Thor Infinity: User Review Part 2


Introduction

The Thor Infinity guitar is a revolutionary instrument featuring a carbon fiber and hardwood composite body with infinite sustain on all six strings. Its unique capability, combined with multichannel audio processing, sets it apart from traditional electric guitars. In the previous post, early adopters praised its sleek design, high-quality build, lightweight feel, and stable neck. The Infinity System’s ability to expand sonic possibilities, creating new soundscapes and sustained chords, has been particularly well-received.

We will continue to refine and enhance the Thor Infinity guitar. Now, it is essential to address criticisms and identify areas for improvement. In this post, I will address the feedback from early adopters, focusing on areas needing improvement and potential enhancements.

Criticisms and Areas for Improvement

I did encounter one fret that has a small divot at the 12th fret between G and B string – it’s pretty shallow, so I don’t notice it all the time.”

“There’s a slight bit of fret sprout – nothing major, but may be an issue for some folks afraid to sand on their new $3k+ guitar”

“Individual string processing is not straightforward. Maybe some examples of presets/configurations that could be downloaded using a free host and a couple of plugins.”

“More capability from the sustainer would be nice. Harmonic mode is the first thing that comes to mind. A mode that is more immediate would be nice (a dynamic way to control that would be great too). A hold function would be brilliant.

– Timothy Noonan

I think I will eventually adjust the setup on the G string as I have a little rattle in a few frets past the 12th. The B also has some very minor ringing sometimes.”

“The fret edges are a tad sharper than I’m used to (but still perfectly playable). Though, if they were smooth at production time, I wonder if this is something else the humidity/temp change affected?”

“The backplate has a bit of a looser fit bottom center and doesn’t sit quite flush with the body on the left side. This doesn’t really bother me, but just wanted to make sure that is not out of the ordinary, since I’m a worrier.”

“Does the infinity system use the max power available for drive already? Just curious if a later update could give us the option to boost the sustain (for cases where we want something more aggressive). Or to turn it up for thicker gauge strings, for example.”

“I was thinking of experimenting with flat wound strings, would these work just as well on Infinity? Assuming the gauge is within looks.

–CJ McGregor

The nexus environment I would like if its output was much more straightforward to connect into digital realm, I find myself forced to use it as a gateway to still connect to another device that then connects to my pc (Boss GP-10 for instance).”

“As an owner of Moog Guitar, I feel the lack of an alternative harmonic sustain mode, like generate the fifth, octave or even the dampen effect. With this system I miss also a tremolo/whammy bar to make the note much more expressive than using just bending and slide: that put me into curiosity to have a fretless or alternative option without being in caged with western pitch system. The only alternative I found at moment is playing it with extensive technique, like put the instrument in horizontal and playing with bending in piano manner”

“About switching and tone, I feel that this instrument is like a piece of marble. I have to sculpt it often in post processing because I am more used to missing certain frequencies than having them all. Of course this is an opportunity to sculpt all by myself. Maybe implementing the software you had in mind will certainly help with that (IR of certain famous pickup). Without switching I have to put midi switch to change tone preset or eqs. I didn’t use so often the midi pots, because after many “gateway” connection with digital world I’m finding to using other system to control it. For what this instrument is, would be much more interesting to me if there was a system to control the polyphonic aspects, kill gate, sustain bypass/mode of some strings.”

– Edwin Lucchesi

This is not news to you, but yours is far more subtle than the Moog guitar and somewhat more subtle (though far more musical) than a Sustainiac. It shares the characteristic where a light touch / attack is actually better to actuate the sustain in a musical way, as opposed to a hard attack that can cause sort of a dip in level before the sustain takes hold.”

“My personal preference would be for the maximum sustain level to be a bit higher. But I have no idea if that is a limitation of technology or some other decision.

– Steve Sjuggerud

Areas for Potential Refinement

Construction Issues

Sharp fret edges, a looser-fitting backplate, and other minor construction issues resulted from temperature and humidity changes. After analysis, it appears that the wood slightly shrank as a result of humidity changes while in transit to the US and Europe, which was most likely worsened by abrupt changes in temperature and humidity. I must admit that our workshop lacked humidity control, and the hardwood absorbed excess moisture during the months the first batch was manufactured. Consequently, the body shrank by 1-2 mm at the sides, and the neck by less than half a millimeter.

