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Old 12-29-2019, 01:36 PM
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Default Detailed report of first outing with the ToneDexter…

Hi all…

My gigging partner and I each got a ToneDexter for Christmas (Merry Christmas to us!). We led worship today…the rest of the team members had today off, so it was just 2 guys & 2 acoustics, so it was the first time we used the ToneDexter through a PA.

We had 5 minutes to pull sound checks, and we used our own acoustic amps on stage behind us so we could play without in-ears or headphones. We both have K&K Pure Mini pickups in all our acoustics.

He was using a Slope Shoulder Dreadnought (all solid Recording King) and the waveforms he used were sampled using my Peluso CEMC-6 mic a foot out from the neck/body joint position. I used my Olson Dreadnought with the waveforms pulled with my AKG 414 TL-II at the same neck/body joint position.

He was playing through his SWR California Blonde and I used my UltraSound (Dean Markley) AG-50 DS4 amp. The house was running very solid (we were using it as our vocal monitors) and we had zero issues with being heard.

I've used Feedback Busters (black rubber plug in the sound hole) for more than 15 years with dual source rigs, and I had an extra plug along for him to use today, so there were zero feedback issues.

We were both very pleased with how the ToneDexters sounded on stage, and how easy there were to set up operate. You don't have time to mess around during a 5 minute sound check.

My gigging partner powered his with the AC adapter, and I used a Joyo Lithium Battery powered power supply for pedals (9v/500mA). In three hours the indicator on the Joyo had not dropped enough for the second level of battery charge to show (it stays green from 60-100% charge, then turns yellow from 30-60%). I started it while we were setting up and left it running for the full 3 hours and it was still green.

Our quick setup atop a music stand…pardon the Kleenex left there


Before the next time we play acoustic on our team, we plan to show up at the building some evening for an extend session with a sound tech and set our channels up on the board & save them (Behringer X-32 board).

I will have my gigging partner play my guitar in my style while I listen at the sound booth, and vice versa. We want ears on the room with a tech not just people in the audience telling us that it sounded fine.

Using the ToneDexter was a good experience. It is an upgrade in at least three areas from my K&K Trinity setup.
  • The first upgrade is having a dual source sound with a single source.
  • Second improvement is the microphone section of my dual source is upgraded from the tiny capsule condenser inside the guitar to any studio mic (or other mic) I use to sample waveforms with.
  • The third improvement is my dual source preamps are about 20 years old, and are showing signs of road-wear. The Ravens have a bit more self noise than my DTAR Solstice. The Solstice has great tone adjusting and input capability, but it is a honking big unit.

I have no regrets about using pickups and internal mics, and in fact deliberately left the internal mics in all my guitars so I can add a stereo preamp and one cable and resurrect my dual source rig in a couple of minutes.

Enough ear bending…just wanted to provide a detailed report of my first public outing with the ToneDexter. If you read all this, thanks!!




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Old 12-29-2019, 02:16 PM
YamahaGuy YamahaGuy is offline
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Thanks for the detailed report. I'll probably end up with one at some point but for now I'm going to learn how to dial in my AG Stomp.
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Old 12-29-2019, 10:27 PM
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@YG, deffo try before you buy. There are situations where the TD shines but others in my experience where the AG is still king.

All the systems widely available have their shortcomings, there are no magic bullets.
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Old 12-30-2019, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YamahaGuy View Post
Thanks for the detailed report. I'll probably end up with one at some point but for now I'm going to learn how to dial in my AG Stomp.
Hi 'Y-Guy'…

Have you listened to this? It's a fairly detailed explanation of the AG Stomp's controls.



It's hard to find solid detailed reviews/instructional recordings for gear which is no longer made. The AG Stomp sounds like a solid preamp with effects, and even modeled mic settings. If you learn to control it, it could be all you want/need.

The ToneDexter is going in the opposite direction from the Stomp. If you are happy with the AG Stomp, then the ToneDexter would likely not be for you.

The Stomp is all about preamplification (to reduce piezo sound) and effects…with the added benefits of feedback control, tone adjustment etc.

The ToneDexter is all about making acoustic guitars sound more like themselves. It is great to finally hear my Olson sound like it did in studio when we were using high end mics to record with.

The volume level in the church auditorium we just played in (with over a hundred people singing along with us) would not be possible while using an AKG 414 or Peluso CEMC-6 mic. It would either be feedback-city or is-the-guitar-mic-actually-on time.

Being a pedal, a ToneDexter could certainly be fed to an effects unit (or added to an pedal/effects chain), but the primary goal seems to me is to make guitars sound more authentic/natural.



