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Recommendations for good quality piezo in Europe (and how to test piezos)

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  • Recommendations for good quality piezo in Europe (and how to test piezos)

    Hi guys.

    I have PD-100 and I will add a piezo to it, for the rim. I will potentially have to replace a rim piezo from a jobeky side mounted trigger (to be tested if the piezo itself is bad).
    I would like to know if there are differences and things to consider when buying a piezo, or if any cheap 35 mm will work.

    Would you recommend any in Europe?


    How can I test and check if a given piezo is good (using a meter for example)? My plan is to, of course, check the cable, try a different trigger, etc... then, eventually check the piezo itself.
    This will be good for isolating an already installed piezo, but I also want to be able to test the piezo before installing it.


    By the way, I created this topic on the DIY, but not sure if this is the correct place as this is kind of technical and also a kind of DIY.


    Thanks in advance.
    Ronaldo B.

  • #2
    Originally posted by ronaldobf View Post
    Hi guys.

    I have PD-100 and I will add a piezo to it, for the rim. I will potentially have to replace a rim piezo from a jobeky side mounted trigger (to be tested if the piezo itself is bad).
    I would like to know if there are differences and things to consider when buying a piezo, or if any cheap 35 mm will work.

    Would you recommend any in Europe?


    How can I test and check if a given piezo is good (using a meter for example)? My plan is to, of course, check the cable, try a different trigger, etc... then, eventually check the piezo itself.
    This will be good for isolating an already installed piezo, but I also want to be able to test the piezo before installing it.


    By the way, I created this topic on the DIY, but not sure if this is the correct place as this is kind of technical and also a kind of DIY.


    Thanks in advance.
    Piezos are everywhere, any electronics hobby shop or ebay.

    There is also R-drums for all things trigger related.

    Comment


    • #3
      Piezos are not all made equal - cheap Chinese ones are crap and are what you'll often find on ebay. Look for the Murata brand.

      To test it, just wire it up and tap it gently - if the module responds, it works.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm using the cheap chinese brand called Murata, works great

        ....at least the datasheet looks chinese :P

        Comment


        • #5
          By cheap I mean those that sell like 50 for €2. If you bulk buy Murata piezos (yeah probably made in China too) they can work out at about €0.25/each (no wires attached), which is still pennies, but they are vastly better. The crappy cheap ones bend and crack just by looking at them too hard.

          Comment


          • #6
            Murata is a Japanese brand.

            [Regardless of manufacturing origin: What may look Chinese to most people is the around 6000 'borrowed' Kanji letters that have a Chinese (Hanzi) origin. You're actually looking at Japanese when there are also more simple & geometric letters around. These are Hiragana (a quite simple sillable alphabet, out of 46 letters, relatively easy to learn), and Katakana. Hiragana is used in conjunction with Kanji for the actual grammar (verb forms and such), while Katakana (a more geometric variant of Hiragana, also based on a 46-letter alphabet) is used to signal foreign or special names (for instance scientific). Japanese, while looking quite alien to Western people, is actually a beautiful, yet 'logical' language once you look at it closer, and it's the Kanji and the actual context making it hard to master, not the language per se.]

            Back on topic: Murata discs don't suffer from manufacturing tolerance like cheap piezos, but may be harder to find for hobbyists. In my experience they are also more durable, which is a key aspect when working with them as e-drum sensors. The crystal structure inside the disc can break easily when bend or banged on, but the problem is you can rarely see it, as there can be microscopic cracks destroying it from the inside. But I've had less problems with Murata in this respect.
            gear: MarkDrum YES e-kit highly modified (low-volume trigger cymbals, 16" DIY kick, 12" DIY snare + tom 3, Goedrum HH controller), Triggera 10" splash
            band: http://theboardmusic.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks guys. Also for the manufacturing origin comment.

              Definitively the piezo itself is bad. I will look for a murata or some other known brands and replace it. I will also add one to the pd100.

              Cheers
              Ronaldo B.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by sascha View Post
                Murata is a Japanese brand.

                [Regardless of manufacturing origin: What may look Chinese to most people is the around 6000 'borrowed' Kanji letters that have a Chinese (Hanzi) origin. You're actually looking at Japanese when there are also more simple & geometric letters around. These are Hiragana (a quite simple sillable alphabet, out of 46 letters, relatively easy to learn), and Katakana. Hiragana is used in conjunction with Kanji for the actual grammar (verb forms and such), while Katakana (a more geometric variant of Hiragana, also based on a 46-letter alphabet) is used to signal foreign or special names (for instance scientific). Japanese, while looking quite alien to Western people, is actually a beautiful, yet 'logical' language once you look at it closer, and it's the Kanji and the actual context making it hard to master, not the language per se.]

