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Reassessing my updated Tonedexter.

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Reassessing my updated Tonedexter.

Postby shufflebeat » Wed Mar 04, 2020 5:42 pm

*Ramble Alert!*

I've been alternating between guitar and mandola playing trad Irish-y stuff for the last few years and my go-to pedal has been my trusty Yamaha AG Stomp, usually with a Boss GE-7 in front for emergency adjustment and level matching.

I bought the Tonedexter and got some really nice useable sounds out of it even though the mandola was partly magnetic pickup (not recommended. I found it difficult to rely solely on the TD so ended up carrying both or just using the AG. Even when the TD firmware was updated to make better sounding wavemaps (and quicker) I couldn't bring myself to love it.

In recent months I decided that having good reliable kit which sounded consistently well was a mug's game so changed the pickup on the mandola to a K&K twin spot and swapped the guitar for a Takamine ef341sc, as described in a previous thread. I made some new wavemaps for these and, as travel was involved for gigs, left the AG to one side.

I think I've done enough gigs with a variety of PAs to make some informed observations:

* The current sound for both instruments is the best I've ever had
* I look forward to playing one, then look forward to playing the other which makes the whole experience of playing more engaging.
* Other people have noticed so it's not just me.

And my conclusions are:

* Either the last f/w update was really something fundamental and the TD is a whole new box of treats, or
* I was just too reliant on my old sound and unable to let go of it and accept something new until I deliberately (possibly unconsciously) decided to throw some new elements I to the mix to sabotage my own comfort-zone.

Either way it turns out other people can sometimes be right.

I'm still not 100% sure what the point of this post is but it has something to do with subjective/objective/3rd party experience and the emotional connection we have with our gear.

Still learning.
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Re: Reassessing my updated Tonedexter.

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:37 pm

As you know shufflebeat I'm in a similar position with my guitars, mandolins and Tone Dexter. I get consistently good results with my F style mandolin and my Aylward gypsy jazz guitar (both equipped with floating, passive piezo bridges) but have struggled with other guitars with a variety of other pickup systems. My conclusions that the TD prefers passive, piezo pickups. So I have bought a few Fishman style piezo USTs which I intend to fit to the guitars currently sporting Rare Earth pickups. What would be great, and I have suggested tips to 'Audio Sprockets' the manufacturers of the TD is a means of tweaking an existing 'wavemap' on the computer to alter level or tonal balance as a way of matching the wavemaps for several instruments. I suspect they have a means of doing so as they have developed wavemaps for the Yamaha silent guitars which clearly haven't been made by the 'normal' method of a mic into a TD.

edit :- There is a way, if slightly convoluted, to creat 'custom, altered' wavemaps using a DAW. I think I'll give it a go later. https://audiosprockets.com/tonedexter/daw-wavemaps/
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Re: Reassessing my updated Tonedexter.

Postby shufflebeat » Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:48 pm

I thought I'd invented that technique until I suggested it "in another place" when Doug Young and James May pointed out they'd been doing it throughout the TD development. It works ok but I find it better as a way of archiving your work rather than manipulating the process. Mic position is much more significant so multi-mic recording at various distances seems a more interesting variation on the DAW thang.

I recently trained up the TD for a friend who has just had a Baggs bridge fitted to her fiddle. I was very impressed by the results which were markedly better than my previous efforts with other fiddlists (so much so that I had to share with you at the time). This supports the idea that the f/w is a major step up.
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Re: Reassessing my updated Tonedexter.

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:05 pm

Can't help but think that a significant difference would be the K & K pickup. Davy Stuart a local luthier who has made instruments for the likes of Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny fits K
& K pick ups as standard.

I have them fitted to my harp and my (ancient) Maton guitar, though I now use Taylors. In fact I don't even use s pre-amp with the harp - just DI box to system........

Do you use a mic as well? The Tone Dexter appears to have a mic input to blend with the pick-up.

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Re: Reassessing my updated Tonedexter.

