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big plucker
11-26-2013, 04:37 PM
I have been doing a bit of research into pickup options and acoustic amps… Black Friday is coming up in a couple days so there may be a deal to be had at the end of the week.

The pickup will go into a Koaloha Tenor and I have narrowed the amp down to the Roland AC33 or a Fender Acoustasonic 100 (big difference I know…) A looper of some sort like the Ditto, Boss RC3 or RC30…

I like the Roland for its size, battery option, line and mic in and great chorus feature… it is probably the best option for my small condo and it matches the black laquer baby grand, and gloss black Les Paul… looks are secondary but still a factor. The Fender is really feature rich, will serve my acoustic guitar needs as well, 100W and only $299… but a bit overkill for my small space. I don’t see myself gigging in this lifetime, but it is a lot of amp for the $ - and I like good value.

I have narrowed the pickup down to the K&K Aloha twin (passive), LR Baggs 5.0 (active) and the MISI trio (active)….

I am partial to the undersaddle style for a more natural sound and am leaning toward the K&K... not too concerned about feedback as I won’t really be cranking the volume or sitting on top of the amp. I do wonder if I will need a preamp with the K&K and either of the above amps…?

Does anyone have the K&K/Roland AC33 set up? Is a preamp needed? Which of the pickups has a more natural sound in a Koaloha or similar ukulele? I have read great reviews on all the products I have mentioned so it is probably hard to go wrong…

KoAloha/K&K/RolandAC33 seems to be my preference. Any guidance from someone with a combination of these options or some experienced insight would be most appreciated.

Thanks!

westcoast
11-26-2013, 06:06 PM
I'm looking at a K&K pickup too, but why did you go with the Twin Spot as opposed to the Aloha Twin? http://kksound.com/instruments/ukulele.php

Dan Uke
11-26-2013, 06:14 PM
I own the Roland AC33 and have owned Fishman, K&K, LR Baggs, Misi. K&K sounds very good but I think you definitely need a preamp as the volume was too low. I own the Para DI preamp.

Steveperrywriter
11-26-2013, 06:18 PM
On my tenor, I have the K&K twin spot into a little Roland Street Cube and I'm running a K&K pre-amp; it makes a big difference, the pre-amp.

Steve

big plucker
11-26-2013, 06:43 PM
I'm looking at a K&K pickup too, but why did you go with the Twin Spot as opposed to the Aloha Twin? http://kksound.com/instruments/ukulele.php

That's the one I meant.... thx!

ricdoug
11-26-2013, 07:13 PM
The Roland AC-33 has a built in 40 second looper, which will save you the money of buying a second one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i76TKnZPJ28

I've used mine with some pretty large crowds and also on battery power. A good active D.I./Preamp will help you tailor your sound. I own both an LR Baggs Para Acoustic DI and a Behringer ADI21:

http://www.taropatch.net/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=10770

As you can see, a user of a K%K is happy with his ADI21. Ric

ricdoug
11-26-2013, 07:18 PM
Here's my AC-33 with a Para Acoustic DI from a Memorial Day celebration at Cardiff State Beach, California earlier this year:

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/AC33MemorialDay.jpg

SeattleSean
11-26-2013, 08:29 PM
Here's my AC-33 with a Para Acoustic DI from a Memorial Day celebration at Cardiff State Beach, California earlier this year:[/img]

Wow that is an amazing setup you have there! Top notch stuff, man! Very well thought out.

And if you're in Vista, you're not far away from me in Dana Point. I will keep my eye out for a beach-going ukester... ;-)

ksiegel
11-27-2013, 12:55 AM
I am partial to the undersaddle style for a more natural sound and am leaning toward the K&K... not too concerned about feedback as I won’t really be cranking the volume or sitting on top of the amp. I do wonder if I will need a preamp with the K&K and either of the above amps…?

I've heard nothing but good about the K&K Twinspot - I have one installed in my Donaldson - as recommended by Brad - although I've never plugged it in. He recommends a preamp with the twinspot.
But the twinspot is NOT an under-saddle pickup; it has two transducer disks that sit on the underside of the sound board.

