk on a PA system, the preamps on the desk do not always provide the gain needed to drive the main power amp of the PA system. This is certainly true of one open mic I go to where it's necessary to output my Risa ukulele through an external preamp. The organiser of the event has a fishman preamp which does the job very nicely. Someone else I know uses an EQ pedal and I have an acoustic preamp that does the job very nicely and I've also used an effects pedal when I wanted a particular effect. The point is that if you are going through a mixer, the signal from a passive piezo pickup may need a bit of a boost to get sufficient output to the main PA amp. An advantage of an external preamp is that they are generally better quality than the built in ones on lower to mid range ukes that many people play.

Geoff - I understand what you are saying here but the end result of how and why this may or may not work is explained in my reply to kissing above. Please have a look and try to understand regarding the piezo and impedance mismatch.

Shaka,

Booli

Kekani
05-21-2016, 04:26 PM
Personally I find external gadgets like that to be cumbersome and inconvenient.
An undersaddle pickup is out of sight and is always there for instant plugging in.

I was once under this impression as well, particularly when it comes to Active Pickups.

Without repeating what Booli said, or what has already been covered in the Tech stickies, I'll suffice to say that running an LRBaggs Five.0/Element/ Fishman Matrix et al through an LRBaggs ParaAcoustic DI is just good stuff (and through a Venue as well). While I like my Soundcraft Mfxi board, the controls on the Para is very well done.

Of course, you have to learn how to set it up and use it, which is a deal breaker for one of my friends (what if I forget my DI). That's like saying what if I forget my mic.

I couldn't see the logic in spending another $120 on a DI, when I have an active UST. Now I keep two in my bag for when I run sound. . .

Booli
05-21-2016, 04:45 PM
I was once under this impression as well, particularly when it comes to Active Pickups.

Without repeating what Booli said, or what has already been covered in the Tech stickies, I'll suffice to say that running an LRBaggs Five.0/Element/ Fishman Matrix et al through an LRBaggs ParaAcoustic DI is just good stuff (and through a Venue as well). While I like my Soundcraft Mfxi board, the controls on the Para is very well done.

Of course, you have to learn how to set it up and use it, which is a deal breaker for one of my friends (what if I forget my DI). That's like saying what if I forget my mic.

I couldn't see the logic in spending another $120 on a DI, when I have an active UST. Now I keep two in my bag for when I run sound. . .

Aside from impedance matching, which even some passive DI's have with an audio transformer inside, a DI is also a fixer of problems on longer cable runs, especially to block EMI/RF interference and guard against signal loss.

Cable runs longer than 15 ft are likely to pickup stray RF (nearby radio stations, 50/60hz hum, buzzing from ground loops or bad guitar cables), and once you convert unbalanced signal to a balanced signal you can almost completely eliminate these issues without resorting to a 'ground lift circuit' since the transformer in a DI breaks the ground connection and passes the audio via induction instead of direct-connect of the unbalanced side of the DI to the balanced side...

Good stuff these DI's - lifesavers!

LR Baggs units are kind of the Holy Grail for DI's, but Radial Engineering has some good DI boxes too, especially the PZDI, which was specifically built for use with piezos...

robedney
05-21-2016, 05:14 PM
What Booli said -- and thanks very much Booli for the detailed explanation. In practical terms you can, in fact, plug a passive piezo into an amp and get something out the other end -- and you can compensate some with the amp's EQ controls -- but it's not going to be all that it can be, far from it. And kissing, you might be very surprised to find out that many branded and pricey USPs are identical to what comes out of China on Ebay for a fraction of the price (although there is some garbage out there, buyer beware). The cable type piezo stuff which is now popular for undersaddle installation comes by the foot. You can buy it and splice it to some shielded cable or you can pay a name brand company lots of money to do that for you -- they buy the cable from the same source. In fact I've found very little practical variation between cheap off-brand transducers and the more expensive stuff. It's mostly branding and packaging. The big names selling pick-up systems don't make piezo bars, cable or discs, they buy them. What does, however, matter a lot is how you mount the piezo, but that's a whole different conversation.

kissing
05-21-2016, 09:00 PM
Dear Booli,

I appreciate the time and effort you took into replying to me.
However, I am not a stranger to the numbers and the technical information behind different kinds of pickup systems, amplifiers, pre-amps and instruments.
My room and my house is littered with amps, pre-amps, instruments of various different electronics and my shelves are full of spare pickups, tools and other doodads I have picked up in my tinkering ventures.

