Wood case and miking

This topic contains 14 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Gianluca Barbaro 4 months, 2 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
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  • #9932

    Gianluca Barbaro
    Participant

    Hi all,
    I’m new to the forum and relatively new to the melodica. I’m a professional musician (whatever that means nowadays…), I play the recorder (mainly jazz and some early/trad music) and jazz piano, and I teach.
    I recently bought a Yamaha P-32D (thanks to the advices offered by this website) and I was very happy with it, but I needed some simple live amplification, so I decided to re-case the melodica to make some onboard room for mikes and preamp. I’ve used only recycled materials or stuff that I already had in my possession, like the preamp (taken from a MicroVox standard PSU http://www.microvox.co.uk/psu.htm). Here are some pics:

    wooden melodica 01
    wooden melodica 02
    wooden melodica 03
    wooden melodica 04

    Not visible, there are two electret capsules in the inside. In the last picture you can see how I tried to solve the condensation valve problem.

    My first impressions, PROS:
    – The overall acoustical sound of the melodica is enhanced, although it is a little bit less loud
    – The amplification is well balanced (I guess thanks to the fact that the capsules are not too near the air vents)
    – The weight is acceptable the way I play (sitting and using some leg support)
    – The melodica is untouched in itself, so it can be instantly replaced by a new one or restored to its original plastic case.

    CONS:
    – The aesthetics can be definitely improved :/
    – I still have to test if and how the internal condensation is affecting the wood
    – I need a new bag 😉

    I have a question for those of you who already made a wooden casing: I used a chemical waterproofing liquid first and then a regular coating, but I have some health concerns about toxicity. What did you guys used to waterproof the internal?

    thanks
    gl

    #9933

    Gianluca Barbaro
    Participant

    Sorry, it’s a P-37D obviously 😉

    #9934

    Ricky
    Participant

    Gianluca, Thanks so much for posting your pics. I found them to be very interesting. I’d like to do something similar. I tried piezo pickups (3 of them) on the inside of my P37. They worked, but there was way too much key noise. I bought a Hammond 44 and so I ended my experiment with the pickups. I WISH that Yamaha would offer an electrify kit for their P series melodicas. If it mimicked the Hammond system, it would just need to be a replacement end cap with a mic in it and a volume control. They’d sell a bazillion, I’ll bet! An incorporated pre-amp would make it even better.

    #9935

    Melodica-Me
    Participant

    Welcome to the forum Gianluca, great pics and nice work, thanks for sharing. You can use marine, spar or polyurethane varnish 3-4 light coats should do the trick. Once the varnish is completely cured it is safe. I would not use a wood treatment like Thompson water sealer, also use stainless steel screws if possible as rust can build up with regular metal screws with time.
    Melodica-Me

    #9936

    Gianluca Barbaro
    Participant

    @Ricky, I first tried my miking setup with the original plastic case and the key noise was very loud. Also, the capsules were too near the air vents and the amplification was not even. Now that there’s more space, I have far less key noise and the notes are well balanced coming out from the mics.
    For the same reasons, I doubt an electric kit would be effective: there might be not enough space :/

    @melodica-me, thanks! I used this http://www.saratoga.it/it/prodotto/1/212-impermeabilizzare/423-impermeabilizzante-z7/ and then covered it with a water based varnish, but it still smells of diesel oil… Luckily it’s slowly going away.
    I’m planning to make a new case next summer, I’ll follow your advice.

    #9939

    Melodica-Me
    Participant

    Gianluca, the Saratoga product is definitely something you do not want to use. It is an exterior water repellent for masonry similar to Thompsons water seal. you actually do not need to use this before you use a varnish. when the piece is dry or cured, place the case in a box with a lid and put a box of baking soda in it. it will absorb the smell. you can leave it out side (warm day) for few days and it should go away as well. The more circulation of air will remove it faster. What capsules did you use. I would love to hear how your melodica sound.
    Melodica-Me

    #9942
    Daren Banarsë
    Daren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    Hi Gianluca

    I’ve made wood cases for a couple of Yamahas, though haven’t added any pickups. In both cases, I also made a modification to the condensation outlet. I don’t think any moisture should be released into the inside of a wooden case – it will only do damage in time. Also, it could interfere with the electronics?

    It should be easy enough to chop off the whole section consisting of red button and spring etc, and to insert a tube, which will transport any condensation out of the case. I fit one of these to the end of the tube, with the threaded section sticking out of the case:

    brass hose connector

    Then you can add this ‘screw on’ cap:

    brass screw on cap

    #9943
    Daren Banarsë
    Daren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    I’ve used pure Tung Oil, which is a natural and traditional choice for waterproofing boats. It takes a while to build up the layers gradually, but it looks nice.

