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  1. #1

    Koss and PG outputs

    Anyone got the pup outputs of the original Koss ( ex-ramm) and PG/ Greeny to hand please?


    Jon

  2. #2
    Les Paul Forum Member sws1's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Koss (from the other thread): neck 8.52 bridge 7.43

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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    The DC resistance of the coil(s) isn't really the pickups 'output'. Magnetic field strength is more important but that's harder to measure so is seldom quoted. So many factors in why those two guitars sound different - the pickups, including DC resistanace, magnet type, field strength etc. is only a small part of it.

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    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by springhead View Post
    The DC resistance of the coil(s) isn't really the pickups 'output'. Magnetic field strength is more important but that's harder to measure so is seldom quoted. So many factors in why those two guitars sound different - the pickups, including DC resistanace, magnet type, field strength etc. is only a small part of it.
    No matter how often this is pointed out, most people still want the resistance readings to be "output".

    Maybe somebody could figure a way to actually measure output, once and for all.
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    Les Paul Forum Member EpiLP1985's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    No matter how often this is pointed out, most people still want the resistance readings to be "output".

    Maybe somebody could figure a way to actually measure output, once and for all.
    I think the problem stems from people wanting a single value to hang their hats on for output. In reality you are talking about a range of output voltages dependent on how strong the source (your picking hand) is.

    It wouldn’t be very difficult to setup an approximation of the pickup and source using an electric circuit and then measure output based on a range of fixed inputs fed into the circuit. You could also hook up test equipment to the guitar itself and get voltage and current values.

    Ultimately you'd want to know the current induced by picking and the subsequent voltage generated. The problem is that all you know is the fixed DC resistance of the coils. Current induced in the pickup will depend on the force of the input (the picking strength) and the magnetic field strength. If you knew the magnetic field strength and could feed a circuit with a range of current values that represent soft to hard picking, you could get a useful range of output voltages to use as a measure of pickup output.

    The problem of course would be getting people to understand what these new metrics meant!
    Last edited by EpiLP1985; 11-15-17 at 04:47 AM.
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    Les Paul Forum Member Pellman73's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    No matter how often this is pointed out, most people still want the resistance readings to be "output".

    Maybe somebody could figure a way to actually measure output, once and for all.

    or yea hey do these pickups put out or what?

  7. #7
    Les Paul Forum Member sws1's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    No matter how often this is pointed out, most people still want the resistance readings to be "output".

    Maybe somebody could figure a way to actually measure output, once and for all.
    Perhaps a simple RMS metering of the signal played into a DAW or recorder.

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    Les Paul Froum Member duaneflowers's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by sws1 View Post
    Perhaps a simple RMS metering of the signal played into a DAW or recorder.
    Or perhaps into an oscilloscope to generate a sonic fingerprint at various decibels the way they do with speakers...
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    It is very simple to measure the actual output of a pickup using either a RMS voltmeter or an oscilloscope, the problem is it all depends on how hard you pluck the string, so in order for it to give meaningful results that can be used to compare pickups you need to have the exact same string vibrating at exactly the same amplitude and at exactly the same distance from the pickup - that's unfortunately not so simple to do!
    Last edited by PaulD; 11-15-17 at 06:35 AM.

  10. #10
    Les Paul Forum Member EpiLP1985's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD View Post
    It is very simple to measure the actual output of a pickup using either a RMS voltmeter or an oscilloscope, the problem is all depends on how hard you pluck the string so in order for it to give meaningful results that can be used to compare pickups you need to have the exact same string vibrating at exactly the same amplitude and at exactly the same distance from the pickup - that's unfortunately not so simple to do!
    Right.

    People would have to accept a range of output values. Trying to hammer down what picking "soft" or "hard" is for each individual is impossible. Every player will have a different "source".

