Pre Amp Recommendation

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Pre Amp Recommendation

Postby DulciBiker » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:17 am

Would like a recommendation for a small pre amp (not a mixer set up) for the mountain dulcimer. I have a small 15 watt PA amp which should work. Will I need a DI box as well?
Small venues, maybe a small church, or nursing home activity room. Do not want to get anything large, bulky or costly as use will be sporadic, I expect.
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Re: Pre Amp Recommendation

Postby dholeton » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:41 am

I've used a small Behringer mixer (like the Behringer Xenyx 802 mixer) to interface microphones to my amplifier. Microphones are my first choice for amplifying dulcimers for big rooms or outdoor stages since they don't alter the sound as much as pickups. Wind noise and feedback squeal can add some difficulties with microphones.
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Behringer/XENYX-802-Mixer.gc

I have an ART Tube pre-amp also for microphones. I've used it mostly for recording and it has a hum (sold as "that tube amp warm sound") that I have to try to filter out of the quiet spots in recordings. It would probably be okay for live performance and the hum wouldn't be so noticeable.
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/TubeMPC?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI9OK6l4ay2AIV1rrACh1DYATZEAYYByABEgIygvD_BwE

I have a Dean Markley transducer that doesn't alter the sound too much, so when I build my next dulcimer I plan to put a place in or near the strum hollow (maybe on the side of the fretboard) where it will fit. I wouldn't stick one to the top permanently with the double sticky adhesive. There might be a creative way to put it on the dulcimer such that it won't hurt the finish and can be easily attached and removed for each usage.
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Dean-Markley/Artist-Transducer.gc

I hope this helps.

Dave
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Re: Pre Amp Recommendation

Postby DulciBiker » Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:26 pm

Thanks, dholeton for the response. Have a Happy New Year.
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Re: Pre Amp Recommendation

Postby kwl » Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:37 pm

Dulcibiker, the recommendations you received are fine, but do they answer your question? Do you already have a pickup or microphone? A 15 watt amp should be fine for a group of 15 to 20 people in a small room. Any larger than that and you might need more power. I have used the Dean Markley Artist pickup for years. You should be aware that it magnifies all the sound including picks hitting the fret board, your fingers touching the dulcimer, the movement of wire if you shift positions, etc. I eventually replaced the Artist with under saddle pickup on two of my dulcimers. The Artist is a passive pickup (unpowered) but should work fine in the instrument input on your amp without a pre-amp. I would try that first before investing in a pre-amp. You will not need a DI unless you are plugging in to a low impedance input. If you play in church, you can always use a microphone from the church's sound system to amplify your amplifier.

Ken
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Re: Pre Amp Recommendation

Postby DulciBiker » Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:43 pm

Ken,
I have an Audio Technica Pro 70 condenser microphone with a clip to attach to the dulcimer.
Thanks.
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Re: Pre Amp Recommendation

Postby dholeton » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:09 pm

The first two items I suggested provide phantom power (if you don't want to use batteries in the microphone battery holder) and 3 pin XLRM input connections. The outputs can be TRS or RCA output connections for the cord arrangement that connects to the PA. If your PA has XLRM inputs, then I agree that you probably don't need a pre-amp or converter.

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Re: Pre Amp Recommendation

Postby GrantOlson » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:44 pm

I use a cheap clip-on contact pickup and 15-watt Fender amp; no pre amp. The only problem I have is the pickup cable isn't shielded.
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Re: Pre Amp Recommendation

Postby frets alot » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:01 am

I'm loving my LR Baggs Gigpro that I use with my Doug Berch dulcimer (w/ passive pick-up):

https://www.elderly.com/l-r-baggs-gigpro-preamp.htm

I use it with a couple Roland amps that I have, for small venues.
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Re: Pre Amp Recommendation

Postby Robin the Busker » Mon Jan 01, 2018 6:44 pm

DulciBiker wrote:Ken,
I have an Audio Technica Pro 70 condenser microphone with a clip to attach to the dulcimer.
Thanks.


I would suggest you may want a microphone specific pre-amp for your AT Pro 70 that will also supply phantom power. See if you can find one of the Behringer MIC100 Ultragain pre-amps. They are usually about $40. I have a couple of the MIC200 versions that I use for many different applications. I take them with me to a local open mic where I sometimes run the sound desk. There's a fiddler who turns up as part of a jazz group who has something very similar to the AT Pro 70 (it may be that model) for amplifying his fiddle. I plug that through a MIC200 as a pre-amp/DI then line to the desk. I've run many types of pick-ups, mic's and instruments through those Behringer Ultragain pre-amps into a desk or straight to a guitar amp.

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