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ToneDexter Support Request

Please use this form if you purchased ToneDexter directly from us and you need support.

ToneDexter FAQs

Operation & Troubleshooting
Does it matter where I train ToneDexter, my playing room has a very live sound?

You can train in your living room, in your kitchen, and yes even in your car. (Never train and drive and the same time!) The point is that you don’t need a refined acoustic space because the WaveMap picks up very little of the room sound.

What difference does the mic make in creating WaveMaps?

ToneDexter WaveMaps are built by comparing the mic sound with your pickup, so the resulting WaveMap will depend on both the mic’s response and most importantly on the mic position as you train ToneDexter. This is info about mics taken from the User Guide:

A small diaphragm condenser mic is recommended. Large diaphragm mics can also work well, but may be more finicky about placement. Dynamic mics, such as common vocal mics, can yield usable results, though generally will not have as much high frequency information. Tube (valve) mics, due to their higher non-linearity, are not recommended but may yield good results nonetheless. Both cardioid and omnidirectional pickup patterns will give excellent results. Active ribbon mics may also be used. Passive ribbon mics may be used so long as they can tolerate 48V phantom power. If using a passive ribbon mics, consider plugging in the mic with the unit unpowered, then applying power after that.

Can you recommend some mics for training?
  • Recommended mics
    • Shure SM81
    • sE Electronics sE8
    • Slate ML-2
    • Rode NT5
    • Line Audio CM3
    • Marshall MXL-600
    • Sterling ST-31
The WaveMap sounds lower in volume compared to bypass

LED Displays LVThis is usually caused by the level setting algorithm not working as intended during the first part of training where LV is displayed. It is best to play a repetitive chord or notes that do not contain the low resonances of your instrument during this phase.

For guitar repeatedly strumming the upper 4 strings at the 5th fret, middle range double stops for violin, or arco open A or D string for upright bass.

Can I use the same firmware version for guitar and higher pitched instruments like mandolin or violin?

Yes! The high version firmware (called HGH, see the firmware download page) is made for just this purpose.

WaveMaps played from the lower bank (slots 1-11) will have the EQ control ranges tailored for guitar and other instruments with that general range of frequencies. WaveMaps played from the upper bank (slots 12-22) will have the EQ controls optimized for higher pitched instruments like mandolin, violin, ukele, and banjo.

The created WaveMaps are exactly the same whether they reside in the upper or lower bank, it is only the live playback EQ control ranges that change. Any WaveMaps can be freely copied or pasted between banks.

The WaveMap sounds thin or hollow

This can be caused by several factors. The most common cause is mic position. Experiment with different mic positions early and often to hone in on what works. Audition with good quality, flat response headphones such as the ATH-M50. Then, after a few WaveMaps are created, test them out through your intended PA or acoustic amplifier.  The best mic position for live sound is usually not the same as what you would want to hear on a studio recording.

Another cause can be the mic choice. If you have access to multiple mics, try them all. Flat, small diaphragm condensers (pencil mics) consistently give the best results. The flatter the response, the better. Microphones with high levels of self-noise are totally usable, as the noise does not affect the quality of the resulting WaveMap.

If you have an active system, make sure your battery is not depleted. Also, make sure your volume control is set about midway. Some systems run out of headroom when set to maximum volume, and that can interfere with training.

Make sure your pickup is not on the “pickups that don’t work” list – see the FAQs on this page about pickups.

Training takes a long time

If your training session takes much more than about 1 minute, it is probably caused by an excessively hot mic signal. This usually means the mic is very sensitive. The internal mic gain path inside ToneDexter is fixed to accommodate most mics and mic placements. There is no mic gain adjustment. Occasionally, and most typically with upright bass, a sensitive mic placed close to an instrument will cause the input circuit to overload, resulting in excessively long training sessions that may not even complete. Don’t worry, ToneDexter won’t be harmed if this happens.

If you want to check to see if this is happening, start a training session. Once you get past the level setting phase (display shows LV), and into the learning phase (display shows TL), tap the right switch to audition the live mic signal with your headphones. If it is overloading, you’ll hear a distorted signal.

