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Thread: Blending mic+piezo input signals with a dual-channel DI box?

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    Default Blending mic+piezo input signals with a dual-channel DI box?

    Shout out to this amazing resource and all of the power users out there volunteering their incredible wealth of expertise and knowledge! Bit of a long-winded post here, trying to provide sufficient background without making you read my life story, and hopefully others will find it useful.

    Current gear in my possession includes a clip-on condenser mic (it's either an ATM350 or a PRO 35 I'm actually not sure), mando with soon-to-be-installed K&K Twin Internal piezo transducer, and an LR Baggs Venue DI.

    I've had acceptable results using the K&K+Venue setup with past mandolins. However, my new mando has somewhat unconventional tone bar placement on the bass side, preventing the piezo sensor from being set in the ideal recommended spot underneath the foot of the bridge... you have to travel up 1-2 inches before you get enough real estate in between the tone bar and the f-hole to affix the sensor without it visibly sticking out into the f-hole. This initially seemed sketchy to me and my local tech so we didn't install and I opted for the mic clipped on to my pickguard direct to the board, which hey sounds really great (surprise surprise). However, I'm about fed up because I CANNOT get the gooseneck to keep the mic from dropping directly into the f-hole over the course of my set, where it then feeds back and sounds objectively horrible, and it forces me to constantly be messing with it. Bummer! Anyone have a fix for that one??

    After swearing I wouldn't suffer through another gig like that, I called up K&K who assure me the pickup system should work just fine with the bass-side sensor placed a little higher (I guess we'll see). So now I'll also have a direct in and additional options. Which got me thinking, assuming I can get the mic to behave, why not look at blending both?

    From what I can tell there are the following:
    Schertler Yellow Blender (expensive!)
    Fire-Eye Red-Eye Twin (but won't support the mic, only has 1/4 inputs?)
    Headway EDB-2 (looks good)
    Tonebone PZ PRE (looks great!!)

    To have my cake and eat it too, it looks like the Tonebone would allow me to mute both signals simultaneously for tuning, and also assign the boost to JUST the transducer signal during solos so I'm not also boosting the condenser (boosting the condenser seems like a bad idea)?

    Thanks for any recs and advice on the gear situation, and would also love to hear opinions from any FOH sound guys out there.... Do other players actually do this? Would you prefer to receive the two inputs separately at the board and mix them in the house yourselves, or is it preferable to just send the one blended signal? Is this idea overkill and I should just use one or the other and be less of a pain in the ass?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Blending mic+piezo input signals with a dual-channel DI box?

    The Schertler is the only one that makes sense IF you are looking for a real 2 channel PU/Mic blender type box (for a single mandolin) .. the others only have 1 single shared EQ .. so I don't see how the others would be worth the $ or the trouble.

    In fact I don't see the point of 2 channels in the PZ PRE .. since without 2 independant EQ's you'd be re-setting the EQ everytime you switched instruments.


    Quote Originally Posted by Witz View Post
    Shout out to this amazing resource and all of the power users out there volunteering their incredible wealth of expertise and knowledge! Bit of a long-winded post here, trying to provide sufficient background without making you read my life story, and hopefully others will find it useful.

    Current gear in my possession includes a clip-on condenser mic (it's either an ATM350 or a PRO 35 I'm actually not sure), mando with soon-to-be-installed K&K Twin Internal piezo transducer, and an LR Baggs Venue DI.

    I've had acceptable results using the K&K+Venue setup with past mandolins. However, my new mando has somewhat unconventional tone bar placement on the bass side, preventing the piezo sensor from being set in the ideal recommended spot underneath the foot of the bridge... you have to travel up 1-2 inches before you get enough real estate in between the tone bar and the f-hole to affix the sensor without it visibly sticking out into the f-hole. This initially seemed sketchy to me and my local tech so we didn't install and I opted for the mic clipped on to my pickguard direct to the board, which hey sounds really great (surprise surprise). However, I'm about fed up because I CANNOT get the gooseneck to keep the mic from dropping directly into the f-hole over the course of my set, where it then feeds back and sounds objectively horrible, and it forces me to constantly be messing with it. Bummer! Anyone have a fix for that one??

