Any pedal that can add second and third armonics just like tubes?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by sratas, Jan 6, 2016.

  1. sratas


    Dec 15, 2007
    Parma, Italy
    Hi guys, happy new year.
    I'm interested in real world opinions about this particular subject.

    I usually play SS amps because of weight and form factors. I have back problems and the age keeps advancing faster and faster :)

    I recently came to the conclusion (after a test) that my preferred tone would come out from my main bass (G&L JB) mated with an Orange AD 200 head, all tube, run pretty clean. Maybe at that magic point found just before pushing the tubes, when the clean gains something. Tubes add overtones gradually so even the clean tones do have something added compared to the SS clean. Sadly, no way I can conceive buying such a weight and I don't want to re-start messing with tubes, maintenance, added care etc.

    I'm not interested in true overdriven and distorted tones, but I loooove that kind of personality, character, tri-dimensionality that, in part, I attribute to the tendency of tubes to add second and third armonics mainly, wich are perfect intervals (an octave and a fifth of the octave if I can remember correctly). Clean all tube tone is clean and dirty at the same time for me.

    My actual tone is very very good, and I love the inherent tone of my bass, I just sometimes miss that colour.

    I would stay away from Sansamp units or other pedals with a big backed-in EQ curve. I like colouration, but great amount of pre shaped equalization could bother me. Even Darkglass B3 and B7 k seem to sport that kind of bity aggressive clancky overdrive I do not need at all, but I have to say that I never tried one.

    Perhaps a possible solution could be adding a tube pre to my signal chain but I wanted to know if someone knows other SS pedals engineered to mimic that overtones, while not engaging full blown distortion.
    It would be great if this pedal could drive a power amp directly.

    Thanks for all suggestions.
  2. Hallic


    Sep 2, 2012
    RMI's Sonic spark is exactly what you are looking for. It enhances harmonic* overtones, and only starts to break up at about 80%. It can drive an power amp directly.
    The Eq section on the pedal is a sweepable contour/smiley face eq.

    *edit: i just noticed i said "harmonic overtones" Overtones are by nature already harmonic XD i did a derp
    IPA, kcole4001 and Fuzzbass like this.
  3. sratas


    Dec 15, 2007
    Parma, Italy
  4. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    Yeah that's neat. That Sonic Spark actually to me sounds a lot like the Aguilar Tone Hammer's AGS, I don't know if that does the same thing. Anybody compare the two?
  5. sratas


    Dec 15, 2007
    Parma, Italy
    wow....just watched Ed's test, and with reference headphones the sound is quite fantastic.

    The price tag is not popular but it is much cheaper than a boutique tube pre like the Monique or Noble.

    Anyone knows more about the technology behind the enhance function of the Sonic Spark?
  6. Hallic


    Sep 2, 2012
    I absolutely love the pedal. It is designed by RMI and manufactured by Lehle(Germany). The build quality and components in pedal are all studio/high end grade. (there is no noise created by the pedal, even at high gain)
    What kind of circuit or type of components it uses to actually create that overtone-rich tone is outside of my expertise.
    i do know that the power input takes anything from 9vto18v, it has best footswitch button i have ever pressed, the housing is sturdy, the knobs don't move unless you want them to. Furthermore, the jack in/out puts are on the top side, where they should be ;)

    the price/quality ratio is where it should be in the market
  7. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I am fascinated by the Sonic Spark, especially because the harmonic effect remains subtle even with the active Carvin bass -- some subtle overdrives (such as Blueberry and Barbershop, from what I understand) can give too much 'kazoo' with higher output instruments.

