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  #46  
Old 03-25-2020, 02:36 PM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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I don't strum, so that maybe a major factor - but I've always totally rejected USTs, and have used probably every SBT out there. I'm now up to my 5th Barbera. It just sounds good to me, both acoustically and plugged in. Especially with a little correction from ToneDexter, it sounds pretty natural to me. Even without ToneDexter, into an amp, it sounds good, very balanced sound, no feedback or woofy issues. Warm, clear, clean. I still have Trance in a couple of guitars, and a great-sounding set of Dazzo's in one. I do add an internal mic to any pickup I use, which smooths out the Barbera as well as anything else, and use ToneDexter.
Doug, the strumming is of course a major factor. Unfortunately us strummers get the poor end of the stick. Fingerstyle I have no issues and the Soloist is an excellent replacement for the Element in the Anthem system. It gives a nice punchy bass, unlike the muddy bass from the element and it greatly benefits from the air from the mic. I'm not trying to knock the pickup by no means just trying to make people aware (who never tried it) that it will quack when you drive it. Tonedexter (and IR's) completely eliminate the quack and my Fishman amp greatly reduces it as well.
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  #47  
Old 03-25-2020, 06:44 PM
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Default Schatten HFN - Are You Kidding Me!!!???

Iím still testing the HFN in the McPherson Sable. I like the acoustic tone better without the Element. Itís a close call, but Iím giving the edge to the HFN for simplicity. The only consideration is that I think HFN works much better as an active system with Tone control. I have to roll off most of the treble on the tone wheel to get the amplified sound to sound almost exactly like the guitar. Moreover, the performance is better at high volumes. Like Aaron has said many times, HFN may not be an Anthem killer, but itís a very nice system if it works with your guitar.
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  #48  
Old 03-25-2020, 07:06 PM
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Doug, the strumming is of course a major factor. Unfortunately us strummers get the poor end of the stick. Fingerstyle I have no issues and the Soloist is an excellent replacement for the Element in the Anthem system. It gives a nice punchy bass, unlike the muddy bass from the element and it greatly benefits from the air from the mic. I'm not trying to knock the pickup by no means just trying to make people aware (who never tried it) that it will quack when you drive it. Tonedexter (and IR's) completely eliminate the quack and my Fishman amp greatly reduces it as well.
I've yet to find a pickup that really works well with strumming by itself, especially heavy strumming. When you listen to my pickup tests, where I do fingerstyle, tapping, then strumming, every one starts out as "ok, not bad", then "ok, that works" and finally "oh crap, what's that terrible sound?" But as you say, ToneDexter pretty much takes care of it all. I posted some strumming examples with the Barbera with Cuki's IRs as well recently, that I thought sounded fine.
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  #49  
Old 03-25-2020, 07:20 PM
hiddenmickey hiddenmickey is offline
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I've yet to find a pickup that really works well with strumming by itself, especially heavy strumming. When you listen to my pickup tests, where I do fingerstyle, tapping, then strumming, every one starts out as "ok, not bad", then "ok, that works" and finally "oh crap, what's that terrible sound?" But as you say, ToneDexter pretty much takes care of it all. I posted some strumming examples with the Barbera with Cuki's IRs as well recently, that I thought sounded fine.
Doug - what is your opinion of the Tonedexterís preamp and DI? Is it on par with a Grace Alix or Felix? The reason I ask is I was considering getting an Alix and running the TD in its effects loop.
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Old 03-25-2020, 07:58 PM
Petty1818 Petty1818 is offline
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I've yet to find a pickup that really works well with strumming by itself, especially heavy strumming. When you listen to my pickup tests, where I do fingerstyle, tapping, then strumming, every one starts out as "ok, not bad", then "ok, that works" and finally "oh crap, what's that terrible sound?" But as you say, ToneDexter pretty much takes care of it all. I posted some strumming examples with the Barbera with Cuki's IRs as well recently, that I thought sounded fine.
I would say the only pickup that sounds okay with strumming is the Takamine palathetic pickup so that would include Maton and Cole Clark. Some may argue against this but I have seen a few bands that strum fairly aggressive and use Takamine guitars and the tones are quite impressive.

I am very interested in the Soloist but as mentioned, it's going to be a major investment for me. I don't love the fact that it has piezo tone to it and that it's closer to bone in terms of tone (my Taylor typically sounds a bit too bright with bone), but it seems to improve on the standard UST design. Oddly enough, I have often found UST pickups to sound a bit thin at times. I am hoping that the Soloist has a bit more of a full tone. I do know that players like Vince Gil and members of the Eagles are now using the Soloist so there must be something special going on with this pickup.
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  #51  
Old 03-25-2020, 09:52 PM
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Doug - what is your opinion of the Tonedexter’s preamp and DI? Is it on par with a Grace Alix or Felix? The reason I ask is I was considering getting an Alix and running the TD in its effects loop.
I doubt you'd gain much from doing that. The Grace units are great preamps - basically a studio quality preamp in a floor package. But its whole point is to pass your sound thru totally uncolored. ToneDexter's point is to totally alter your sound - it's not trying to pass the signal thru uncolored. If you put the two together, you'll just have the Grace accurately passing thru the sound of the ToneDexter, so what would you gain as far as sound quality?. I think the preamp/DI aspects of ToneDexter are perfectly fine even in bypass mode maybe not as high end as the Grace circuitry, but not in any way that matters, and the whole point is to have the pickup correction.

