Anyone else use a wide array of always on pedals/effects for their basic "clean" tone?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by NoiseNinja, Sep 29, 2021.

  1. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Inactive

    Feb 23, 2011
    I use quite a wide array of always on pedals/effects to achieve my basic "clean" tone.

    I guess partially because it is an "amp-less" setup, so I have to mimic what an amp and cab does as well.

    So it got me curious and thinking, do anyone else use a wide range of different always on pedals/effects to obtain their basic "clean" tone?

    I personally use no less than 10 always on pedals/effects (counting the ART tube preamp last in my signal chain among them).

    So excluding all other effects/pedals that will only be engaged once in a while that makes my always on basic "clean" tone signal chain look like this :

    My "amp-less" setup in written form (only including always on effects) :

    4 string 28,6" scale Ibanez GSRM20 neck + GSRM20B body Mikro Bass (equipped with an EMG Geezer Butler P pickup, wired directly to the output jack socket, and strung with gauge .090 - .072 - .054 - .040 D'Addario XL nickle plated roundwound hex steel core strings, tuned in F# standard tuning, 2 half steps above regular 4 string bass E standard tuning) ->>

    TC Electronic SpectraComp (always on 3 band parallel compression, adding extra punch, snap and bite, but without really affecting my playing dynamics) ->> TC Electronic Sub'N'Up Mini (always on digital polyphonic octaver, used as an 1 octave up effect mixed with clean bass signal, giving an effect similar to that of an 8 string "octave" bass, with pairs of respectively bass and octave strings) ->> Boss LS-2 [A+B Mix <-> Bypass] (always on parallel effect loops mixer/switch) ={ [Loop A Send] ->> Joyo Orange Juice (always on low gain overdrive, really primarily used to enhance harmonic content, [Tone] set at about 11 o'clock, [Voice] set to boost a wide curve around a 800Hz center frequency about +3dB pre gain stage, always mixed with clean {bass+octave up} signal from parallel effects [Loop B]) ->> [Loop A Return] ->||<- [Loop B Send] ->> (empty effects loop for clean {bass+octave up} signal blend with Orange Juice in effects [Loop A]) ->> [Loop B Return] ([Loop A] + [Loop B] mixed at an about 50/50 ratio) }=>> Artec SE-EQ8 (always on 8 band graphic equalizer, settings as follows: [Freq=100Hz LoShlv Boost=+1dB ; Freq=170Hz Q=wide Boost=+1dB ; Freq=280Hz Q=narrow Boost=+3dB ; Freq=500Hz Q=narrow Boost=+2dB ; Freq=800Hz Q=narrow Boost=+1dB ; Freq=1.4kHzHz Q=narrow Boost=+2dB ; Freq=2.3kHz Q=wide Boost=+3dB ; Freq=5kHz HiShlv +/- 0dB]) ->> Zoom G1Xon (Always on subtle plate reverb, and additionally used for 4 other reverb patches) ->> Zoom MS-70CDR (Always on "160 Comp" (emulating a DBX 160A compressor), set to a quite subtle compression -> always on 2 x 2 band parametric EQ : [Freq=63Hz Q=4 Boost=+1dB ; Freq=250Hz Q=4 Boost=+1dB ; Freq=400Hz Q=4 Boost=+1dB ; Freq=1kHz Q=4 Boost=+1dB] -> always on faux, EQ based, cab sim, consisting of a 2 band parametric EQ set as follows: [Freq=12kHz Q=1 Cut=-18dB ; Freq=20kHz Q=0.5 Cut=-20dB], and additionally used for a lush Church reverb that can be switched on/off) ->> Joyo American Sound (always on clean preamp (gain set to ever so slightly break up when digging in the hardest), a Tech 21 Blonde clone, analog emulation of a Fender type amp, with a wide curve around the center frequency of 400Hz boosted about +3dB, and an about +3dB pre gain stage boost to a wide curve around the center frequency of 800Hz)

    ->> EHX Black Finger (always on tube driven optical compressor, used primarily as a tube preamp stage, set so that the compression basically never kicks in) ->> ART Tube MP Project Series (tube preamp, with HPF fixed @ 40Hz)

