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CS Sensor vs Manouche Picks Pickup

casscass Pennsylvania New AJL XO, DuPont MD100, Gitane DG255

Hi All- I was wandering if anyone had experience on these two pickup systems and how they compare to the K&K Definity or Pure Macaferri. I’m looking for something with a more acoustic sound which doesn’t generate too much feedback in a tight setup. I currently have multiple systems, but always end up reverting to my Krivo Nuevo which is magnetic sounding. Thanks, Jim



  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    edited February 25 Posts: 5,854

    @cass As far as pickups go, the vast majority of pros as well as hobbyists use one of two systems:

    1) Bigtone - It's the best piezo system for Gypsy guitars as it places the piezo sensor within the bridge itself which yields optimal tone and feedback resistance. It's by no means perfect, but is by far the the best piezo system for Gypsy guitars and has been used by countless pros for many decades now. The problem with all the other piezo systems like the K&K and the Carlos is that they place the piezo sensor externally which makes it very prone to feedback. So you can't get nearly the same amount of volume. Also, the externally mounted sensors pickup the internal resonance of the guitar which produces this overly "wet" reverby sound that you can't get rid of. The nice thing about the bigtone is that the sensor is right below the strings so you get a very clear, direct sound without any additional, unwanted resonance. That makes it much easier to work with:

    2) Magnetic Pickups - Really any of them will work, but the Stimer and the Peche a la Mouche are the most popular. Some people are really going for an electric Django sound, but for most these are just a tool for difficult performing situations like bars and restaurants. They are massively feedback resistant, always sound warm and full through neatly any type of amplification system (i.e. acoustic amp, tube amp, PA, etc.) and usually requite no install.

    When possible, a mic is always best and this has become the industry standard used by all the pros:

    However, you can only really use mics in ideal concert settings where you have monitors, a soundman, and an attentive audience as feedback is always an issue.



  • edited February 25 Posts: 1,121

    The Manouche Pickup is a stick on microphone and has all of the problems inherent of those. It is no better than anything similar out there right now.

  • casscass Pennsylvania New AJL XO, DuPont MD100, Gitane DG255
    Posts: 5

    Michael & Jim, Thank you so much for your responses! I’ve been investigating options for a while, and so far have accumulated a AT Pro 70, K&K Definity, K&K Pure MAC, Krivo Nuevo, plus multiple pre-amps. I have seen a lot of rave reviews on Manouche and Sensor PU’s, and was hoping someone had compared them. At this point my budget doesn’t allow me to invest in anything that may not be significantly better than what I already have.

  • Posts: 2,580

    Everything is a compromise one way or another. I now use Manouche mic and I'm very happy. It's not perfect but does the job. I wrote a long review for more info, which I just updated to say it's not feedback free but I've always been able to manage. I used to use Pure Maccaferi (it even seems that K&K took my idea on mounting it under the bridge vs under the feet) and long story short is that to my ears the Mounouche mic has a much nicer tone. Haven't tried CS sensor though but yeah people are happy with it. One reason I went for Manouche is the price, I just can't see myself spending hundreds on a pickup. Except maybe DPA but I'd have to try it first.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • everetteverett san francisco✭✭✭
    Posts: 93

    here's my ideal setup: a single coil through a tube amp for lead playing, and a mic + piezo through an acoustic amp to blend the sources for rhythm...

    jk — just testing these all against eachother!

    I have both the carlos and jokko's pickup. I like the carlos sensor better, but mainly because of the way it gets mounted. there is a low-tack sticker that you apply first, to protect the finish. on the back of the pickup, you use stronger double sided tape. because it's square, you get pretty good contact with the guitar top, and the tape holds it evenly in place without worrying about damaging the finish. for the manouchepicks mic, you just use putty, which i don't feel transfers the sound as evenly. i suppose you can mount the manouchepicks mic in the same way (which I might try), but out of the box they both take a lot of fussing with to find the sweet spot.

    I played an outdoor gig recently with the carlos cs through an AER compact 60 on my DiMauro, and I thought it worked well. I have another guitar with an internally mounted schertly dyn pickup, and while it sound decent acoustically, it is a tad bass-y and "wet" as michael mentions.

    overall, I'm happy with the carlos cs...but each guitar is different, and each venue changes. i find that i never use the same solution twice in a row (even in the same venue), as i'm always experimenting, switching things up, playing with different tones, etc.

  • edited February 26 Posts: 1,121

    Perhaps I should be softer in my approach. I play loud restos, weddings, and parties. I exclusively used all stick on types for quite some time and just got frustrated. As others have stated above, situations can change from day to day (room, weather, amount of heads in the room etc).

    Once I went with the mag (Peche), I accepted the sound for what it was and appreciated the consistency I was getting. The Lace is a good option too. Cheap and will sound archtop like, but it's consistent.

  • TDogTDog Victoria, BCNew Shelley Park Montmartre; Cigano GJ 5
    Posts: 23

    I have the Manouche and my band mate has the Carlos. We both play Shelley Park guitars - I think they both sound good (better than his bigtone) and I don't notice much of a difference, though I agree that the Carlos mounting system is better.

    We haven't had any issues with feedback, but we haven't played any really loud rooms. I have a Krivo and he has a Peche as backups.

    Everett - what do you use to switch between your magnetic pick up / tube amp and the mic and piezo / acoustic amp? I was thinking of using a similar set up.

  • everetteverett san francisco✭✭✭
    Posts: 93

    @TDog I usually just use one or the other. I've tried really random things: using an a/b box, muting it with a tuning pedal, using volume pedal to bring it in, etc. it's all a bit much...i feel like i'm in a shoegaze band.

    I like the peche/stimer style that has the volume pot on the pickup. But I play 75% rhythm and 25% lead, so I just stick with the more "acoustic" pickup.

  • Posts: 2,580

    @TDog I think Everett was joking but you could simply add a mute switch pedal to the signal chain. Or if you're using the same amp but two sources then use A/B switch.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • stuologystuology New
    Posts: 71

    Let's be honest, none of them really work and they all sound better on someone else's guitar. The gypsy guitar doesn't suit amplification, you always lose something. I've got Jokko's, it does the job for me and it's reasonably priced.

    This thread seems to have upset Carlos, he's been writing about it on fb.

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