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Old 12-24-2019, 10:49 AM
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ljguitar ljguitar is offline
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Originally Posted by PANDAPANDELO View Post
…My main goal is to have a natural sounding plugged sound. The Tonedexter is better on that, AFAIK, but it lacks eq, compared to the Alix.

I'm going to answer at length and with detail learned from my experience, and current experimentation.

Naturalness of guitar tone is usually about our perception of tone through the PA. I've played dual source (K&K Pure Mini plus internal microphone) for 20 years now. My first was my LB-6 pickup with an internally powered Baggs dual source preamp and mic in my Olson for about 7 years.

I switched to the K&K with internal mic in about 2005 which moved me into external preamp territory. I've played this system in all 4 of my acoustics happily for about 15 years now.

For Christmas this year my wife bought me a ToneDexter.

I was merely looking at it as an upgrade to my aging acoustic dual source preamps (all four of which range from 15-25 years old). I was surprised by how much more natural it sounds than my dual-source rigs (which sound and work great). I think most players are not familiar with how our guitars sound when sitting in front of them, instead of playing from behind them. I've been fortunate to hear my guitars played by others, and to hear them recorded through high-end studio setups.

The ToneDexter is another notch towards more-natural sounding guitar through amp and PA. It sounds like my guitars played in studio.

A high end preamp like the Alix or Felix will certainly give you more tone adjusting options than a ToneDexter. But, often tone altering isn't even necessary. Extra fine tuning/tweaking capability is best left to strange and unusual settings, not to every day use. One of my steps in my rigs was when I stopped using the ⅓ octave rack mounted EQ on the guitar. When I moved from the Baggs dual source to the K&K the EQ improved exponentially, and stray frequencies I'd had using the LB-6 disappeared with the K&K Pure Mini. So did the ⅓ octave EQ and rack mounted compressor.

If a pickup straight through a preamp gives you good balance and great sound, little tweaking is necessary.

Where Alix or Felix shine is when the tone of the guitar is lacking or the venue is strongly influencing tone in bad directions. The places I play are very 'normal' and minimal tone adjustment is needed since my pickup/mic rigs sound pretty great with just volume and minimal tone adjusting.

Where a ToneDexter shines is it captures your guitar as it sounds with as much influence and detail as the mic you use to sample it allows. The waveforms I've built with solid studio condenser mics has already replaced a lot of tweaking I'd be able to do with a more elaborate preamp attempting to find that elusive 'authentic' sound my acoustic guitars had when played 'naked'.

I've not felt limited by the ToneDexter's two-way tone, plus a notch, plus Character adjustments over my more elaborate preamps. By shifting each of the mics to three separate locations while capturing wave forms, (which alter aspects of the tone of my guitars predictably), they've done the job of a more elaborate EQ. I am using fairly high end mics. AKG 414 TL-II, Peluso CEMC6, Shure KSM-44, and Rode NT-3 (an off the shelf consumer grade mic with a lot of midrange and high end detail).

What I'm shooting for are a profile which is bass-rich, another which is midrange-rich, and another which is high-mid rich. The different mic positions capture it for me.

By using high end mics, I'm getting tone like I was used to hearing in studio. You don't need to own mics to use a Tone-Dexter. Borrowing and renting decent mics is plausible. I do not like the samples with an SM-57 - and I suspect players who do like that tone are Bluegrass players who've played with 57s on stage for years, and that's the sound they want. It's not natural at all, but it's very familiar to the genre.

I play a fairly aggressive stage for my main playing, and have always used a sound-hole feedback suppressor with my dual sources. I the same will be true of my ToneDexter, though in the testing I've done with acoustic amps, the ToneDexter is no more prone to feedback than my built-in existing dual-source systems.

Both options are solid.

I hope you find the answers you are looking for and hope this post adds to the discussion.

Larry J

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…Just because you've argued till a discussion turns silent doesn't mean you have convinced anyone…

Last edited by ljguitar; 12-24-2019 at 10:57 AM. Reason: added a thought and corrected some grammar…
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