We have since relocated to a new workshop with proper humidity control. In addition, we will implement further wood stabilization measures. The fret-ends may need to be recessed slightly to accommodate any further wood movement.

Sustain Level and Drive

While users have praised the Infinity system, with one calling it the most responsive and balanced sustainer he has ever tried, some desire a more aggressive sustain driver. As noted in the Infinity System article, Infinity is not designed to be an aggressive sustainer. The objective is to achieve a properly behaved and evenly balanced sound output across all strings and at various volume levels. Further envelope shaping can be achieved using post-processors such as dynamic ADSR envelope shapers for volume and timbre.

The basic idea is to leverage synthesis oriented audio post-processing and sound design using digital signal processing (DSP) with the infinitely sustaining string as the oscillator, followed by various signal shapers.

The article Thor: Sonic Envelopes provides a glimpse of the possibilities available when you can process the output of each individual string. The ongoing string vibration becomes an oscillator that can be shaped to your desire using envelope shapers to soften the attack, increase the sustain level, the decay duration, etc., much like you would a synthesizer.

Furthermore, when waveshaping and distortion are introduced, the raw sustain level issue becomes less relevant. Even a small amount of gain will drive even modest sustain levels to saturation. This is demonstrated in the Thor: Poly Fuzz article.

That being said, I understand that some players prefer more direct control over the guitar’s raw output. I suppose some may prefer a stand-alone system—like the Moog guitar—with more control options out of the box. I am not sure yet if this is one direction I want to take, but exploring this is high on my priority list. Tell me what you think.

Either way, I am currently moving towards the development of the Ascend DSP post-processing system as we speak.

The Whammy Bar!

We all love the whammy bar, don’t we? I miss it too! A variation of the electronic whammy bar, (see: The E-Whammy), is under development and will hopefully make it into Mark III in time for the next batch. An alternative touch-sensitive pitch controller may also be available earlier. I’ll share details as development progresses.

Direct to Digital

Now, this is something I truly desire. This will probably be my next big thing. I am currently in contact with various people to develop a standardized direct-to-digital system for multi-string processing. It’s too early to share details, but expect some exciting news to come!

My goal has always been to offload processing tasks outside the guitar into the digital domain. And in my opinion, the best way to do multi-string digital audio signal processing is still by using a computer via a low-latency audio interface, optionally augmented by external hardware. The processing capability is unparalleled.

A direct-to-digital system will simplify the use cases I envision significantly. The audio and control signals will be converted to digital right inside the guitar. The output will be a digital stream sent through a simple twisted pair connection with phantom power. The other end may be a small Nexus-type box with computer connectivity (tentatively USB), MIDI, and at least 8 audio outputs from onboard DACs. Essentially, all you will ever need will be Thor, the digital Nexus box, and a computer.

Keep in mind that this direct-to-digital system is still far away on the horizon and most probably won’t be ready for Mark III, the next batch. Oh, I wish I had even a tiny fraction of the resources of a company like Roland. But the reality is, after more than 10 years in operation, we’re still struggling as a company trying to carve a niche in this nascent multi-string world. Thor was an epic achievement for us, but there’s still a LOT of work to do. Your continued support will help us get through the finish line. Nevertheless, I will remain laser-focused.

Passionately Y’rs,
–Joel de Guzman


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luc.barreda
luc.barreda
18 days ago

Hi
For the future digital nexus product
What would you think of using a Linux beagleboard black board, around 55 $, and adding a custom daughter card(cape) to drive the pc or Mac interface audio io, midi and a2b master and slave link ?

I think the beagle board would be powerful enough to handle your pitch detection, strings pitch shifting, infinity software, some convolution and some other things

It would allow to have a rack standalone ultra low latency unit for mag and acoustic sounds ( gui via iPhone or iPad software) and hook a pc or Mac if more power horse is needed

What would you think of that ?
Best regards.LucB

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