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seth

Ruby Baby

Posts: 5,527 Member Since:26/01/2011

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Feb 1 17 9:50 AM

Thank you Mike. I always look forward to reading your reports.

I have a couple of questions about that Tonedexter device: you really think it works? I despise the sound of acoustic guitar pickups, I've never heard one I thought sounded nearly as good as a decent mic. To clarify, this device only works if you have the specific guitar, teach the device with a mic, and then record or playback a track through it? Am I correct that it wouldn't be useful on a prerecorded track I've been given to mix where I don't have access to the original guitar?

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chance

Aqua Marine

Posts: 2,625 Member Since:30/01/2011

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Feb 1 17 1:08 PM

As I was walking in a dark passagway between the convention center and the Hilton hotel I saw this young guy. I thought it was interesting
[url=

Then there was "this". The video couldn't capture the thunderous roar/pulse of rhythm. There were percussive instruments laying all around and walker by's pick them up and join in
[url=

This is the 15 year old kid that I booked in the Hilton on Saturday night. We've been working together on his CD for the last few months. I didn't record the end of this set, but his time was up and he didn't stop so they pulled the plug. The kid was really hurt because it was at the beginning of a solo, but he learned a lesson that night. I understand the kids feelings almost like when you got to pee real bad, and finally find a restroom, start to pee, and someone says STOP! LOL
[url=

Chance Pataki The Musicians Workshop www.the-musicians-workshop.com musicians.workshop@gte.net

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mikerivers

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 2,484 Member Since:13/10/2012

#5 [url]

Feb 1 17 1:08 PM

seth wrote:

I have a couple of questions about that Tonedexter device: you really think it works? I despise the sound of acoustic guitar pickups, I've never heard one I thought sounded nearly as good as a decent mic. To clarify, this device only works if you have the specific guitar, teach the device with a mic, and then record or playback a track through it? Am I correct that it wouldn't be useful on a prerecorded track I've been given to mix where I don't have access to the original guitar?
 


Thanks for reading the report.

I've heard a few pickups that, in the right hands, on the right guitar, played by the right guitarist, for the right kind of song, sound as good as a decent mic on the guitar. But that's a lot of conditions. The ToneDexter has some potential for getting the sound closer to what a mic would sound like if the "mic sample" you take sounds like what you want the guitar to sound like in the context it's being played. The guy who makes it says you only need to do it once for a particular guitar, but I'm sure you can do better than that. I wouldn't necessarily use the same mic set up the same way to record a guitar that's doing background strumming than I would if it was fingerpicking a rag, or doing a blazing imitation of a nervous mandolin player playing a bluegrass solo, or backing up an old time fiddler. But if I had three or four presets stored for the guitar and used them in the right places, I'd probably have better results than just plugging the pickup into a DI and maybe adding some EQ to de-honk it.

Here's what I wrote when I talked to them last year, so it's more complete than what I wrote in the report this year, and despite my comment about wishing I had a few of those to use at folk festivals, that would really never work because there isn't enough time to set it up for an instrument before the set starts. We're too busy trying to figure out who's going to be on stage and where they'll stand, and guess who's going to be talking because they always say "he doesn't sing so he doesn't need a mic" and then he does.



ToneDexter from Audio Sprockets might be my favorite product of the show. I’m throwing it in here even though it’s not a computer interface, but it’s more than a DI. It’s a very smart interface for an instrument with a piezoelectric pickup.

In addition to the instrument input jack, there’s an XLR mic input with phantom power if it’s needed. No, it’s not a mixer that blends the mic and pickup signals. The way it works is that you first find a mic that sounds good on your guitar - you can play around in a studio-like environment, experimenting with different mics if you have access to more than one, and find a good position for the mic on the guitar. Then you put the ToneDexter in learning mode and play for a minute or so. The unit samples both the mic and pickup signals, determines the difference between the two, and calculates an algorithm to process the pickup signal so that what comes out sounds like the microphone.

