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bunnyf
07-05-2017, 03:44 AM
I know very little about amplification but have found myself in situations lately where I need to be amplified. I usually play my Pono Bari with MiSi pickup, right into my Roland Street cube and have no problem. I've wanted to also be able to play my LoPr sop amplified and so I had a MiSi put in that uke too. As I explained in a previous thread, I got it home from the shop and it was so quiet plugged in that I was not even sure it was working. Anyway, as others suggested, I took off the saddle and drilled a second hole for the tail of the wire to tuck down into. Volume was improved, but I am definitely underwhelmed. I tried to use the soprano at a gig I had on the 4th and during the sound check I could see that it wasn't gonna be enough, so I stuck with my Bari.

Reading up on the forum, I hear people suggesting a pre-amp, like the inexpensive Behringer model, to boost volume. My question is, doesn't the MiSi have a built in pre-amp? Will an additional pre-amp help? Techies please weigh in. I am clueless.

lfoo6952
07-05-2017, 03:52 AM
Does your MiSi pickup come with a volume control knob? Before you try anything else, make sure your volume control knob is up all the way first.

WhenDogsSing
07-05-2017, 05:12 AM
The mi-si preamp volume and tone controls are usually located inside the sound hole. One preamp is all you need.

bazmaz
07-05-2017, 05:34 AM
The MiSi is an active pickup. But wonder if there is another issue here. Certainly there is no harm plugging an active pickup into a pre-amp, but i would have though the MiSi output should be hot enough.

May sound like a silly question, but are you sure it's fully charged?

bunnyf
07-05-2017, 05:35 AM
Does your MiSi pickup come with a volume control knob? Before you try anything else, make sure your volume control knob is up all the way first.
No volume control.

bunnyf
07-05-2017, 05:43 AM
The MiSi is an active pickup. But wonder if there is another issue here. Certainly there is no harm plugging an active pickup into a pre-amp, but i would have though the MiSi output should be hot enough.

May sound like a silly question, but are you sure it's fully charged?
Not a silly question and I wish that was the problem. Folks had suggested that it was a bad unit or poor installation. So, I assumed it was not a bad unit and tried to investigate possible installation issues. People said a second hole in the bridge was needed and that the tail end of the wire should be tucked into the hole. Did that and saw a noticeable but not huge improvement. My Bari works fine, same amp, same cables, etc. I thought if a separate pre-amp would help, I'd try that but wanted opinions first before I tried it. If nothing's gonna help, perhaps I should contact Elderly, if it's an actual problem with the pick up. Don't know.

Patrick Madsen
07-05-2017, 05:50 AM
I've never seen a Misi with controls. L.R.Baggs have controls. Good idea to contact Elderly. Did you try charging up the soprano with a different charger. Perhaps try the charger that came with the Bari.

bunnyf
07-05-2017, 06:00 AM
I've never seen a Misi with controls. L.R.Baggs have controls. Good idea to contact Elderly. Did you try charging up the soprano with a different charger. Perhaps try the charger that came with the Bari.

I know they make them now with vol control option, but mine is not. I do have two chargers. Both seem to charge the Bari and both seem to make no difference on the soprano. I can't imagine that the pickup should be so quiet. Of course, the baris gonna sound louder but I can get good volume turns up mayb just a 1/4 on my amp but with the sop, even full volume is too quiet for performance purpose. I might as well just mic the soprano.

Booli
07-05-2017, 07:01 AM
I know they make them now with vol control option, but mine is not. I do have two chargers. Both seem to charge the Bari and both seem to make no difference on the soprano. I can't imagine that the pickup should be so quiet. Of course, the baris gonna sound louder but I can get good volume turns up mayb just a 1/4 on my amp but with the sop, even full volume is too quiet for performance purpose. I might as well just mic the soprano.

I have installed quite a few MiSi pickups myself and I've found that if the output level is low, in one of the follow circumstances:

1. Charge level is low, which will give possible combinations of low output volume, distortion, or kind of fade-out after the initial note attack is heard. A charge of 120 seconds is recommened by the maker for the first 1-2 times of use, and then they say that 60 seconds is usually enough after that. I've found this to bear out in my own experience, and technically makes sense for how the electrolyte inside these 'super-capacitors' work that power these MiSi units.

2. Improper installation:

- one symptom as you have discovered is by having the last 0.5" of the pickup ribbon under the saddle, instead of tucked into the second hole, as this part of the ribbon is a sort of 'dead zone' and your 2 higher-pitched strings will have lower volume if heard at all

- the other issue with installation, which is NOT specific to MiSI but to all under-saddle pickups is that the bottom of the saddle slot, where the pickup rests in the bridge needs to be perfectly flat, as does the bottom edge of the saddle itself that contacts the pickup, and additionally, the saddle should be loose enough in the slot in the bridge that it can move freely, almost enough to fall out but not rock towards or away from the nut, and should NOT be bound or held tightly by the saddle slot, otherwise this will inhibit/impede the transfer of vibration from strings >> saddle >> pickup (and to the top)

If you have checked and verified all the above and still the sound level is low, I would consider the unit defective, and try to get a replacement under warranty, either from the vendor, or from MiSi themselves, and for both/either, you can refer them to this thread.

