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Author Topic: Low strings don't cut through mix  (Read 563 times)

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Offline shaunfiddler

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Low strings don't cut through mix
« on: Jan 27, 2020, 01:17:09 PM »
Been loving my tonedexter, but now that I can actually hear more detail in my live sound I'm noticing problems. Obviously, high tones cut through more than low ones, but it seems like the A and E strings on my fiddle are much louder than G and D when I play through a PA.

I'm going to try and experiment with different pick up placement, but before I do I wanted to try EQing. Should I just target the fundamental frequencies of the low strings?

Thanks

Offline Benzflieger

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Re: Low strings don't cut through mix
« Reply #1 on: Jan 27, 2020, 02:49:10 PM »
First, I'd try targeting any frequencies above ~200-300 Hz.

Second, If you don't already have it loaded, make sure you've loaded the "HIGH" firmware for the TD. This firmware is optimized for higher frequency instruments like violins and mandolins. I think the TD ships with the "GEN" firmware which optimizes the TD's EQ for guitars but not so much for violins. The TD manual explains this in greater detail...

Third, I've found that I can "trick" the TD by training it while feeding the pickup signal through another intermediate EQ first (I use my Radial Tone PZ-Pre as this temporary EQ on my LR Baggs in-bridge pickup.) and then routing that EQ'd signal into the TD. Once the training is done, I get rid of that intermediate, temporary EQ and send the pickup directly into my TD (via my Boss WL-50 Wireless set). This technique may help compensate for a balance issue you may have on your particular pickup model by letting you artificially boost or cut the frequencies and forcing the TD to compensate.

Fourth, you might try bringing your SM81 closer and seeing if you can induce some "proximity effect" to help boost the "bass" frequencies :) on the instrument.

Fifth, maybe try an different mic?



Offline shaunfiddler

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Re: Low strings don't cut through mix
« Reply #2 on: Jan 27, 2020, 05:22:47 PM »
I have both close (maybe 5 or 6 inches) and far (24") wavemaps. I notice the issue at each distance which makes me think it is the pickup. I have the PU placed just above the sound post. The problem was there with my previous preamp too, just not as noticeable.

I had to borrow the mic I used for training the tonedexter. I'm worried that moving the pickup will make the wavemaps I've already created obsolete. Guess we'll see.

I guess I could experiment with different strings too, but (to me) the violin sounds fine acoustically so I don't want to mess too much with that.

Offline Benzflieger

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Re: Low strings don't cut through mix
« Reply #3 on: Jan 27, 2020, 06:23:25 PM »
I'd try putting the PU on the bass side of the bridge rather than above the sound post. I think that's what Schatten recommends too for the VVM-2 model. I think they also recommend keeping the putty "thin". I've never used a putty-attached PU, so I don't know what constitutes thin. They say stay below 0.063" but don't provide a lower limit. In general though, I would think the thinner the putty the less damping there will be between the PU and the bridge and therefore the more closely the PU will mechanically follow the motion of the bridge... so maybe 0.015"-0.025"...?

Whenever I have moved my PU, I pretty much always re-train the TD. The reason is that the instrument vibration input "seen" by the PU will be slightly different depending on where it is located. i.e. on the bass side, it might have more low frequency content, on the treble side, there might more high frequency content. Therefore the "transfer function(s)" that is/are automatically calculated by the ToneDexter (during training) through which your pickup's signal is processed will need to be slightly different for each PU location in order to have the TD's output more closely match the signal coming from the mic during training. In my experience, moving the PU from one side to the other side results in a significant change in tone. On the other hand, you might find that moving from treble side to the bass side increases the lower frequency content just enough to give you the change you're looking for without retraining the TD. gGive it a shot and "hear" what happens.

Unless you've got a truly unique string situation (e.g. out of spec string length, high or low tension strings, just plain old, bad strings) I personally would not be inclined to thing that the strings are the issue. Especially if it sounds good acoustically.

Offline shaunfiddler

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Re: Low strings don't cut through mix
« Reply #4 on: Jan 27, 2020, 07:56:22 PM »
In regards to Schatten's instructions... they make a great pickup, however putting it on the bridge really deadens the acoustic sound no matter how little putty you use.

Offline Benzflieger

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Low strings don't cut through mix
« Reply #5 on: Jan 27, 2020, 08:37:51 PM »
Hmm. That¬¬ís interesting. So if I¬¬ím understanding you, you are saying that you take the VVM-2 PU ,which according to Schatten¬¬ís website is designed to go on the back face of the bridge and placing it onto the top plate above your sound post. Correct? Assuming this to be the case, you very well may be effectively filtering out much of the low frequency content because of how the pick up is oriented. By putting it on the top plate it is roughly 90į out of plane from the orientation that it is intended to be installed in. You¬¬íll have to check with Schatten on this but their VVM-2 may not be equally sensitive in all three ¬¬ďorthogonal¬¬ď directions. I would assume that it is most sensitive along its length which, when installed on the bridge is up/down and across its width, laterally (f hole to f hole). While there is some movement of the bridge along the length of the violin, I believe most of the energy goes into rocking the bridge side to side and up-and-down on the top spruce plate diaphragm. By laying your pick up flat on the top plate above the sound post, I suspect your PU is not seeing a lot of the up/down vibrations of the top plate on the bass bar side of the instrument which is where most of the lower frequency content is happening.

