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schatten selmac pickup

Just wanted to say it is fantastic... sounds like it is coming through a microphone.


  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,854
    I obviously have a vested interest a different system. I haven't tried the Schatten yet, but would like to. A very well known Gypsy jazz guitarist in the Seattle area recently had a Schatten installed and found that it completely killed the acoustic tone of his guitar. That makes sense since it's attached to one of the braces. He didn't like the amplified sound either so he immediately had it removed. This is someone who plays over 200 shows a I trust his opinion. But I'd still like to check it out....

  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,249

    So - put your vested interest aside for a moment and be "Just Michael, a musician with a deep love of this music and its tradition." Now then, from the standpoints of:

    1.) Quality of the amplified sound
    2.) Lowest impact to the acoustic sound

    Oh, and forget price - assume they all cost $5.
    which would you go for?

    Integrated Piezo bar (Bigtone)
    Under-bridge piezo (PUTW)
    Soundhole magnetic (Baggs M1 or Stimer)
    Piezo bottlecap (Shadow or Duncan)
    Dynamic bottlecap (Schertler)
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,854
    Hi Bob....

    That question is easy for me to answer. Personally I can't stand peizo pick ups. It doesn't matter where it's installed (under the saddle, on a brace, attached to the top, etc). Some sound better then others, but in the end they always have that nasal, brittle sound that is characteristic of peizos. They certainly have advantages....high feedback tolerance, dry sound, and a snappy response. They're also easy to use...just plug and play.

    Most pros I've talked shop with consider peizos a necessary evil. Stochelo told me he thought the big tone was harsh...that's why he combines it with a mic. He's always un happy when he has to play with only the pick up.

    The Schertler is a magnetic coil technology. To my knowledge there's nothing else like it. It's definitely more natural then a peizo. But much of what makes it better also makes it a little trickier to use. It's more feedback prone...but if used with a Schertler amp or pre-amp can be cranked just as loud as a peizo. It's also more prone to operator have to spend time finding the sweet spot on your guitar. It's also a little pickier about what you run through. But in the end the sound is usually much better then a peizo. Not perfect, because nothings perfect. All pick ups have problems...that's just the way it is. You have to decide what drawbacks you can live with or without. When people tell me the latest pick up "sounds just like my guitar...i didn't even know it was plugged in," I never believe it. It either wasn't plugged in, or the volume was barely on, or you're just kidding your self. Usually the louder you crank a pick/amp, the less it sounds like an acoustic guitar. There's really no way around that except to use a microphone...but that's not practical unless you play in large concert halls with a top notch PA and a sound man keeping an eye on feedback.

    I consider magnetic pick ups like the Stimer something completely different. When you use a magnetic pickup you're not really trying to capture an acoustic sound anymore. The sounds is as much about the amp as it is about the guitar. It's a totally different's an electric sound.

    I hope that helps!

  • CampusfiveCampusfive Los Angeles, CA✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 98
    I wouldn't relegate mic's to the "only for the big venues w/a soundman" league.

    The important thing about using a mic in the real-world is mic selection. The right mic makes mic'ing totally doable, and way better than using a pickup.

    I've been using a RODE NT-3 for about 2 years now, and find it far better than using either the highlander/mcintyre combo in my LeVoi or the K&K under the top of my Eastman 810CE. I have a decent acoustic amp - an AR, a now defunct company, and that looks and sounds basically like an ultrasound), but the pickups always sounded mediocre at best.

    The Rode has some features that keep it from having many of the problems I find with other mics. It's a hyper-cardioid, small diapraghm condenser. That just means it is a bit better than a regular cardioid at rejecting other sounds, and it also it sensitive enough to capture the acoustic sound without having to put it right up against the guitar (like a dynamic mic). It's got an on/off switch so you can turn it off between tunes or if you have any problems. One of the big problems of working with regular mics without a sound guys is that they're always on, and therefore always feedback prone. Also, its got a battery so you don't always need phantom power, which means you can plug it straight into any acoustic amp. Although I generally go into our small PA, I have used the mic into amp many times.

    Besides the practicality of the mic, it sounds fantastic! I regularly have the other musicians I work with comment on how great my guitars sound coming through the system.

    Oh, and it's less than $200.00.
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    edited November 2005 Posts: 1,249
    Thanks - it does help.

    So, being a nerd... and a person that has done transducer system design, I actually went out and looked up technology patents in this area, and yes, the Schertler is different - it is a true dynamic transducer which solves a lot of of the linearity problems inherent in piezo mics (perceived honk) and would indeed introduce some of the warts you're mentioning. Now... IMHO, there isn't enough uniqueness in the Schertler implementation to deserve a patent... but that aside... it seems like a much better technology for capturing "real" acoustic sound.

