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Author Topic: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?  (Read 1497 times)

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Offline shaunfiddler

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Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« on: Dec 16, 2019, 07:07:30 PM »
Hi,

I'm new to the forum.

I primarily play country on an acoustic fiddle with a Schattan VVM-2 pick up through a Tech 21 Acoustic Fly Rig for a preamp/EQ/reverb unit. Here's a phone recording of my current rig's sound. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZEW9Q265UA

Of course with a piezo I'm missing that "live feeling" or "air" you'd get from a mic. A mic is out of the question for most of my gigs, so I'm looking at digital solutions like IR and Modeling.

I've been reading up on the Fishman Aura Spectrum and the Mooer Radar. I'm leaning toward the Radar since it seems to augment the gear I already have while the Aura would end up replacing my current preamp. I've seen videos where folks use the Radar on electric violins. My question is, would the Radar help get that mic sound on my acoustic rig at all? Also, is it correct that you can't blend between wet and dry on the Radar?

Thank you,

Shaun

Offline Benzflieger

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #1 on: Dec 16, 2019, 09:52:36 PM »
I have tried the Moore Radar, Fishman Aura, Line 6 Helix (all three pedal boards) and the Fiddlicator (Free iPad app), and several other IR based solutions. I’ve even tried “blend rigs” where I blend in my DPA 4099 condenser mic with all of these. In my case absolutely nothing has compared to the sound quality and complete simplicity of the ToneDexter by Audio Sprockets.

Right now my best result is with the following signal flow.

LR Baggs pickup
Line 6 G10 Relay Wireless
ToneDexter to following via the ToneDexter’s EFX insert
Earthquake Devices Dispatch Master (a beautiful little reverb/delay pedal)
DI out of the ToneDexter to the FOH Mixer
1/4” out of the ToneDexter to an Ernie Ball MVP Volume Pedal to a Fishman Loudbox serving as a personal monitor.

This set of gear fits into a little pedal board case I got off Amazon for $35 that I added a thin leather guitar strap to so I can carry it on my shoulder. Super light weight and the whole board is smaller in foot print than my old 15” MacBook Pro.

I have absolutely ZERO affiliation with ToneDexter. I simply am very pleased with how it met my needs.


« Last Edit: Dec 17, 2019, 12:46:34 PM by Benzflieger »

Offline shaunfiddler

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #2 on: Dec 16, 2019, 11:23:21 PM »
That's cool to hear. I'll add the Tonedexter to my consideration. Unfortunately I'll probably have to aim lower with my budget.

Back to my original question-- having used the Aura and Radar what are your thoughts on them for adding a mic'd sound to an acoustic pickup? Specifically, do they get you that "air"? (I know it's subjective.)

Thank you

Offline shaunfiddler

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #3 on: Dec 17, 2019, 02:07:37 AM »
And one more question, the last Fishman software update I see on their website is from 2011 for Windows 7. Does anyone know if the software works on Windows 10?

Offline bwzuk

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #4 on: Dec 17, 2019, 10:31:05 AM »
Personally I've had some good success with the Radar and this IR pack https://www.3sigmaaudio.com/items/category/strings/  . It's super cheap, and fits on my existing pedal board setup and is usable for guitar and violin. I can't comment on the ToneDexter as this was beyond my budget.

I only use it for my electric, as for my acoustic I have a blended mic and piezo pickup which also does the job (if you can avoid the feedback)

Online pluwin

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #5 on: Dec 20, 2019, 11:06:27 PM »
Benzflieger,
What a nice little setup!
A good basic sound, a Dispatch Master and there you go!

Offline shaunfiddler

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #6 on: Dec 21, 2019, 06:51:46 PM »
I decided to go with a Radar. Next question, where does this go in my signal chain? Before or after my preamp?

Thanks!

Online pluwin

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #7 on: Dec 21, 2019, 10:15:28 PM »
manual says after the preamp.

Offline Benzflieger

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #8 on: Dec 22, 2019, 03:03:14 AM »
See the other thread you started for my $0.02 given your specific equipment.