However, our approach in use of such technology differs.
Whereas you have approached it from the perspective of an "engineer" or "technician", I am approaching the matter from the perspective of a musician/performer.

Believe me I have spent many countless hours and sleepless nights reading and educating myself on how electronic systems work in acoustic and electric instruments. I have done my fair share of tinkering and DIY projects. I cannot put a figure on how many different ukuleles and guitars (all with pickup systems) have come and gone through my collection - it will be in the hundreds.
My experience, utilisation (and hence recommendations) come from the perspective of practical application.


Yes, you're right, according to the numbers (imdepence, resistance, etc), perhaps a passive undersaddle pickup is not theoretically supposed to work well plugged directly into an amplifier or a PA system. However what you have neglected is that in practice - the spec and behaviour of amplifiers and pickups by different manufacturers vary quite a lot. You generalise all piezo pickups (rods, discs, undersaddle bars, etc) to behave the same way, when in practice they do not. Some do behave exactly in the way you theorize, but some actually produce a surprisingly refined and usable tone without needing a preamp.

Some companies have produced undersaddle piezo units, or have designed their instruments in such a way that the the signal outputted by the instrument is immediately usable. Perhaps the information you have read has not kept up to date with the current technology. You're right in that traditionally, a passive piezo was a very crude setup - a device that simply produces a raw electrical signal as accurate as the spark produced in a Barbeque lighter or gas stove.
Traditionally, such passive piezo pickups would be coupled with an onboard or external preamp to take that raw signal and artificially recreate it into a signal usable for an amplifier on the other end.

However lately I have discovered that some passive undersaddle piezo systems do NOT require a preamp!
The manufacturers have spent their research and development in making them be able to sound usable plugged directly into an amp.
Two examples of this are Risa's utilization of the passive Shadow Nanoflex pickup in their Uke-Solids and the ARTEC brand passive piezo's which are the OEM pickups used by companies including Ovation, Pono (hehe) and Ibanez. Instruments installed with such passive pickups do not behave like lesser quality piezo's and do not require a powered preamp to achieve a professionally usable tone.

When I am performing for a crowd, the PA system of the venue would not be my amplification of choice anyway. I would show up with my own amplifier which I am familiar with coupling with my instruments. My passive piezo instruments are on par with active pickup systems when I plug it directly into any amplifier (acoustic amp, electric guitar amp, keyboard amp, bass guitar amp... even PA systems! You may not believe me, but I have plugged my passive undersaddles directly into a mixer of a PA system incorporating two large JBL Eon speakers without relying on a preamp or DI box).

If for some reason I am performing for a larger crowd than my personal amps can handle, there are other options still, such as putting a mic in front of my instrument amp to play it through the PA, or using the audio output of my amp to plug into the PA.

Do I need an external pre-amp? No.
The tone and volume controls that are on an amplifier are enough to shape and adjust the sound I am using for a performance.

I see absolutely no need for external preamps to go between the instrument and the amplifier.
But I guess if there is information out there that makes people feel that they do need it - it will keep them in business ;)



Anyway, long story short, my journeys have led me to the formula of using a passive piezo + instrument amplifier as the most practical way to amplify my ukulele. Hence I recommend the installation of an undersaddle pickup to be a worthy investment that offers a lot of versatility when coupled with an amplifier. You can perform in any situation - no crowd too big or small, and it is a lot more convenient than carrying around several pieces of equipment which require their own power source, more cables, etc etc.

