Any updates on pickups and pre-amps?

This is for discussions on the Indian sitar and surbahar, This includes films, books, and recordings

Moderators: povster, s1owpoke, cabernethy, coughcapkittykat

gillo
Posts: 187
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:02 am

Re: Any updates on pickups and pre-amps?

Postby gillo » Wed Nov 02, 2016 12:12 am

rex@sitar.co.za wrote:For live, the gain is perfect. Position the head of the mic a few inches from your strings and it's all the gain you'll need.
I haven't had any feedback problems using the MD421 in live classical shows, or even with the small acoustic fusion group I sometimes play with (https://rakkatak.bandcamp.com/track/heliosphere)
I find SM57/8s have unusably low gain for sitar unless you run them through a Cloudlifter.
(.. and even then they don't have the subtle depth and range that you can charm out of the MD421.)


I'll have to give it a try out at the next soundcheck (I have an old original 1970s version)! cheers

User avatar
Kirya
Posts: 713
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:30 pm
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

Re: Any updates on pickups and pre-amps?

Postby Kirya » Wed Nov 02, 2016 7:37 am

Hi Gillo

I have the micro Gooseneck model exactly the one in this picture http://myerspickups.com/myerspickups.html

Gregg Myers said this:
The pickup is a miniature preamp in itself and is quite small and so all there is room inside is a volume control. Many customers use a mini EQ board (such as a Mackie) to adjust tone.


The listener feedback from all those who had heard me amplified with just a regular mic (SM57) had been very positive. They all commented that it was much closer to the acoustic sound but louder. I can hear it much more clearly as well, though only as good as your speakers. I like it’s simplicity as the most difficult thing I have to do is get the suction pads in place and connect to the amp. I have some control of volume at my fingertips on the Myers box, so that is also handy in a band setting.

Gregg went the extra mile to make a special clip + suction pad as I initially had difficulty keeping the mic in place (nowhere to clip it and one suction pad was not enough) . With this current approach, I think the rig shown above would work for many different Indian instruments but especially the sitar and sarod, and would sound better and closer to loud acoustic than most of the amplified sitar sound I hear out there. I am sure it can further be improved with a small mixer and EQ but for now I want to keep it simple.
Kirya
Los Angeles, CA

gillo
Posts: 187
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:02 am

Re: Any updates on pickups and pre-amps?

Postby gillo » Thu Nov 03, 2016 2:35 am

Kirya, thanks. They look good and they are affordable too. I'm still a little confused about what they actually are, they look like a pickup that is suspended in mid-air near the sound source - I have never seen a pickup like that before! I have used small omni condenser mics like that but a pickup that is suspended in mid-air will logically produce a better more airy sound but with the benefits of the pickup technology being less prone to feedback. Interesting! I have emailed Gregg to ask about these details.

EDIT - immediate email response from Gregg: "All our pickups our lowZ omni condenser mics. The output is lowZ and 1/4” jack." Looks like a good option.

The line out is unbalanced so to be safe, if running the line over a distance of more than a few metres, a DI should be used to convert to a balanced signal.

sason
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:36 pm

Re: Any updates on pickups and pre-amps?

Postby sason » Thu Nov 03, 2016 8:15 am

Following kirya advice, I also bought the same myer pickup last year. It produces nice sound. I don't have much knowledge about electronic amplification and I do not know if other will give a better result. But, anyway, I am satisfied with the myer pickup. It does a good job, very easy to set up and to be removed. I added one extra (bigger) suction pad (got it from ebay) and it holds the mic more firmly.

User avatar
Kirya
Posts: 713
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:30 pm
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

Re: Any updates on pickups and pre-amps?

Postby Kirya » Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:07 am

Hi Gillo

The line out is unbalanced so to be safe, if running the line over a distance of more than a few metres, a DI should be used to convert to a balanced signal.


Can you provide more detail on this? - I also recall Gregg saying I should go XLR into the amp - do you think that matter since I am just using a 1/4 jack right now?

Thanks
Kirya
Los Angeles, CA

barend
Posts: 989
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2006 10:38 pm
Location: the netherlands

Re: Any updates on pickups and pre-amps?

Postby barend » Thu Nov 03, 2016 10:15 am

rex@sitar.co.za wrote:Barend, I'm actually not sure which MD421 I have :D


Can you maybe have a look? it is on the mic itself. Good to know if we have the same one or not since we have a different opinion.

gillo
Posts: 187
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:02 am

Re: Any updates on pickups and pre-amps?

Postby gillo » Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:05 am

Kirya wrote:Hi Gillo
Can you provide more detail on this? - I also recall Gregg saying I should go XLR into the amp - do you think that matter since I am just using a 1/4 jack right now?
Thanks


I'm not sure why those mics are made with a jack and not xlr, possibly a convenience thing for guitarists and others to go straight into an acoustic amp.
If I were you I would plug the jack output first into a passive DI box close by and then use a long xlr out of the DI to go into the xlr on the mixer. With this there will be less chance of noise and interference with the cable. Example of a passive DI - http://www.leonaudio.com.au/passive.htm

Alternatively you can do what Barend suggests and plug into a preamp/DI combined, and if you spend some real $ on a good preamp you may have a better and more controlled sound at your feet than if you went straight into a mixer. You will then come out of the preamp/DI with a balanced 1/4" jack into the mixing desk.

gillo
Posts: 187
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:02 am

Re: Any updates on pickups and pre-amps?