    After swearing I wouldn't suffer through another gig like that, I called up K&K who assure me the pickup system should work just fine with the bass-side sensor placed a little higher (I guess we'll see). So now I'll also have a direct in and additional options. Which got me thinking, assuming I can get the mic to behave, why not look at blending both?

    From what I can tell there are the following:
    Schertler Yellow Blender (expensive!)
    Fire-Eye Red-Eye Twin (but won't support the mic, only has 1/4 inputs?)
    Headway EDB-2 (looks good)
    Tonebone PZ PRE (looks great!!)

    To have my cake and eat it too, it looks like the Tonebone would allow me to mute both signals simultaneously for tuning, and also assign the boost to JUST the transducer signal during solos so I'm not also boosting the condenser (boosting the condenser seems like a bad idea)?

    Thanks for any recs and advice on the gear situation, and would also love to hear opinions from any FOH sound guys out there.... Do other players actually do this? Would you prefer to receive the two inputs separately at the board and mix them in the house yourselves, or is it preferable to just send the one blended signal? Is this idea overkill and I should just use one or the other and be less of a pain in the ass?

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    Default Re: Blending mic+piezo input signals with a dual-channel DI box?

    Do you need a pre for the mic? That should be able to go direct to the board. You can get a single pre and a XLR mute for the mic if that is the reason for a double pre amp.
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    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blending mic+piezo input signals with a dual-channel DI box?

    With the Headway EDB-2 the way you run it is to have the transducer into Ch.1. You also assign the EQ and the notch filter to that channel only. You now have a 5 band EQ and notch filter on the pickup... this is where it is really needed. Very little to no EQ tends to be required on the mic.... so, you now plug the mic into Channel two (the XLR) and turn on the +18v. You now adjust the two channel gains to get your desired blend. Any final EQ adjustments on the (now) blended signal can done on the desk. Using either an ATM-350 or a DPA 4099 I generally hardly need to touch the EQ, just a bit of LF cut, mostly. That's the setup I use when running a 'blend' between pickup and clip on mic and have used that on a wide variety of mandolins, mandolas, OM's and other traditional instruments. You can also just run the two separately, provided you have a good desk, with good EQ. Pickup into a 'simple' high impedance DI box and mic straight into the console preamp. Any 'blending' is done by simply balancing the channel faders. This works best on digital consoles, where you tend to have by far the most sophisticated and flexible EQ's, compression or other channel processing available.

    As for 'droop' from the clip on, I have not had that myself. They stay where put. How are you mounting it?
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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blending mic+piezo input signals with a dual-channel DI box?

    If you're dead set on K&K, thats fine. However if the size of the element is interfering with placement I suggest get a smaller element pickup. I've used the smaller sized JJB's (they are round and come in two sizes; 15 mm or 20 mm) in tight spots like in violins where the bass bar can interfere. I've used both JJB and K&K and the K&K size and shape are more awkward inside a mando or fiddle. They both sound great.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Blending mic+piezo input signals with a dual-channel DI box?

    Piezo Impedance buffer in 1 channel and Phantom powered mic in 2nd channel
    is sorted out in My Roland AC 60.

    there is a out put on the back to send each channel separately via a Mic XLR
    pair and a mixed Mono 1/4".

    [It has a "DI out" but according to the block digram its not a Post Preamp signal,
    and 1/4" (not XLR) so its more the pedal tuner signal ..]

    Getting a small Mix desk with a few channels wont have the Piezo Buffer.
    then the Piezo Pre goes in the signal chain and its output is higher to feed 1 channel
    the line out from the piezo pre can go in a Line jack and Bypass the mic Pre...

    The small sub mixer desk will have a Mic Preamp in at minimum 2 channels .



    Do you need the whole output stepped back down

    to a DI a Microphone impedance Level?
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