Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 33

Thread: Pickup Decisions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    153

    Default Pickup Decisions

    Hi All,

    I know this topic has been discussed over and over on these boards but I would appreciate some new opinions. An experienced luthier will be carrying out the work ...

    I have three mid-priced Tenors which I string Low G (so there is some bass in the sound) and I wish to convert them all for playing through an acoustic amp with or without an acoustic preamp/EQ pedal as required. My style of playing is more mini-guitar than ukulele with a combination of strumming and picking.

    My natural preference is to keep as many electronics as possible outside the instruments so I keep gravitating towards the totally passive ceramic Fishman AG series of UST's. They have been around a long time and supposedly require minimal saddle adjustment due to their size. But I am afraid of the harshness, sensitivity and possible brittle tones coming from such a setup as I am imagining something like the UST in my Risa Stick which sounds pretty bad and plunky when plugged in, with every finger noise and small mistake amplified.

    However if this were to be the case then I have been thinking that perhaps a cheapish preamp/EQ pedal such as the Behringer ADI21 might alleviate such issues (?) and would be usable across the three instuments .... In the UK the Fishman pickup costs the equivalent of $95 (= $285 for three).

    If I discard the Fishman as a possibility then I guess I'm left with either the LR Baggs five-o or the Misi Trio active systems which both use the LR Baggs element UST which is softer and supposedly reacts to the soundboard as much as to the strings themselves. But then I have to have electronics inside which doesn't sit well with my ideal of simplicity.

    In the UK the Misi costs the equivalent of $140 ($420 for three) and the five-o costs $180 ($540 for three) so the cost differences for three instruments start to add up.

    I know nothing of any other brands or any other types such as internal soundboard transducers but I don't like the idea of too many wires inside ....

    Help please. I'm not the world's best player and won't get too upset about very subtle differences in tone so if the Fishman plus Behringer preamp/EQ system will get me close to the LR Baggs active level with a little tinkering then I shall go down that route.

    To give you some idea I struggle to tell much difference in the HMS video comparing pickups and I guess the Pono passive UST in that video is just something like the Fishman (?) hence I wonder if it will be good enough for me ....

    Thanks for any replies.

    Ernie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Wakanda
    Posts
    6,468

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ErnieElse View Post
    ...But I am afraid of the harshness, sensitivity and possible brittle tones coming from such a setup as I am imagining something like the UST in my Risa Stick which sounds pretty bad and plunky when plugged in, with every finger noise and small mistake amplified....

    No matter what brand of pickup you use, you will have this harsh or brittle tone without a preamp of some kind.

    It is due to an electrical problem called IMPEDANCE MISMATCH.

    Without going into a physics lesson, the piezo has near infinite impedance but is usually said to have 1M ohm impedance, or 1 million ohm impedance. As such, electronically this acts as a 'high-pass filter', which by definition cuts off all your bass frequencies, that is why is sounds harsh, brittle or 'quacky'.

    This is science, and many people and vendors will try to con you with hoodoo and double-speak that they have invented something unique, but this is the nature of the piezo crystal substrate which is used in all piezo pickups for the past 40-50 yrs.

    The piezo pickups that sound good are ones that are closely matched to a proper preamp, that will take care of the impedance problem.

    I have written more than 2 dozen extensive and detailed posts on this topic here on UU in the past 3 yrs, but for some reason the search function on the forum and also searching it via Google is not showing them. It is very frustrating that all of the text that I wrote previously is not available (AFAIK) right now, maybe the UU back-end database crashed or something?

    The main thing, if you run a passive piezo direct into a guitar amp or mixer WITHOUT a preamp it will sound like crap. Using a preamp fixes the IMPEDANCE MISMATCH and will restore the bass frequencies and it will NOT sound like crap.

    The RISA uses a Shadow passive pickup element, so with no preamp, it sounds quacky, brittle and bad. Even the Behringer ADI-21 pedal and also almost ANY guitar EQ pedal will mitigate this IMPEDANCE MISMATCH and give a better sound.

