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_Silly_Me_Sitting_Here_
01-01-2017, 08:35 AM
Hey, guys! I'm hoping that someone can explain pickups to me - like I'm a 5-year-old.

I'm buying a baritone ukulele & I'll definitely need a pickup for it. I'll be purchasing from Hawaii Music Supply & they offer a few different pickups. A couple are cheaper passive picks (K&K, Pono for Pono brands) and a couple are active pickups (MiSi Trio, LR Baggs). And, despite all my "googling," I can't - for the life of me - figure out what all of this means.

So, what is the difference between the passive and active pickups? Let's say I'm going to an open mic night w/ just my ukulele in hand. The guy hands me a plug & I plug it into my ukulele. In this scenario, which type of pickup should I have?

I'm eyeballing a Pono at the moment, so the (cheaper-ish) passive Pono is an option. But, the Misi Trio is only $50 more. And, for another $50 there's the LR Baggs. But, which one would work best in a real-world, open-mic situation?

Thanks a TON for the help!

Jim Hanks
01-01-2017, 09:13 AM
I'm not an expert and don't have direct experience with all the models listed, but in general terms "passive" just means it does not need a power source and "active" means it does need a power source (battery) to operate. The power is used to modify the signal before it leaves the uke. This could take the form of boosting the signal, filtering noise, EQ'ing, etc. It is not always the case that "active is better" though. With either, you'll be better off playing through an external preamp box at the open-mic night to give you more control over your sound (tone and volume) instead of being completely at the mercy of the sound guy (and I say that as a sometimes sound guy).

_Silly_Me_Sitting_Here_
01-01-2017, 11:42 AM
Thanks, Jim!

So... From what I'm understanding, if I use a passive pickup, I actually need to have an *additional* piece of equipment (an external preamp box) whenever I go out w/ my uke. But, with the active pickup, I can just plug and go (assuming the sound guy knows what he's doing)?

PereBourik
01-01-2017, 01:21 PM
Thanks, Jim!

So... From what I'm understanding, if I use a passive pickup, I actually need to have an *additional* piece of equipment (an external preamp box) whenever I go out w/ my uke. But, with the active pickup, I can just plug and go (assuming the sound guy knows what he's doing)?

Either way you'll be miles ahead with a pre-amp or digital interface. I run with a Behringer ADI21. Not expensive. Good quality. And you're always prepared.

_Silly_Me_Sitting_Here_
01-01-2017, 01:29 PM
Either way you'll be miles ahead with a pre-amp or digital interface. I run with a Behringer ADI21. Not expensive. Good quality. And you're always prepared.

Does this mean you've got a passive pickup installed in your uke (which makes the preamp necessary)? I'm just thinking.... Ugh. Another thing to lug around? Would it even fit into my uke case? If I go with the Misi Trio/ LR Baggs, it's just "plug and go," right?

Thanks for the insights!

Jim Hanks
01-01-2017, 01:30 PM
What PB said. You can plug and go with either. It's more a matter of how much control you want on your end.

_Silly_Me_Sitting_Here_
01-01-2017, 02:17 PM
What PB said. You can plug and go with either. It's more a matter of how much control you want on your end.

So.... If I bought the cheapest passive pickup (K&K BI), I should be okay - even without a separate preamp box? I don't suppose anyone has an opinion about the K&K Big Island spot? I sure like the idea of saving that extra hundred bucks I would have spent on the MiSi Trio.

zztush
01-01-2017, 03:14 PM
Hi _Silly_Me_Sitting_Here_!

The difference between passive and active pickups is shown below.

https://s24.postimg.org/fh8lxxps5/4864246.png (https://postimg.org/image/4hnembzcx/)upload png (https://postimage.org/)

I think passive is lighter than active and good for our ukuleles.

Brad Bordessa
01-01-2017, 04:43 PM
So, what is the difference between the passive and active pickups? Let's say I'm going to an open mic night w/ just my ukulele in hand. The guy hands me a plug & I plug it into my ukulele. In this scenario, which type of pickup should I have?