The are several remedies:

  • If the mic has a built in pad, turn it on.
  • Move the mic further away from the instrument.
  • Use another mic that is less sensitive, or that has a pad.
  • Use an inline 10dB attenuator, commonly available.

Another cause we have seen, particularly with upright bass, is when the training mic is physically attached to the bass. This scenario would arise when using an attached mic (designed for live performance) for the training session. Mechanical coupling through the mic mount, in response to strong pizzicato playing, has been known to cause interference with the training. It is best to avoid this situation, but if you must, then play more softly if pizzicato, or better still play arco.

The WaveMap gets weaker in bass at the very end of training

This is normal behavior if you are not training from slot 22. It is caused by the feedback mitigation algorithm which automatically looks for your instrument’s hot spots and dials them back a little. These hot spots are the low frequency resonances of your instrument body that are most prone to feedback. Even though the bass is perceived to be weaker, it often is sufficient when playing back at louder volumes. At lower volumes, use the bass EQ to boost the lows.

Training from slot 22 circumvents the feedback mitigation and is the slot used for training for studio quality mic sound, but may not be optimum for stage use.

What's the difference between the DI and Main Instrument outputs?

Both outputs are the same audio feed, after the FX loop, and after the Boost switch.

The Main Instrument out always follows the Output Level control. The DI Out can be switched on the back either to have a fixed output or to follow the Output Level control. So DI is best for feeding an Interface/PA Mixer, while the Main Output is best for feeding a Stage Amp/Monitor Mixer as you have control over the level.

Both are balanced which provides protection from induced hum. The DI XLR is always balanced and is 6dB hotter than the main 1/4″ output. The main 1/4″ out is a Tip/Ring/Sleeve jack that is impedance balanced and will function either balanced or unbalanced. For best results with long runs, use a 1/4″ TRS cable to connect to a balanced interface/mixer 1/4″ or XLR input. For short runs to a stage amp, you can use a normal 1/4″ mono instrument cable. This will unbalance the output and is perfectly fine for this situation.

ToneDexter Connectivity Live

Why does my ToneDexter hum?

If you are using a passive piezo pickup, you may hear some AC power line hum if your system is not grounded. In normal use ToneDexter will be connected to an amplifier or PA system which is grounded, and you will not experience any noticeable hum. But if you do experience hum when training using just headphones, plugging one of the outputs into a grounded system, such as an audio interface or mixer, will eliminate the hum.

I don't understand what the Phase switch is for

From the User Guide…
The phase switch on the rear panel changes the phase (flips the polarity) of all the outputs. This is significant for two reasons:

  • When playing through loud sound reinforcement, one phase/polarity position will usually be less prone to feedback than the other. Try both positions if you’re experiencing feedback issues.
  • When you’re training with headphones, the sound of the headphone signal will combine with the acoustic leakage path to your ear. The “correct” phase will be the one that has the most perceived bass, the other position will sound more anemic. Headphones vary, so try both positions. The position of the phase switch does not affect training, only your perception of the sound.
Can I backup my WaveMaps?

Coming soon with firmware V1.40 with be the ability to move WaveMaps in and out of the unit. This is handy for backup, archiving, and using the same Wave-Maps on multiple units. In addition, the new system allows WaveMaps to be given meaningful alpha numeric names on your computer. They can be renumbered and reloaded with new ordering, allowing a method of resequencing that is more convenient than multiple copy and paste operations using the unit itself. Please note that the WaveMaps file format is proprietary and can only be used in a ToneDexter environment. Check out details in the User Guide.

What power supplies can I use?

Power supply guidance

The power supply provided with ToneDexter has a universal input which means it will run off USA mains power, as well as international mains power which varies from country to country. You will just need to adapt the prongs. The provided supply puts out 12V at 1A.

ToneDexter works from a range of voltages: 9-15V. It tolerates either the effects pedal standard of negative center, or the more general standard of positive center. It requires about 5 to 6 watts, which is more than many adapters can provide. The reason the figure is not precise is because it depends on how stiff the supply is during the period when ToneDexter is starting up.

