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School Me on the Tonedexter
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

School Me on the Tonedexter

I'm doing a lot of FOH mixing all of a sudden, and running into a fair number of Tonedexters. The idea behind them is great. They do, indeed, seem to make a piezo sound just barely like a piezo.

But the sound from every one of them that I've heard has been thin and unpleasant. In a solo singer-guitarist scenario, I can't EQ them into something that'll blend with the voice and support it and fill up the speakers. In a band situation, it's always the scritchyschratchy odd man out that just won't sit with the rest of players.

From the literature, it appears that it's a "profiler" sort of like a Kemper is for amps. I'm not crazy about those, either, although many people are. Since the Tonedexter user creates the profiles, are all the users I encounter just really bad at it? Or is the Tonedexter wonderful, and the problem is me?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Head
 

The user creates their own profile by playing their instrument into a mic - the TD then maps the mic sound to the piezo signal. So, the quality/character of sound is dependent on the mic used (quality SDC is recommended), instrument, distance, room (although the manual says it filters out the room sound, I’m a little skeptical), and skill of the person setting up the mic.

A couple things you can try:
There’s a character dial on the TD. This determines the blend between the “mic” signal and the piezo. As you’ve noticed a 100% mic signal may not sit in a mix well. Ask the player to set on CH1 or CH2 and see if it helps. You can dial in up to 100% piezo (essentially bypassing the TD).
You can store I think up to 22 tone maps using different mics etc., ask if they have other maps to audition.
There are also low and high eq controls, as well as a notch filter for feedback suppression (which is somewhat automated).

I’m a fiddle player and the TD has been nothing short of revolutionary- my fiddle no longer sounds like a synth trumpet patch, but like a real fiddle. I’m still working on tweaking my sound, but overall it’s a vast improvement and I’ve had nothing but compliments from sound guys and audience. But I could see how a poorly mic’ed guitar might not be an improvement over a raw piezo for live applications, and your average guitar player may not have decent mics or the skills to use them well.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greedy View Post
... Ask the player to set on CH1 or CH2 and see if it helps. You can dial in up to 100% piezo (essentially bypassing the TD).
There's an idea. Or maybe I could make up a splitter and take my own 100% piezo feed pre-Tonedexter, and not have to "negotiate" at all. Hmmmm...

On the other hand, if the Tonedexter is doing some AD/DA conversion I'm creating a latency issue, so never mind. Damn.
Old 6 days ago
  #4
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
There's an idea. Or maybe I could make up a splitter and take my own 100% piezo feed pre-Tonedexter, and not have to "negotiate" at all. Hmmmm...

On the other hand, if the Tonedexter is doing some AD/DA conversion I'm creating a latency issue, so never mind. Damn.
Eh, might be worth trying if you don’t feel like telling the performers to try blending in the piezo, but sounds like more work than just saying “try turning that knob to 12:00, or 9:00.”

Just looked at the manual and to clarify (or muddy): on the character select knob, CH2 (full clockwise) is 100% mic. CH1 (2:00) is a blend of mic and “focused” sound and 12:00 is all “focused” sound. “Focused” is not really defined other than it delivers a more punchy, focused sound than the mic sound alone. Piezo blending is only on the left side of the knob, 100% piezo is at full counter clockwise.
Old 6 days ago
  #5
Gear Addict
 

Fishman Aura - if 30% mix sounds good at home then 15% will probably be plenty on stage.

Tonedexter - if 100%... then 50%...

Tonedexter training is a very hit and miss process. An ideal mic in a less than ideal position sounds awful. Two wavemaps made with the same guitar/mic/position can sound significantly different.

I've made some wavemaps which sound great at home with various SDCs but are unusable on a gig. The most useful one was made with an sm57 with a soundhole plug fitted and I only mix in about 40%.

I'd suggest starting at mimimum mix, (flat EQ) bring it in gradually so you can hear the effect, stop and EQ to taste. Add more as required.

There is some discussion that the phase switch is only effective during training, this is not true and can be good to experiment with.

[Edit]

I don't have it to hand but if memory serves the character knob at "minimum" is actually 30%. I'll check this when I can and report back.
Old 6 days ago
  #6
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shufflebeat View Post
Fishman Aura - if 30% mix sounds good at home then 15% will probably be plenty on stage.

Tonedexter - if 100%... then 50%...