I appreciate the effort you took from the theoretical side of things, but my results come from tried and tested methods in real life, in which there are factors that the information you have does not take into account.

Booli
05-21-2016, 09:36 PM
kissing -

Hey brother, whatever works for you - keep doing it - it's all good.

Your videos serve as proof that you have an ability to make these things work in a way that is useful to you, despite the widely held beliefs and science saying otherwise - so kudos to you.

I just wanted to make sure that you did not neglect the science of the physics behind all of this, and the way that piezos work at a fundamental level, and just WHY preamps are used, (to good effect by many folks, pros and amateurs alike).

We do not have to agree on everything, for me, the main point is to keep making music.

Please do not think I was trying to discourage you, for that was never my intent.

I enjoy these discussions, and hopefully we all gain a better understanding from sharing our experiences and opinions and I sincerely Thank You for sharing yours. :)

It's all good with me - no worries brother!

Please, dont stop the music, and I am looking forward to your future posts here and possible conversations on such topics, and pray that I have not offended you or anyone else...

...if so, I apologize and please forgive me...

tomorrow is a NEW day for UKE-ING! :rock:

Martynas
05-21-2016, 09:36 PM
So guys are you reccomending to buy that myers feather 2 pickup? (Yeah i would buy feather 2 for 189 but they would to 10% discount so it would be 170 and there are 2 mics inside)
My options are:
1. I dont have luthier to install normal pickup( i would need to do that on my own and i probably would brake my Kanilea)
2. I dont want to buy another pickups for every ukulele and pay 100$ each

kissing
05-21-2016, 10:03 PM
Thanks Booli - no offence taken and I did not intend any at all.
I believe we simply enjoyed a passionate and pleasant discussion about our hobbies and I highly respect your knowledge and background on the area.
I think we have approached our application in different ways that has led us to utilising different formulas when producing music :)

I discovered what works for me, and you discovered what works for you, and I have learned a lot from you.




So guys are you reccomending to buy that myers feather 2 pickup? (Yeah i would buy feather 2 for 189 but they would to 10% discount so it would be 170 and there are 2 mics inside)
My options are:
1. I dont have luthier to install normal pickup( i would need to do that on my own and i probably would brake my Kanilea)
2. I dont want to buy another pickups for every ukulele and pay 100$ each




Marynas -
Many different recommendations have been made in this topic by different people.
To summarise my recommendation, it is:

-Buy this pickup specifically
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Piezo-Pickup-ARTEC-PP404U-for-Ukulele-PREMIUM-QUALITY-/331610291574
Would you agree with me that it is quite cheap?
It is the exact same pickup that certain companies charge $99 for.
I have had many instruments (guitars, ukuleles) installed with the pickup from this company and they all perform extremely well!

-You may also need something like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/6-35mm-Cylinder-Clip-End-Pin-Panel-Jack-Socket-For-Electric-Guitar-Bass-New-/380884601462
or
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Gold-Acoustic-Guitar-clip-Mount-Input-Output-Jack-End-pin-Guitar-Parts-/201503312539


So that's two pieces of equipment you can easily order online costing you about $20.
You take these two pieces of equipment to anyone who professionally knows how to install pickups in guitars.
I don't believe that there are no luthiers around you. Guitar is one of the most common instruments - go to any music store that sells guitars and there should be someone (or at least they will know to recommend someone) who can install it for you.

Installation should not cost a lot, because it is a relatively simple procedure and you have provided all the parts they need.
All they need to do is drill some holes in your ukulele, sand your saddle down a bit to adjust for the pickup height and solder on the pickup end to the endpin jack.
In my experience, this is the best way to inexpensively achieve a high quality pickup system for an ukulele and I have done it on many instruments.

phil_doleman
05-22-2016, 02:54 AM
But then again, you have to ask yourself, can your listeners really tell the difference nor do they care that much? As long as you get a good signal and have tweaked with the tone to have a pleasant ukulele sound come through the speakers, all they will hear is "ukulele".