To figure the wattage, multiply voltage time amperage. For example, 9V at 200mA would be 9V x 0.2A or 1.8 watts. That’s not enough since ToneDexter requires 5 to 6 watts.

Many pedal board power supplies with multiple outputs with work, but some of them do not provide enough power in any single output port. If they have isolated outputs, it is possible to parallel two outputs together to double the available power using a daisy chain pedal power cable.

Recommended pedal board power supplies

  • Voodoo Lab Pedal Power Digital or Mondo – requires paralleling two outputs together
  • Strymon Ojai or Zuma
Which guitar pickups does ToneDexter work with?
Guitar Pickup Guidance

ToneDexter works well with most commonly available piezo pickups. These come in two basic types: under saddle transducers (USTs) and sound board transducers (SBTs). Both types can be either passive or active with an on-board preamp. The piezo material can be either crystal or film; both work well. Electret film types also work.

Another common configuration is a dual source blended system which adds an on-board microphone that gets mixed into the piezo signal to get a more natural tone. While ToneDexter will train with the on-board mic signal, better results are usually obtained by turning off the mic signal completely, or as much as possible.

Passive pickups tend to be SBTs and work very directly plugged into ToneDexter’s built in high quality preamp circuitry. It has a 1MΩ input impedance. Most USTs are active, and will work without issue. Make sure the battery is not depleted, and it is advisable to set any volume control to a nominal (mid-way) position. If there is a tone control, set it to flat or wide open during training. You can always use it during playback to shape the tone to your liking.

Magnetic soundhole pickups, such as the L.R Baggs M1 or M80, the Fishman Rare Earth series, Seymour Duncan, DiMarzio Virtual Acoustic or Black Angel and similar WILL NOT work properly with ToneDexter, and are not recommended. You may or may not get usable results. Even if you do, they will surely be less natural sounding than if you use a piezo pickup.

Pickups that work well
  • James May Engineering
  • K&K Sound
    • Pure (or Pure Mini or Pure Western) – SBT discs, passive
  • Fishman
    • Matrix Infinity – UST, active, with volume and tone controls
    • AG Series – UST, passive
    • Thinline – UST, passive
    • Sonicore – UST coaxial, also used in Presys on-board active system
    • SBT – SBT disc, passive
  • LR Baggs
    • Element Active System (EAS) – UST film, active
    • Anthem – UST film (Element), plus on-board mic, with volume and tone controls. Note the Anthem SL is different and has issues, see below.
    • iBeam – SBT film sensors, active, with volume control
  • Taylor
    • ES2 – UST, piezo, active
  • Highlander
    • iP1 – UST, active
  • Seymour Duncan
    • Wavelength – UST film, active
  • Pick Up The World
    • #27, #54 – SBT film
    • I/O UST – UST film
  • Dazzo Pickups
    • Single or Double – SBT, passive
  • Trance Audio
    • Amulet – SBT, active
  • McIntire
    • Feather – SBT film, passive
  • B-Band
    • AST – SBT, electret film
    • UST – UST, electret film
  • Schatten
    • HFN – SBT with integrated rosewood arch, passive and active versions
  • Headway
    • HE4/G.FEQ – UST, coaxial, active
  • Dupont
    • Bigtone – UST, passive, with bridge for Gypsy guitars
Pickups that can work with caveats
  • LR Baggs
    • LB6 – UST piezo, passive. G and B strings are out of phase with the other 4. During training, the G and B must not be played. It’s recommended to slacken them.LR Baggs
    • Lyric – sound-board mic, active, with volume control. Has some non-linear compression that hampers the ability to train optimally. Some users have reported success, some have had problems. Not recommended.
  • Barbera
    • Soloist – UST piezo, passive. Every other element is out of phase. Training only works if playing on E, D, B or A, G, E strings. The former is recommended.
Pickups that don’t work
  • LR Baggs
    • Anthem SL – UST film (Element), plus on-board mic, with volume controls. Has crossover that can’t be defeated, and interferes with training to some degree. The mic level above the crossover point can be adjusted, but there is no UST above it. Below the crossover it’s just UST no mic. Some users have reported success, others not.
    • Session VTC – UST film (Element) and sound-board mic, active, with volume and tone controls. Due to internal compressor and crossover that can’t be disabled, does not train properly.
    • M1 or M80 – soundhole, magnetic
  • Taylor
    • ES1 – SBT, magnetic, active
  • Fishman
    • Rare Earth series – soundhole, magnetic
    • Neo-D– soundhole, magnetic
  • Seymour Duncan
    • SA series – soundhole, magnetic
  • DiMarzio
    • Virtual Acoustic– soundhole, magnetic
    • Angel series – soundhole, magnetic
    • Super Natural Plus – soundhole, magnetic
Which upright bass pickups does ToneDexter work with?
Upright Bass Pickup Guidance

