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  #1  
Old 08-01-2020, 03:53 PM
Marty C Marty C is offline
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Default Nu-X Optima Air - Review

Just got the Nu-X Optima Air. Never really did a review, so reluctant to do so since the rest of you set the bar so high!

Preamp - Out of the box, the preamp works well. Three band eq has some range. I started with my Taylor 814ce DLX with v-brace. The ES-2 works really well and sounds fairly natural as is, but something a little sterile/brittle in the high b and e that I want to improve. I also typically cut the mids a little, so the optima air preamp worked well for this purpose.

In the box IR - Didnít care much for the IRís in the box. Most are for electric or magnetic pickups so 75% were not useable. I could adjust a few, but overall, didnít care for them. They did have a few that were in the user memory section that did sound better.

Package arrive in good shape, but oddly, no battery compartment and no power supply. It wasnít missed. The packaging was really nice and there was no room for it. Unless you have a 9v with negative center, you canít use it. I did have one.

The XLR out was really hot. Way more than the 1/4Ē out. I think it is mainly because the in the box IRís were gain loaded. Any other tool I have with the XLR out is never this hot. Well, maybe a mixer. I am feeding this into my Bose S1 Pro. The IR did seem hot in the 1/8Ē headphone out also.

The downloadable software is easy to use, but requires about 3 different downloads. One for the software, one for the firmware Updater and a windows Driver. I had windows 8 and only the windows 10 driver worked.

I downloaded Kuki IR software and started to experiment. With little effort, I generated an IR of my Taylor to use in the Optima Air. I made three different ones and put them in the Optima Air. These worked much better. I kept the computer connected to play with the IR output and HPF, which I rolled off around 70. From here, I was able to take some of that gain/level out of the IRís. Once on the pedal, you can adjust the IR blend, but the IR level is there to stay.

I left the PC connected as I played through my S1 Pro. My target was to get the levels similar with the IR button off, the Preamp off or the IR on and the Preamp off, etc. From here, I could really tell where this might make a difference.

I only had a few hours this morning, but got to the point I was able to really enjoy the tone without the harsh high end, yet without removing the high end. I only used a Behringer c2 condenser mic and do have other options. Will try some different mics later today and tomorrow.

Overall, I am happy with the tone, but not without Kukiís generator and I also used Jonís version under the ďsaveĒ option with the best results. Still tons to do, but enjoying this so far. Really enjoy the process, because now this is MY sound and not what I have to accept as a limitation of my equipment. Loving the IR Process and how much you can do with this. I have several guitars and several mics. I could be busy with this for days and still never get to the end of the process. Thank you Kuki and Jon! This is loads of fun! I really didnít think I had the ability to do this, but I was able to figure this out watching the You Tube of Kuki and also Aaron. Thanks guys!

The Nu-X is a good option for loading, storing and using your IRís. I have not yet tried to use this unit to create my IR. This will require connecting a mixer. That will be tomorrow. I guess no where near as easy as the tonedexter, but a low cost way to experience this process to see if it is for you.

I will answer any questions I can, if you have any and will update as I learn more and if anyone shows any interest.

Really appreciate the help of this forum. Opened my eyes to a new world!
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  #2  
Old 08-01-2020, 04:01 PM
Cuki79 Cuki79 is offline
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Thanks for the review Marty C!

Cheers,
Cuki with a C
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Martin D-18 (2012) DIY Pickup v5 variant
Martin HD-28 (2014) Trance Audio Amulet M-V T+ DIY IR
Eastman E6OM (2019) DIY Pickup v5
Taylor GS Mini-e Bass (2017)

Gibson Les Paul Standard 1958 Reissue (2013)
Fender Stratocaster American Vintage 1954 (2014)
http://acousticir.free.fr/
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  #3  
Old 08-01-2020, 04:35 PM
Marty C Marty C is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuki79 View Post
Thanks for the review Marty C!

Cheers,
Cuki with a C
Sorry Cuki. I hate I misspelled your name. My apologies.
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  #4  
Old 08-01-2020, 10:49 PM
AeroUSA AeroUSA is offline
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Great review. I am keen to hear how their own IRís sound when create one. Please let us know.
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  #5  
Old 08-02-2020, 01:49 AM
Akousticplyr Akousticplyr is offline
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Thank you Marty.
Just curious as to what vendor you got it from and the price?
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  #6  
Old 08-02-2020, 04:00 AM
Marty C Marty C is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akousticplyr View Post
Thank you Marty.
Just curious as to what vendor you got it from and the price?
I found it on Reverb. It was sold by a company called “The Pedal Guy” in California. It was $149.00 with free shipping and I think about $10 for California tax. Good price for all it does. https://reverb.com/item/34903208-nux...er-pedal-nai-5
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  #7  
Old 08-02-2020, 05:44 AM
Cuki79 Cuki79 is offline
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Hi Marty,

Can you comment on the gain?

Can you get a lot of gain? Is it noisy? Did you try with other pickups than the Taylor ES2?

Cheers,
Cuki
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Martin D-18 (2012) DIY Pickup v5 variant
Martin HD-28 (2014) Trance Audio Amulet M-V T+ DIY IR
Eastman E6OM (2019) DIY Pickup v5
Taylor GS Mini-e Bass (2017)

Gibson Les Paul Standard 1958 Reissue (2013)
Fender Stratocaster American Vintage 1954 (2014)
http://acousticir.free.fr/
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  #8  
Old 08-02-2020, 06:04 AM
erniecaster erniecaster is offline
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Hi,

two questions, please:

1. Can you turn on the reverb without the preamp? Someone said on Youtube, this would not be possible but the manual says the opposite...
2. Is is possible to use the preamp as a boost?

