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Old 10th September 2013, 03:42 AM   #11
didge is offline didge  United States
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Thanks for the responses. So, where can I find an FET signal conditioner?
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Old 10th September 2013, 03:52 AM   #12
didge is offline didge  United States
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Also, any recommendations on piezo film since radio shack doesn't seem to even have the ceramic piezo?
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Old 10th September 2013, 04:13 AM   #13
didge is offline didge  United States
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Alright, so after going into Radio Shack, I realize I don't know enough about electrical things to simply wire up a piezo and plug into mixer and expect it to work the way I did when I made a subwoofer into a mic. On the package of the piezo I looked at it says:
"9mA - Requires driver circuit
I don't know what any of this means.
Would somebody be kind enough to list for me exactly all the components I would need, including the Piezo film and FET, what brands, links where to buy, etc. I'm pretty clueless on this, but I can solder and I can follow instructions. The snare drum idea is on pause. What I'd rather do first is see if I can use the piezo film to mic my claves and tambourine. I'm trying to minimize the number of mics I'm using because of feedback. I do a lot of busking in a situation that requires that the output speaker be in a non-optimal place as far as feedback control. Based on a gizmo that I tried out involving a piezo mounted in foam in the middle of a wooden box covered with a license plate that you tap on, I really think a piezo will give me adequate sound quality for my claves and tambourine. But again, I don't know which components I need and which way to wire them. But I learn qiick if anybody here is willing to take the time to point me in the right direction.
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Old 10th September 2013, 05:28 AM   #14
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Tapping on a piezo device will not give anything that will even remotely sound like snare!

As mentioned earlier you should use it to trigger a synth or a sample player of some sorts.
We used to get great results using them to trigger an Alesis D4 drum module as it has several trigger inputs already built in to it.
We used to glue Piezo device to the back of a piece of ceramic tile and that was all that was needed and it went directly into one of the inputs on the D4.

You can also find on the web PIC Chip controllers that you can use to create MIDI codes and signals that are relevant to how hard you hit the sensor as well and you port that into your computer sequencer or favorite sample playing software or device.
Much like the old Simmons drum controller module did.

A long time ago Popular Electronics Magazine had such a project similar to what you are trying to do.
I think it was called "Boingo" and I did find it a while back.

It was nothing more that a very simple triggered Synth that had a simple noise/tone source and a VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier) with a fast attack and variable decay to produce bells and drum type sounds.

But it was still a triggered Synth!

Miking a drum set is an art and it takes a lot of time and practice to do it right and it is hardly ever the same each time you set them up or especially when you change rooms.

There are some very simple practices you need to learn in order to not get any feedback and one of them is to have the speaker properly setup so that they are not pointing at the microphones.
This is a very fine line if you are setting up a monitor for the drummer

Plus you need to know how to work your EQ's.
More than a bass/treble EQ to work with as well always helps.
Most drums don't need any of the high end (above about 8KHZ), so cutting that will help you with your feedback issues on a per microphone basis.

I have yet to setup and/or record a drum set with anything less that 7 to 12 microphones if it is of your average sized kit.

On one of our live gigs the PA was supply and we had to struggle using only 4 microphones for the whole kit, we got it to work but it still wasn't right.

The requires 30V at 9ma a driver warning you got on the package, is for the device ratings for if in case you want it to make sound.

In your case you require the opposite so ignore it.

You can try to use it to mic your instruments and you may get some cool effects with it, But you typically won't get much of anything that actually sounds like the instrument at all.
You most likely will just get a very tinny sound depending on how and where it is mounted.

Experimentation is good and the best way to learn as you never know what you may find that does actually work!!

Just Google "Voltage to MIDI (converter)" and you will find everything from simple PIC Chip based controllers that can be made for less than $5-$20 too Shield boards you can use on an Arduino based controller boards.

They are very fun devices to work with!!
We have even used them to trigger off of a recorded kick drum track to replace the kick drum with a more different sounding kick drum from a drum machine and we redid some snare tracks as well!
It worked great!!!



Last edited by geraldfryjr; 10th September 2013 at 05:43 AM.
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Old 10th September 2013, 06:00 AM   #15
didge is offline didge  United States
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I said I don't know anything about the electronics, not that I don't know anything about EQ and feedback and such. I know very well. I'm not going to try to explain that situation and try to defend why I have my setup the way I have it. I am not even playing a drum kit.
I am interested in usimg a piezo the way I witnessed it: again, it was mounted in some foam in a box and it souned great.
Is there anyone here that can give me instructions on how to do this, without the nay-saying? Im not trying to mic actual drums this way, just claves and tambourine. At least to just experiment, geeshh! Again, the one I heard sounded plenty good for what I want to do, I just don't understand how to wire it up.
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Old 10th September 2013, 06:03 AM   #16
didge is offline didge  United States
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Why is it that if a person confesses ignorance on one subject, people assume ignorance on all subjects?
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Old 10th September 2013, 06:40 AM   #17
mjf is offline mjf  Austria
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here is a thread,perhaps it can help you......

Piezo Film Buffer and Amp Combo for Guitar Electronics
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Old 10th September 2013, 07:20 AM   #18
didge is offline didge  United States
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Ok, thanks. I can see this is beyond my level of electrical understanding (without meaning to imply that I also know nothing about audio, feedback control, EQ, etc). So from looking at that link, will I need to use a 9v battery to get a piezo to work?
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Old 10th September 2013, 07:30 AM   #19
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Sorry, I am not implying that any one was dumb, stupid, ignorant or otherwize!!
I am just trying to understand the device that you are describing.

When you mentioned Piezo driver the typical ceramic ones that you can get at Radio Shack come to mind.
I have tried to use those as microphones before and they simply just don't work well as microphones.
There are many types of Piezo elements that are available and some can be used for quality audio reproduction and such.

You didn't describe what type it was that you saw, so please do excuse my Ignorance.

I was just covering all of the bases for those whom don't know about such techniques.

I am very open minded when it come to the creativity process involving sound and music.

One of the words that is not in my vocabulary is the word "Can't" and if there is will there is a way, and it is always easier once you know how!

Everyday I learn some thing new and this is a method that I have never heard of before, But I never said that it won't work, I just merely pointed out what may be easier ways to go about your goal as I didn't fully understand what you are describing.

The first place to start maybe is describing where you may have seen this device as there are a lot of details that for whatever reason you have not told us in order to better help you out.

Carry On and Good Luck!!


Last edited by geraldfryjr; 10th September 2013 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 10th September 2013, 10:02 AM   #20
SY is offline SY  United States
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You need the battery for the preamp, not the transducer. Digikey carries the film transducers and there might even be a signal conditioner (that's a different term for "preamp" to justify a higher cost) available.
"You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is."
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