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  #1  
Old 02-12-2018, 08:34 PM
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RandyOK RandyOK is offline
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Default Barbera Transducer Saddles

Does anyone here have any personal experience with a Barbera pickup?
Thoughts and observations?
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Old 02-13-2018, 07:52 AM
Paultergeist Paultergeist is offline
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I have one installed in a nylon-string (classical) guitar. I love it. While I have not tried every pickup out there, I have tried quite a few. In particular, I have always been disappointed by the common under-saddle ribbon transducers. The Barbera is a different animal; it has 6 little transducers -- each built-in to the saddle -- so that each string essentially gets its own transducer. To my ears, it sounds great, the response and output is even across all six strings, and it is the best nylon-string pick-up I have played.

I have no batteries or preamp in the subject guitar....just the pick-up connected to an end-pin jack. I run a 10' cable from the guitar to a pre-amp (I use a Red-Eye or Tech 21 Sans Amp)...then on to any effects, etc. I have been extremely happy with this set-up for a nylon-string guitar.

I have no experience with the pick-up on steel-string guitars, although I read of good reviews on-line.

Good luck.
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:25 AM
emmsone emmsone is offline
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I have also installed one in a recent nylon crossover I built. I am definitely pleased with how it sounds however I also have no personal experience with it in steel strings. The reviews seem to be pretty positive. I know Doug Young has installed one in one of his guitars.

One thing I will say is that although no pickups are exactly the same, a lot of SBT's have similar characteristics, the same with UST's, to me the Barbera Soloist seems to be a bit out on its own making it a little harder to describe, its definitely a very dry signal, i've found the string balance is excellent and the output is easily hot enough to use without a preamp

As Rich Barbera makes every individual pickup himself, he is a good person to talk to about this and is more than willing to talk to customers on the phone.

David
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:14 AM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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I have a Barbera Soloist in a rosewood/spruce medium jumbo steel string guitar. On the plus side, it does provide good string balance and feedback rejection. On the downside, it definitely quacks with aggressive strumming (contrary to the hype). It may well be less quacky than many other in-saddle or undersaddle pickups, but when it comes to minimizing quack, the DTAR Wavelength UST system or the PUTW I/O UST work just as well or better, in my observation.

Luckily for me, I usually use the Soloist with a ToneDexter processor which removes the quack entirely. Here's a recording where the guitar was recorded directly off the Soloist, with the signal routed through ToneDexter.
https://soundcloud.com/guitaniac/jan...h-tonedexter-1

Here's a live performance (of the same song) where I'm running the Soloist through my Zoom A3 preamp. (I didn't want to take the time to unbox and plug in ToneDexter on this occasion.) Even in that noisy environment, I can hear the piezo quack from my strumming.
https://youtu.be/Oi7vkBZ6X6I
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:44 AM
AeroUSA AeroUSA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitaniac View Post
I have a Barbera Soloist in a rosewood/spruce medium jumbo steel string guitar. On the plus side, it does provide good string balance and feedback rejection. On the downside, it definitely quacks with aggressive strumming (contrary to the hype). It may well be less quacky than many other in-saddle or undersaddle pickups, but when it comes to minimizing quack, the DTAR Wavelength UST system or the PUTW I/O UST work just as well or better, in my observation.

Luckily for me, I usually use the Soloist with a ToneDexter processor which removes the quack entirely. Here's a recording where the guitar was recorded directly off the Soloist, with the signal routed through ToneDexter.
https://soundcloud.com/guitaniac/jan...h-tonedexter-1

