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I've been listening to a lot of Moon Hooch, Morphine, etc. lately and want to look into getting a new-age kind of sound out of my sax. All I have now is a pretty standard condenser mic. and that feeds-back like crazy when amp'd in any close proximity. I have a backup tenor that I wont be heartbroken if any residue from a pick-up or something is left on it and I wouldn't be against drilling an old metalite to attach a mpc pick-up to. I'm planning on hooking my sax up to a pod XT Live guitar fx board that i have laying around which I've hooked up through headphones and was really happy with. So my question is, what kind of mic/pickup would be most appropriate for this kind of heavy effects/distortion playing under $350? Any experience or advice would be much appreciated.
 

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I have a few clip-on mics, have tried a few more, but since I have a pickup I barely use them. When using effect pedals I use only the pickup. Some effects are impossible with a clip-on anyway (e.g. using the key noise with slap delay, etc.). I use a TAP pickup and I've heard that a Rumberger is also very good (I think the latter is more expensive, not sure). At least TAP has many models.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have a few clip-on mics, have tried a few more, but since I have a pickup I barely use them. When using effect pedals I use only the pickup. Some effects are impossible with a clip-on anyway (e.g. using the key noise with slap delay, etc.). I use a TAP pickup and I've heard that a Rumberger is also very good (I think the latter is more expensive, not sure). At least TAP has many models.
Could you post a link to TAP's website or a TAP pickup for sale anywhere, because I can't seem to find what you're talking about.
 

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I used a bug thing in the late 70s ( it attached to reed with a little bit of metal ) it was horrible, it mostly amplified the keys clonking about.... soon binned that idea and went back to honking into a mike !
 

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Can I ask why you are so set on using a pick up instead of just running a nice microphone directly into your effects station?

I run a Sennheiser mic into my Multi effects unit (Boss) and then out to a looper pedal, along with my keyboard via a mixer.

Never had any problems with feedback from my amp only a few feet away.
 

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I used a bug thing in the late 70s ( it attached to reed with a little bit of metal ) it was horrible, it mostly amplified the keys clonking about.... soon binned that idea and went back to honking into a mike !
Cool..If I'm not playing the Maestro I'm with you. I don't like bell mounted systems ...I like to honk too and use the dynamics of a mic old school.
 

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Jeff Coffin is notorious for using "effects" on saxophone. I've never seen him with a pickup tapped into the neck. It's always been a clip on mic and effects pedal.

I never had any feedback issues with any of my clip on mics back when I was using floor wedges for monitoring.
 

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I recently attended a workshop led by Skerik. He uses a board full of various effects pedals which can do looping, reverb, distortion, octave doubling, and perhaps some others that I forgot. At least for this workshop, he was just using a conventional mic (and not using a pickup). Now while it is possible that he might have some other setup where he uses a pickup, the sax he brought with him did not have one. Also he talked in considerable detail about what he does, and did not mention any usage of a pickup. My point here is that here is a guy he makes extensive use of electronic effects, but uses a mic instead of a pickup. One thing he did say is that he has a pedal for volume control on his board, and he said it is important to "turn it off" via the pedal when he is not playing, because otherwise some of the effect-modified background noise gets thru his effect chain into the mix, and that needs to be prevented. I watched him manipulate this foot pedal while he was playing, and it was apparent that he had become quite skilled at pressing the pedal when he starts a phrase and releasing it when he is done, and I think it would have taken me a long time to learn to do that.
 

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Pickups are much easier to use because there's no feedback (try running it through a foot Wah-Wah!), and also because quite a few vintage FX units simply won't work with a regular mic. The Maestro units, my Korg X-911, Conn Multivider and King Ampliphonic boxes will not work with a mic. Besides, many FX do not have true bypass and will therefore eat your sound when using FX on the same signal. Pickups also have the advantage that every note has the same volume. Not so with a mic. Best solution IMHO is simply to use a pickup for your FX and a mic for your horn. The actual sound of the pickup is of no interest to me as the it will be mangled beyond recognition anyway. I use King Ampliphonic or Barcus Berry pickups (both vintage) and I think the TAP is very good.

One example here, the organ sound you hear is actually me on electric tenor.
https://soundcloud.com/maartenornstein%2F07-dans-un-bar
 

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Which model TAP do you use? It looks like there are a dozen.
The one I use is a TAP NANO-R but it's from a few years ago, they newer models now.

I use it whenever I also use effects or if it's a loud amplified concert. The only disadvantage is slightly more key noise, which I sometimes use on purpose (essentially impossible with a mic). The sound is good even when not using effects so that's not a problem. I use a microphone (either clip-on or on a stand) if I don't effects and it's important.

Know anywhere with pricings?
For a TAP pickup I think you can only buy directly from them. Mine was about 150 Euros but that was a few years ago.

Can I ask why you are so set on using a pick up
I don't think anyone is "set on" anything...

instead of just running a nice microphone directly into your effects station?
This implies a microphone is simpler. IME with both (and many microphones) a pickup is simpler and less hassle (no phantom, batteries, input compatibility, no "belt pack", no feedback, all things that vary depending on the type of microphone).

I've never seen him with a pickup tapped into the neck.
At least for this workshop, he was just using a conventional mic (and not using a pickup). Now while it is possible that he might have some other setup where he uses a pickup, the sax he brought with him did not have one. Also he talked in considerable detail about what he does, and did not mention any usage of a pickup. My point here is that here is a guy he makes extensive use of electronic effects, but uses a mic instead of a pickup.
That's not surpsing at all. There are plenty of people who are using mics with effect pedals. My impression is that most woodwind players who use effect pedals haven't even tried a pickup.
The point is that each person can decide what is better for them. Just because whatever person doesn't do something doesn't mean another person shouldn't do it either.
 
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