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Thread: Preamp & Earphones

  1. #1

    Default Preamp & Earphones

    I'm looking to add a pickup and preamp to my Eastman MD515 mandolin so that I can hear what I'm playing when amongst a large group of fiddles, accordians, guitars and whistles...!

    I've looked at the Fishman Nashville pickup and the Fishman Platinum Stage preamp.

    Could I plug a set of earphones or headphones into the output of the Fishman preamp...?

    Thanks
    Arch
    (A home player and member of http://glasgowfiddle.org.uk)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Preamp & Earphones

    You could plug them in but they won't work! You need something with a headphone output or, if you already have the Fishman, a headphone pre-amp.

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preamp & Earphones

    Rolls headphone monitor http://www.rolls.com/product.php?pid=PM50s

    It uses the line level output from your fishman preamp. and provides the headphone amp ..

    this one has a battery power option http://www.rolls.com/product.php?pid=PM55P
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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preamp & Earphones

    You could cobble something together that would take the line output of the Fishman preamp into a battery headphone amp, but that would be a very bad idea!

    What you're looking for is a personal monitor system. These are available, and they're expensive, because they have a critical component called a limiter that will clamp down on sudden spikes that could damage your hearing. This could be feedback, a dropped instrument, or something banging against the pickup.

    When you listen to music through headphones it's already pre-limited. That's not the case with a personal monitor. Don't buy anything that doesn't include a limiter, if you value your hearing. It's the one precious thing for a musician.

    BTW, I play mandolin in local Irish, Scottish/Cape Breton sessions with lots of fiddlers. One session usually has 4 or 5 fiddlers, whistle, guitar, and two pipers on Scottish smallpipes. It's loud, yeah, but I manage to start new tune sets and people can hear it.

    If you can't hear your mandolin in the sessions you attend, and assuming it's a decent mandolin and you have decent technique, then it might be an idea to look for a smaller session. Smaller sessions are so much fun on mandolin. There's one house session my fiddler S.O. and I are sometimes invited to, where it's just two or three fiddlers, one guitar, and my mandolin. That's just about perfect. Large sessions are often a struggle, but amplification, even self-amplification for monitoring, isn't the answer in my opinion.

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    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preamp & Earphones

    Make sure your playing position is high enough.
    Many people I see with their mandolin at their belly, then say they can’t hear but never put two and two together & adjust their ergonomics.
    If you lift your mandolin up to where a fiddler holds their instrument then you’d hear it fine like they do. So the volume is normally there, but you need to hold the thing up nearer in a loud situation. So play with it at breast height, which also stops most of the sound being projected under the table to entertain everyone's knees.

    Definitely look to use your posture and position in the session circle to help.
    We used to use a square kiddy chalk board or two when recording acoustic players, to reflect some reference sound but avoid spill into the mic., maybe sit near the menu board at an angle where you can get some fold-back from that.
    In extreem cases such as a session I’d recommend the liquid reflector. Made up of a row of glassware placed on a table in front of the player to reflect a portion of the sound. You’ll need to experiment, so keep adjusting the number & level of liquid in the glasses and refilling as necessary.
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

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    Registered User pit lenz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preamp & Earphonesl‘d r

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    ...Large sessions are often a struggle, but amplification, even self-amplification for monitoring, isn't the answer in my opinion.
    Absolutely right!
    From a sound engineer‘s point of view, this (costly, when done right) attempt is the wrong way to address your issue. I’d rather look at the root of your problem and change the acoustic situation. Relocate your chair and check your posture, look into solving this by changing yout acoustic environment.
    (I love Beanzy‘s „liquid wall theory“ and would love to assist research of fine tuning it . )
    Good luck on finding your best solution!

    @foldedpath: all of the better batterypowered headphone amps like fischeramps do have a limiter built in (as you very rightfully ask for)...

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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preamp & Earphones

    Something wrong, somewhere, when such measures are deemed necessary at a "jam"!
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    Default Re: Preamp & Earphones

    Quote Originally Posted by almeriastrings View Post
    Something wrong, somewhere, when such measures are deemed necessary at a "jam"!
    I agree.
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preamp & Earphones

    Banjo mandolin?

    open back may get you hearing yourself more.

    no electricity needed..
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    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preamp & Earphones

    Quote Originally Posted by almeriastrings View Post
    Something wrong, somewhere, when such measures are deemed necessary at a "jam"!
    Indeed, but from the list of instruments I assume it’s a session rather than a jam.
    In quite a few places it seems they’re a bit like the ‘aussie rules’ full contact version.

    But in this case it looks like a full on fiddle orchestra setting, in some fairly difficult acoustic environments.
    imagine the decay times in some of these http://glasgowfiddle.org.uk/news-lis...as-photos-2017
    Eoin



    "Forget that anyone is listening to you and always listen to yourself" - Fryderyk Chopin

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preamp & Earphones

    Quote Originally Posted by Beanzy View Post
    Indeed, but from the list of instruments I assume it’s a session rather than a jam.
    In quite a few places it seems they’re a bit like the ‘aussie rules’ full contact version.

    But in this case it looks like a full on fiddle orchestra setting, in some fairly difficult acoustic environments.
    imagine the decay times in some of these http://glasgowfiddle.org.uk/news-lis...as-photos-2017
    I was going to jump on that point (jam vs. session) but you got there first.

    Bluegrass and OldTime jams aren't that loud. A dozen players in a typical Irish or Scottish trad session can easily be twice as loud as a dozen players in a Bluegrass or OldTime jam. It's not just the intrinsic volume difference between fiddles, accordions and other trad instruments, although that's part of it. It's also because most of the trad instruments are sustaining the notes, not just pluck-and-decay. The perceived loundness level goes way up with a room full of (mostly) sustaining instruments.

    So I have sympathy for the OP, but agree with everyone else here that amplification or self-monitoring isn't the answer.

    Switching to a different instrument like resonator mandolin or tenor banjo might be one answer, but it's one I've avoided so far, because I like the sound of a wooden mandolin too much. I just try to avoid the really large, out-of-control sessions where I'm not making much of a contribution.

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Preamp & Earphones

    A Stethoscope is Acoustic

    maybe a Smaller town, smaller crowd? if your huge fiddle society is in a major city..
    Last edited by mandroid; Jun-13-2018 at 1:28pm.
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    Default Re: Preamp & Earphones

    Quote Originally Posted by Beanzy View Post
    In extreem cases such as a session I’d recommend the liquid reflector. Made up of a row of glassware placed on a table in front of the player to reflect a portion of the sound. You’ll need to experiment, so keep adjusting the number & level of liquid in the glasses and refilling as necessary.


    Best solution that I have seen yet! It has the added benefit of sounding better and better as the evening progresses.
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    Default Re: Preamp & Earphones

    Quote Originally Posted by Teak View Post


    Best solution that I have seen yet! It has the added benefit of sounding better and better as the evening progresses.
    And everyone gets more attractive!
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