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Offline shaunfiddler

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #9 on: Dec 26, 2019, 02:33:17 PM »
So I spent an hour or so with the Radar and some free IR's. It does change the sound, but it isn't as magical with my gear as the before/after demo's I've heard online. Maybe I need to spring for some better files.

With my acoustic it's adding something, but I think I could achieve something similar with a graphic EQ. Just for fun I plugged my cheap Chinese electric into it. It tames the signal a bit, but I'm not hearing the "body" I was hoping for. A better e-violin would probably have better results.

A used Aura popped up online so I ordered it too. I can only afford to keep one unit so I'll compare the two and see how it goes.

Offline Benzflieger

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #10 on: Dec 26, 2019, 09:16:13 PM »
If you’re not getting significant changes with the Farina IR’s you might check the blend setting. I found a them to be very noticeable when I was running those IRs in the Fiddlicator iPad app.

When I’ve used violin IRs, I found that I really liked the ones offered by 3 Sigma Audio (https://www.3sigmaaudio.com/items/category/strings/). They have a “French violin” and “Italian violin”  in addition to cello and viola IR packages. With my Yamaha YEV, they sounded very musical.

In fact, for my “chin cello” rig, I use both the Italian violin and the cello IRs by 3 Sigma on my helix stomp fairly (Path A/Path B) regularly in a live church setting to fill in cello parts including solos and it gets favorable reviews. It’s not perfect so I call it my “approximate cello” but it get the job done. :)


Offline shaunfiddler

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #11 on: Dec 26, 2019, 09:54:00 PM »
It's not that the changes aren't significant. It seems like certain frequencies are emphasized quite a bit. But compared to what I've heard online they aren't as "woody" as I would have thought. I was hoping it would sound more like a mic. I only have an hour into it so I may have more luck this week.

Where is the blend setting on the Radar?

Offline Benzflieger

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #12 on: Dec 26, 2019, 10:05:23 PM »
Not totally sure there is one. I’d have to check the manual. If there isn’t one I’d guess it’s already at 100%.
The last time I really used the Farina IRs was with Fiddlicator and I do remember having to dial back to about 80% (20% pickup) blend as the 100% was too harsh for my ears.


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Offline shaunfiddler

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #13 on: Dec 27, 2019, 02:32:24 AM »
So, a little more progress.

First, you MUST have a preamp in front of the Radar. Hard to explain what it sounds like, but without the preamp the signal gets all digital and chopped up. Next, having the reverb in the chain before the Radar sounds fine to my ears, but I haven't had a chance to try it the other way around yet.

I tried playing through headphones instead of a monitor. There was a big difference which I assume is because my ears were somewhat more insulated from the pure acoustic tone of my fiddle. The IR's seem to help liven things up verses my straight piezo. How much of this will be noticed through PA mains remains to be seen.

I've also noticed that some of the IR's seem to make certain notes resonate way to much. The Klotz is almost like a wolf tone on my open A string.

Another question (can you believe it?!) for those of you who's purchased a bunch of IR's. One of the sites I found has files that are long, medium and short. What difference does the length of the file make?


Offline Benzflieger

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #14 on: Dec 27, 2019, 11:28:52 AM »
Interesting observations on the signal chain order...

Regarding the IR length...
Some IR loafers have size limitations on the IR files they allow you to use. Computationally, the longer the file, the longer the mathematical convolution operation is and potentially the more the latency of the affected signal will be. Some loaders will automatically truncate the files. Others will just choke and give you an error if you try to load too long a file.
In the case of the helix, it gives you the option of loading either 1024 or 2048 sample IRs. If you select the 1024 option, It fades (truncates) out the second half of the IR file if the files are longer. This will cause you to loose a the last couple of milliseconds of reverb, etc that the IR gives you.

In general, in order to gain the maximum benefit (affected tone) from the IR, I’d load the longest file I can provided the latency is acceptable.


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Offline shaunfiddler

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #15 on: Jan 03, 2020, 12:41:08 AM »
So, I sent the Radar back last week and I just tested the Aura. To my ears the images seem to change the EQ a bit, the ones that add the most seem to really crank up the high frequencies. This makes my lower strings sound nice and buzzy (more live I guess) but does nothing for the high strings. I don't get that "body" or "air" I'm looking for. Maybe my Schatten pickup isn't the right kind for these devices. (Or, maybe it's really good and a fancy preamp won't help it much)

I'm on the fence with the Tonedexter because of the price. We'll see.

