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Training the Tone Dexter with your DAW Audio Interfaces
Old 14th June 2018
Gear Maniac

Thread Starter
Training the Tone Dexter with your DAW

This might be common practice, in which case you'll all be way ahead of me - if not I'll go into more detail if anyone's interested.

I bought a Tone Dexter the other day having already decided that it seemed like a wise investment that would benefit me both as a performer and also as a sound tech for other folky/jazzy bands.

I was pretty impressed with the concept and outcome, as a Fishman Aura Blender user of long standing I recognised a distinct similarity, dramatic improvement along with some of the more unwelcome artefacts of the process. I would go as far as to say a well match "image" in the Aura would be as useful as the TD on some instruments. The problem with the Aura however has always been the "image" lottery - you may find the right one, you may not. Devotees share them in a spirit of mutual support but the only way to guarantee a match was to send your baby off to Planet Fishman to be poked and prodded by strangers, however benevolent. The TD allows you to explore the possibilities in the privacy of your own boudoir.

A successful outcome depends on several variables, including decent mic, appropriate pickup and performance. I collected some of my more predictably useable mics: Rode nt3(sdc), Beyer m201(dyn), Beyer m260n(rbn) and a Sony ecm55b(omni lav) and set about flipping between one and the other. The resulting convoluted process soon became tiresome and I realised that the slightest change in mic position or performance dynamics made reliable comparison very difficult.

I set up three mics in close proximity and put them all into Reaper via my F/R Scarlett 18i6 along with the dry pickup signal, a Baggs m1a - magnetic (eugh!) which is not recommended by the TD folks but IME perfectly useable, at least for this experiment. I then recorded a two minute collage of chords and appropriate melodies to separate tracks and normalised them.

I used the recorded tracks to train the TD by sending the dry pickup out of the left monitor output (into the input of the TD) and each of the mic signals in turn out of the right monitor output (into the training mic input). It worked perfectly, a wavemap for each mic.

I could compare the various mics knowing there was a more level playing field, I could tweak the EQ on any of the recorded training tracks to manipulate the TD wavemap where required. In theory I can build a multi-mic recording setup, maybe the Rode behind the bridge and the Sony on the 10th fret. So long as the signal going to train the TD is in mono and not suffering from fatal comb filtering issues the TD doesn't know or care how I produced it.

I can think of many other possibilities here but thought I might throw it out to see if anyone else has nothing better to do with their time and might share the benefits of their OCD meanderings.

P.S. this makes archiving and remote training a possibilty, good God - will the fun never end?
Old 20th June 2018
Gear Head
James May's Avatar

Thanks for the post. We train from recorded files all the time here in the lab. It's a reliable way of getting repeatable results when we are tweaking things.

Users will be glad to know that, coming very soon in the next firmware update release, will be the ability to get WaveMaps in and out of the box for archiving, reorganizing, and sharing.
Old 27th June 2018
Gear Maniac

Thread Starter
Thanks for the reply and info, James.

I'd be interested in your observations of the consistency of the process when repeated. I've not been around for a week or so and the TD hasn't made it to my gig bag yet so I can't be definitive about this but, having played identical recordings into the TD it seems to result in noticeably different outcomes.

Major caveat: as previously mentioned I'm doing most of my training with a Baggs m1a which you specifically advise against. I'll be refitting the UST when time allows.
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