    A mild concern for me is the interactive controls that make the pedal somewhat non-intuitive -- but it remains on my GAS list nonetheless. (I went too gear crazy in 2015, so I have decided to sit out early 2016... no purchases until after NAMM, at least!! :D)
  8. Mosfed


    Apr 21, 2013
    Washington DC
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    Fairfield Barbershop does exactly what you want.
    smo and blindrabbit like this.
  9. Beat me to it.
    blindrabbit likes this.
  10. ^^^ What he said. Nothing against the Spark, but the Barbershop sounds a lot better IMO/IME. You can even get a tiny always on version of it to have in your signal chain.
  11. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    There are tons - on the cheap side I've used a Behringer BDI21, Calin "Pure Sky", Zoom B1on.
  12. Hallic


    Sep 2, 2012
    i have had the Aguilar TH di aswell, But the drive just creates... wel drive like an OD does. It does it well. But the sonic spark has total different character across the frequency response. way more even without getting dirty. the AGS doesnt get that harmonically rich.
  13. Hallic


    Sep 2, 2012
    The barbershop and sonic spark are 2 different things really. If you want an Overdrive, then the sonic spark is not what you want.

    OP is not looking for OD's with baked-in eq. Behringer BDI21 is similair like an sansamp


    I like the sonic spark because what it does, does it very very well: enhancing the harmonics of the signal.

    I then can choose my distortion type of my liking: do i want an OD that distorts from mids to high continuously, or something that does it with different gain stages for each frequency bands. etc
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2016
  14. TrevorOfDoom

    TrevorOfDoom Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    I snagged a fullsize TCE Spark Booster to do much the same thing. Haven't had it too long but i've been pleased with the results.
    CatSquare and Hallic like this.
  15. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks.

    Jan 25, 2011
    Camarillo, CA
    Same here. It'll do everything from a clean boost, to subtle fattening, to mild overdrive.
  16. RoadRanger

    RoadRanger Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2004
    NE CT
    Yep, OTOH the Pure Sky is quite transparent - I don't use the BDI21 anymore although there is a mod for it that removes the baked-in EQ that I'll try someday...
  17. DavC


    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    never tried the RMI ... looks cool .. bare in mind , i'm in my studio with headphones on , and i want my pedals to work equally well on bass and guitar .! i am also looking for that 'tubey' warmth .?!!?

    but i've tried the TC Spark ( pretty good ) , Barbershop ( little raspy on attack ) , Beta ( nice but came on to early ) , Maxon Bass OD ( not the tone i wanted ) , Wampler Low Blow ( very nice ) , Maxon Real Tube , Blue Tube, Sparkle MOD , Fulltone GT500 mosfet , and many more i can't remember at this time ..

    Currently trying a Carl Martin Bass Drive ... with the cheaper higher gain tube it broke up to easy , as i do fig in a bit ! Yesterday i rec'd a 1957 JG5751 lower gain pre tube ( 70% ) .. it's installed , hopefully i'll get to try it out tonight !?

    there's a few tube preamp pedals that give the tube enough juice to do some good . Most do not . Another pedal on my to try list, is the EBS Valve Drive . I've also looked at Carl's Custom tube Preamp , but it is the size of a small amp head .
    NonDJ likes this.
  18. sratas


    Dec 15, 2007
    Parma, Italy
    Great suggestions, thanks.

    Now I must do my researches but the youtube videos showing the sonic spark got me really. To me, at certain setting it has that sort of personality I attribute to a classic tube amp at suble breakup...pretty incredible. Mixing the one knob eq with the enhance function brings a lot. I like that the eq, with intensity maxed out, is very musical and useable albeit mid scooped, but with musicality.
    it reminds me of a tube amp and it's not easy to convince my ear, I'm quite picky.
    maybe I have found the colour I was searching.

    I like the idea of using the one knob eq of the SS and the one of my diamond comp, they should compliment well
    Hallic likes this.
  19. I used to get fabulous results out of a Barbershop and a Diamond Comp, sounded incredible.

    Another option to consider would be the Broughton Azure Drive, made by @Azure Skies who is a member here. It is a variant of the famous Blueberry Bass Overdrive, and is another pedal that would nail what you are looking for.
  20. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    You can have non-harmonic overtones: gongs, cymbals and some other metallophones have non-harmonic overtones which is why they don't have discernible pitches.
    McFarlin, Need Gigs and Hallic like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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