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 Post subject: Takamine CT4-DX preamp video review
PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 7:15 am 
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Greetings everyone, I have completed my review of the third preamp found on the Japanese-made Takamines, the rather complex and mysterious CT4-DX.

Video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYZ8BF6urxw

Unfortunately I do not currently own a Tri-ax or similar pickup so I was only able to demo the single-pickup mode of this preamp, but that should still give you a really good idea of how the EQ sounds and in particular how the notch filters (unique to this preamp) work. They are ostensibly there for feedback control, but I find them to be the best-sounding part of the EQ section and usually employ them in this role.

Hope the video is helpful - comments and questions most welcome, either here or on YouTube. You can also contact me at GLB Productions on facebook.

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http://www.youtube.com/glbpro - Guitar and Preamp review videos!


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 Post subject: Re: Takamine CT4-DX preamp video review
PostPosted: Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:11 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:32 pm
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Good reviews. Thanks for your efforts. I have referenced your video to some that had questions on the use
of their new Takamine preamps.


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 Post subject: Re: Takamine CT4-DX preamp video review
PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:06 pm 
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Thanks for sharing, if any of them have questions they can contact me via the comments section under the video, or on this forum :)

Regards,
Bruno

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Takamine DMP751C/BL
Takamine TSF48c
http://www.youtube.com/glbpro - Guitar and Preamp review videos!


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 Post subject: Re: Takamine CT4-DX preamp video review
PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 4:41 pm 
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Location: Sydney Australia
Just registered but have been lurking for a while. My 'live' guitar is a Tan 46c which I am very happy with. No current questions as they have been answered to now whilst lurking but I wanted to note my appreciation of your reviews of the preamps. Your methodical approach helped me to understand the differences and similarities. My Tak came with a CTP2 but I am not totally sold on it so may go for a CT4BII, anyone have one they'd be willing to ship to Australia, they're a little pricey here?

Anyway hi guys and thanks for the vids Bruno. :)

Kris

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 Post subject: Re: Takamine CT4-DX preamp video review
PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 6:54 pm 
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Thanks for watching, and welcome to the forum. Lots of great people here :)

Regards,
Bruno

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Bruno Goh Luse
Takamine DMP751C/BL
Takamine TSF48c
http://www.youtube.com/glbpro - Guitar and Preamp review videos!


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 Post subject: Re: Takamine CT4-DX preamp video review
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:53 pm 
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Bruno: I also have used your preamp reviews, very helpful. I just posted a New Topic in General Discussions about my experiences with several preamps.

I'm specifically curious about opinions on the CT4-DX used in a 12 string (which I will soon be able to experience myself).

An interesting additional feature to your videos would be to demonstrate how each pickup handles a more agressive, percussive strumming and picking. And your reviews are so thorough, it would be great to have you review the older models, such as the Accuracoustic, N4B and Graph-EX.

Good stuff!


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 Post subject: Re: Takamine CT4-DX preamp video review
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 2:01 am 
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Hi Myrios, glad you have found the videos helpful!

I suspect that the CT4-DX will work well on a 12-string, with it's additional strings and hence additional harmonics. I have found the CT4-DX to be essentially a CT4BII on steroids, in other words you get more of everything - double the EQ (not a good thing IMO) double the channels (two instead of one) and two notch filters instead of zero. Most importantly you get the 18V circuit, which has long been used by preamp manufacturers like Bartolini to increase the ability of their preamps to handle transient responses. The result is a very transparent-sounding preamp which should work well on a 12-string.

Thank you for your suggestions on the videos - I will do that when I get around to doing reviews of my individual guitars. I thought I was already strumming pretty hard - perhaps I'll use a 1mm pick next time :mrgreen:

Unfortunately it will not be easy for me to obtain examples of the older, discontinued preamps. I was thinking of doing some reviews of the G-series preamps, which are much easier to find in Singapore.

Welcome to the forum, there are many wonderful people here :)

Regards,
Bruno

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Bruno Goh Luse
Takamine DMP751C/BL
Takamine TSF48c
http://www.youtube.com/glbpro - Guitar and Preamp review videos!


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 Post subject: Re: Takamine CT4-DX preamp video review
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:12 pm 
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The CT4-DX arrived and it sounds about how I expected in my 12-string. More overall clairity and distinction between strings, not warm per se, but plenty of bottom end/bass. The 4 band EQ is nice to have on a 12, a lot more sound variations possible.

Questions for Bruno: 1. Could you described how you use the notch filters for EQ effect? 2. When using just one pickup, how does each notch filter behave differently? 3. I don't really hear a change when I press the dB switches... Would these have more effect in louder band situations? I think I don't really understand the concept of a notch filter... 4. Do you know any more about the gain switch? Your video is the only info I've found about it. I didn't hear more in your vid than "use this swtich to match gain of second pickup". I do notice a difference between setting 1 and 2 when using just the one pickup, but I'm wondering what the switch is doing technically. Setting 1 seems more clacky and trebly, seems to handle hard strumming less well than setting 2. Is setting 1 maybe hotter? It's hard to tell...

Thanks for sharing your experiences!


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 Post subject: Re: Takamine CT4-DX preamp video review
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:50 pm 
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Glad to hear it is sounding good! To try and answer your questions:

1. Could you described how you use the notch filters for EQ effect?

Basically, play and turn one or both notch filters until the sound improves :mrgreen: I have found that using one of the notch filters set at about 2 o'clock helps to clean up the midrange and make the guitar sound less muddy.

