View Full Version : Best Pickup for an F-5?
Any ideas on a good pickup for an F-5? # What sound qualities do the various brands of pickups have? Would appreciate any feed back as I am a newbee to this stuff.
What sound are you looking for because that would help to tailor something to your needs?
I'ld like to keep the original accoustic quality of the instrument as much as possible. I guess that means it should sound as much as possible like an F-5 when played through an amp.
What volume levels will you be playing at? If you want loud go with a piezo pickup but it is not going to sound natural but if you want a more natural sound you can go with a mini mic (Crown or Countryman) but you can't get as much volume before feeding back. Another alternative that has been discussed recently is the AKG C411 or the Schertler(I haven't played this one) and I do know the AKG sounds very good. I personally combine a Countryman Isomax IIC and a Barcus Berry Hot Dot but you have to have a stereo preamp that provides 48V phantom power which is not easy to find, nor is it cheap and then you have to find a 1/4" instrument stereo y-cable which is TRS on both plugs. The good thing about going with the Crown GLM-100 mini mic is that it will run off of 12V to 48V phantom power and it is much easier to find stereo preamps that provide 12V phantom. Of course, on both mini-mics I am assuming that the end user would cut the XLR off and attach it to a 1/4" endpin jack. The more temporary thing would be to leave the XLR intact and run straight into the mixing console but you have to be 10 or 12 feet away from it which is a rare thing for a lot of gigs. Hope this helps, if you need more info just PM me.
Jeremy, I got dizzy just trying to read all that.
Thanks for the info, Jeremy. All good stuff and I understand most of it. But I don't know what TRS and XLR are. Are those the different kinds of input jacks? (Sounds like the XLR is the jack on the end of a standard instrument cord.)
TRS is Tip, Ring, Sleeve and the XLR is not the type on the end of an instrument cable, it is the type on the end of microphone cable, but it is the end that plugs in to the mixing console. #The reason I mention the TRS is because most stereo Y cable are tip on one side and ring on the other. The one on the left in the picture is the male XLR end and that is what comes attached to the Countryman and Crown (Glm 100e actually comes with no end and has bare wires).
As seen in other posts, Swiss made Schertler Is a contact microphone, of dynamic type.
The German AKG C 411, C for stands for condenser type of microphone, this one is also a contact mic, this type needs external power, most mixers provide this.
Piezos are a simple crystal that emits electricity when shaken 'or stirred'
It is not as accurate a representation of the sound , typically needing a preamp and EQ to make it sound somewhat closer to the microphone types .
And you would, if you are a sound aficionado, prefer the condenser over the dynamic mic. #That, in turn, would leave me to believe that I would desire the AKG. #I heard Thile plugged in live on WNCW 88.7 one time and his tone was terrible and I guess he was using a Schertler since he endorses them (don't even start a flame war on that one). #Being that AKG is German you can't go wrong with German engineering. #Which would you choose for frequency response? Neither companies will tell the exact frequency responses on their websites but most condenser mics are 20 to 20 or 30 to 20 and dynamic mics or similar response is not even close. It is usually 60 to 15. The decision should be as simple as comparing a dynamic mic with a condenser mic (Shure SM 57 vs. Neumann KM184)! #
#I'm assuming your country gentleman mic and barcus hot dot all live togther on your mando. #would you be able to post a pic on how you've got them all attached? #
Currently, i have a Pick-up-the -world #27 on my F5 type. #it's about a 1"x.25" strip of 'piezo' type flat wire mesh. #i've scooted it under the treble foot of the bridge. #the wire goes to a 1/4" carpenter jack i've clamped just behind the lower point. #Maybe i haven't twiddled with the mixer EQ knobs enough, but the #27 just doesn't capture the sustain and 'pumping air' factor that a mic would. #i did a quick www search on the crown. it can be had for $170 or so. #i play in a church group, so high volume levels aren't a concern and i've got a multiple port 48v supply for our outher condenser mics. #if it mounts easily enough, i might consider trying the crown.
Hey WireBoy, I will post you a pic as soon as I get my camera back. I would suggest buying the GLM-100E (around $100.00) and attach it to your carpenter jack. That way you can just run a standard instrument cable to any preamp with 12V phantom power and from the preamp to an acoustic amp or the mixing console. Plus, I think the Crown has a similar clip to the Countryman's which you can just clip right on to the F-hole.
Thanks mandoJeremy, I'll be watching for that pic.
Tonight at rehearsal, i twiddled the EQ a bit and my tone got a little better. (The #27 goes to a LR Baggs Paraacoustic DI - i sneaked up the presence and treble trim - a little more sparkle). I'll have to listen to the sound chekc tape on sunday to see if it really made a difference. its one thing for me to spin a knob or two , but who nows what the sound man will do.