Here's a live performance (of the same song) where I'm running the Soloist through my Zoom A3 preamp. (I didn't want to take the time to unbox and plug in ToneDexter on this occasion.) Even in that noisy environment, I can hear the piezo quack from my strumming.
https://youtu.be/Oi7vkBZ6X6I
Iím thinking of trying this same set up. Would you recommend it?
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:49 AM
Petty1818 Petty1818 is offline
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I was close to ordering one of these pickups but was put off by the need for shims. Are users of the Soloist finding that they need shims to get the saddle to the proper height or were you lucky enough to avoid this?
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Old 02-13-2018, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petty1818 View Post
I was close to ordering one of these pickups but was put off by the need for shims. Are users of the Soloist finding that they need shims to get the saddle to the proper height or were you lucky enough to avoid this?
I did not need a shim, but obviously it depends on the guitar. I don't see shims as a big deal as long as you use good quality material. The Barbara does have the potential to change the acoustic sound of your guitar - you'll be changing from some other material, bone or whatever to the Barbara integrated system. I believe the tone changed in my guitar, tho it's impossible to AB properly, so who knows, but I don't think the tone is worse, maybe just somewhat different. But as long as you're willing to make that change, I don't think a shim should be a deal-breaker.
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Old 02-13-2018, 03:42 PM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petty1818 View Post
I was close to ordering one of these pickups but was put off by the need for shims. Are users of the Soloist finding that they need shims to get the saddle to the proper height or were you lucky enough to avoid this?
My luthier used a wood shim. I'm vague on the wood, but I think it was ebony or rosewood. The guitar's bridge is rosewood. I might not have needed a shim if I'd bought the pickup directly from Rich Barbera and provided him with a saddle height to match (with one of the three available sizes). I bought the pickup used from another forum member.

The saddle material is very hard. I'm thinking that the system might quack less with a tusq saddle, with that factor (saddle material) being why my Wavelength and PUTW UST setups have seemed less quacky. I can assure you, though, that all the UST and in-saddle systems have had a very evident quack when recording strumming direct-from-pickup. I've had some success (for recording) with blending UST and internal mic signals, but ToneDexter is the only processor that's given me full satisfaction when processing the full signal of an in-saddle or undersaddle pickup.

My only dissatisfaction with the Soloist has been that it doesn't seem to blend very well with the Mini-Flex 2Mic which I also have in the guitar. Perhaps that's because the adjacent crystals are wired to be out of phase with each other. That's a moot point for high volume settings, as the best combo for that is 100% Soloist and a WaveMap which includes the resonant frequency reductions. I can make the Soloist feed back, but it takes a crazy high level for that.
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Old 02-13-2018, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitaniac View Post
My only dissatisfaction with the Soloist has been that it doesn't seem to blend very well with the Mini-Flex 2Mic which I also have in the guitar. Perhaps that's because the adjacent crystals are wired to be out of phase with each other. That's a moot point for high volume settings, as the best combo for that is 100% Soloist and a WaveMap which includes the resonant frequency reductions. I can make the Soloist feed back, but it takes a crazy high level for that.
FWIW, I blend my Barbara with an Audix L5O with no issues, sounds very good.
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Old 02-14-2018, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
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FWIW, I blend my Barbara with an Audix L5O with no issues, sounds very good.
I tried blending the Dexterized Soloist signal and the MiniFlex 2Mic signal for recording purposes, but decided that I prefer the pure Dexterized Soloist signal. I may experiment with it some more in the future. I don't doubt that blending in some 2Mic would be preferable for top percussion.
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Old 05-09-2018, 08:37 PM
h2otorched h2otorched is offline
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My previous guitars, Lowden O23, F12, Martin
D28 Clarence White, were set up with Trance Acoustic Lens, and a Sunrise Mag.
A beautifully full natural sound.
All gone with the wind.
I have a new Lowden O25c
being built this month.
Iím considering pairing the Barbera with the Sunrise.
Your experiences and thoughts are appreciated!
[emoji1365]❤️
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Old 05-09-2018, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h2otorched View Post
I have a new Lowden O25c
being built this month.
Iím considering pairing the Barbera with the Sunrise.