    The difference betw the Mi-Si and the Five.0 are small, and in fact they BOTH use the same silver pickup ribbon for the UST which is MADE by LR Baggs.

    Mainly, the Mi-Si has no battery and has a capacitor which holds the charge from a plug, 60 seconds for about 16 hrs playtime on my on ukes.

    The Five.0 uses a CR-2032 battery that you have to keep buying when they die, for like $2 each.

    BOTH pickups CAN have a small volume and tone control board that mounts to the inside of the soundhole, and for the Mi-Si this is about $35 USD extra and needs the wires to be soldered on to the actual preamp board itself. Here in the USA I know of several sources that sell the Mi-Si (without the V/T controls) for $109-$119, and a few that sell it all-together as a ready-to-go kit for about $150.

    See here:
    http://shop.mainlandukuleles.com/pro...6&categoryId=2

    http://shop.mainlandukuleles.com/pro...4&categoryId=2

    If you are unfamiliar with the concept of IMPEDANCE MISMATCH and PIEZO PICKUP, you can try to search the forum here for my previous posts, or you can search google, and Wikipedia is a great starting point and RANE has some technotes that explain in more detail.

    You owe it to yourself to understand how this works. I've been doing audio and recording for 40yrs and this is the biggest problem folks have with piezo pickups, and it is easily remedied by educating yourself. You do not need a PhD in electronics to understand how and why this works and how to use it, only some patience.

    I did my own pickup installs, and here in the USA most guitar shops and luthiers will charge about $50-75 USD for the labor to do the installation. If you get quotes higher than that, or they tell you it takes more than 60mins to do a simply install, I would seriously question their competence and look elsewhere.

    The Mi-Si is one of the simplest pickups to install, as evident by Joe Souza of Kanile'a demonstrating with Aldrine in this video (in my own installs, instead of routing out the saddle slot like Joe does here, I just sand the bottom of the saddle, or make a new saddle that is shorter):


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


    Hope this helps
    This ═╣FAQ link╠═ will help you learn about many things.
    You should click it, as the answers are waiting for you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    153

    Default

    Hi Booli,

    Thanks for your reply. Sorry you had to retype something you have written several times before.

    The first thing you have cleared up for me is that a preamp will hopefully turn my Risa Stick into a usable instrument. I have read of the necessity to use a preamp to avoid "quack" but never understood this phenomenon was fundamentally the same as the harsh, brittle, finger noisy stuff I was getting from the Risa, and just assumed this meant piezos were a waste of time period.

    So now my follow-up questions.

    Will a traditional ceramic piezo such as the Fishman plus the tweaking of a $30 preamp/EQ pedal achieve the same thing or better (within my fairly wide margins of error) as the LR Baggs Element UST plus either the five-o or Misi internal preamp ? Or does this different "string-like" Element UST in both the five-o and Misi bring something more to the party above and beyond what can be achieved by the simpler and cheaper ceramic piezo plus external preamp/EQ ?

    If the fully passive pickup plus tweaking an external preamp/EQ can hold its own against the others then it would seem sensible to go down the Fishman route as I would be looking at (3 x $95) + $30 = $315 rather than $420 or $540 for the others plus the additional installation costs for the Misi & five-o. I would also achieve my desire for zen-like simplicity. And I can then blow the extra hundred bucks on a better preamp ...

    Second question. Some of these external preamp/EQ's come with belt clips rather than leaving them on the floor. How important/necessary is it to minimize the distance from passive pickup to external preamp/EQ by using a very short cable plus belt clip ?

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Wakanda
    Posts
    6,468

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ErnieElse View Post
    Hi Booli,

    Thanks for your reply. Sorry you had to retype something you have written several times before.
    No worries. Glad to help.

