LievenDV's Dwarf journal

thanks for responding so quickly!

Pedalboard uploads, recordings, video’s… all to come in a few weeks when my music room is finally available :smiley:

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Chapter V: First live gig & next steps in vocal+guitar setup

Hi guys,

Hope you are here to enjoy a new episode in my Mod Dwarf journey.

I’m becoming more confident in setting up and using the Dwarf and it has already become the centerpiece of my setup. My other pedals are literally gathering dust; Wamplers and Strymons on a shelve. “Give them to meeee” I hear you say. No! These pedals are great and in about 10 chapters, I want to be recreating those :wink:

I did my first live gig with the Dwarf and everything went great.
Boot up, set and forget and rock out!

My rig is getting smaller: Because of the easy of use I still used my TC Electronic polytune in front of the Dwarf. Those 2 with my Senheisser wireless in front and I had zero worries. I could switch to the Dwarf tuner one day but me having to sing, play and tune and provide an occasional bind text, I need absolute comfort. Together with my small Joyo Banta “Zombie” amp (the most underestimated small amp for metal) and a lightweight Laney 2x12 cab, I was all set.

The noise cancelling made me ultra quiet between songs and during my binding texts :smiley:
Next step will be using vocal effects via the Dwarf as well.

I made a recording but you can barely hear the Dwarf in action. it was in the back of the hall and I merely do some rhythm riffage while singing and having a lead guitarist. I’ll probably post it later if I EQ’d it a bit

Monday, In the rehearsal room, I expanded my “Point Fifty” (heavy metal) rig with an amp and cab that I can switch on/off. That way it can evolve to a pedalboard that can be used with a physical amp or go straight into the mixer.

I also set up my prototype pedalboard for Devil’s Advocate (the solo gig with guitar and vocals)

Meanwhile, my trusty Lehle passive split with ground lift takes away the noise

I Managed to get my first usable solo pedal board going in our rehearsal room that combines vocal and guitar (clean, slight breakup, delay+light verb or just more verb). I never used compression on my live vocals but now it was easy to throw something in the chain. Had issues figuring out what to use though :smiley: . “Use your ear” yeah yeah I know that one but in a rehearsal and you’re singing yourself, that isn’t always easy to tell.

I recorded my dry signals with some songs so I can “re-amp” them through the Dwarf later.
Use a stereo recorder with guitar left and vocal right, thinking it will be easy to split up at home before putting it back into the Dwarf. Keep it it that way is probably the easiest, as I can route L and R to the separate guitar and vocal track anyway. A multitrack recorder would have been easy here.

++ Dwarf was reliable on my first live gig and it’s noise cancelling gave me a lot of comfort on stage

++ Downsizing rig is happening

++ Solo rig came together

++ recorded dry signal when desigining my solo pedalboard. Now wish I recorder the gig dry signal too

°° When putting a compressor in the beginning of my vocal chain, I frankly had no idea what to go for.

– miss a multitrack recorder plugin (already requested it because it’s not the first time I missed it :D)

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@LievenDV Thanks for the report! I found myself in many points. :smiley: I am also a singer, at the same time I play guitar or mandolin. If this is to succeed, everything has to be as automatic as possible. Even tapping the footswitch can be a challenge, doing three things at once is not easy! With the Dwarf, it works very well for me. I have also already done a small gig and a studio session and have had very good experiences.

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Once again, awesome report!
Super well written, independent and great feedback!
There are two things that make me really happy about this chapter:
1st - the MOD Dwarf had “nice behavior” in a live situation. At the end that is the most important. In the studio or in the rehearsal room we can always mumble around and have virtually limitless time to fix issues. On a stage that doesn’t happen and our “faces” are the ones being judged…not the gear.
2nd - I can see that the negative our dubious points are starting to be super reduced. This is a bit more proudness that a good or bad thing, but I personally like to see that happening :slight_smile:

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yeah I noticed I had little drawbacks or disappointments at this stage when I wrote this report. :smiley:
The only noticeble things that slowed me down for a few seconds are little things in the GUI that are already being discussed. I think the Dwarf and I are on the same wavelength and I know exactly what to expect. I’m startig to notice where my own knowledge ends and where I need to expand. (like the compressors for live vocals etc).

