View Full Version : McIntyre Acoustic Feather pickup
Does anyone have any experience with the McIntyre Acoustic Feather pickup against a Schertler?
I was hoping to hear the same thing, and the Pick Up The World. I talked to someone the other night who liked the acoustic feather when run through a preamp. I don't have the money to drop on a Schertler but was wondering about my options for sub-$200.
dont have shertler experience. but love my mcintyre feather- light, responsive, true to the sound and reasonably priced.
I also have not tried the Schertler, but would echo Ira's kudos. I use the internal feather on my Djangolin, and have found it to be very accurate and exceptional quality.
I have run into some who have not shared my fortune with the McIntyre, the caveat is it needs to be installed by someone who REALLY knows what they are doing. That is crucial.
I have no experience with the Shertler, but I put a McIntyere in my old Gibson A and I'm very happy with it-much better than the in the bridge transducers. Installation is a nightmare, it took me a whole day! I don't think I'd even attempt it with an F-hole instrument. You will need a preamp. The owner of the company, Carl, I believe, does install these and I'd ask what he'd charge for that because it is difficult, and like the previous post said placement is critical. For a pickup under $200 I think it's the way to go.
Rob Anderson-Dunamis Designs
I use a feather with a LR Baggs Para Acoustic pre amp. I wasn't very happy with the pick-up prior to the purchase of the pre amp. I spoke with the folks at Breedlove, took their recommendation and am pleased for the money spent. It holds its own now and sounds good.
Chris in Canada
they do say to use a preamp with the mcintyre, but as yet havent needed one whether into an amp or a pa (small venue), it produced a decent tone and volume without the pre.
ps- might get a preamp (one of those hook to your belt types) just for more readily accessible volume control.
Did you get the internal or external?
So what sort of mandobatics are required when you install the feather? I'm thinking of going this way (if I can get Carl to do a custom feather with an external carpenter jack for me), and the "installation was a nightmare [with an oval-hole mando]" comment doesn't make me optimistic of my chances of getting one into an f-holed mandolin.
If the alternative is the external transducer, does anyone have any experience with that one in comparison to the feather?
Well, after thinking about the potential benefits and detriments of a permanently-installed acoustic pickup versus an external McIntyre transducer, and an email from Carl McIntyre, I decided to go with the external transducer. The things I've heard about these are good, and I love the idea of not having to perform surgery on my mandolin.
Now, one quick question that I can't seem to find an answer for (Carl seems to be too busy to respond to another email, which I can understand): do these need to have a preamp as well? I would be playing through a Boss ME-8 multieffects board, and I think these may have a preamp in them, but I'm not sure.
Is one even recommended?
yes they recommend a preamp, makes it much hotter....
when I used to use this, I used a gigpro (cheap) preamp.. I play a bowlback now and my carpenter jack pickup is of no use, I use mics now...but I may sometime get another featerh pickup with a 1/4 plug end.
hope you enjoy....
BTW, lemon juice gets that puddy off your finish, but I recommend (actually carl's wife recommended this) putting a small piece of masking tape down, size of a quarter, fix the pickup to that, and it will never stick to your finish.
Funny way to go about the installation, Carl mentioned bailing wire so I took some coathanger and bent that sucker into a pair of "scissors". One end of the "scissors" has masking tape on it wrapped sticky side out. take off the adhesive on the feather and place it on the masking taped "scissors." Fish that thing inside tha mando with the other end of the scissors (this end is just a guide, it should allow you to guage where inside the mando you are without actually seeing) when in place, squeeze the scissors and voila, the pickup is stuck to the roof, right in place. Rub it back and forth inside to get it real stuck on, and then move on to the carpenter jack... If you guys want a picture of my "scissors" I can take one, I know this description is almost as clear as mud...
Or you can send it to me for installation, hehe http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
I have a Breedlove in which the factory installed a Feather and it was a disaster. #Thinest, lowest output I have ever heard (yes, with a preamp). I called a Breedlove tech and ask if they had listened to it after they put it in. #He assured me they would have "tested to make sure it worked", but it was so bad that the pickup or installation must have been defective. There is no way people could possibly be saying good things about the Feather if it regularly sounds like mine did. #The tech I spoke to said that if I had asked him for a recomendation he would have suggested a Shertler instead, so I sent it back to him and he put in a "Shertler". #It works great and with a TRS 1/4" to XLR cable sounds wonderful plugged straight into a PA or standard mic preamp. #I never use the external Baggs pre I bought for the Feather. # Now the tricky thing is this: #I don't know what the heck is in there, other than that it is a shertler brand. #I assume for the low price they charged it isnt the expensive one Thiel uses. #Also it's permanently mounted inside the instrument like a feather would be. #So some day I am gonna have to call and find out what the heck is in my mandolin http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
Well, my post got me thinking, so I called Breedlove. It is, after all, the Shertler C-DYN-M that they put in there. That's the good one, mounted internally, and I got it for the same price as the Feather due to the inconvinience. Good for them, and good for me. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif
I've used the PUTW and have very good results. BUT, I was using a Rane AP-13 preamp (I think a preamp is a must have in order to get good tone and control feedback) AND I spent a LOT of time moving the PU around on the outside of the instrument to find the optimal position. You can't just stick em' on and expect good sound (unless you are lucky). #A few mm's of alteration can make a huge difference...This goes for ANY SBT. After finding the optimal position, you can then install on the inside of the instrument if you so wish.
