Tom's Guitars Manila

Tom's Guitars Manila
Vintage and rare guitars!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Neo Modular Active Polyphonic Pickups

After a long wait, I was finally allowed to blog about Joel’s latest toy, the Cycfi Neo Modular Active Polyphonic Pickups. Yes, Neo pickups are from the creator of the Cycfi carbon fibre guitar.

Here are some of the features of Cycfi Neo pickups:
Flat frequency response
The Neo pickup has a flat frequency response from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. This allows the guitarist to shape the waveform to get the desired tone. Using techniques like EQ capture, the profile of a classical guitar can be used to adjust the Neo output waveform, altering its shape and producing a sound similar to a classical guitar. Just imagine playing on stage, starting with an acoustic piece, warming with a rock classic, and ending with a metal tune. All songs played without changing guitars!
Small size and modular
The small size of Neo pickups allows you to build your own pickup configurations, from six strings to eight strings, and from single coil to humbucker. You can even create your own shape!
Each Neo pickup can be assigned to any string and the output can be processed independently, resulting in clear and distinct string separation even when heavy effects are applied. It is even possible to apply different effects for each string.
Very low noise
Neo pickups have very low signal to noise ratio. It is quieter than a Gibson humbucker.
Aftermarket pickup
Unlike similar technologies in the past, Neo pickups are designed for installation in existing guitars. This makes owning the technology more accessible to the average musician.
Sculpting the waveform
After listening to the clips, I realized that Neo pickups are challenging our notion of tones. We have come to associate guitars and pickups with specific tones. Is it possible to make the same pickup produce different tones simply by shaping its waveform, yet make it sound convincing? I am not a good candidate to test the question, having read about Neo before I listened to the clips.
I decided to make a little experiment. I posted a tone challenge in some guitar forums. The objective was not to make them believe that it can accurately copy different guitar tone profiles. For them to assume that they are listening to different guitars is good enough. For some to believe that they are listening to more than one guitars playing at the same time is a bonus.
This is the challenge that I posted:
Can you identify the type of guitar (not brand) used simply by listening to it? Better still, can you identify the pickup used? If yes, may I invite you to take this simple quiz?
Listed below are links to four sound clips. Please listen to them using a good pair of earphones, headphones, or stereo speakers, and then answer the questions below. The recordings and gear used are not mine so please do not be influenced by the gear I own.

1. What do you think is the type of guitar used in clip A, B, C, and D?

2. Can you identify the type of pickup used for A, B, C, and D?

3. How many guitars do you think were used to record clip B and D?

4. Optionally, do you have an idea on the other gears used in clip C? There is no need to identify the brand, just the type of gears.
The results were promising. Most have assumed different guitars, including acoustics. A few noticed the digital processing applied. One assumed it is a single MIDI guitar, after noticing that each string has its own space in the sound stage. Some assumed different pickups. That is not bad for the first demo clips.
The Cycfi guitar and pickup were conceptualized a few years back by Joel. It is good that we are now starting to see his concepts materialize as real products. Expect more innovations to come from Cycfi in the next few months.
If you are interested in learning more about the Neo pickups, you can read more at the Cycfi Neo page.
Cycfi products are proudly Philippine made!
*Images are from the Cycfi website.

No comments:

Post a Comment