Postby gillo » Thu Nov 03, 2016 11:06 am

gillo wrote:
Kirya wrote:Hi Gillo
Can you provide more detail on this? - I also recall Gregg saying I should go XLR into the amp - do you think that matter since I am just using a 1/4 jack right now?
Thanks


I'm not sure why those mics are made with a jack and not xlr, possibly a convenience thing for guitarists and others to go straight into an acoustic amp.
If I were you I would plug the jack output first into a passive DI box close by and then use a long xlr out of the DI to go into the xlr on the mixer. With this there will be less chance of noise and interference with the cable. Example of a passive DI - http://www.leonaudio.com.au/passive.htm

Alternatively you can do what Barend suggests and plug into a preamp/DI combined, and if you spend some real $ on a good preamp/DI combo you may have a better and more controlled sound at your feet than if you went straight into a mixer. You will then come out of the preamp/DI with a balanced 1/4" jack into the mixing desk.

User avatar
Kirya
Posts: 713
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:30 pm
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

Re: Any updates on pickups and pre-amps?

Postby Kirya » Fri Nov 04, 2016 3:52 am

Hi Gillo

Can you suggest some good " preamp/DI combo " that would work well with a harmonics rich instrument like a sitar?

Thanks for your info - I still could not figure what DI meant though

Kirya
Kirya
Los Angeles, CA

gillo
Posts: 187
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:02 am

Re: Any updates on pickups and pre-amps?

Postby gillo » Fri Nov 04, 2016 4:40 am

Kirya wrote:Hi Gillo
Thanks for your info - I still could not figure what DI meant though
Kirya

The leon audio link above has some detailed explanation down the page about what a DI does. Main points summarised here:
A D.I. box is required to perform three separate basic tasks:-
1. Impedance Conversion.
2. Unbalanced to balanced conversion.
3. Earth isolation.

I think your pickup/mic only needs to be balanced (and only if you are using long cables). You can probably get a decent passive DI quite cheaply and then plugging directly into the desk is fine as per normal. Leon audio have advised that a preamp shouldn't colour the sound, just boost it cleanly, and then colouration/eq etc is best achieved by the sound tech as part of the mix. Although as has been said, having some control on stage at your fingertips might help in many cases.

Can you suggest some good " preamp/DI combo " that would work well with a harmonics rich instrument like a sitar?

That's the holy grail and my question in the first post here ! :lol:

sason
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:36 pm

Re: Any updates on pickups and pre-amps?

Postby sason » Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:26 am

I was doing some experiments with the myer pickup:

1. When the myer pickup is placed under the bridge, the sound is ok. The sound of the higher notes are not so good. Moreover, in high volume the sound become very metallic.

2. If I place the myer pickup somewhere close to the bridge (not under it), the quality of the sound is much better.
However, the volume is very low. If I Increase the volume, the quality of the sound deteriorates.

Is there any device that can solve this? a preamp, a DI box, a mixer?

gillo
Posts: 187
Joined: Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:02 am

Re: Any updates on pickups and pre-amps?

Postby gillo » Sat Nov 05, 2016 12:05 am

sason wrote:I was doing some experiments with the myer pickup:

1. When the myer pickup is placed under the bridge, the sound is ok. The sound of the higher notes are not so good. Moreover, in high volume the sound become very metallic.

2. If I place the myer pickup somewhere close to the bridge (not under it), the quality of the sound is much better.
However, the volume is very low. If I Increase the volume, the quality of the sound deteriorates.

Is there any device that can solve this? a preamp, a DI box, a mixer?


What are you plugged into when the volume is low?

sason
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:36 pm

Re: Any updates on pickups and pre-amps?

Postby sason » Sat Nov 05, 2016 8:05 am

gillo wrote:What are you plugged into when the volume is low?

The pickup is plugged directly to an acoustic amp (Marshall AS50D).

User avatar
rex@sitar.co.za
Posts: 673
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:33 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada
Contact:

Re: Any updates on pickups and pre-amps?

Postby rex@sitar.co.za » Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:58 pm

sason wrote:Is there any device that can solve this? a preamp, a DI box, a mixer?


Yes, a mic! :D

But, seriously, this is a problem with all pickups: it's very primitive technology that just doesn't produce good sound.
Even the very best pickups I've used only (Schatten, Schertler) only sound as good as a mediocre, low-end dynamic mic - and then under only the very best conditions.
Usually, in normal, poor live conditions, they sound much worse.

So in general I would go as far as you can with a good feedback resistance dynamic mic an then only fallback on a pickup if there's absolutely no other way to eliminate the feedback.

Bhairava

Re: Any updates on pickups and pre-amps?

Postby Bhairava » Sat Nov 05, 2016 6:46 pm

If you want a great pre amp/eq this is by far the best for the money which can also me used as a DI

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/7603

If you want a less expensive option you can try this DI

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OI ... bw_c_x_3_w


Return to “SITAR & SURBAHAR”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest