Just thought I'd bump this and make some minor edits.
To my fellow equipment Junkies: I built this vibe from M55 Parts and a K&K pickup system (pics below). **If you don't like the sound I'd love to get that feedback too**
I play vibes in an amateur big band and I could never keep the drums and band out of the mics if I turned it up loud enough to be heard. I'm sure if I got the right, mics the right amp/mixer and a drummer who doesn't play at one volume during sound checks and then 10 times louder during the gig, overhead mics would sound better.
Attached are some pics and a crude audio recording. It has a K&K pickup system and I covered it in drum covering material, black diamond pearl. I also modified multi wheel collapsible/folding hand truck. I leave the bars on, I heft it into the back of my Subaru Outback and I leave it the cart to pull it back out. The bars and frame together are pretty heavy. It's a real hassle to take the bars off and plug them back in; however, I may have to do it if I have to negotiate some major stairs, but with help I can lift the frame with bars on the hand truck up 2 or three stage stairs
Electronics: I use an older Fishman performer acoustic amp and I run an Eventide Mod Factor pedal in Tremolo mode between the K&K output and the amp (I like tremolo). Does it sound as good as a mic'd acoustic vibe? Nope. But the band likes it and I don't have to worry about feedback and mics. In a couple of gigs, the sound person ran the line out of the amp into the board. A LITTLE bit of compression kept distortion out of the mix when I got excited and hit hard. Next time I do this I'm going to have someone play the vibe so I can hear what it sounds like in the mix. Also, I may try running the post mix to the board so then I can crank up just like the guitar player does. --I'm now looking for an amp that goes to 11.
I had the "depth" turned up a little high on the tremolo just so it's obvious. The eventide pedal, one can control depth and frequency of the tremolo (and a TON of other stuff too, it's really cool.