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View Full Version : K&K Twin or Mi-Si?



rasputinsghost
11-09-2010, 08:39 AM
Hey all,

I'm thinking about what pickup to install in my Kamaka Tenor - I know Mi-Sis are used extensively here but the guy who's going to install it is warning me against it as it's designed for guitar. He recommends a K&K twin and if i want a preamp I can buy an external one. What do you guys think I should do? If I go passive, what are some good preamps I should look at?

Thanks!

bazmaz
11-09-2010, 08:45 AM
Firstly, your friend is wrong - the MiSi is indeed initially designed for guitar, but Mike at Mainland wouldnt fit them at the store if they didnt work (considering his superb customer care)

For me though, I do find the MiSi expensive - I went K&K, but I really dont think you need the twin for a ukulele - I just went for the Big Shot (single pickup) which is what the Magic Fluke Co. fit to Fleas and Flukes.

rasputinsghost
11-09-2010, 08:50 AM
Thanks! His reasoning is:

"This is an LR Baggs pickup that is designed for guitar. Not recommended for uke. I highly recommend the K&K twin spot internal. We mount it inside on the underside of the bridge plate. It sounds like you have a microphone in front of the uke. Also changing the battery would be very difficult internally on a uke. You would have to cut a access hatch in the back of the uke."

GX9901
11-09-2010, 08:51 AM
While the Mi-Si is designed for a guitar, many people, including ukulele performers such as Gerald Ross, have had them in ukes with good results. I have 3 ukes with Mi-Si and while I hardly ever use the pickup, they do sound pretty good to me when I do plug them in. The main drawback of the Mi-Si, in my opinion, is that there are electronics that can potentially fail (like all electronics) and it could be a hassle to replace or fix it.

I've never used the K&K twin spot but based on what I've read about them, they should work very well and should be a little bit lighter (though the Mi-Si really isn't heavy at all). I think I read that Mya-Moe recommends the K&K over Mi-Si even though they can install both. I don't know the rationale behind it though.

I think the choice comes down to whether you want your pre-amp inside the ukulele or outside.

rasputinsghost
11-09-2010, 08:54 AM
I don't really care about the pre-amp, and if Mya-Moe likse K&K's, that's a good endorsement as any. Would this internal K&K let me use a uke strap?

http://www.kksound.com/twinspotinternal.html

bazmaz
11-09-2010, 08:57 AM
The Misi is battery powered but needs no battery hatch - its a capacitor built in to the jack.

The K&K needs no battery either, so the battery argument is a null point whichever you choose.

I still think the K&K twin is overkill though.

I agree on the pre-amp - far better to spend money on a decent actual amplifier - I use a Marshall AS50Soloist acoustic amp and it is as sweet as a nut

rasputinsghost
11-09-2010, 09:01 AM
I have a Roland Microcube but in theory I want to go to some open mics here in NYC and play some, or maybe some busking. That's all. Why do you think the Twin is overkill?

bazmaz
11-09-2010, 09:07 AM
because the twins ARE designed for instruments with larger sound chambers like guitars - a single spot pickup on a uke should be fine.

That said - the twin will work also, and may be a slight improvement, but its all about costs and diminishing returns.

Microcubes are fun, but having posted what I did above, you may want to think about a DI box pre amp if you want a nice tone.

AzMichael
11-09-2010, 09:12 AM
http://www.kksound.com/twinspotinternal.html

Is it not an under-saddle? Where do the twin dots mount? Inside the body cavity?

Fwiw, I'm considering the passive Fishman AG pickup...

http://www.fishman.com/products/details.asp?id=3

~Michael

bazmaz
11-09-2010, 09:13 AM
Yep - they stick inside onto the soundboard - near the bridge area - on the twin, one on each side.

Actually for the benefit of the OP, there is another difference to be aware of

The K&K spot pickups, as they are attached to soundboard, have the tendency to pick up more "other" noise, such as an arm moving on soundboard than an under saddle piezo. I have also read that they are a touch more prone to feeback.

I only picked the k&K because it was going in a fluke with a one piece saddle. Had I been considering for a uke with removeable saddle, whilst I may have avoided misi on price, I think I would have still looked at passive under saddle device.

GX9901
11-09-2010, 09:14 AM
Thanks! His reasoning is:

"This is an LR Baggs pickup that is designed for guitar. Not recommended for uke. I highly recommend the K&K twin spot internal. We mount it inside on the underside of the bridge plate. It sounds like you have a microphone in front of the uke. Also changing the battery would be very difficult internally on a uke. You would have to cut a access hatch in the back of the uke."

I didn't see this post before. To me what I've highlighted above is a red flag. The Mi-Si's biggest selling point is the fact that it has a battery-less internal pre-amp. If he did not know this, I'm not sure how much stock I would put into his opinion.

bazmaz
11-09-2010, 09:19 AM
I think that is the view we respondents are politely coming to - I agree

I think the OP's advisor is talking out of his hat

To the OP - you can go beyond this thread - search the forums, there are plenty posts about people fitting pickups.

