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JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

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JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby VOLOVIA » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:45 am

Owner of a cool Fishman AURA pedal. A very professional affair, built like a tank. Only used at home and sporadically at that. One day, the sound stops going through, although the pedal comes on and it works fine 'mechanically' .

Contacted the Fishman distributor (JHS), where an affable chap explains to me that "they can't service Fishman products since Fishman (US) doesn't supply schematics". So, what they do is to wait until they have 'enough' returns, pack them up and send them to the US. This apparently happens every couple of months or so. (a turnround of half a year? Imagine the cost anyhow!)

I contact Fishman directly where an even more affable tech guy (no irony, really understanding guys) tells me that he finds it very strange indeed because they do supply circuitry plans to any distributor requesting them!
After several communications he offers to service the unit for free as long as I can send it to a 'friend' address in the US, because of the usual custom's problems...

I thought this was a generous offer, unfortunately I have no friends in the US (or here... steady on!).

Anyhow, I contacted Leeds again and the same tech guy promised to ring me back to let me know their 'position', that was last week.

I decline to comment since I can't talk 'evil' of the US Fishman or their products, and JHS is dear to my heart for personal reasons (I would not have spent nearly 30 years in this country if it were not for 'them').

Still, your views? :headbang:
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Re: JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby VOLOVIA » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:45 pm

Abandoned by JHS, abandoned by my Aura... and now you, faithful, and usually vociferous SOS tech-musos... :crazy:
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Re: JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby artzmusic » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:28 pm

Ha! I didn't want to be the first to comment because mostly I wanted to find out why you weren't using the Aura on a regular basis on a live gig. 'Cause I've considered getting one but have not been convinced that subtle changes of the modeling are worth the hefty price tag - a price tag that should come with five star-service!

I was curious if it got stuck in tuner mode since there is no thru-put of sound. I'm sure you tried a new battery.

Best
Rick

Oh and you do have plenty of connections this side of the pond on this forum!
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Re: JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby VOLOVIA » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:17 am

Thank you for answering! The reason why I didn't use it often live is because when I did I was not happy with the sound (through a PA). To be honest, it only sounds decent through a good acoustic amp (AIR, etc.), otherwise it sounds as if the guitar were going through a compressor, EQ, and some kind of exiter, but all very 'digital' and thin, if you know what I mean...

It is an Aura Orchestra, an older model, but now rebranded as 'sixteen'. I used it only with power supply and yes, I have tried also with a fresh battery. Any permutations of inputs, power supplies, settings have been tried. I have also connected it to the USB port with its editor, and this saw my pedal and communicated. Still, no sound getting through (and the light comes on as normal!). Most bizarre! By the way, it has no tuner onboard.

As per my 'connections' in US, I am glad to hear it.. and hello to ya'll!

Cheers, Rob
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Re: JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby VOLOVIA » Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:49 pm

Ok, the story ended thus: JHS offered to repair the unit but at a cost of around £100. Given that a brand new unit (actually an updated model) goes for ~£150, there's no point of having it fixed. Besides it was never 'that' good either live or in studio, especially studio, regardless of claims..
Like my iPod with a defunct battery, modern digital technology is good until it lasts, then it's in the bin. Sad.
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Re: JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby agent funk » Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:08 pm

Having worked in a service dept. and having to deal with a small American manuf. (although it was photographic equip) I would hazard a guess as to what happens. They are most likely a pain in the ass to fix. Yes the UK company may have diagrams but without keeping a stock of replacement parts (pcb's) they are very difficult to fix. Rather than waste time trying and failing they have learned to just ship them back. The USA guys most likely just change a board (hence the big price ask for the repair - it is practically a new unit). You are right new stuuf tends to be like this, unfixable. More and more of the electronics exist on a couple of IC's surface mounted. To replace the IC is a long job (not talking about some plug-in IC) and then you find it's not the fault and have to look at some other faulty suface mount component. Not saying it can't be done, but when labour is about £50 an hour at least, plus parts. Well you can see the problem if the unit only costs £150.

Glad I don't do that anymore although I miss fault finding. Electronic repairs are a dying trade unless it's vintage gear. All pcb replacements which any monkey can do.
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Re: JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby Frisonic » Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:46 pm

bugiolacchi wrote:Owner of a cool Fishman AURA pedal. A very professional affair, built like a tank. Only used at home and sporadically at that.

Just out of curiosity, how old is it?

And whilst I sympathise, even empathise with your dilemma, the moral of the story is back up, back up, back up. Especially if its a bit boutique. I wouldn't be surprised if our esteemed moderator Andy moved more back up gear when he was working in tech crews than he did gear that was actually used! Perhaps slight exaggeration.
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Re: JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby CS70 » Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:12 pm

Hm, I was actually thinking about trying an Aura pedal.. I've recorded stuff with a great flamenco guitar which I don't want to bring around when playing live, with the result that I play these parts on an acoustic metal-string guitar - definitely not the same feeling! So I was vaguely thinking I could do with an unexpensive nylon with built in amplifcation and an Aura.. The Sixteen was an option, since it seems to have nylon model(s). Was it so bad sounding? Anyone else have experience with it?

PS: Sorry to derail your thread but it looks like you have already found your answer..
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Re: JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby VOLOVIA » Tue Nov 12, 2013 5:31 pm

Ok, the pedal I bought was one of the first in the UK. The idea was irresistible: designed "to make mic-ing up an acoustic guitar in the studio a thing of the past", or near about.
Armed with the ideal set up (Martin Orchestra model with a Fishman pick-up onboard), I tried it out through an excellent AIR amp and the improvement was evident: the nasal, honky sound was seriously reined in and sounded much better than a piezo could produce on its own. Great.

