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Thread: K&K twin-preamp-guitar amp

  1. #1

    Default K&K twin-preamp-guitar amp

    Apologies for another pickup/preamp thread, but there are so many it was somewhat confusing, mostly because I will not be running it to a PA, just to an amp.

    I've got a K&K external Twin spot mounted on my mandolin, and have plugged it directly into a Roland Cube 40. I've needed to crank the volume on the amp up a lot, compared to my Godin, and it has significant piezo quack in the tone.

    From reading other threads, I gather that I need a preamp.

    The Redeye seems highly thought of, but I need a 1/4" output, not XLR, as I don't need to run to a PA. (Does the 1/4" out for the effects loop on the Redeye work for going directly to the amp?)

    Looking for warm tone, simple controls, maybe some EQ.
    Thoughts in the $200 or less range?
    K&K Pre, Baggs Para, others?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Registered User Tom Wright's Avatar
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    Default Re: K&K twin-preamp-guitar amp

    I have the Baggs Para DI and am impressed with its capability. Their Venue is impressive but expensive, and larger.

    The Para has useful EQ, 5 bands with sweepable midrange and high-bass cut or boost. The midrange cut is narrow and sweeps from 400 tp 1600 Hz, and the high bass covers 98 to 247 Hz. If you get one try cutting substantially at 1000-1200 Hz to kill the quack.

    The gain range is huge, with both a gain and a volume control. Background noise is unnoticeable. It has both 1/4” and XLR out, and the XLR will accept phantom power from a PA to save battery. Battery drain is low, simple analog circuitry.
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  4. #3
    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: K&K twin-preamp-guitar amp

    Baggs para is very well regarded.

    I use a much cheaper Fishman pre which works fine for me, but it appears to be no longer available so I won't recommend it...

  5. #4
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    Default Re: K&K twin-preamp-guitar amp

    Yes the effects out on the RedEye will work perfectly fine into a guitar amp. I have used a lot of preamps and prefer the RedEye. NFI on my part.
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  6. #5

    Default Re: K&K twin-preamp-guitar amp

    You can run the quarter inch FX send out of a RedEye, but I have found a better tone from a SunAudio Stage 1 DI,which has both XLR and quarter inch outputs. A major issue is you now have an impedance mismatch, which will as you have found, make your tone suck.

    But an even bigger issue is that your Rolland, good as they are for electric guitar, is the wrong tool. If you bought a Fishman Loudbox mini, you would not need a preamp, and it would be voiced for a more full frequency tone needed for acoustic instruments. Another popular route is a powered speaker, but that usually needs an outboard pre too. A good pre is going to come close to the cost of the Fishman mini. But a pre could go right into a PA, so many ways to skin a cat.

    I'll add a tech 101 tutorial. A piezo pickup's frequency response reacts to the input impedance of what it is plugged into. Typical input impedance of a guitar amp or PA input is 800 ohms. This causes the harsh high frequencies of a piezo to be promenent. What a piezo wants to see is an input impedance of 1 meg ohm. This smooths out the tone. Virtually any pre for acoustic guitar has a 1 meg or better input impedance, as do acoustic amps. Some have switches to go back and forth. I've seen new mixers with this switch too, but don't count on the sound person to be aware of this.

    A pet peeve of mine is that I've asked folks who had K&Ks put in an instrument, if anyone ever told them about this. They never do, thinking of loosing the sale if people had to spend a couple hundred more for a pre. K&K has this in their instructions.

    A word of caution on DI boxes both passive and active. Not all have the proper impedance because keyboards, etc.bare run through them. Sorry for the long post but it has been a sore point for me, and is knowledge any piezo owner needs. Too many horrible sounding guitars because of this basic mismatch.
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  7. #6
    Registered User Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: K&K twin-preamp-guitar amp

    I send the FX out of my Red Eye into a Princeton Reverb amp and it is splendid tone....

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  9. #7

    Default Re: K&K twin-preamp-guitar amp

    Thanks guys.
    I got the K&K assuming I would need a preamp, but wanted to try it without one first.
    I understand that I would get better sound from an acoustic amp, and even better from a mic setup. But my music space is small, and I sit right next to my amp, so a mic was not a good idea, feedback wise.
    I really like the sound, (and effects), I get from the Roland with my Godin, but hate the tiny frets on it. Just trying to get similar tone from my acoustics, that are more comfortable to play, without spending a lot.