    Quote Originally Posted by ErnieElse View Post
    The first thing you have cleared up for me is that a preamp will hopefully turn my Risa Stick into a usable instrument. I have read of the necessity to use a preamp to avoid "quack" but never understood this phenomenon was fundamentally the same as the harsh, brittle, finger noisy stuff I was getting from the Risa, and just assumed this meant piezos were a waste of time period.
    The use of a preamp in-between your RISA stick and most other equipment will mitigate if not cure the impedance mismatch and will sound better. How much better depends upon the preamp. You can spend as little $25 for a Behringer EQ pedal or $29 for the ADI-21 which ALSO give you XLR-out and a BALANCED signal which will be great if going into a PA or mixing board while using it's 1/4"(6.35mm) out to go into your amp as a stage monitor for you. Or you can spend across a whole spectrum from several models, i.e., LR Baggs Venue DI or PARA DI and Fishman AURA external preamps or the Zoom A3, or even something from RADIAL ENGINEERING up in the $300+ range...

    This external preamp concept works for ALL passive pickups, i.e., no electronics installed in the instrument.

    Quote Originally Posted by ErnieElse View Post
    Will a traditional ceramic piezo such as the Fishman plus the tweaking of a $30 preamp/EQ pedal achieve the same thing or better (within my fairly wide margins of error) as the LR Baggs Element UST plus either the five-o or Misi internal preamp ?
    Yes and no. I will try to answer both questions below...

    Quote Originally Posted by ErnieElse View Post
    Or does this different "string-like" Element UST in both the five-o and Misi bring something more to the party above and beyond what can be achieved by the simpler and cheaper ceramic piezo plus external preamp/EQ ?
    Yes and no. I will try to answer both questions below...

    The difference with say the Fishman, and an external preamp, when compared to the Mi-Si or the Five.0 (or any similar 'system) is that the Mi-Si and the Five.0 preamps are specifically engineered for the proper impedance matching and voltage of the exact piezo pickup ribbon that they come with, in order to give a transparent sound and output the proper impedance and voltage that most 'guitar' amps, pedals etc are expecting.

    When you mix and match brands of pickups and different brands of preamps, you need to pay attention to the specifications, i.e., the OUTPUT impedance of the pickup and the INPUT impedance of the preamp, however about 90% of the time 'it will just work'.

    The cases where is does not work is if the preamp is rated for a pickup with a much lower output, and thus the preamp has a high GAIN on the the input, and if you use a pickup that has a higher output, it will appear too 'hot' to the preamp's input and the end result is either a distorted or muddy sound out of the preamp when you plug in to other equipment.

    The silver ribbon in the Mi-Si and Five.0 systems are a piezo 'coaxial' cable, and as such have the ceramic piezo material inside, as a thin film, which is wrapped around an insulator material (rubber or pvc), which is then wrapped around a second layer of some metal, either brass, aluminum, or copper, and the whole thing is covered with that silver braid that you see in the pictures. The silver braid acts as a shield from EMI/RF interference which piezos are known to pick up, and when compressed betw the bottom of the saddle and top of the bridge slot, the string vibration causes small changes in electrical potential in the coaxial cable that are what carry down the wire as sound...

    The 'rod piezo' pickups (like the Fishman you are looking at), also most other UST's, work the same way, except they usually have discrete little 'humps' on them, one for each string, and are usually covered with some very thin heat-shrink to protect the ceramic surfaces from damage.

    Quote Originally Posted by ErnieElse View Post
    If the fully passive pickup plus tweaking an external preamp/EQ can hold its own against the others then it would seem sensible to go down the Fishman route as I would be looking at (3 x $95) + $30 = $315 rather than $420 or $540 for the others plus the additional installation costs for the Misi & five-o. I would also achieve my desire for zen-like simplicity. And I can then blow the extra hundred bucks on a better preamp ...
    I've done it both ways - a pickup 'system' with everything inside the uke, and also with a simpler and passive pickup only in the uke and an external preamp - I have to say that unless you have 'golden ears' or are planning to do a Fourier Analysis or other Spectrographic measurements, that you would be hard pressed to HEAR the difference in a double-blind listening test.

    For me, having an external preamp has some advantages:

    1. You can buy ONE very good, usually more expensive preamp, and use it will ALL of your instruments, uke, guitar, etc instead of having a discrete preamp for each, unless you are planning for a duo to play two of your ukes at once, and then you need either 2 preamps OR a 2 channel preamp with discrete outputs for each channel.

