Frequently Asked Questions


Question
Do your pickups work with wireless systems?

Answer
Yes. The cable required depends on the wireless brand and model. The wiring is similar to connecting to a guitar, except the pickup has a 1/8 inch (3.5mm) socket rather than a 1/4 inch (6.35mm) socket used in a guitar. If you buy a wireless system for guitar it should work well and your pickup cable can be connected to a guitar cable using a guitar cable joiner (a female to female 1/4 inch guitar cable joiner/extender). This makes it easy to test a system without needing a special cable. Cables for wireless systems are available through suppliers such as Event Horizon Services.


Question
I am looking for a PiezoBarrel 'Sol' or 'Azure' but I can't find them on your site. Where can I get these?

Answer
PiezoBarrel pickups are continually being developed and improved. There have been a lot of models made and they have been replaced with better models as time goes by and all the older models such as the 'Aqua', 'Azure' and the 'Sol' have been superceeded by the PiezoBarrel 'Wood'. The PiezoBarrel 'Wood' is currently the most popular pickup but recently a quite different design was developed for the trumpet. This new design does not superceed the PiezoBarrel 'Wood' so it is available for trumpet players and superceeds the PiezoBarrel 'Brass' and the P6. The very old clarinet barrels with an embedded pickup such as the PiezoBarrel 'Green' had some design limitations and have been discontinued in favour of the PiezoBarrel 'Wood'.


Question
Do I need a PreAmp?

Answer
PiezoBarrel pickups do not require a PreAmp but some people may wish to use a PreAmp to have more control over the sound such as EQ, buffering, brilliance or presence settings. The output is similar to an Accoustic Guitar pickup (Which is also a Piezo pickup). Like a Guitar, if you are connecting to a Mic input via XLR or connecting to a mixing desk over a long cable then you should use a DI. I recommend an active DI (Powered) as it has also boost the signal.


Question
Do I need to drill a hole in my instrument? Surely it can be just attached to the outside?

Answer
Sorry, you will need a hole (generally 2 - 2.5mm diameter) to allow the air into the pickup. Piezo pickups are often used as contact mics that pick up vibration - my pickups do not do this - they work off fluctuations in air pressure created by the standing wave inside the instrument. I try to minimise the mechanical noises while getting a strong signal from the air pressure. The hole you drill into the instrument does not affect the sound as the air does not leak from the hole when the pickup is attached and the hole can be plugged with a thumb screw and O ring (supplied) when the pickup is not being used.


Question
Should I replace the cable supplied? What about if I use a stereo cable?

Answer
The cable I supply is a mono shielded cable. The socket in the pickup is a stereo socket but the middle ring is wired to earth (ground) so the earth connection is very stable (the earth is connected to the case of the pickup). The Shielded cable also ensures that noise in the line is eliminated. For long cable runs, I would use a DI box (some can also use phantom power like a powered mic) and a balanced line. You can replace the cable with another but many cables are not shielded and stereo will have no signal on one channel. This is no problem connected to a mono input like a guitar amp but some equipment may expect a stereo signal.


Question
How do I fit the brass insert to a clarinet?

Answer
I provide 2 types of inserts that can be used with a clarinet barrel. The easiest to fit is the simple cylindrical insert with the flange at the top. To fit this, you drill a 8mm hole through the barrel mid way along the barrel, then glue the insert into the hole making sure it seals well. Super glue can be used and a M6 bolt screwed into the insert to hold it while it is inserted in the barrel. The other type of insert is designed to be glued to the bottom of a flat bottomed hole (I use a 3/8 or 9.5mm Counterbore to make the hole), the hole filled with resin around the insert, then, when the resin has set, a small hole (2.5mm) drilled through into the bore. Note: When drilling clarinet barrels, it is advisable to use a drill press rather than a hand-held drill. If drilling wooden barrels, you have to be very careful as wood can crack and splinter. You can get an instrument repairer to fit the insert if you are concerned. The best approach is to use a plastic barrel that can be replaced cheaply, or buy one from me with the insert already fitted.


Question
Can I use the P9 pickup on a clarinet?

Answer
Both the P9 and the 'Wood' use the same thread and can be interchanged. The P9 will sound very bright on the clarinet and will pick up a lot more breath sounds and key noises. Some players of middle eastern music who play with a very soft reed and an open mouthpiece may prefer the breathy sound from the P9 but most players prefer the 'Wood'.


Question
I play clarinet and sax, will I need to buy two pickups?

Answer
You can use the one pickup and swap it between instruments. If you want to switch instruments quickly it may be desirable to use two pickups.


Question
I don't see what I want on your web site or eBay store - what should I do?

Answer
Feel free to email me. My email address is on the contact page.


Question
Does the pickup come with a manual?

Answer
I email a copy of the manual to you on purchase, but feel free to email and ask me for a copy. The manual has some installation instructions for a variety of instruments as well as a picture of the different types of brass adapters available.