Subtle Saturation for Acoustic Instruments

I’ve been working for some time on a balanced piezo preamp for acoustic guitars/mandolins/etc. My prototypes work wonderfully, but I’ve been wanting to add some DSP.

I have already come up with FIR filters for making the piezo signal more microphone-like. However, I’d also like to add some saturation.

LR Baggs has an acoustic guitar pedal that has some subtle saturation built in. I want something similar, and not too extreme. I figure that compression is a good place to start for this effect, but it will also need harmonic generation, probably non-linear in effect.

I’m interested in a “tape” or “transformer” type of sound, as opposed to a “tube” saturation. Does anyone have a good place to start?

If all else fails, I’ll just use my Daisy for the FIR and some other filtering, and do the saturation in the analog domain, by applying a controlled DC voltage to a transformer primary. But, it would be nice to have it all done on the Daisy.

I’ve used tanh saturation before, and in some of my csound patches I’ve used this clip opcode:

You might try with those methods and different thresholds.

I think the Bram de Jong method originally came from here:


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Ok, sweet! I will give some of this a try. That’s actually way simpler than I imagined.