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V3 Pickup System

Malletech - Malletech

Some want to sound acoustic.
Some want to sound freaky.
We all want to be heard and we all need to be able to hear ourselves onstage.

V3 Pickup System

Get ready to be heard.

The Malletech V3PS is the greatest advance in vibraphone technology since ... well, since Malletech's last great advance in vibraphone technology.

V3 Pickup System installed

v3ps components


The story behind the Malletech V3PS Pickup System

It all started because Joe Locke was stopped by TSA and not allowed to board a flight with his last pickup system. Plus, he was tired of traveling with four long rails and a separate $700 preamp.

Joe presented LHS with a wish list.

Joe Locke on the road with his V3 Pickup System
  1. Any new pickup system must be fast to set up and fold into a small carry-on case or mallet bag. No checked baggage.
  2. It must sound acoustic when Joe wants to sound acoustic.
  3. It must have an effects send and return so it can sound freaky if that's the mood Joe is in.
  4. It must be able to get the vibe sound over the drums and guitars or fill a big venue with no feedback issues.
  5. It must be a "complete system" so the player doesn’t have to buy a separate high-end preamp to make it sound good.
  6. It must look as cool as Joe's high-end wardrobe and his Malletech OmegaVibe.

Long before Mike Pope started on the electronics, it began with LHS's idea on how two 60-inch-long, 3-octave pickup rails could be made to quickly fold up into a mallet bag or carry-on case.

Malletech assembled a powerhouse team in order to create a game-changing product that is packed with the features players actually need. Every aspect was carefully considered and road-tested over its three-year development. Mike Pope and Joe Locke hunkered down in Mike's studio, recording the vibes direct with different settings, pulling out the circuit boards and changing parts, dialing in the tone-shaping circuits to the exact sound Joe wanted to hear. The result is more natural-sounding than any electronic pickup system has any right to sound.




folded railsrails in bags

Folded rail dimensions

  Naturals: 18" x 2-1/8" x 2-1/8"
  Sharps: 16"
x 2-1/8" x 2-1/8"

Unfolded rail dimensions

  Naturals: 49-3/4" x 1" x 1"
  Sharps: 47-1/2"
x 1" x 1"

The pickup rails are crafted from aircraft-grade, 1-inch square aluminum tubing. The spacing and mounting of the pickup rails works on virtually any three-octave graduated bar vibraphone. An assortment of "bungee cord" hangers are included to hang the rails from the bar posts. The rails easily fold in two directions into a small, neat package, just 16 and 18 inches long. You might even be able to slip them into your mallet bag.


 All the input jacks and individual bar volume controls are mounted to an internal circuit board, which is secured inside of the tube with metal stand-offs. They are light, easy to handle, and very durable. Although you will probably never need to adjust them, each bar input has a separate volume control, reachable with a small, supplied screwdriver. Controls are set to 50% at the Malletech factory.





The Malletech V3PS preamp was designed to deliver performance on par with studio microphone preamps. It contains tone-shaping circuits specifically tailored to optimize the unique sonic character of a vibraphone. It provides all the features that players need and is intended to be a hub for all of the signals you need to input or output for any kind of gig. You can be self-reliant and not have to depend on a sound man for a DI box, or other ancillary equipment. The universal voltage power supply means you can tour with it in any part of the world. The integrated effects loop allows you to "dress up" your sound with external effects units, such as chorus or reverb, without having wires running all over the stage. All the connections you need originate at the V3PS Preamp, which mounts to your vibe, making for a clean, concise setup.





Preamp Front Panel Controls

Preamp dimensions: 2" x 5" x 7"

The three-band tone-shaping section offers separate control over three frequency bands, each carefully chosen for practical musical reasons. All of the tone shaping controls are Boost/Cut controls which, when set at center, have no effect on the natural sound.

Treble / "Shimmer": Boost adds a bright "ping" to the upper treble without sounding honky or nasal, or cut it to "cool" the sound without losing the punch you need to get through the band.

Mid / "Bite": Boost effectively moves you "farther forward" in the mix, or cut it when you want to blend into the ensemble.

Bass / "Warmth": Boost adds body to the fundamentals of the notes. Cut it to take some mudiness out of a boomy room.

Volume: Your main volume control. It controls the volume to your on-stage amp or monitor and doesn't change the signal to the house sound system.

Pre EQ / Post EQ switch: Allows you to send the signal out of the DI output and into the sound system from BEFORE the tone shaping circuit, or AFTER, if need be. Often, the tone shaping is best-used to optimize the on-stage sound, and a clean, flat signal to the main system is a better place for a sound man to start. But, you have the option of either at the push of a button.

DI Volume: Controls the volume of the signal you are sending to the house sound system. It controls only the DI output, and will not change your stage volume.




Preamp Real Control Panels

Preamp dimensions: 2" x 5" x 7"

Main Power Switch: Turns the preamp on and off. Although the V3PS Preamp has relatively low turn-on transients, we recommend powering up the pickup system before turning on your amp in order to avoid an anomalous "pop" that could damage a speaker.

Main Power Input: Accepts a regulated 5VDC signal from the provided universal power supply. Very high quality switch-mode boost converters inside the V3PS Preamp convert the 5VDC signal into an audio-friendly supply of +/-12VDC.

DI Output: Commonly referred to as a DI out (a throwback to an old-school term "Direct Injection" which never quite went away). This is a very standard DI output, driven by solid-state circuitry and capable of driving very long runs of cable. It is a balanced line output with a standard impedance of 600 ohms. The signal at this output is controlled by the "DI Volume" control on the front panel.

Ground Lift Switch: Breaks the ground connection between the preamp and the main sound system. This is the industry standard way of handling the very common problem of "ground loop hum" which comes from irregularities between the power feeding the preamp, and the power feeding the main sound system. This switch can be in the "lifted" position most of the time.

Main output: Drives your on-stage amp or monitor. It is controlled by the "Volume" control from the tone shaping circuit from the front panel. It is a 1/4" T/S unbalanced output with an impedance of 2.1k ohms.

Effects Return / Send: Effect loop comes in the circuit right after all of the pickup signals are received and blended. The signal is always routed through the jacks, but is interrupted when a cable is plugged into the RETURN. Thus, the effects SEND is available as an additional pre-EQ output if needed (if effects aren’t being used).

Connect a cable from the SEND to the input of your effects unit, and another from the output of your effects unit to the RETURN. The signal in the Preamp is hence interrupted and routed through your effects unit(s). Effects send impedance is 2.1k ohms, and effects return impedance is 4.27k ohms.

Rail Inputs: These are FireWire connectors, but are in no way compatible with any computer. Connect your "natural" and "sharp" pickup rails here.

Each system includes the 37 custom piezo pickups needed for a three-octave instrument, plus 8 spares, adhesive to attach the pickups to the underside of the bars and complete instructions so every player can install the system themselves.



Interested in purchasing?

Please contact us for pricing and ordering information.