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Is this normal?
by GreyFortress on 2013-01-31 12:53:29

I made a recording of a simple noodle with an acoustic model.  Theres a few seconds of playing with a virtual capo on fret 5, then a few seconds with tuning knob on Standard.  As you can hear, the re-tuned version picking notes sounds horrible(aside from the poor playing), while the standard tuning is fine.  Though strumming sounds fine in both versions.  From what I've gathered on this forum, this is essentially normal behavior, correct?  I need to know because my dealer wants to troubleshoot the problem but I really dont feel like going through a bunch of hassle/shipping to find that the problem cant be resolved.  If it is normal, I'm simply amazed that so many guitar players ( all better players than me by far ) give such rave reviews of the guitar.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/76014060/capo%205%20acoustic.wav



Re: Is this normal?
by silverhead on 2013-01-31 14:27:19

Can you provide details of how this was recorded? Which guitar model? What recording device? What audio interface? What kind of mics (if any)?



Re: Is this normal?
by GreyFortress on 2013-01-31 15:11:16

Thanks, silverhead, for the response.

JTV-59

Acoustic models position 3: Martin O-18

no microphones

quarter inch direct into RME Fireface 400 input 3

recorded dry into Ableton Live 8

The warbling/artifacts are noticeable with other models and altered tunings but this is one of the most obvious.  I've udated and re-updated the firmware a few times since getting the guitar in December as well.  Do you not have this issue with your JTV?  I'm really just trying to understand what I should expect from the guitar before I go down the road of shipping back for repair/exchange.



Re: Is this normal?
by dchernov551 on 2013-01-31 17:57:36

Thanks for bringing this to attention, GreyFortress. As I do not own the JTV guitar yet, I would also like to know if this is normal and if these are the warblings/artifacts that have been mentioned through these forums and several other places. Is there anyone else facing this problem? I guess, the best way would be to test another JTV guitar with the same direct settings.

And thanks to you, Silverhead, for responding from me, too. I'm sure it will help me greatly when I'll be buying my guitar, so I will know what to test and look for.

Hope it gets resolved for you, GreyFortress!



Re: Is this normal?
by silverhead on 2013-01-31 19:05:07

I have duplicated your settings using my JTV-59 and played the same simple riff to compare. I find that mine sounds the same as yours with that acoustic model and a virtual capo at the 5th. I conclude that this is an example of the inherent warbling/artifacts with alternate tunings on the JTVs.

I think that, due to the nature of the resonance from the physical string vibrations being picked up by the piezos, alternate tunings at the 5th and 7th frets on clean tones, especially the acoustic models, may cause the most noticeable artifacts and hence be the most troublesome tunings.

Personally, I wouldn't say that it 'sounds horrible' but I agree that it does not truly replicate the sound of the same guitar with a physical capo at the 5th fret. That may be a useful comparison if you want to post a clip of those two situations.



Re: Is this normal?
by GreyFortress on 2013-01-31 19:39:09

Ok, thanks so much for checking that out.  I had a strong feeling it wasnt just me or just my guitar.  Its a shame, cause it sounds good most of the time and with most of my playing.  But its that 5% of the time that really gets under my skin.  And I am not a guitar aficianado by any stretch.  I did alot of reading and watching videos before buying and did not run across any info about this issue.  Mostly found lots of raves from "pro" guitarists about how they only ever play their JTV.  All their old guitars collect dust.  Anyhow, will have to some more thinking and playing on it.  I'm definitely a bit dumbstruck by the sound problems.



Re: Is this normal?
by snhirsch on 2013-02-01 05:17:05

The "warbling" sound is probably splicing glitches.  If the JTV pitch-shifting works as I believe it does, they are digitizing short samples of the actual string sound from the piezo pickup into memory and re-converting back out to audio at a higher rate to raise the pitch.  But, when you do that you arrive at the end of the sample sooner - in other words the sample becomes shorter in length and you now have a bunch of pieces with little gaps of silence between them where the system was busy working on the next.

There is some additional trickery in there to minimize the gaps by replaying part of the previous sample and pasting this all together in an overlapping manner.  Since the guitar is not a continuous steady tone (like an organ note), there is an audible "jump" in the sound where the samples are joined at points where the string dynamics and harmonics do not quite align.

All pitch-shifting devices I've ever used exhibit this to one degree or another. 



Re: Is this normal?
by silverhead on 2013-02-01 05:36:29

Like you say, it's only a problem in certain situations - mostly using the virtual capo in standard tuning as opposed to a non-standard alternate tuning. For the troublesome virtual capo situations you can always just use a physical capo to avoid the issue.