Hope this helps and please report back, and/or let us know if you can get it working or not.

Mahalo - Booli :)

bunnyf
07-05-2017, 08:30 AM
Booli, thanks for the tips. I'm gonna take off the strings again and recheck those things. I don't recall the saddle being tight but I'll just look at everything again. I don't think I have 1/2" tucked in. I'm guessing it's only 1/4", so as long as I have everything apart, I'll move it in more. Thanks again. Off to the workshop!

bunnyf
07-05-2017, 09:36 AM
Strings off and I'm looking at the saddle again and it is rather snug in its bridge slot with the pickup wire removed. It's also not a very deep slot, but it's fine w/o the wire. But I see that with the wire in place, the saddle is not very deep in the slot. Maybe just a tad over 1/3 of the total height of the saddle sits in the bridge. I saw in HMS pickup install video, they deepen the slot to compensate for the thickness of the wire. I'm sure the guitar shop that did the installation did not do that. I didn't want to do that myself, but now I'm thinking that I might have to. Just not sure how to approach it. My first thought would be just reduce the saddle (thin it a little so it's looser in the slot) and take some off the bottom.

M3Ukulele
07-05-2017, 11:21 AM
I'm not expert but have watched a few installation of under saddle pickups. Kanilea have a good one as does HMS. I'm pretty sure , they both route out a small channel for thickness of the pickup. From reading thread a Booli's comments it sound like you didn't get a good installation. My .02 cents worth.

Booli
07-05-2017, 11:47 AM
Strings off and I'm looking at the saddle again and it is rather snug in its bridge slot with the pickup wire removed. It's also not a very deep slot, but it's fine w/o the wire. But I see that with the wire in place, the saddle is not very deep in the slot. Maybe just a tad over 1/3 of the total height of the saddle sits in the bridge. I saw in HMS pickup install video, they deepen the slot to compensate for the thickness of the wire. I'm sure the guitar shop that did the installation did not do that. I didn't want to do that myself, but now I'm thinking that I might have to. Just not sure how to approach it. My first thought would be just reduce the saddle (thin it a little so it's looser in the slot) and take some off the bottom.

Yes, do NOT deepen the slot unless it is a last resort, this is very tricky, and unless you have the proper tools with a dremel router jig such as in the Uke Minute #69 with Joe Souza from Kanilea (video and linkey below at end) OR the following tools from StewMac (http://www.stewmac.com/Luthier_Tools/Types_of_Tools/Files/Saddle_Slot_Levelers.html) <--I have both of these and have used them to smoothe out the slot, but not appreciably deepen it...

as per advice from both Chuck Moore and as per Frank Ford's instructions on https://frets.com, you should have a 50/50 balance of the saddle above and below the side of the bridge that faces the nut.

The MiSi pickup ribbon is only about 1.5mm thick and it is FAR EASIER to use some 800 grit sandpaper to take down the BOTTOM of a saddle than it is to alter the depth of the saddle slot in the bridge...

You have to go SLOW, and just a few strokes and then check for 50/50, or thereabouts, depending upon string action at the 12th fret, which ideally should be no lower than 2.65mm otherwise you run the risk of fret buzzing on the first 1-3 frets, especially if you have a wound low G or wound C string which are both thicker and will have a wider arc when the string vibrates, and I've found that if the string is lower, like 2.45mm you either need a VERY light touch when strumming, or are relegated to fingerstyle only in order to avoid fret buzz....

Also, just 1-3 strokes on the face of either side of the saddle (but NOT both sides) when laid flat on the sandpaper, should be enough to make sure there is no binding of the saddle in the bridge slot, be CAREFUL, more than that and you can cause the saddle to SLANT (usually forwards) and this will skew your intonation sharp incrementally and is very hard to compensate for if it is more than 5 cents sharp in the tiny 2-3mm width of the top saddle edge, or aka string break-point of the saddle itself...

All of the above I have dealt with myself on my own and on friends ukes, and while iterative in tiny amounts, you need to do a little at a time, otherwise you will be ordering new saddle blanks and starting over, but not to worry, it's all a learning process, and none of this is fatal if you mess up, but learning to do so is akin to changing a flat tire on your car...

Please let me know if this helps and report back if you need further guidance...

