best way to handle piezo pickups

Need some guidance,

Topic 1
I have a Yamaha apx6a (piezo pu), I have an external soundcard (presonus firebox). The sound card has HiZ inputs and has a pre-amp. I have an option set in the cards software mixer to boost gain by +10db. Now the total percentage of gain I’m using on the Fire Box (using the input gain knob) is about 65%-70% and this is giving me a recording level of about -6 on nTrack. I’m not hearing any noise, nor do I see any on the recording vumeter. But I’m wondering if this high of a gain setting is normal for instruments with this type of pickup.

Topic 2
I have discussed with my brother whether it would be in my best interest to do some outboard processing instead of using VST. I was interested in purchasing a compressor. His advice to me was that software compressors nowadays are as good as hardware compressors, and on a dollar per dollar basis I would be better off staying with software. Is he correct?

Topic 3
I’m considering purchasing Sonar 5. Do I need a spanking?

This should have been posted in the Discussion area.

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I have discussed with my brother whether it would be in my best interest to do some outboard processing instead of using VST. I was interested in purchasing a compressor. His advice to me was that software compressors nowadays are as good as hardware compressors, and on a dollar per dollar basis I would be better off staying with software. Is he correct?

Well I know the compressor plug at least for Ntrack is way cheaper than any hardware compressor. Also there’s alot of freeware out there. If I had the money, I would still by a hardware device for live preformance, that way I’d have it even if my hardrive takes a crapper! :p
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I’m considering purchasing Sonar 5. Do I need a spanking


I’m sure theirs guys here that would be willing to help you with that.
it’s not my department though. :laugh:

keep shinin’

jerm :cool:

Skip the piezo and mic the thing. Trust me. I am going to have to go back and re-track some acoustic parts because I tried the direct-inject piezo thang. Sounds like poo. Maybe record both the piezo signal and a mic in case you want to blend in some piezo for whatever reason…

My guitar sound (Alvarez) sucks recorded through the piezo though… I’ll know better from now on.

D

PS Sonar 5? Good program if’n you have 500 bux…

Quote (Diogenes @ April 24 2006,14:56)
Skip the piezo and mic the thing. Trust me. I am going to have to go back and re-track some acoustic parts because I tried the direct-inject piezo thang. Sounds like poo.

Hum-de-dum

http://www.thefartones.com/pics/gumbo/bimbo_01.jpg

Quick & dirty guitar track whipped up with the NTK aimed away from soundhole at roughly 14’th fret. Didn’t come out too bad…
Note unused pooey piezo jack :)

Quote (teryeah @ April 24 2006,15:11)
Quote (Diogenes @ April 24 2006,14:56)
Skip the piezo and mic the thing. Trust me. I am going to have to go back and re-track some acoustic parts because I tried the direct-inject piezo thang. Sounds like poo.

Hum-de-dum

http://www.thefartones.com/pics/gumbo/bimbo_01.jpg

Quick & dirty guitar track whipped up with the NTK aimed away from soundhole at roughly 14’th fret. Didn’t come out too bad…
Note unused pooey piezo jack :)

:)

What axe is that Teryeah?

It’s a cheapo Jay Turser. It’s all I have…

Man’s gotta use what he’s got eh? The reason I ask is the maple sides look just like my Alvarez. Who knows? They may have come from the same Korean factory… Now my bud? He has THE acoustic that we need to MIC for all our future efforts. Gibson J-100 Xtra. Man that thing is SUUUHHWEEETTT!

D

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Topic 1
I have a Yamaha apx6a (piezo pu), I have an external soundcard (presonus firebox). The sound card has HiZ inputs and has a pre-amp. I have an option set in the cards software mixer to boost gain by +10db. Now the total percentage of gain I’m using on the Fire Box (using the input gain knob) is about 65%-70% and this is giving me a recording level of about -6 on nTrack. I’m not hearing any noise, nor do I see any on the recording vumeter. But I’m wondering if this high of a gain setting is normal for instruments with this type of pickup.