    It's no secret then why DC resistance caught on as a measure of pickups output. It's static!
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  11. #11
    Les Paul Forum Member thin sissy's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD View Post
    It is very simple to measure the actual output of a pickup using either a RMS voltmeter or an oscilloscope, the problem is all depends on how hard you pluck the string so in order for it to give meaningful results that can be used to compare pickups you need to have the exact same string vibrating at exactly the same amplitude and at exactly the same distance from the pickup - that's unfortunately not so simple to do!
    Yup, I've hade the same thought.

    I don't think it matters that much, all I know is some pickups seem stronger than others which should be similar. BUT, as a thought experiment, what are the ways of getting a reasonable meassurment?

    My first thought was to decide on a "standard" pickup height for every guitar you try, then at least make sure they all have new strings. And then... strum each guitar 100 times, recording the RMS current curve from start to finish. Then plot this against the time ("0" is when the current starts rising). With a 100 curves for each pickup, a fitted curve could possibly give an indication for each guitar.

    Again, I'm not saying this is worth doing. It would take a long time and really not say too much, I know I would have difficulty relating to the results .
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  12. #12
    Les Paul Forum Member thin sissy's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    A plot against the different frequencies might be a more interesting measurment? It would give a bit more insight of the "tone of the pickup + guitar" .

    On the other hand, it's probably easier to just listen with ones ears instead. Interesting subject though!
    Last edited by thin sissy; 11-15-17 at 06:39 AM. Reason: spelling
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    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    None of these "simple solutions" sound simple.
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    None of these "simple solutions" sound simple.
    I think the simple answer is that it isn't simple - I guess that's why we measure dc resistance! Measuring RMS voltage is no more complicated than measuring resistance, you just connect up the meter in the same way, pluck the strings and read the output but as discussed the reading will depend on how hard the strings are plucked plus a bunch of other variables so it is pretty meaningless.

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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD View Post
    I think the simple answer is that it isn't simple - I guess that's why we measure dc resistance! Measuring RMS voltage is no more complicated than measuring resistance, you just connect up the meter in the same way, pluck the strings and read the output but as discussed the reading will depend on how hard the strings are plucked plus a bunch of other variables so it is pretty meaningless.

    There are no answers, just better questions.

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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by Shakey View Post
    There are no answers, just better questions.
    Not true the answer is 42!

  17. #17
    Les Paul Forum Member DrRobert's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    None of these "simple solutions" sound simple.
    It gets worse! You not only have to control for "picking strength", but also for pickup height, pickup pole piece adjustment, string material and gauge, and the output across the frequency band (because we all know that PAFs have wildly different EQ profiles for the same input). You COULD build an experimental rig for this:
    1. Stimulate the string with a spinning wheel at a given pressure, or by using an alternating magnetic field. Input several levels to control for compression at the pickup
    2. Match string brand/gauge
    3. Match pickup height (and also the height of the other pickup to control for damping, best to have it as low as possible)
    4. Match pole piece adjustment
    5. Output various pitches to an RMS meter and create a waterfall plot of input strength and frequency vs output volume

    What you'd end up with would a complex picture, not truly suitable for a quick comparison AND not applicable to another application (different wood, strings, player, amp etc would change the harmonic response).

    And I can tell you why this would be a completely useless practice, even once. I've sat and listened while LPNV59 played my burst into my amp. He sounded COMPLETELY different than I do playing the same guitar. I can't make that guitar thru that amp sound like he can-just can't. So what good would it do me to know that the pickups in another guitar were like or unlike those pickups? The results still wouldn't sound like my bogey!

  18. #18
    Les Paul Forum Member janalex's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    I think the presumption as that all other things being equal, including magnet type and strength, wire, construction, age, a higher DC resistance translates to greater number of winds resulting in increased low end and output. The problem is that the magnet age and type is a huge variable affecting output and without knowing it little can be inferred from the DC resistance.
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    All Access/Backstage Pass Wilko's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by EpiLP1985 View Post

    It's no secret then why DC resistance caught on as a measure of pickups output. It's static!
    Not static at all. Temperature changes the value to a noticeable degree.