    ->> [Effects Return] (poweramp input) of Peavey Solo Special 112 (160W, solid state guitar combo, with the build in 4 Ohm 12" speaker unit disconnected and instead hooked up to a The Box PA 502 PA speaker) ->> The Box PA 502 (full range PA speaker with 1x 15" woofer/mids driver + 1.7" high frequency tweeter horn)

    (The Valeton Aquaflow Vintage Chorus has since been swapped out for a TC Electronic Shaker Mini, loaded with a customized chorus patch. The white goo is hot glue, use to fix the settings on some of the pedals)
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2021
    Funky40 likes this.
  2. That’s some dedication for a “always on tone”.
    Reminds me of the bass player from tesseract who does something similar. Goes through two or three compressors or something.

    my “always on” is either my cog mini 66 ( basically just sounds like my bass tone but boosted with a tiny bit of crunch) or mbd1 for articulate overdrive. I always have pedals with a blend in them to either a) use my bass sound with overdrive/crunch on it or b) have that sound sitting underneath fuzz / more gain etc

    my 80% of the time is just cog mini 66 though.
    NoiseNinja likes this.
  3. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Inactive

    Feb 23, 2011
    As said the excessive amount of always on effects that I use can partially be explained by the fact that my setup is "amp-less", which means that I have to basically somewhat mimic what an amp and cab would have done to my tone, however this gives me the advantage of my bass always sounding more or less the same, regardless of weather I run my setup through a headphones preamp and a quality set of studio headphones when I practice at home, through a poweramp and full range PA speaker with great low end representation at band rehearsals, or through a venue's PA at a gig.

    And yes, I have seen a video with the bass player of Tesseract, where he goes through his pedal setup, his is "amp-less" too, and he also used quite an array of always on effects, not quite as many as me, but still quite a few, and he also uses his EHX Black Finger primarily as a tube preamp stage, rather than as a compressor.

    Unlike him though I have my Black Finger dialed in so that the compression basically never kicks in, which means all the compression I get from it is the subtle compression from the tubes in it, making it function 100% as a tube preamp stage (the bass player of Tesseract has his Black Finger set so that the optical compressor circuit in it actually does do some subtle compression. He also doesn't have the input gain turned up quite as high, which means not driving the tubes as hot as I do, which again means that he will get less color and compression from the tubes of the pedal. And further more he uses the LED optical compression source setting, where I use the Lamp mode, which actually does influence slightly on the tone, since even if you have the pedal set so that compression never kicks in your signal will still have to pass through the optical compressor circuit in the pedal, sitting between the input and output stage (the LED mode being pretty flat and fairly colorless, whereas the Lamp mode slightly fattens up your tone)).

    Which also means that I really only use 2 actual compressors, both at rather subtle settings, really just adding a bit of extra punch, snap and bite, as well as balancing out the frequency content of my tone a bit, but otherwise leaving my playing dynamics almost 100% intact.

    That is the TC Electronic SpectraComp at the very beginning of my signal chain, right after my bass, and then the DBX 160A emulation from my Zoom multi stomp towards the very end of my signal chain, only some rather subtle additional EQ'ing, the cab simulation, and the preamps and tube stages happening after that.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2021
  4. For my death metal band my "clean" tone is the DG X7 set to maximum clank.
    For my atmospheric metal band, my "clean" tone is the X7 set to maximum grind in parallel with an HM-2 clone, my "wet" tone is an Earthquaker Afterneath, sometimes a TC Flashback.
  5. OldSchoolFlats


    May 29, 2021
    Do you get much “noise” with that many effects? White noise, buzzing, or something?
  6. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Inactive

    Feb 23, 2011
    Actually no I don't.

    I mean it is not completely silent, there's a fain't static white noise in the very background when not playing, but that is more or less to be expected, subtle enough that it in no way is annoying or really even draws ones attention and subtle enough that it get's completely undetectable when playing, even when playing quiet.

    Definitely nothing out of the ordinary, I've played "bass directly into amp" setups that were considerably noisier, I would even say that this setup is on the quieter side of things.

    And that despite having some effects in my signal chain that on a regular basis gets called out as being particularly noisy.

    I found though that whatever I use for input cable from my bass to my pedal board has a huge influence on the amount of static noise I get, so need to be a bit picky about that.

    And it actually has little to do with capacitance of the cable as you otherwise might think, I don't want cables that suck out my high end, not sure exactly what it is that makes for a quiet or a noisy cable, I just know that with some cables I get huge amounts of static background noise, and with others barely anything.