It’s doing a lot of work here, I suspect operating in the time domain as well as simply generating an equalization curve. The clue to this is that there’s a control labeled “Focus/Bloom” which, when turned toward Focus, removes some of the room ambience to give the effect of moving the guitar closer to the mic. For the demo setup at the show, not only could I hear the pickup with or without processing, I could compare the processed pickup sound with the mic sound, and they were remarkably close. Without the processor engaged, the pickup sounded brittle and quacky. You can save 16 processing algorithms so you can use it with different guitars, different mics, a mandolin, maybe a uke. It doesn’t do much for magnetic pickups, but then they don’t sound as bad, or sound bad but not in the same way, as piezo pickups. The developer said that’s because the transient content of a magnetic pickup’s output is too different from that of a piezo pickup around which the algorithm was designed.

Controls are fairly minimal – there’s a three band parametric equalizer for touch-up or compensating for room acoustics, gain controls for the pickup and mic, a mysterious Character knob, a gain knob for the Boost switch, and a Feedback knob which I believe is a notch filter. There’s an effect send and return in case you want to corrupt your nice acoustic sound, and a DI output at mic or line level from an XLR connector. I wish I had a couple of these for the folk festivals I work, where there are many bad sounding pickups.



For a good time, call mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com

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tb av

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,151 Member Since:24/04/2011

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Feb 1 17 1:31 PM

Just lost my post... short story...

OctaPre --- Dual ADAT out for 24/96X8 = Good thinking.

UADTwin --- Single ADAT in for 24/48x8 = Why?

It's not like ADAT 96 is new adn UAD sells the Twin with the understanding it is an 8xPre control system for those running and gunning but looking for quality.

IS ADAT x 2 IN a much more costly undertaking than ADAT x 2 OUT? Obviously at $400 MSRP for the Octa it's not a cost issue going out.

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mikerivers

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 2,484 Member Since:13/10/2012

#8 [url]

Feb 1 17 6:30 PM

tb av wrote:
UADTwin --- Single ADAT in for 24/48x8 = Why?

It's not like ADAT 96 is new adn UAD sells the Twin with the understanding it is an 8xPre control system for those running and gunning but looking for quality.

IS ADAT x 2 IN a much more costly undertaking than ADAT x 2 OUT? Obviously at $400 MSRP for the Octa it's not a cost issue going out.
 


I can't speak for UA, but it's a little box and it may be a matter of panel space that led them to using a single connector. I don't know if there's a license fee for the S-Mux dual lightpipe for double sample rate, though the cost of another Toslink connector plus the ADAT optical chip behind it isn't trivial (like maybe a few bucks rather than a few cents). If you really need 8 additional mic channels at 96 kHz, you probably should be considering a larger interface. But it's a convenient way to tack on a $300 or so box with 8 preamps and ADAT optical output when recording something like a live show in a bar, or a bunch of real synths that don't have anything coming out of them higher than 20 kHz anyway.

Or what that a rhetorical question?



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mikerivers

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 2,484 Member Since:13/10/2012

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Feb 1 17 6:39 PM

tom eaton wrote:
The Fishman Aura has been doing that guitar di thing for years, and quite well!


Is the "guitar di thing" of which you speak the ToneDexter? The Aura is more like the IK Multimedia iRig Acoustic Stage, but has more knobs and more presets.

The Auras that I've encountered - I don't have one, but people show up on stage and say "I have this. Can you plug it in?" - have a knob that selects the type of guitar you're playing into it, very generic, with no way of matching its processing to that particualar guitar. And I'm surprised at how many people who have shown up with one who, when I ask if it's set right for that guitar, say "Huh?"  They buy these things, hand them to the sound  person, and never listen to them themselves. Once the show starts, I have more to do than run up to the stage, turn the knob, then run back to the console and see if I've made it better or worse.

Your experience with stage artists may differ. 



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tom eaton

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Posts: 1,334 Member Since:25/01/2011

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Feb 1 17 7:33 PM

My experience is with Harvey Reid, who took his own guitars to Fishman and had them make presets for him. Will (Ackerman) also has one but I don't think Fishman has shot his guitars for the box...using the Aura on a standard issue pickup gets the sound way closer to decent. Harvey's sounds are pretty darn impressive...but I've not been involved in the capturing process, but my assumption was that any user could put their own guitar/mics in the Aura...maybe that's something that can only be done at Fishman, which obviously is not particularly convenient!!

t

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seth

Ruby Baby

Posts: 5,527 Member Since:26/01/2011

#11 [url]

Feb 1 17 8:29 PM

Thanks again, Mike. What I'd love, and I have no idea if it exists, is something that I can use long after the recording, a plugin I suppose, that will take the boinkiness out of an acoustic guitar pickup when I'm mixing something I didn't record.