Thank you so much!

cu

erniecaster
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  #9  
Old 08-02-2020, 06:36 AM
Marty C Marty C is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuki79 View Post
Hi Marty,

Can you comment on the gain?

Can you get a lot of gain? Is it noisy? Did you try with other pickups than the Taylor ES2?

Cheers,
Cuki
Lots of gain. The software has a dial for IR level - which seems to mean output of the IR signal, which I assume is gain. This is where the any noise is from. If I dial this back, the noise is minimum if not gone.

Out of the box IRís are hot and noisy. My typical setting on my Bose S1 must be dialed down to 25% to avoid overdriving the signal.

I get no noise from the preamp. If I disengage the IR switch, the preamp is fine. Itís just an adjust that needs to be done in the software. Still learning.

Havenít tried any other pickups yet. I have some UST in Martins I will try.

I did try making my own through the Optima air. You must connect a mic preamp so I used my Yamaha MG10 mixer. I need to work on the recording level. I have never used a mic with an acoustic guitar so I am learning mic placement and signal strength at the same time. I also have a buzz in my B string. Thought this was coming from the pickup, but it is plainly heard when recording. Maybe a truss rod adjustment is needed since it seems to be heard up and down the neck. However the IR capturing process is simple.

Lots of variables in this process. I need to start at the beginning to see what is needed to capture the best signal. From there I will have a better platform to build on.
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  #10  
Old 08-02-2020, 06:39 AM
Marty C Marty C is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erniecaster View Post
Hi,

two questions, please:

1. Can you turn on the reverb without the preamp? Someone said on Youtube, this would not be possible but the manual says the opposite...
2. Is is possible to use the preamp as a boost?

Thank you so much!

cu

erniecaster
1. Correct, you need the preamp on for the reverb.
2. Yes, the gain is only available when the preamp is used. Therefore the signal can be boosted by engaging the preamp.

Does that answer your questions?
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  #11  
Old 08-02-2020, 06:43 AM
willymartin willymartin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty C View Post
Really enjoy the process, because now this is MY sound and not what I have to accept as a limitation of my equipment.
This!! Well said.. Exactly how I feel about my Tonedexter. Improves the live tone of my acoustic and creates my own unique sound based on mic choice, mic position etc. There are many ways to shape your "own" sound but this is it for me..
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  #12  
Old 08-02-2020, 07:25 AM
Cuki79 Cuki79 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty C View Post
Lots of gain. The software has a dial for IR level - which seems to mean output of the IR signal, which I assume is gain. This is where the any noise is from. If I dial this back, the noise is minimum if not gone.
Do you mean IR volume? (see picture below) I believe IR level is the blend setting, am I right?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty C View Post
Out of the box IRís are hot and noisy. My typical setting on my Bose S1 must be dialed down to 25% to avoid overdriving the signal.

I get no noise from the preamp. If I disengage the IR switch, the preamp is fine. Itís just an adjust that needs to be done in the software. Still learning.
When I wrote "gain" I meant the "preamp gain". We look for a pedal that can cope with weak ouput pickups (ex: Schatten HFN, PUTW, Baggs...).

I rephrase my question: "When the preamp is ON, if you turn the gain pot up, can you get very loud?"
__________________
Martin D-18 (2012) DIY Pickup v5 variant
Martin HD-28 (2014) Trance Audio Amulet M-V T+ DIY IR
Eastman E6OM (2019) DIY Pickup v5
Taylor GS Mini-e Bass (2017)

Gibson Les Paul Standard 1958 Reissue (2013)
Fender Stratocaster American Vintage 1954 (2014)
http://acousticir.free.fr/
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  #13  
Old 08-02-2020, 09:05 AM
erniecaster erniecaster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty C View Post
1. Correct, you need the preamp on for the reverb.
2. Yes, the gain is only available when the preamp is used. Therefore the signal can be boosted by engaging the preamp.

Does that answer your questions?
Hi,

thank you very much.

I use a boost to switch between picking and strumming - or just for a solo. Is the boost by switching on the preamp with gain craked open enough for that?

cu

erniecaster
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As I am from Germany, I am not a native speaker in English. Please forgive me my mistakes.
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  #14  
Old 08-02-2020, 10:14 AM
Marty C Marty C is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuki79 View Post
Do you mean IR volume? (see picture below) I believe IR level is the blend setting, am I right?




When I wrote "gain" I meant the "preamp gain". We look for a pedal that can cope with weak ouput pickups (ex: Schatten HFN, PUTW, Baggs...).

I rephrase my question: "When the preamp is ON, if you turn the gain pot up, can you get very loud?"
IR volume - Yes
Loud with preamp gain- yes, very loud.
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  #15  
Old 08-02-2020, 10:16 AM
Marty C Marty C is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erniecaster View Post
Hi,

thank you very much.

I use a boost to switch between picking and strumming - or just for a solo. Is the boost by switching on the preamp with gain craked open enough for that?

cu

erniecaster
Correct. However, you can build that into a preset. I have two - one for strum and one for fingerpick. In addition to increased gain, I also reduce the low and increase the high for fingerpick. Seems it also stores the eq and gain settings as well when saved in the preset.
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