Postby shufflebeat » Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:45 pm

Howdy Bob

The K&K does make a significant difference but I have a K&K mini on another of my guitars and so I had an idea what to expect from the old f/w. Before the update I'd trained the Tak and results were such that I reverted to the AG Stomp for safety. It does feel like s/t different is going on now but I'm still aware of the possibility it's just my head that has been impermeable to change.

The mic input on the TD is for training purposes only, it's TS in for normal operation.
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Re: Reassessing my updated Tonedexter.

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Mar 04, 2020 11:59 pm

The Tone Dexter mic input is for training only, it doesn't pass through to the outputs. But, it isn't necessary (and would only add feedback issues). The TD does work well with K&K type pickups. The TD does a pretty good job of making a piezo UST sound like a mic so whether the result would be significantly better with K&Ks I don't know.

FWIW I have always disliked UST pickups and have spent almost the last 40 years trying to find a system that works on my 1981 Brian Eastwood acoustic. I will probably try a piezo in the Eastwood first but I also have a JJB system (very similar to the K&K) in reserve*.

* I have been told fitting a K&K is not as simple a job as it first appears.

edit :- Bob and SB, are the K7Ks as feedback resistant as a piezo UST?
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Re: Reassessing my updated Tonedexter.

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Mar 05, 2020 12:01 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:
In fact I don't even use s pre-amp with the harp - just DI box to system........


I've tried the TD on a variety of instruments but I hadn't considered the harp. I suspect it would be bloody awesome with that combo and a c414.

You would hear fingerprints.
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Re: Reassessing my updated Tonedexter.

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Mar 05, 2020 12:06 am

Sam Spoons wrote:
* I have been told fitting a K&K is not as simple a job as it first appears.

I've done two now with pretty good results and am not known for my subtle touch or forensic attention to detail. I found chopsticks and a plastic takeaway tray are key to a good fit so excuse for a sneaky mixed veg in Szechuan sauce.

edit :- Bob and SB, are the K7Ks as feedback resistant as a piezo UST?

Generally no but not far off and can be tamed. Depends on the instrument of course, small bodies are, as usual, more forgiving, and the Hz you have the problem with is usually where you want to tame for musical purposes anyway.

TD'd sound responds well to a soundhole plug, both in performance and sometimes, counter-intuitively, during training.

If you have a measure of headroom before f/b I'm hearing great things about the Schatten HFN which is super-easy to fit and remove and apparently can sound the dog's xxx where USTs have failed.
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Re: Reassessing my updated Tonedexter.

Postby Bob Bickerton » Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:50 am

shufflebeat wrote:
Bob Bickerton wrote:
In fact I don't even use s pre-amp with the harp - just DI box to system........


I've tried the TD on a variety of instruments but I hadn't considered the harp. I suspect it would be bloody awesome with that combo and a c414.

You would hear fingerprints.

Interesting.......... unfortunately I don’t play harp enough live these days to justify the expense and anyway, I’m not sure my fingerprints are that musical!

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Re: Reassessing my updated Tonedexter.

Postby Bob Bickerton » Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:53 am

Re fitting KKs and feedback. I too have fitted a couple of sets. The key is to use double sided sellotape to experiment with optimum position before committing.

Feedback wise, yes more sensitive than UST, but I found it workable (but I don’t have mad monitor levels). If you want feedback resistance the magnetic sound hole is the only way to go - but then your tone is compromised....... but then you’d know that.......

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Re: Reassessing my updated Tonedexter.

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:58 am

Bob Bickerton wrote:If you want feedback resistance the magnetic sound hole is the only way to go - but then you might as well be castrating cats in a tiled bathroom.......

Bob

FTFY
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Re: Reassessing my updated Tonedexter.

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Mar 05, 2020 11:20 am

:clap: :clap: :clap: :bouncy:

It's been a nearly lifelong quest to get my old Brian Eastwood acoustic to sound good plugged in. I've learned a lot over that time but have always let the vet 'see to' the cats.....

I've been using Fishman Rare Earth pickups as a better, IMHO, alternative to piezo (they don't 'quack') but I might try the JJB on the Eastwood at some point.

Thanks for the advice.
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