  20. #20
    Les Paul Forum Member thin sissy's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    None of these "simple solutions" sound simple.
    I don't know if you quoting "simple solutions" refers to my posts? I was trying to make it clear that there's probably no point in doing it (not simple), but I was just having a bit of fun with a thought.
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  21. #21
    Les Paul Forum Member EpiLP1985's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilko View Post
    Not static at all. Temperature changes the value to a noticeable degree.
    True, but unless we assume major swings in temperature from reference (20 C/68 F), it won't be as drastic as you think.

    Relatively speaking, it's the most static of all the other variables!

    Generally speaking you'll see a 0.35 k ohm increase per 10 C. That kind of resistance increase isn't going to drastically change the voltage output for a specific current. With that said, even as an electrical engineer (I am not an electronics guy but rather utility distribution and protection), I am not well versed enough to know what a 30-100 mV increase in signal will do to the input of an amplifier, although you'll get some attenuation going through the passive control circuit.
    Last edited by EpiLP1985; 11-15-17 at 12:05 PM. Reason: Clarifying/Additional Info
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  22. #22
    Les Paul Forum Member Tarcisioo's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    So, if I just don't want to geek out and I just need to know it a pickup is hot, what shall be done?

    We don't really need lab tests, nor the exact experimentally controlled value for output, just to know if a pickup is a strong or a weak one

    DC output is something anyone can do, and is pretty consistent in a lot of cases. As a matter of fact, it never failed me in telling a strong pickup from a weak one

  23. #23
    Les Paul Forum Member EpiLP1985's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarcisioo View Post
    So, if I just don't want to geek out and I just need to know it a pickup is hot, what shall be done?

    We don't really need lab tests, nor the exact experimentally controlled value for output, just to know if a pickup is a strong or a weak one

    DC output is something anyone can do, and is pretty consistent in a lot of cases. As a matter of fact, it never failed me in telling a strong pickup from a weak one
    Depending on the magnet type and strength, you can safely assume that for a range of pick hand inputs of soft to hard you will get comparatively higher output from a higher DCR.

    There are many variables but like any hard science or math, you can make assumptions that simplify things.
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  24. #24
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD View Post
    Measuring RMS voltage is no more complicated than measuring resistance, you just connect up the meter in the same way, pluck the strings and read the output but as discussed the reading will depend on how hard the strings are plucked plus a bunch of other variables so it is pretty meaningless.
    So, does this mean output can not be measured without a guitar string vibrating?

    I would think there is a system to create a uniform [same every time] impetus for the pickup to respond.
    Last edited by Tom Wittrock; 11-15-17 at 08:05 PM. Reason: without, instead of with
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    Les Paul Forum Member EpiLP1985's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    So, does this mean output can not be measured with a guitar string vibrating?
    I would think there is a system to create a uniform [same every time] impetus for the pickup to respond.
    It can be measured it will just vary because the induced current changes with the vibration. You could measure output voltage from a soft and hard attack and then say your output range is between X and Y. You could also feed the pickup a mA range signal and plot the output. I did something similar in college when I wrote a technical report on the Rangemaster circuit. I setup a voltage source to mimic output from a guitar pickup circuit.

    A simple model could be done in Excel that takes the basic specifications of the pickup and plots output voltage against a range of current values and a fixed resistance.

    In general you can say that if we assume a fixed magnetic strength, that a fixed DCR that is higher will have greater output across a ranges of currents that one that is lower.

    Obviously there are more complex answers than that but it gets you in the ballpark.
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  26. #26
    All Access/Backstage Pass Wilko's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    So, does this mean output can not be measured with a guitar string vibrating?
    I would think there is a system to create a uniform [same every time] impetus for the pickup to respond.
    That would not be impossible.

    The standard for measuring speakers is real simple.

    normally stated as the SPL, it's measured 1 metre in front of the speaker with 1 watt of power driving the speaker.