Re: Is this normal?
by dchernov551 on 2013-02-01 07:48:37

Thank you for checking this out with your particular model, Silverhead. Can I ask if this happens with all the models included or only with the acoustics or only with the Martin O-18? Does it happen only with the particular virtual capo tuning or does it happen with all included alternate tunings as well due to the nature of the crystals in the piezzo reading the vibrations from the actual standard tunning and trying to "re-phrase" it to the desired sound? Yes, a physical capo would be of help. Wish I could test it out myself before buying! But thank you both for trying it out!

Greyfortress, I understand your thoughts and feelings. I am in the same position at the moment, except already owning the guitar. Did you try it with the other models in acoustics and with electrics as well or it is not as noticeable then? Thanks!



Re: Is this normal?
by silverhead on 2013-02-01 09:20:47

The general issue applies to all alternate tunings on all models. And it applies to all products that use these modeling technologies for alternate tunings - not just to Line 6 Variax guitars. Other threads discuss the technical details of what's going on.

Having said that, the symptoms are (imho) most noticeable on the clean tones because more distorted tones hide the effect. And the acoustic guitars are the most susceptible because a real acoustic guitar sound (that's what's being modeled) relies entirely on the string vibrations. Electric guitar models try to emulate the sound of the mag pickups, which have already tempered/affected some of the natural harmonics of the string vibrations. And the virtual capo at the 5th and 7th frets are the most susceptible for the same reason that three-chord songs are so pleasing to the ear - there's a lot of natural resonance and harmonics going on.



Re: Is this normal?
by GreyFortress on 2013-02-01 09:22:35

My ears hear this particular issue in every alternate tuning and guitar model that I've tried.  It is more obvious with some tunings/models than others, but its there in every combo I've tried to one degree or another.

But let me also say, the alternate tunings present a bit of a paradox when it comes to hearing the warbles/artifacts.  You've probably already discovered that the alt-tuned/modelled sounds need to be monitored in such a way as to drown out the acoustics of the standard tuned strings, either with headphones or adequate amplifier volume.  So, of course, listening to the dry sound by itself in a pair of headphones is much more revealing of imperfections than listening to a mix with other instruments(but I still hear them in a mix, too.).  Add some effects to the guitar sound and you will also help disguise the defects.

Adjusting playing of certain notes can "help".  For instance, in the recording I made, I couldve played that figure with more muting.  And that would lessen the warbles, but it also changes the sound of what I'm playing.  And it still has some artifacts. :-/

In the end (and in my opinion), I'm just disappointed that its not the product it is marketed to be.  And, again, I find it strange that I seem to be in a small minority of users complaining about these issues especially since I barely even qualify as a "guitar player".  I would think "real" players/purists would be more dissatisfied with these issues, but perhaps I've got it wrong.  Maybe the upside simply outweighs the downside. I've never had to cart around a bunch of guitars on the road, so what do I know?  Plus most rockers use distortion which masks issues as well.  hehe....  

I soooo wish this was just a problem with my particular guitar, because I really want it to work the way I expected.  I dont want to start a slam-fest or nothing, I just wish the product was offered with a disclaimer "Alternate tunings are useful but imperfect. Here is what they sound like.  Here is what you can do to avoid problems."  Then let me decide based on the truth.  Granted, after discovering the problem myself, I dug deeper and did find some mention of issues.  But nothing very concrete, certainly not audio samples.  Right away, my dealer wanted to bring it in for repair.  But, as suspected, it works the way it is supposed to work.  Glad I avoided the shipping hassle.  Anyways,  I'm sure my dealer would take it back, but I'm probably going to keep the guitar because its mostly fine for my needs and I did get a good price on it (I think), especially since prices seem to have gone up after the first of the year(?).  I'll use a real capo and/or physically retune when I must.  And maybe ( not holding breath ) the recently mentioned HD update will help.... we'll see.



Re: Is this normal?
by phil_m on 2013-02-01 09:34:39

In the end (and in my opinion), I'm just disappointed that its not the product it is marketed to be.  And, again, I find it strange that I seem to be in a small minority of users complaining about these issues especially since I barely even qualify as a "guitar player".  I would think "real" players/purists would be more dissatisfied with these issues, but perhaps I've got it wrong.  Maybe the upside simply outweighs the downside. I've never had to cart around a bunch of guitars on the road, so what do I know?  Plus most rockers use distortion which masks issues as well.  hehe.... 