Okay, admittadly you can get a better recording out of a $50 chinese condensor mic, but if you must use a piezo for whatever reason… a few rules you must follow. First, use a DI box. It will most likely be putting out a high impedance signal and not using a DI will add insult to injury in regards to the sound. Though with the Firebox, make sure you are using the front preamp 1/4" ins and you can skip the DI. Just making sure you aren’t running direct into the LINE inputs in the back. Also, the harder you strum a piezo, the “quackier” it becomes. You can get away with recordings sometimes lightly strumming on a piezo and it be tolerable… sort of. Listen to TV music lately… a lot of TV shows have gotten cheap and sloppy (mostly those anny and reality shows) and you’ll hear a piezo here and there usually finger piked or lightly strummed. Makes my skin crawl when I hear that on a national TV show. Jeez, spend the $50 extra bucks and have the guy put up a mic.

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Topic 2
I have discussed with my brother whether it would be in my best interest to do some outboard processing instead of using VST. I was interested in purchasing a compressor. His advice to me was that software compressors nowadays are as good as hardware compressors, and on a dollar per dollar basis I would be better off staying with software. Is he correct?


He is half right. Software compressors are just fine… but there are reasons to use a hardware compressor. 1.) You want to compress on the way in/use the compressor as a saftey net. You may do this when recording a source live that you don’t have great control over the levels (think drunk ass punk band). This will keep you from clipping your sound card inputs. 2.) You want color. Many software comrpessors are very transparant meaning you can’t tell they are being used. Some folks WANT the sound of a specific compressor. In this case, they use their favorite hardware compressor as it lends a certain quality be it warmth, distortion, grit, etc.

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Topic 3
I’m considering purchasing Sonar 5. Do I need a spanking?

Need and want are two totally different things. The question is, do you want one? :p Personally, I would look to MTS or Adobe.

Okay will definitely consider getting a good mic. Yes I’ve noticed it does sound like cardboard but with distortion, effects etc… and some EQ’ing it’s not too bad. I have it DI’ed in.

As for Sonar it’s a I want thing, not an I need thing. As for the spanking well…only if your a female.

Will definitely be looking at picking up a compressor.

Thankyou folks again

Hi StuH and All:
In my opinion, the piezo pickups are of such Hi-Impedence that if you attempt to load the pickup into a preamp that is of a lower impedience that frequency bandwidth will suffer… Big-Time…

The impedience of these piezo pickups are in the order of several meg ohms. Any preamp input impedience lower than the piezo impedience will load the piezo element and close the “Frequency Bandwith” of the device…

Ya gotta be careful, not to do that to those pickups…

That’s only my opinion… of course…

Depending on what you wantta hear, a combination of track mixes might make a stellar Acoustic Guitar Track… with a couple of mics and a Piezzo element…

Expirement with one of those Radio Shack piezo speaker/elements and some of that “Sticky Puddy” and look for the “Sweet Spot” on the inside of the guitar body around the lower side of the bridge… or anywhere that sounds like what you wantta hear…

[EDIT]
But ya gotta have a Piezo Element preamp… One with an extra Hi-Impedience input impedience setup… designed for piezo pickups.

Bill…

Quote (woxnerw @ April 24 2006,20:16)
The impedience of these piezo pickups are in the order of several meg ohms. Any preamp input impedience lower than the piezo impedience will load the piezo element and close the "Frequency Bandwith" of the device..



Expirement with one of those Radio Shack piezo speaker/elements and some of that "Sticky Puddy" and look for the "Sweet Spot" on the inside of the guitar body around the lower side of the bridge.. or anywhere that sounds like what you wantta hear..

The piezo is saddled under the bridge on my guitar. Pre done by Yamaha. Im running through a direct injection box, then to my card (again with supposed HiZ inputs) I guess duplication. What I'm finding here is that too much high end will make it sound like cardboard. It's a breeze though cause there's a 3 band semi parametric eq on the guitar so nothing to worry too much about but main primary concern was if using 60-70% of the gain on the souncard seemed a bit much. Should I be pre-amping before amping with the soundcard? I definitely think adding a mic would bring some nice dimension to the sound for sure.