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Old 11th September 2013, 10:26 AM   #31
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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Can you provide the radio Shack part number for what you have, or link to it?

I used to have to service electronic drum pads, which were a pain in the rear. But the piezo discs were simple discs. I used to stock, well still do actually, those old cheap Motorola piezo tweeters, now CTS makes them. KSN1005 if I recall. When I needed a disc, I sometimes took a tweeter apart and stole its disc.

If your disc is in a plastic housing, it is then probably expecting audio input, while bare discs are more used for direct contact with something. Unless you are using a piezo sonic generator ( a siren)

An electronic drum pad, a Yamaha anyway, was a slab of plywood with a disc glued to it. A rubber pad on the top side to cushion the stick blow and rebound the stick. It didn't act very well as a microphone, it was just a way to make a pulse when hit. You can connect your piezo to an amp input and hear what it hears.

You stuck one on the wall of your didge with limited results. Doers much sound normally come from the side walls? I have only seen photos of the instrument, I had assumed the sound came out the end, with the length and diameter setting its frequency and tone. But that is only assuming. If so, putting your sensor in the end glow might give better results.


As to your project, piezos are good as sensors of mechanical shock. But not so great as microphones. The really cheap microphones that come with cheap portable tape recorders are piezo mics. That doesn't mean they won't work well in specific applications. But if you want to use it as a pickup mic rather than a trigger, then you have to create the sound acoustically.

I thought you were trying to make a snare drum sort of sound, but your more recent post sounds more like a far off relative of a steel drum.
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Old 11th September 2013, 08:18 PM   #32
didge is offline didge  United States
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No, much sound does not come through the walls. And you are right about length and diameter determining the tuning (in fact, youtube search "CADSD"and in the first or second video that comes up you will see an example of a didge being "evolved" using a genetic algorithm so that if you build the specified shape, it will play a pre-determind set of notes. I am involved with this project. The other video that comes up is of me performing on the same didge that I just put a piezo on.)
Yes, I want to ise one to make a snare-like sound, but I also want to use them to mic my claves and tambourine and maybe a piezo film to pick up certain throat souns from beatboxing that don't translate very well through a normal mic. I am also making a stomp box/kick drum from a small subwoofer to tap on with my foot while playing the didge.
The piezo on a didge made from Agave--which has really thin walls and so they vibrate a lot--might work nicely. But as far as picking up just the percussive hand tapping on the wall of the didge, the piezo works great.
The snare sound I want is more like a rim click anyway, and the piezo seems to do really well at picki.g up the sound of a metal plate clacking on another plate.
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Old 12th September 2013, 08:40 PM   #33
didge is offline didge  United States
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Update for anyone interested:
After experimenting in a few different ways, I can say there were some disappointments (confirming some of your predictions) and some nice surprises.
As far as using the piezo to mic my clave and convey the two main tones of the claves, it's a no-go. But, the resonant modes of the piezo and some gentle EQ give the claves a tonal-and-thumpy-with-clack sound that is definitely nice and useable as a snare drum rim click surrogate.

But the really nice surprise came when I put the piezo on my throat near the adam's apple and alternatively on my cheek while playing the didgeridoo. In both of these positions the piezo mics VERY nicely the vocal sounds I make while playing. If you don't know, the basic didgeridoo sound is made by buzzing the lips; but while the lips are buzzing and the fundamental (or one of the overblows) is being sounded, you can also vocalize. Depending on the didge, these vocals may or may not convey very well relative to the lip-buzzing fundamental (it has to do with inner bore size and the particular intrinsic resonance series of an instrument). Yesterday while playing a didge that does not convey the vocals very well, I put the piezo on my throat and found that it enriched the vocals in the mix like never before. It sounds awesome! Now I am hooked. Of any ideas I've had for a piezo, this application is the most exciting.
THe other big surprise (this one only works when the piezo is on my cheek, not throat) is the way the piezo enriches the kick drum sounds I make through the didgeridoo (a style of playing similar to beatboxing). It really makes the beat thump where it's supposed to and almost does a better job than the subwoofer-mic I built to capture the didge's lows at the bell end.

BUT, there is one major problem that I don't know if I can get around: THe piezo doesn't just pick up my vocals and "kick drum", but also every little movement of my cheeks or throat, the piezo scraping against facial hair, etc. Also, I have to apply a little bit of pressure (not much) to the piezo against my throat/cheeks for it to work nicely. So now i need a fancy mounting system. If it turns out there is no way around the extraneous sounds, then I wish I had never discovered this, because it is truly a revolutionary sound and I WANT IT!
So, any ideas? This is a challenge where I truly can't think of another way to get these beautiful effects (with a regular mic or using piezo as trigger, etc) Maybe the piezo film would work better as far as coming up with a mounting system and dialing back extra noise? THere has to be a way!
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Old 12th September 2013, 08:44 PM   #34
didge is offline didge  United States
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Maybe if I encased the piezo in epoxy (to protect it) and then put some kind of gel between it and my cheeck? Not so good for performances, though :-)
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Old 12th September 2013, 11:19 PM   #35
SY is offline SY  United States
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If you isolate it from your cheek, you'll isolate it from the wanted vibrations. Maybe try some low-pass filtering or parametric EQ as a band-aid?
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Old 12th September 2013, 11:35 PM   #36
didge is offline didge  United States
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Yes, I tried filtering and eq, and it helped a little, but not much.
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Old 13th September 2013, 07:22 AM   #37
mjf is offline mjf  Austria
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.......perhaps with a rubberband (around your head).
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Old 13th September 2013, 09:07 AM   #38
didge is offline didge  United States
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That's a nice idea. I've also been thinking about how I might mount it to a headset mic that I am already wearing. In the meantime, a friend pointed out that a well-known didger named Charlie McMahon uses a seismic mic inside his mouth and calls it a "face bass". Charlie McMahon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I haven't read yet about a seismic sensor but I'm guessing a variation on piezo?
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