    2. If either your pickup OR your preamp craps out, replacement is simpler and cheaper on a per-instrument basis.

    3. You have a wider spectum of choices and price ranges of good-to-excellent sounding preamps with one that is external, maybe 40-50 different options from about a dozen companies that are well-known brand names.

    4. Also with regard to #3, Internal preamps/systems have fewer choices from reputable brands, maybe a dozen in toto, (not counting the no-name or Belcat or JoYo copies on aliexpress, dealextreme and eBay from unknown/no-support Asian suppliers)

    5. As technology evolves, and/or your budget or needs change, you can more easily UPGRADE an external preamp than one that is internal, and also not have to worry about reversing or altering modifications to your instrument.

    So, if I had to recommend something, I'd think that in your case, the passive Fishman UST and nearly any LR Baggs, Fishman, Radial Engineering or similar preamp would both solve the impedance problem as well as sound very good if not great. If money is really tight you can try to start out with the $30 Behringer ADI-21, and if not happy with it, just return it, but many folks here on UU have used this model and been happy with them.

    My favorite external preamps, which are sold as 'mic preamps' but work fine for piezo and even magnetic pickups are tube preamps, mainly the Behringer MIC-200 ($40) and the A.R.T. TubePre MPC Project ($60). Both of them can use 12AX7 or 12AU7 vaccum tubes and for me and to my ears, the tube adds some warmth that the other solid-state preamps simply lack. The performance of these tube preamps depends mostly upon which vacuum tube is inside, and sound (tone) can vary widely. You can get modern Chinese or Russian vacuum tubes for as little as $15 most places, or spend up to $300 for some vintage Bosch German tubes, but my ears are not that advanced yet where I can justify this cost.

    Quote Originally Posted by ErnieElse View Post
    Second question. Some of these external preamp/EQ's come with belt clips rather than leaving them on the floor. How important/necessary is it to minimize the distance from passive pickup to external preamp/EQ by using a very short cable plus belt clip ?
    It comes down to conveince and number of cables. I personally prefer to have my preamps off my body. With good cables there is no degradation in sound. the belt clip models are handy if you want to have volume and tone control right at your fingertips, but how often do you need to adjust them? every song? I set mine once and leave it. However, YMMV and if you need it on you, instead of bending down to tweak the settings, you might want to look at the beltpack units (Schatten, LR Baggs, Fishman, etc)...

    Also, if you go wireless, and have a wireless beltpack transmitter, how many things can you attach to yourself?

    After a while, one might feel like a mule carrying a load up a cliff with so many things hanging from your belt or strap....

    Quote Originally Posted by ErnieElse View Post
    Thanks again.
    I am happy to help. I am sure there are more questions and I tried to be as concise and complete as possible, and inevitably some details have escaped me (mid-life age is killing my memory these days) so if I missed anything or other thoughts come up, please let me know...
    Last edited by Booli; 11-02-2016 at 08:39 AM. Reason: typos
    This ═╣FAQ link╠═ will help you learn about many things.
    You should click it, as the answers are waiting for you.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    153

    Default

    Absolutely fantastic information and way beyond the call of duty.

    I have decided to go with three Fishman AG Pro series passive ceramic piezos for their simplicity and cost and to spend the savings on a decent preamp. I appreciate what you say about the other two options having tailored internal preamps so perhaps I ought to consider a Fishman external preamp which one would think will match the passive pickups perfectly (ugh an Advil of alliteration), although maybe for $30 it might be worth trying the Behringer first.

    Rest assured I shall thoroughly study and research your other preamp suggestions many of which I have never heard of inspite of quite a bit of research already.

    Crazy question alert : I read with interest your mention of preamps which work well with magnetic pickups. Is there any reason whatsoever to consider a preamp box between a Risa LP Tenor and a basic cheapish electric guitar amp or is this one step too far ?

    Thanks again.

    Please keep any replies coming. I won't be buying the pickups for a few days so am interested to hear any other opinions in the meantime.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Wakanda
    Posts
    6,468

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ErnieElse View Post
    Absolutely fantastic information and way beyond the call of duty.