If you're rolling up with just a uke and you want the best sound you can get out of the plug, you want active. Passive will work, but without the preamp, it's a stab in the dark whether you'll have a decent sound. It takes a good soundman and some luck.


So.... If I bought the cheapest passive pickup (K&K BI), I should be okay - even without a separate preamp box? I don't suppose anyone has an opinion about the K&K Big Island spot? I sure like the idea of saving that extra hundred bucks I would have spent on the MiSi Trio.

I had one (or something very similar) for many years in my Kamaka. Swapped it for a MISI and it was like night and day. So much better for performing. If you want a "natural" sound, the K&K might be a tad better, but you'll be fighting feedback and arm noise for eternity. If you can afford it, I'd get the active option.

IMO, the LR Baggs is a superior pickup. But the MISI is great too.

_Silly_Me_Sitting_Here_
01-01-2017, 05:26 PM
I had one (or something very similar) for many years in my Kamaka. Swapped it for a MISI and it was like night and day. So much better for performing. If you want a "natural" sound, the K&K might be a tad better, but you'll be fighting feedback and arm noise for eternity. If you can afford it, I'd get the active option.

IMO, the LR Baggs is a superior pickup. But the MISI is great too.


Ugh... I was hoping to get away with cheap (K&K). The ukulele I'm buying only costs $275 & it just seems insane to spend $200 for the LR Baggs pickup (as it's more than half the cost of the ukulele). If I were buying a higher end ukulele, I'd absolute want the best pickup. But, I'm having a really hard time justifying that kind of money for a "cheap-ish" uke. The Misi is a tad cheaper, but it's still around $160.

And, this "arm noise" doesn't sound good at all. Hmmmmm...

Jim Hanks
01-01-2017, 05:53 PM
I would listen to Brad (Hippie Guy). Don't let the name fool you - he knows what he's talking about. :)

It sounds like you are wanting the best setup for playing live. Brad has given you two good options and some good reasons to avoid the passive in your situation.

I understand what you're saying about the cost of the pickup vs cost of the uke, but they are serving two different purposes. You chose the Kala mahogany for playability (thinner neck) and warm tone. I'm pretty confident it will play well and sound good acoustically. Great. But with the pickup, you want it to sound good amplified and LOUD - and that's a very different thing.

_Silly_Me_Sitting_Here_
01-01-2017, 06:02 PM
I understand what you're saying about the cost of the pickup vs cost of the uke, but they are serving two different purposes. You chose the Kala mahogany for playability (thinner neck) and warm tone. I'm pretty confident it will play well and sound good acoustically. Great. But with the pickup, you want it to sound good amplified and LOUD - and that's a very different thing.

Thanks, Jim. You make some very good points here. It sounds like taking the "cheaper" way out could really backfire on me. *sigh* I guess I'll consider that MiSi after all. :)

SailingUke
01-01-2017, 06:39 PM
Here's my 2 cents.
Go with the K&K. Look for a LR Baggs "GigPro" preamp.
It is easily carried and gives you tone & volume control.
I use the preamp with all my pickups. I have twin spots, big spots and MiSi's.
The preamp can be used on any ukuleles you will acquire in the future.

mds725
01-01-2017, 07:26 PM
I only know a little about pickups. When I had pickups installed in my Kamaka tenor and Kamaka baritone, I had LR Baggs 5.0 pickups installed because (1) Brad likes them and (2) they're the only pickups Chuck Moore installs in his ukes, and either of those reasons was good enough for me. When I had a pickup installed in my Beau Hannam tenor guitar, I had a K&K passive pickup installed because Beau Hannam, the instrument's builder, recommended it. I also bought a $200 LR Baggs preamp for it, although I plugged in once without any preamp at all and that seemed fine. From what I've gathered, K&K, which gets sound vibrations from under the soundboard, is better for replicating the most acoustic possible sound with electronics (that's why Beau recommended it for a steel stringed instrument). LR Baggs gathers sound vibrations from the bridge and is said to have a slightly more "electric" sound.

