Effects dogs - talk to me, please
What in all hell is the world coming to? First, we lose out on Twinkies, and then....
I have effects pedals?!?
....seriously? Lots of blame for this. The continued influence of my cronies, Jon and Steve, hearing some of these things used in really musicals ways, etc. But in many ways, this falls on our man, Greg. He told me last year, and reinforced it in his own store in June of this year...that'd I'd soon have a pedal board. And finally, he puts his Aggie stuff on sale. An evil man, he is. I admire that about him.
So anyway, I've taken the plunge. I've yet to start really digging in, but last night I put together the pieces I've assembled for a photo:
Already my CDO is rumbling over the cables, but I think I can get over that. For you veterans of such things, I'd be grateful for some input on the following:
- Clean wiring and mounting advice.
- Ideal order of devices in the signal chain.
- Proper care and feeding, and anything else I'm missing.
Thus far I've heard very compelling arguments for why the compressor should go first, and also why it should go last. Obviously I'll be experimenting, but I definitely appreciate words of wisdom from folks who've already invented this wheel.
As always, thanks to Greg, for objective advice and an ever-positive buying experience. Hit me, folks!
I got nuthin'. But I'm in for the fun. ;) I'll tell ya like they told Rocky; "hit the one in the middle".
God Bless, Ray
I've fairly recently acquired way too many effects to even admit to in this forum. We're talking enough that if I sold the whole lot in the classifieds I could order a new Roscoe... :hiding:
Anyway, I'll contribute more on cabling and such in a bit, but to start with for the compressor:
- First in the chain makes some sense as it will see the attack of your instrument and react accordingly. It will also help the octave track better afterwards.
- Last in the chain also makes sense in that it will limit peaks coming out of the effects, especially those generated by the filter.
IMO both are valid: do the first case if you use compression more as an "effect" and the second case if you use it more for "always on levelling and overall tone enhancement"
As for the others on your board, definitely filter after octave. Consider putting the tuner first rather than last so you don't have to turn everything else off to check tuning between songs or even in a short bass-free break.
Also you've got that pedalboard upside down. The groove/tray that you have at the bottom is meant to be at the top to contain some of the cables.
Thanks, Jeff! FYI - your 'last in the chain' for the compressor input exactly mirrors what Jon (Pacman) told me earlier today. I'm seeing that logic.
Regarding the tuner...not turning everything else off is actually why it was suggested I put it last, since it mutes the signal when active.
I'm looking very forward to playing around with this setup. I've been piecing things together for just over two weeks now, realizing that I needed to put everything together in one place or that I'd never make effective use of any of it. Accordingly, I'm really impressed with the PedalTrain product line. I'm also totally digging the VoodoLab stuff, although I confess it was darn tempting to go with a much cheaper OneSpot solution.
The adventure begins...
Nothing you have in that chain is going to generate sound without an input signal (delay, noisy distortions, etc.) so putting it first or last will be equally silent.
If I had to guess, the application of the compressor last is probably what you're going to like. The MXR is particularly good in that kind of role, and not as good for the other kind of compressor use I mentioned (it will work but there are better ones for that role).
You'll appreciate the Voodoo lab PS especially if you add a few more pedals. Not having to worry about noise is a big relief when you start adding stuff to your signal chain.
Fwiw my current board is
Bass -> Aguilar octamizer -> waterfalls chorus -> Aguilar filter twin -> Aguilar Agro -> eventide pitchfactor -> Strymon delay -> fea dual band comp -> sonic tuner
The rationale is the analog octave needs a clean signal to track well. The eventide tracks really well. The comp helps even out any oddities/artifacts. You can play with order though - dirt sounds better before some pedals and after others.
I've used one spot but some pedals want an isolated power feed. I'm using the new voodoo labs 4x4 as I have some high current pedals.
My thought on the compressor is that you want it AFTER the envelope filter. Envelope filters are driven by dynamics (play loud, they open up; play soft, they stay closed), so you probably don't want to even out the signal before it goes into that.
Logic also dictates that the octave pedal goes before the envelope filter since the octave pedal won't track if the envelop filter if messing with the signal first. So I'd go:
Octave -> Env Filter -> Compressor
IMHO. IME. YMMV. etc.
Oh - and for your OCD: route the cables UNDER the pedal board instead of on top (if you can). That'll really clean up the look.
This never ends, huh?
It never ends, especially if you start messing with chorus and fuzz/distortion. That plus octave and env filter can get you into some very fun territory ala Stevie Wonder, etc.