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #16 on: Jan 03, 2020, 07:19:59 AM »
That tonedexter sounds like a decent piece of gear. I’d try that if I were you.
It’s still cheaper, lighter and smaller than a good parametric eq-pedal (Empress, Wampler), a hi-Z buffer and a DI box (also check out the Radial stuff, btw).

I don’t believe in cheap magical solutions for good sound.
You usually end up with a piece of plastic that’s capable of producing 99 different types of hiss.

Offline Benzflieger

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #17 on: Jan 03, 2020, 09:13:14 AM »
Two things if you check out the TD:
1. Make sure you have access to a decent small diaphragm condenser mic. I’ve used a DPA 4099 and ATM 350, others use a Shure SM 81. Since you ONLY use this mic during the initial “training” of the TD, if you don’t own one, you might see if you can borrow/rent one. Once you find a mic position that you like during TD training, you’ll create the TD WaveMap and will never use the mic again (unless you choose to enter the rabbit hole of mic placement...).

2. Check out the limited (but valuable) string-centric videos out there covering the TD:
https://youtu.be/qOKzFvyWqns The original Tonedexter demo for violins
https://youtu.be/RUx29JHrptk The work by Jacob Szekely in search of the best possible amplified cello (and violin) tone is also a great resource.  He also runs www.thepickuptest.com where nearly every pickup, higher end preamp on the market is reviewed, recorded and cataloged. It’s well worth paying the $10 to join the website just gain access to the recordings. It really helped me understand that regardless of price point, all piezo pickups are going to have a characteristic sound (a kazoo like buzz to my ears) that can not “replicate” a miced violin. (Some folks, especially rock and jazz centric players like the sound, others are just looking for a clean amplified acoustic sound.)  Jacob uses top shelf preamps in all his (and violinist Luis & Paul) recordings so that gave a lot of confidence that as many variables as possible are taken out when making comparisons. It’s interesting to note that once Jacob found the TD, all testing of pickups, preamps, effects, Vsound 2, IR, etc. significantly slowed down and he now seems to focus primarily on the TD.

Check out his YouTube channel as well
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLaQ68vOw1EAB8Uuz3Wf2Iw
« Last Edit: Jan 03, 2020, 10:52:28 AM by Benzflieger »

Offline shaunfiddler

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #18 on: Jan 09, 2020, 01:21:59 AM »
Got the Tonedexter tonight. Made some wave maps with a mic from church in no time. Wow!

Will have to start a separate thread about mic placement. I'm going to have a busy weekend.

Offline Benzflieger

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #19 on: Jan 09, 2020, 02:13:20 AM »
That’s great. I think you’ll really be pleased with it. I’ll look forward to hearing about your mic placement.

Over the past weekend I discovered a new use for my ToneDexter and hope post on it sometime in the future.

Offline shaunfiddler

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #20 on: Jan 20, 2020, 02:49:04 AM »
Gigged out with the Tonedexter for the first time last night. It was a loud bar, so hearing fine details was impossible, but it was way better than my normal setup. The only real adjustment I did was to turn down the treble a bit. I primarily used a wave map with a lot of air (mic was about 24" away in training) and for most of the songs I didn't even use reverb. I turned on verb for a couple ballads, but to be honest I probably didn't need it.

Offline shaunfiddler

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #21 on: Feb 15, 2020, 09:03:31 PM »
The music store had a 14% off deal for Valentines Day so I decided to purchase a Yamaha YEV. I played it though my Tone Dexter with the wave maps I made for my acoustic and it sounds great.

Offline shaunfiddler

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Re: Can the Aura and/or Radar help my acoustic?
« Reply #22 on: Feb 20, 2020, 06:58:13 PM »
YEV with Tone Dexter. Not a great recording, but I think you can tell how much the TD helps the tone of the YEV.   
https://www.facebook.com/shaun.swanson.77/posts/2828334697260274?notif_id=1582223467835367&notif_t=feedback_reaction_generic

 




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