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Microphonic Emg's


nashy
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I’ve recently finished building a Gibson Explorer copy with my son. Spent many hours in the shed on it but had great fun. We installed EMG’s 81 & 85.

We have two problems.

1) The pickups are very microphonic, speaking next them comes through the amp easily.

2) Sounds bad even when played clean through a Boss ME-50 but OK through other Boss pedals. His Strat is fine through the ME-50

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That's really strange. EMGs are usually the quietest pickup you can buy with no microphonic issues because they're fully epoxy encapsulated.

Have you called EMG support? How does the guitar sound straight into the amp? Have you tried different cables? Is the guitar microphonic even if you mute the strings?

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For a quick diagnostic test, simply remove one of the pickups from the guitar completely, wire it directly to a jack and a battery, plug it into the amp and see if you can use it as a handheld microphone - if it isn't equally as microphonic when held firmly in your hand as it is in the guitar, it's not to blame in the guitar either. Other culprits might easily be the pickguard and/or mounting hardware, since any vibration in either will move the pickup in relation to the strings, causing microphonics.

As for the ME-50, try turning down the volume on the guitar - EMGs put out a very healthy signal level, and the digital portions of the ME-50 may well be choking on the extra voltage, while the analog pedals probably handle overdrive much more gracefully. The ME-50 expects an input level of -10dBu, or about 250mV max, and probably wasn't designed to handle much over twice that, so the EMGs are probably overdriving the A/D converter and generating crappy digital distortion.

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That's really strange. EMGs are usually the quietest pickup you can buy with no microphonic issues because they're fully epoxy encapsulated.

Have you called EMG support? How does the guitar sound straight into the amp? Have you tried different cables? Is the guitar microphonic even if you mute the strings?

EMG Support have suggested the following

1) Lower the pups. This will reduce the output.

2) Turn the amp down.

3) Place foam behind the pups to reduce the vibration

I'll give this a go.

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For a quick diagnostic test, simply remove one of the pickups from the guitar completely, wire it directly to a jack and a battery, plug it into the amp and see if you can use it as a handheld microphone - if it isn't equally as microphonic when held firmly in your hand as it is in the guitar, it's not to blame in the guitar either. Other culprits might easily be the pickguard and/or mounting hardware, since any vibration in either will move the pickup in relation to the strings, causing microphonics.

As for the ME-50, try turning down the volume on the guitar - EMGs put out a very healthy signal level, and the digital portions of the ME-50 may well be choking on the extra voltage, while the analog pedals probably handle overdrive much more gracefully. The ME-50 expects an input level of -10dBu, or about 250mV max, and probably wasn't designed to handle much over twice that, so the EMGs are probably overdriving the A/D converter and generating crappy digital distortion.

The pickups only seem to be microphonic when signal is distorted by an amp or pedal.

Clean is OK except if the amp is turned up high in which case it would be negligible anyway.

Still working on the ME 50 with your suggestions.

Thanks for your help so far.

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