    I have decided to go with three Fishman AG Pro series passive ceramic piezos for their simplicity and cost and to spend the savings on a decent preamp. I appreciate what you say about the other two options having tailored internal preamps so perhaps I ought to consider a Fishman external preamp which one would think will match the passive pickups perfectly (ugh an Advil of alliteration), although maybe for $30 it might be worth trying the Behringer first.

    Rest assured I shall thoroughly study and research your other preamp suggestions many of which I have never heard of inspite of quite a bit of research already.
    Sounds like you are off to a good start.

    Quote Originally Posted by ErnieElse View Post
    Crazy question alert : I read with interest your mention of preamps which work well with magnetic pickups. Is there any reason whatsoever to consider a preamp box between a Risa LP Tenor and a basic cheapish electric guitar amp or is this one step too far ?
    Sadly my explanation is lacking in how the impedance mismatch is solved with a preamp via cascade from HIGHer impedance down to lower impedance.

    I had once written a long post very specifically about this issue, either lost in the abyss of UU posts past, or my memory is playing tricks on me, LOL.

    I will try to recount it here now...with much oversimplification so as not to overwhelm...

    Most any passive piezo pickup is said to have a 1M or 1 million ohm impedance and this is considered 'high impedance' (or Hi-Z).

    Most guitars and basses with passive magnetic pickups have a total output in the range of 5k to 10k ohms and this is also considered 'high impedance' (also HI-Z)

    Most 'dynamic' vocal microphones have an output of 200 to 1k (1,000) ohms and this is considered 'low impedance'...(also (LOW-Z)

    the reason for telling you all of this:

    ...is because most piezo-intended preamps have 100k INPUT impedance and 10k OUTPUT impedance

    ...and most electric bass and guitar amplifiers expect a signal of 5k-10k INPUT impedance..

    (dont worry about microphones for now)

    so if you use a piezo pickup with NO PREAMP straight into an 'electric' guitar amp (cheap or not) you have impedance MISMATCH in that the piezo output is very HI-Z (and without all the math) is not giving a strong/good/expected signal to the input of the guitar amplifier, and thus the loss of bass frequencies and brittle sound, so

    what this means is that YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS a preamp will in fact IMPROVE the sound if used in between the Shadow pickup of the RISA stick and an amplifier designed for an instrument with magnetic pickups BECAUSE it fixes the impedance mismatch from the 1M ohm and brings it down to near the 10kOhm range which is what the guitar amp wants at it's input.

    Without the preamp, you will also have a VERY LOW volume, and need to turn up both volume and GAIN settings on the amp to get a working volume level, but no matter the EQ, you will still pretty much have nothing below about 400hz, which is all solved by using a preamp.

    The impedance cascade from high to low, is like a waterfall going into a funnel, and with a narrower tube at each stage (preamp is one stage, amp or PA input is another) it increases the specific water pressure (electrons in the case of audio) as it exits the bottom of each funnel. The preamp acts like a magic bridge.

    I dont know if this helps or not, maybe too long an answer, but if it sounds bad going out from the piezo, the solution is a preamp and not the EQ on the amp or PA mixer for you cannot turn up the bass, when there simply is no bass due to the behavior as a 'high-pass' filter...

    Please let me know if this makes sense or not....and if not I will try again or offer some links...this can be a huge topic but most folks don't have the patience or the time to go down the rabbit hole where the audio engineers hang out, and that's all ok, I just try to be careful not to overwhelm and cause the eyes to glaze over, while trying not to forget that not everyone has a head or interest for the deep-dive technical parts...

    Also, if one were to use an amp DESIGNED for acoustic instruments like the Fishman Loudbox series or the Kustom Sienna series (I have the Sienna 30 and love it), they both have preamps built-in to the input stage that will remedy the impedance mismatch without the need for external equipment.

