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Tech: Fishman EQ Question

Merritt 20 Jan 03 - 05:28 PM
Clinton Hammond 20 Jan 03 - 05:54 PM
GUEST 20 Jan 03 - 05:59 PM
Clinton Hammond 20 Jan 03 - 06:15 PM
mooman 20 Jan 03 - 06:29 PM
Merritt 20 Jan 03 - 11:19 PM
GUEST,Claymore 21 Jan 03 - 10:48 PM
clansfolk 22 Jan 03 - 06:07 AM
Merritt 22 Jan 03 - 06:35 PM
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Subject: Tech: Fishman EQ Question
From: Merritt
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 05:28 PM

Hi Folks,

My Martin guitar came with a Fishman Prefix Plus pickup/preamp system installed. It's not a great acoustic amplification option, but up to now it's worked as expected.

My problem is an ongoing loss of volume, so that I'm really having to crank channel and Fishman EQ volume to just stay level with other instruments and vocals. I've tried:

~ replacing 9V battery (twice)
~ using different cords b/w guitar & mixer
~ using same cord while switching channels
~ checking all the connections to make sure am properly seating

All to no avail. Had same problem working through two different sound systems on weekend gigs. If this trend continues, I eventually won't be loud enough to play.

I'm sending a message to the tech folks at Fishman, but wondered about others' experiences. What could cause this? At this point I'm practicing or performing pretty much everyday, and am not thrilled about the idea of shipping the unit to Massachusetts per the return policy.

- Merritt


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fishman EQ Question
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 05:54 PM

Uneducated guess...

Excessine battery drain (not something I'm aware that Fishman has EVER had a problem with)

Or

Some kind of spotty conncetion in the hardware somewhere that's causing the battery to drain fast???


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fishman EQ Question
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 05:59 PM

Play acoustic (and I mean that)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fishman EQ Question
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 06:15 PM

Oh ya... cause that's even remotely an option all the frigg'n time...

Why then do pickups do such good business?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fishman EQ Question
From: mooman
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 06:29 PM

I use an external Fishman preamp/eq which has a small, screwdriver-adjusted gain control to match the preamp to the transducer. On fitting a PUTW 27, I did not have the expected level of gain from the factory setting but then adjusted the preamp gain using this control. It is now quite satisfactory.

I'm not familiar with the prefix plus system but wonder if there is an similar equivalent gain matching control? On the other hand, as far as I'm aware, Martin's transducer system is manufactured by Fishman so it should be factory matched.

If this is not the problem I would suspect a poor jack/socket connection as you've already tried different leads or perhaps a faulty connection between the preamp and the jack socket. What length lead are you using as there can be a substantial loss in signal strength with a long lead?

Just a few ideas for what it may be worth!

Good luck with the problem and best regards,

moo


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fishman EQ Question
From: Merritt
Date: 20 Jan 03 - 11:19 PM

Thanks for these ideas, folks.

At this point am involved in 3 different (mostly fun) music projects all of which require some amplification if I'm to participate. Going "acoustic" is not an option.

There does seem to be some sort of voltage loss. Adjusted gain control sounds like I should look into. Altho', in my case, I've experienced a shift in volume levels with no change in this particular function. I tried three different leads - 6', 10' and 16' with no difference in settings.

- Merritt


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fishman EQ Question
From: GUEST,Claymore
Date: 21 Jan 03 - 10:48 PM

I'm going to suggest a couple of test that may help you figure out what the problem is.

Assuming that you check your batteries before placing them in the guitar, I'm going to hypothosize that the button connections on your nine volt batttery holder have developed a short, or a crack in the faceplate that forms the "bone" of the battery connector under the plastic "skin" of the connector. Take a new nine volt battery and connect either the male OR the female portion of the battery to it's opposite member on the connector. Then get a short piece of jumper wire and run it from the unattached battery button to the first soldered connection of the entire battery connector (which ususally consists of the connector and the two wires leading to the appliance). Test the wire on each of the two connections. It you don't get an immediate increase in volumn, disconnect the battery and repeat using the other matched set of connectors.

If neither of those test disclose the problem, plug in a good battery and then push pull or twist in a firm BUT NOT DISTRUCTIVE manner the volumn knob, which may have a broken, bent or corroded reostat or L-pad sweep arm. If this is the problem you will find positions of the knob which will sound louder or scratchier, or just different.

Both of these would be warranty problems, but the solution is easier that you suggest. A good music store should be able to swap out your system in about ten minutes on the scene, once they've found that your system doesn't work. With your Martin warrranty information, they should be able to set some kind of swap with the factory, with one phone call. Just have your purchase information with you when you go to the store or go to the actual store that sold you the guitar. None of these problems should take more than 30 minutes to fix.

Incidently, you can make a cheap but effective battery tester that will test the battery in the guitar without taking it out to test. Just get an old section of instrument cord about one foot long with one 1/4 plug attached at one end. Seperate and tin the two wires at the other end and then use those two wires to make the connections on a cheap Radio Shack battery tester. Since most active systems use the plug to turn the system on, the current will flow thru the wires to give you a reading on the battery's state without taking it out. Since the volumn control may affect the actual out-put, it will be a ratio, but with experience and leaving the settings the same, you should be able to get a decent reading after several attempts.

Good Luck!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fishman EQ Question
From: clansfolk
Date: 22 Jan 03 - 06:07 AM

Have you contacted Fishman??

I've always found them helpful


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Subject: RE: Tech: Fishman EQ Question
From: Merritt
Date: 22 Jan 03 - 06:35 PM

Wow, Claymore, I'm going to try your "button connections plate" test.

And yes, I sent the tech folks at Fishman an e-mail when I posted here. Their product support function is separate from Martin, but their product is definitely physically integrated with the guitar.

Just heard back today and, as expected, I need to send them "the system" and they'll "evaluate it and see what the problem is." That's how their warranty works. As noted above tho' I'm playing a lot these days and, as it turns out, the Martin is my main instrument right now. I told the Fishman guy (in Massachusetts) that I'd rather blow-off the warranty and pay to replace the unit closer to home (Wisconsin). I'm not a spendthrift, but I've been through these sorts of warranty gerbil wheels before and wound up renting and borrowing guitars to keep my practice and gig commitments, and waiting, and wating, and waiting.... Am not disagreeing re their helpfulness, ol' Fishman and I are just operating under different logic systems.

So I have a date with a local guitar geek next Weds. to try to solve the power puzzle. I'll throw as many of your comments and ideas into the mix as I can.

Thanks!!

- Merritt


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