The most joyous moments are the aha erlebnisses: things you can do with the Dwarf that you couldn’t before (at least, not with that ease). Like now it was recording in any stage of the chain. Otherwise you need to phisically split or worse…mic up the whole bunch :confused: . recording stuff that “comes out of a speaker” (virtually) wiouth the fuss of mics, interfaces etc is bliss
@brummer I just learned that recorder is one of yours. love it!

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Chapter VI: Acoustic guitar and vocal

I never needed any attention or effort to get my vocal+acoustic sound right. My trusty Roland Street Cube has a usuable reverb for vocal and guitar and even though it has no real options, its parameters voicing are on point for what I want (and I am used to)

Of course, this use case needs to be tested on the Dwarf.
The first iteration is my pedalboard “Acoustic Singer”
discussed in this Pedalbord topic

Getting the guitar sound right was a easy.
The piezo pickup on my Fender Hellcat is an obvious piezo sound but I didn’t focus on shaping the sound for now. Setting the reverbs is playing with 2 verbs in parallel

I struggled for the vocal though. This is the moment I was confronted with the fact that there are no reverbs aimed at vocalists yet. I see an opportunity to contribute there. (as discussed in the pedalboard topic as well)

So, while playing I was still thinking the vocal reverb isn’t off but I kept playing because I had fun with the guitar. I NEED reverb, I can not stand the dry sound of my voice without reverb but getting it right is a challenge.

I noticed the built in noise supression kicks is too fast now.
For the high gain heavy metal sounds, it’s perfect but it’s not so convenient that I have to go into the deeper settings of the dwarf to alter the noise supression settings. Being able to switch that in pedal board level would be a win for me. I know I could use a plugin for noise supression but the handy thing is to have it off the board in a set and forget fashion :wink:

As a proof of concept the Dwarf passed the test again though.
If I see what amount of time I needed trying this for the first time, I can conclude that it is realistic to use the Dwarf for the acoustic guitar+vocal use case.

++ Guitar sound was achieved quickly
++ Had fun playing with a parallel reverb on guitar sound
++ I’m curious now to use all the in-house tools to start shaping the sound of that piezo sound
° noticed the built in noise supression kicks is too fast now. control on pedal board lvl would help
– no plugins aimed at vocalist with real USABLE settings that aren’t OTT

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Once again this is awesome stuff @LievenDV. Thank you so much for all the effort!

I honestly never really tried this on the MOD Dwarf (did it on the Duo and DuoX) and also didn’t try it since the system noise gate and compressors are available (so I’m basing my statement in a belief), but you can do this by saving different User Profiles on the settings of the device. So you can save one for your metal band and another for this project. Check here for more info.

Would this be what you are searching for?

All noted :slight_smile:

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Chapter VII: Heavy metal vocal and guitar, all over PA

Last week I did my first rehearsal without an actual amp;

  • Guitar through a chain of Metal tone and IR loaded in cab sim (no amp plugin :smiley:)
  • Basic vocal setup
  • volume controles on both ends and then both signals to output 1 → into the PA console.

Although it wasn’t an 100% optimal sound for guitars, it was very usable AND I had more definition in combo with our lead guitarist. I had a decent vocal sound with reverb thanks to my previous experience in Chapter VI.

This experience was a confirmation to continue persuing the vocal+guitar+PA (without physical amp) setup for the heavy metal band. Now it’s tweaking time with amp settings etc.

++ I had a Hi-Fi experience with definition
++ the Dwarf is now one box where I managed both volumes (vocal and guitar). Where it is a gig with a sound engineer or not, I could choose to go from a “merged” to a “separated” setup via a switch in the end of the chain.

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This one is a really short one, but straight to the point and still useful.
I’m curios to check and listen this pedalboard thou :slight_smile:

Thank you once again @LievenDV for sharing your journey with all of us and publicly document it!

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Chapter VIII: The solo live gig and the rehearsal that followed

Sentiment of this chapter: I love this unit!
The Dwarf became my primary solo rig! (milestone!)

I’ve tweaked my board for solo gigs, vocal and acoustic/electric guitar

It is “beta” since it has @brummer 's audio recorders on them

I routed my dry guitar and vocal to respectively L and R on the stereo recorder.
Then I did the same with a second recorder for the wet signal.