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Old 12-30-2019, 09:39 AM
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Nice write up, Larry. Sounds like you are just the kind of player Tonedexter was made for (as am I). To me the key is whether or not the true acoustic sound of a guitar you really value is important to you (as would be true, I suppose, with an Olson). If you are playing in a group with bass and drums, that acoustic sound (as if through a microphone) may be less important to you than cutting through the other instruments. The difference between a preamp with EQ and a Tonedexter is apples and oranges. So far I have not heard any device beat the Tonedexter at this one specific task, of making your amplified guitar sound as if it is coming through a microphone.
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Old 12-30-2019, 11:28 AM
YamahaGuy YamahaGuy is offline
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Thanks for the heads up about the TD and for the YT video of the AG Stomp. I think I'll end up using the AG with my guitars equipped with the passive pickups. It really brings my CSF1 to life.
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Old 12-30-2019, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
[size=2]
* The ToneDexter is going in the opposite direction from the Stomp.

* If you are happy with the AG Stomp, then the ToneDexter would likely not be for you.
I have separated these suggestions to respond to them differently.

I think the talk around the TD is very different to the AG and the idea has come from a specific approach but when it comes to gig situations I think it's a mistake to treat them as different. They recreate an expected/desired acoustic profile ("acoustic guitar") from a limited one UST/SBT piezo pickup. What you actually want or need will be unique to your requirements.

For the record I have a TD and an AG on the same pedal board and swap between the two depending on instrument. My Matrix equipped Crafter goes via TD and my Vanden mag (and UST) equipped mandola via AG. I have recently topped up my resources with an old Takamine and haven't decided where that will go yet.

I could use any instrument with any preamp and get really good results. The difference is (here I agree 100% with ljguitar) the environment and job required. If the environment is relatively benign then the TD will give me a good sound on any piezo (or even mag) instrument I've thrown at it so far. The resulting sound is not necessarily a good reproduction of the mic'd sound used to train the TD but it is a good acoustic effect.

If I want a rock solid sound in an acoustically hostile environment I will go straight to the AG which is far better equipped with problem solvers.
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Old 12-30-2019, 02:51 PM
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I have to agree that they are 2 very different devices, for 2 different uses. If you are primarily an acoustic player, and have a really nice instrument that you want to get as close to that true acoustic tone - but much louder - I don’t think I’ve heard anything that is as capable of that, as simply as the TD does, especially if you run into a really good PA or acoustic amp -

But if you are using a guitar as an input device, and need to make major modifications to your tone, or add a variety of effects, or running through a lesser sound system, or whatever - then the TD probably isn’t your best choice. Or at least, you’ll need to add other devices to your chain to make all those modifications to your signal -
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Old 12-30-2019, 03:10 PM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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For me, to make an IR more than usable, but desirable, in a "hostile" environment (two guitars, two vocals, 40+ people chatting...) was a frequency plot of the IR, such as these:



I then put two parametric EQ notches with fairly high Q (I'm using 5) on top of the two low end peaks. Right now I have both down 6 dB. It gives me most of the goodness I hear at lower volumes in my living room without becoming unmanageable.

I am working on software to create my own IRs and I think when I get to generating my own IRs (some positive thinking here) I'm going to listen more carefully to the mic recording (the one I sent to Cuki might have a bit too much proximity effect). I think for my usage I would be better putting the mic as far away as possible while keeping an eye on decent SNR.

Jon
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Old 12-30-2019, 03:17 PM
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Thanks, Larry, for your review of the ToneDexter! I love mine and it does add some goodness to amplified tone.
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Old 12-30-2019, 06:12 PM
BluesKing777 BluesKing777 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljguitar View Post
Hi all…

My gigging partner and I each got a ToneDexter for Christmas (Merry Christmas to us!). We led worship today…the rest of the team members had today off, so it was just 2 guys & 2 acoustics, so it was the first time we used the ToneDexter through a PA.

We had 5 minutes to pull sound checks, and we used our own acoustic amps on stage behind us so we could play without in-ears or headphones. We both have K&K Pure Mini pickups in all our acoustics.

He was using a Slope Shoulder Dreadnought (all solid Recording King) and the waveforms he used were sampled using my Peluso CEMC-6 mic a foot out from the neck/body joint position. I used my Olson Dreadnought with the waveforms pulled with my AKG 414 TL-II at the same neck/body joint position.

He was playing through his SWR California Blonde and I used my UltraSound (Dean Markley) AG-50 DS4 amp. The house was running very solid (we were using it as our vocal monitors) and we had zero issues with being heard.

I've used Feedback Busters (black rubber plug in the sound hole) for more than 15 years with dual source rigs, and I had an extra plug along for him to use today, so there were zero feedback issues.

We were both very pleased with how the ToneDexters sounded on stage, and how easy there were to set up operate. You don't have time to mess around during a 5 minute sound check.

My gigging partner powered his with the AC adapter, and I used a Joyo Lithium Battery powered power supply for pedals (9v/500mA). In three hours the indicator on the Joyo had not dropped enough for the second level of battery charge to show (it stays green from 60-100% charge, then turns yellow from 30-60%). I started it while we were setting up and left it running for the full 3 hours and it was still green.

Our quick setup atop a music stand…pardon the Kleenex left there


Before the next time we play acoustic on our team, we plan to show up at the building some evening for an extend session with a sound tech and set our channels up on the board & save them (Behringer X-32 board).

I will have my gigging partner play my guitar in my style while I listen at the sound booth, and vice versa. We want ears on the room with a tech not just people in the audience telling us that it sounded fine.