  10. #8
    Registered User Perry's Avatar
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    Default Re: K&K twin-preamp-guitar amp

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandodork View Post
    Apologies for another pickup/preamp thread, but there are so many it was somewhat confusing, mostly because I will not be running it to a PA, just to an amp.

    I've got a K&K external Twin spot mounted on my mandolin, and have plugged it directly into a Roland Cube 40. I've needed to crank the volume on the amp up a lot, compared to my Godin, and it has significant piezo quack in the tone.

    From reading other threads, I gather that I need a preamp.

    The Redeye seems highly thought of, but I need a 1/4" output, not XLR, as I don't need to run to a PA. (Does the 1/4" out for the effects loop on the Redeye work for going directly to the amp?)

    Looking for warm tone, simple controls, maybe some EQ.
    Thoughts in the $200 or less range?
    K&K Pre, Baggs Para, others?

    Thanks!
    Yes you can take the Red-Eye effects loop 1/4" out. I asked Daren that very question. and his answer "Yes, Perry, the Effects Loop Output is a nice buffered output to feed a 1/4-inch signal to a sound system."

    I highly recommend the Red-Eye...it has worked for me on 100+ gigs...always comes through in flying colors.

  11. #9

    Default Re: K&K twin-preamp-guitar amp

    My pre amp journey started with a Baggs PARA DI. Because I've been putting Dazzo pickups in all my guitars, I've been privy to what Teddy Randazzo uses with his pickups. Now Dazzos are a two piezo system , but where K&K minis are a one size fits all pickup, Dazzo makes frequency tailored pickups that match your guitar, so little or no EQ is necessary. I haven't tried his mandolin pickup yet.

    So one day Teddy plugs me into a RedEye, and the difference was dramatic. The basic sound was far superior to the PARA DI. I was a huge RedEye fanboy, until Teddy plugged me into a new pre he was working on with a new local company, SunnAudio. Through the SunnAudio, it sounded like studio quality, just another level of refinement. Now what the RedEye and SunnAudio product have in common are minimal designs. The Redeye has a nifty volume boost, the SunnAusio Stage DI has bass and treble controls that are subtle. Though the FX out from a RedEye works fine, the XLR sounds better.

    The folks at SunnAudio built me a custom box with their blender DI circuit in it so we could blend two acoustic instruments at an open mic I sometimes host. Everything with a pickup sounds better through the Sunn Audio circuit, from the cheapest undersaddle piezo to K&K minis, and even electric guitars going for a clean sound. I have not yet had a situation needing a mandolin pickup, but have no doubt any piezo will sound great through it. The SunnAudio Stage 1 DI also has quater inch outputs as well as XLR, plus FX send/return loop.

    I can't remember ever using my RedEye since I've had SunnAudio, and like I said, I was a huge RedEye fan.
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  12. #10
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: K&K twin-preamp-guitar amp

    If your pickups are handled as two channels in a stereo output that needs to go into a pre-amp for blending, you might want to look at the K&K Dual Channel Pro ST.

    I'm using one of these on my double bass which has a stereo dual pickup system (bridge wing and fingerboard click). I've got this device mounted on my bass and it provides excellent support.

    The Dual Pro has full EQ and gain for each channel before output as adjustable pots inside the box, plus simple and clear volume controls outside the box for blending the two channels into the final mono signal that would go to either an amp or a FOH system. It includes both a single blended mono output and separate mono outputs for each channel for situations where you want to send both signals separately. It is a small box (~4 1/2" x 3 1/2" x 1") powered either by 9V battery or AC adapter. It includes both a belt clip and rubber feet.
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  13. #11
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    Default Re: K&K twin-preamp-guitar amp

    L R Baggs or ART, both companies make good quality equipment ranging from 50.00$ to 200.00$ from battery to line voltage powered. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

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  15. #12
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: other amps

    FWIW Roland AC 60 has an input switch piezo or magnetic instrument pickup

    and a mic channel with a phantom on/off switch..

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