  27. #27
    Les Paul Froum Member duaneflowers's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Even if it were possible to simply measure the output, what would that give us? A measure of loudness? A graphical representation of swell and decay? I don't think it would tell us much about the shape of the tone, which is largely derived from the shape of the coil, from which the tone we seek ultimately follows. A picture of the coils (like those shown below) only gives us part of the picture (like where the tape is buried), and physical differences in the wind... it doesn't equate directly to the shape of the tone. I think what we are ultimately looking for is a graphical representation of the pickup's tone which must first be defined before terms like bloom, weep, and awesomeness in all their subjective multi-dimensionality can be measured.

    Definitely no easy task...

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    Les Paul Forum Member EpiLP1985's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by duaneflowers View Post
    Even if it were possible to simply measure the output, what would that give us? A measure of loudness? A graphical representation of swell and decay? I don't think it would tell us much about the shape of the tone, which is largely derived from the shape of the coil, from which the tone we seek ultimately follows. A picture of the coils (like those shown below) only gives us part of the picture (like where the tape is buried), and physical differences in the wind... it doesn't equate directly to the shape of the tone. I think what we are ultimately looking for is a graphical representation of the pickup's tone which must first be defined before terms like bloom, weep, and awesomeness in all their subjective multi-dimensionality can be measured.

    Definitely no easy task...

    I think you nailed it.

    As far as DCR being a relatively effective landmark for potential output (voltage) I think that it serves that purpose pretty well so long as you put it into the proper context. If we can make the general assumption that, physically older or purposely de-gaussed magnets aside, most magnets of the same type will be magnetized similarly and that way we can assume the for a pickup with a higher DCR has the potential for higher output voltage.

    As far as frequency response and tone are concerned, that could be analyzed and plotted over a range to give a general idea of how the pickups responds.

    To me, output and tone quality require separate and equally interesting analysis.

    What a great thread!
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  29. #29
    Les Paul Forum Co-Owner Tom Wittrock's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    So, does this mean output can not be measured without a guitar string vibrating?

    I would think there is a system to create a uniform [same every time] impetus for the pickup to respond.
    should have read without, instead of with

    It helps to proofread my post in the first few moments.
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    So, does this mean output can not be measured without a guitar string vibrating?

    I would think there is a system to create a uniform [same every time] impetus for the pickup to respond.
    You may be on to something... since pickups are essentially microphones I think any static sound can be passed through them (even outside of a guitar) and then the results examined for differences in that pickups unique 'flavor'... eliminating several 'pollutants' (picking strength, distance from strings, differences in individual guitar's acoustics, etc.).
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    Les Paul Forum Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    I had a pair of untouched 59 paf's that barely measured above 7k. The original Shaw era paf's from 80-82 that I own are similar with resistance around 7.3k but a strong loud tone. ???? Everyone thought they sounded hot. I'd imagine output would be measured in millivolts under use, how I don't know.
    The older I get, the better I was.

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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    ^^^ Exactly, the coil resistance isn't the only factor in determining how loud a pickup, or guitar sounds. Same way that a car with a 3L engine isn't necessarily faster than one with a 2L engine.

    Question for pickup makers - say you wind a pickup with a set number of turns and pattern. You should be able to repeat that with a heavier gauge of wire but more turns to get a higher output yet lower resistance. Does that bear out in practice or do you end up filling the bobbin due to the larger diameter of the wire?

    Use of coil resistance as an indicator of output has probably become too ingrained to change. But can we please not call resistance 'output'? And worse still 'DC output'. That really is nonsensical!

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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Wittrock View Post
    So, does this mean output can not be measured without a guitar string vibrating?

    I would think there is a system to create a uniform [same every time] impetus for the pickup to respond.
    As far as I know there is nothing available that will do this, I'm sure that it would be technically possible and relatively simple to produce some sort of device that could be placed on top of the pickup which would excite the magnetic field to a pre-set standard level but whether there would be sufficient demand to justify designing and producing such a device is another question.

