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  #1  
Old 01-13-2019, 12:52 PM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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Default EQing A Shure SM57 For ToneDexter Training

Audio Sprocket's James May has often stated that the best type of mic for training ToneDexter WaveMaps is a small diaphragm condensor mic with a very flat frequency response. I've had such a mic (Slate ML-2) on order from Sweetwater since September, but it hasn't been forthcoming. In the meantime I've tried WaveMap training with my dynamic gigging mics (Audix OM7 and Shure SM57), a very cheap Behringer omni-directional condensor mic and a barely functioning old Sony Electret mic. None of these has been completely satisfying, although I definitely made improvements on the amplified sound of most of my pickups.

I recently got the idea that the dynamic mics might do a better job if I could use EQ to flatten out the frequency response curves somewhat. It turns out that the SM57 is a good candidate for this because it has a flat frequency response between 190 Hz and 3 KHz. All I needed to compensate for was a steep bass rolloff from 190Hz on down (about -8db at 70Hz) and a +6db presence peak around 6 KHz.

Using my old Ashley parametric EQ box, I did a boost of +7db at 70 Hz, using a 2 octave bandwidth. (I tune my guitar a half step low, and often drop the low string to the Db at 69.3 Hz. That's why I chose to boost at 70 Hz.) I also did a -6 db cut at 6 KHz, with a bandwidth of about 2 octaves. I was doing some "guesstimating" for sure, but the resulting WaveMaps are working pretty well. I'm finally feeling like ToneDexter is making a marked improvement on the raw sound of my OTSS USTs. Here's a comparison made with my rosewood/spruce grand auditorium. OTSS UST Dry vs OTSS UST w/ToneDexter

https://soundcloud.com/guitaniac/ots...st-wtonedexter

I must observe that all was not "smooth sailing" with the parametric EQ box between the mic and ToneDexter. For some reason, the training took much longer than when the mic is connected directly to ToneDexter. I never did get a satisfactoy WaveMap with the Audix OM7. This may have to do with my old EQ box or my novice's approach, or it may be a problem which others might encounter with an EQ device between the mic and ToneDexter. I can't say, but I'm happy to have somehow managed a good outcome on the Shure 57-trained WaveMaps for two rigs.
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:08 PM
SpruceTop SpruceTop is offline
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Everything sounds very mic-like. Sometimes, I'm hearing some mushiness in the bass register in these direct recordings and I'm sure you can remedy that with more EQ manipulation. Put some room air between a speaker and a listener, and the transformation to a realistic acoustic tone would be complete. I like how you're not shy about beating the snot out of the strings with aggressive and quick, back-and-forth strumming! I'd gig with what you've achieved with the OTTS, Shure SM57, and ToneDexter.
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:20 PM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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Thanks for the helpful comments, SpruceTop,

I probably do have a little too much bass on the dry sound. That OTSS UST isn't a naturally bassy pickup, but it got quite bassy once I plugged it into the Baggs barndoor preamp which is "voiced" for the Element UST. The preamp's EQ is set for everything flat except for a 5db cut on the bass slider. I should probably have been cutting 10 db, LOL. Its a lucky thing that ToneDexter automatically compensates for tonal differences between the pickup and the mic. ToneDexter's EQ was set flat for these recordings, BTW.

Last edited by guitaniac; 01-13-2019 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:44 PM
gfirob gfirob is offline
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Well, the Tonedexterized tracks sound vastly superior to the dry tracks, but I can't help but think it would sound even better and be less trouble to just get your hands on a good condenser mike or two and experiment with those. I like the fact that Tonedexter provides a good platform for experimentation (as you did here) or with different mikes or mike positions. I am thinking of going back and redoing my original wavemaps now that I am more familiar with and comfortable with the Tondexter. Interesting experiment, though.
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Old 01-13-2019, 02:56 PM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gfirob View Post
Well, the Tonedexterized tracks sound vastly superior to the dry tracks, but I can't help but think it would sound even better and be less trouble to just get your hands on a good condenser mike or two and experiment with those. I like the fact that Tonedexter provides a good platform for experimentation (as you did here) or with different mikes or mike positions. I am thinking of going back and redoing my original wavemaps now that I am more familiar with and comfortable with the Tondexter. Interesting experiment, though.
I may opt for a bargain bin electret condensor mic if I can find one. The ancient electret mic which I had would probably have worked fine if it was still halfway operational. It could be set for zero bass roll-off down to 50 Hz, and I doubt that the two presence peaks (a 3 db presence peak at 5 KHz and a 6 db presence peak at 17 KHz) would be much of a problem. I'd try it without EQ tweaks and with EQ tweaks.
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Old 01-13-2019, 05:31 PM
The Kid! The Kid! is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gfirob View Post
Well, the Tonedexterized tracks sound vastly superior to the dry tracks, but I can't help but think it would sound even better and be less trouble to just get your hands on a good condenser mike or two and experiment with those. I like the fact that Tonedexter provides a good platform for experimentation (as you did here) or with different mikes or mike positions. I am thinking of going back and redoing my original wavemaps now that I am more familiar with and comfortable with the Tondexter. Interesting experiment, though.
I was very happy with my first round of training using a Neumann KM185, but I switched to a Shure SM81 and liked it a lot more. There was an upper midrange peak that I just couldn’t dial out of the Neumann wave maps.

