There’s this discussion in the Cycfi Facebook group about creating a set of videos and demonstrations on “benefits of independent string processing”. I intend to do that. To get that started, allow me to present the most basic Nu multichannel setup: Meredith —our Nu Multi Reference Guitar. I will use this guitar for experimenting and demonstrating multichannel processing along with some DSP software that I’ve been developing.
The Nu Series Modular Active Pickups are designed for multichannel processing — one for each string (distortion, EQ, compressor, delay, pan, pitch-shift, etc). Such extensive processing is now possible due to advances in digital signal processing and the proliferation of multi-channel audio interfaces and multi-track DAW audio software. These modular pickups are not just for guitars. Nus are also successfully utilized in other musical instruments such as the bass guitar, cellos, harps, pianos, xylophones, etc.
Use this guide as a use-case reference on how to install and integrate a Nu Multi Pickup, along with other pickups. This is just one example, intentionally kept as simple as possible to get you started quickly. There are many ways to use the Nu pickup. Hopefully, this guide will give you more ideas. This guide also serves as an installation tutorial. The idea is to start with something simple and incrementally add more features as you gain familiarity with the system. The knowledge you gain from such a basic setup can be utilized and extended to implement more elaborate systems.
While Meredeth appears to have an SSH pickup configuration (picture at the right), what you are seeing is actually an SSS pickup configuration with a standard pickup at the bridge position alongside a Nu Multi 6. Passive pickups are chosen for this installation: Dimarzio Injector at the neck position, Dimarzio Area ‘67 at the middle position and Dimarzio Chopper at the bridge position. These are all noise-cancelling pickups.
The passive pickup system has simple controls: one master volume and one master tone. I will not elaborate on the wiring of the passive pickups and associated controls. You can find tutorials on this over the web.
Take note that while the diagram shows simple wires for the SSS wiring, we actually used shielded wires all throughout (highly recommended).
The Internal Breakout has up to 7 channels (Ch9- Ch15) available that you can utilize for auxiliary audio inputs, in addition to the 12 channels available for one or two Nu multichannel pickups. In our case we use Ch9 (See Connecting External Pickups to the Internal Breakout section below) to connect the output of the passive pickup system, coming from the master volume.
The Nu Multi pickup connects to the Internal Breakout via multi-core 2mm connectors. For remote control of external devices (such as effects), we also added one CV (Control Voltage) potentiometer, connected to Ch11. This will allow us to send a control voltage over to the MIDI module (See Connecting CV Pots/Switch to the Internal Breakout). The Internal Breakout can accommodate up to 7 CV inputs (Ch9 – Ch15 are configurable as audio or CV). Each CV channel is assigned to support specific MIDI messages (See Nexus v2 for more info).
Connecting Nu Multi to the Internal Breakout
Connect the multi-core cable with the 2×5, 2mm connector to the header at the back of the Nu Multi Pickup. The side of the connector with the triangle symbol should be facing outward just as shown in the image below (emphasized white triangle in the picture). If the small triangle symbol is hard to see, be sure that the orange wire is at the top pin of the upper row of the header, if the pickup is oriented just like in the picture below.
Then, connect the other end of the cable to the Internal Breakout. The side of the connector with the triangle symbol (emphasized white in the picture) should be facing toward the center of the Internal Breakout, just as shown in the image below. Again, if the triangle symbol is hard to see, refer to the orange wire as guide instead.
You can also find a circular mark at the top right side of the multichannel headers. This serves as an additional guide for proper orientation. The triangle symbol or the orange wire must be connected to the pin adjacent to the circular mark.
Connecting External Pickups to the Internal Breakout
There are up to 7 channels available (Ch9 – Ch15) that you can use to connect external pickups on the Internal Breakout. These channels are configurable to be either audio input or CV input in the Nexus Main board (See picture at the right). If you intend to connect an external pickup or audio source to one of these channels, be sure that the shunt in the Nexus Main board is configured as audio input for that channel (See Nexus v2 for more info).
The Internal Breakout pinouts for external pickups are EMG compatible. When connecting an active pickup, remove the factory installed shunt for the desired channel and insert a 3-pin cable.
When connecting a passive pickup, you can use a 2-pin cable, for output and ground/shield.
Connecting CV Pots/Switch to the Internal Breakout
Up to 7 channels (Ch9 – Ch15) are available for connecting CV potentiometers and a CV switch on the Internal Breakout. These channels are configurable for either audio input or CV input in the Nexus Main board. If you intend to connect a CV potentiometer or CV switch, be sure that the shunt in the Nexus Main board is configured as CV input (Picture at the right. See Nexus v2 for more info).
Note: Unused audio and CV channels should be tied to ground with a shunt in the Internal Breakout. These shunts are preinstalled from the factory for all auxiliary channels (Ch9 – Ch15).
To install a CV pot or a CV switch, connect a 3-pin cable to the header with the triangle symbol (emphasized white in the picture) facing outward from the board.
Then remove the shunt for the desired channel, in the Internal Breakout, and connect the other end of the cable with the triangle symbol (emphasized white in the picture) facing outward from the Internal Breakout.
Connecting the 19-pin output jack to the Internal Breakout
The 19-pin output jack (above) has two connectors, one marked red and the other marked blue. The connector marked blue connects to the right header while the connector marked red connects to the left header as shown in the picture below.
You can find the triangle symbol (emphasized white in the picture) adjacent to the blue wire (rightmost wire in the picture above), in both output jack connectors. This triangle must be facing outward from the internal breakout. If the small triangle symbol is hard to see, use the blue wire as a reference as shown in the picture above.