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Optical Pick Up

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Roger Mouton, Feb 18, 2016.


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  1. Roger Mouton

    Roger Mouton Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2003
    Southern California
    At NAMM this year I spent some time with the usual cast of friends and acquaintances and became aware of a new pick up being introduced by TAFF Optical. I don't know what they're doing about field testing or beta sites but I was told it might be a few months before it happens in earnest. The guy telling me about the pick up, an EB player, said his understanding is that the "optical" aspect of the pick up is unique.

    I have a small brochure that states there is "complete feedback resistance coupled with the frequency response of a high quality microphone." I never made it to their booth to hear about it first-hand. Has anyone heard of this pick-up or, better yet, had any experience with it?
     
  2. Perhaps it's similar to the Lightwave system.
     
  3. Roger Mouton

    Roger Mouton Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2003
    Southern California
    From their website it looks as though Lightwave optically senses the string vibrations. TAFF appears to have the pick-up mounted on the G side bridge foot with something connecting to the adjacent "f" hole on that side.
     
  4. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    Not a lot of information out there yet? Maybe they are not ready for the market yet.
    I'm not so sure about clamping a big holder on the top of the bass to position sensors by the strings. Seems like it would damp the top.
     
  5. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Povl Carstensen likes this.
  6. rickwolff

    rickwolff CGJ -- Endorsing Artist-- ---3M Dual Lock--- Supporting Member

    The 17th Century meets the 21st Century. Wow! Beam me up Scotty (along with my bass).
     
  7. It looks like a pretty big (heavy?) device.
     
  8. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Looks quite interesting. I wonder which vibrations of the instrument the flexible member mirrors. Just as the vibrations that a bridge-wing acoustic pickup senses are less characteristic of the sound of the DB than those sensed by a contact mic or regular acoustic mic, it would seem that the quality of the sound from the optical device will depend very much on which vibrational modes it "sees." The proof will be in the hearing.
     
  9. Complete feedback resistance is nonsense for an acoustical stringed instrument with a resonating body.

    Feedback comes over the top into the bridge and strings if the acoustical amplification factor is high enough. This has nothing to do with the method of picking up vibration. The pickup point has some influence how soon the feedback starts (at what minimum acoustical amplification factor).

    And it doesn't seem to be completely free of influence on the bass, so what might be possible to gain out of an optical transducer (that doesn't need to behave better than other transducers, even if this is possible theoretically), other influence might influence the acoustic sound of the instrument, depending how the device is mounted to the instrument. A top loaded by a heavy mass might not improve the acoustic sound of the instrument, even if this new sound might be transducer more precisely.

    Theoretically it could work a bit better than most contact mics that are available now, but basically it is a contact mic, transducing the vibration of one point of the top/bridge (or whatever) only. Less sensitive than an air mic to unwanted air transferred sound sources, but also doesn't capture the radiated air pressure of the instrument.

    Just looked into the patent and browsed through the pictures. I doubt that is would work at all that way or might be very sensitive to placement. Not talking about linearity. Seems to be too simple to work successfully for that application to me. And it senses the wiggling of the bridge to the sides.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016
  10. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Absolutely. If your instrument is exposed to vibrations from your own amp, monitors, or the PA, and you are lifting the sound from a vibrating part (Top?) of your instrument, then you have a feedback risk.
     
  11. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Thanks for confirming this. That seemed to make sense to me as well when I read the description.
     
  12. I wonder what happens when the smoke machine on stage starts up... ;-)
     
  13. Roger Mouton

    Roger Mouton Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2003
    Southern California
    Hi Jake - I looked at the USPTO drawings you posted. The photo on the brochure looks nothing like those patent application drawings. I'll scan and post the photo if the scan is decent enough. TAFF's website says that the pick up technology "utilizes optical devices that modulate the path of light over the body of the instrument". The website does not show the picture on the brochure. At least I haven't found it if it's there somewhere. My EB player friend has a personal or familial connection to someone that works for TAFF. If I get more information I'll pass it on.
     
  14. Roger Mouton

    Roger Mouton Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2003
    Southern California
    It's a small brochure. I scanned it to a jpeg and then cropped the scan. It appears to be connected to the bridge leg and the "f" hole.

    Taff Optical.
     
  15. Roger Mouton

    Roger Mouton Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2003
    Southern California
    Hi Jake - I looked at the USPTO drawings you posted. The photo on the brochure looks nothing like those patent application drawings. I'll scan and post the photo if the scan is decent enough. TAFF's website says that the pick up technology "utilizes optical devices that modulate the path of light over the body of the instrument". The website does not show the picture on the brochure. At least I haven't found it if it's there somewhere. My EB player friend has a personal or familial connection to someone that works for TAFF. If I get more information I'll pass it on.
     
    Jake deVilliers likes this.
  16. Roger Mouton

    Roger Mouton Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2003
    Southern California
    And yes, as pictured it would seem to preclude use of bridge adjusters.
     
  17. seamonkey

    seamonkey

    Aug 6, 2004
    The picture says "Patent Pending" It may not be published yet.
     
  18. Harry Monkley

    Harry Monkley

    Jan 16, 2016
    Will it be cheaper or more expensive than hiring a surveillance operative with a swanky laser mic to point it at your bass and let the sound guy take a feed to FOH?
     
    drurb likes this.
  19. I think with a surface mounted laser mic theoretically you would get better results, I think that was the starting point for this design, but with a surface mounted laser mic the bass needs to stay in one position which is impractical (or practically impossible).
    Mounting the optics at the ribs (either like an H-clamp or bridged on both sides of the bass) pointing at an inner part of the top would get better results than mounting it on the bridge, I think.
     
  20. Roger Mouton

    Roger Mouton Supporting Member

    Aug 19, 2003
    Southern California
    Patent pending means what it says. It's already been applied for. Many times the application itself is published, before the patent is granted.
     

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