    #9944

    Gianluca Barbaro
    Participant

    Thanks Daren, Melodica-Me. I will try the baking soda trick, even if the smell is definitely going away. I decided to use a “strong” product because I noticed that the condensation is coming out not just from the valve, but (mainly, according to my playing style) from all key vents. I didn’t want to modify the melodica in itself and, after all, adding some tubing to the valve (very nice trick, Daren!) wouldn’t have solved the problem. At the moment, the valve is surrounded by cork with a open hole at the bottom, hopefully it shouldn’t leak over wood.
    I isolated the electronic compartment with some cork and varnish, it should be safe. The only exposed parts are the mic capsules, but I couldn’t find a solution to that, so I guess they will have to be replaced in time.
    For the moment I installed two generic, standard quality electret capsules I already had (I did some experimenting with recorders some years ago): they do their job, but their dynamic range is limited and they go into saturation if I play some loud chords. I was thinking about buying something from these guys https://www.primomic.com/products/
    Do you have any advice?

    #9956

    Gianluca Barbaro
    Participant

    Melodica-Me, I managed to upload a small demo here, first the acoustic sound than the direct one (with internal mics, at 2:03). I’m not sure if the distortions come from the limited dynamic range of the capsules or from some internal air turbulence… I will have to make some more testing.

    #9957

    Melodica-Me
    Participant

    Gianluca, the melodica sounds good, have you tried dropping the volume output of the melodica and bringing up the volume on the record input. It sounds like you are pushing the preamp, you may be able to reduce the distortion by doing this.
    Melodica-Me

    #9962

    Gianluca Barbaro
    Participant

    Unfortunately it is something regarding the capsules… I found two panasonic high quality capsules for 6€, I hope they will solve the problem!
    thanks,
    gl

    #9986

    Gianluca Barbaro
    Participant

    An update for those who might be interested: the distortion problem persisted even with the high quality capsules: I don’t know if it’s my power supply unit, but I suspect some special capsules are required (for example those used for trumpet or sax bells) in order to be used internally and close to the air vents.
    I experimented also with some piezo pickup, but the noise (keys mainly) is intolerable, as others have already commented here in the past.
    I ended up with a solution very similar to the one implemented by Suzuki: a dynamic microphone at the right end of the keyboard. It’s slightly unbalanced towards the higher notes, but it’s the best I could come up with for the moment. Maybe be in my next case I will make room for another microphone in the left end and connect them in parallel.
    cheers
    gl

    #9988

    Melodica-Me
    Participant

    Gianluca, line voltage on the output of your pick up is paramount. Too much will drive the input of your recorder or amplifier as a distortion pedal would. If you notice that the sound improves as the battery weakens you will need to add or change your line voltage resistor to lower the amperage. I tried many systems until I finally came across the Myers pickups. I have been using Myers pickups for some years now and have recomemded them to many here on Melodicaworld. Thier systems are very clean and punchy. I have worked with Greg Myers on a few custom systems for my Diamante Wind Vox Melodicas, one (3) pickup exterior system and one (3) pickup interior system. The equalization range is great and no key clicking sound. Check out the website below and maybe consider one for your custom melodica inclosure. You can also contact Greg and talk to him about your needs and maybe he can design one that will work for your custom melodica. Also included a video of my Diamanté Wind Vox #002 showing the control box that Myers created for it.

    Melodica-Me
    click to go to Myers Pickup website then click product line top right

    https://www.myerspickups.com/see-in-action/2017/1/15/oscar-verdugo?rq=melodica

    Diamante Wind Vox #002

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  Melodica-Me.
    #9990

    Gianluca Barbaro
    Participant

    Cool design, I had already seen that, it’s insane!
    Unfortunately I had the same doubt about voltage and did some experimenting from 1.5v to 9v: the output level changed accordingly, but the distortions were unaffected.
    Thanks for the advice about Myers but, seen the costs, for my current needs it’s not worth it: at least I now have an Hammond 44 for live situations.
    I too came to the (obvious) conclusion that the Suzuki design is superior to Yamaha’s: the air vents being covered by an enclosure, not only all the condensation is conveyed towards the spit valve, but so are air and sound, so a dynamic cartridge near the valve is effective. This is not the case with Yamahas, where air and condensation are spread chaotically within the case…
    I think I’ll put the Yamaha back into its original plastic case :/

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