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Aura Spectrum thoughts

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Aura Spectrum thoughts

Postby Pazu » Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:53 pm

Fishman Aura Spectrum DI just arrived & in 20 minutes - I'm already blown away. :clap:

So I posted in order to learn what other people's experience with this guitar effect pedal might be, but I can tell you what I'm running through it.

Martin GPCPA4 running the Aura Martin OM 18V image, easily downloaded through the Fishman Aura software, Mac in this case, also an easy download & install. :thumbup:

The Aura Spectrum is into a small Fender solid state amp (when you hear what this pedal does you quickly realize, it would translate to any amp).

Didn't dare imagine that it would work this well. I sort of got what it was supposed to do, having read dozens of write-ups and watched hours of youtube on it.

Still, listening to acoustic guitar on youtube and trying to discern this or that difference, it's like troubleshooting CD recorded audio by listening to it with 2 cans on a string, not much to work with.

Hearing it firsthand I can honestly say that it is amazingly obvious, that it is doing what it does. Game Changer! Anyone can easily tell how much better sounding it is.

You can tell when you're switching back and forth between them. Using the 'blend' knob you bring in the effect & it's like no other wired acoustic guitar effect I've ever tried - the more you blend it in, the better it sounds!

Never plugged an acoustic guitar into a board and then had it actually come out sounding like an acoustic guitar, before.

This thing fixes the 'piezo effect'. It's every bit the magic that I read a few people post it was. It is fun to hear it do its thing.

If there are practical reasons why you should happen to choose to plug in your acoustic guitar then this thing is a game changer. Recording, playing live, playing for whomever walks in the door next, they will have fun detecting the difference between the Aura and the straight wired amplified guitar.

That's my observation and I hope that it helps people who are genuinely concerned about reproducing a true acoustic guitar tone, live on the wire with no mic when they are playing for people.

I wonder though, what sort of experiences others might have had, in trying out the Fishman Aura Spectrum DI? It has been around a long time. Thanks for any thoughts.

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Re: Aura Spectrum thoughts

Postby Pazu » Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:09 pm

One common complaint that I've read about the Spectrum Aura is the built-in tuner. Several people have reported that it is inaccurate and slow, which would be a big minus for the overall device.

Those people & I will have to agree to disagree on this one. I would call the tuner very accurate, and also the most informative tuner that I have. I've been evaluating it this morning & frankly it's the best I've got.

With this tuner there is a large 7 segment LED, a lit up drawing of a tuning fork to the right to indicate tuner is active, an upper-right LED element to indicate sharp/flat. There may be more, but in addition to the LED's, there is a multicolored bar strip below the LED's. This part indicates gradient of tune to both sides of center. Each segment of this colored multiple segment display, illuminates color more fully as the tuner moves up in frequency, then begins to fade as the next block illuminates. It is not just blocks blinking on or off. In this way a high degree of resolution to the display relative to the frequency, is achieved.

This thing is so jacked, you can slightly turn the tuning machine and literally watch the bar graph move in unison. I've never seen that before. I'm talking about barely perceptible movements. You can move the peg just slightly, hesitate then move it a little faster, & the bar graph does the same thing & at the precisely the same time. In my test setup at least. I should mention I bought a Fishman power brick for it. It doesn't come with one.

I did notice that the primary display was seemingly taking its time between string checks. I soon realized that with this tuner it is simply a must to mute all other strings when you are tuning one string. With a Snark, as with the built-in Fishman analog in my guitar, this isn't necessary but with the Aura Spectrum it definitely is. If this is done, string-to-string checks are fast. Checking the results against the onboard Fishman in the Martin, 100% concurrence.

Still hoping to hear from others in regard to their experiences, good or bad, with the Fishman Aura Spectrum DI - or if anybody has insight as to just what is going on technically inside this thing. Fishman advertises that it is literally combining the sound of my actual guitar as recorded through high end mics that are selectable - but I'm not sure I buy that. It's 24 bit sound, a 32 bit device but, how do they actually pull that off? No idea. It seems vastly more than just a 2K band EQ would be capable of. Maybe having that origin guitar reference though, for the EQ, is enough.