I think it just depends on how much one depends on the alternate tuning and virtual capo features. While I think those are cool features, I have to admit that I've never used them in a live situation or much at all really. I rarely use a capo, and alternate tunings are generally something I'd only use while recording. The biggest upside of having the Variax from my perspective is that it saves me from lugging three electrics around to every gig or rehearsal. I kind of just count all the alt tuning stuff and virtual capo as gravy.



Re: Is this normal?
by klarkkentster on 2013-02-02 17:50:33

Bummer ----

This was one of the main reasons for switching to Variax.   Virtual Cap... 



Re: Is this normal?
by silverhead on 2013-02-02 19:27:59

Really? What's so bad about using a physical capo? There's a LOT more value in the Variax than the virtual capo.



Re: Is this normal?
by klarkkentster on 2013-02-03 06:55:25

Agreed - the guitar has a lot to offer.  But I was SOOO looking forward to the virtual capo.  We often play 2-3 songs in a row with different capo positions. With my other guitar...this would require tuning tweaks each time. 



Re: Is this normal?
by phil_m on 2013-02-03 12:05:25

I took some time this afternoon to play around with the virtual capo, and I'll say overall I didn't notice as severe of warbling as is in these clips, but there were a few times I noticed. It seemed to really only be noticeable when playing single notes on the lower strings. I have a JTV69, so I'd assume the different scale length may play into this issue somewhat. But overall, I'd say this doesn't make the virtual capo unuseable. It's just in certain situations it's not perfect. My guess is that in live situation, even it's a worse case scenario, it probably wouldn't be noticed. Another thing I'll note is that the performance of the virtual capo does depend somewhat on how careful you are when you hit the strings to enter the alternate tuning (assuming you're doing it on the guitar itself and not through Workbench).



Re: Is this normal?
by Nipp on 2013-02-03 12:37:07

klarkkentster wrote:

Agreed - the guitar has a lot to offer.  But I was SOOO looking forward to the virtual capo.  We often play 2-3 songs in a row with different capo positions. With my other guitar...this would require tuning tweaks each time. 

Do you mean putting the capo on - make you having to retune guitar????

I had that too - until I got Shubb capos - where you can decide exactly how much tension of capo should bring to strings.

Most capos have enough force to be sure get clean tone - and that is often more than you need - raising pitch more than normal handfretting would.



Re: Is this normal?
by clay-man on 2013-02-05 19:30:43

Hmm, the warbling on the uptunings don't seem as bad on my Variax 600. It sounds more artificial, as in it doesn't preserve formants that well as the JTV, but doesn't seem as warbly.

It all depends on how they program it. Pitch shifters can work worlds different, but there are usually always some type of artifacts somewhere within them, ESPECIALLY when tuning upwards.

The problem with pitch shifting is that usually the more better it sounds, the more latency it takes, and you have to find a common ground without too much sacrifice.

Line 6 said there's no latency in the JTVs, so I don't know what they're doing. The formant preservation sounds really good, but the clarity, maybe not so much, at least on the uptunings. Downtuning usually sounds really nice though.

I'd think that the Variax processing 6 pitch shifters for each string would help the clarity, but I don't know.



Re: Is this normal?
by adessmith on 2013-02-06 06:47:56

I agree about the shubb capo.
Especially with jumbo frets like on the JTV-59. I really noticed this when I started playing a schecter c1+ several years ago.
It has the jumbo frets and using the cheap kyser capo I had always used caused all my notes to be sharp.

I got a shubb, and I LOVE it. I just wish it had the ability to clip on the headstock like they kyser. Its not nearly as "one hand" friendly, but I can use it without re-tuning. I still use my kyser on my acoustic guitar, but it does not touch my electric.

From my experience, virtual capo on the 5th fret is way too high for digital pitch shifting.
I've used digital pitch shifting in software programs for years, and I've always found that 1 full step (2 frets) is about as much as much I would want to shift in either direction. Any more than that and it really starts to sound "warbally".
As a rule, I use my capo to "transpose up", and I only use virtual capo If I need to tune down. I never use alt tunings other than 1/2 step down. Any more than 1 full step down and I just go ahead and learn to play my part in another key. Basically, I still use a capo when I would normally use a capo, but I use virtual capo to keep from re-tuning.

I think it was a bad idea for Line 6 to call this feature "virtual capo". I dont think it was intended to replace the use of a capo, but more likely intended to aid in creating custom alt tunings and drop tunings.



Re: Is this normal?
by klarkkentster on 2013-02-06 17:36:40

I grabbed a Shubb at my local music store... so I am prepared either way.

Still waiting for my new Jtv 69 to show up.