Next time, I need to construct something where I record on both with just one push of the button, so I don’t need to synch them :slight_smile:

The gig went great, being able to control gains for both channels on the mod, I had all control.
I could turn off the vocal reverb in between songs

I did forget to press record though :smiley:
…So I did a rehearsal with this board a few days later :smiley:
The long recorded file was 2.4GB long but man do I love this recorder plugin! No hassle with interfaces, just clean recordings in any stage of your chain you like.

I still need to tweak my second input to get the best vocal signal without having to amplify too much noise. Others prefer to use a seperate preamp but I want to keep this as simple as possible. Perhaps some presets in the config menu of the inputs could be an idea (low output guitar, high output guitar, dynamic vocal mic, amp mic…) Just thinking out loud.

Thanks to this board and its recorder plugins, I could deliver some recordings to somebody who couldn’t make it to the event and it made her day (Her husband is a high risk patent after a lung transplant and she can’t come out much :/). No recording setup with a mic and position and that BS. just.press.record.
The tracks I re-recorded on the rehearsal to send to my colleague:
http://www.devilsadvocate.be/radio/

@brummer I’m still up for that multitrack recorder thing, this oculd be a cool project to try the graphical ideas James was pitching in the “plugin artwork” thread? :smiley:

  • 4 or 6 tracks,
  • input gain per input,
  • mappable button to arm (switch between play/record/off mode?)
  • mappable button to record all armed tracks and play the ones in play mode (and loop perhaps)
    once again thinking out loud ^^

I had my first bug with saving a preset though some other day. The pc it was attached to went to sleep a few times and after a while I wanted to save and I couldn’t. error in top right "bug, can’t save’ or something like that. lukily I only made small changes, no big deal.

the x42 parametric EQ has become my main EQ tool. It does just what I need and I map bass, mid and treble to the frequency, freq range and button that I like and presto. I would really like to save the settings of this EQ and have it deployed by default!

++ Brummers recorder is great! (clean sound, no hassle, long files, choose where to patch)
++ I now have an acoustic+sing board I like
++ The x42 Parametric EQ is a mighty workhorse
++ The Dwarf became my primary solo rig! (milestone!)

°° Need to figure out how to fire multiple recorders at once
°° I would still benefit from a multitrack recorder, for this use case but also to write 2 guitar tracks for the heavy metal band or to record vocal and guitar seperately as I did them synchronously now
°° plugin presets or “default settings” would be handy for my EQ
°° the recorders should get out of beta! :smiley:

– Had one bug once and couldn’t save a preset, probably my fault

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Once again, thank you so much @LievenDV for such a in depth feedback.

It really made me happy to read this sentence immediately. I really feel it is honest and not biased by anything. You are really making all the work and checking every single detail to develop your opinion and feedback. You don’t hold yourself to point the weak points or things that you don’t personally like, but you also give emphasis to the good ones and I don’t feel you get into an unhealthy spiral either into the good or the bad point. You also try to understand the things and clearly understand that the device is not developed only to please your needs and likings, but the ones of a lot of people and a lot of use cases, so you understand that this turns certain things a bit harder than others.

And that’s exactly why it really made me happy to read that sentence and in bold :slight_smile:

Into the real feedback…

This is rather easy using CV plugins. But I guess at this point you already know how to do it :wink: (let me know if you don’t and if I’m clearly making a wrong assumption!)

This is also really nice to read! Regardless of the tools, the gigs should always go really nice and make us happy. If the Dwarf had a contributing behaviour on that, in the scope of this talk, that’s even better :slight_smile:

On gigs, this kind of thing always happens. Better this way than something going wrong with the recording and bugging the Dwarf during your gig.

Maybe it’s worth for us to consider moving it to stable soon :wink: Your and others’ feedback about the plugin will help us a lot on that!

That’s a rather nice outcome. It’s always nice when technology can help us in this type of situation! I hope that he improves his condition soon and they can both go enjoy your concerts pretty soon! Maybe I would suggest they start with the acoustic gig and not the metal band :sweat_smile: just to keep things smooth :slight_smile:

Thank you so much for sharing it with the community!

I like it :slight_smile:

Were you still able to use the WebGUI at this stage? Wasn’t it just in cache? Most likely when the PC went to sleep, the USB ports also turned off and the device got disconnected. This is somehow a bug/feature of the OS from the computer, more than MOD (If that was the case).

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I could still use the GUI, just not the saving part. reconnected usb once again but to no avail. reset power to solve the issue

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ok. So that is weirder. Did happen multiple times?