    It might help on the low noise level that my main bass, which is the one that I use with this setup, has an EMG Geezer Butler P pickup installed which is internally shielded and known to be exceptionally quiet, which means, that, as said, with the right input cable, there is hardly any noise from the input stage that can get amplified by the pedals to begin with.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2021
    Funky40 likes this.
  7. WhoopingHonky


    Jun 8, 2019
    Kind of. My always on is a compressor and the HX Stomp, but most of the blocks on my Stomp are set up for my always on tone. Modulation, amp sim, EQ, and stereo can sims. Only two pedals, but if each block was it's own pedal, I'd have 6 different pedals going.
    NoiseNinja likes this.
  8. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    I guess I do have several that will be always on. First in the chain is the wireless receiver and then my Spaceman Effects Saturn VI is my basic clean tone. It's set for pretty low gain just to warm and fatten things up a little. I rarely turn it off. Later in my signal chain I have a Broughton H+LPF and a Broughton Apex compressor and both of those are always on.

    So four of the ten pedals on my board are basically always on and are my basic clean tone.
    Funky40, bignc and NoiseNinja like this.
  9. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 15, 2003
    My clean is inclusive of compression and a preamp circuit (the latter of which I keep waffling between the BDDI style, the MXR M80, and the Acoustic 360+ style, which all offer different degrees of that classic 800hz notch thing I enjoy), does that count?
    NoiseNinja likes this.
  10. Lowend65

    Lowend65 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    San Jose, CA
    I'm not that dedicated... I run a Keeley Bassist Compressor, and a Broughton High-Pass-Filter always on.
    Both are very subtle -
    westrock, eriky4003, Zbysek and 2 others like this.
  11. I have an always on compressor and I guess I'm always running the noise reduction on the ZOOM MS70CDR (because why not). Tonight, I dialed in the lightest detune setting on the ZOOM I could get, and it's functioning as a doubler. We'll see how long this lasts.
    NoiseNinja likes this.
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Broughton H and LPFs or VT Deluxe set to just H and LPF.
    packhowitzer and NoiseNinja like this.
  13. revd


    Apr 11, 2020
    A few. Comp, couple of preamps and something approximating a cab sim. Much more than that for always-on is overkill IMO.
  14. Bassinga


    Apr 12, 2021
    Nicosia, Cyprus
    I run an amp-less and cab-less rig as well. ATM running a KMA Tyler with a Carcosa Fuzz in the HP Loop and a DG Supersymmetry in the LP loop. Recombined and sent into my DG Alpha-Omega Ultra for the EQ, preamp and cab sim. That's my "clean tone", a slight amount of dirt from the fuzz but it sounds crystal clear. So 4 pedals but the AOU is a multipurpose pedal in this setup.
    Hypocrite and NoiseNinja like this.
  15. kbob


    Jul 16, 2020
    US mid-Atlantic
    How about posting a sound clip? I'm sure I'm not the only one who can't visualize (audialize?) what that board sounds like.
  16. HueyFreeman

    HueyFreeman Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2021
    MXR M87 comp ->
    TCE Spark Booster ->
    Broughton HPF
    Zbysek and NoiseNinja like this.
  17. BunchyMutt

    BunchyMutt Supporting Member

    Jul 3, 2014
    I used to run a similar number of pedals, but for my dirt. Between the (increasing) stage real estate, plus the number of patch cables and potential for noise and signal failure I sold 90% of it and bought an Axe FX III
    NoiseNinja likes this.
  18. burgerdj


    Dec 4, 2006
    My always on is a Sansamp PBDDI, with a Broughton AO HPF. I can’t imagine have much more on all the time!
    ThudThudThud, Zbysek and NoiseNinja like this.
  19. Thumpin6string

    Thumpin6string Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2013
    Shoals Indiana
    My always on pedals consist of an HPF and a Markbass Compressore. All I need.
    tedsalt, Zbysek and NoiseNinja like this.
  20. SakuBass

    SakuBass Lvl 6 Pixelpusher

    Apr 6, 2013
    Turenki, Finland
    I run my signal through Geddy Preamp, Ampless or amped setups (does a preamp constitute as an amp really?). Keeley Bassists for when I need compression and that's about it.
    NoiseNinja likes this.
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