See this thread: http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?80973-K-amp-K-Twin-Spot-Pickup-System-on-an-Ukulele&highlight=twinspot


-Kurt

ricdoug
11-27-2013, 03:01 AM
Wow that is an amazing setup you have there! Top notch stuff, man! Very well thought out.

And if you're in Vista, you're not far away from me in Dana Point. I will keep my eye out for a beach-going ukester... ;-)

Sunday evening kanikapila at 5PM at Ukulele Sundays at Molly Bloom's inSan Clemente, California Sean. Ric

big plucker
11-27-2013, 03:49 AM
But the twinspot is NOT an under-saddle pickup; it has two transducer disks that sit on the underside of the sound board.

See this thread: http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?80973-K-amp-K-Twin-Spot-Pickup-System-on-an-Ukulele&highlight=twinspot


-Kurt

Thx! Always learning... I think I may have knew that but got my terminology mixed up. It was RyRod's video that leaned me toward the K&K.
Although... I may be looking more closely at the five o... I am going to go and have another look at what koaloha offers installed from the factory... could be they have a preference for a good reason or two.

PhilUSAFRet
11-27-2013, 03:58 AM
I wonder how the sound of an gluing it under the bridge compares to gluing it under the soundboard an inch in front of it. Any noticeable difference in tone or "string thump"? MyaMoe uses'em.

DaveY
11-27-2013, 05:11 AM
OP, if you want to hear those three pickups (and two others) compared, check out http://www.theukulelesite.com/ukulele-pickup-installation-5-options.html - the difference between the passive and active pickups are evident, and might help you in your decision.

fromthee2me
11-27-2013, 06:29 PM
@PhilUSAFRet: I had a Tenor with a MiSi unit, which had a lot of string thump when amplified. My present Baritone has a single round pickup glued under sound board abt 25 mm in front of where the bridge is. Better sounding when amplified (just my opinion, and not saying the MiSi is sub standard, but the string thump was definitely very noticeable).

westcoast
11-27-2013, 10:36 PM
You may also be interested in the follow up post to the video comparison: http://theukulelereview.com/2013/04/13/ukulele-pickups-5-great-options-compared/

"However, the new K&K I preferred most was the Twin Aloha dual passive soundboard transducer. It has more warmth and a transparent quality I really liked. At $99 installed I’m sure it will have many fans quite soon. I didn’t want to confuse the demo, so I didn’t show this, but the Twin Aloha, coupled with the small K&K external preamp was quite a bit more impressive than the pickup on it’s own. Much more body like the LR Baggs. "

big plucker
11-28-2013, 08:26 PM
Thanks... Finally had some time to pour over that review and sample back and forth over the different ones. I think I like the sound of the Aloha twin best... And a nice price point.
I tried out the amps today as well. Had to use a Taylor guitar as I don't have a wired uke yet. I was impressed. The chorus on the ac33 is really nice. I didn't try the phrase looper... No foot pedal to switch it... Curious if you can layer multiple phrases down, like maybe 3 or so and then noodle over top? Or are you limited to a single loop? Unlimited loops to a total of 40 seconds? If anyone has one please let me know.
The guy at the shop seems to think a passive pickup like the twin spot will be fine without the preamp... Just add some more gain at the amp. Although the improvement noted in the review of he k&k is compelling, and I only have a markley passive sound hole pickup for my guitar... A preamp with 2channels might be a good addition as well.

Brad Bordessa
11-28-2013, 09:05 PM
Can't believe the Baggs Five-O isn't getting any love!

I had a K&K one spot something-or-other in my Kamaka many years ago. Then I switched up to the MISI. Night and day to have the juice of a preamp in your uke (and under the saddle). External preamps are fine, but you don't realize how much it sucks to drag one around until you don't have to. Then a few months ago I got a new uke with the Baggs. Night and day again. More warmth, power, feedback resistance.

