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Nu Series v2

The Nu Series Modular Active Pickups are hacker friendly, general purpose pickups that can be used in a variety of applications. These are active pickups utilizing low impedance coils, permalloy ring shields to minimize crosstalk, and an integrated differential, low-power, low-noise preamplifier for each coil. These small pickups are modular and can be used individually or in groups.

The 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 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.

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Frequency Response

The Nu Series active polyphonic pickups have a uniform frequency response from 20Hz to 20Khz. The sound is very clean with lots of overtones and crystal clear highs. The low impedance coils give the pickups its characteristic wide bandwidth.

Unlike traditional high-impedance passive pickups, there are no big peaks and dips in the response. Such a wide and flat frequency response gives you the freedom to sculpt the tone using analog or digital filters. The low-impedance pickup imparts very little coloration to the guitar sound. You get whatever tone you want using appropriate tone shaping EQ rather than a fixed, predetermined guitar tone.

Actual Measured Frequency Response

Sound Clips

See Sculpting the Tone for details and more sound clips.

Here’s a short clip with a “classical” EQ capture of the Cycfi Nu multichannel pickup mounted on a Fender Stratocaster in the bridge position. The strings are panned from right to left, with the low-E at the right and the high-E at the left. Get your best headset ready or run the sound clips through your awesome cool stereo system.

Nu Capsule Pinout

GNDGround
V+5v to 18v supply voltage. Reverse polarity protected (Schottky diode).
(For optimum performance, use a clean, well regulated power source)
OutPreamplifier Output

Nu Multi Pinout

GNDGround
V+5v to 18v supply voltage
(For optimum performance, use a clean, well regulated power source. The Internal Breakout provides a well regulated, ultra-low noise power supply for the Nu Multi).
Ch1 to Ch8Multichannel preamplifier outputs from the Nu Capsules. Ch1 corresponds to the highest string (e.g. High-E string).

Internal Breakout Pinout

Nu Inputs
(Channels 1-12)
Up to 12 audio channels connect to the multi-channel Nu pickups.
Aux Audio / CV Inputs (Channels 9-15)Standard EMG-style header connectors connect to up to 7 standard monophonic pickups or control voltages for by-wire control of volume, tone, patch or control of just about any effect. Channels 9-12 are duplicates of the Nu inputs. These are provided for convenience. You can connect to one or the other, but not both.
Aux PowerAuxiliary power supply for external user electronics.
Power12v power input source. Reverse polarity protected (MOSFET).
Ch1 to Ch8Channel 1-12 audio/CV outputs.

Specifications

Coil D.C. Resistance320-350Ω
Coil Capacitance54pF
Coil Inductance12mH
Wire gauge46AWG
Number of turns1300
Magnetic CoreNeodymium with Iron
Frequency Response20Hz – 20kHz (extends beyond 100kHz)
Resonance Frequency198kHz
Voltage Output (Note 1)580-740mV peak-to-peak
Crosstalk (Note 2)49dB: Non optimized
53dB: Active crosstalk cancellation
Output Impedance10kΩ
Supply Voltage5v to 18v
Output Voltage SwingRail-to-Rail
Output Current Drive17 mA
Quiescent Current Consumption450µA
Note 1Automated; Moderate picking
Baseline Stratocaster (passive): 484mV peak-to-peak
Baseline EMG 81: 720mV peak-to-peak
Note 2(10.2mm coil spacing, 1mm from string)

Open Source

This Project is entirely Open Source. The designs (schematics, PCB layout, software, bill of materials, CAD drawings) are freely shared and 100% free, under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Source code is distributed under the MIT License

All hardware design files and source code are available in the Nu Github Repository: https://github.com/cycfi/nu

Hardware design files licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Software source code distributed under the MIT License.

All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective holders. The use of these trademarks does not imply any affiliation or endorsement by the trademark holders.