The Grace preamps do have more EQ control, and with Felix you get a 2nd channel, so if that's useful to you, then it would be worthwhile. But a lot of what people are trying to do with more EQ - trying to make a pickup sound better, ToneDexter does as part of the training process.

BTW, full disclosure - I do do this, sort of. I've been using the Two Notes CabM IR-Loader pedal in the effects loop of a Sunnaudio preamp/DI. I create IRs from ToneDexter and load them into the CabM. So I'm using ToneDexter's sound processing, but not TD directly. Why? Partly because it's smaller, partly because I just want the TD effect, but don't need the other stuff. The Sunnaudio preamp combines my pickup and mic in a way no other preamp can do, and with that, the DI out, and other stuff on the physical ToneDexter box are extraneous. But I could just use ToneDexter in the same way, just taking up more room. So it does work to put TD in the effects loop, I just wouldn't do it with the idea that somehow you'll automatically get a better sound with Alix+ToneDexter than with ToneDexter alone, unless there's some feature of Alix or Felix that you need.
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Last edited by Doug Young; 03-25-2020 at 10:50 PM.
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  #52  
Old 03-26-2020, 01:54 AM
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I doubt you'd gain much from doing that. The Grace units are great preamps - basically a studio quality preamp in a floor package. But its whole point is to pass your sound thru totally uncolored. ToneDexter's point is to totally alter your sound - it's not trying to pass the signal thru uncolored. If you put the two together, you'll just have the Grace accurately passing thru the sound of the ToneDexter, so what would you gain as far as sound quality?. I think the preamp/DI aspects of ToneDexter are perfectly fine even in bypass mode maybe not as high end as the Grace circuitry, but not in any way that matters, and the whole point is to have the pickup correction.

The Grace preamps do have more EQ control, and with Felix you get a 2nd channel, so if that's useful to you, then it would be worthwhile. But a lot of what people are trying to do with more EQ - trying to make a pickup sound better, ToneDexter does as part of the training process.

BTW, full disclosure - I do do this, sort of. I've been using the Two Notes CabM IR-Loader pedal in the effects loop of a Sunnaudio preamp/DI. I create IRs from ToneDexter and load them into the CabM. So I'm using ToneDexter's sound processing, but not TD directly. Why? Partly because it's smaller, partly because I just want the TD effect, but don't need the other stuff. The Sunnaudio preamp combines my pickup and mic in a way no other preamp can do, and with that, the DI out, and other stuff on the physical ToneDexter box are extraneous. But I could just use ToneDexter in the same way, just taking up more room. So it does work to put TD in the effects loop, I just wouldn't do it with the idea that somehow you'll automatically get a better sound with Alix+ToneDexter than with ToneDexter alone, unless there's some feature of Alix or Felix that you need.
That feature that I need is the full parametric mid control. I could put an empress paraeq in the effects loop of the TD for less than half the price of the Alix. However, the CabM looks like it could do everything in one box.
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  #53  
Old 03-26-2020, 12:49 PM
GuitarLuva GuitarLuva is offline
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I've yet to find a pickup that really works well with strumming by itself, especially heavy strumming. When you listen to my pickup tests, where I do fingerstyle, tapping, then strumming, every one starts out as "ok, not bad", then "ok, that works" and finally "oh crap, what's that terrible sound?" But as you say, ToneDexter pretty much takes care of it all. I posted some strumming examples with the Barbera with Cuki's IRs as well recently, that I thought sounded fine.
Doug, that's the very reason the HFN surprised me. I'm not a heavy strummer, more like light/medium, and the HFN handles that quite well. I would guess for close to a year I was using the HFN plugged straight into my Fishman amp with no other gear. I'm currently using a custom IR from Jon's algorithm loaded into Tonedexter and that sounds quite good and I prefer it. Cuki asked me to send him my raw wave files to try with his newest algorithm but I deleted them and need to do them over. It's on my 'to do' list.