Hmm. Whilst I completely accept that any kind of amplification is a trade-off between getting a good sound and issues such as feedback, etc., and that it's perfectly possible to get an awful sound with a nice microphone, I don't care whether the audience care-I care!. It's part of my job to care. We talk about which wood makes what sound, spend a lot of money on really nice ukes, discuss bracing patterns, which strings are best, etc. etc. but what is the point of any of that if when we get up to perform for others we just plug in and say 'that'll do'?

ProfChris
05-22-2016, 05:31 AM
Hmm. Whilst I completely accept that any kind of amplification is a trade-off between getting a good sound and issues such as feedback, etc., and that it's perfectly possible to get an awful sound with a nice microphone, I don't care whether the audience care-I care!. It's part of my job to care. We talk about which wood makes what sound, spend a lot of money on really nice ukes, discuss bracing patterns, which strings are best, etc. etc. but what is the point of any of that if when we get up to perform for others we just plug in and say 'that'll do'?

I've heard Phil perform a number of times using his large diaphragm condenser mic setup, and the sound difference from other setups is remarkable. It's the truest acoustic sound I've heard amplified, as if Phil is playing next to you but louder. If you want to sound as if you're unplugged, but still audible by everyone, that's the way to go.

Last week I performed using two mics, probably a Shure 57/58 setup, and that sounded good but distinctly not unplugged. OTOH the sound man gave me a fuller voice, so that was pleasant.

I've never yet heard a piezo pickup which sounded anything like the unplugged instrument - it's a sound of its own, which may or may not suit what you want to play.

I want to use the subtleties available from the uke played acoustically, so I'm definitely a mic person and probably need to invest in a large diaphragm condenser setup.

robedney
05-22-2016, 06:24 AM
Hmm. Whilst I completely accept that any kind of amplification is a trade-off between getting a good sound and issues such as feedback, etc., and that it's perfectly possible to get an awful sound with a nice microphone, I don't care whether the audience care-I care!. It's part of my job to care. We talk about which wood makes what sound, spend a lot of money on really nice ukes, discuss bracing patterns, which strings are best, etc. etc. but what is the point of any of that if when we get up to perform for others we just plug in and say 'that'll do'?

I really was going to walk away from this thread, but Phil hit the nail on the head. So, for what it's worth, here's my own particular truth:

To simplify (read below for more):

Best: High quality mic into acoustic amp (throw a mixer into the middle for EQ/effects)

Good: Quality under-saddle pickup into a dedicated impedance matching preamp, then mixer/acoustic amp

Works: But not recommended: Under-saddle pickup, passive, straight into an amp. If your own particular ears can stand it, you're good to go.

The best way to record or amplify a uke is with a high quality mic running into a good mixer. If amplification is what's needed, plug it into a quality acoustic amp. Period.

I have one of the "kissing" recommended under-saddle pickups installed on a uke sitting on my bench (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Piezo-Pickup-ARTEC-PP404U-for-Ukulele-PREMIUM-QUALITY-/331610291574). I've done some extensive testing with it. Plugged in with no pre-amp it does -- in fact -- make a uke-like sound. Plugged in through a cheap Fishman GII preamp it sounds a whole lot better. This makes sense, and the science backs it up. Feed the signal in Audacity both ways so that you can actually see the spectral analysis and your eyes confirm what your ears told you.

Yes, under-saddle pickups are cheap, convenient and make gigging with amplification easy. Even though we make and sell a piezo based system for our violins -- to be used with a quality impedance matching preamp -- I would never suggest to musician that there is an equivalency between that and a good mic.

