Results 1 to 24 of 24

Thread: Preamp for K&K pickup?

  1. #1

    Default Preamp for K&K pickup?

    I have an Eastman working it痴 way east from Arizona as we speak. It has a K&K, the one with two small contact mics. It痴 passive. How much gain am I going to need in a preamp? I知 hoping to use my programmable eq pedal. A Source Audio. It will provide more than enough eq, I知 sure. It has 12db of gain, will that be enough to boost the signal before the PA and direct box?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    Okay, I'll start. Don't know. I'm not a techy.

    If you decide you want a preamp, check out the Fire-Eye Red-Eye. Simple to work and sounds good. Set and forget.

    After owning and using other preamps with too many knobs to count, this is the one I'm sticking with.

  3. The following members say thank you to Charlie Bernstein for this post:


  4. #3

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    The Red Eye would be a great choice so will what you already have. In my gig bag I carry a backup of a passive art zdirect that works but no eq.

  5. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Utah, USA
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    I used that Source Audio EQ pedal for a number of years in my pedal setup for acoustic gigs, worked great (though the battery didn't last and it needed to be plugged in for power). I triple at most gigs (mando, guitar, upright bass) and needed the switchable EQ/preamp ability so I could run all three on one line. Worked a treat. I did pair it with two MXR Line Drivers -- one for overall volume and one as a solo boost. That was mostly due to my need to balance out 3 different instruments and wanting that solo level boost. For just one instrument I wouldn't think it necessary.

    In the past I've also used a K&K preamp, and still carry one in my bag as a spare for gigs where I don't have power available.

    I've since replaced that old pedal setup with a Boss AD-10. It's smaller than my old pedal setup and has 10 memory locations, so I can set up all my instruments. It's proven quite functional.
    Andrew Frink
    Phoenix Bluegrass, '23 Gibson A Snakehead, Weymann

  6. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,703

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Farney View Post
    I have an Eastman working it’s way east from Arizona as we speak. It has a K&K, the one with two small contact mics. It’s passive. How much gain am I going to need in a preamp? I’m hoping to use my programmable eq pedal. A Source Audio. It will provide more than enough eq, I’m sure. It has 12db of gain, will that be enough to boost the signal before the PA and direct box?
    The preamp does not boost the signal, in fact it is more of a buffer. What it is really needed for is to match the high impedance of the pickup to the lower input impedance of the PA.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  7. #6

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    Quote Originally Posted by drooartz View Post
    I used that Source Audio EQ pedal for a number of years in my pedal setup for acoustic gigs, worked great (though the battery didn't last and it needed to be plugged in for power). I triple at most gigs (mando, guitar, upright bass) and needed the switchable EQ/preamp ability so I could run all three on one line. Worked a treat. I did pair it with two MXR Line Drivers -- one for overall volume and one as a solo boost. That was mostly due to my need to balance out 3 different instruments and wanting that solo level boost. For just one instrument I wouldn't think it necessary.

    In the past I've also used a K&K preamp, and still carry one in my bag as a spare for gigs where I don't have power available.

    I've since replaced that old pedal setup with a Boss AD-10. It's smaller than my old pedal setup and has 10 memory locations, so I can set up all my instruments. It's proven quite functional.
    Excellent. I’ll stick with the Source Audio then. I’ll just have to split the output to choose guitar amp, or PA for the acoustic and Mando. Then I can have a Mando eq, an acoustic eq, one to fatten up a Tele for faux humbuckers without changing guitars, and a clean boost. Perfect.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    The preamp does not boost the signal, in fact it is more of a buffer. What it is really needed for is to match the high impedance of the pickup to the lower input impedance of the PA.
    I’m very confused. Every preamp I’ve owned added gain to the signal.

  9. #8
    Registered User John Flynn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    8,003

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Farney View Post
    I have an Eastman working it’s way east from Arizona as we speak. It has a K&K, the one with two small contact mics. It’s passive. How much gain am I going to need in a preamp? I’m hoping to use my programmable eq pedal. A Source Audio. It will provide more than enough eq, I’m sure. It has 12db of gain, will that be enough to boost the signal before the PA and direct box?
    I will second the Fire-Eye recommendation. I have a K&K twin in my octave mandolin and I run it through a Fire-Eye Red-Eye Twin preamp. I have tried other preamps, a Baggs and a Boss AD-8 (the old model, not the current one). The Fire-Eye is by far the best and most versatile. I am very happy with it.