Tonedexter training is a very hit and miss process. An ideal mic in a less than ideal position sounds awful. Two wavemaps made with the same guitar/mic/position can sound significantly different.
THis is exactly my experience too.
But from time to time I find very nice sounding sounds on YouTube, both with Aura and the ToneDexter, that were created with much higher mix settings. I'm asking myself if I'm doing something wrong.
Old 6 days ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Brent, I am grateful for the fact that I will never have to deal with secondary prophylactic "crap" gear like the subject of this thread. In my world of acoustic Americana all we need is a real good mike and instrument in the hands of a skilled performer and competent FOH management.
Hugh
Old 6 days ago
  #8
Gear Head
 

How fortunate for you Hugh that you are able to work solely in situations and genres where a “mic only” setup is the ideal. Not everyone always has the luxury of working with a good FOH engineer and/or performing in a compatible environment and genre where using mics for their acoustic instruments is feasible. Prophylactic? Sure, it’s an imperfect solution for an imperfect world. Crap? Hardly. The TD when set up properly is the best solution out there when one needs to use a pickup on their acoustic instrument.
Old 6 days ago
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
Brent, I am grateful for the fact that I will never have to deal with secondary prophylactic "crap" gear like the subject of this thread.
You should also be grateful for my restraint. :-)
Old 5 days ago
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
Brent, I am grateful for the fact that I will never have to deal with secondary prophylactic "crap" gear like the subject of this thread. In my world of acoustic Americana all we need is a real good mike and instrument in the hands of a skilled performer and competent FOH management.
Hugh
Why bother with a mic?
Old 5 days ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 

My neighbor and friend Doc Watson installed a pick-up and processing for his guitar and hooked it up up to a very high end tube amp for most of the last ten years of his performing career. The rest of the story is that he also used an SM58 for his vocal that was also directed to the same amp. He had an exact location next to his left "best" ear and was not comfortable with any other protocol for a live performance. Before his decision to acquire hearing aids he had not enjoyed a conversation with his daughter for many years but, as he liked to put it, those aids were not meant for a performing musician. Clearly there are circumstances such as hot back lines or Doc's dilemma that require alternatives to mics for acoustic instrument capture when performing live. The sonic quality of these devices vary widely however none have the full harmonic content or transparent capture that a good mic does. Herein lies the basis of my grateful comment: we all live with the consequences of the personal and professional choices we make.

Sam C is absolutely right in his mantra pursuant to pleasing the artist that hired you when we accept a FOH gig. The fact that I do not deal with any of the boat load of front end ancillary electronic devices is a direct result of a personal professional decision to limit my services to the work I like and can do very well. This is not a business model that will work for the type of individual that loves the challenge and excitement of the unknown however when they run into sonic garbage they need to remember Sam's mantra and please don't bitch about it.

The only thing in my life I can't replace is my time: 40 years ago I decided to spend it in pursuits that I could thoroughly enjoy. That does not include front end electronic devices deployed for stylistic reasons.
Hugh
Old 5 days ago
  #12
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
The fact that I do not deal with any of the boat load of front end ancillary electronic devices is a direct result of a personal professional decision to limit my services to the work I like and can do very well.
Hugh -

One day long ago in my pro audio career, I spent several hours doing the post mix on a video showing doctors how they could make more money and have less stress by weeding all the sick people out of their practice.

If that's what being a doctor is, who needs doctors?
Old 5 days ago
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
My neighbor and friend Doc Watson installed a pick-up and processing for his guitar and hooked it up up to a very high end tube amp for most of the last ten years of his performing career. The rest of the story is that he also used an SM58 for his vocal that was also directed to the same amp. He had an exact location next to his left "best" ear and was not comfortable with any other protocol for a live performance. Before his decision to acquire hearing aids he had not enjoyed a conversation with his daughter for many years but, as he liked to put it, those aids were not meant for a performing musician. Clearly there are circumstances such as hot back lines or Doc's dilemma that require alternatives to mics for acoustic instrument capture when performing live. The sonic quality of these devices vary widely however none have the full harmonic content or transparent capture that a good mic does. Herein lies the basis of my grateful comment: we all live with the consequences of the personal and professional choices we make.

Sam C is absolutely right in his mantra pursuant to pleasing the artist that hired you when we accept a FOH gig. The fact that I do not deal with any of the boat load of front end ancillary electronic devices is a direct result of a personal professional decision to limit my services to the work I like and can do very well. This is not a business model that will work for the type of individual that loves the challenge and excitement of the unknown however when they run into sonic garbage they need to remember Sam's mantra and please don't bitch about it.