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Only once, wasn’t able to reproduce so not alarming

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@LievenDV Have you tried running an IR cab loader at the beginning of your guitar signal chain? I’m primarily an electric guitar player, but in my experience, using an acoustic IR can add a lot of life to an otherwise sterile and quacky piezo sound. Provided that you’re able to find a good one, because some of them may sound bad with your specific guitar/pickup, but fortunately, there’s a good free resource out there: IR database - Acoustic IR

If the CPU allows, you can even add a relatively neutral sounding preamp (Alembic should do the trick) right after IR and you’ll get an equivalent of something like Fishman Aura or NUX Optima Air that way, right inside your Dwarf patch.

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No I haven’t, the piezo sound was still bothering me a bit so this sounds like something I need to explore; thanks for that useful tip!!

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Ok. So most likely it was some glitch. Anyway, please keep an eye and report if that happens again.

Oh this is super cool! Thank you @Matt for sharing the tip and also a source for nice IRs - for the trick :slight_smile:
I have a personal project (for a while now and moving super slowly) where I’m moving a “Frankenstein” hollow body guitar with a big resonance box (something that when I saw it immediately made me think about Jack White’s Seven Nation Army Guitar, but rather a different look) where I want to add a DIY piezo amplification system. Basically trying to kill a fretting issue of the guitar, by putting a set of piezo under the bridge and with this raise it a bit, on top, I get another type of sound for the guitar. The piezos are there and the job of fixing the fretting mostly works. Yet, I still didn’t find the time to take care of the rest of the circuitry.
Anyway, when it’s finally done, this may be really cool to test it out! So thanks for that :slight_smile:

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Chapter IX: New power supply and plugin exploration for Heavy Metal

Here I am for my next episode.

Although my conclusion has as much ++ as --; the overal sentiment is “still happy with the Dwarf, gettign better at using it and willign to dig deeperto optimize”. Some specific “heavy metal” wishes seem hard to fulfill but I think I am a tad more patient and experimental than the average guitarist and I’m willing to search for answers.

The Members of the Board

I’ve been using the Dwarf on weekly reharsals now.and I achieved a new level of “reduced setup”.
I bought this pedalboard amp to attach to my 2x12 maney cabinet. Now my rig consists of a pedalboard, cab and that’s it! €79 for a power amp that is loud enough for heavy metal rehearsals on a 2x12 is a steal.

My plan to have both vocals and guitar through the Dwarf didn’t work out so well for vocals.
The reason was simple: While my Lehle switcher fixed the ground loop noise on my guitar signal, I couldn’t on the vocal as I only have one Lehle and I want to send guitar to my cab and vocal to the PA. :frowning:

So I remembered the tip somebody gave me; to by this cheap powersupply from Thomann. It has less power but I’m not powering anything else for now.

I haven’t tested it on my cab yet but the noise I had in my headphones while testing it yesterday was GONE!

Alright, too bad i can’t go rehearsal this Monday and I’m to Austria next week for vacation :stuck_out_tongue: This sounds promising though.

It’s a cheap fix and I’ll get my vocal through there soon, as I also bought a jack-to-xlr cable to run it to the PA again without having to put a jack to jack cable into the insert of a PA channel.

So, if all goes well, next rehearsal I’ll have Guitar and mic going into the Dwarf, out 1 going to the little solid state amp (working fine already) and out 2 the the input of the PA…without having the Lehle in between them.

Creating the powerful dirt

Yesterday I was having fun tweaking a metal guitar sound. i couldn’t use my own guitar because I would wake my family members but I’ve put a dry DI guitar signal in the file player and I can play guitar on auto-pilot while turning the dials.

Based off my current rig, I started experimenting with amps and some pedals to put in front of it.
You would think the Veja Titan or FatFrog would be my goto but for now, the 2 main competitors are:

1: Brummer MetalTone → Veja Onyx → EQ
2: Brummer MetalTone - > One of the Gx series (I think the bass amp)

(sorry, the Gx series all look the same, one of the reasons I need some plugin art on them :wink:

The ToneZone is a beast that takes care of most of the tone I’m after.
I find that the “distortion” control doesn’t give me much nuance but combining it with a halfway gain and halfway clipping Onyx, we’re getting somewhere.