The beauty of the Schertler is that you can plug directly into the board (low impedence) and utilize the board as a sort of premap. Plus you get all of the routing capabilities a board has to offer. After seeing Thile several times with these, I'm convinced these are the way to go. Granted, he's got the luxury of a sound man to dial in the monitor mix and the house mix, but he gets a great ampified tone. He also has a mic in front of him for added volume and solos.
my .02 cents......
A follow-up question five years later.
Are you McIntyre users still happy?
One thing you have be cautious of with the mcintyre feather is this, on an internal install..that long feather has to contact the surface of the top. On michael kelly and several other asian made mandolins, there is a reinforcement strip that goes all the way down the center seam, making it difficult to seat completely flat without running into a tone bar or that reinforcing strip, make sure you dont have one before you try to locate your pickup. The mcintyre feather is a good pickup, but not on all mandolins. Even if its installed by someone very knowledgeably as ted said, its better suited to some mandolins than others. There are so many combinations out there, finding the right pickup/preamp/mandolin combination the first try is unlikely, but after 9 years of trying, I will say the L.R Baggs Para Acoustic DI is a great home base. I shoulda listened to all the chatter on that years ago.
Output impedance of piezos is way higher than Schertler.
manner of generating a signal is way different too.
many Mega ohms .. versus 500 ohms .
output wiring for piezos, 1/4" TR, works with and often requires a preamp, like the Baggs PADI
which anticipates a 10 mega ohm input.
The Baggs Para acoustic DI is one of those small pieces of gear that I never go to any gig without. It works great for almost every string instrument, from the mandolin up through the upright bass. If I don't need it, someone else in the band almost always uses it.
The McIntyre pickup works great in combination with it, and is a fair price. I removed one from an mandolin a few weeks ago because the owner wanted a purely acoustic instrument and only uses a mic live. I'll pass it on to someone here for a dirt cheap price if you're interested in trying one out.
To really get a good live sound, my favorite is to use a pickup and a small internal mic run into a preamp and blender and then use another mic on a stand for the dynamics. It gets crowded with cables and parts fast, but you have a LOT of control over the sound and the room. I rambled on about it a few months ago in mandolin magazine....
I've been demo-ing one of the new Baggs radius pickups for the last month; so far it has been a champ from everything to small room to some larger rock band sized clubs, complete with the wall of monitors and huge PA system. Another month or two of use and I'll give a full report.
Another satisfied McIntyre user here. I've had them on two different mandolins. Pre-amp, as has been noted, is a must. I use an ART Tube MP, usually in combination with a mic (Shure Beta 57, also run through an ART).
Funny .. I bought a mandolin from a shop a couple of years ago; they "professionally installed" (?) a McIntyre Feather which sounded awful through anything .. with or without a variety of pre-amps and boosters, it sounded horribly thin and nasty.
I took it back to the shop ... they (naturally) grumbled but replaced it with a Fishman M-100 ( for the additional cost of the Fishman) .. OK the Fishman DOES sound a bit more electric than I would really like, but it is reliable and predictable through most amps or PAs.
That has put me off the Feather for ever.
Labaird: Funny way to go about the installation, Carl mentioned bailing wire so I took some coathanger and bent that sucker into a pair of "scissors". One end of the "scissors" has masking tape on it wrapped sticky side out. take off the adhesive on the feather and place it on the masking taped "scissors." Fish that thing inside tha mando with the other end of the scissors (this end is just a guide, it should allow you to guage where inside the mando you are without actually seeing) when in place, squeeze the scissors and voila, the pickup is stuck to the roof, right in place. Rub it back and forth inside to get it real stuck on, and then move on to the carpenter jack... If you guys want a picture of my "scissors" I can take one, I know this description is almost as clear as mud...
That is a pretty cool idea!
Yes I think it would be great to see a pic of your invention!
Also several have stated the need for installing it in the "correct" place or position but no one has said just exactly were that is! :)
Could those who have some experience tell where the sweet spot is? I assume it is centered under the bridge? And is it best perpendicular to the bridge saddle above (i.e., oriented parallel to the tone bars)?
One other question -- if you have a James tailpiece (hole too small for the McIntyre jack) what is the best work around?
Thanks very much!
The sweet spot varies from instrument to instrument and I think I read somewhere that there is a smaller endpin jack being made that that doesn't require modification of the hole,
P.S. Did some research, http://www.tapastring.com/Vintage_Jack_for_Mandolin.htm
Mike Bunting: The sweet spot varies from instrument to instrument and I think I read somewhere that there is a smaller endpin jack being made that that doesn't require modification of the hole,
P.S. Did some research, http://www.tapastring.com/Vintage_Jack_for_Mandolin.htm
Thanks! That link looks very intereting. I've never come across that brand before. I wonder how well it works? But for certain installation seems to be a no brainer! The price is right too.
If you search the Tapastring site, you'll find that they can be ordered with a K&K or PUTW pickups.