Mixed reviews



  • @drbaroni I wonder about using an A/B/Y box and running the SPARK for guitar tones and a TRIO pedal for drums, bass, and loops. You’d need (in a perfect world) a two input, two channel amp (one channel for drums, one for bass though both would be running through the channels from the TRIO) EQ one for bass and one for drums. Then from the A/B/Y run to the SPARK. So TRIO for jam tracks and loops, SPARK for guitar. I may try it if I get industrious... then again.



  • @jbow52

    May I be sincere? I don't even know what an A/B/Y box is, let alone a TRIO pedal! :-D
    I'm old (65) and kinda simple in these things. In my ZOOM pedalboard I set up a tone that is a clean tone, really clean, with some reverb and SOMETIMES a little modulation, a boost pedal emulation for the clean solos and a drive (emulating either a Big Muff, a Tube Screamer, or something of the kind...) for the "fat" solos. Sometimes I setup a wah pedal aat the beginning of the chain, and always a looper+drum machine at the end of it. That's all... I record a simple chord progression on the looper, super-clean, with the drum machine. Then I turn the boost on and play an improvised clean solo, and if I feel like it (pretty much always, eheheh) I do a middle solo with the fat drive on and close it with the clean sound again... That's it. I couldn't do something more complex than that :-D .
    I will have to search those terms to understand what you're talking about. It sounds very interesting. :-)
    Thank you for stimulating me to learning something new. :-)



  • @drbaroni 🤠 I’m 68yo, lol! An A/B/Y box has one instrument input and two output jacks. It has three foot switches. Amp one, amp two, and both at once.
    The Digitech TRIO is a pedal that is a looper, so you play a part and the first note of starting the part over. That makes a loop that will play over and over until you stop it. You can get a foot switch for it and layer loops or make a string of loops like a song. The TRIO is called that because it has a bunch of different styles for both drums and bass and lots of different variations in each style. It listens to what you play and offers many different drum and bass parts. Sort of like what the SPARK is trying to be with the drummers but it does it much better. Look up TRIO Plus on Sweetwater Sound or any online guitar store, if you get one you’ll want the Digitech three button foot pedal too. Check it out there then check on REVERBdotcom (.com) I don’t know what the bots allow here. REVERB is a great place to but used gear at a good price. I recently picked up a Yamaha THR-100 H Dual channel for $430... it sells for $799. It is an awesome amp!
    Anyway... I’m old with you! You’d like the TRIO. Life is short and guitar toys are fun!
    BTW, you sound like you play just like I do... for the joy of it!



  • @jbow52
    Thank you for all the detailed explanations :-)
    Didn't know of the existence of such things. My "rig" is super simple. Guitar into either a Digitech RP-355 or a ZOOM G5n and then, when I want to annoy the neighbors, into a Hughes & Kettner 30 Edition Blue :-D .
    Now I'm trying the Spark, let's see what happens with it.
    Usually I "play" (or should I say, "make noise") on a SIMPLE chord progression on the looper (with drums if it's with the ZOOM), and yes, I play "for the joy", i.e. for MY joy, as I don't know what the casual listeners could enjoy :-D .
    It's sort of "self-therapy" to me. Two or three chords, a tone that I like, and let's go until I feel I "expressed" (with the HUGE limitations due to my almost TOTAL lack of both technique and musical theory knowledge) what I felt I had to. I record all the jams on a TASCAM DR-07 MkII pocket digital recorder and then I listen to the recordings trying to identify the main mistakes thinking that doing so I'll be able to correct them next time (usually, wishful thinking :-D ).
    I'll look for that TRIO pedal and maybe for REVERB... Do they ship to Italy? :-)
    Thanks again.



  • Ok, here I am again with a new episode of the "Mixed Reviews" sitcom :-)
    After a month or so I could EVENTUALLY update the firmware. It took a neighbour to come to my house with his Windows laptop though, as none of my two macbook pro could do it (the app doesn't "see" the device on those). I bellieve there's some sort of incompatibility wit certain settings of the latest OSX updates, or maybe with some settings I have in it, that haven't been considered (or maybe not even thought "possible") by the developers team. Possibly something related to "privacy", or "permissions", or I don't know what. I'm not a system analyzer. :-)

    That said... I had some time to work on the tones, and first thing first, at least in clean tones TURN THAT BLOODY NOISE GATE OFF :-D , or at least turn the threshold dial all the way left. :-)
    I've got some clean tones that I like a lot, soft, warm and with good dynamics. I have to say that I always set my tones as clean and then, when I want to solo, I possibly add either a booster, or an overdrive, or a distortion (I admit I like the Big Muff). Now I'm looking for a distortion pedal I have on my ZOOM pedalboard, to see if it exists on the Spark "catalogue" as well. :-)