[emoji1365]❤️
You know that this will require routing the saddle out to accommodate the Barbera (as well as a special split version), right? Pierre Bensusan seems to sound quite good with his, and I may consider it at some point, but it's definitely a big decision to make.
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Old 05-09-2018, 09:06 PM
h2otorched h2otorched is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Young View Post
You know that this will require routing the saddle out to accommodate the Barbera (as well as a special split version), right? Pierre Bensusan seems to sound quite good with his, and I may consider it at some point, but it's definitely a big decision to make.


Youíre right on all angles.
It works well for Pierre!
Yeah, Iím out on the Prairie, and
in need of an experienced Luthier
to manifest some installation.
Someone near northwest Iowa.
I loved my previous sound, Trance/Sunrise through a Pendulum SPS-1,
but Dazzos, and Tonedexterís seem
to be the new wave.
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Old 05-10-2018, 04:59 AM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h2otorched View Post
My previous guitars, Lowden O23, F12, Martin
D28 Clarence White, were set up with Trance Acoustic Lens, and a Sunrise Mag.
A beautifully full natural sound.
All gone with the wind.
I have a new Lowden O25c
being built this month.
I’m considering pairing the Barbera with the Sunrise.
Your experiences and thoughts are appreciated!
[emoji1365]❤️
Both the Sunrise and the Soloist are very string-oriented pickups. With respect to blending them, I suspect that they would duplicate each other more than compliment each other. (The Sunrise and the Trance Audio pickup seems like a more logical pairing to me. The blending of a mag signal with an SBT signal has worked well for many.)

My own experiences with the Soloist have been a bit unusual. Its working well with ToneDexter, but its working best with a WaveMap which I trained with another guitar (as opposed to a WaveMap which I trained with the Soloist-equipped guitar). That's a pretty unusual circumstance, I suspect.

The Soloist has also worked pretty well with my Zoom A3 preamp. It only needs a modest 3db cut at 500 Hz (Q of 1) for a very balanced and pleasing tone (for my taste, at least.) If I add in the A3's modeling, its lessens the quack (which occurs with hard strumming) and improves the already pleasing tone a bit more. (I'm preferring the A3's 000-18 model at the moment, although the Soloist-equipped guitar is a spruce/rosewood medium jumbo. Go figure.)

In any event, I've been very pleased with the Barbera Soloist. The Soloist/ToneDexter combo has worked the best for me, but the Soloist/A3 combo has also yielded pleasing results.

I've tried blending the Soloist with the MiniFlex2Mic which I have in the same guitar, but I haven't liked that as much as the Soloist/ToneDexter combo. To be fair, I don't have a blender which can EQ each channel separately before blending. You might have much better results (blending the Soloist with a mic) with the Pendulum blender.

I've had better success (with respect to tone) blending the Soloist with the little iRig Acoustic Stage mic, but the iRig Acoustic Stage is too fragile and cumbersome for live amplification. Its also been very feedback prone once I've blended in a good amount of mic in a live setting. (I'll continue to experiment with it for recording.)

Last edited by guitaniac; 05-10-2018 at 05:23 AM.
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Old 05-10-2018, 05:20 AM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AeroUSA View Post
Iím thinking of trying this same set up. Would you recommend it?
I'm sorry to have missed this question back in February. The Soloist/ToneDexter combo is working very well for me at the moment, but its a bit of an unusual circumstance. I'm getting my most pleasing results from a WaveMap which I created using another guitar (as opposed to a WaveMap which was trained with the Soloist-equipped guitar). This unusual circumstance may be due to the ultra-cheapo training mic ($40 Behringer omni-directional measurement mic) or it may be due to the unusual training protocol required for the Soloist.

Whatever the case, I'm using the WaveMap which works best for me at the moment. I'm looking forward to getting a better training mic at some point, and I'll also be swapping out the MiniFlex 2Mic (which is also in the Soloist-equipped guitar) for an SBT. I'm very curious to try ToneDexter with an SBT like the K&K, JJB or Ultra Tonic. (I have tried ToneDexter with the iBeam in my old D28, but the results were awful. Once again, the cheap training mic could possibly have been my problem - or my inability to use it effectively.)
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