My first question would be, why do you want to amplify? If it's just for the sake of being able to run your ukulele through a speaker, then maybe a K&K wouldd work for you, provided the cable distance from your uke to the soundboard/speaker is short (sound deteriorates over distance). If you're planning to perform, then you may want to spend some real money (i.e, passive pickup plus preamp, or active pickup like the LR Baggs 5.0) to maximize the quality of the amplification, even if you end up spending approximately what your ukulele is worth.

kohanmike
01-01-2017, 08:25 PM
I buy ukes with built-in preamp, tuner and active pickup, or I install them myself. I want the control of the volume and tone at my fingertips, and the tuner is that much more convenient. I buy them direct from China for about $15 to $35, because I can't find them here in the states. I have two ukes at the moment with no pickup, but have the preamps waiting to install. I had a passive Fishman installed in one uke, but it didn't have enough output, so I replaced it with an active system.

Booli
01-01-2017, 09:43 PM
Lots of good info here already, but this same topic has been discussed many times previously. A search might help you since nobody has yet mentioned the impedance mismatch that occurs when running a passive piezo pickup directly into an amp or PA system.

Pointing Google at the forum as per this link: https://www.google.com/search?sclient=psy-ab&biw=1452&bih=870&q=Booli+impedance+preamp+-archive+site:forum.ukuleleunderground.com&oq=Booli+impedance+preamp+-archive+site:forum.ukuleleunderground.com&gs_l=hp.3...26045.36210.3.36623.18.13.0.0.0.0.183. 1486.3j10.13.0....0...1c.1.64.psy-ab..8.0.0.x4SDBdJ7QKM&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.&bvm=bv.142059868,d.eWE&ech=1&psi=ZQ9qWKaVOIiumQG1tZPIDg.1483345769025.11&ei=4A9qWNniBIaSmQGrrLKoBA&emsg=NCSR&noj=1

Is going to show you these lengthy discussions.

Having worked as a sound engineer, this is not something you can simply ignore and hope for the best, for doing so OFTEN yields unpredictable and unsatisfactorily results, i.e., it will sound 'bad' and 'tinny' and suffer the piezo 'quack' due to the impedance mismatch in effect acting as a high-pass filter (like an EQ) with near total loss of all audio frequencies below 400hz, which for ukulele sounds like you are playing through a tin can for a speaker.

TL;DR: cheap passive pickup = bad sound = 'buy cheap, buy twice'

My recommendation is to go with an active system with a built-in preamp (Mi-Si, or Five.O) or a passive system (K&K, JJB, Schatten, Fishman, etc) and add an external preamp, at a minimum of the Behringer ADI-21, or LR Baggs Venue DI or Para DI, or Radial PZDI, or Radial ToneBone DI.

I understand the concerns over cost, but if you cheap out on your pickup system, you are going to offend the audience with brittle and harsh tones that do not represent the best possible ACOUSTIC sound of your ukulele.

I have walked out on concerts and shows with bad sound. Sometimes the sound man running the PA can only do so much, as in 'garbage in = garbage out'

Just my 2 cents from 30+ yrs of audio engineering experience. :)

Dan Gleibitz
01-01-2017, 10:26 PM
If you want a "natural" sound, the K&K might be a tad better, but you'll be fighting feedback and arm noise for eternity.

Yep. Stick on soundboard piezos can sound great but are prone to feedback, especially in live situations.

PereBourik
01-02-2017, 02:48 AM
The least intrusive setup, short of just playing into a mic, is probably a Kremona UK-1. You loosen the strings and slip it under them at the tie bridge. It will quack like a mother duck. That can be dialed out with a DI (here I am touting the Behringer ADI21 again). It also sits pretty proud of the bridge and I've worried about snagging it and breaking it. It goes about $70 and the DI is about $30. No installation cost because the UK-1 is external to the uke.