    I have a couple issues when recording on GarageBand via USB. First, when I tried it first time, I set a track with a friend's song on which I wanted to overdub a guitar line... and the volume of that track didn't respond at all to my computer volume settings NOR to Spark's volume settings. And it just blew my eardrums through my nostrils :-D .
    Second, in contrast, the volume of the signal coming from the Spark was also insensitive of any setting on it, and even with the recording level at max it was ridicolously low. Is there a way to increase the volume of the signal from the Spark and lower the signal from the existing tracks? I'm almost new to these things, and the only other time I used GarageBand my USB device was a Digitech RP-355 pedalboard that worked pretty fine. :-)

    Recording through the headphone plug into my pocket digital recorder (TASCAM DR-07 Mk II) is a beauty. It works as smoothy as it gets and the sound is clear and the level is right. :-)

    Tones from the ToneCloud: to me, most of them are just crap, when taken "as is". SOME of them are good, like those from PG and those from Jürgen Conrad. As I said, most of the others ain't no good... at least until you tweak them, i.e. make them a different tone :-D . So don't be shy, download the tones you like and take the time to build your own tones. You'll learn a lot about how tones work ;-) .

    Oh, yeah... I actually DID an overdub on a friend's song, but straight into the TASCAM recorder. I used the "jam along" feature, got the video from YouTube and while the Spark was playing it from the app I jammed along it and recorded it. The recorder took everything in: the music from YouTube AND my improvisation. I really really liked this. :-)
    The chords the app identified were all wrong though :-D .

    Ok, back to normal life. I'll be back with the next episode... eventually ;-) .



  • @drbaroni Thank you for taking the time to write this log of your experiences! I think that until PG changes the level of the Spark through the USB for recording that we have to be sure to record the guitar on its own track in the DAW and then once it's recorded, use the editing features of whatever DAW we're using to normalize just the guitar track, or to boost the volume on the guitar track until it matches the other tracks. Not a great solution, but at least it's something that can be done. Now if we're trying to record the guitar along with other things going on at the same time and merge them all into just two stereo tracks while recording obviously we can't normalize just the guitar track, which makes it much harder to get a decent signal without going through the headphone jack to get the audio signal into the DAW.



  • @drbaroni Hi, how can I find patches from Jürgen Conrad on tonecloud, it shows no results when I search by the name.
    Also searching for positive grid shows no results....
    Thanks



  • @pittrapp The search function for the ToneCloud is not programmed all that well, it doesn't consider variant spellings even if they're close. Are you leaving off the umlaut on the u? Are you including it? Possibly using the opposite of what you're doing now might help. There have been times I've searched for a particular tone where I knew the exact name, such as West Texas Sky, but I only used the word Texas and did not get West Texas Sky among the search results. Maybe search just on the word Conrad or just on the word Jurgen (with or without the umlaut). The search function on the ToneCloud and in the app is one of the things I hope PG are working on improving. And I wish/hope they will add more room for tags so that in separate searchable fields we could enter specifics like "Telecaster" and "Bridge Pickup" so that a person could search only for a specific type of guitar to find tones designed with that specific guitar in mind or with a specific pickup location in mind or even a specific type of pickup (humbucker, single coil, coil tap, piezo, whatever).



  • @dhbailey ok, thanks, I’ll try again.
    I did those tags on my first 4 uploads, look for VAA



  • @pittrapp said in Mixed reviews:

    @drbaroni Hi, how can I find patches from Jürgen Conrad on tonecloud, it shows no results when I search by the name.
    Also searching for positive grid shows no results....
    Thanks

    at the moment it is not yet possible to search by the author of the preset, unless he has saved the name in the tags, we hope they will improve the search soon
    but maybe this link can be useful to you --> https://spark.zone/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=30 (JC obviously it's for its name)



  • @samueleonline ah, ok, found them, thanks. Forgot the time about noodling, 3 hours gone by, pffffft



  • Like mine I've had no problems with it
    I would say it sounds better lifted of the floor on a stand
    But happy with it and only had a 2 month wait



  • @drbaroni
    " Tones from the ToneCloud: to me, most of them are just crap, when taken "as is". SOME of them are good, like those from PG and those from Jürgen Conrad. "

    Well, if that's not a compliment. Thank you very much. I like to hear that. Then my ears should still work.
    If anyone is interested in the presets.
    You can find them here:
    https://spark.zone/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=30



  • I had to dive in and at the very least back the gain off some of the presets.



  • @de_cunny said in Mixed reviews:

    @drbaroni
    " Tones from the ToneCloud: to me, most of them are just crap, when taken "as is". SOME of them are good, like those from PG and those from Jürgen Conrad. "

    Well, if that's not a compliment. Thank you very much. I like to hear that. Then my ears should still work.
    If anyone is interested in the presets.
    You can find them here:
    https://spark.zone/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=30

    Well, to me it's just what I think. :-)
    Sure there are thousands of tones I didn't explore. But yours I found really good. OF COURSE a little tweaking is required, even if only to adapt them to my guitars' characteristic or the volume I use to play at, but they're minimal and do not alter the tone. :-)