The best signal chain, IMO, is Uke>Cable>Input unless you are running specific effects. Less to worry about, less to color your tone. Of course, a Venue DI or something similar can fix spotty EQ, but if you need EQ in the first place you might need to asses your install. The Baggs could have sounded like crap if the luthier who installed it didn't know what he was doing. But he does. :cool: It goes the other way too. My K&K all those years ago probably could have sounded a lot better than it did.

As for amps, I like the sound of the Roland stuff. Had the AC-90, but then it decided to work only when it wants (and isn't repairable). I loved the power and sound (and CHORUS!!!). Probably wouldn't replace it though just because of the fact that Roland chose to build something that they'd rather completely replace under warranty than make repair parts available for (which means you're screwed when you get out of the warranty period).

ricdoug
11-29-2013, 07:52 AM
http://www.spanishcentral.com/translate/ukulele
As for amps,I like the sound of the Roland stuff. Had the AC-90, but then it decided to work only when it wants (and isn't repairable). I loved the power and sound (and CHORUS!!!). Probably wouldn't replace it though just because of the fact that Roland chose to build something that they'd rather completely replace under warranty than make repair parts available for (which means you're screwed when you get out of the warranty period).

On the Roland Acoustic Chorus amps I've found that failure issues are almost always dirty potentiomers and contacts. Contact cleaners do NOT work to fix them. To fix these amps:

1. Pop out the front speaker grill
2. Unscrew the speakers and take them out
3. Take off all knobs
4. Make sure the amp is unplugged
5. Squirt Ronsenol Lighter fluid down all control shafts while turning them fully clockwise and counterclockwise several times to wash the debris out
6. Soak Q-Tips with Ronsenol Lighter fluid and clean the contacts inside the 1/4" jacks
7. Leave everything open and let dry overnight
8. Reassamble the speakers, cover and knobs
9. Turn all controls fully counterclockwise
10. Turn on amp
11. Plug in instrument
12. Play instrument while slowly turning controls clockwise, until you here sound coming out of the amp

Here's a link to Ronsenal:

http://www.amazon.com/Ronson-Consumer-99063-12-Ounce-Ronsonol/dp/B0017X1NGO

Brad Bordessa
11-29-2013, 09:46 AM
Thanks, Ric. Unfortunately, the repair guy said it's a problem with the main amp board. I originally had someone clean the contacts and fix up spotty solders, but it turns out it was a deeper problem.

ricdoug
11-29-2013, 11:32 AM
My friend Fred Thompson (organizer and promoter of the San Diego Ukulele Festival) borrowed mine and took it to Moze Guitars when it stopped working. They told him it was tha main board, too. He wanted to buy me another one. I told him I'd fix it myself. The lighter fluid cleaning fixed it overnight. $6 bucks is worth the try especially when it works. Ric

Brad Bordessa
11-29-2013, 11:59 AM
Ric, What kind of failure did it have? My repair guy says he's seen all kinds of issues with the AC amps, but never my specific problem before. It works fine and then, totally at random, the sound cuts out. No crackling, no weak signal, nothing funny - the sound is just gone (power lights still work). But when it decides to work it's as good as new.

I'm not against spending $6, but I'm not convinced that it's a problem with the contacts. From what the repair guy said it sounded like something on the board itself is blown out.

ricdoug
11-29-2013, 12:31 PM
The same, Brad. It's common in the AC amps. Ronsenol has always been the remedy for my AC-33 and AC-60 when they are intermittent. Dirty potentiometers. Same thing happened to both of my BA-330's. Mine are often played near sandy and dusty environment s, near the beach. Ric

big plucker
11-30-2013, 05:46 AM
Does anyone use the looper on the ac33? Can you layer multiple phrases or just one?
The local shop didn't seems to know.

I am wondering if it is as versatile as getting an external loop pedal? Perhaps less so?

Black Friday was a disappointment... typical marketing gimmick. save the provincial tax... no discounts on the ac33. Could have have the 60 fo $50 off tho'. Tempting, but I don't need the extra power and there is no looper.

ricdoug
11-30-2013, 07:02 AM
Here's an example, big plucker:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i76TKnZPJ28

Kayak Jim
11-30-2013, 11:34 AM
Black Friday was a disappointment... typical marketing gimmick. save the provincial tax... no discounts on the ac33. Could have have the 60 fo $50 off tho'. Tempting, but I don't need the extra power and there is no looper.

