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  #1  
Old 01-19-2017, 01:53 PM
MrErikJ MrErikJ is offline
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Default PUTW Pre-Amp

Hi All,

Based on the premise that you need an effective "string sensor" and a "microphone-like" combination to get the best out of a dual source setup, I got creative with my selection and have the Baggs LB6 and the PUTW #54 wired in stereo to a single jack in my Alvarez dreadnought. I was seeking a passive solution that would give me the best of both options and after a bunch of research, the PUTW beat out K&K for the SBT choice as it was lighter in design, less obtrusive, and marginally more natural sounding. I generally don't care for USTs and was very close to using an M1 as my string sensor, but I rather liked the LB6 once I listened to some samples. It's not quite as natural as the Element or Wavelength, but the Intrasaddle design is cleaner sounding and less prone to quack. Also, its output is hot as all get out which makes it perfect for the "disaster scenario" where none of your gear is working. Come hell or high water, you can still plug in the LB6 and be heard.

I have them wired in stereo to a single jack and use the Baggs MixPro to control them before running it to a Fishman Loudbox Mini or a BBE Acoustimax. The PUTW is notoriously low output and I have to set the gain to almost 3 o'clock to get it even remotely at level with the LB6. that's not the real problem, however. The sound of the PUTW is so bassy that I have to engage the bass cut and the bass trim on that channel, and sometimes trim the bass at the amp as well to clean it up. Running it 75%PUTW/25%LB6 produces a pretty good sound, but there's something unusual about the PUTW's boominess with the MixPro that I'm wondering if it isn't an impedence mismatch.

PUTW claims that a 10megaohm impedence is ideal for their pickups, but the amount of mud I have to cut through makes me wonder if it wouldn't benefit from a K&K approved 1megaohm preamp. I was considering the K&K Dual Pro preamp as it operates similarly (actually, it has better features) than the Baggs and has 1 megaohm impedence. Just for reference, I've plugged this pickup directly into amplifiers with much cleaner sounding results.

Has anyone used a K&K preamp w/PUTW pickups? Any thoughts on how that would work and if the non-Baggs impedence would have any detrimental affect on the LB6? Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 01-19-2017, 02:28 PM
sdelsolray sdelsolray is offline
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The "too much bass" from a PUTW #54 is often a symptom of an improper installation. Are the end of leads which come off each pickup free from touching the bridge plate?
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Old 01-19-2017, 02:38 PM
MrErikJ MrErikJ is offline
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You mean the two wires coming from the sensors? I'll have to take a look when I get home, but they're insulated, so how would that effect the sound? If they're touching, can I just pull them down and tie them off as a solution?
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Old 01-19-2017, 03:01 PM
sdelsolray sdelsolray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrErikJ View Post
You mean the two wires coming from the sensors? I'll have to take a look when I get home, but they're insulated, so how would that effect the sound? If they're touching, can I just pull them down and tie them off as a solution?
Yes, except if you look carefully at how they connect, they aren't insulated all the way "into" the pickup material. That exposed metal must not touch the bridge plate at all.
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Old 01-23-2017, 01:54 PM
MrErikJ MrErikJ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdelsolray View Post
Yes, except if you look carefully at how they connect, they aren't insulated all the way "into" the pickup material. That exposed metal must not touch the bridge plate at all.
Checked the connections and they were solid. I analyzed my gain levels again and I think I had the gain two high on PUTW. To get its level similar to my LB6, I had it goosed to 3 o'clock with the LB6 only at 9. It sounded "clean" but the bass was exaggerated. Taking it down to 11 required no bass cut. I set it at noon and was able turn off the bass cut toggle and only had to dial-in a little bit of bass cut. I may even turn the gain down further and just adjust my Acoustimax's input gain when I'm using the PUTW solo or combining it with the LB6. SBT's sure are sensitive...
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Old 01-23-2017, 04:01 PM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrErikJ View Post
Hi All,