I'm currently developing a uke transducer system (for our ukes, not general sale) that uses an under-saddle cable type piezo and 2 to 3 separate disc type piezos located in very specific spots inside the uke body. These feed out to separate preamps with independent gain control so that the instrument can be voiced. From there you go into a mixer/amp or just an amp. The point is to capture the subtlety of the musician's playing along with the specific characteristics of the uke itself -- with the convenience and freedom of movement offered by an onboard pickup system. Even given all of the work going into this, I would still recommend a high quality mic as the best option. My ears and the science back that up:)

Booli
05-22-2016, 07:08 AM
I really was going to walk away from this thread, but Phil hit the nail on the head. So, for what it's worth, here's my own particular truth:

To simplify (read below for more):

Best: High quality mic into acoustic amp (throw a mixer into the middle for EQ/effects)

Good: Quality under-saddle pickup into a dedicated impedance matching preamp, then mixer/acoustic amp

Works: But not recommended: Under-saddle pickup, passive, straight into an amp. If your own particular ears can stand it, you're good to go.

The best way to record or amplify a uke is with a high quality mic running into a good mixer. If amplification is what's needed, plug it into a quality acoustic amp. Period.

I have one of the "kissing" recommended under-saddle pickups installed on a uke sitting on my bench (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Piezo-Pickup-ARTEC-PP404U-for-Ukulele-PREMIUM-QUALITY-/331610291574). I've done some extensive testing with it. Plugged in with no pre-amp it does -- in fact -- make a uke-like sound. Plugged in through a cheap Fishman GII preamp it sounds a whole lot better. This makes sense, and the science backs it up. Feed the signal in Audacity both ways so that you can actually see the spectral analysis and your eyes confirm what your ears told you.

Yes, under-saddle pickups are cheap, convenient and make gigging with amplification easy. Even though we make and sell a piezo based system for our violins -- to be used with a quality impedance matching preamp -- I would never suggest to musician that there is an equivalency between that and a good mic.

I'm currently developing a uke transducer system (for our ukes, not general sale) that uses an under-saddle cable type piezo and 2 to 3 separate disc type piezos located in very specific spots inside the uke body. These feed out to separate preamps with independent gain control so that the instrument can be voiced. From there you go into a mixer/amp or just an amp. The point is to capture the subtlety of the musician's playing along with the specific characteristics of the uke itself -- with the convenience and freedom of movement offered by an onboard pickup system. Even given all of the work going into this, I would still recommend a high quality mic as the best option. My ears and the science back that up:)

Robert- Very well said here. Thanks for posting this info. :)

Booli
05-22-2016, 07:28 AM
So guys are you reccomending to buy that myers feather 2 pickup? (Yeah i would buy feather 2 for 189 but they would to 10% discount so it would be 170 and there are 2 mics inside)
My options are:
1. I dont have luthier to install normal pickup( i would need to do that on my own and i probably would brake my Kanilea)
2. I dont want to buy another pickups for every ukulele and pay 100$ each

If you want one pickup that you can move uke to uke without harming the uke, at this point you should understand that:

1. the stick-on pickups will sound bad, fall off at the worst time, and are generally a PITA and waste of money - only good if you enjoy disappointment

2. other pickups like the LR Baggs, Mi-Si, or the Artec undersaddle type, with or without preamp will sound much better that #1, but not the same as you hear the uke with your ears, and will require that either YOU yourself or a luthier or guitar tech to drill ONLY 2 holes in the uke to put the pickup and endpin jack in your uke

3. if you dont want to or cannot drill any holes, you need to seriously consider either the Microvox pickup as per Geoff, or the MeyersCo pickup as per stevejfc in either the Grip, (or maybe the Feather style)...I think the dual-mic Meyers pickups are totally overkill for ukulele and will be a PITA to use with too many goosenecks to manage easily

4. there's a few of us here with differing opinions, all of us with varied experience, and sometimes we bark at each other passionately, but that does not mean that we love each other any less LOL :)

so what should you buy? and to get the BEST sound?

If I were starting out, based upon ALL of my experience, and want a minimum of fuss...