The only thing in my life I can't replace is my time: 40 years ago I decided to spend it in pursuits that I could thoroughly enjoy. That does not include front end electronic devices deployed for stylistic reasons.
Hugh
Your words have a certain internal logic but are otherwise froth. The Tonedexter, like the Sat Nav (an electronic aid for determining one's geographic position in relation to a representation of of the local environment) has it's place in the grand scheme of people's plans. Like amplification itself, used wisely it can simplify and facilitate actions which would otherwise be compromised or thwarted by the physical properties of instruments.

Samc is a valuable source of experience based knowledge and I'm sure a fine human being but, like the rest of us, he is not "absolutely" right. You may choose to follow his opinion and you would usually be wise to do so but any "mantra" will be limited in it's application and without context is dogma.
Old 5 days ago
  #14
Gear Addict
 

Brent,

I had good success with (careful, now it gets nasty, regarding levels and impedance) inserting the TC Bodyrez Floor pedal into the desks insert at FoH if a talent shows up with really cheap pickup/guitar.
After all its just an exiter, EQ and compressor, but its quick and easy to use.
Old 5 days ago
  #15
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by livingloud View Post
Brent,

I had good success with (careful, now it gets nasty, regarding levels and impedance) inserting the TC Bodyrez Floor pedal into the desks insert at FoH if a talent shows up with really cheap pickup/guitar.
After all its just an exiter, EQ and compressor, but its quick and easy to use.
Interesting -- looks like a good onstage alternative to the Tonedexter, and might make another good thread. I can't imagine, though...

a. spending my own money on it;
b. using a guitar pedal in a desk insert without a reamp device in front of it;
c. making my gig any more fast-paced and complicated than it already is; and
d. effing around with crap on the back of the console in the dark (the offending instrument isn't always coming in on the same channel.)

Thanks, though, for making us aware if it.
Old 5 days ago
  #16
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post

a. spending my own money on it;
b. using a guitar pedal in a desk insert without a reamp device in front of it;
c. making my gig any more fast-paced and complicated than it already is; and
d. effing around with crap on the back of the console in the dark (the offending instrument isn't always coming in on the same channel.)

Thanks, though, for making us aware if it.
a) I did - like for the mics and/or the 19" I bring with me
b) yes, it hurts. But it does work.
c) its easier than a insert-chain of 3 or more devices to "repair" the crap that comes from stage
d) Just one plug. Ok, 2. But I can relate.

But now - back to topic. Sorry.
It is not a modeler like the tonedexter, after all.
Old 4 days ago
  #17
Lives for gear
 

The quality of any verbal disagreement turns on the validity of the relevant facts presented. When a decision is made by a participant to pursue metaphor to illustrate a given position it should never morph into syllogisms. That process is a certain white flag of surrender in debate!
For example;

1) My son is a very successful Dermatologist and given his choice to specialize is a highly qualified physician to deal with all conditions of the skin covering the human body. No one in there right mind would engage his services as a physician to do brain surgery. Brent's metaphor pursuant to doctors that did not want to treat sick people is a classic example of morphing into a syllogism. Obviously a decision to specialize is not refusal to treat sick people!

2) Shufflebeat's lame syllogism that features alignment of ubiquitous GPS devices with the subject Tonedexters is well beyond any resemblance of a logical argument.

We all are free to specialize in our professional endeavors: Preference for limiting our clientele for any reason is not a FOH desk jockey mortal sin. The notion that we are not free to render an opinion pertaining to the value and/or validity of any device is counterproductive to any logical discussion.
Hugh
Old 4 days ago
  #18
Gear Addict
 

Hugh,
I think Brant started a very good thread about a quite new piece of gear that many players like a lot.
You mentioned that you live in a different world. I understand that you only accept microphones to pick up guitars. That's ok and I'm sure there are some that agree with your approach. I'm also sure many don't. That should be ok too.
But why are you trying now to derail the thread completely? At least I am interested in some cool statements to Brants question.
That said I think it's great that you have the possibility to work in more or less perfect einvironments! Congratulation - and I honestly mean it like that!
Old 4 days ago
  #19
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
We all are free to specialize in our professional endeavors: Preference for limiting our clientele for any reason is not a FOH desk jockey mortal sin. The notion that we are not free to render an opinion pertaining to the value and/or validity of any device is counterproductive to any logical discussion.
Hugh
100% agree with that first sentence. But while you are certainly free to voice an opinion about any device you wish, if you don’t have any experience with said device, then calling it “crap” is not particularly productive for logical discussion.
Old 4 days ago
  #20
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
The quality of any verbal disagreement turns on the validity of the relevant facts presented. When a decision is made by a participant to pursue metaphor to illustrate a given position it should never morph into syllogisms. That process is a certain white flag of surrender in debate!
For example;

1) My son is a very successful Dermatologist and given his choice to specialize is a highly qualified physician to deal with all conditions of the skin covering the human body. No one in there right mind would engage his services as a physician to do brain surgery. Brent's metaphor pursuant to doctors that did not want to treat sick people is a classic example of morphing into a syllogism. Obviously a decision to specialize is not refusal to treat sick people!