If sound quality is what you're after go with LR Bags or MiSi. If you're trying to keep to a budget then this may be a good choice.

Rllink
01-02-2017, 03:11 AM
My only experience is with the MiSi, however, I read all through everything I could find on here, and then asked more questions before I had it installed. The MiSi is active, has a rechargeable capacitor instead of a battery and you can recharge it in thirty seconds. That makes it light. I don't have the soundhole knobs and I just adjust everything at the amp, which makes it even lighter. It is a very clean setup, without any control panel planted in the side of your uke. I think that it is worth the money just for the simplicity of the whole thing. You don't even know it is there until you use it. It truly is a plug in and play setup.

Mivo
01-03-2017, 11:15 AM
There is another option, which would be less permanent and also provide a more natural sound: a temporary quality microphone inside the soundhole, like these: http://www.bartlettaudio.com/collections/instrument-mics The instrument's body will shield it from outside noise. I just bought one for my parlor guitar, which might work just fine in a baritone ukulele also (here is a video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMBF0TDKicw) of someone demo-ing it on guitars and a tenor ukulele).

Booli
01-03-2017, 11:41 AM
There is another option, which would be less permanent and also provide a more natural sound: a temporary quality microphone inside the soundhole, like these: http://www.bartlettaudio.com/collections/instrument-mics The instrument's body will shield it from outside noise. I just bought one for my parlor guitar, which might work just fine in a baritone ukulele also (here is a video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMBF0TDKicw) of someone demo-ing it on guitars and a tenor ukulele).

Those look neat,Mivo, but the problem with mics is going to be mitigating feedback. if you have a sound guy fine, but if it's just you and the PA or AMP, you need a box that is going to fix the feedback for your like the Behringer Shark FB1 or similar that actively scans for and minimizes feedback frequencies in realtime, otherwise get ready for the screeching and howling.

Also learning how and where to place the speakers in relation to the mic, will help to eliminate feedback, but the speaker placement might change each time you set up, so experimentation AND research and some learning curve will be necessary.

There is no single way to get amplified without learning SOMETHING about the physics of sound.

There are a few different options from Schertler that might be worth looking at:

https://secure.schertler.com/en_US/shop/pickups

jollyboy
01-03-2017, 12:02 PM
@Booli:

B-man, how do you rate the Behringer ADI-21? The price seems to put it into that 'too good to be true' bracket. Would you say that coupled with a decent passive pickup it represents a viable alternative to an active pickup?

Mivo
01-03-2017, 12:07 PM
Yep, in the end, any kind of amplification of an acoustic instrument requires attention to the location, systems, and physics. If it was all clear cut and universally optimal, everyone would use and do the same, and there'd be no need for sound guys! :) I should get my Bartlett mic in a couple weeks, then I'll report back. It's intended for my guitar, but I'll definitely try it in my tenor also, just to hear what sound I get compared to the Apogee Mic 96k. Just not a huge fan of the sound of pickups, so I've been looking for another option that combines some of the advantages of a pickup with those of a microphone. The Bartlett mic seems well-respected and liked, and I found it surprisingly affordable.

(I also bought the Behringer ADI-21 to go with the mic, so I'll be able to report on that one also!)

Dooke
01-03-2017, 01:23 PM
@Booli:

B-man, how do you rate the Behringer ADI-21? The price seems to put it into that 'too good to be true' bracket. Would you say that coupled with a decent passive pickup it represents a viable alternative to an active pickup?

If I may, my two cents. The ADI-21 is absolutely a viable alternative. I didn't like it at all but I keep it in the car in case an emergency arises on a gig and I need a viable alternative. Thankfully I have not had to use it. Very dry and bland sounding unit. Just my opinion and these things are subjective. And, I was using it on a guitar. It may be great on a uke. I don't know.