    Also #2, most all preamps will 'color' the sound from the piezo, one way or other, some (most) are favorable in that they add warmth, but some (cheap/poorly made) will sound crappy and thin and even add hiss (from electronic self-noise) or collect outside radio interference and AMPLIFY it if not shielded properly or even poor electronic circuit design...and end up being frustrating and unusable. Not all op-amp circuits and J-FET circuits are designed or sub-components used, are made with equal care or quality - this is why a known brand name, even the lowly (all made-in-China) Behringer, is fine if you do not abuse it.

    That ADI-21 has a plastic case, but if you take care of it, you should have no issues, and if/when it ever dies on you, they are cheap enough to replace without having to eat Ramen noodles (Cup-a-soup) as every meal for 2 months to make up for it.

    I had an ADI-21 until a friend of mine 'borrowed' it 2 months ago. He likes it a lot.

    I told him 'Happy Early X-Mas present' and to keep it, and I plan to get another one soon.
    Last edited by Booli; 11-02-2016 at 10:12 AM. Reason: FUUUUUUU!!!!! typos
    This ═╣FAQ link╠═ will help you learn about many things.
    You should click it, as the answers are waiting for you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    153

    Default

    Thanks again Booli.

    I think I might have confused you with my question about using a preamp with magnetic pickups. Not only do I own a Risa Stick with passive piezo which you have already explained desperately needs a preamp, but I also have a Risa LP Tenor with dual humbuckers and I was asking about the benefit of plugging that into a preamp (possibly one of the tube preamps you mention such as the ART) and then into a decent quality solid state modelling electric guitar amplifier such as a Yamaha THR10.

    Up until now it never entered my head to put a preamp between the Risa LP and my Yamaha amp but you mentioning magnetic pickups got me thinking whether it might improve the sound although I find it hard to believe as it would mean that all these electric guitar modelling amps are not really the "one stop shop" that they are designed to be and the Yamaha is very good.

    Finally, can you say any more about the specifics of the Mic200 and the ART as options for a ukulele preamp sitting between both an acoustic uke with passive piezo and an acoustic amp, and also between a Risa LP with humbuckers and an electric solid state modelling amp ?

    Thanks very much for any thoughts on the merits of the different preamp options.
    Last edited by ErnieElse; 11-02-2016 at 11:53 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Wakanda
    Posts
    6,468

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ErnieElse View Post
    Thanks again Booli.

    I think I might have confused you with my question about using a preamp with magnetic pickups. Not only do I own a Risa Stick with passive piezo which you have already explained desperately needs a preamp, but I also have a Risa LP Tenor with dual humbuckers and I was asking about the benefit of plugging that into a preamp (possibly one of the tube preamps you mention such as the ART) and then into a decent quality solid state modelling electric guitar amplifier such as a Yamaha THR10.

    Up until now it never entered my head to put a preamp between the Risa LP and my Yamaha amp but you mentioning magnetic pickups got me thinking whether it might improve the sound although I find it hard to believe as it would mean that all these electric guitar modelling amps are not really the "one stop shop" that they are designed to be and the Yamaha is very good.
    I have not tried any of the Yamaha THR amps, but heard good things from those that own them, but cannot speak personally to their performance or sound.

    I admit that I am kinda out of the loop on guitar modeling, and at one time was looking to get a Variax (James Tyler model) in the hope that I could use it to replace about 5 different guitars, but I ended up abandoning that project, and then other priorities came and replaced that intention.

    It's hard to describe the benefits of a tube preamp, and lots of it is subjective, based upon doing audio (both studio and live recording/mixing/mastering/live-front-of-house, as well as solo and group performance) in many forms over the past 35 yrs.

    Depending who you ask, you will get a wide variety of opinions, and there is no absolute 'one-correct-answer', unfortunately. Also depends upon specific use-cases, and many variables beyond what we have talked about here so far.

    I can however, give a general description of the tube preamp tone being more 'rounded' on the edges, and 'warmer', more 'even' across the audio frequency spectrum, whether using steel or nylon-type strings, or even with a mic for vocals. Also, if I may, more 'intimate' sounding.