MiSi is common, but so are others, including K&K.

The battery issue is a non point as I said earlier.

Are you paying this chap to install - its not very hard to do yourself, then your only cost is the device itself

bbycrts
11-09-2010, 09:20 AM
Thanks! His reasoning is:

"This is an LR Baggs pickup that is designed for guitar. Not recommended for uke. I highly recommend the K&K twin spot internal. We mount it inside on the underside of the bridge plate. It sounds like you have a microphone in front of the uke. Also changing the battery would be very difficult internally on a uke. You would have to cut a access hatch in the back of the uke."

This is a huge red flag for me. How much does this guy really know about these products? MiSi pickups are being used by a lot of people for ukes now - Chuck Moore uses them too, I believe, though I think he uses a fishman pickup element. Anyway, the whole point of these things, besides their quality, is that they use a capacitor instead of a battery - they charge through a special charger that plugs in the jack. No battery doors. If he doesn't know that, it might be wise to move along to another person who knows his products better...

rasputinsghost
11-09-2010, 10:02 AM
Thanks a lot guys, I think I'm gonna go with the Internal Twin.

olgoat52
11-09-2010, 10:52 AM
Thanks a lot guys, I think I'm gonna go with the Internal Twin.

EVerytime I see your avatar I think it is a blue Tuk... Go figure. http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/image.php?u=19670&dateline=1264390906

ukulelecowboy
11-09-2010, 10:54 AM
My wife and I perform regularly. We both have Mi-Si pickups in all of our performance ukes (Pono Tenor, Rick Turner Compass Rose, 2 Pono Baritones, Oscar Schmidt Baritone) I swear by them. They sound fantastic, no batteries, don't pickup any inadvertent arm or wrist movement across the lower soundboard and they were easy to install. They reproduce the sound accurately and yield well to equalization when necessary. Gerald Ross turned me on to them and I never looked back.

In fact, I like the Mi-Si so much that I actually replaced the custom made D-TAR Timberline 18v. active pick-up that was in my Turner Compass Rose Tenor with a Mi-Si (apologies, Rick!)

Thanks,

raecarter
11-09-2010, 12:25 PM
I have a misi installed in my mainland i cannot comment on the other brands but i can say the misi gives out an accurate sound is easy to install and gives off no excess noise from the body. I use the same amp as pauljmuk it sounds incredible through that

Landshark
11-09-2010, 12:46 PM
My only comment about the MI-Si is we tried installing one in my KoAhola Pineapple Sunday, it did not sound right at first, my Luther diagnosed the problem, the LR Baggs element is a little too large for the Pineapple saddle so he attached a Fishman Matrix element to the MI-SI preamp instead and it sounds great
.

misterpk
11-09-2010, 02:14 PM
My only comment about the MI-Si is we tried installing one in my KoAhola Pineapple Sunday, it did not sound right at first, my Luther diagnosed the problem, the LR Baggs element is a little too large for the Pineapple saddle so he attached a Fishman Matrix element to the MI-SI preamp instead and it sounds great
.

I had a Mi-Si installed in my Pineapple Sunday at the KoAloha factory and it sounds fine. I have noticed it's a bit quieter than my teacher's pickup/preamp system though. In other words I have to turn the volume up higher on the amp itself to get the same output.

SweetWaterBlue
11-09-2010, 02:29 PM
I had a Mi-Si installed in my Pineapple Sunday at the KoAloha factory and it sounds fine. I have noticed it's a bit quieter than my teacher's pickup/preamp system though. In other words I have to turn the volume up higher on the amp itself to get the same output.

That's to be expected (the part about it being quieter than the one with the preamp). A preamp is just a small amplifier which boosts the signal before it gets to your big amplifier. Some preamps also have volume and tone controls, of course.

lambchop
11-09-2010, 02:34 PM
because the twins ARE designed for instruments with larger sound chambers like guitars - a single spot pickup on a uke should be fine.

That said - the twin will work also, and may be a slight improvement, but its all about costs and diminishing returns.

Microcubes are fun, but having posted what I did above, you may want to think about a DI box pre amp if you want a nice tone.

I am sold on undersaddle for the ukulele - in my experience, the hot dots, single or twin, just serve to pick up every finger touch on the ukulele - touch the neck and it's amplified - Shadow has a new one, the sh1110-uk, that I have not tried made specifically for the ukulele and it will be my next upgrade. I have had incredible happiness witht he Belcat UK-2000 that came with my Lanikai, but not sure if you can order those separately. I will never use a hot dot again on my uke, but please if others have had a better experience, tell me. All that said, the twin is way toooo much for a uke - if you must go hot dot, go the single. Here is a link for the Shadow:
http://www.shadow-electronics.com/viewpro.html?lang_id=&id=244
All the best,
Mike

Landshark
11-10-2010, 05:11 AM
I had a Mi-Si installed in my Pineapple Sunday at the KoAloha factory and it sounds fine. I have noticed it's a bit quieter than my teacher's pickup/preamp system though. In other words I have to turn the volume up higher on the amp itself to get the same output.