I'd go with option #3 in my list, but UNDERSTAND that with a mic (The Meyers pickup is in fact a mic, even though they are calling it a pickup) you will get howling feedback if your speakers are too close to the mic, positioned wrong, or you volume is up too high (your parents will be pissed when the feedback is so loud that it breaks a wine glass). But all of these LITTLE issues are very easy to control - but you have to read a little about how sound waves oscillate and what causes feedback, and you might need to get a 7-band EQ pedal like for guitar in order to cut the offending frequency. EQ pedals are cheap - Behringer makes one for $25 on Amazon, as does Dan Electro makes one 'Fish & Chips' for like $30 IIRC...

none of this is a big deal and the EQ pedal goes with whatever you plug into it, or from uke to uke when you move the pickup...

so, that is what I would recommend, option #3 from my list above.

but Martynas - what is your budget? What tools do you have? Have you discussed this project with your parents?

phil_doleman
05-22-2016, 08:00 AM
People often have feedback issues with mics, and the things that always cause issue are usually easily resolvable (or shouldn't have needed resolving in the first place if they'd been done properly in the beginning!)

1. Monitor speakers. These cannot be cranked up loud, and most engineers used to loud bands with drums insist on doing it. I have learned to get by without them.

2. The main speakers. These cannot be behind the band! So many places set up the speakers at the back to save space, or because they don't have monitors so they think it will help the performers hear. No, no, no. You won't be able to get decent volume out of any mic in this setup.

3. Too loud. The sound engineer simply wants to make it too loud. Just how damn loud do you want a ukulele?! It usually occurs (in my situation) where the engineer, maybe at a festival, wants to make me solo, or my acoustic duo, as loud at the 8 piece soul band with horn section on just after or before us.

I know that not being able to move around is an issue, but in my experience attaching a mic to the instrument (internal mic/ stick on mic) doesn't help because when you do move around you will inevitably move somewhere too close to a speaker feedback will kick off. At least if the mic is on a stand, once it's set it should be fine for the whole gig.

Martynas
05-22-2016, 09:27 AM
my parents are ok that i buy stuff for my musical path. i have 200 euros but ofcourse i want to spend not all of these money

Martynas
05-22-2016, 09:58 AM
i would get amp not speakers

Booli
05-22-2016, 12:38 PM
my parents are ok that i buy stuff for my musical path. i have 200 euros but ofcourse i want to spend not all of these money


ok - good that your parents support and encourage your music :music:

Remember the saying:



"Buy cheap, buy twice"


I know it's painful to pay more, but usually you get a better product if you are making an educated purchase.

All the advice in this thread should educate you.

If you cannot decide, maybe get a second opinion from someone who knows you well in person, like have your Mom or Dad read all of this thread, and then you can discuss it with them to make the best choice for you.

It's YOUR money, and we cannot and should not tell you how to spend it, we CAN however tell you about how all of this stuff works, and then it's up to you to prioritize your money and your time and manage your expectations according to your own tolerance for frustration here.

Hopefully all of the info in this thread will be of use to you. :)

Ukuleleblues
05-23-2016, 11:24 AM
People often have feedback issues with mics, and the things that always cause issue are usually easily resolvable (or shouldn't have needed resolving in the first place if they'd been done properly in the beginning!)

1. Monitor speakers. These cannot be cranked up loud, and most engineers used to loud bands with drums insist on doing it. I have learned to get by without them.

2. The main speakers. These cannot be behind the band! So many places set up the speakers at the back to save space, or because they don't have monitors so they think it will help the performers hear. No, no, no. You won't be able to get decent volume out of any mic in this setup.

3. Too loud. The sound engineer simply wants to make it too loud. Just how damn loud do you want a ukulele?! It usually occurs (in my situation) where the engineer, maybe at a festival, wants to make me solo, or my acoustic duo, as loud at the 8 piece soul band with horn section on just after or before us.

I know that not being able to move around is an issue, but in my experience attaching a mic to the instrument (internal mic/ stick on mic) doesn't help because when you do move around you will inevitably move somewhere too close to a speaker feedback will kick off. At least if the mic is on a stand, once it's set it should be fine for the whole gig.
We play using condensors alot. For the last 6 years we used Nady SPC-15s. The are no longer available, but I bought a few spares. I just bought a pair of Nady SPC-25s, with built in Phantom (one AA batt). Sound the same as the 15s. I use them on a passport mini when portability is needed, also the mini does not have phantom.