Re: Is this normal?
by GreyFortress on 2013-02-07 12:42:10

Yes, klarkkentster, it was the main reason for me, too.  And though the additional points made here about physical capos are helpful, that only applies to pitching up all strings the same amount.  Other than that, its re-tuning strings or accepting the limitations of the alt-tuning process.  Again, my main gripe is that it just doesnt work as advertised.



Re: Is this normal?
by clay-man on 2013-02-07 13:41:26

I really don't get what's so hard about using a real capo. All you need to do is clamp it close to the fret and have it intonated right if you don't want to retune your guitar.

The virtual capo thing would be pretty nice though. Not only can you set your tuning higher up, but you could also acess 22 notes up on each string, unlike using a real capo.



Re: Is this normal?
by Rewolf48 on 2013-02-08 04:50:18

"Not only can you set your tuning higher up, but you could also acess 22 notes up on each string, unlike using a real capo"

You can set each string in the range -12 to + 12 relative to what it is actually tuned to, that is up to 1 octave Up or Down with the 12 fret used as the standard tuning position. 

Show me how to use a Capo to give a C below the root E based tuning...

But using the guitar alone it is a bit tricky getting +12  which needs to use the 24th fret on a JTV69 with only 22 frets.

The setting is relative to standard tuning - so if you have tuned down to Eb and then want to use the Virtual Capo you have to treat the 13th Fret as the baseline position.

Or you use an HD500 which allows you to set the virtual capo on a patch by patch basis directly.



Re: Is this normal?
by clay-man on 2013-02-08 09:15:55

I think the Variax is amazing when downtuning, but not uptuning. It sounds way too warbly and poor.

I've heard some good DAW pitch shifter plugins that pitch up well (ReaPitch, Pitchwheel) but like I said, they have a lot of latency.

It is possible making the pitch shifter function in the Variax 0/near 0 latency is causing the upper pitch shifting to sound poor.

I said how my Variax 600 sounds better, but it has a tiny bit of latency, while the JTV has almost none, so that's probably why it sounds more warbly.



Re: Is this normal?
by Geo888 on 2013-02-11 14:59:47

I think that your assumption about comparing the two models is not right....Because the two guitars have different processing power...Dual core processor of JTV handles all the algorithms for shifting while the single core and slower processor of V600 produces the latency. It's a matter of h/w and algorythmic programming...So the question has to do...Is the dual processor of JTV capable of handling such events with no latency and sound quality? This is hard for us to answer



Re: Is this normal?
by clay-man on 2013-02-12 09:00:40

Actually, pitch shifting requires latency because it needs to actually read some of the sound wave to analyze it and shift it. Some pitch shifters have a latency option, and the less latency you use, the more bad it sounds.

That's because it has less time to observe the waveform and shift it properly.

So latency in pitch shifting doesn't really have to do with the processor speed, but just how much a pitch shifter reads until it uses that data to shift correctly.

Remember that pitch shifting does a little bit of tracking, and tracking requires latency to be good. The more time it has, the better it will track, regardless of processor speed.

While a processor will help, it isn't the determining factor of how good a pitch shifter will sound.

A processor might be fast, but it can't read into the future, it needs to see what notes and frequencies you're playing before it can determine what to do with it correctly.



Re: Is this normal?
by klarkkentster on 2013-02-15 09:52:32

Okay i'll settle down.... i just heard "the sample noodle" for the first time,,,lol

I can live with that, In a mix and strumming,,, i would be shocked if anyone in our church would notice...i'm back to being excited about it...



Re: Is this normal?
by clay-man on 2013-02-16 13:39:11

I think with the V-capo feature, you have to be open to a tiny bit of synthetic feeling.

Virtually every single pitch shifter out there sound a little weird when pitching ABOVE the incoming signal's real pitch.

Basically with most pitch shifters pitching up, they're playing the input fast, and then in really small intervals it resets back in time.

example:

imagine the numbers represent segments of the signal. It cuts it up into pieces and rearranges it.

normal signal....: 1  -  2  -  3  -  4  -  5  -  6  -  7  -  8  -  9

pitch shifted up: 1 2 3 2 3 4 3 4 5 4 5 6 5 6 7 6 7 8 7 8 9

Notice how numbers repeat.

It runs the input really fast then goes back a little, this is to give the illusion of a higher pitch while staying being in time.

When you do this, it will sometimes give a stutter effect, which is what you're hearing in the sample the person posted.

I know pitch shifters are different in how the process stuff, but most basically follow that example.

I have to say though, the down tuning is SPOT on.




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