But if you are handy, allow me to point out another alternative. Any of the preamps in the link below can used. The first preamp I ever bought was from Martin because I didn't want my new D 28 to have holes put in it. The preamp they sold me was just what you see in the link. A preamp designed to be installed in a guitar but housed in a sturdy box. So if you are handy you can get away even cheaper than 30 bucks.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_22?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=acoustic+guitar+onboard+preamp&sprefix=acoustic+guitar+onboar%2Caps%2C158&crid=3IUY8O4II5OA9&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aacoustic+guitar+onboard+preamp

Booli
01-03-2017, 08:27 PM
@Booli:

B-man, how do you rate the Behringer ADI-21? The price seems to put it into that 'too good to be true' bracket. Would you say that coupled with a decent passive pickup it represents a viable alternative to an active pickup?

I would say the ADI-21 is a 'bare minimum' to use with a PIEZO, and only a slight step up from using a cheap EQ pedal for impedance matching. STEP UP because it ALSO has XLR output. which saves you from spending ANOTHER $$ for a DI box, which is required to go into the MIC channel of a PA 'FOH' (front of house)mixer.

The ADI-21 is $30 everywhere, there are other, preamps like the Schatten or LR Baggs 'GigPro' that are belt-pack style ~$99, and these do NOT have XLR or DI out, but do some impedance mismatch correction (which is the Achilles heel of ALL piezos, and I have been talking about here on UU for for 3 yrs, but nobody remembers or searches and reads those threads), yet for $99 you do NOT get the XLR or DI out, so cables longer than about 15 feet are going to be subject to EMI and RF interference and possible ground loops, all of which manifest as audible HUM which can at times even be louder than the signal from your instrument.

Beyond the $99 price range, you are looking at the LR Baggs Para-DI, Venue-DI, or the Radial Engineering StageBug SB-4, ToneBone or PZDI. If you want reverb and compression as well, all in one box, with a DI out, right at your feet, then starting at $300 you can get a Zoom A3, or Fishman Aura series pedal/preamp.

The point is if you are busking in the street, or just at home torturing your cats with the amplified sounds, you might be able to get away cheap, but if you intent to be playing amplified in front of a paying audience, you really owe it to yourself to not cheap out on a pickup and preamp.

'Buy cheap = buy twice'

Believe me when I say I am the most thrifty bast*rd, and I've tried to go cheap, and even DIY from bare circuits and silicon (transistors/mosfets/etc) with a soldering iron, and unless it is going to cost me less than $5 in component parts, it is USUALLY better to save up and just buy the known, reliable brand that has a warranty, UNLESS you build 3-4 identical items to keep at your gigs in a protected case to have as backups *yes I have done this*, but in the end, if you are getting paid to play, forgo the extra 6-pack of beer now and then, and put that money towards better equipment.

The benefit of DIY is that you are forced to LEARN about how these things work, but you are not going to bust out the soldering kit on stage and tell knock-knock jokes to the audience for a half-hour while you troubleshoot and repair your device, most, if not all of the audience will leave, except for Mommy, and the Wife. :)

Booli
01-03-2017, 08:47 PM
...(I also bought the Behringer ADI-21 to go with the mic, so I'll be able to report on that one also!)

The ADI-21 may not work in the above scenario.

Why?

again, impedance mismatch.

The ADI-21 is meant to take an INPUT impedance, i.e. what a piezo puts out at the plug, of about 1M (or 1 million) Ohms, and then output 100k Ohms at the 1/4" plug for a guitar amp or pedals, and simultaneously output 600 Ohms at the XLR plug to go into the MIC channel of a mixer.