    Using a preamp from the RISA LP and then going into a modeling amp might make the LP sound 'muddy' depending upon the Yamaha THR amp's input impedance and/or the modeling settings. I have used both preamps the MIC200 and the ART going into several different 'electric guitar' amps with steel strings on both uke and guitar as well as bass (in addition to nylon string uke, U-Bass and classical guitar), and these are not modeling amps that I have, and the result I have found is more clarity of note fundamentals, more pleasing sounding harmonics and what seems like greater dynamic range coming out of the instrument itself, all just with the tone stack (EQ) on the amp set flat (no boost or cut)...

    You can measure the output impedance of the RISA LP with a simple multimeter. Just set all the volume/tone controls on the RISA LP to max, use the middle pickup selector to enable both, and a simple guitar cable. Touch the RED or + meter probe to the 'tip' connector of the cable and the BLACK or - meter probe to the 'sleeve' connector of the cable and set the ohms range to 1000 or 5000 setting and give it a nice hard strum and see what numbers come up...this gives you the total output impedance.

    if it sounds fine with the Yamaha THR, then they are well-matched for impedance. If it sounds like something is 'missing' in the sound, a preamp in-between may compensate and give back that 'missing' element. This is what I mean by coloring the sound.

    The MIC200 has a few sort of predefined EQ curves built-in that you select via rotary switch and there are subtle differences between them, and 1 or 2 of them proved to be a feedback problem in certain live situations, but that was easily remedied by choosing another setting or simply changing my position relative to the amp or PA system speaker, without having to use a notch filter to cut the offending audio frequency...

    Live sound is a deep topic and feedback suppression is not well understood by most folks, but with a UST I doubt you will have feedback issues unless your gain/volume is set painfully high, AND your uke is 6 inches or less from the speaker of your amp, otherwise you should not have feedback issues. Mine occurred with a piezo disc surface transducer, which can be problematic where feedback is concerned.

    Quote Originally Posted by ErnieElse View Post
    Finally, can you say any more about the specifics of the Mic200 and the ART as options for a ukulele preamp sitting between both an acoustic uke with passive piezo and an acoustic amp, and also between a Risa LP with humbuckers and an electric solid state modelling amp ?
    I am not sure if there is a specific question here, and/or how to answer. Maybe you can clarify a bit?

    I am always happy to try and help.
    Last edited by Booli; 11-02-2016 at 12:46 PM. Reason: typos
    This ═╣FAQ link╠═ will help you learn about many things.
    You should click it, as the answers are waiting for you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Suffolk
    Posts
    128

    Default

    Worth a look at K&K as well, the Big Island single head or Aloha twin are very unobtrusive and easy to install. They have the reputation of producing the most natural amplified sound. And the Risa Stick sounds really sweet through the K&K Pure preamp into my Yamaha amp.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    153

    Default

    Thanks again for the replies. Very informative indeed giving me other things to think about.

    Firstly Picker Jon mentioning the passive K&K internal stick-on Soundboard transducers as a possibility. Previously I have been put off these by the seemingly flakey notion of drilling a horrible great big hole in the end of a beautiful instrument just to stick something inside which might detach itself at any time. But maybe I am wrong in this view. Any more comments on the quality, reliability and robustness of these K&K internal stick on pads and their pros and cons versus piezo UST's would be very welcome ....

    Secondly I have found some info on the Pono website which explains that their passive UST pickups are not just something off the shelf such as a Fishman but are custom made and have individual piezo spots for the individual strings. This has thrown me somewhat as I was all for going down the Fishman UST route assuming that I would get the Pono UST quality of sound which would have been plenty good enough for me. But now I'm a little less sure again .....

    Finally, it is good to hear that a preamp box (the K&K Pure in this instance) greatly improves the sound of a Risa Stick. One strategy I am considering is to first buy a cheap preamp/EQ box such as the Behringer ADI21 just to see how much of a difference it makes to my Risa Stick and to enable me to gauge just how much impact an external preamp/EQ can have on a passive piezo. If the difference is very noticeable and changeable via the EQ even to someone as tone-deaf as me then maybe it will give me the confidence to proceed with passive UST's on my acoustic instruments.

    Please keep the comments coming.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •