Category Archives: Electronics

The Flex Switch and Active Volume

      Events, Pickups, XR Series, XR Update


We have a new 5-way “Flex” switch and a new Active Volume Control (with integrated preamplifier). These are designed for the all-passive XR pickups introduced at NAMM 2016. The new “Flex” switch takes advantage of the XR’s coil taps and offers the flexibility of multiple switching configurations in a solderless format. Compared to the older design, the new switch has a lower profile (down to 27mm from 34mm).

The new ‘Active’ Volume Control with integrated ultra-low noise preamp features an onboard gain-trimmer for system optimization. The new volume control too has a smaller circuit-board footprint, with an upgraded 24mm Bourns pot (PDB241-GTR Series) for even smoother action (10 to 45 g-cm Rotational Torque) compared to its predecessor.

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Introducing: The Nu Duo

      Nu Duo, Nu Series, Pickups

Nu Duo Production Prototype

At first glance, it looks just like a Nu multichannel pickup set. But look underneath (info-graphic below) and you will notice the difference. It’s the Nu Duo.

What is it for? Well, not everyone needs to have multichannel processing. The Nu’s modular design also makes them perfectly suitable as a mono or stereo source straight to existing gear and guitar amplifiers. It is the optimal solution for multi-scale guitars. Number of strings, string spacing, and pickup angle are not a problem.

The Nu Duo is perfectly suitable for multi-scale guitars with 6, 7, 8 or more strings. Each pickup can connect to one of two output groups using miniature switches (high quality with gold plated contacts) underneath the pickup assembly. Each group has its own preamplifier with individual gain adjustment for fine tuning the balance.

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Nu Capsule Now Available

      Nu Series, Pickups

nu-capsule-shortNow that the hectic preparation for NAMM, and the show itself, is behind us we are excited to return our focus to the Nu product line. As the first step, we are pleased to announce that the Nu capsule is now available for purchase at our online store. The Nu Capsule is designed to be PCB mounted and is intended for the tech savvy end-user with a flair for DIY projects and skills with a soldering iron. For those looking for a less demanding solution, stay tuned for the release of the Nu Module which should be soon to follow. (Learn more about the distinction here.) Thank you all as always for your continued support!

The Nu Series Modular Active Pickups are hacker friendly, general purpose pickups that can be used in a variety of applications. These are active multichannel pickups with low impedance coils and integrated single-ended, low-power, low-noise preamplifier for each coil. These low-profile, Neodymium-core pickups are modular and can be used individually or in groups.

Learn more about the Nu Series Modular Active Pickups →


Nu Update: Hitching a ride to NAMM 2016

      Events, Nu Series, Pickups

Ricky Graham is truly a 21st century guitar player. As a composer and Assistant Professor of Music and Technology at Stevens Institute of Technology, modern 21st century gear such as a multichannel audio interface and a laptop running Pure Data, are a crucial part of his sonic arsenal. This 8-string Nu set will be on its way to Ricky, after hitching a ride to NAMM 2016 along with some of its XR siblings. Go forth and make some music!


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Road to Anaheim Pt. 3 – Crystal Clear

      Events, NAMM, Pickups, XR Series

Going to NAMM 2016? Take some time to check out our pickups and support electronics from the inside and out. This demo XR-8 (eight string) system is going Anaheim and is installed in a laser-cut pickguard to showcase our build quality. Like the ones installed in the Strandberg Boden OS7 and Matt Szlachta’s Legator, this set sports all-passive Lo-Z coils along with our new 5-way switch, ‘active’ Bourns® volume control pot, and our active resonant filter. The new 5-way “Flex” switch takes advantage of the XR’s coil taps and offers the flexibility of multiple switching configurations in a solderless format. The new ‘active’ volume control with integrated ultra-low noise preamp features an onboard gain-trimmer for system optimization. Send us a message if you’d like to schedule a time to have a look and please take a moment to visit the Strandberg Guitars booth (#3383, Hall D) and see a comparable 7 string set in action. We hope to see you there!




Project: Legator

      How To, Pickups, XR Series

It is always a treat to work on guitars that have been on the road and seen the world. In this case the guitar in question is a Legator N7-300 belonging to Legator artist Matt Szlachta. Matt is an impressive player to say the least and some forthcoming demo’s will make that abundantly clear. Matt is currently a member of extreme-metal band Broken Hope as their lead guitarist (with previous stints in Chimaira and Dirge Within). We began talking about an install project prior to the holidays and it quickly evolved into what you see here. 


Matt Szlachta with his Legator N7-300 prior to the Cycfi-XR installation. Photo Credit – Tammy Vega


Matt’s guitar with the Cycfi XR system installation completed.

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Unlatching the Connector

      Electronics, How To, Pickups, XR Series

We use solder-free connectors to make it very easy for you to install the pickups and support electronics. There’s one snag though. The connector itself might not fit through the channels in the body, typically just enough for small cables to pass through. Quite often, the connector’s size prevents it to fit into tight spaces. Fortunately, there is a simple work-around: Unlatching the connectors.


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Road to Anaheim Pt. 2 – Strandberg Boden OS7 Install

      How To, NAMM, Pickups, XR Series

In less than a month NAMM 2016 will be bustling with the usual fervor. Every year brings something new, and for us here at Cycfi that means new opportunities to showcase our pickups. Among the new developments this year is an exciting cooperative effort between ourselves and Ola Strandberg, the mastermind behind Strandberg Guitarworks. The Strandberg team has been kind enough to send us a Boden OS7 for the purpose of installing an XR pickup system and to subsequently showcase the instrument at the Strandberg booth at NAMM (#3383, Hall D) – exciting times indeed! 


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Infinity goes FM

      DSP, Electronics, Evolution, Hardware, Infinity, Processing

Testing the FM synthesizer

What do I do on Christmas eve? What else, but hack some C++ code. I got a new highly optimized sustain driver design that also acts as pickup! The power consumption is now at 20mA, each. With the new drivers, I upgraded to FM synthesis from simple additive synthesis. Now I will be driving the strings with FM waves, the same tech behind the 80s Yamaha DX7 synthesizer. FM synthesis was developed by John Chowning at Stanford University in the 70s. In the 80s up ’till the mid 90s, Yamaha virtually monopolized the market with their hardware implementation. The patent expired in 1995.

FM is cool! I think FM synthesis is the best fit for the Infinity project.

Merry Christmas Everyone!


Quad Mounts for Fanned Fret (Multi-scale) Guitars

      Pickups, XR Series

The extended response of our XR pickups has naturally brought us to the attention of extended range guitarists, many of whom use fanned fret instruments. These instruments present a unique challenge in that the pickups should be angled to match the “projected-fret” angle in order to have the aperture respond to the same portion of each string relative to the bridge. Pickups with a single row of polepieces can often simply be angled and the optimum string-to-pole alignment found. Pickups with two rows of poles, such as our Quad XR’s need a more elegant solution to ensure optimal alignment. The following are three options for solving this.

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