I just want to restate, that one should avoid lowering the depth of the saddle slot in the bridge unless there is no other choice, and usually is because the saddle slot was a short depth to being with, but most of the time there is about 5mm of bridge available on the front-face of the saddle area that is towards the nut.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ypj_mhXhss
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ypj_mhXhss

bunnyf
07-05-2017, 01:15 PM
Not gonna mess with the slot. HMS had a jig all rigged up to rout out perfect channel. I took down the saddle and it's about 1/2 and 1/2 now and I lightly thinned it so it fits a bit looser in the slot. I would have loved to adjust the angulation of the 1st hole. It seems way too straight for my liking. I would have angled it so that the wire took a gentler bend. I wanted to pull the wire out and fix it but I did not want to take the chance of not being able to get the wire back in there. Anyway, put it all back together and it's much improved. Not as good as I'd like but significantly better. I'm gonna replace the strings next week. Maybe I'll consider how I might rig up something to fish wire with and try that hole adjustment while I have the strings off. I'm still curious as to whether adding an extra separate preamp would be of any benefit with a MiSi pickup.

Kekani
07-06-2017, 09:18 PM
I took down the saddle and it's about 1/2 and 1/2 now and I lightly thinned it so it fits a bit looser in the slot.

I would have loved to adjust the angulation of the 1st hole. It seems way too straight for my liking. I would have angled it so that the wire took a gentler bend.

I'm still curious as to whether adding an extra separate preamp would be of any benefit with a MiSi pickup.
50% is the rule, so you're good if the action isn't too low as Booli mentioned.

Drilling the hole at an angle is requisite for LRBaggs Element based UST's, which the MiSi has. I drill both angled holes in ALL my bridges. IF a pickup goes in (before I send it out), I'll also file down the leading edge of the hole so the UST has NO sharp edge to touch.

Preamp? I always run acoustics through a ParaAcoustic DI if I'm running sound. If you know, you know.
Admittedly, I didn't think an active pickup needed a DI. . . until I used a ParaAcoustic. Change that - until I LEARNED how to use a ParaAcoustic.

On a side note, the saddle doesn't have to be loose in the slot. If I had a preference, it'd be snug. Mine? I can't pull them out with my fingers.
Note: My bridges also have a Turner Tilt-back Saddle Slot; pretty much made for UST's and action/intonation adjustments.

photoshooter
07-07-2017, 02:25 AM
On a side note, the saddle doesn't have to be loose in the slot. If I had a preference, it'd be snug. Mine? I can't pull them out with my fingers.
Note: My bridges also have a Turner Tilt-back Saddle Slot; pretty much made for UST's and action/intonation adjustments.


Thanks for sharing that, very interesting.
BTW I just checked out your YT channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/Kekani427/videos) and now I'm binge watching your luthier vids. Great stuff!

Rllink
07-07-2017, 06:00 AM
Not gonna mess with the slot. HMS had a jig all rigged up to rout out perfect channel. I took down the saddle and it's about 1/2 and 1/2 now and I lightly thinned it so it fits a bit looser in the slot. I would have loved to adjust the angulation of the 1st hole. It seems way too straight for my liking. I would have angled it so that the wire took a gentler bend. I wanted to pull the wire out and fix it but I did not want to take the chance of not being able to get the wire back in there. Anyway, put it all back together and it's much improved. Not as good as I'd like but significantly better. I'm gonna replace the strings next week. Maybe I'll consider how I might rig up something to fish wire with and try that hole adjustment while I have the strings off. I'm still curious as to whether adding an extra separate preamp would be of any benefit with a MiSi pickup.I like that the MiSi comes without the volume and tone adjustments and that you don't have a 9v battery box stuck in the side of the uke. Having all that hardware just seems redundant to me. Also it eliminates the balancing act going on with the amp when you plug it in. I hope that you get it all sorted out to your satisfaction and let us know what you end up doing. I am hoping to buy a nice soprano before the end of the year and I want to install a MiSi in it as I am very happy with the one in my concert. Anyway, Mike at Mainland installed mine. That is the only one he offers. I don't know if you have ever had dealings with him, but he is a very friendly and helpful guy. It might be worth a call or an e-mail.

bunnyf
07-07-2017, 09:48 AM
50% is the rule, so you're good if the action isn't too low as Booli mentioned.

Drilling the hole at an angle is requisite for LRBaggs Element based UST's, which the MiSi has. I drill both angled holes in ALL my bridges. IF a pickup goes in (before I send it out), I'll also file down the leading edge of the hole so the UST has NO sharp edge to touch.

Preamp? I always run acoustics through a ParaAcoustic DI if I'm running sound. If you know, you know.
Admittedly, I didn't think an active pickup needed a DI. . . until I used a ParaAcoustic. Change that - until I LEARNED how to use a ParaAcoustic.

On a side note, the saddle doesn't have to be loose in the slot. If I had a preference, it'd be snug. Mine? I can't pull them out with my fingers.
Note: My bridges also have a Turner Tilt-back Saddle Slot; pretty much made for UST's and action/intonation adjustments.

Thanks Kekani, I'm going back in and improving that emergence angle on that first hole (2nd hole, the one I drilled for the tail is good). If it's still kinda quiet, then I'll try adding the preamp.