OK.. I need help.. I recently purchased a used guitar with a combination internal mic and an under saddle transducer (UST).. Problem is .. when I connect the guitar to the hi-z input of my ProTools Mbox mini interface.. all I seem to get is the UST.. If I use a mono cable to an amp.. UST. If I use a stereo cable (TRS) split to two RCAs and input them to distinct tracks.. Nothin!!.. So.. the opinion I've collected so far is that the mic requires a phantom power supply.. OK.. but how do I wire it.. I do have phantom power on the MBox.. and I also have an Alesis FX mixer with phantom, but I just don't understand the connections I need to make to the guitar. It has a single output jack that 'feels' like a mono connector. The fellow I bought it from was not sure of the make of the rig (having bought the guitar used himself in 2002) but it looks like a Fishman mic that I saw on a Steve Kaufman guitar. He mentioned using a Fishman Blender, but I can't find any details about how to connect the internal wiring. It DOES have an internal battery, but I can't really determine how it's wired. As you can tell, I'm reluctant to get my hands inside the guitar (a Lowden O12C) to tamper with the wires. Anybody have two cents to throw into the pot? I'm looking for a great acoustic sound to record... without spending a fortune on equipment. AND.. I'd like to NOT use external mics because of (1) Cost.. and (2) picking up ambient noise in my home 'studio' from .. dogs, washing machines, cars.. you name it.
Thanksin advance for your opinions..
Do you have any idea who the manufacturer of the pickup system is? If you do, check with the manufacturer.
You might need a battery, so look for a battery mount inside the guitar.
Getting a look inside the guitar should not be an issue. Loosen the strings or change them if you haven't already done so. Once the strings are loose use a flashlight and compact mirror or an inspection mirror you get from autoparts stores to look inside the guitar and figure out the wiring.
When looking inside make sure all the solder connections are solid and there aren't any loose or stray strands of wire that could be causing a short.
Focus on the jack to find out if it's TS or TRS. A standard TS jack will only have one connection point. A TRS will have two connection points. Here is an good example showing the differences between a TS and TRS jack input. If it's a TRS jack use a TRS cable and turn on the phantom power and try again. Be sure to give the phantom power about 30 seconds to warm up before turning the input gain up on the channel.
Good list, John, but I'd like to add Cat's meowing at the end of tracks. Often I have cut in my home late at night and had the sound of birds audible on sustaining notes. I didn't know birds stay up at night!
But sometimes, the quieter it is, the louder little noises become. I've become accustom to turning off the refrigerator when recording at home. Having once forgot to turn it back on and ruining a bunch of food when I left town the next day, I've gotten in the habit of creating a reminder. I first placed a potato on my pillow to remind me not to go to sleep before turning it back on. It has become a game to see what strange reminders I can leave myself.
With a good internal pickup system, recording acoustic guitar is a joy!
I can understand your confusion. I am a record producer/engineer, and getting good tone from guitars is crucial to my work. I own a Taylor 710ce with a Fishman Blender pickup (which has both the under saddle transducer, and an electret mic). I have used this pickup for recording on masters, and often choose it over my $6,000 tube mic when either the tonal requirement for my track, isolation, or just mere convenience calls for it. I understand your passion to get this thing up and going.
Without knowing the exact pickup system that you have, I can only give you advice based on my own system, and some general knowledge.
First off, the pickup system is unlikely to use phantom power. Phantom power is provided via 3 pin XLR mic systems. Unless your system comes with a special cable (TRS to XLR) that is the last place I would be looking.
It is more likely that they system uses a mic, probably powered by a 9 volt battery mounted inside the guitar. The Fishman Blender has a little tab at the top and pulling that tab down enables the entire control panel to open via a hinge. From this position the battery is very easy accessible.
Also accessible is a “Stereo/mono” switch on the pickup. In “Mono” both the mic and UST feed the guitar’s output. A standard 1/4” guitar cable will have you up and going. The mix is set by a control on the preamp below the Bass, Treble, etc.
In “Stereo” mode, the signal of the mic feeds the ‘tip’ and the signal of the UST feeds the ‘ring’ of a TRS cable (I may have that backward, but you get the idea.) If using this, you can take a 1/4” TRS that splits into a pair of 1/4” standard plugs. Feed each into the 1/4” inputs on your Mbox and make sure to set the channels to “Instrument” for the right level. (If you go into your Alesis mixer, you will want to use an “Instrument” input as well. When you used a cable with RCA ends, you probably sent the signal to “line” level inputs, which do not match impedance or have the gain needed for success.)
I hope this shines a light on your path. Nothing thrills our hearts like making music – nothing pisses us off more than technology getting in the way!