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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
I would like to use effects (overdrive, analog-midi convertion, etc) live.
Currently I'm facing this problem: feedback :mad:
Using distortion or even Analog=>midi convertion (with speakers) I get a Larsen.
I'm checking some internal mics for sax (intraMic or rumberger) but the price is ridiculous (300-400 E) so I decided to build one myself (should cost < 50E). Do you have any experience with this?
With a normal electret I get a LOT of distortion (I measured the Sound pressure inside the sax: > 110dB!!)
Maybe a piezo? how would it sound and does it manage this SPL? or a MEMS (should manage high SPL but how does it sound)?
Thanks
 

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Why do you think you need an internal mic?
 

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Back in my day there were all sorts of pickups available. The piezo pickups tend to be very harsh and quacky but had the advantage of not being susceptible to water droplets. The piezo were generally attached to the reed with a sticky putty - but I experimented with various ways of attaching them including embedding into the mouthpiece underneath the reed. It works but piezo is just not a pleasing sound, IMO, and emphasizes the very frequency range and characteristics that are unflattering to a saxophone tone. The diaphragm type mics (crystal, magnetic, condenser etc.) all required some sort of hole in the mouthpiece or neck so the pickup had access to the inside tube of the sax and then they were exposed to the moisture inside. Water droplets would form on the mic element and the sound would get muffled until you could knock the water droplets free. None of them sounded very good but they did allow you to use effects without being as prone to feedback.

From what I can tell watching YouTube vids of the intramic, they seem to have it sounding very good while minimizing feedback. Maybe you can figure out what they use as their pickup and how they prevent it from having issues with water. Good luck ... you'll need it. :) I'm sure it can be done (intramic did it) but it will be a challenge to make it work reliably and sound good.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Why do you think you need an internal mic?
To use it live I need to avoid feedback (Larsen) and avoid picking up the other instruments. No problem with reverb etc but with other efx (e.g. heavy overdrive)...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Back in my day there were all sorts of pickups available. The piezo pickups tend to be very harsh and quacky but had the advantage of not being susceptible to water droplets. The piezo were generally attached to the reed with a sticky putty - but I experimented with various ways of attaching them including embedding into the mouthpiece underneath the reed. It works but piezo is just not a pleasing sound, IMO, and emphasizes the very frequency range and characteristics that are unflattering to a saxophone tone. The diaphragm type mics (crystal, magnetic, condenser etc.) all required some sort of hole in the mouthpiece or neck so the pickup had access to the inside tube of the sax and then they were exposed to the moisture inside. Water droplets would form on the mic element and the sound would get muffled until you could knock the water droplets free. None of them sounded very good but they did allow you to use effects without being as prone to feedback.

From what I can tell watching YouTube vids of the intramic, they seem to have it sounding very good while minimizing feedback. Maybe you can figure out what they use as their pickup and how they prevent it from having issues with water. Good luck ... you'll need it. :) I'm sure it can be done (intramic did it) but it will be a challenge to make it work reliably and sound good.
Thanks a lot. Didn't think of the water droplets. Bought some cheap electrets and will test. I might then test some MEMS like the TDK ICS-40720 (circuit is easy, out is balanced. 3V pwr supp.)
160dB SPL max (!!!)
4 x 3 x 1.2mm
77 Hz to 20 kHz
SNR 70dB
 

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I don't have any first hand experience with the IntraMic but I was very curious/interested when I saw the videos and read reviews. It is a subject I have always been curious about because I had started out playing sax in very loud, electric bands and had wanted to use octave dividers and envelope followers and wah wah pedals etc. Back then (early 70's) there were a lot of people attaching pickups in various ways. The Barcus Berry contact (Piezo) pickup was popular with the string players (violin etc.) but on sax it only sort of worked because the sticky putty wouldn't hold it consistently to the vibrating (and wet) reed so the volume would drop and you'd have to press it back into the reed again (or wrap rubber bands around the pickup and mouthpiece. It was nearly impossible to keep any consistent contact of the pickup against the reed (that's why I experimented with a cheap-o mouthpiece and embedding the pickup in the mouthpiece so the ligature held the reed against the pickup - that sort of worked but just too drastic a thing to do to a mouthpiece). The solution I finally came up with was to buy a Mini-Moog and had Nyle Steiner (inventor of the EWI and EVI) build me a breath controller for it. And (keyboard) synths just felt like a better solution for me - that way I just kept my saxophone sounding like a saxophone. I tried the Lyricon and then the Yamaha WX instruments -- but I found that keyboard was the better solution for me when looking for those exotic sounds and saxophone was better suited to sounding like a saxophone.

