IR Modeling: Cuki IR with NUX Optima Air is a phenomenal combo

This really needs to have its own thread so its creator, Cuki, doesn't get buried and this thread pops up if people are searching.

I came across the name Cuki as I was reading and learning about the IR stuff recently. I understood he can make you a custom IR profile for your guitar. And that's true. But what I didn't realize...

It's free!

And it sounds phenomenal!

You go his website here to watch the video with instructions (his site can be a little confusing). This link can change in the future but this is his current process

On this page you'll see "Link to online IR generator" and when you click on that, a page with the code will open up and that's where you upload your file and generate your IR.

The gist of the steps are:

  • record a sound sample using a mic and a built in pickup simultaneously
  • pan the mic all the way to the right and the pickup all the way to the left
  • save in WAV format
  • upload to Cuki's code
  • generate IR
  • download new WAV files

You will get three new files: a standard, modified and blend. A standard IR is a "stock" IR. Modified is EQed version of standard. Blended is 50/50 standard and built-in pickup. And now you can load these into the NUX pedal.

Why is it better doing this way?

A whole lot more foolproof process. No weird, unexpected results. The results are very consistent. It reflects the sound of the mic and the mic placement dead-on. It's super quick and easy, just a little bit of learning curve.

I could not be happier with the results. It's just like, this is the sound of my guitar mic'ed, nothing else. It's just incredible. Below is a standard IR

Here I played fingerstyle, using a modified version of IR because it has a little fatter bass and it's a bit brighter too. It's crazy how spot on it sounds.

I'm astonished that he and his product are relatively unknown outside of the acoustic guitar forums and a few YT videos. He deserves much more recognition. If you're looking into making a switch to IR modeled sound then NUX pedal and Cuki IR is the cheapest, but I feel also the best way to go about it. A little bit of caveat is I need to get this gig tested. If you use Cuki's stuff, support the guy (I did). This in enormously valuable product that he's putting out there for free. Hopefully a major name manufacturer will spot him (again, I'm kinda shocked that is hasn't happened already) and they'll be putting his algorithm in something that's mass-produced, and he'll get rewarded for his work.

Cuki, you rock my man!

Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel


  • maxmax SwedenNew
    Posts: 32

    Cool! I’ll try it asap, thanks!

  • Posts: 4,618

    Let us know what you think. I just came back from busking at the local brewery patio. It's a big step up for me. Only problem is now I want the amp with a full range speaker.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • edited November 2 Posts: 4,618

    Went to a friend's place who has Neumann U87 with Apollo x8 premap/interface. I recorded a short noodling sample, guitar to the NUX box and USB to the laptop into Reaper. It doesn't get much better for IR based sound, to me it's incredibly accurate. And so quick and easy with using Cuki's code, the guy's a genius. Also this is his "modified" IR file. His "standard" IR had some clipping in a couple of spots when I tried it today, "modified" is just perfect.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Altamira M10
    Posts: 1,179

    It is amazing to me how far this project has come in just a handful of days. This is a great sound and sounds very close to a mic'ed acoustic tone. Thanks for documenting this journey.

  • richter4208richter4208 ✭✭✭
    Posts: 510

    what pickup did you end up using Buco?

  • Posts: 4,618

    I'm now on the roll, next up is to replace the speaker in my ZT lunchbox acoustic. Now I'm really missing the extended frequency range on this amp that this pedal will give. I found a full range speaker that seems to be about the same size. I'll find out in a few days.

    @richter4208 Manouche mic. I should point out that this is a very good pickup for what it is. Jokko did a great job with it. The pick up does give me this midrange bump. Far from a quack type of sound but it is something that's not present in the acoustic tone and I've been thinking about how to get rid of that. Changing its location was a step forward. The NUX pedal with Cuki IR was a very inexpensive way for a big improvement. I think the replacement speaker will get me there the rest of the way.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • richter4208richter4208 ✭✭✭
    edited November 3 Posts: 510

    Cool Buco. I think most of these “mics” pickups aren’t anything special, just some sort of peizo disk with some wood or carbon fiber or whatever surrounding it.

    I’ve been thinking of getting one of these K&ks. I think I could use it with a tonedexter or maybe even try to something like you are doing. Does the nux have a phase switch?

  • edited November 4 Posts: 4,618

    Yes, my understanding is all of these fall under the umbrella of contact microphone, piezo included. I would think K&K, if it's going to be used with something like NUX Optima, only makes sense if it's more feedback resistant than a cheap piezo. My experience so far is that the pickup doesn't play a role in a modeling of the IR. However, if your guitar doesn't have any pickup then it's better to have something that's better quality as a backup.

    NUX doesn't have a phase switch or a notch filter. And its own preamp section only affects the built-in pickup, not the IR sound. But I now appreciate the fact that it relies on the outside premap which you need to capture the IR.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • maxmax SwedenNew
    Posts: 32

    CUKI´s generator indeed is really good!

    I did a quick try with the optima, and the result were really no better or worse than my own IR with the Nux. ( sound clips is in a thread about the ToneDexter)

    That said, I too had big problems getting the optima software to work on Mac. Did try 5 different cables on two different Macs. In the end I used an old pc, but it was a major pain, so I got a bit annoyed with the optima software. But the pedal have worked sans problem as standalone.

    But, I also have a ampero 2 stomp ( backup for electric guitar gigs) and did a IR with that as a preamp (Ehrlund piezo - ADK Hamburg condenser, IGS preamp into UAD Apollo ) and used Cuki´s generator, and the result were really good! the editor for ampero is way better than optima, and it has a lot of great features built in for acoustic guitar, so I will take the ampero to a gig on Saturday and see how it works irl.

    I´ve used the optima for all gigs the past two years and it served me really, really well so it´s a great product, but at the moment I´m really excited with the ampero. For example; it allows me to use the built in looper when sound checking, so the band can play to my loop, and I can go FOH and tweak the sound.

    But the point is- with a decent two input interface, one can buy a cheap IR loader and get a great feedback resistant sound with very little money using Cuki´s code..

    For the moment I'm using a Ehrlund piezo but just ordered a KK maccaferri and a really cheap Harley benton piezo to experiment with, so I might get back to that. All in all, Cuki´s generator is great, and for loud live playing sans condensers, I think this is the way to go.

    @buco - I have really good experience with qsc K-series of small fullrange monitors, cheap second hand, sounds fantastic and won't break down..

  • Posts: 4,618

    @max Man, you have some nice gear. Yeah, if I'd known what I know now I would've gotten a simple IR loader pedal most likely. That trick with looping pedal and doing the soundcheck is such a great solution, love it!

    You're gonna experiment with different pickups to find out if there's a difference in how the IR comes out or something else?

    QSC stuff is great. I like how tiny the Lunchbox acoustic is. I'll be receiving a full range speaker tomorrow, then I'll swap it and find out if that does the trick.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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