I would think at KoAhola they would be more willing to expand the saddle slot than an independent installer, the new style bridge has a very thin slot

Liko
11-17-2010, 06:44 AM
Aloha All,

I am considering installing the MISI on my concert strung with a low G. Has any one has any experience with this combination. I'm curious if the gain will be uniform with all of the strings, wound and nylon alike. It would be a bumer if the wound G was muted compared to its nylon brothers.

Thanks

SnakeOiler
11-17-2010, 08:21 AM
I actually have the combonation of a K&K twinspot going into a MiSi pre-amp on my MP custom. It's clear as day and I have no problems with extra noise....
Here's a pic of the build...
http://www.msprotege.com/members/pingdum/mp2/pick-up.jpg

Moore Bettah Ukuleles
11-17-2010, 08:38 AM
My guess is your guy doesn't seem to have much experience with ukuleles. I've gotten inquiries from respected guitar repairmen who've asked me how to install these pickups in ukuleles. I install MiSis with the LR Baggs element and if you know a little about what you are doing they are perfectly adaptable for ukuleles. Even if you are installing a Fishman system that does have a battery, there is certainly no need to make an access panel. Sounds to me that he may be intimidated and more comfortable with the K&K. Having said this, if you are insistent on using this person to install I pick up I would trust him to do what he's comfortable with or find another guy.
I also have a different way of installing the K&Ks. The twin is over kill for a ukulele IMO. I even install the single AWAY from the bridge because they are so "hot". I locate it off to the side of the sound board in a less sensitive area thereby eliminating a lot of the problems associated with this type of pickup.

Dane
11-17-2010, 04:30 PM
I intalled a mi-si in my uke, I don't care for it too much, it picks up my finger sound too much. I've changed to a lot of picking though now so I should give it another chance. But also it doesn't pick up my high G very well, its very quiet compared to my other strings, could be an installation issue.

misterpk
11-18-2010, 12:20 PM
I intalled a mi-si in my uke, I don't care for it too much, it picks up my finger sound too much. I've changed to a lot of picking though now so I should give it another chance. But also it doesn't pick up my high G very well, its very quiet compared to my other strings, could be an installation issue.

Did someone in town install it for you or did you do it yourself?

misterpk
11-18-2010, 12:22 PM
My guess is your guy doesn't seem to have much experience with ukuleles. I've gotten inquiries from respected guitar repairmen who've asked me how to install these pickups in ukuleles. I install MiSis with the LR Baggs element and if you know a little about what you are doing they are perfectly adaptable for ukuleles. Even if you are installing a Fishman system that does have a battery, there is certainly no need to make an access panel. Sounds to me that he may be intimidated and more comfortable with the K&K. Having said this, if you are insistent on using this person to install I pick up I would trust him to do what he's comfortable with or find another guy.
I also have a different way of installing the K&Ks. The twin is over kill for a ukulele IMO. I even install the single AWAY from the bridge because they are so "hot". I locate it off to the side of the sound board in a less sensitive area thereby eliminating a lot of the problems associated with this type of pickup.

Chuck I'm thinking about installing a similar type of pickup. It's one from jjb-electronics and it's recommended by adam2180 on the forum. If I do purchase this, where on the soundboard would you recommend installing it? Maybe on one of the bottom corners?

Dane
11-18-2010, 01:19 PM
Did someone in town install it for you or did you do it yourself?

I did it, I may have to re-do the bridge hole and make the cable come all the way out so that it picks up the G string better, I'm not sure what the issue might be other than that, that's my best guess.

pulelehua
11-19-2010, 08:17 AM
I've got an MP custom on the way with a K&K. As both he and Mya-Moe like K&Ks, I feel I'm in safe hands. My thinking was actually that some body noise would be good, as I've got into James Hill-style percussion, and would like some DOOFS and THWACKS amped. (For those of you who remember the 1960s Batman TV show, writing that made me smile)

SweetWaterBlue
11-19-2010, 09:38 AM
I've got an MP custom on the way with a K&K. As both he and Mya-Moe like K&Ks, I feel I'm in safe hands. My thinking was actually that some body noise would be good, as I've got into James Hill-style percussion, and would like some DOOFS and THWACKS amped. (For those of you who remember the 1960s Batman TV show, writing that made me smile)

I do like the body noise sometimes with my JJB Electronics piezo, when I chunk or want a real percussive sound, and I have learned to strum a bit dfferently to cut down on nail noise when I don't want it.

adam2180
11-19-2010, 10:36 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9I-ITah64Ts