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.
The Nu capsule is the most basic modular building block which includes the permalloy shielded pickup and integrated preamplifier. The Nu capsule is intended to be PCB mounted and includes a 5-pin 2mm pitch header connector that can be directly soldered to a PCB, or mounted to a corresponding female header. The Nu capsule includes reverse polarity protection for the supply pins.
- Permalloy ring for improved electromagnetic isolation, better string focus and crosstalk reduction.
- Low noise discrete/Op Amp hybrid differential preamplifier for improved immunity to electrostatic noise.
- High dynamic range, expanded power supply range from 5v up to 18v.
- Low output impedance with a 17 mA current drive capability.
- Rail-to-Rail Output.
Standard vs. Basic
The only difference between the Nu Multi Standard and Nu Multi Basic (available as options) is the inclusion of the Internal breakout (see below). The Nu Multi Basic does not include the Internal breakout.
The Nu Multi Basic by itself has all the power, signal and ground connectors available that you can use to connect to whatever audio input devices you wish to connect to. The Internal breakout that comes with the Nu Multi Standard expands the inputs to other audio sources such as other pickups and control voltages (CVs).
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.
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
|V+||5v to 18v supply voltage. Reverse polarity protected (Schottky diode).|
(For optimum performance, use a clean, well regulated power source)
Nu Multi Pinout
|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 Ch8||Multichannel preamplifier outputs from the Nu Capsules. Ch1 corresponds to the highest string (e.g. High-E string).|
Internal Breakout Pinout
|Nu Inputs |
|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 Power||Auxiliary power supply for external user electronics.|
|Power||12v power input source. Reverse polarity protected (MOSFET).|
|Ch1 to Ch8||Channel 1-12 audio/CV outputs.|
|Coil D.C. Resistance||320-350Ω|
|Number of turns||1300|
|Magnetic Core||Neodymium with Iron|
|Frequency Response||20Hz – 20kHz (extends beyond 100kHz)|
|Voltage Output (Note 1)||580-740mV peak-to-peak|
|Crosstalk (Note 2)||49dB: Non optimized|
53dB: Active crosstalk cancellation
|Supply Voltage||5v to 18v|
|Output Voltage Swing||Rail-to-Rail|
|Output Current Drive||17 mA|
|Quiescent Current Consumption||450µA|
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
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.