2. When using just one pickup, how does each notch filter behave differently?

When you are in single pickup mode the filters are both applied to the main palathetic pickup; when in dual pickup mode one filter is applied to each pickup. In terms of function they behave identically in single or dual pickup mode.

3. I don't really hear a change when I press the dB switches... Would these have more effect in louder band situations? I think I don't really understand the concept of a notch filter...

Think of a notch filter as a midrange cut-only EQ with a very narrow bandwidth, ie it only affects a very specific frequency:

Image
Source: http://www.planetoftunes.com/record/re_ ... ss_cut.gif

When you move the knob, you are changing the centre frequency of that bell curve. The diagram shows an 18dB cut, the filters on the CT4-DX can be set to 6 or 12dB depending on how much effect you desire. The reason you may not be hearing any difference is that the filter affects only a very narrow group of frequencies, so the effect is extremely subtle compared to the normal EQ.

4. Do you know any more about the gain switch? Your video is the only info I've found about it. I didn't hear more in your vid than "use this swtich to match gain of second pickup". I do notice a difference between setting 1 and 2 when using just the one pickup, but I'm wondering what the switch is doing technically.

Sorry I can't help you there - I suspect this is some sort of level switch but I have no documentation nor a second pickup with which I can experiment to see what it does. I would suggest writing directly to Takamine (who should REALLY supply a manual with this preamp!!!) or asking your local dealer.

Setting 1 seems more clacky and trebly, seems to handle hard strumming less well than setting 2. Is setting 1 maybe hotter? It's hard to tell...

I'd say you're on the right track there.

Regards,
Bruno

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Bruno Goh Luse
Takamine DMP751C/BL
Takamine TSF48c
http://www.youtube.com/glbpro - Guitar and Preamp review videos!


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 Post subject: Re: Takamine CT4-DX preamp video review
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:29 am 
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Hey Bruno

You do an awesome job with all this stuff. You deserve a great bid "Atta boy" from all here at the forum.

Yo da man!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Takamine CT4-DX preamp video review
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:04 am 
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Thank you Mike, I really appreciate that :)

When you are passionate about something it becomes very much a labour of love.

Regards,
Bruno

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Takamine DMP751C/BL
Takamine TSF48c
http://www.youtube.com/glbpro - Guitar and Preamp review videos!


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 Post subject: Re: Takamine CT4-DX preamp video review
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:53 am 
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Posts: 11
Thanks for the review. I originally had the AD1, but it broke on me a few years ago. Now I have the CTP-2 and was planning to either get the DI+ or maybe replace it with the CT4-DX. The DI+ seems to be disappearing from a lot of stores, so I'm not sure if it's a wise choice for the future. I have to listen to you review once again and make up my mind. It seems that the CT4-DX works well with the palathetic pickup signal, but the CoolTube is advertised because of it's warmth. So I'm still kind of indecisive about what to do. Any input is appreciated.

Erik


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 Post subject: Re: Takamine CT4-DX preamp video review
PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:00 pm 
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Hi Erik, thanks for watching :)

In my opinion the DI+ has a significant disadvantage in that the XLR and unbalanced outputs cannot be used simultaneously, for example to connect to the PA system and an acoustic amp on stage at the same time. The manual indicates that players should use the buffered output for this purpose but that does not make sense to me given that it is located before the effects loop and boost functions. The DI+ is useful in that it can provide power for the cool tube electronics, but you need a special TRS to TRS cable in order to access this feature.

You will find widely differing opinions on the Cool Tube preamp here - some love that warm sound, especially fingerstyle players, others don't like the colouration and the fact that the preamp produces a small but noticeable amount of hiss.

In my opinion neither preamp can match the CT4B-II for simplicity and ease of use, especially in the EQ department. If you want just a simple straightforward preamp that is easy to use, has an excellent easy to read tuner and a fast battery change, I would consider this one. If you want the cool tube option, go with the CTP-2, and if you want the option of adding a second pickup and having full control over it choose the CT4-DX.

Regards,
Bruno

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Bruno Goh Luse
Takamine DMP751C/BL
Takamine TSF48c
http://www.youtube.com/glbpro - Guitar and Preamp review videos!


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 Post subject: Re: Takamine CT4-DX preamp video review
PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:45 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:36 am
Posts: 11
Hi Bruno. Thanks for the reply.

Well, I already have the CTP-2 and have been experiencing some hiss/rumble in the signal which annoys me quite a bit. I also find the battery compartment feeling a bit fragile when changing batteries. I'm actually looking for a more solid pre-amp solution that allows expandability. I really like the unamplified sound of my guitar and am looking for a preamp that complements the instrument. I had been looking in buying another CTP-2, but then found out about the CT4-DX. Replacing batteries looks much more simple with this unit. Somehow the CTP-2 'feels' more fragile because of the tube. It's not that you carry tubes in your guitar case just in case something goes wrong. Also I have the idea that I can better shape the sound with the CT4-DX so it is closer to the sound of my guitar with or without an external mic.

Erik


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 Post subject: Re: Takamine CT4-DX preamp video review
PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 7:52 am 
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Posts: 11
I decided to put my CTP-2 pre-amp up for sale and see if there is any interest for it. After it's sold I'm going to buy the CT4-DX. You mentioned that fingerstyle players like the CTP-2 for it's warmth and I actually do a lot of fingerstyle, but how is the CT4-DX doing in that department?


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