I went home and started experimenting it with Cubase: strumming and plucking the guitar creating a track for each of the 16 models. It sounded from ok to terrible, exactly as it would if I applied notch EQ (a 'smile'), a compressor, and an exiter. Yes, better than the nasal tone from just the DI sound, but so artificial, 'cold', so... 'digital'.

Then I hoped it would feature better live, and it did through a PA. On gentle picking it sounded sweet enough, but it 'broke-down' on -vigorous- strumming, deafening the first row (the only row?) at my live appearances with high freq. shrill.

Now, maybe my not-so-positive experience is due to my guitar (but hardly a 'dog')... but, given the severe limitations of the piezo sound, I was hoping for a miracle maybe... Now I've gone back to the seventies and earlier, with a (real) mic sticking out of the mic stand. The sound is 1000 times better and I have control on the dynamics, i.e.moving the guitar when, for instance, wanting to emphasis the strumming. The basic sound is supplied by my piezo, but treated on a normal multieffect board (EQed and 'chorused'). The two together work. For me.

As per the unit, as posted earlier, it basically cannot be fixed, like an iPod, something on the board goes, and it's in the bin, no capacitors to change...

I hope this helps. It might work for you, but do try it through a normal, or low quality PA....
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Re: JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby Frisonic » Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:05 am

bugiolacchi wrote: Now I've gone back to the seventies and earlier, with a (real) mic sticking out of the mic stand. The sound is 1000 times better and I have control on the dynamics, i.e.moving the guitar when, for instance, wanting to emphasis the strumming.

Way to go!
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Re: JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby CS70 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:49 am

Thanks. Definitely will have to test in depth before buying anything. For studio/recording I always use mics. My idea was that a guitar's gonna sound quite bad anyway live with a piezo (or even an internal mic), but perhaps processing the sound thru the Aura modeler would have made it sound less so, especially in a busy band live mix. Now the idea's gonna go thru some serious testing..
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Re: JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby dubbmann » Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:04 pm

fwiw, i tried several different models of the aura and was just not that impressed w/t sound fx. they are beautifully built, for sure, and maybe in somebody else's setup they live up to billing (ymmv) but not for me. i mainly work into a mixer directly, ie no miking of cabs, and w/a mix of pups (piezo including fishman piezos, acoustic, even mikes) and it just didn't justify the bread to me, so i always returned them.

thhe unit that *does* deliver great acoustic gtr FX is the yamaha acoustic stomp. every time i say this on the forum andy gives me a conspiratorial "eh, mate, don't give away me bleedin' secrets" but there it is. very subtle, very nice, less dosh than the fishman.

cheers,

d
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Re: JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby Frisonic » Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:41 pm

dubbmann wrote:fwiw, i tried several different models of the aura and was just not that impressed w/t sound fx. they are beautifully built, for sure, and maybe in somebody else's setup they live up to billing (ymmv) but not for me. i mainly work into a mixer directly, ie no miking of cabs, and w/a mix of pups (piezo including fishman piezos, acoustic, even mikes) and it just didn't justify the bread to me, so i always returned them.

thhe unit that *does* deliver great acoustic gtr FX is the yamaha acoustic stomp. every time i say this on the forum andy gives me a conspiratorial "eh, mate, don't give away me bleedin' secrets" but there it is. very subtle, very nice, less dosh than the fishman.

cheers,

d

So out of curiosity, if the acoustic has something other than piezo pick ups (I stopped using those in favour of Dazzos) IYO would the Yamaha Acoustic Stomp be able to make any sense of the signal or just get confused?
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Re: JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby zenguitar » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:44 am

dubbmann wrote:the unit that *does* deliver great acoustic gtr FX is the yamaha acoustic stomp. every time i say this on the forum andy gives me a conspiratorial "eh, mate, don't give away me bleedin' secrets" but there it is. very subtle, very nice, less dosh than the fishman.

d

Could I interest you in a tub of salt to run into my wounds? Or perhaps we could create a sticky thread called 'buy the Yamaha AG Stomp and create a global shortage. Just to annoy zenguitar'

:headbang:

LOL

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Re: JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby CS70 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:02 am

he unit that *does* deliver great acoustic gtr FX is the yamaha acoustic stomp


Now that's a useful piece of information! Thanks!

(Sic - another piece of kit to try :) )
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Re: JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby zenguitar » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:00 pm

Frisonic wrote:

So out of curiosity, if the acoustic has something other than piezo pick ups (I stopped using those in favour of Dazzos) IYO would the Yamaha Acoustic Stomp be able to make any sense of the signal or just get confused?

It sounded just fine with Seth Lakeman's Martin Tenor and Fishman Rare Earth, through the 100W Marshall acoustic. Does that help?

;)

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Re: JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby Frisonic » Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:07 pm

zenguitar wrote:
Frisonic wrote:

So out of curiosity, if the acoustic has something other than piezo pick ups (I stopped using those in favour of Dazzos) IYO would the Yamaha Acoustic Stomp be able to make any sense of the signal or just get confused?

It sounded just fine with Seth Lakeman's Martin Tenor and Fishman Rare Earth, through the 100W Marshall acoustic. Does that help?

;)

Andy :beamup:

I guess!
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Re: JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby Hewesy » Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:48 pm

Were you repairing/setting up Seth's Martin Andy?

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Re: JHS - AURA Pedal... can't help, sorry...

Postby zenguitar » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:32 pm

'fraid not Hewsey. He had just popped into the shop where I was the tech for a chat and look around. Was a long time ago now, before he got really famous. He was concerned about being dependent on one old guitar (it's a 30's model) so we did have a brief chat about making him a replacement/back-up but nothing came of it because I never managed to get a decent workshop.

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