We also were using the MXL990 when a large condenser is needed, but found the Behringer C3 worked better, it has a switchable pattern. When we are putting on a jam and there will be a large group on stage, I"ll put the C3 in the middle about mouth height and add 2 behringer C2 small diaphram condensers about uke level 3-8 foot on each side. As said above, feedback management is required. Overall volume level cant be "Who-ish. Gotten a lot of complements from musicians and audience on the natural sound. Also have gotten many, many complements for not being too loud.

arpie
05-24-2016, 01:55 AM
Good news. K&K have agreed to send me 2 clips for the jack on both my Kala Travel Ukes. That should make a huge difference in stabilising the pickup jack and plug to the amp.

I MUST stress at this point that K&K do actually recommend an internal pickup for Ukes ..... It was my decision to try the external pickups - for reasons explained in the earlier post.

I will fit the clips as soon as I receive them and play the Ukes and report back soon. I don't anticipate any further problems!

Having said that .... The design of the clip could be a lot better too. Even if the base went the length of the jack (even longer to stabilise the amp plug as well) rather than crossways.

kissing
05-24-2016, 05:52 AM
I have one of the "kissing" recommended under-saddle pickups installed on a uke sitting on my bench (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Piezo-Pickup...-/331610291574). I've done some extensive testing with it. Plugged in with no pre-amp it does -- in fact -- make a uke-like sound. Plugged in through a cheap Fishman GII preamp it sounds a whole lot better. This makes sense, and the science backs it up. Feed the signal in Audacity both ways so that you can actually see the spectral analysis and your eyes confirm what your ears told you.


Thanks for sharing your experience and observation with the inexpensive Artec piezo pickup.
I see that I'm not the only one who has found that this passive pickup, standalone, does in fact produce a usable ukulele sound directly through an amplifier.
This was some area of controversy, as some believed that a passive pickup physically cannot produce a usable ukulele sound without preamps.
Sure, a preamp can give someone more options to refine the sound, but it wouldn't be an absolute necessity.

It is why I promote this particular setup, because it is simple and practical for the casual performer.
You have it installed permanently, so that it's always there, ready to be plugged and played.

Whether you are a street performer or performing a grand concert in the auditorium, you can plug it into anything that accepts a guitar lead, be it a portable amplifier or a $500,000 state-of-the-art preamp and speaker system.

Another aspect of "practicality" I will address is, besides the few out of a million, most of us are more inclined to be social performers rather than professional, iconic performers with a globally recognised signature sound associated with a signature instrument.

While highly sensitive condenser microphones are probably the answer to "ideal tone reproduction", there's a reason why undersaddles are so widely used (even by these certain "professional, iconic" performers!). Microphone setups have their cons, such as sensitivity of mic placement (trouble if the performer moves around), the instrument not being the only thing amplified (thuds, wind, etc) and the cleanness of the ukulele track amplified through the speakers, difficulty of transport/storage and usage, cost, etc

Even when a microphone captures a sound, it is still converting raw sound energy into electrical signals which are artificially processed and amplified onto speakers. No matter the setup, even microphones and every piece of equipment down the wire will colour and alter the sound, meaning one has to fiddle with the controls to get the sound they want - thereby "recreating" a somewhat artificial ukulele sound that also has to be adjusted for the acoustics of the environment.

Given this, you are also doing the same thing with an undersaddle pickup - you are getting the raw signal of your playing converted into electricity, and tweaking the signal so that it resembles the sound produced naturally.

Lastly, with the OP Martynas in mind - is a condenser mic + preamp + mixer/interface + PA system amplification, not to mention it'll take years to learn how to professionally produce sound using all this equipment... is it really a feasible option for him at a budget of 200 Euroes and requiring parental supervision?

For 200 Euroes, the installation of several good quality undersaddle pickups is possible!
Plug it into an acoustic amp, and a pre-amp too if one's ears are so fussy, and be done with it!

