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Jan 25, 2023 - 12:20 AM
2 posts since 7/4/2022

Good morning everyone!
Currently on my Recording King RK 35 I have mounted the K&K Banjo Twin Pickup combined with a preamplifier also by K&K, the Pure Preamp.
I don't really like the sound (it lacks in depth) and I'm thinking to invest in a new preamp with more capabilities in EQ, a compressor, a boost and stompbox form factor.
Another aspect I would like to consider is the possibility of adding in a future a microphone (like a Shure SM-57) to mix the sound of the pickup in some contexts.

The Fishman Platinum Pro intrigued me a lot, but unfortunately it has only one input and I could not combine the sound of the microphone.

Are there any solutions (like two-channel pramps?) that might work for me? Or do you think I could proceed with the purchase of the single-way preamp and then manage the microphone with a separate mixer, even if less practical?

Thank you very much!


Jan 25, 2023 - 1:36:52 AM

5 posts since 1/20/2023

Interested in this topic.
Good question.
Standing by.

Jan 25, 2023 - 5:01:11 AM

58 posts since 4/19/2014

I’ve never used any of these units, but I’ve been doing some research, so take this with a grain of salt…

Someone who uses a K&K recommended the Tonebone PZ to me. That has two channels and all the bells and whistles you were talking about.

I have a Boss line selector pedal. I use it as a clean blend pedal for effects, but it’s designed to take two signals and blend the. It’s inexpensive and in a stomp pedal form.

The “pro level” device is the two channel device made by Grace. It has pro level cost though.

Good luck.

Jan 25, 2023 - 8:58:32 AM

13887 posts since 6/2/2008

If I were to get back into live playing and needed to amplify my banjo, I would probably spend the money on a ToneDexter modeling preamp.  Instead of you trying to blend the sound of a pickup and mic, ToneDexter learns what your banjo sounds like through a mic and a pickup and then lets you use a pickup to produce amazingly natural-sounding acoustic output.

Here it is on an RK-35. The video demonstrates the straight pickup sound (ToneDexter bypassed) and the ToneDexter sound (ToneDexter engaged).

I have a Pickup the World pickup in one banjo. When I last played live and amplified, I used an LR Baggs Para Acoustic DI/preamp. 

Jan 25, 2023 - 9:47:36 PM
Players Union Member



915 posts since 6/29/2007

It depends on what setting you are playing in. Are you playing in a band, solo, with all acoustic instruments, electric guitars, etc? I play in and all acoustic band and we use audio technica at2020s or equivalent condenser mics. They are very natural sounding. They are susceptible to feedback due the sensitivity, so they won't work with electric bands. Condensers require phantom power from preamp or mixer.

Jan 26, 2023 - 5:40:21 AM

545 posts since 11/9/2021

Using a separate channel for the mic allows you to dial in that and blend at the board. If the board EQ includes a parametric or sweepable notch filter for the mid-range, and you use it to tune out feedback points, a mic can get pretty darn loud. It's what I use, and we are playing larger concert type venues.

Feb 4, 2023 - 3:14:30 AM

2 posts since 7/4/2022

Thanks everyone for the helpful replies!

In particular I'm looking into the suggestion of modeling preamps like the Tonedexter. This seems a valid solution judging by the reviews and demos like the one that has been pointed out. Unfortunately it is not very easy to find it in Europe, in spring 2023 the new model should also come out.

So I'm also evaluating a product that seems quite similar: the LR BAGGS VOICEPRINT DI, which compared to the Tonedexter is more specific for the acoustic guitar but also more "modern" being able to connect it to an iPhone and be able to tinker with it on equalization for example.'s something that intrigues me enough.

The point is the specificity for acoustic guitar.

I wrote to LR BAGGS support asking if their product would be suitable for a 5 string bluegrass banjo and they answered, almost obviously yes...more to the point that they have had "very good feedback from banjo users".

What do you think about it? Has anyone had experience with VOICEPRINT DI?

Thank you!


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