If someone out there knows whether there are favored directions or a primary, secondary, tertiary axis of vibration or if they are Omni-directional in terms of their response please speak up. I suspect it is completely dependent on the type of piezo crystal element that is designed into a particular manufacturers model.

There are plenty of pick ups out there that are designed to be placed on the top plate but taking one that is designed to be put on the bridge and turning at 90į out of plane may be the source of the issue.

Unfortunately, any PU that clamps on, sticks to, sits under, wedges into the extremely light weight and delicately cut piece of maple that is a violin bridge will add some amount of extra mass and damping and therefore will attenuate the acoustic sound to some degree or another. This includes the drilled and epoxied in-bridge pick ups (e.g. LR Baggs) too although I think to a lesser extent.

In the meant time I’ll have to dream of a day when someone invents non-contact laser interferometry-based pickup.


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« Last Edit: Jan 27, 2020, 09:03:24 PM by Benzflieger »

Offline shaunfiddler

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Re: Low strings don't cut through mix
« Reply #6 on: Jan 27, 2020, 09:14:57 PM »
Reread the TD manual over lunch I see i may have another issue. I have the correct firmware installed, but it looks like only slots 12-22 change the EQ properly. I installed my wavemaps into the lower slots.

I'm hoping I can just copy them to the higher slots without re-training.

Offline pluwin

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Re: Low strings don't cut through mix
« Reply #7 on: Jan 27, 2020, 09:43:07 PM »
I see that the tonedexter has an effects loop. If the tonedexter (I don't know the tonedexter that well) has no internal mid control I'd say put an eq pedal in the loop. A Wampler EQuator (with parametric low to very high mids) or even a graphic Mxr or Boss equalizer could solve the problem.

Offline shaunfiddler

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Re: Low strings don't cut through mix
« Reply #8 on: Jan 28, 2020, 09:19:18 PM »
I was going to move my PU last night when I thought I'd have a good listen through my headphones first. The string balance seems fine though my headphones. It's only live when it seems off.

Thing is I swear I've heard the problem through different systems. Both my singer's portable PA and a venue's in-house system. I play at church next week so I can test it there too. But maybe I'm just hearing things differently live. Maybe because of the higher volume plus bar noise? I'm not sure.

Offline Benzflieger

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Re: Low strings don't cut through mix
« Reply #9 on: Jan 28, 2020, 11:40:12 PM »
Iíll look forward to hearing what your results are.

That being said, I got curious about whether that PU has favored directions or not so I called Schattenís tech support and line and ended up getting the guy who said he designed that pickup (Mr. Schatten, I believe). I asked him if the pickup would work on the front plate and he said that some builder have been asking the same question and have been putting the pickup on the plate rather than the bridge... he recommended putting in one of two places: 1. On the top plate spanning across the opening of the bass side f-hole or 2. on the base side above the bass bar and suggested that if someone were to put it on the top plate. He said that for the best response, itís best to install it across a gap on the instrument, like the gap thatís on the bass wing (and treble) side of a traditional bridge or across the gap of an f-hole.

I specifically asked him if his PU was unidirectional or had a favored direction/orientation. He said it was unidirectional but would behave best across a gap where the two attachment points can move independently of each other.

So it sounds like direction is it as NOT as important like I had originally thought it might be but rather the presence of gap over which the PU can be in installed so the PU can best capture the differential movement across the gap.


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Offline onlyme

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Re: Low strings don't cut through mix
« Reply #10 on: Jan 29, 2020, 08:23:23 AM »
I didnt look at this subject earlier, because its posted under: Amplified Violas/Cellos/Basses/Other.
@shaunfiddler. Just activated the converter to see how many centimetres are 1 inch or as written above 4-5 inches. I did my td wavemaps with a mic distance of 1 inch max with a mini mic facing down right above the bridge. In my case I realise that there is enough cut with d and g string in the foh mix, no matter what speaker system I play through. Some of the wavemaps are more even throughout all the 4 strings than others, depending on the position of the mini mic. In my case the best position facing down was centered above the d string.

Offline onlyme

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Re: Low strings don't cut through mix
« Reply #11 on: Jan 29, 2020, 01:34:47 PM »
In regards to Schatten's instructions... they make a great pickup, however putting it on the bridge really deadens the acoustic sound no matter how little putty you use.
Everything you stick on, in or under the bridge deadens the sound.

 




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