Anyhow the Aura Spectrum is one of those rare pedals that, not only is it set-and-forget, but the pedal is actually informing my acoustic guitar playing. Something in my subconscious is figuring out the new 'shapes' to tones that I am now able to amplify, and working them is making me a better player. Best pedal ever.
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Re: Aura Spectrum thoughts

Postby blinddrew » Sat Jul 06, 2019 4:21 pm

I wonder how it would compare with the ToneDexter unit?
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Re: Aura Spectrum thoughts

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:47 pm

I have a Tone Dexter and while they are doing the same job they approach it from opposite directions. The TD generates an IR from your own rig, the Aura supplies an IR for a selection of instruments from their library. The TD does a superb job of correcting the 'BigTone' pickup in my Selmer style guitar to the point that it's hard to discern the TD track from the miked track but I'm having less success with my X7 and Eastwood acoustics (but TBF I haven't invested enough time in the project). Also I can't think of a way to generate an IR for my new EUB (NS Design Wave 'stick bass' with a passive pickup). The TD could be the best of both if people could share impulse responses for common instruments (which should be perfectly possible).
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Re: Aura Spectrum thoughts

Postby Pazu » Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:50 pm

Wow the ToneDexter doesn't show up on amazon or musicians friend. Looks awesome though, clearly the same sort of thing. Millions in the audience are going to appreciate these devices.
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Re: Aura Spectrum thoughts

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:02 am

Here's a link to a test recording I did a while ago.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mfuyoxbevrghisw/Tone%20Dexter%20Preamp%20Test%202.mp3?dl=0

I recorded a rhythm part and a lead part using a mic and the Tone Dexter preamp, so four tracks recorded in two passes. Then I mixed each 'pair' of tracks (miked and Tone Dexter) into a mono track and panned one hard left and the other hard right and rendered the stereo file. So what you are hearing is two guitars recorded through the TD on one side and the same performance recorded using a Calrec SDC on the other. Problem is I can't remember which is which :headbang:
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Re: Aura Spectrum thoughts

Postby Pazu » Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:32 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Here's a link to a test recording I did a while ago.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mfuyoxbevrghisw/Tone%20Dexter%20Preamp%20Test%202.mp3?dl=0

I recorded a rhythm part and a lead part using a mic and the Tone Dexter preamp, so four tracks recorded in two passes. Then I mixed each 'pair' of tracks (miked and Tone Dexter) into a mono track and panned one hard left and the other hard right and rendered the stereo file. So what you are hearing is two guitars recorded through the TD on one side and the same performance recorded using a Calrec SDC on the other. Problem is I can't remember which is which :headbang:

Wow I can't say as I can really tell the difference, and that must mean that the Tone Dexter, is working . Either way it sure is a cool little bit! Thanks Sam for playing! :clap: :clap:
Gonna have to look around for this tone dexter.
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Re: Aura Spectrum thoughts

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:46 pm

When I first posted that track on here someone commented that one side sounded slightly fuller than the other. If I can locate the original Reaper Project it'll be labeled but it was a throw-away recording so I may not have it anymore. Whatever I have not managed to get such good results from other guitars with preamps but, as I said, I haven't spent much time trying. It should be capable of results as good as the Aura so I'll persevere as I want to get my EUB, mandolin and other acoustic guitars working with it

If you already have the Aura the TD may not give you sufficient improvement to justify the expense but in the UK they are available from here :-

https://www.soundsgreatmusic.com/products/audio-sprockets-tonedexter?variant=3415553048600&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=Google%20Shopping&gclid=CjwKCAjwsIbpBRBNEiwAZF8-zwOvDbFLC1PH2GGw2JFmcvQHrEBff08VvaG-WPJFtiz7mzk-Nk7J7BoCIAkQAvD_BwE

and in the US direct from the manufacturer who will, I believe, post Worldwide:-

https://audiosprockets.com
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Re: Aura Spectrum thoughts

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:17 pm

Most of my gigging is done with my variax doing acoustic duties, otherwise I'd definitely be demoing the tonedexter.
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Re: Aura Spectrum thoughts

Postby Pazu » Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:17 am

Variax really work that good eh?

blinddrew wrote:Most of my gigging is done with my variax doing acoustic duties, otherwise I'd definitely be demoing the tonedexter.
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Re: Aura Spectrum thoughts

Postby Pazu » Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:55 am

Thanks Sam for the links. I think they are, both the Aura Spectrum and the Tone Dexter, 'mostly' synonymous if they smooth out that abrasive, primitive piezo characteristic that plagues most plugged-in acoustic guitars. That's something that many people might not notice and if you're a great player it doesn't make any difference, people will still love your playing - but it knocked me over when I heard the difference, for the result that I am trying to achieve. Could I have got there with echo & reverb & delay, I don't think so!

