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Neo Series Active Polyphonic Pickups

Small, Modular Active Polyphonic Pickups.

Update: October 18, 2015. The original Neo pickups are now called the Nu. They will be available soon. Check the Blog for updates. More specifically: Nu Update and Road Map and Nu Update: Modular Design.

The Neos are the culmination of the Six-pack project. These are active pickups with low impedance coils and individual balanced, low-power, low-noise preamplifier for each coil. The Neo Series Active Polyphonic Pickups are very small, Neodymium-core active pickups that can be used individually or in groups. These are hacker friendly, general purpose pickups that can be used in a variety of applications.

Here’s a short clip with a “classical” EQ capture with the Cycfi Neo6 polyphonic pickup mounted on a Fender Stratocaster bridge position. The strings are panned from right to left, with the low-E at the right and the high-E at the left. See Sculpting the Tone for details.

Sound Clips

For more sound samples: Check out this link: Sculpting the Tone.

Info

Data Sheet
Wiring Options
Neo Base Boards

The Neos

neo1-iso
Neo1 Single Active Pickup

Imagine being able to place active pickups just about anywhere! The Neos are very small, Neodymium-core active pickups that can be used individually or in groups. These are hacker friendly, general purpose pickups that can be used in a variety of applications.

The Neos are the culmination of the Six-pack project. These are active pickups with low impedance coils and individual balanced, low-power, low-noise preamplifier for each coil. Neo1 contains a single coil with a single differential preamp. Neo2 contains two coils and dual differential preamps. And Neo6 contains six coils and six differential preamps.

neo2-iso
Neo2 Dual Active Pickup

The pickups are designed for polyphonic effects processing —one for each string (distortion, EQ, compressor, delay, pan, pitch-shift, etc). Such extensive processing is now very possible due to advances in digital signal processing and multi-channel audio interfaces and multi-track audio software becoming commonplace.

Modular Design

Various Neo1s and Neo2s pickups can be combined to get all sorts of configurations. Examples:

PU-Placement1

The modular pickups are not just for guitars. Neos can also be utilized for other musical instruments such as the bass guitar, harps, pianos, xylophones, etc. The Neos are perfect for fanned-fret electric guitars with the pickup poles positioned at various angles.

Frequency Response

Low-impedance pickups have a wide frequency response (full range). Unlike traditional high-impedance passive pickups, there are no big peaks and dips in the response, which to many give the pickup it’s “character”. That should not be a problem since we can always shape the frequency response later on in the signal chain using various tone-shaping methods. The pickup is very rich in harmonics. It has a lot more harmonic content than even the bright, but very noisy Stratocaster pickup. Having a wide and flat frequency response gives you the freedom to sculpt the tone that you want using analog or digital filters. The idea of a low-impedance pickup which imparts very little coloration to the guitar sound is appealing. You get whatever tone you want using appropriate tone shaping EQ rather than a fixed, predetermined guitar tone.

freq-response
Actual Measured Frequency Response

Low Power, Low Noise

The Neos use the OPA2314 in a differential configuration. This Op Amp consumes 150μA (quiescent current) per Op Amp, with a respectable 14 nV/√Hz (measured at 1kHz) noise figure. The coils, are connected to the + and – inputs of the differential amplifier without any direct path to ground (floating differential mode). The Neos give you best of class signal to noise ratio.

Measured SNR
Gibson Les Paul 59.57 dB
Fender Stratocaster 47.52 dB
Neo 72.91 dB

Options

strat-style-cover
Stratocaster Style Pickup Enclosure

emg-style-cover
EMG-style Pickup Enclosure

top-mount-base
Top-mount Base

double-coil-mount-base
Double-coil mount base

Open Source

The Neo is entirely Open Source. The designs (schematics, PCB layout, software, bill of materials, CAD drawings and source code) are freely shared, 100% free, under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. That means you can use the designs in your own projects for non-commercial purposes.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.