I'd love to have an IntraMic in my hands to see how it works -- I'm guessing that the pickup element faces downwind and there is probably some special aerodynamic shape (just guesses) so the water droplets don't cause trouble - or maybe they have some type of element that is impervious to that. No idea really - but the results sound amazing in the videos and a couple of people here in the forum have them and like them. I love to try DIY things but this is one of those cases where it might be worth paying them the $$$ for the research they've done getting it to work.
 

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I have a piezo barrel pickup and it works great for effects. I prefer a microphone for the dry sound, but it delivers the perfect signal for plugging into anything you could want. Lately I’ve been messing around with it through the sonuus g2mv3 to trigger both midi instruments through Garageband and a Behrnger Model D synth. I also send the “through” into a pedal board where I have access to a POG2, a Boss looping station that has a bunch of onboard effects, and a flanger. Works great, no feedback, and up to four output sounds simultaneously (dry mic, through effects, synth, and midi patch)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Started some tests (only qualitative, just comparisons since I've got no pro equipment).
Measured SPL inside sax: 126dB SPL.
This is the setup: speakers in front of the mic to test. Playback 1KHz with REW (free sw) and record different mics with audacity.
10619
 

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Discussion Starter #9
These are the results:
10620


On top the first test: a basic electret with the schema of the application notes. Note the distortion
2nd the ecm8000: good
3rd: 2 wire modification for Electret by Linkwitz: good
4th: 3 wire modification for Electret by Linkwitz: good (check Capsule Modification and Mounting )
Note: also 3rd and 4th with very basic el.schema (same link)

As expected the spectrum is best for ECM8000 (bottom). Note more harmonics (worse) for the 1st (top-right) but better Signal/Noise. On top left the 2 wire mod (which is similar to the 3 wire mod)
10621


NOTE: just qualitative comparisons
 

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I am quite interested in this project although I have very little knowledge or background in sound equipment. A few years back when I was conducting a study of pad porosity I attempted to measure the sound pressure level inside an alto saxophone using a Mic W i436 measurement microphone and found the maximum to be about 130 dB. With the small amount of research I was able to do, I discovered the highest levels are found at the top of the saxophone closer to the mouthpiece and neck. By contrast the highest levels produced by a trumpet are estimated to be in the range of 160 dB.
 

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What is feedback (Larsen)?
I also don't see why you are getting feedback at all. I use a stand mic going through a harmonizer/effects 'stomp box', then one send to the PA system and one send to a small stand-mounted powered speaker in front of me and off to the left on my vocal mic stand. I never get feedback. I could if I really cranked it but that's not necessary - it will get quite loud and I have control over the EQ on both sends, so I can send myself a 'hotter' monitor signal than I send to the front.
 

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I sometimes get feedback when using effects, especially when using a dynamic mic instead of a clip-on bell mic. Mainly because my practice space is relatively small, and the sound from the monitor bounces off the walls and into the mic. It's less of an issue when using a small floor wedge monitor positioned under the mic instead of my Roland keyboard monitor, and of course no problem at all with headphones.

Haven't had a problem with feedback when using effects live; I guess the house takes care of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I am quite interested in this project although I have very little knowledge or background in sound equipment. A few years back when I was conducting a study of pad porosity I attempted to measure the sound pressure level inside an alto saxophone using a Mic W i436 measurement microphone and found the maximum to be about 130 dB. With the small amount of research I was able to do, I discovered the highest levels are found at the top of the saxophone closer to the mouthpiece and neck. By contrast the highest levels produced by a trumpet are estimated to be in the range of 160 dB.
Your findings confort me. 130dB is not that far from 127 (measured inside the bell) so I'm on the right path. 130dB was at the neck?
I just tested the 2 wire Linkwitz Mod placed at the end of the neck (larger part) and it seems to work.
I put it at the larger part of the neck and not at the top part of it (as intraMic does) because (I think) the relative impact of the dimension of the mic (diam=6mm) will be less.
Any experiece on where to put the mic?
 