If the Bartlett mic puts out impedance in the range of 100-1k Ohms, then a preamp for imedance matching is likely going to be un-necessary, and if one is desired, you'd be MUCH better off with a MIC PREAMP, such as the Behringer MIC200, or the A.R.T. TubeMP Studio, which will give you lots of headroom, gain boost, while ALSO adding the warmth that once can only get from 12AX7/12AU7 vaccum tubes. The output from either of these preamps can go into an amp, a PA, pedals, recording interface without issue. Either of these preamps can be had for less/=~$50 new and often half that used.

I have used them both. I had lent out my ART TubeMP Studio preamps to a friend a year ago, so he could try and then buy his own, and he told me he is 'keeping them', but I have a MIC200 in my home studio that I use all the time for recording, as well as when performing live. I also have a (now discontinued) ART USB Dual Tube Pre, that I use all the time for recording that I find to have great sound.

I am curious to see how the Bartlett mics sound, both without a preamp, and with a preamp, but I caution you that if the output is less than 10k Ohms a MIC preamp not a PIEZO preamp is going to give a better sound.

Keeping in mind that 'better sound' is relative to the experience of the listener. Someone who has little experience is likely to think 'sounds great' but someone who has spent a second career in the studio and running FOH systems as an engineer (like myself) is likely to have a very different opinion.

(For those folks following along with my other posts here and there, I've mentioned elsewhere about having 30+ years as an IT pro, and that has been my day job, but when not a slave to the corporate world with a necktie/noose, I've been spending my 'off hours' in and around music, audio, sound reinforcement and studio engineering/ recording roles, and live performance in various groups as well for the past 30+ yrs, also as a second income. Some folks work at McDonalds AND Dairy Queen for two jobs, but for me it was IT and AUDIO. Not everyone has this opportunity. Nowadays I work from home for the IT work, and the AUDIO part I now just do for myself, since health issues prevent me from the unforgiving grind that often ends @ 3am, and then to be at the 'office' 8am the next day is just even more punishing-//thx for reading)

Booli
01-03-2017, 10:49 PM
FYI: some links to equipment I mentioned in previous posts to this thread:

Behringer EQ pedal
http://www.music-group.com/Categories/Behringer/Guitar/Guitar-Stompboxes/EQ700/p/P0350

Behringer ADI21 pedal
http://www.music-group.com/Categories/Behringer/Guitar/Guitar-Stompboxes/ADI21/p/P0293

Behringer MIC200 tube preamp
http://www.music-group.com/Categories/Behringer/Signal-Processors/Microphone-Preamplifiers/MIC200/p/P0243

ART TubeMP Studio tube preamp
http://artproaudio.com/mic_preamps/product/tube_mp-studio_v3/

Schatten MiniPre beltpack preamps
http://schattendesign.com/mini-pre.htm

LR Baggs MixPro/GigPro beltpack preamps
http://www.lrbaggs.com/preamps/gigpro-mixpro-acoustic-preamp

LR Baggs Para-DI pedal preamp and DI box
http://www.lrbaggs.com/preamps/para-di-acoustic-preamp

LR Baggs Session-DI pedal preamp and DI box
http://www.lrbaggs.com/preamps/session-di-acoustic-preamp

LR Baggs Venue-DI pedal preamp and DI box
http://www.lrbaggs.com/preamps/venue-di-acoustic-preamp

Radial Engineering StageBug4 impedance matching piezo DI box
http://www.radialeng.com/stagebugsb4.php

Radial Engineering PZDI impedance matching piezo DI box
http://www.radialeng.com/pzdi.php

Fishman Aura acoustic pedal preamp DI box
http://www.fishman.com/products/type/preamps/

Zoom A3 acoustic pedal preamp DI box with effects
https://www.zoom-na.com/products/guitar-bass-effects/acoustic/zoom-a3-pre-amp-effects-acoustic-guitar

Dooke
01-04-2017, 02:37 AM
The least intrusive setup, short of just playing into a mic, is probably a Kremona UK-1. You loosen the strings and slip it under them at the tie bridge. It will quack like a mother duck. That can be dialed out with a DI (here I am touting the Behringer ADI21 again). It also sits pretty proud of the bridge and I've worried about snagging it and breaking it. It goes about $70 and the DI is about $30. No installation cost because the UK-1 is external to the uke.