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mikerivers

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 2,484 Member Since:13/10/2012

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Feb 1 17 10:44 PM

tom eaton wrote:
My experience is with Harvey Reid, who took his own guitars to Fishman and had them make presets for him. Will (Ackerman) also has one but I don't think Fishman has shot his guitars for the box...using the Aura on a standard issue pickup gets the sound way closer to decent. Harvey's sounds are pretty darn impressive...but I've not been involved in the capturing process, but my assumption was that any user could put their own guitar/mics in the Aura...maybe that's something that can only be done at Fishman, which obviously is not particularly convenient!!
 


I know Harvey, and I know that he'll go as far as possible to get his guitars sounding as good amplified as if they didn't have to be amplified. He's had a long association with Fishman and I'm not surprised that they worked together to get his sound, and there's no reason not to include his setup as an Aura preset. On the other hand, once Doc Watson started playing guitars with pickups, while you could never mistake his playing, his guitar never sounded pleasant on stage. But by the time he started pluging in, he was starting to lose his hearing, so I don't think he knew what he really sounded like. He just wanted enough volume so he could hear himself  and whoever he was playing with.

I recorded a couple of live shows with John Jennings (not the one from Royer, this one was Mary Chapin Carpenter's producer) and whatever kind of pickup he had in his guitar sounded as good as the guitar sounded on a mic. At the time, I knew what pickup he had, but I don't remember now, but in the days when folkies were playing plugged-in Ovation and Alverez guitars, John's was a real standout. But then, John had a lot of studio experience and knew when he had it right, and how he had to play to make it sound right.



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mikerivers

Platinum Blonde

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Feb 1 17 10:47 PM

seth wrote:
Thanks again, Mike. What I'd love, and I have no idea if it exists, is something that I can use long after the recording, a plugin I suppose, that will take the boinkiness out of an acoustic guitar pickup when I'm mixing something I didn't record.


Yeah, me too. Sometimes dipping out some unexpected frequency range (unexpected like hey! I didn't know a guitar had those frequencies!)  helps, but you know what they say about a sow's ear.

But one thing I have to accept all too often is that a plugged-in acoustic guitar is a different instrument than an acoustic guitar, and that for certain kinds of music, it probably fits better than a full bodied sounding guitar that's properly miked. And that it's just as difficult to get that plugged-in acoustic sound from a well recorded guitar as it is to get the plugged-in guitar to sound like a well recorded acoustic guitar.
 



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Last Edited By: mikerivers Feb 1 17 10:51 PM. Edited 1 time.

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tb av

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,151 Member Since:24/04/2011

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Feb 2 17 12:51 AM

mikerivers wrote:

tb av wrote:
UADTwin --- Single ADAT in for 24/48x8 = Why?

It's not like ADAT 96 is new adn UAD sells the Twin with the understanding it is an 8xPre control system for those running and gunning but looking for quality.

IS ADAT x 2 IN a much more costly undertaking than ADAT x 2 OUT? Obviously at $400 MSRP for the Octa it's not a cost issue going out.

 


I can't speak for UA, but it's a little box and it may be a matter of panel space that led them to using a single connector. I don't know if there's a license fee for the S-Mux dual lightpipe for double sample rate, though the cost of another Toslink connector plus the ADAT optical chip behind it isn't trivial (like maybe a few bucks rather than a few cents). If you really need 8 additional mic channels at 96 kHz, you probably should be considering a larger interface. But it's a convenient way to tack on a $300 or so box with 8 preamps and ADAT optical output when recording something like a live show in a bar, or a bunch of real synths that don't have anything coming out of them higher than 20 kHz anyway.

Or what that a rhetorical question?