I think Roland has the prices pretty well pegged at the retailer level. All the AC's seem to be the same price no matter where you look on either side of the border (adjusted for Cdn$ vs. US$).

The AC33 looper runs for max. 40 seconds and can be overdubbed, indefinitely I think. The stand alone looper I looked at had 5 minutes of capacity

big plucker
11-30-2013, 12:00 PM
Thanks... that clarifies...

Will wander down to the local shop at my leisure to pick one up.

Doesn't seem that there are any deals offered on these ever.

William L
11-30-2013, 05:01 PM
I have a KoAloha tenor with a K&K Twinspot and a Roland AC30. Sounds great no preamp needed.

harpdog cc
12-01-2013, 03:08 AM
My experience with K & K is that they are fine without a pre amp. I use one though when gigging at higher volumes, to be able to adjust volume and eq on the fly.

big plucker
12-01-2013, 11:33 AM
Got the AC33 and FS6 footswitch... waiting for my new Uke to arrive...
Will be playing with my guitar in the meantime.

Thanks for all the input.

Still pondering which Pickup to install... may try the K&K first...

Newportlocal
12-01-2013, 12:30 PM
Can't believe the Baggs Five-O isn't getting any love!

I had a K&K one spot something-or-other in my Kamaka many years ago. Then I switched up to the MISI. Night and day to have the juice of a preamp in your uke (and under the saddle). External preamps are fine, but you don't realize how much it sucks to drag one around until you don't have to. Then a few months ago I got a new uke with the Baggs. Night and day again. More warmth, power, feedback resistance.

The best signal chain, IMO, is Uke>Cable>Input unless you are running specific effects. Less to worry about, less to color your tone. Of course, a Venue DI or something similar can fix spotty EQ, but if you need EQ in the first place you might need to asses your install. The Baggs could have sounded like crap if the luthier who installed it didn't know what he was doing. But he does. :cool: It goes the other way too. My K&K all those years ago probably could have sounded a lot better than it did.

As for amps, I like the sound of the Roland stuff. Had the AC-90, but then it decided to work only when it wants (and isn't repairable). I loved the power and sound (and CHORUS!!!). Probably wouldn't replace it though just because of the fact that Roland chose to build something that they'd rather completely replace under warranty than make repair parts available for (which means you're screwed when you get out of the warranty period).

It is what I am putting in my next custom if it makes you feel any better.

Dan Uke
12-01-2013, 12:35 PM
Can't believe the Baggs Five-O isn't getting any love!

I had a K&K one spot something-or-other in my Kamaka many years ago. Then I switched up to the MISI. Night and day to have the juice of a preamp in your uke (and under the saddle). External preamps are fine, but you don't realize how much it sucks to drag one around until you don't have to. Then a few months ago I got a new uke with the Baggs. Night and day again. More warmth, power, feedback resistance.

The best signal chain, IMO, is Uke>Cable>Input unless you are running specific effects. Less to worry about, less to color your tone. Of course, a Venue DI or something similar can fix spotty EQ, but if you need EQ in the first place you might need to asses your install. The Baggs could have sounded like crap if the luthier who installed it didn't know what he was doing. But he does. :cool: It goes the other way too. My K&K all those years ago probably could have sounded a lot better than it did.

As for amps, I like the sound of the Roland stuff. Had the AC-90, but then it decided to work only when it wants (and isn't repairable). I loved the power and sound (and CHORUS!!!). Probably wouldn't replace it though just because of the fact that Roland chose to build something that they'd rather completely replace under warranty than make repair parts available for (which means you're screwed when you get out of the warranty period).

I agree the LR Baggs is the best I've owned so far but I thought the OP wanted opinions on the K&K and Roland amp.

Newportlocal
12-01-2013, 12:39 PM
I agree the LR Baggs is the best I've owned so far but I thought the OP wanted opinions on the K&K and Roland amp.

He already got the amp, but in his original post five o was in his list of choices for a pick up.