Nice to hear praises of AKG which is a nice company that delivers good products. They are, however, not german but austrian. Close, but not the same (for us anyway...)
Back to the topic: Do you think that the crown or the countryman can be used in a LOUD country band? Currently I use the Schertler which has a nice mellow tone (no piezo zing in sight) but does not cut so well. I will buy an amp and have a second mando orderd for the country gigs only. What would you recommend?
Hi Klaus, when I posted that I actually questioned myself because I did think that AKG was Austrian so I went to there website and it had German or English for language selection so I guess I made a stupid assumption without thinking about it. Sorry! Anyway, the Crown or the Countryman will not be sufficient in a LOUD country band unless you combine it with a piezo pickup. The mini condenser is only used to give an authentic acoustic and natural sound blended with the piezo pickup.
I see biggest difference is condenser type needs phantom power (common on mixers)
Dynamic type doesn't (impedance matching transformers are handy to run into high impedance inputs, too, with Dyn-M, by the way)
Here's your picture WireBoy:
thanks for following up with the great close up. #i see the mic is raised off the top a little bit. #Does it interfere with right hand technique at all? #big chops or strums? #Do the Mic and Barcus berry terminate in a carpenter jack or end pin jack?
Poking around the net, i found (2) Dual input boxes. #They accept both (piezo/contact) pickup and (powered) condenser mic: #The Presonous Acousti-Q Tube Preamp and the Fishman Pocket Blender Preamp. #(the Fishman even comes with its own mic.)
My question (to the Café) is this: #Which would you choose- a Dual source system (pickup/condenser mic) or a Schertler DYN-M contact mic?
It only interferes with right hand technique when you do a nice powerful chop behind the bridge!!! #I'm kidding. #No interference. #They both terminate into a 1/4" endpin jack. #Being that we carry Presonus at my work place I am quite familiar with the Acousti-Q preamp and it only has 12V phantom power, which would work for the Crown but not for the Countryman. #I use the Presonus MP20. #Just for the record, Mike Marshall uses the Crown and Sam Bush uses the Countryman.
I believe Klaus already corrected me on that one. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif
let me know what you find, I am looking for a pickup too for a F5. I am have fonud the SCHERTLER DYN-M but is pricey. I am willing to pay but I want to make sure I get my best bang for the buck.
No comments about the KK Mando Twin. Any goog/bad reviews?
I have used an AKG 411C for about a year now on maybe 60-70 gigs in bars and small clubs and I have never had any problems. The sound is just great and feedback problems are (in my experience) almost non-existent. You can get a small, cigarette pack ?sized pre-amp especially made for the AKG 411C #with two inputs (mini XLR?s) and a standard XLR output. This has separate volume controls for the two inputs.
Another option is a cordless transmitter and receiver. A strange thing is that the transmitter does not have a volume control, only a on-mute-off switch. I thought the wireless system was a little too much for a hobby musician like me, but on a visit to Germany last summer (I live in Europe) I found out that I could get one for about 200 $ and treated myself to one. I haven?t heard any difference in sound, and now I can go out and listen to the sound of the PA if I want to. The receiver look just like the inexpensive plastic box that it is, but as long as it sounds good I don?t care. The only downside is that the frequency is set and has a color code. You can get eight different frequencies so if more than one is in use with the band, make sure that they buy sets with different color coding.
Again I would like to thank the owner of this site for the good work.
A familiar odyssey...
Here's mine: I have a '51 F12. I started with a Fishman bridge with a pickup it in. I hated that, because it had this ugly wire, and the mini jack attached to the strap button with a bracket that was always causing the rear of the tailpiece to come loose.
I went to a Behringer condenser mic, but that doesn't cut it in small, noisy performance places.
The McIntyre MF200 Featherlite ($110) might do the job, but it would require putting a jack in the strap button assembly, which A) I don't especially want to do because I don't want holes drilled in my mando; and B) might not work because of the somewhat funky tailpiece assembly Gibson put on this mandolin -- the brass strap button is not centered but set quite near the binding where the back and side meet.
I'm thinking of giving the Fishman another chance, and buying a new pickguard (preserving the original) and gluing (& hiding) the mini jack and most of the cord beneath it.
I'll know in a week or so if that works.
Any suggestions -- beside forget it, pony up another $350 and get that Swiss pickup Thile uses? #http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif
I think the best pick-up for an F5 is the new Chevrolet. You did mean to haul it around in, right?!