Taff Optical’s patented optical pickup design falls into the vast field of light modulation technologies. The list of scientific and engineering fields and products that employ modulated light as a key technology are vast; ranging from Astronomy to Photography, using light to capture motion and communicate information is a cornerstone of the modern age of technology. There are perhaps tens of thousands of unique and novel light modulation technologies and applications in use today throughout science and consumer products.
Taff’s design is a simple organic approach to sound capture technology that uses the instruments body to modulate a path of light. This light is captured by a detector and converted to an electrical signal that clearly reproduces that instruments tonal characteristics. Due to the optical properties, small size and very low mass of the pickup assembly, the system has no resonant frequency within the audible range and does not interfere with the dynamics, sustain or tonal qualities of the instrument. Despite being an optical based technology, the audio signal path remains analog at all times. A microprocessor is utilized for power management and status indication, but the signal path is never digitized.
Taff’s pickup system for the upright bass includes two optical transducers and a receiver housing. The two optical transducers, or pickup heads, mount between the leg and wing of the bridge on the E-A string side and the D-G string side, each of which has a single cable leading to the receiver housing. The receiver housing consists of the active electronics, a 3.5mm input jack for each pickup head, one volume control per pickup head, and a standard ¼” output jack. The electronics are powered by a 9V battery and the 3.5mm input jacks allow for the receiver housing to be easily removed for battery replacement or omission for purely acoustic gigs. The receiver housing is mounted to the bass with a 3mm neoprene laminated with Velcro comparable UBL material on the front side and raw sharkskin neoprene on the back. A 1.5 inch strip of hood and 1.5 inch strip of loop Velcro is to the back side for attachment to the receiver housing and to the wrap itself when installed that simultaneously isolates it from vibrations and straps it in place on the tail piece without requiring any modifications to tail piece or instrument.