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Reviewed by 2 customers
Displaying reviews 1-2
Comments about Fishman Powerchip Preamp:
I am actually a retired musician, but, I classify myself as "Experienced." If you have some money just lying around doing nothing, this might be the place to spend it. Most of us, do not have this luxury, however. I purchased this unit with a vintage type of Fishman Piezo Strat trem, some time ago from MF. I wanted to build a "special" guitar. I had a Yamaha RGX 770 (it has been so long ago that this might not be the actual number) that I had purchased from MF around 2003. I liked the idea of the piezo under the tremolo, but, did not use it, very often. When I had an opportunity to upgrade into another brand of guitar, without losing any money on the instrument, I traded the Yamaha on it. Of course, after I no longer owned this guitar, I started finding uses for it, so,it was not as good of a deal as I had thought. Since I have built a multitude of guitars, both from "scratch" and from parts assemblages, I thought that I would build a "Strat," with the Fishman system. I bought both the tremolo and this unit, and put it with the multitude of guitar parts that I have on hand. Recently, I bought an LR Baggs Piezo system that had been sitting on the shelf of a fellow guitar builder, who was starting to sell off the parts that he did not think that he would use. I installed this unit on a "high end" Fender Stratocaster, without much trouble. The most difficult thing was to cut the battery box location on the rear of the guitar, which I am more than qualified to do, having been taught the trade of cabinet making. The LR Baggs unit was complete,in the box, and when the project was finished, there was a great improvement with the overall sound quality of the instrument. Since I had the Fishman unit on hand, along with a variety of upgrade parts, I thought that it might be a good time to assemble one of those "special" Strats, while the idea of wiring was still fresh on my mind. First thing about the Power Chip unit is that only a few of the wires that are necessary to incorporate it, with the Fishman piezo vintage tremolo, are soldered to the circuit board, so additional wiring has to be soldered to it. I do a few different types of soldering, but, this one was about as difficult as I have seen. The "pads," onto which small wires have to be soldered are miniscule. Even with the Optivisor with the highest magnification, they are difficult to solder a wire onto. So, if you are not an absolute professional, when it comes to soldering, this Power Chip is not a project that anyone would want to take on. As I was painstakingly attaching the additional wires, I thought that this is something that should have been done when the Power Chip was being soldered together at the factory. I am sure that there would not have been that much of a labor intensity, usually reflecting in the price, but, this appears to be how Fishman believes that they can save money in production. As it is, this is not an inexpensive unit, as I have already pointed out. For the money, there is not any real appreciable gain in sound quality, so, my advice is to save your money. The unit is suppose to draw very little from a 9 volt battery, but, since there were a couple of other assessories that also need the battery power, I wired them together. This did not work very well, but, I found that the Power Chip functioned, much better, when it was isolated to its own battery. I was not fond of the idea of having to cut another battery route, so, the other assesories were put back on the shelf. This was an HSS pickup configuration, which is passive, so the only alteration was the addition of a mini switch to the humbucker for Series, Parallel, and Split wiring option, since the neck pickup was a stacked Humbucker, so, in reality it was an HSH configuration. I believe that the "Cons" cover this, adequately. The only thing that I can see that this unit is good for, is to install in a wall hanger, thus wasting a perfectly good tremolo unit, so that it can be a conversation piece.
Comments about Fishman Powerchip Preamp:
I use this on my Highway 1 Strat that's been modded with replacement pickups and a Fishman Vintage Powerbridge. I'm satisfied, but wish the thing had a tone control - maybe a stacked pot would provide that feature. Pluses: 2-pin pc jumper for correcting phasing (no de/resoldering), volume trimmer pot. Minuses - had to drill jack cavity in guitar for rear clearance for the kit's instrument jack, and rout rear body for a 9-volt battery box to power the Powerchip...a lot of work if you don't have the tools and knowhow (I do). A slip with the drill or the router template, and your guitar's finish is badly marred (I went into this project figuring on refinishing, so that wasn't an issue for me). If I had it to do over, I'd get the Fishman 'offboard' pedal - you get more tone control, rocker pedal volume control, no battery box (and no battery drain if guitar is left plugged in). The Powerchip preamps the existing pickups (ugh...in my case, Lindy Fralin SP42's...the transistor preamp KILLS the tone) unless you use a stereo (TRS) jack to connect to the instrument. The Powerchip is NOT bypassed with a mono jack - only with a stereo jack. Quality stereo 'splitter' cables (stereo TRS 1/4" male phone jack split to two 1/4" mono female phone plugs) are hard to come by, but it works superbly IF the piezo is sent to a dedicated acoustic guitar amp (like I use).
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