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Impedance matching for Realist pickup

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by nikolozj, Mar 24, 2017.

  1. nikolozj


    Dec 15, 2011
    Hey everyone,

    So the realist website says that the pickup impedance level is 10mg ohm. My amp's input impedance is 1M ohms (GK 112). I read that ideally an input impedance should be least 10 times bigger than the source impedance. In my case it's totally other way around. I'm still getting pretty loud sound, but I wonder if I get the amp that has higher input impedance, would that improve sound? Add more clarity?


  2. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    I've never had problems plugging a Realist straight into any amplifier.
    Ric Vice, bassfran and SLO Surfer like this.
  3. s van order

    s van order

    Oct 4, 2012
    I am sorry I do not have a direct answer to your question. Fwiw, I use a Realist copper with cello and find boosting it with a preamp into my Markbass 12" combo produces a better sound. It helps me to A/B switch it with a Fender Jazz. Realist is advertised as not needing a boost but for me the boost helps. Hope this is useful.
  4. A low input impedance cuts lows but also distorts the signal a bit, specially when the pickup signal gets high because you play louder. I'm pretty sure that they mean that an input impedance of 10 MegOhms works best with the Realist. That does not mean that the output impedance of the Realist is 10 MegOhms.

    As drurb often mentioned, we don't want to match the impedances, but wants to have only a small (current) load (by a high input impedance on the immediately following amp stage) on the pickup to avoid deformation of the signal.
    It also seems that a certain load is optimal because of the load is too low, the crystal might resonate, so a much too high impedance (= very low load) can emphasize an unpleasant piezo crystal sound.
    Ric Vice likes this.
  5. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I've run the Realist (copper foil) at 1 Meg Ohm consistantly without any issues. Most modern amps are set at 1 Meg Ohm. The only pickups that really need 10 Meg Ohms, are the

    Fishman BP-100 and Fishman Full Circle. Running the Realist at 10 Meg Ohms doesn't in and of itself, give you a more desirable sound. The difference is a subtile one.
  6. Baleen


    Nov 8, 2006
    I have an older Realist pickup ('97, 2nd generation) that definitely requires a minimum input of 1M to sound good, e.g. Roland keyboard amps and many passive DIs shave off all the bottom end.

    I recently plugged it into a Radial PZ-DI at 10M and couldn't believe all the extended low end I'd been missing at 1M. A very audible difference. Some of that low end is too much for a live stage, but nonetheless, it makes a difference.

    My pickup's output is very hot too, so I've wondered if the newer models do work better at 1M and are not too hot.
  7. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I've had the same experience, but loading it at 5 Meg Ohms with the Headway EDB-2 did improve the sound to my ears.

    That's why the Realist works really well with a Countryman Active DI. IME
  8. Matt Ides

    Matt Ides Supporting Member

    May 12, 2004
    Minneapolis, MN
    You can plug and play with the realist but a good pre-amp will make a difference in volume and sound.
  9. Baleen


    Nov 8, 2006
    I've just been reading about the EDB-2, actually. I figured the 5M input would still be very good. And I saw your posts about using it with a DPA 4099. I've been wondering if it was worth it to blend the mic or better to just send it to FOH. I've tried both ways (w/o the EDB-2) and it was definitely easier to manage just sending it to FOH.
  10. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    I've done it both ways. Sending the DPA 4099B FOH is way easier. Unfortunately the line out on the EDB-2 doesn't have a volume control, so you can't lower the signal level to an amplifier, without effecting the level FOH. I did find a workaround for this using a Taylor guitar cord with it's built in volume control, but it doesn't work as well as I'd hoped.
    Baleen likes this.
  11. Baleen


    Nov 8, 2006
    Looking at a Grace Felix now... Way more options for mixing/splitting the pickup and mic. And of course, way more money, but looks very nice.
  12. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    There's also the Headway EDB-2 not as full featured but works fine with the Realist. The Grace Design Felix is my go to pre amp. It has
    everything I need for concerts, clubs, and theater work.

    Baleen likes this.
  13. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I briefly tried my Realist Lifeline straight in to the amp and went back to using a buffer preamp in a big hurry. (Ditto Fishman Full Circle, K&K Bass Max and older David Gage Realist copper foil version...)
    I like the HPF-Pre; can't imagine using a piezo pickup now without some onboard high pass filtering and phase switching capability. They're still available and quite reasonably priced - the guy makes batches to order and ships them out every week. I mount it to my tailpiece with velcro, all plugged in and ready so the upright has all the practical benefits of an active electric bass.
    I highly recommend splurging on a Series 2 model with the volume control. (I made do with the basic model for quite some time but the super hot signal was always kind of a hassle.)
  14. Ric Vice

    Ric Vice Supporting Member

    Jul 2, 2005
    Olivette, Missouri
    For the large majority of amplifiers I'm in complete agreement with you, but their are a few exceptions. One being a Walter Woods, I've never needed a buffer preamp with one of Walter's Amps.
    Another is the older GK 200MB, which didn't seem to need it either with a Realist (Copper Foil). I'm pretty certian that the Acoustic Image amps don't need one either, but don't quote me on that. Just my take however.

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