High gain, low noise?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by bongomania, Dec 8, 2013.


  1. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

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    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    PDX, OR
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    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I have a hankering to buy another strong distortion pedal. Every one I've bought, I've eventually sold because of the noise floor, because I am a freak about noise. However, obviously noise is pretty much unavoidable when you boost the gain as with a high-gain distortion.

    So if I'm going to throw money at another distortion, which one(s) would you say have the lowest noise possible?

    BTW yes I know about the value of tweeterless cabs for distortion--and yes I will take advantage of that. But I'd like to start from the lowest-noise starting point. :)
  2. boomertech

    boomertech Supporting Member

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    Designer/Owner of FEA Labs
    Your noise standards are impossible to obtain! :p:D

    -Frank
  3. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

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    Aug 26, 2009
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Define "strong distortion". If I crank a BDDI drive to the max it's more than "overdrive", less than "fuzz".
  4. Adamixoye

    Adamixoye A PT Pro is cool for worship, right? Supporting Member

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    Apr 9, 2012
    I know you're not a big fan of noise gates, as you think they are just band-aids and would rather fix the underlying problem, but would a pedal that is gated have any appeal for you?

    I don't want to count any chickens, but let's just say that if I figure out a good way to record and post clips, I hope to do so after Christmas with a pedal that:

    (1) Is a high-gain distortion, not an OD or Fuzz
    (2) Comes from a quality company known for pedals with low noise floor
    (3) Also has a built-in gate
  5. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member

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    Too true! :)
    Yes, that's the usual interpretation. The Landmine, 3XFX Fatman, and GK Diesel Dawg are examples of pedals that do a really good job in that range that is hella grindy but not quite fuzz. I do prefer grind and gravel rather than smooth "singing" distortion.
    I'll keep an open mind, and I look forward to your clips whenever they may happen.
  6. Major Softie

    Major Softie

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    Sep 23, 2011
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    South Lake Tahoe, CA
    That would be the instrument. If you're a "freak" about noise, then the starting point has to be getting the absolute quietest instrument possible.
  7. Adamixoye

    Adamixoye A PT Pro is cool for worship, right? Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2012
    Hmm maybe my mystery device won't be up your alley then. I'm not sure how I would describe it based on the clips I've heard. (I am willing to end the mystery of anyone cares.)
  8. zwkoch

    zwkoch You can't do that on bass enthusiast Gold Supporting Member

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    I don't notice any noise with my SA OFD for most of the models. It also has a built in 3 level gate that I have yet to use for anything other than the Tonebender model which does make a little bit of noise. The Fuzzrocious Demon was also very quiet. Every Sansamp BDDI I have ever owned hissed as the gain was increased, even if the pedal was the only one in the chain. I did not notice this with the previously mentioned pedals.
  9. Downunderwonder

    Downunderwonder

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    Aug 26, 2009
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    New Zealand
    Ime sansamps are near silent themselves but merciless at amping up noise.
  10. andrew

    andrew

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    May 20, 2000
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    Vancouver BC/Pacific Northwest
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    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Regenerate Guitar Works
    Empress Heavy?

    If not, that's a good pedal to try if you can live with having a noise gate.
  11. Adamixoye

    Adamixoye A PT Pro is cool for worship, right? Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2012
    Ha, you nailed it. It was tops on my Christmas list and my wife and I are very half-hearted about keeping these secrets (she has a pretty good idea of her gifts too). So I don't know for absolute certain because I haven't seen it with my own eyes, but a package from Rogue showed up in the mail the other day and we joked about how it "wasn't light." I was interested in this pedal because it's up the alley of what I'm looking for on both bass and guitar. I'm really looking forward to trying the "aggressive" gate setting.
  12. andrew

    andrew

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    May 20, 2000
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    Vancouver BC/Pacific Northwest
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    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Regenerate Guitar Works
    I hope you're right about what it is because the Heavy is a great pedal. I wish I could get the Heavy's noise gate and "weight" control in its own box to use with every pedal I own. It has a lot of gain on tap, but I find set low to medium the pedal gives a great distortion tone on bass. The second channel isn't that useful for bass imo, but you can do other cool things with it (use it as a mute, stomp-able feedback, etc.) Hands down my recommended pedal for playing any kind of metal or noisy rock. Empress makes top notch pedals all around.
  13. zwkoch

    zwkoch You can't do that on bass enthusiast Gold Supporting Member

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    Stop talking about pedals. Just stop....seriously stop. My board is full and I can't stop myself.....
  14. andrew

    andrew

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    Aw dude, I'm so with you in that pain. I cannot believe how damn fast new, awesome sounding pedals are coming out now.
    There has definitely been too many come out in the past couple years for me to keep up.
  15. Adamixoye

    Adamixoye A PT Pro is cool for worship, right? Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2012
    Nice, I was going to ask if you owned it. So the heavier channel just has too much gain for bass? What sort of weight & gate settings do you usually use?

    And my apologies to bongo for the hijack...
  16. bigchiefbc

    bigchiefbc Supporting Member

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    Oct 9, 2006
    Location:
    Rhode Island, USA
    I'd recommend the Dr Scientist Elements. It can get really high gain, and I've been impressed with how low little noise I get out of it.

    The other one that doesn't get much discussion around here is Dwarfcraft's Hair of the Dog. It may be a bit on the fuzz side of the dividing lines, but it has a blend and a built-in noise gate, and sounds awesome.
  17. andrew

    andrew

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    May 20, 2000
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    Vancouver BC/Pacific Northwest
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    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Regenerate Guitar Works
    actually I don't own it. I had one on a test drive for a while so I got to use it a lot. I will own one some day soon, but it wasn't the right sound for any of the music I'm making at this time so I stuck with the Multidrive (which I do own and love) for the time being.

    I liked the hard gate setting best and liked the weight control at about 4 o'clock. I asked Empress what the weight control does and this is what they told me:

    "The weight control changes the character of the low end. It's done using eqs at various points throughout all the gain stages, which changes the low end response of each gain stage…"

    I love the weight control. It doesn't add bassy flub at all, it just puts meaty girth into your sound. Very satisfying.

    And there's no control for the gate save a 3 position level switch, but I found it works better than the MXR Smart Gate, which you should be able to tune in more precisely, but the Heavy's gate seems to work just right intuitively.

    My one complaint about the Heavy is the treble doesn't reach the bright, crisp highs I personally like. I solved this by running it with a Darkglass B3K and the two together sounded so mean and aggressive. if that's a sound you like but you don't want to add more gain, the Sadowsky preamp pedal does a great job at giving you top end clank in conjunction with a dirt pedal too. Or if you use a bass with an active preamp I think it'd work well with the Heavy too. I didn't get to try it, but I suspect a Musicman bass into the Heavy would be a pretty badass combo.

    Hijack finished, thanks bongo. :)
  18. Adamixoye

    Adamixoye A PT Pro is cool for worship, right? Supporting Member

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    Apr 9, 2012
    Yeah my Musicman has some clank and I also have a B7K at the end of my chain.
  19. zachoff

    zachoff

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2003
    Location:
    Boulder Suburbia, Colorado
    My (modded for bass) Vox V830 has almost no hiss when engaged, but isn't really a "distortion" pedal. Super crunchy OD, but not distortion. Not sure exactly what you're looking for, but it's a decent option if you're not looking for something super nasty.
  20. andrew

    andrew

    Joined:
    May 20, 2000
    Location:
    Vancouver BC/Pacific Northwest
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    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar Amplification, Regenerate Guitar Works
    You'd be golden with the Heavy then. Please do a review of it if/when you get it.

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