I’m going to go in and try the SM81 on some different mic positions, but so far this is a drastic improvement. Try as many mics and positions as you can. Keep records of mics and positions, save what you like and delete the rest.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I have a 1952 Gibson J-45 on the way with a K&K. I can’t wait to profile that guitar.

Your post has me wanting to try an SM57 and a Heil PR 35 just to see how they sound.
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Old 01-13-2019, 11:05 PM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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I'm with you, Kid. I'd love to have a Heil PR35 to experiment with - and to sing into.
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Old 01-13-2019, 11:39 PM
The Kid! The Kid! is offline
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I'm with you, Kid. I'd love to have a Heil PR35 to experiment with - and to sing into.
It's my favorite vocal mic.
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Old 01-14-2019, 02:56 PM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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I finally stumbled across a used Slate ML-2 online. The crazy wait will be over soon, knock-on-wood. I'm looking forward to training some appealing WaveMaps without an EQ box between TD and the mic.
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Old 01-17-2019, 07:34 PM
dcopper dcopper is offline
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My SM57 worked fine for a K&K equipped 814 cocobolo. Maybe a good condenser would have been better, but I am happy with the wave maps with the 57.
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:13 AM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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I tried the SM57 direct to TD first. The results weren't pleasing for my taste. My subsequent study of the SM57's response curves (with and without proximity effect) have given me some insight as to why the direct-to-TD results weren't pleasing for my taste. Its also given me insight as to why my years of miking instruments with an SM57 (as a soundman) in live settings haven't been terribly satisfying. When close miking, the SM57s strongest response is at the boomy frequency of 200Hz. Rolling off the bass to control the boomy frequencies suppresses the low bass frequencies much more than necessary or desirable.
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Old 01-18-2019, 01:00 PM
wood nacho wood nacho is offline
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Sorry to stray a little off topic here - but isn't renting some mics an option? If you just need a wavemap wouldn't renting a mic for a week do the trick? Sorry for my ignorance :P
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Old 01-18-2019, 02:16 PM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wood nacho View Post
Sorry to stray a little off topic here - but isn't renting some mics an option? If you just need a wavemap wouldn't renting a mic for a week do the trick? Sorry for my ignorance :P
Yes, renting was an option and borrowing was an option. I declined both options. I've been patiently waiting since September to obtain the highly recommended, yet modestly priced Slate ML-2. I finally lost patience with Sweetwater and bought a used one (currently in the mail). Amusingly, Sweetwater got their long-awaited second shipment two days after my purchase. They'd given me a newly revised ETA of February, then it arrives mid January. LOL.

Last edited by guitaniac; 01-18-2019 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 01-19-2019, 04:02 AM
shufflebeat shufflebeat is offline
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Always interested to learn from the experience of others.

I notice there's no mention of mic position, which I find is a significant variable in the process.

There are several discussions in various fora about recording the dry pickup along with a good mic recording, process the mic to taste, then play the two recorded signals into the TD. It works well, allows you to harness some very powerful VSTs for tweakage of the mic and makes for a level of consistency not possible when training in real time.

You could, of course, spend the rest of your life training your TD.
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Old 01-19-2019, 08:25 AM
guitaniac guitaniac is offline
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Hi shufflebeat,

I miked from about 8" out, aimed between the 14th fret and the neck-side rim of the soundhole. In retrospect, I should have aimed at the 14th fret and/or boosted the bass less with the parametric EQ. The WaveMap was pleasing for my personal taste, but probably a little too bassy for gigging in a noisy environment. (My "Open To Source Sensor" UST is very SBT-like and top-responsive. I have little doubt that its more feedback prone than many other USTs.)

My first song at Thursday's gig required bare-fingered picking and I cranked it up to an appropriate level in a very noisy setting. I was getting some ringing, so I dropped TD's bass by 4.5db. Regrettably, I was in a hurry and didn't have the presence of mind to try TD's notch. That may have done the job just as well with less effect on my tone. The tone was still very acceptable for my taste, though I probably would have preferred a little more bass.


Regarding the technique of simultaneously pre-recording pickup and mic, that sounds very much like part of Fishman's method of creating sound images. I could get an adapter for my Zoon H4's headphone jack and run the signals through my parametric EQ to TD, so its a do-able project for me, even without a computer recording setup. My Slate ML-2 mic is due for delivery today (perfectly timed for an imminent snow storm), however, so my initial plans are to train live for now.

My training plan is to get two satisfactory Wavemaps for each guitar, one of the two Wavemaps being on the more trebly side. When I need high gain for bare-fingered picking in a noisy setting, I'll be able to switch to the more trebly WaveMap and (hopefully) not need to take extra time fiddling with the notch, the tone controls and/or a phase inversion. I tend to think that a more trebly sound works better with bare-fingered picking anyway. The best bare-fingered picker I know would ask me to roll off the bass to 9 o'clock when I was running sound for him.
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