Pickups / microphones advice needed

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Casey Willis 2 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #7055

    ulla_petersen
    Participant

    I hope that someone in here might help me with my pickup problem, or perhaps recommend another pickup/microphone for fiddle? Well, actually viola, which is what I play, but I suppose most manufacturers make viola versions of violin pickups.

    Some time ago I bought a “The Band” pickup for my 16.5″ Mezzoforte carbonfibre viola, but I was very disappointed with it; not only is the signal quite low (I use it with a Steinberg UR22 audio interface to my Windows PC with a Steinberg Cubase, and before anybody asks: Yes, I do use the high impedance input), but it distorts even though the UR22 does not indicate any peak amplitude, and I am nowhere near 0 decibels in Cubase.

    So, any ideas what could be wrong? Or any recommendations of other pickups?

  • #7056

    ulla_petersen
    Participant

    Sorry, correction: Not for my carbon fibre instrument, but for a wooden viola of the same size!

    • #7059

      Casey Willis
      Keymaster

      Hi, Ulla. I can recommend the L.R. Baggs pickup. I believe they make a viola version. You will need a good luthier to fit the bridge if you go this route…my 2 cents!

      Best of luck!

  • #7062

    ulla_petersen
    Participant

    Thanks a lot for your answer; is that the one that you use? It certainly has a crystal-clear sound!

    I do know a good luthier, so that’s no problem, but as far as I can find out, L.R.Baggs don’t have any “production” pickups for viola, but only make custom viola pickups on demand, and of course they must cost a good deal more than their standard violin pickups. Also, their only dealer in Denmark is a guitar shop fra away from where I live, and I would have to persuade AND pay them (and everything in Denmark is terribly expensive) to order a viola pickup for me, so I guess a L.R.Baggs pickup is out of reach for me 🙁

  • #7063

    madsabout
    Participant

    Have you tried using a usb audio interface with your computer? Something like Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface might be just what you need. Maybe you can borrow one from a friend and try it out before you buy it?

    • #7064

      ulla_petersen
      Participant

      Thank you for your suggestion, but the UR22 is in fact an USB audio interface. I use a Cordial instrument (i.e. unbalanced) cable with Neutrik TR 1/4″ plugs from the pickup to the audio interface, and I strap on the pickup band as shown in the manual, i.e. so that the pickups are just below the strings right behind the bridge, i.e. between the bridge and the stringholder.

      I understand that “The Band” is quite a popular pickup, especially for folk musicians, so it seems unlikely that it should function so badly, but I have no idea what could be wrong.

    • #7069

      Casey Willis
      Keymaster

      Thanks, Madsabout, for the suggestion.

      Ulla, I don’t use the Baggs when recording lessons. I’ve yet to find a peizo which can compete with a microphone. I mix a SM-81 condenser mic with a smaller condenser mic I have suspended over my f-hole for video recordings. Sounds like a different brand of USB mic might be your best option. Best of luck!!

  • #7072

    ulla_petersen
    Participant

    Well, perhaps my expectations where too high, although “The Band” is not what I would call cheap.

    I’ll start looking for a microphone, then. Thanks, everybody, for your suggestions.

  • #7974

    ulla_petersen
    Participant

    So, I’ve finally given up “The Band” (it not only distorted the sound; the rubber band around the body of the instrument also prevented it from vibrating freely, so the timbre was altered and the sound diminished).

    Instead I have bought a t.bone Ovid System CC 100 (http://www.thomann.de/gb/the_tbone_ovid_system_cc_100.htm ), which is small condenser microphone on a flexible gooseneck. With a flute clip and a small piece of stiff wire I can strap it onto the stringholder, i.e. I can also use it on my carbon fibre viola, which has no sharp corners or edges that can hold a microphone clip.

    It is not a very expensive mic, but as far as I can hear, the sound is nice and clear. This is a very good solution for my tiny home studio 🙂

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