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Thread: Noise with cheap magnetic pickups!

  1. #1

    Default Noise with cheap magnetic pickups!

    Hello, all. I have a cheap Rogue A-style mandolin with a single coil pickup as the passive electronics. For what I do, it's been great. A little noisy sometimes, but with a simple noise gate, I'm fine.

    My church, however, changed the lighting for the month of December to about 60 Edison bulbs, all dimmed to 60%. Looks great, but causes me a ton of buzz and hum. None of my normal tricks have worked, and I had to play last Sunday with an incredibly aggressive noise gate and hacking out a lot of my high end EQ (where that buzz is mostly coming from). I don't want to do that for the entire month.

    So what's a cheap-ish way to amplify the mando when my magnetic pickup isn't an option? As a last resort I can put a mic on a stand, but I'd really rather not as I move around a bunch. Can anyone recommend a cheap-ish (sub $100) clip on mic? Contact mic? Stick-in piezo? A pickup to swap in to replace the cheap Rogue one?

    I don't mind investing a little bit to help with the problem, but I'm also keeping in mind that it's a $60 instrument, so I can't really justify spending hundreds of dollars... yet.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Noise with cheap magnetic pickups!

    Lighting circuits can play havoc with instrument pickups - listen to the change in hum level as the lighting faders go up and down - and it’s not only magnetic pickups that suffer, you can have similar problems with piezo pickups and microphones.

    As for solutions, go for humbucking magnetic pickups rather than single coils. Get preamps as close as possible to piezo pickups (I fitted a MiSi preamp to my solid “acoustic” bass which solved a persistent hum problem.) With mics, make sure they’re balanced into balanced mic inputs.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Noise with cheap magnetic pickups!

    Find an outlet that is not on the same circuit as the lights. Plug everything that has to do with sound in that outlet using a long extension cord if you have to. It should help some.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  5. #4

    Default Re: Noise with cheap magnetic pickups!

    I recently got one of these sub $10 violin mics just to play with and, while not the best, certainly works in a pinch.

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    Default Re: Noise with cheap magnetic pickups!

    I might add, we used to play in a place where we had noise all the time. We found an outlet without compressors for air or kitchen and the noise went away. Had to run a long heavy extension cord, but it helped.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  7. #6
    Americana in France? Daniel Nestlerode's Avatar
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    Default Re: Noise with cheap magnetic pickups!

    Been there. It's not your mandolin's fault.

    I agree about finding the an outlet on a circuit that does not include the lighting. It'll help immensely.
    A battery powered amp would be separate your output from the AC and probably help a lot too.

    Good luck!
    Daniel

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