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  #1  
Old 12-23-2019, 06:59 AM
PANDAPANDELO PANDAPANDELO is offline
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Default Tonedexter vs Alix

Hi there, guys!

I'm on the market to get me a Preamp to use with my HD28 equipped with a HFN Schatten Passive pickup (putty install). Everything will run into a QSC Touchmix8 mixer, then into a QSC K10.2.

Since I live in Brazil, and here we don't have these preamps on stores for testing (and none of these preamps have a LOT of reviews/sound samples on YouTube, too), what do you guys think would be a better choice?

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. Maybe a TD with a Empress ParaEQ would be a killer match?

Thank you for your help!
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Old 12-23-2019, 09:25 AM
gfirob gfirob is offline
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I think you are talking about two different creatures, apples and oranges. If your mission is natural sounding acoustic guitar amplification, then the the Tonedexter is the best option. It will create a file specific to your guitar that will replicate the sound of that guitar through a microphone. The Alix is a preamp with strong EQ capabilities, but it can't do what the Tonedexter can do. It can make your guitar sound better, but it is just not the same kind of device.
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Old 12-23-2019, 09:30 AM
rmp rmp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gfirob View Post
I think you are talking about two different creatures, apples and oranges. If your mission is natural sounding acoustic guitar amplification, then the the Tonedexter is the best option. It will create a file specific to your guitar that will replicate the sound of that guitar through a microphone. The Alix is a preamp with strong EQ capabilities, but it can't do what the Tonedexter can do. It can make your guitar sound better, but it is just not the same kind of device.
that's about as good an answer as you can get.
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Old 12-23-2019, 09:31 AM
philjs philjs is offline
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Quote:
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.
The TD bass and treble controls are quite useful, but going into a Touchmix mixer you have oodles of EQ control that can be saved and recalled with a click. Why would you need an outboard EQ?

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Old 12-23-2019, 10:01 AM
PANDAPANDELO PANDAPANDELO is offline
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My main goal with an outboard eq pedal is to do some "on the fly" changes, just to fight feedback, when notch filter is not enough.

I would dial the sound that I like on Touchmix, then control feedback and make minimal changes according to the room, live. It might be overkill, but that'd help me a lot... and since I already have the ParaEQ, that would not be a problem.

Thank you all for the replies!

I might go with the Tonedexter!
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Old 12-23-2019, 01:03 PM
Vancebo Vancebo is offline
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People say the HFN is already very natural sounding. If you don’t think so then the Tonedexter will indeed get you all the way there. It does what it supposed to do. I don’t use mine since my Dazzo pickups already sound very natural on their own. Adding the TD is a bit unnecessary.
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  #7  
Old 12-23-2019, 01:38 PM
guitarman68 guitarman68 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vancebo View Post
People say the HFN is already very natural sounding. If you don’t think so then the Tonedexter will indeed get you all the way there. It does what it supposed to do. I don’t use mine since my Dazzo pickups already sound very natural on their own. Adding the TD is a bit unnecessary.
Same with me: I have Schatten, Dazzo, K&K and Ultra Tonic installed in my guitars. I like what the Tonedexter does with K&K and Ultra Tonic, but do not need it on my Schatten and Dazzo installed guitars. If you want to buy something, I would recommend the Alix. But why ? You write you have a Para DI at hand. And with a Touchmix you have elaborate EQ to notch out the feedback frequency. Maybe a different pickup helps more. Ultra Tonic is such a clever design , especially for boomy guitars like HD28. That's why I use it in my prewar D28 style Merrill C28.
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Old 12-23-2019, 04:04 PM
PANDAPANDELO PANDAPANDELO is offline
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I had my HFN installed in a wrong way before, and it sounded thin. I just changed my tape to a putty install, and it seems that it get a LOT better.

I will have a gig pretty soon, and will se if the sound got better. If it gets more natural, maybe I'll just stick with my LR Baggs Session DI (for the saturation and compression EQ) and the Empress ParaEQ, for small adjustments on the fly.

I'll let you know!

Thank you very much!
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Old 12-23-2019, 06:26 PM
Br1ck Br1ck is offline
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The thing to consider with the Tonedexter is owning or having access to really good microphones. Garbage in, garbage out.
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Old 12-23-2019, 06:32 PM
gfirob gfirob is offline
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I don't know, people have had success with a pretty wide variety of microphones, though Audio Sprockets does make pretty clear suggestions. I use an Ear Trumpet Labs Edwina, a mid-sized condenser mike, which cost about $400.
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  #11  
Old 12-24-2019, 08:04 AM
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varmonter varmonter is offline
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tonedexter gets lots of love here.
I wont say too much about it.
only that it didnt work for me.
i do have a felix and wouldnt trade
it for anything. Grace Design puts
studio grade preamps in these things.
and youll need it to overcome the
lousy preamps in the touchmucks
( sitting back eating popcorn)
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Old 12-24-2019, 08:37 AM
PANDAPANDELO PANDAPANDELO is offline
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Hmmm... I didn't know Touchmix had a bad preamp. Since HFN is a natural sounding pickup, and the TM have bad preamp, maybe the Felix (or Alix) would be a better bet.
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Old 12-24-2019, 10:10 AM
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varmonter varmonter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PANDAPANDELO View Post
Hmmm... I didn't know Touchmix had a bad preamp. Since HFN is a natural sounding pickup, and the TM have bad preamp, maybe the Felix (or Alix) would be a better bet.
pandapandelo..i think the alix is a better choice over the tonedexter.
This is of course a subjective observation . my own personal opinion.
ive owned both and prefered the sound
of the felix to the sound of the tonedexter. i also prefered the sound of
this running into an analog board over
the touchmix digital. though the touchmix has a multitude of options and
features i think it doesnt excel at any of them. So there is a compromise between having all that in a menu driven
computer/mixer. And overall sound quality. Will the audience know? well
i would if i was in the audience. but for
the most part no.. Me i would take an
older Mackie vlz board over the touchmix anyday. Again just my humble
opinion.
Qsc speakers are top notch pro sound equipment.. cant go wrong with those..

Last edited by varmonter; 12-24-2019 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 12-24-2019, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
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.
Hi P-DELO…

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.




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Last edited by ljguitar; 12-24-2019 at 10:57 AM. Reason: added a thought and corrected some grammar…
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  #15  
Old 12-24-2019, 11:10 AM
PANDAPANDELO PANDAPANDELO is offline
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I thank you all, for the feedback on my thread. I've read A LOT of important information over here, since I can't test those preamps here, where I live.

I haven't decided what should I get, since both the TD and Felix look like great tools. But I have a better understanding and a better opinions from people who actually used them.

If more people with experience with TD and Felix could talk about their opinions, that would be great!

Have anyone used TD/Felix with HFN Passive Pickup?
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