  34. #34
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    eBow! (joking, but that's the principle. And like all test equipment it would regular calibrating and authenticating to permit meaningful comparison with other peoples measurements).

  35. #35
    Les Paul Forum Member EpiLP1985's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by springhead View Post
    ^^^ Exactly, the coil resistance isn't the only factor in determining how loud a pickup, or guitar sounds. Same way that a car with a 3L engine isn't necessarily faster than one with a 2L engine.
    This is true but the issue is that, for the most part, once a current is induced in the coils the DCR is a big factor in the amount of output voltage produced and sent to the next stage in the circuit (Ohm’s Law). You are right, however, when you say that there are other factors in how much current is induced.

    Quote Originally Posted by springhead View Post
    Question for pickup makers - say you wind a pickup with a set number of turns and pattern. You should be able to repeat that with a heavier gauge of wire but more turns to get a higher output yet lower resistance. Does that bear out in practice or do you end up filling the bobbin due to the larger diameter of the wire?
    I think you meant smaller diameter wire = more turns = more resistance?

    Quote Originally Posted by springhead View Post
    Use of coil resistance as an indicator of output has probably become too ingrained to change. But can we please not call resistance 'output'? And worse still 'DC output'. That really is nonsensical!
    Well the output is essentially DC voltage in the mV range.
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    Les Paul Forum Member EpiLP1985's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    I had a pair of untouched 59 paf's that barely measured above 7k. The original Shaw era paf's from 80-82 that I own are similar with resistance around 7.3k but a strong loud tone. ???? Everyone thought they sounded hot. I'd imagine output would be measured in millivolts under use, how I don't know.
    Different magnets? Change in magnet strength maybe, over time?
    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle

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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by EpiLP1985 View Post
    This is true but the issue is that, for the most part, once a current is induced in the coils the DCR is a big factor in the amount of output voltage produced and sent to the next stage in the circuit (Ohm’s Law). You are right, however, when you say that there are other factors in how much current is induced.



    I think you meant smaller diameter wire = more turns = more resistance?



    Well the output is essentially DC voltage in the mV range.

    I mean that possibly a larger diameter wire could, with more turns applied, produce a higher output at lower resistance than a smaller diameter wire. Unless it becomes too big for the bobbin. Theoretically, hence pickup winders can confirm or not if that's practically possible.

    And no, it will be an AC voltage in the 10's to 100' mV range. It's a wobbling string intersecting flux lines and inducing an alternating current in the coil. Not DC.

  38. #38
    Les Paul Forum Member EpiLP1985's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by springhead View Post
    And no, it will be an AC voltage in the 10's to 100' mV range. It's a wobbling string intersecting flux lines and inducing an alternating current in the coil. Not DC.
    Right. Thank you for that clarification. Output voltage is an RMS measurement.

    In fact, since the resistance in the coil has frequency components it's actually an impedance, so i'll wipe the egg off my face and regroup from some of my previous comments! Can't even trust an electrical engineer anymore...(maybe i'll stick to my day job and "big" wires)
    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle

  39. #39
    Les Paul Forum Member
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by EpiLP1985 View Post
    Right. Thank you for that clarification. Output voltage is an RMS measurement.

    In fact, since the resistance in the coil has frequency components it's actually an impedance, so i'll wipe the egg off my face and regroup from some of my previous comments! Can't even trust an electrical engineer anymore...(maybe i'll stick to my day job and "big" wires)
    As you correctly say what the pickup actually presents to the amplifier is an impedance but what people typically measure and quote is the DC resistance of the coil.

  40. #40
    Les Paul Forum Member EpiLP1985's Avatar
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    Re: Koss and PG outputs

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD View Post
    As you correctly say what the pickup actually presents to the amplifier is an impedance but what people typically measure and quote is the DC resistance of the coil.
    You are absolutely right. I have been mis-speaking all over the thread about current and voltage though because I failed to make the resistance/impedance distinction. This led me to make uninformed claims about the nature of the induced current/DCR relationship.

    Hence the yolk face!
    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle

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