Based on the premise that you need an effective "string sensor" and a "microphone-like" combination to get the best out of a dual source setup, I got creative with my selection and have the Baggs LB6 and the PUTW #54 wired in stereo to a single jack in my Alvarez dreadnought. I was seeking a passive solution that would give me the best of both options and after a bunch of research, the PUTW beat out K&K for the SBT choice as it was lighter in design, less obtrusive, and marginally more natural sounding. I generally don't care for USTs and was very close to using an M1 as my string sensor, but I rather liked the LB6 once I listened to some samples. It's not quite as natural as the Element or Wavelength, but the Intrasaddle design is cleaner sounding and less prone to quack. Also, its output is hot as all get out which makes it perfect for the "disaster scenario" where none of your gear is working. Come hell or high water, you can still plug in the LB6 and be heard.

I have them wired in stereo to a single jack and use the Baggs MixPro to control them before running it to a Fishman Loudbox Mini or a BBE Acoustimax. The PUTW is notoriously low output and I have to set the gain to almost 3 o'clock to get it even remotely at level with the LB6. that's not the real problem, however. The sound of the PUTW is so bassy that I have to engage the bass cut and the bass trim on that channel, and sometimes trim the bass at the amp as well to clean it up. Running it 75%PUTW/25%LB6 produces a pretty good sound, but there's something unusual about the PUTW's boominess with the MixPro that I'm wondering if it isn't an impedence mismatch.

PUTW claims that a 10megaohm impedence is ideal for their pickups, but the amount of mud I have to cut through makes me wonder if it wouldn't benefit from a K&K approved 1megaohm preamp. I was considering the K&K Dual Pro preamp as it operates similarly (actually, it has better features) than the Baggs and has 1 megaohm impedence. Just for reference, I've plugged this pickup directly into amplifiers with much cleaner sounding results.

Has anyone used a K&K preamp w/PUTW pickups? Any thoughts on how that would work and if the non-Baggs impedence would have any detrimental affect on the LB6? Thanks!
In order to increase feedback resistance, two of the LB6's crystals are wired to produce signals which are out of phase with the signals from the other four crystals. I suspect that might cause some problems with the signal blending which you want to do.
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  #7  
Old 01-24-2017, 10:30 PM
MrErikJ MrErikJ is offline
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No problem with phase as the MixPro has a relative phase switch that corrects any issues there. The two blend well, the only issue I've had has been bass and gain levels on the PUTW and the high output of the LB6. I considered turning the gain all the way down on the LB6 to better balance its volume with the PUTW, but I worry that's not enough conditioning. I have the LB6 set to 9 o'clock, but I may bring it down just a tad bit further as it doesn't require much amplification, especially as it's only going down a 3 ft cable to my MixPro before taking a 10ft cable to my acoustimax and off to my amp.
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  #8  
Old 01-26-2017, 10:57 AM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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I once had a crosstalk problem (thru my stereo cable) when trying to blend a Baggs Hex pickup (very strong-signaled ceramic pickup) with a PUTW SBT (weak-signaled piezo film pickup). Crosstalk may have something to do with your poor results for the SBT.

If the SBT is wired to the jack's ring post, you could try accessing it with a mono cable which is wired to the ring of a stereo plug. That way you could test out the sound of the SBT without the LB6 signal creating a possible crosstalk issue. (I'm presuming the MixPro can handle a mono plug on its end.)
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  #9  
Old 01-26-2017, 03:56 PM
MrErikJ MrErikJ is offline
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What are the symptoms of crosstalk? I haven't perceived that at all, but I may not know what to look for. I have a performance this weekend and some time this evening to rehearse. I may sit down and play with the two channels as I think I just need to sort out their gain levels a bit. The PUTW obviously needs more gain, but perhaps not as much as I've been putting on it as that seems to affect the tone and add bass. I think I'll do "just enough" gain at the MixPro and let the Acoustimax do the rest of the work.

Is there any reason I can't turn the gain all the way down on the LB6 at the MixPro? I don't think it really needs much preamplification prior to the Acoustimax.
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