Shaping the dirt

I made button binds for the mid channels on an orange 10 channel EQ (beta, can’t find beta plugins on the site to check its name). These 3 buttons do A LOT of the shaping.
Having some EQ buttons on the timal frequency ranges at your feet when rehearsing is no luxury.
These are the learnings you pick up and make an integral part of your workflow.

RMPRo and limiter

I also experimented with the RMPro mastering plugin and even though I feel what it does, I’m still not sure whether I should purchase it. Most of the time, I won’t be able to use it uses so much processor power. It adds to the end product signal but times used versus the price of the plugin make it hard to justify for me.

I read about somebody throwing out his Calf limiter and going for the RMPro.
A limiter? Why didn’t I experiment with that yet?
Though, I’ve put myself over my superficial dislike of plugins without interface, all tasting like macarel when looking at them :wink:
Adding a limiter and tweaking a bit kept my outgoing guitar signal in the green while it became more “present”, For high gain tones, you can push that quite far I guess.

Usability comparison with a DAW plugin

Last week I saw anfor a free ML sound lab guitar plugin, “Amped roots 2.0”
Featuring a “5034” take on an EVH amp.
Our lead guitarist threw it in his daw, I plugged in my Explorer copy and damn; instant greatness with some easy options on board and mathcing cab and mic’ing to go with it. It’s a whole different deal but what a dream it would be to have a EVH/whatnot 5xxx competitor amp in the plugin list

Shop?
I managed to add items to a cart via the Dwarf browser interface.
I never created an acocunt so I have no idea what will happen.
There is no way to access a shop online either. It’s hard to figure out online which plugins you oay fr and which you don’t.
Also; What happens to my voucher code if I don’t use it all its value at once.
in short: the UX of the shop section has some fundamentals to fix/offer

Wrap up

I invested quite some time in these things but it was fun because the hour went late real quick :smiley:
This was all done on headphones, this time void of the previous noise ocmplaints I had bout it. I hope my 2 out signals will be like this as well when I plug it to my 2x12.
Headphones =/= “loud with air in a room” so next time the laptop might go with my to the reharsal room.

Sentiments of this journal entry

++ simple powersupply looks promising noise wise

++ I keep finding this a fun tool and powerful, Although the zoom in/out still isn’t intuitive, the GUI is a fun tool to set up a rig.

++ file player and recorder once again prove their worth in this testing rig

++ can’t wait to experiment more

++ Discovered what the RmPro but also a simple limiter can do to a high gain sound

°° checking beta plugins on the site would be nice

°°I find it hard to identify amp plugins when I see them, since many of them look quite the same. Don’t throw strings of random letters at me, I’m a visual guys, seeing my paths in front of me :smiley:

– still a little surprised that the ground loop noise can be an issue when launching, while all the high tech stuff is working so well :smiley:

– It’s harder than expected to get a good metal sound going. I enjoy the search but the Usual Suspect Veja Titan surely can’t do what a, for example 5150 sound does.

– The RMPro is cool but expensive and takes a lot of your processor power. Times used/purchase price will be inefficient for me

– UX of plugin shop info and funnels need more love

@brummer I’m always willing to do a call on reviewing ToneZone versus FatFrog and what works for me and what doesn’t. I sometimes think an amp based of the toneZone with slightly better/relevant control intervals on the dials and some ‘amp punch’ to counter the shriek of a pedal alone might put you on track of an interesting amp competitor.

See you guys next time for a new step in my journey :smiley:

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Once again thank you a lot for this @LievenDV!
I noted a lot of things from your post as always.
There are a couple that i can directly answer you.

You don’t really need to create an account on any shop. I’m not even sure what is that exactly and a few days ago was the first time that I heard about that (probably Shopify - the platform we use for the plugin purchases - changed something or kind of turned the incentive for everyone to create an account more present…I’m not really sure). You don’t need to create an account, when you access the Plugin Store, you are doing it from the device, so the API knows the serial number of your device and if you buy a plugin it matches it with that serial. That’s exactly why we already reported that the licenses are device-based and we plan to change that because more and more people own multiple MOD devices and we agree that they should only buy the license once.

These vouchers have no deadline and they just expire when you use the full value. You can do it one or multiple times. If you have any problems with this, please feel free to reach me out directly.

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Hi @LievenDV
Unfortunately I’m running completely out of time, so currently I can’t do any development at all. I hope that end of the year the situation sattle a bit and I could come back to the development board.
Anyway, nice to hear that you think the MetalTone have some potential.

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