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That is always the cause for feedback but there are some basic things you can't do, like point a highly directional mic at the speaker it is connected to. This is very basic stuff that most musicians learn early-on.
Many years ago I ran a guitar amp sitting on the floor behind me tilted back with the speakers pretty much aimed at my head but also generally toward the mic. I put a volume control on the mic so I could turn up the amp a little. Everything was okay as long as I was careful to stand between the mic and amp. :cool: It sounded good though. I used a Fender Super Reverb (4-10" Jensen Special Design speakers). That amp today is about $1K.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
That is always the cause for feedback but there are some basic things you can't do, like point a highly directional mic at the speaker it is connected to. This is very basic stuff that most musicians learn early-on.
Many years ago I ran a guitar amp sitting on the floor behind me tilted back with the speakers pretty much aimed at my head but also generally toward the mic. I put a volume control on the mic so I could turn up the amp a little. Everything was okay as long as I was careful to stand between the mic and amp. :cool: It sounded good though. I used a Fender Super Reverb (4-10" Jensen Special Design speakers). That amp today is about $1K.
Maybe I should have explained a bit better what I'm trying to do.
I have no problem in monitoring (live) the Sax with reverbs and other efx.
I have feedback (Larsen, pls check Audio feedback - Wikipedia ) when using efx like heavy distortion, wha-wha and some other.
To cope with this problems there are some products available (see previous replies about piezo-barrel and intraMic).
The next picture explains the concept: The mic is placed inside the sax to isolate it from the surroundings.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
10706

Here the picture of where I placed the mic. Any suggestion/experience on were to place it (near the end part as in picture, at the beginning or maybe inside the sax)?
I know: it really looks ugly but it's a prototype :)
 

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Thanks a lot. Didn't think of the water droplets. Bought some cheap electrets and will test. I might then test some MEMS like the TDK ICS-40720 (circuit is easy, out is balanced. 3V pwr supp.)
160dB SPL max (!!!)
4 x 3 x 1.2mm
77 Hz to 20 kHz
SNR 70dB
That TDK ICS-40720 looks good. I'd like to hear the results. I was thinking that placing it farther down the sax (a few inches above the first sound hole [high F/F#]) would be better as it may encounter less moisture. Maybe get a little preamp and a eq and it may sound decent.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I have a piezo barrel pickup and it works great for effects. I prefer a microphone for the dry sound, but it delivers the perfect signal for plugging into anything you could want. Lately I’ve been messing around with it through the sonuus g2mv3 to trigger both midi instruments through Garageband and a Behrnger Model D synth. I also send the “through” into a pedal board where I have access to a POG2, a Boss looping station that has a bunch of onboard effects, and a flanger. Works great, no feedback, and up to four output sounds simultaneously (dry mic, through effects, synth, and midi patch)
That g2mv3 looks very interesting (not bad for 80 Euro). In a review they said that there's some latency in the lower notes. Is it true?
I did not follow the barrel approach because I don't want to drill a hole in my sax ('67 King Super20)...
 

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That g2mv3 looks very interesting (not bad for 80 Euro). In a review they said that there's some latency in the lower notes. Is it true?
I did not follow the barrel approach because I don't want to drill a hole in my sax ('67 King Super20)...
It’s a lot of fun!
Latency: I don’t have a way to measure it, but if I have two chanels set up:
1. regular mic xlr>usb interface (scarlet)
2. pickup>g2m>Midi in/ through (synth or keyboard)>usb
It sounds very much in unison on a recorded sample. Patches with slow attacks have to be adjusted to respond more like a saxophone but that’s not a latency thing. My favorites so far are organs, trumpet, and percussion. I don’t notice a difference based on range. The one thing I do notice, and I was prepared for it based on reviews, is that if you don’t articulate cleanly it doesn’t respond to every note change. Most of the reviews are by guitar and bass players, but it carries true on sax as well. You definitely don’t have to tongue every note, but if you don’t play cleanly you lose some notes, particularly on faster lines.
So I guess the latency must be roughly equal to that of a typical audio interface.
 
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