    FWIW, to your other question, the Fire-Eye will boost the gain if you set it to. Mine has an adjustable boost foot switch that will bump up the gain quite a bit.

  10. #9
    Registered User Cheryl Watson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    St. Augustine, Florida, USA
    Posts
    1,344

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    Fire-eye Red Eye. Very transparent.

  11. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,703

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Farney View Post
    I’m very confused. Every preamp I’ve owned added gain to the signal.
    Oh it does add gain, sort of, but the pickups on their own have plenty of gain, they will however sound thin because of the impedance mismatch. So while you get plenty of gain, the preamp is there mostly to match impedance to the PA, the gain is plenty high in most transducers without the preamp. With a mismatch you lose the low end, extremely noticeable in guitars. A mandolin being bright to begin with also suffers without the match. The PA wants to see a low input, let's say around 600 ohms. The pickups are 1 million ohms. This is what the preamp is really designed to do is make the pickup compatible with what the PA wants to see.

    almeriastrings is much better at describing this than I am.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  12. The following members say thank you to pops1 for this post:


  13. #11

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    I would stick with the EQ pedal too.

    I suspect you will end up with the gain turned all the way up, 12db is likely plenty to get a workable signal for the sound guys.

    If you have a PA you can try out first, you will likely need to do high-pass, that pedal has 67 HZ and 125 HZ bands, which by turning them all the way down can get you in the ballpark. If the 125 hz band reaches up to 250 hz though, that might eat into the bottom few notes, low G is 196 hz fundamental AFAIK.

    It depends on how thumpy that pickup is, the only way to know is to try it.
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  14. The following members say thank you to kurth83 for this post:


  15. #12

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    Quote Originally Posted by kurth83 View Post
    I would stick with the EQ pedal too.

    I suspect you will end up with the gain turned all the way up, 12db is likely plenty to get a workable signal for the sound guys.

    If you have a PA you can try out first, you will likely need to do high-pass, that pedal has 67 HZ and 125 HZ bands, which by turning them all the way down can get you in the ballpark. If the 125 hz band reaches up to 250 hz though, that might eat into the bottom few notes, low G is 196 hz fundamental AFAIK.

    It depends on how thumpy that pickup is, the only way to know is to try it.
    I have a Yamaha mixer and some QSC actives, but I need to be able to get it sorted ay my end. Too many House PAs. I need to count on nothing but volume from them.

  16. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,703

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    Some mixers have a HiZ input, if your mixer has that and you plug your mandolin into that channel you won't need a preamp, but anything in between your mandolin and the mixer will change the match. Going into a preamp first allows you to plug anything that is designed to go into a PA in between the preamp and the PA without causing a mismatch.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  17. #14

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Farney View Post
    I have a Yamaha mixer and some QSC actives, but I need to be able to get it sorted ay my end. Too many House PAs. I need to count on nothing but volume from them.
    I do my pre-PA mixing into a QSC-K10 and get pretty good results that way.
    Trinity College TM325 Octave Mandolin (converted to 4-string tenor guitar).
    Eastman MD-605SB, MD-604SB, MD-305, all with Grover 309 tuners.
    Eastwood 4 string electric mandostang, 2x Airline e-mandola (4-string) one strung as an e-OM.
    DSP's: Helix HX Stomp, various Zooms.
    Amps: QSC-K10, DBR-10, THR-10, Sony XB-20.

  18. #15
    bass player gone mando
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Brooklyn and Rhinebeck NY
    Posts
    420

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    Whatever works for you, but I find the Radial PZ-Pre is the most versatile all around preamp and the sound guys love it. What's great from my viewpoint is that I often double on upright bass so having the two channels is very convenient.
    Collings MT O
    Collings MF5 0
    Weber Gallatin Mandola
    Weber Bitterroot Mandola
    Weber Sage Octave

  19. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,082

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    Grace Felix is the one....