Upright bass pickups can be broken into 4 main types based on mounting location:

  1. Body contact – mounted to the top of the bass, usually under or close to the bridge foot
  2. Bridge wing – nestled in the crook of one of the two bridge wings
  3. Bridge adjuster – wedged between the adjuster and bridge, or taking the place of the adjuster
  4. Bridge face – one or more discs mounted on the face of the bridge, usually close to the strings

Of these, ToneDexter works best with bridge wing and adjuster pickups, and can work fairly well with body contact pickups. Bridge face pickups do not usually work well enough.

Upright Bass pickups that work
  • KNA (Kremona North America)
    • DB-1 – bridge wing
  • K&K
    • Bass Max – bridge wing
  • Fishman
    • Full Circle – bridge adjuster wedge
  • Upton Bass
    • Revolution Solo – bridge wing encased in spruce biscuit
  • Schatten Design
    • RB-1 – bridge wing, passive or active
  • David Gage
    • Realist Lifeline – bridge adjuster wedge
  • Yamahiko
    • CPS-DB – two sensors that take the place of the adjusters. Either or both may be used. May work better connecting just the bass side. Has weak bass into 1MΩ.
  • Schertler
    • Stat B – electro static mic, mounts in bridge wing hole. Customer tested.
  • Underwood
    • Bass Pickup – bridge wing, passive. Two folded brass wedges, one for each wing. May work better using just the bass side wedge. May have weak bass into 1MΩ.
  •  Ehrlund
    • EAP – piezo/mic combo that mounts to body. Customer tested.
Upright Bass pickups that may work
  • Headway
    • The Band – contact disc mounted with elastic band around waist of bass. Not tested.
  • Wilson
    • K1, K4 – 1 or 4 brass sensors mounted to bridge face. Not an ideal location, but some users report excellent results nonetheless.
  • David Gage
    • Realist SoundClip – clamps to various locations on the bridge. Untested, may or may not work very well.
    • Realist – copper tab under bridge foot. Does not put out much high frequency content, resulting in WaveMaps that are hissy. Results will have an elevated hiss level.
Upright bass pickups that don't work
  • Fishman
    • BP-100 – two discs that clip to bridge face
  • K&K
    • Double Big Twin – four discs that mount to bridge face

ToneDexter Firmware Versions

ToneDexter SD Card

Latest Version: 1.53

ToneDexter comes with (GEN) firmware (software that runs and resides in ToneDexter) optimized for Guitar, Dobro, Viola, Cello, Bazouki, Mandola, Mandocello, Baritone Guitar. Separate versions of software are available for (HGH) higher pitched instruments like Violin, Mandolin, Banjo and Ukulele, and (BAS), a version optimized for Upright Bass.

When you power up ToneDexter it first shows the firmware version: 1.53, and then the type: GEN, in the LED display.

You can update to the latest version and change firmware versions to match your type of instrument using FAT32 formatted SD cards (not included but available for less than $10 and usually formatted FAT32) that can be inserted into the card slot on the left side of ToneDexter. Here is a link to a SanDisk Ultra 16GB Class 10 SDHC Memory Card, perfect for using with ToneDexter from Amazon at only $9.50.

Go to the Firmware page to download and install new firmware and for info about using SD cards for backup and naming WaveMaps.

ToneDexter Block Diagram

ToneDexter Block Diagram