    OK, so confession time... I'm a true nerd... went out and found some guy who had taken samples of the same guitar through both a Schertler & a Neumann TLM103 mic - both flat responses. I did a histogram on both samples, identified the difference between the signals - backed it out of the Schertler signal using a FFT filter and got "scary good" acoustic sound that lacked only the natural room reverb (which could be faked) So, based on what you're saying, Michael - and based on these (admittedly non-scientific) tests. It seems likely that the Schertler is the "right" (if such exits) way to go for a non mic pickup - provided the preamp used provides for sufficient equalization. I've attached a file to illustrate - it's the TLM 103... followed by the DynG... followed by the equlalized DynG. The equalized DynG loses a little grace on the bottom end but is good.

    Also, thanks Campusfive - I like Mics - and the Rode NT3 is a great one. I came very close to getting a pair but opted for a pair of C1000s. Truth be told, they're very similar and I can't even remember why I chose the AKG over the Rode. Both have switch & battery - both are overgrown condenser mics ... maybe it was that the AKG will do 3 patterns with optional accessories. Who knows - but I hear you - good hypercardioid mics w/ power switches are nice to have in the toolkit and very versatile. I've used them to mic instruments and even to record a live album - they're wonderful.

    Gents - thanks again. It helps. I hope this file attaches properly - you may be amazed at how good the equalized DynG sounds - but it would require quite an equalizer.

    ** I added a little reverb to the third one...

    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,249
    FYI: the equalization to make the DynG similar to the TLM103 response was:
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,854
    That's pretty cool Bob!

    The mp3 has three different examples....I assume the first was the mic, the second the DYN, and what is the 3rd? A peizo??

    Your little study seems to validate what I it's nice to see that. One thing that's missing though is performance context. Ultimately, it's what works on the gig that matters. Some pick ups sound great cranked but don't perform at lower levels, and vie versa. And there's always feedback to deal with. The DYn, while not perfect, seems to be a nice compromise for the various situations you have to deal with live.

    I'd like to hear the mic that campus five is talking about. I know some mics are more feedback resistant then others, but still have yet to see anyone effectively use one in the high volume/small confines type of situations that most of us play in (bars, restaurants, etc.) I've known half a dozen or so people who've tried various mic systems, be they internal, clip on, or just a nice mic sitting on a stand. They all gave up because of feedback only seems to work in low volume situations or with a soundman/PA set up. I'd love to be able to use a someone prove me wrong!

  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,249
    The three samples are actually two samples - with one of them being modified:

    1.) Neumann Mic
    2.) DynG
    3.) The same DynG sample, only equalized to sound (more like) the Neumann.

    What I did was start with two samples - (the Neumann and the DynG) and then equalized the DynG sample until its histogram was equivalent to the Neumann) So, the third sample is what a DynG could sound like if it was run through proper equalization.

    People do this a lot these days in studios - basically you record with an inexpensive mic and then do some digital post processing to give the recording the sonic signature of a more expensive mic. There are limitations, but it works pretty well and this is a very rough and simple approximation. A lot more digital post processing could be done to further improve the DynG sample - but simple equalization would probably be the extent of what a person could do in a live gig (maybe also some reverb to simulate a little more "live-mic" room presence. ** I went back and did this - added a little reverb to the equalized DynG - I don't know if it improved the sound but it gave it a litte more mic-like presence.**

    I'm leaning toward the DynG. Conceptually it makes sense to use a dynamic transducer to record a dynamic source (soundboard).
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • djadamdjadam Boulder, CONew
    Posts: 249
    Michael, I wonder about your friend's experience with Schatten... I couldn't determine any difference in sound in my instrument acoustically after installing the Schatten, though I have the older model and wonder if he used the redesigned model.

    I play a DG-250M with a Schatten pickup into a Baggs pre into a Compact 60. I think the Schatten does an admirable job reproducing it, though it took me quite a lot of fiddling with the preamp to get the sound I wanted. It may not be exact, but it's damn close to the dry tone of my 250M.

    I agree that the big tone is a little harsh. It makes a great full tone for soloists which I quite like, but it sounds more electric than acoustic to me, maybe slightly distorted.

    Overall from my experience I think the Schatten makes a better pickup for clean sounding rhythm playing and the big tone makes a fat lead sound, but not nearly as clean. I'm intrigued by the Shertlers, but more interested in making proper use of mics, like my bluegrass buddies do so well.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,854
    I should also mention that there's a new Schertler pick up now:


    Basik-Set Electrostatic Pickup for Stringed Instruments

    Regularly: $200.00

    On Sale: $150.00

    This Basik pick up has been very popular with resonator guitarists. I've been testing it out for the last few weeks. My first experiences have been very, very good! It actually captures the "crunchy" sound of Selmers better then the DYN. But can also be a little harsher and a little tricky at higher volumes. I'm still messing with it....but it may replace my DYN at some point. And for $150 you can't beat it the price!

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