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a guide to gain structure?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by pulse, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. pulse


    Apr 10, 2007
    Berlin, Germany

    can anyone point me too or give me some tips on running multiple dirt boxes together, specifically how to set levels

    They all seem to influence each other so massively, and I often find I get better sound when I back the pedals off in a series using levels that would not make sense at all if the pedals were used alone (because the volume drop would be ridiculous when engaged).

    Is there any specific way to do this, should one use a gain meter or something and set every thing to hit a specific peak?

    Any tips much appreciated
  2. father of fires

    father of fires Commercial User

    Nov 29, 2006
    Chief of Medicine at Damnation Audio
    I would set each pedal to match the output level of the bass by themselves.

    Just go one by one and set the input gain to get the amount of distortion you want and then set the output gain to match your bass. Then move onto the next one. Kick on your first pedal and then adjust the input gain of the second pedal to get the distortion you want and then set the level to match your bass and the first pedal.

    Or...if you're only ever going to use them all at once then set them how you like it.

    There are no rules. Just best practices.
  3. pulse


    Apr 10, 2007
    Berlin, Germany
    Thank you father of fires, thats already a big help :)
  4. in addition to what FOF said, it helps to practice at actual stage volume for this stuff.

    There have been numerous times where i thought i had some good dirt settings, by myself... only to realize they sounded horrible with the full band at full volume.
  5. Agree with previous posts. Also, more aggressive distortion will compress the signal more. So if you want less increase of volume I would suggest putting e.g. fuzz later in the chain.
    For example: bass -> od -> dist -> fuzz -> amp.

    Personally I do it the other way around which gives the od a boost function (i.e. increased volume) when used over the fuzz or dist.

  6. Same here... i use to have my fuzz after dist. and OD... but recently put it in front, and i think i like it there better.

    But see?? I wouldn't know that unless i messed around, and experimented with it :D
  7. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    I would like to add that I typically don't set pedals to be at "unity gain" but more at "bass unity gain." Some pedals, especially those that boost the mids and highs will be much louder, but I'd rather retain low end supremacy at the cost of bumping mids up in the full mix over keeping mids maintained and dropping out of the low end when I step on a stompbox.
  8. pulse


    Apr 10, 2007
    Berlin, Germany
    Wow guys all such useful tips, especially about playing at band volume and allowing low end to be the boss and not judging by the mids bumps you invariably get

    I tried today an also prefer my fuzz before OD / dist

    It just gets oversaturated the other way for me

    My chain is sounding better than ever today thanks to this!

    Bass>Suppercollider>Acid Pig(iron pig)>rusty box > Amp

    Sehr schoen! As they say in Germany ...