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Zadow Magnetic PU Review

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by dkimbrobass, Apr 14, 2017.

  1. dkimbrobass

    dkimbrobass Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    Knoxville, TN
    Hi all,

    Pics soon I hope, but for now here's a review.

    I bought the Zadow PU to replace my Krivo. The Krivo doesn't quite cut it sonically for me...I think it's pretty good, but it's a dark, dark sound, and there's a lot of midrange information that I think is "honky." I should add that I always blend magnetics with piezos, with the piezo ideally being the primary sound.


    -The Zadow pickup is an improvement over the Krivo sonically. It's probably a touch more "electric" sounding, but I wanted something with more articulation and less low mids, so this works for me. I haven't used it on any big stages yet, but that'll change at the end of the month and I'll have some more refined opinions.
    -It's VASTLY lighter in weight, and smaller (the black version is less tacky hanging on the end of the fingerboard).
    -Michael Zadow fits the pickup to the curvature of your fingerboard. You send a diagram, no extra charge.
    -The mounting system is NIGHT & DAY superior to the Krivo. Can't stress this enough...this for me is enough to justify the switch from the Krivo. Once I start playing for a while I don't even notice it on the end of the fingerboard. (I had to gaff tape the Krivo for every performance just so it wouldn't fall off and make super awesome sounds when it landed on my bridge. Really a great addition to a poignant dobro ballad).


    -The black version of the PU is just the gold version wrapped in black velcro. I reckon you can't tell if you're not up close, but it looks a little jank.
    -The "passive mixer" is pretty much useless to me, apart from the fact that it moves the output jack to the tailpiece area, instead of running a 1/4" all the way up to the pickup under the end of fingerboard. There is no way control the blend of how much Piezo versus Magnetic level you want. I think the website is a tad misleading in that it labels one of the trim pots on said mixer as "piezo blend." Of course I didn't read the fine print, and it does say that this pot is used to "add trebles from piezo for best sound of mixture." This doesn't seem to really do anything unless it's 100% on, in which case there's just more treble in the piezo, and not in a pleasant way...at all. There's a little flip switch on the mixer that will mute the magnetic PU. The next pot is labelled "Mode balance" on the site..."set volume of piezo-mode equal to vol. of mix-mode." This pot didn't seem to make a huge difference either.
    -When I ran only the magnetic PU into the "passive mixer" and blended it with my piezo (Upton Revolution) with about a 60-40% piezo mix (via a Grace FELiX), the sound was really, really good. Less honky crap from the Zadow than the Krivo for sure - arco sounds ok too...but when I ran both PUs thru the supplied "passive mixer" on the end of the tailpiece the sound was...not awesome. Arco sounds were massively weird, almost phasey? There's no way to control the blend of the two pickups...it's straight 50-50%, and no combination of settings of the pots described above made the sound work for me. Your experience will almost certainly be different.

    My recommendation: Do you need a feedback resistant system? Yes? Buy the Zadow, not the Krivo. Skip the extra dough for the "passive mixer." Hope this helps. DK
    MR PC and Pat Harris like this.
  2. Pat Harris

    Pat Harris Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Thanks for the review, Daniel. I saw you with Jerry Doublas a few months back in Austin-- great set, and great playing!

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