Mattyukaholic
05-24-2016, 07:51 AM
I got myself one of these that I use for all concerts now:

http://www.dpamicrophones.com/microphones/dvote/4099g-instrument-microphone-for-guitar

The sound quality beats any internal pickups I ever used and it doesn't feedback with my set up. It's expensive but I can use it on all my ukes and swap over mid set when needed. I've never looked back.

Booli
01-18-2017, 04:24 PM
Anyone still on this thread might be interested in the just-released and newest model iRig, which I posted about with photos and links over here:

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?125196-NEW-iRig-Acoustic-Stage-99

Bill Sheehan
01-21-2017, 09:23 AM
Booli, Kissing, Phil, and all, thank you for this most informative thread, notable not only for its good information but also for the fact that differences of opinion were handled in most gentlemanly fashion. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this thread!

braguesa
01-29-2017, 08:06 AM
I'd like to share my experience with K&K external pickups on portuguese cavaquinho (steel string Ukulele).
On this first clip I used a Big Shot:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1Sx5EZ35zs
On this one is the Big Twin:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78t6bpkKoDs
Just added some reverb, no EQ, no preamp.
Hope this helps.

JackLuis
01-29-2017, 08:48 AM
I got a $5 clip on for my Uke w/o a pickup and it works,but then you need an amp and pedals and ... I'd just ignore the whole thing and get a mic. Uless you're going to gig then it might be useful and worth the bother.

Booli
01-29-2017, 10:58 AM
I'd like to share my experience with K&K external pickups on portuguese cavaquinho (steel string Ukulele).
On this first clip I used a Big Shot:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1Sx5EZ35zs
On this one is the Big Twin:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78t6bpkKoDs
Just added some reverb, no EQ, no preamp.
Hope this helps.

Sounds great!

If no preamp, what is this plugged in to?

What are you recording with? What hardware interface and what program?

braguesa
01-29-2017, 01:48 PM
Sounds great!

If no preamp, what is this plugged in to?

What are you recording with? What hardware interface and what program?

The first video I'm using an iRig HD connected to an iPad, there I add some delay and reverb, a backing track program and then this connects to an iPod with the Sonicport VX so I can record the video in realtime. Tricky, don't you think? ;)
Second one I do not remember, but something like that was used (minus delay).

braguesa
02-06-2017, 06:57 AM
Little test:
https://youtu.be/WE9VEW34jvw
and
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Yaq-UcApKs

engravertom
02-07-2017, 05:54 AM
I appreciate all the input on this thread. My "gig" is a nursing home across the street. I used to use a sure headset mic, but it was pretty quiet, and a bit cumbersome. I used a clip on pickup or the kind you tie under the strings. never was too happy with the sound, and always felt self conscious about how fragile it all seemed. I eventually broke the pickup that tied under the strings. I did buy a myers mini microphone, but I was getting feedback with that. I have a small space to stand in, and haven't yet found a sweet spot for it.

I tried my MXL 910 condenser mic last week at home. Nope, howling feedback. My MXL dynamic was better bit still squirrely. tried my son's SM58. Works super. I played and sang at my parents church last Saturday. I used the dynamic mic they provided, and my voice and uke came through ok. My wife sang harmony through the same mic. My son plugged his guitar into his acoustic amp, and a vocal mic for himself in the second channel. I guess it sounded ok, as we got a lot of compliments on how we sounded, including the vocal harmonies.

So I went and got an SM58 for myself, and practiced with it last night. Running it into a little Kustom PA50. Just going to try the one mic for now. I hold my uke pretty high on my chest, and have the mic horizontal so it can pick up my voice and the uke. This set up sure feels more comfortable than what I was using in the past, and that makes a difference when performing for others.

Thanks again for all the good info!

:)

braguesa
02-08-2017, 07:11 AM
Just got this cheap clip mic and would like to share my first try with it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PMCpMzEn4k

and a little comparison test between two different dynamic mics:
https://youtu.be/xcBq3YvpHss