You need a bigger board so you can mounted the power supply underneath :D Pedaltrain JR will do the trick. I have a mini and nano that are currently unused but will be built back up for a second, smaller board. For cables, either Lava or George L pedal board kit. Running underneath and zip ties will be your friends, but also you enemies if GAS sets in. My board changes almost as much as my underwear though I'm trying to make this latest iteration stick for awhile. But in anticipation of my eternal search, I haven't zip tied anything.
I would suggest the Lava pedal board kit, but it's not a 100% ringing endorsement. On the positive side: they let you get pedals as close together as possible, and they assemble pretty easily. On the downside, they're solderless. After having a few intermittent pedal issues thanks to that lack of solder, I'm loosely on the prowl for a more reliable solution myself...
I did check out the 'Jr.' and '2' versions from PedalTrain. Not for me, even though I love the idea of mounting the power supply underneath. Small footprint is paramount, and I've already violated my 2012 rule of carrying less crap in and out of gigs.
Granted, I've only been exploring for about a month now, but the only other effect that intrigues me is reverb, and from what I've gathered there's not a lot of pedal options that works well with bass. Unless there's some really significant change in the gigs I do, these things will be toys that get dragged along to maybe one gig in four, and used sparingly at that. We'll see....famous last words and all, but for now I think I've exhausted my wish list. Whether I survive the neatness test in board setup remains to be seen. :)
The EBS reverb pedal is actually pretty nice. It's not super flexible in terms of letting you tweak the reverb (I'm used to studio reverb devices that let you massage things every which way: spring vs room, room size, delay, EQ, etc.), but it's more than adequate for a bass rig. The few preset reverbs that it provides sound good and cover a pretty good spectrum. I really only like a smidge of reverb when I'm playing fretless, and there are 2-3 settings on the EBS pedal that work for me.
The Eventide stuff is a step above both in terms of tone and flexibility. Of course, that comes with a higher price, a steeper learning curve, and a larger footprint. That will make sense for some folks, and it would be ludicrous for others.
I briefly had an Iron Ether Nimbus reverb. I thought I wanted reverb, but turns out I didn't. Now delay...that's something I use a fair amount. That's what you need to add to that board imho. Well, that and chorus, but I'm a big chorus fan. Didn't used to be, but a good one can really make for some interesting colors, especially with chords.
I had my nano set up as my "small as possible" board and I'd sit it on top of the cabinet. Had tuner, comp, env and delay (though it would change around). Right now I'm waiting for the latest dual engine comp from FEA, then I'll set that board back up with chorus, delay, comp and tuner.
Micro Pog -> Iron Ether Xerographic Deluxe (env) -> some dirt or fuzz. Variations on that could get some cool organ and synth type tones. I ran an EHX mass micro synth and it is cool but found my bass would drop out live when using it. I decided to go with the PitchFactor and ditch much of the other stuff. I still have only scratched the surface and some of the patches/effects are just plain silly. But for some of my gigs, a touch of silly can do the trick. The cool thing is that you can run up to 3 harmonized voices and control not only key but mode - and it can be foot controlled by an expression pedal.
I'm doing some duo and trio stuff and it helps fill some space. Other times it is effective at annoying other musicians or confusing the crowd. I'm equal opportunity :D
If you like chorus and you can deal with the Eventide interface and footprint, you also want to check out the ModFactor. It's got incredible chorus, flange, etc. And their Space Reverb is the shizzle for reverb.
Greg, I appreciate the input. I'm certainly going to try to route these cables under (they're Lava ELC), but my mind's eye is telling me they'll be short. We'll see.... You know my thoughts on the whole solderless thing from Lava mirror yours, so that won't be an option.
Fun, fun, fun. Plenty of 'me' time tonight, so I'm looking forward to digging in and making some noise. Based on yours, Jon's, and Jeff's thoughts, I'll start by rearranging... Octamizer > Filter Twin > Compressor > Tuner. v1.1, here we come.
FWIW I still say tuner first so that it sees a dry bass signal for tuning. For the same reason the octave wants to see a dry signal for tracking, my thought has always been to get the tuner first in line. For muting purposes it should be identical unless you have extraneous noise somewhere in your chain, which I assume your CDO isn't going to allow regardless since it'll be heard between notes when you haven't got it muted.
Makes sense, although I'm not sure it matters. I'm not going to have any of the effects live while I'm tuning. That said...I take it all you guys put the tuner first in the chain?
I switch effects off when I tune, but one byproduct of the tuner last is that you have an indication if something odd is going on in the signal chain before it hits the amp. Plus the power cable for my tuner enters on the right side, so if it is first then it isn't as clean running power.
Not that I'm CDO or anything...
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