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It’s amazing what a little disk can do … when it’s layered with piezoelectric crystals. Piezo disks are impressively sensitive to vibration and can easily be adapted to work as a contact microphones. The trick is the preamp – a basic circuit used to match the piezo’s signal to levels compatible with modern audio gear inputs. The resulting piezo/preamp combo can be used for electrifying an acoustic guitar or simply exploring the lesser-heard world of small sound around us.

Piezo Preamp

Schematic for piezo preamp

The preamp I built is a variation of James T. Hawes’ design. In order to simplify construction, I reversed the MPF102’s source & drain connections from their usual orientation – which works fine in this case.

This thing really is an awful lot of fun to play with – you’ll likely here it used in some of my upcoming video soundtracks!

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Collin Cunningham

Born, drew a lot, made video, made music on 4-track, then computer, more songwriting, met future wife, went to art school for video major, made websites, toured in a band, worked as web media tech, discovered electronics, taught myself electronics, blogged about DIY electronics, made web videos about electronics and made music for them … and I still do!


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