Another pickup I've been impressed with is Yamaha's UST. Unfortunately you can't seem to get them unless you buy a Yamaha guitar with one. I'm also not a UST fan but compared to the other popular UST's out there (Fishman Matrix, LR Baggs Element, etc.) I think Yamaha's is a cut above. It ranks up there in clarity with the Barbera IMO.
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Old 03-26-2020, 04:12 PM
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That feature that I need is the full parametric mid control. I could put an empress paraeq in the effects loop of the TD for less than half the price of the Alix. However, the CabM looks like it could do everything in one box.
Are you sure you'll need it with TD? Most people needing a lot of EQ seem to be trying to "fix" the pickup sound. TD is like having a 1000-band EQ that a computer adjusts for you. It also has a notch filter for feedback and basic EQ for tweaking a bit to taste. I end up rarely needing any EQ with a ToneDexter wavemap. If it doesn't sound right, I try another mic placement and re-train. Its a lot like recording - if I need a lot of EQ on a recording, I know my mic placement was wrong. When I get the sound right via mic placement, I need no EQ.

But yes, you could certainly place an EQ in ToneDexter's effects loop. I liked the idea that I could have 5 bands of semi-parametric EQ on the CabM - plus there's more ability to EQ and manipulate the IR in their software. In reality, I've yet to use that feature. I just have straight ToneDexter IRs.
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Old 03-26-2020, 04:45 PM
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Are you sure you'll need it with TD? Most people needing a lot of EQ seem to be trying to "fix" the pickup sound. TD is like having a 1000-band EQ that a computer adjusts for you. It also has a notch filter for feedback and basic EQ for tweaking a bit to taste. I end up rarely needing any EQ with a ToneDexter wavemap. If it doesn't sound right, I try another mic placement and re-train. Its a lot like recording - if I need a lot of EQ on a recording, I know my mic placement was wrong. When I get the sound right via mic placement, I need no EQ.

But yes, you could certainly place an EQ in ToneDexter's effects loop. I liked the idea that I could have 5 bands of semi-parametric EQ on the CabM - plus there's more ability to EQ and manipulate the IR in their software. In reality, I've yet to use that feature. I just have straight ToneDexter IRs.
There is a frequency between 600 and 700 Hz that I loathe and the HFN seems to keep it under control, but itís still there. I have not found a mic placement that gets rid of it completely. Itís not audible when Iím picking individual notes, but itís there when I strum. And strumming is what I do most often.
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  #56  
Old 03-26-2020, 05:27 PM
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There is a frequency between 600 and 700 Hz that I loathe and the HFN seems to keep it under control, but itís still there. I have not found a mic placement that gets rid of it completely. Itís not audible when Iím picking individual notes, but itís there when I strum. And strumming is what I do most often.
ToneDexter might very well fix that. Do you hear it on your guitar unamplified?
One thing I've experimented with, and I've seen a few others mention it here, is training ToneDexter by recording the pickup and mic and then using the playback as the training input. That way I can EQ the mic to fool ToneDexter into thinking my mic'd sound is different. You could train it to remove that frequency, if it doesn't by itself. I don't bother with this anymore, my results are fine with the simple direct approach, but it does work.

Also, presumably you're plugging into something, which might have EQ as well. My mixer has more fully-parametric EQ that I'd ever use, and especially if I have a sound person who's hearing things from out front, they can adjust what the audience hears better than I can.

Incidentally, I also hear a certain harshness to the HFN, some sort of mid-range edge I don't care for, which is why I don't use it. (Tho I have never tried it with ToneDexter) But it's different for everyone.
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Fingerstyle Christmas Tunes: A DADGAD Christmas
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CDs: Closing Time, Laurel Mill, Duets (With Teja Gerken)
Pickup tests: http://www.dougyoungguitar.com/pickuptests/
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  #57  
Old 03-26-2020, 08:17 PM
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ToneDexter might very well fix that. Do you hear it on your guitar unamplified?
One thing I've experimented with, and I've seen a few others mention it here, is training ToneDexter by recording the pickup and mic and then using the playback as the training input. That way I can EQ the mic to fool ToneDexter into thinking my mic'd sound is different. You could train it to remove that frequency, if it doesn't by itself. I don't bother with this anymore, my results are fine with the simple direct approach, but it does work.

Also, presumably you're plugging into something, which might have EQ as well. My mixer has more fully-parametric EQ that I'd ever use, and especially if I have a sound person who's hearing things from out front, they can adjust what the audience hears better than I can.

Incidentally, I also hear a certain harshness to the HFN, some sort of mid-range edge I don't care for, which is why I don't use it. (Tho I have never tried it with ToneDexter) But it's different for everyone.
I play mostly at church and the folks running the board are not always up to speed on ringing out a nasty frequency. They are good at mixing and battling feedback issues.

The HFN is the best pickup Iíve used so far for the type of guitar I play and how I play it. It does work well with the TD, but it is not as dramatic as using an Element or even K&K. Pickups are just so different from one another. Iím glad we have so many to choose from. There are so many things to consider when finding a match.
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