2) Shufflebeat's lame syllogism that features alignment of ubiquitous GPS devices with the subject Tonedexters is well beyond any resemblance of a logical argument.

We all are free to specialize in our professional endeavors: Preference for limiting our clientele for any reason is not a FOH desk jockey mortal sin. The notion that we are not free to render an opinion pertaining to the value and/or validity of any device is counterproductive to any logical discussion.
Hugh
Come on, man, if you're going to try to steamroll us with a bunch of sesquipedalian typistry, at least do a good job of it. It's an analogy, not a metaphor. And that's not even close to what ""syllogism" means.
Old 3 days ago
  #21
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
The quality of any verbal disagreement turns on the validity of the relevant facts presented. When a decision is made by a participant to pursue metaphor to illustrate a given position it should never morph into syllogisms. That process is a certain white flag of surrender in debate!
For example;

1) My son is a very successful Dermatologist and given his choice to specialize is a highly qualified physician to deal with all conditions of the skin covering the human body. No one in there right mind would engage his services as a physician to do brain surgery. Brent's metaphor pursuant to doctors that did not want to treat sick people is a classic example of morphing into a syllogism. Obviously a decision to specialize is not refusal to treat sick people!

2) Shufflebeat's lame syllogism that features alignment of ubiquitous GPS devices with the subject Tonedexters is well beyond any resemblance of a logical argument.

We all are free to specialize in our professional endeavors: Preference for limiting our clientele for any reason is not a FOH desk jockey mortal sin. The notion that we are not free to render an opinion pertaining to the value and/or validity of any device is counterproductive to any logical discussion.
Hugh
That makes no sense.

My son is an English teacher and I have a rash on the back of my hand, perhaps we can trade for a week and both benefit.
Old 2 days ago
  #22
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I'm doing a lot of FOH mixing all of a sudden, and running into a fair number of Tonedexters. The idea behind them is great. They do, indeed, seem to make a piezo sound just barely like a piezo.

But the sound from every one of them that I've heard has been thin and unpleasant. In a solo singer-guitarist scenario, I can't EQ them into something that'll blend with the voice and support it and fill up the speakers. In a band situation, it's always the scritchyschratchy odd man out that just won't sit with the rest of players.

From the literature, it appears that it's a "profiler" sort of like a Kemper is for amps. I'm not crazy about those, either, although many people are. Since the Tonedexter user creates the profiles, are all the users I encounter just really bad at it? Or is the Tonedexter wonderful, and the problem is me?
I've had the same issue with the Fishman one.

Things you could try.

1. taking the piezo and the modeled channel and try this
a. boost the good sounding frequencies of the piezo a little/cut the same area of the modeled by same amount.
b. Boost the body range of the modeled channel and cut the same of the piezo.
c. Only use the low end from one channel, whichever sits best in the mix.
d. Only use mostly the high end from one channel.

I've done a lot of singer/piano worship events where the people wanted long and lushes reverb. In order to do that it took a lot of EQ on the reverb to make it sound nice.

You could also try squashing the modeled channel and just bring it up like parallel compression, so it's mostly felt but not heard.

Then again, there seems to be a trend toward synthetic, alien sounding acoustic tones musicians are using, even the event SAMC posted had an "alien" guitar on it.
Old 2 days ago
  #23
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DownTheLine View Post
I've had the same issue with the Fishman one.

Things you could try.

1. taking the piezo and the modeled channel and try this
a. boost the good sounding frequencies of the piezo a little/cut the same area of the modeled by same amount.
b. Boost the body range of the modeled channel and cut the same of the piezo.
This is really the best way but I think you will never see that in an open mic session or other small venues.

Today I made a preset for my HX Stomp where I put the IR in parallel to the direct piezo signal. I inserted EQs in both paths with different settings.
I listened to studio monitors, a simple stage monitor and a small PA at quite high volumes. Doing so, i could dial out the frequencies of the IR that start to resonate and feedback.
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