No, I was serious. I would expect UAD is licensing S/MUX anyway for the single port. I just assume it would do 4x96 IN. It's just odd they talk up the 8 pre aspect of the interface and the 8 pre guys come up with a modern solution and UAD doesn't seem to know about it. I would have thought that since they made a MKII, they would have been paying attention to what other manufacturers were doing with regard to interfacing to them. Or... maybe they were... like you say get a bigger interface... then a $1500 setup becomes a $3000 setup.

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extrememixing

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 2,295 Member Since:02/02/2011

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Feb 2 17 2:42 AM

Chance,

You really knocked it out of the park with your recording of that acoustic guitar on the dark sidewalk. Impressive sound for a phone.

Steve

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jesse decarlo

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Posts: 1,471 Member Since:24/03/2013

#18 [url]

Feb 2 17 6:13 AM

Thanks Mike, I enjoyed reading your report.

Regarding the UAD Twin: looking at photos of the back panel, things are pretty tight in there, all right...

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mikerivers

Platinum Blonde

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#19 [url]

Feb 2 17 7:23 AM

tb av wrote:
I would expect UAD is licensing S/MUX anyway for the single port. I just assume it would do 4x96 IN. It's just odd they talk up the 8 pre aspect of the interface and the 8 pre guys come up with a modern solution and UAD doesn't seem to know about it. I would have thought that since they made a MKII, they would have been paying attention to what other manufacturers were doing with regard to interfacing to them. Or... maybe they were... like you say get a bigger interface... then a $1500 setup becomes a $3000 setup.


Specs on the web site for the MkII are pretty sketchy, or at least they were at NAMM time, and the press kit wasn't any more specific. I always tell people to be very sure of how inputs and outputs are counted by the marketing people when choosing an interface. When you see two XLRs and four TRS jacks and it's advertised as 36 inputs and 30 outputs, you need to be creative with your counting. They always count ADAT optical as 8, a headphone jack is often counted as 2 outputs, a single AES or S/PDIF connector is 2 (certainly legitimate), and if there's an Ethernet port, it might be 56, or  two MADI ports make 128. And when the mic and line inputs are combo XLRs, even if there are 8 of them, if you have 8 mics plugged in and want to use a line input, you have to physically unplug one. So, "8 mic/line inputs" is legimate and quite workable for a tabletop unit, but if it's rack-mounted, that arrangement might be inconvenient.

You write "the 8 pre guys come up with a modern solution and UAD doesn't seem to know about it". Are you talking about S/Mux on two connectors, or is there something else that I don't know about either? There's Dante, of course, which works fine in a system, but it's an expensive route to only 8 add-on channels for a small interface when you could just connect the Dante-equipped interface directly to the computer.  



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tb av

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,151 Member Since:24/04/2011

#20 [url]

Feb 3 17 1:51 AM

mikerivers wrote:

You write "the 8 pre guys come up with a modern solution and UAD doesn't seem to know about it". Are you talking about S/Mux on two connectors, or is there something else that I don't know about either? There's Dante, of course, which works fine in a system, but it's an expensive route to only 8 add-on channels for a small interface when you could just connect the Dante-equipped interface directly to the computer.  

Well I was specifically noting the PreSonus in your review it has dual ADAT ports.

But I took a look at the back of that MKII and it just has one ADAT. Also interestingly it doesn't say S/MUX. But if you look on an Appolo, the dual ADAT ports actually say S/MUX. So maybe they didn't license that for the Twin. Which actually that's even worse, becasue like you say... what if you only needed 4 more pres adn wanted to run at 96K. I just thought all ADAT ports were S/MUX by default, but maybe not.

I have been looking at that Twin lately, thinking maybe I would buy one. So it kinda stood out for me after watching the sales vids. I know what you mean about being careful how manufactures count IO. Jeeze RME is famous for that.

No, I'm just kinda looking at it from a desktop unit that expansion capability and cost to do it. Had they done dual ADAT it could have been a $1500 total package w/8 pres. Or.. their Appolo for $3K.. or you simply deal with 48K. It was just an observation. I don't think anyone else really has anything like that Twin and it seems like for basically no more money it could have been that much better going into the future.

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