  20. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Edmonton, AB
    Posts
    26

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    I’ll second this. Only gigged with it once so far but it handled a banjo and mandolin excellently.

  21. The following members say thank you to Canuckle for this post:


  22. #18

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    I have a rigel, with a piezo. This is very similar to K and K.

    A di makes an incredible difference in removing the boxy tone.
    I initially used a baggs di, the smaller version. This is where i really heard the difference.

    I now use the baggs venue di. I spent the extra for the boost and mute/tuner floor button.
    These are useful for those time i have no sound person, or, an inattentive one.
    I really like having the control to mute, if needed.


    In the event i need to tune, or get feedback, or need more or less volume, i have control from the stage.
    The tuner, btw, is easy to read, but not very useful for mando, good for guitar.

    It has extensive eq options, and this really helps.

    The fishman di now available may be far better, but, is also more $$$.
    Havent tried the red eye, but it sounds great.

    Fwiw, many accoustic amplifiers will come close to a di in forming tone. They can help reducing the boxy shrillness.
    Fwiw, my rigel a, accoustically, un amped is not boxy or shrill, but more like a cross between an a and an f, imho.

    I would NOT use a piezo type contact pick up w/o a di now that ive used one.
    I did this, for some time, using a tweed deluxe 5e3 12" tube amp, very warm and round, as well as a roland jazz chorus. Both were perfectly passable, but the di really make the amped mando sound far more "accoustic".

  23. #19
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,703

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    I agree Steve, you can plug a transducer into anything and EQ the crap out of it and get a passable sound. Or you can use a good preamp and do very little EQ and get a great sound. Installation does make a difference too, but the preamp is huge.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  24. #20
    Registered User Dave Fultz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Columbus, Oh
    Posts
    131

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    Believe it or not dept. ...

    I know guy who is an accomplished guitar player. Mostly electric, solo stuff.

    He noted that the GDAE is the top four strings of the guitar in reverse. GDAE ~ EADG. And he plays it as such.

    I play guitar too, but am an acoustic chord type guy. That doesn’t help me much.

    ============
    ~Music self-played is happiness self-made
    覧覧覧覧覧
    Loar LM-590
    Kentucky KM-272
    Johnson MA-110

  25. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,703

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    When people ask how the mandolin is tuned I tell them the last four strings of a guitar upside down or like a violin, but if I tried to think about that when I play I couldn't play anything. Like trying to play someone's left handed mandolin.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  26. #22

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scootch View Post
    Believe it or not dept. ...

    I know guy who is an accomplished guitar player. Mostly electric, solo stuff.

    He noted that the GDAE is the top four strings of the guitar in reverse. GDAE ~ EADG. And he plays it as such.

    I play guitar too, but am an acoustic chord type guy. That doesn’t help me much.
    Why not? Wouldn’t inversions from the guitar’s EADG just be flipped over? My Mando arrives today. I’m counting on that as my quick-start guide....

  27. #23

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    I don't have a pickup in my mandolins, but I do in every guitar. I was thrilled with my RedEye until my pickup maker Teddy Randazzo of Dazzo pickups A/B'd one next to a SunnAudio Stage1 DI. I've since bought two. One for an open mic, one for home. The SunnAudio DI is like going into a studio mixing board.

  28. #24

    Default Re: Preamp for K&K pickup?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Farney View Post
    Why not? Wouldn’t inversions from the guitar’s EADG just be flipped over? My Mando arrives today. I’m counting on that as my quick-start guide....
    If it helps you get started, nothing wrong with that. Ultimately, it's a crutch as it doesn't really help you learn what's actually going on on the fretboard. Doesn't work for scales, arpeggios, and most of the closed position chords that sound best on mandolin. Right out of the gate you can use the "upside down" open string G and C chords and be off to the races for strumming tunes, but if your goal is to learn say bluegrass mandolin, I find it better to start from scratch learning the fretboard as a new instrument rather than trying to translate guitar concepts and patterns over.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •