Why buy a cheap pickup? Answer: Why pay more than you need to? In my case, I wanted to a) record to my laptop and b) use my laptop to add special effects before passing the signal on to my home hifi. The pickup, cable-adapter (1/4 inch to 3.55mm) and software cost me less than £50 all in. The pickup has low signal output because it has no pre-amp which is partly why it is cheap and so it was necessary to experiment with my laptop’s microphone recording level to get the loudest signal possible without distortion. That left a little unwanted background hiss that I took out by tweaking the software’s equaliser. Now I can have either a clean sound or professional distortion, amplifier simulators, speaker cabinet simulators and scores of pedal effects and much more without any hardware between my pickup and the PC other than a cable. Ok - a pre-amp would help but it makes more sense for me to save up the money and splash out on a semi-acoustic guitar some time. In my case, I did try an ancient pre-amp I had from the days when vinyl turn tables needed one if the amplifier had no dedicated turntable input but in all honesty, for my purposes, it did not make a huge difference. In summary, by spending $60 on professional software and much less on a pickup, for my purposes, I’ve done much better than an expensive pickup and very poor recording/monitoring software.