Using the ToneDexter was a good experience. It is an upgrade in at least three areas from my K&K Trinity setup.
  • The first upgrade is having a dual source sound with a single source.
  • Second improvement is the microphone section of my dual source is upgraded from the tiny capsule condenser inside the guitar to any studio mic (or other mic) I use to sample waveforms with.
  • The third improvement is my dual source preamps are about 20 years old, and are showing signs of road-wear. The Ravens have a bit more self noise than my DTAR Solstice. The Solstice has great tone adjusting and input capability, but it is a honking big unit.

I have no regrets about using pickups and internal mics, and in fact deliberately left the internal mics in all my guitars so I can add a stereo preamp and one cable and resurrect my dual source rig in a couple of minutes.

Enough ear bending…just wanted to provide a detailed report of my first public outing with the ToneDexter. If you read all this, thanks!!






Congratulations and thanks for the thread.

Looking at the photo of the 2 TDs, I notice your character knobs are both just past ‘midnight’. One thing to experiment with, if you like, is to have the character knob at 9 o’clock. It is then having the wavefile ‘just on’....enough to rid the slight quackers but not enough to get ‘overblown’ or ‘microphonic’. Keep this in mind anyway, if your sound gets too ‘plunky’. Highly tech terms, eh?

I really enjoy this setting with my K&K guitars and I have been limiting myself to leave that knob where it is all the time! If I plug in a guitar with an undersaddle passive Fishman, the urge to add more on the character knob is there, but I also really like the sound. With an old Aura percentage equivalent, it would be about 20%.

The other knobs I just don’t move are the bass and treble, both on about 9 o’clock (ish). This works great with the K&K!!! Tone controls that work!

Try diff mics too! I normally use my Neumann KM184 but for certain guitars, I really like a plain old Shure SM57. (Maybe because I use to use one live for years?)

BluesKing777.
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Old 12-30-2019, 07:29 PM
shufflebeat shufflebeat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonfields45 View Post
...(two guitars, two vocals, 40+ people chatting...)
That sounds like a very suitable setup for the TD, when I refer to "hostile" I'm really thinking of drums, bass and baying (braying) mobs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesKing777 View Post
One thing to experiment with, if you like, is to have the character knob at 9 o’clock. It is then having the wavefile ‘just on’....enough to rid the slight quackers but not enough to get ‘overblown’ or ‘microphonic’. Keep this in mind anyway, if your sound gets too ‘plunky’. Highly tech terms, eh?

I really enjoy this setting with my K&K guitars and I have been limiting myself to leave that knob where it is all the time! If I plug in a guitar with an undersaddle passive Fishman, the urge to add more on the character knob is there, but I also really like the sound. With an old Aura percentage equivalent, it would be about 20%.

The other knobs I just don’t move are the bass and treble, both on about 9 o’clock (ish). This works great with the K&K!!! Tone controls that work!

Try diff mics too! I normally use my Neumann KM184 but for certain guitars, I really like a plain old Shure SM57. (Maybe because I use to use one live for years?)

BluesKing777.
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Old 12-30-2019, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonfields45 View Post
For me, to make an IR more than usable, but desirable, in a "hostile" environment (two guitars, two vocals, 40+ people chatting...) was a frequency plot of the IR, such as these:



I then put two parametric EQ notches with fairly high Q (I'm using 5) on top of the two low end peaks. Right now I have both down 6 dB. It gives me most of the goodness I hear at lower volumes in my living room without becoming unmanageable.

I am working on software to create my own IRs and I think when I get to generating my own IRs (some positive thinking here) I'm going to listen more carefully to the mic recording (the one I sent to Cuki might have a bit too much proximity effect). I think for my usage I would be better putting the mic as far away as possible while keeping an eye on decent SNR.

Jon
Hey Jon…
Thanks for wading in.

Keep experimenting! We all benefit from sharing info…




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Old 12-31-2019, 08:21 AM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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I am also using minimum phase versions of Cuki's IRs. We humans don't hear phase very well and getting the delay through the IR minimized seems make the setup easier to manage in different performance environments. By this I mean the low end of the guitar tone does not exhibit minor resonant peaks I don't want to hear.

I am guessing minimum phase allows phase switch optimization to work more similar to the raw pickup.

Cuki guesses that he can perceive the delay as he plays even though these delays should be shorter than our ability to perceive, at least for most of us.

The Audio Sprockets patent refers to minimum phase as "punchier" sounding.

The ToneDexter character knob, to my understanding, going from full counter clockwise to clockwise, takes you from 100% pickup to 100% minimum phase IR to 100% accurate phase IR. I would definitely try that knob out.

ToneDexter does some automatic low pass EQ of the lower few 100 Hz that Cuki leaves to the user. I settled on the parametric EQ though I started with a low cut and a bit of bass EQ and got good results with that too.

If you don't like ToneDexter at high volume I think minimum phase, setting the phase switch optimally, and some parametric EQ might make the difference.

Last edited by jonfields45; 12-31-2019 at 08:38 AM.
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