                Back on topic: Murata discs don't suffer from manufacturing tolerance like cheap piezos, but may be harder to find for hobbyists. In my experience they are also more durable, which is a key aspect when working with them as e-drum sensors. The crystal structure inside the disc can break easily when bend or banged on, but the problem is you can rarely see it, as there can be microscopic cracks destroying it from the inside. But I've had less problems with Murata in this respect.
                Well there you go, thanks for the explanation

                Comment


                • #9
                  Digikey and other electronic stores sell them cheaper. Yes, there are other good quality piezos but very often the brand isn't stated, so how do refer them to anyone other than by telling them the specific shop where you bought them? In Spain I get mine from here: https://www.ariston.es/producto/27ee...ee45-9720.aspx. I don't know what brand they are but they're on a par with Murata piezos in my experience and very cheap if you buy them in bulk and attach your own leads to them. I mentioned Murata because it's a widely available brand and they're of proven quality, even if I use a different brand myself. What's important is to stay away from the paper-thin Chinese piezos.

                  I have several pads with multiple piezos wired in parallel and have never had triggering issues. Some modules require certain polarities so it's handy to know, but with others it doesn't matter. I can't see how a head and rim piezo could cancel each other out though as they go into separate inputs.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    docdoghouse

                    I understand your point. Sometimes however it is easier and good to have some known brands. I personally don't see as a conditional thing to only buy the specific brand, but I see that as a advise (if you can buy this one as it works great).

                    Regarding the polarity, I am no technical so I can't comment much. if read correctly from other posts, the polarity would matter for the head (in some cases). I guess if using positional sensing.

                    By the way, I found and got the murata 7BB-35-3L0, which has the wires already. I paid 6 euro for a pack of 5 from a big and well known store in my area.

                    This is the piezo:
                    https://www.murata.com/en-eu/product...tno=7BB-35-3L0

                    Thanks guys.
                    Ronaldo B.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I've suggested Murata not because of hearsay but because I've tested dozens of other cheap piezos over time. Having an EE & DSP background, I have a lab with a digital scope and know how to measure, and industry contacts sometimes helps in assuring I'm staying on-track when in doubt. I've also dissected many items over time, and the 'better' brands are all using quality parts, as aftermarket service is what makes products expensive for manufacturers in the long run.
                      With unknown piezos, the voltage swing might be comparable, and the resonance frequency is negligible when using it as a sensor in this field. Polarity is only important when wiring up several in parallel, or if one is certain the detection algorithm relies on it. I've made myself several pads and low-volume cymbals, and especially the latter is very demanding on piezo quality, e.g. durability. People may watch slo-mo videos of regular cymbals to have an idea of what forces are active, and this to some extent also applies to LV cymbals when they are not overly dampened. The cheap piezos never lasted for more than 2 months here (and I'm only playing like 4-6h/week or way less).
                      Needless to say if one wants to check for signal quality and mechanical aspects (such as decoupling), using a scope and doing measurement series is mandatory. In my case it helps doing DSP for a living, as I know how typical algorithms work, so that I can counteract potential signal issues. For instance, altering the frequency response. A LV cymbals has massive low-frequency swing going on, which is not present inside a plastic pad. Most algorithms are kind of overtaxed by such a signal, so additional high-pass filtering (resistor-capacity network) inside the project box underneath the cymbal might be suitable. This is where resistance/impedance of the actual piezo might be important, but needs an actual check in practice.
                      Decoupling is important to lengthen the lifespan of a piezo, depending on how much the surface is bent. But foam and rubber also acts as a lowpass filter, and it's nonlinear since it creates inertia. Which as a result alters phase response, and that messes with all the harmonics created by the wavefront rocking back and forth. IMO, for the sake of signal quality and integrity, it's better to use a more rigid piezo and apply less mechanical dampening than to use a cheap & more fragile one and do too much cushioning to protect it.

                      I see too many people just soldering piezos together, bang on it to check if it 'works', but that's far from doing things properly, and then it doesn't matter what piezo you use as there are too many unknown variables in the equation.
                      Last edited by sascha; 06-11-20, 04:31 AM.
                      gear: MarkDrum YES e-kit highly modified (low-volume trigger cymbals, 16" DIY kick, 12" DIY snare + tom 3, Goedrum HH controller), Triggera 10" splash
                      band: http://theboardmusic.com

                      Comment

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