If sound quality is what you're after go with LR Bags or MiSi. If you're trying to keep to a budget then this may be a good choice.

I do believe the manufacturer recommends using an external preamp with the Kremona.

Dooke
01-04-2017, 02:55 AM
To the OP: I am sure your head is really spinning by now!

Passive pickups require an external preamp.

Active pickups are plug and go but may require a more intrusive installation.

Internet forums such as this can really make you over think things. I have seen crappy products sell like hotcakes because of discussions like this (not saying anyone has recommended a crappy product in this thread).

It is OK to start cheap, experiment and maybe upgrade later if necessary. You can buy a Uke from China with a built in pickup and active preamp for 50 bucks. Guess what? It wlll sound great if you take the time to dial in your sound. I know because I have done it. I would probably do this before spending 200 bucks on a pickup for the high end uke. No one in the audience knows what kind of Uke you are playing or what kind of pickup it has.

I totally understand some will disagree with me. I mean no offense.


You will improve your sound more dramatically by practicing than you can by any piece of equipment you can purchase.

PereBourik
01-04-2017, 03:16 AM
Ugh... I was hoping to get away with cheap (K&K). The ukulele I'm buying only costs $275 & it just seems insane to spend $200 for the LR Baggs pickup (as it's more than half the cost of the ukulele). If I were buying a higher end ukulele, I'd absolute want the best pickup. But, I'm having a really hard time justifying that kind of money for a "cheap-ish" uke. The Misi is a tad cheaper, but it's still around $160.

And, this "arm noise" doesn't sound good at all. Hmmmmm...

Given your price point for the uke, spending a bunch on electronics doesn't seem wise. (See Booli elsewhere.) Undersaddle, soundboard, or mic setups all look like they'll cost a minimum of a couple of hundred bucks.

I've used K & K on a Martin T2K, and MiSi on a Beau Hannam. Much prefer MiSi. Still, I gotta have that external box to make it sound purdy.

_Silly_Me_Sitting_Here_
01-04-2017, 03:40 AM
To the OP: I am sure your head is really spinning by now!

Passive pickups require and external preamp.

Active pickups are plug and go but may require a more intrusive installation.


lol.... I was just thinking... "Wow! This got scientific real quick!" But, seriously. I love the discussion! I have learned a ton... And, I've decided to just go w/ the LR Baggs 'cuz I don't want to overthink anything & I'd rather have the freedom to carry less stuff around (no pre-amp). Oh, and I've settled on a more expensive baritone uke anyway (a Pono), so I feel much less "funny" about installing the more expensive pickup. Problem solved!

Thanks again for all the great input... You guys are ukulele geniuses! I'm just gonna sit back & learn now. ;)

strumsilly
01-04-2017, 03:51 AM
to further muddle things,if playing through an amp, how good your uke sounds depends on the match between amp and pickup I have had all kinds of pick ups, from cheap clip ons [$7] to misi and baggs. The best sound was using a Baggs through a Fishman loudbox mini amp. But the misi sounded better plugged directly into a PA [Kustom 50] than the baggs. If you go the piezo route I have a LR Baggs gigpro I don't use that I'll sell you. $50 PM me if interested.
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/amplifiers-effects/lr-baggs-gigpro-acoustic-guitar-preamp

Booli
01-04-2017, 04:44 AM
... depends on the match between amp and pickup ...

Yes, this depends on matching the output impedance of your pickup to the input impedance of your effects pedals or amp or PA or recording equipment...

Seriously folks, PLEASE google 'piezo impedance matching' or 'impedance mismatch', for understanding these concepts will help you to improve your sound without spending a fortune while also saving yourself the need to upgrade after buying things that will not maximize your money spent on less than ideal solutions.