So the Aura Spectrum was $ 325, then the power brick was maybe 20. so like 307 euro.

Running it first in the chain through the jamman solo xt looper I find that the looper sacrifices some of the dry tone & the looped tone, but the improvement over piezo sound is still present. So for live playing, it's fine. It goes without saying that looping acoustic guitar that is mic'd, is probably not often done in the first place so, having any improvement in looped tone is a plus.

Not sure how it would work with someone who plays with a pick.

So now I've got 16 different Martin images loaded that I can select between, guitars all somewhat like mine, usually mic'd with the Neumann U87. I think the U87 feeds back pretty quickly, so next I have to work through all of the other mics, for all of these mid-body Martins, to be sure I've got the best choice. It's like treasure hunting and my ear burns out fast so I have to be careful. Fun stuff!


Sam Spoons wrote:When I first posted that track on here someone commented that one side sounded slightly fuller than the other. If I can locate the original Reaper Project it'll be labeled but it was a throw-away recording so I may not have it anymore. Whatever I have not managed to get such good results from other guitars with preamps but, as I said, I haven't spent much time trying. It should be capable of results as good as the Aura so I'll persevere as I want to get my EUB, mandolin and other acoustic guitars working with it

If you already have the Aura the TD may not give you sufficient improvement to justify the expense but in the UK they are available from here :-

https://www.soundsgreatmusic.com/products/audio-sprockets-tonedexter?variant=3415553048600&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=Google%20Shopping&gclid=CjwKCAjwsIbpBRBNEiwAZF8-zwOvDbFLC1PH2GGw2JFmcvQHrEBff08VvaG-WPJFtiz7mzk-Nk7J7BoCIAkQAvD_BwE

and in the US direct from the manufacturer who will, I believe, post Worldwide:-

https://audiosprockets.com
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Re: Aura Spectrum thoughts

Postby CS70 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:31 am

blinddrew wrote:Most of my gigging is done with my variax doing acoustic duties, otherwise I'd definitely be demoing the tonedexter.

You intrigue me with the Variax every time I read you about that! :-D I was very close to get one a few months back, I'd love to try a nylon string one as all my proper nylon guitars dont' have a preamp system and the one that has is a cheap one I got as a video prop once and - while it sound much better than it should acoustically - its preamp sucks big time.
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Re: Aura Spectrum thoughts

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:21 am

Pazu wrote:Variax really work that good eh?
CS70 wrote:You intrigue me with the Variax every time I read you about that! :-D I was very close to get one a few months back, I'd love to try a nylon string one as all my proper nylon guitars dont' have a preamp system and the one that has is a cheap one I got as a video prop once and - while it sound much better than it should acoustically - its preamp sucks big time.
It's an interesting tool. Here's the original review from SOS: https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/li ... oustic-700 and I'd say that's still pretty accurate. :)
I wouldn't record it for anything other than a background bit of strumming, but as a live tool I think it's very good. The ability to switch to open tunings immediately is very useful for me as I use them quite a lot, the complete absence of feedback is a bonus, but really, to me, it still sounds better than anything short of a mic'd up acoustic. But I've not tried the Aura or the ToneDexter... :)
The Nylon sound is ok, but I've not played one of the actual nylon string ones so not sure how it compares.
It's also been a rock-solid tool for years of use - quite heavy at some points. When I was doing a lot more gigs than I am now, and in a much wider range of venues, the ability to be able to just turn up, plug in and know that I was going to get a good sound, with no feedback, and no poor soundie having to try and wrangle the desk, made a big difference to pre-gig nerves. :)
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Re: Aura Spectrum thoughts

Postby CS70 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:57 am

blinddrew wrote:It's an interesting tool.

Yeah i'm thinking about it as a live tool, for recording I have proper nylons and mics.
I have a Aura nylon pedal but - even if I haven't used it in anger live - on monitors it doesn't seem to me to do a great deal when I use with my $100 prop guitar..
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