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Budget effects for post metal

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Cosmin Serban, Oct 19, 2018.

  1. Cosmin Serban

    Cosmin Serban

    Sep 3, 2018

    I am looking of building a budget pedalboard for live concerts in small venues with my instrumental post metal band (something a bit similar to Russian Circles).

    The context:

    We are a 3 member band (drums, guitar and me on bass) and we avoid looping too much so I need to fill the space when my mate does leads. Most of our song are low, we are tuned in B. We have been playing together for many years in different projects but this formula is new to us - we said to give it a try after too many vocals failed us.

    So far for composing and rehearsals I used my 5 string bass (Squier Jazz Bass V deluxe) with a Zoom B1XON and a Big Muff clone (has a blend knob and does enough noise :D) + various amps depending on what studio we rent (we rehearse in two different cities because of our jobs). The zoom helped me try different sounds for cheap but it wouldn’t go on stage with it. I could still use it as a tuner, volume pedal and some other stuff but i would rather have a simpler and smaller pedal board with specialised parts.

    I want to make something decent that can be upgraded later. I can afford to spend around 300 euros.

    Everything from my list below is available from Thomann - I live in Romania so not much of a market for buying used and the local shop doesn't really have what I want and the prices are way bigger anyway.

    What I am thinking of buying:

    First in the chain a tuner, a cheap Harley Benton with true bypass seems good enough for tuning and muting everything (cost 18 euros)

    Then a gentle compressor - probably always on - to make the sound a bit more equal and full. Is the TC Electronic Forcefield up for the task? (cost 29 euros)

    Next will probably be the fuzz that i already have. I will use it for some wall of sound parts and under a few solos / leads that are over heavy riffs. Also sounds nice on long notes under guitar tapping :) . I might add an original big bass muff in the future - you can never have to much fuzz, right?

    I would then put something for the softer atmospheric parts. Right now I rely of softer playing but I am thinking of adding a bit of analog delay - nothing too extreme. Would the Behringer vd400 do it? It's got nice reviews and it’s too cheap not to try… (cost 19 euros)

    I don't need it in any of our finished songs but I feel tempted to buy a looper. I like the Nux Loop Core but I can skip it and use the money to upgrade something else. (cost 69 euros)

    At the end of the chain the Hartke Bass Attack 2 (cost 88 euros). I really need a D.I. box since I don't own a good enough amp and I don't have the budget or the real need for one.

    This would also give me a decent overdrive that should go well on some parts. Also I like the shape part, depending on how it will match my gear I can use it as a boost for some parts or at least as a cut to let the guitar breath.

    I can't find too many demos online but it looks like a nice piece of gear for the money.

    To power it all I think the Harley Benton power plant iso 1 (cost 49 euros) is enough and from the reviews seems quiet and reliable. All the 8 channels are isolated and have 500 mA. None of the pedals above require more than 9v. I was initially looking at the power plant junior from Harley Benton but it only has 5 outputs and my list already has 6 items and i would like to avoid daisy chains. Another option would be Mooer Micro Power, but I’m not sure it’s worth the extra 20 euros.

    I enjoy woodworking so I will build the board myself.

    Everything except for the looper costs a bit over 200 euros.

    My specific questions:
    • Am I going cheap with something that I will regret?
    • Is there anything I could live without or something I should add?
    Sorry for the extremely long post and thank you for your time and suggestions.
    oZZma and Robertron like this.
  2. Robertron


    Feb 12, 2010
    NewYork, NY
    Dude go through with your plan! Give loopers a chance. They're amazing creativity tools.
    Cosmin Serban likes this.
  3. Karlson541

    Karlson541 Banned

    Jun 9, 2018
    I would advice you an spend just a bit more on the tuner, I got the cheapest Harley Benton pedal tuner and it seems to tune a bit sharp, for just a minimal amount more you can get a tuner that is certified +/- 1 Cent accuracy.

    As for the other pedals you have in mind buying it really depend on how you happen to like the specific tone they deliver.

    Quite decent effects can be had for cheap but it does matter which one specifically you buy, as they are not all equally good and will have different tone characteristics.

    Personally for delay I'd probably go for the D-Seed Harley Benton or Joyo (same pedal) (although the delays in your zoom multi effect ought to be just as good if not better quality, same goes for the tuner), for overdrive I would probably chose a Joyo or Harley Benton American Sound (again same pedal), for distortion California Sound, again Joyo or Harley Benton (both the California and American Sound can be used as preamp pedals too in conjunction with a cheap DI box), and for fuzz Behringer Super Fuzz SF300 or TC Electronic Rusty Fuzz, as I personally don't like Big Muff type fuzzes, as they tend to scoop out too much mids.
    If you do prefer a mid scooped tone a Big Muff is a fine pedal though and in that case for an even cheaper DI you could chose the Behringer BDI21 which is an almost exact clone of the Tech 21 Bass Driver DI, that also has a baked in scooped tone.
    For looper I would personally look at the red Harley Benton one.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
    blip, oZZma and Cosmin Serban like this.
  4. Phe


    May 30, 2005
    Oulu, Finland
    You can daisy chain off of Power Plant Jr. Use separate outputs for digital effects, daisy chain the rest.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2018
    Cosmin Serban likes this.
  5. Cosmin Serban

    Cosmin Serban

    Sep 3, 2018
    Thank you all for the quick responses

    @Karson541 all your suggestions are great

    I could indeed use my zoom for tuner, volume and some other effects like delay but i don't like the fact that it's very big, it needs a different power supply or batteries and that it must stay first in the chain... that's why I was thinking of retiring it (that means rarely using it for practice in headphones)

    In the Harley Benton CPT-20 tuner description it sais +-1 but i will look for alternatives.

    The D-Seed looks nice indeed. I will really take it into consideration (even if it's a bit expensive at 70 euros) because it looks really flexible. But i'm not sure, maybe i would rather spend extra on something else.

    I like the Big Bass Muff sound (with blend) and i don't mind the scooped mids.
    I actually wanted to buy the Behringer BDI21 a few years ago but it seemed a bit too low quality. It's only 19 euros now.. Soo inexpensive :). Is it reliable enough to take it on stage?

    I wasn't in the search for an overdrive but it was included on the Bass Attack... but i just looked at demos for the American Sound and I heard some tones I could use, so yeah, great tip :)

    I looked multiple times at the cheap looper from HB and even the chinese ones like amoon, they seem fine for playing around but the Nux one seemed more future proof somehow :)

    So yeah, this alternative sounds very good:
    Tuner > TC Forcefield > My fuzz > American Sound > D-Seed > HB looper > BDI21 - powered by Power Plant Jr

    All would be around 240 euros so yeah, more flexible and cheaper, nice. I could also throw in the SF300.. :)
  6. Blaargh


    Apr 4, 2016
    I quite like the Mooer Ana Delay- It's a budget Boss DM-2 clone. It does a really good job for the price range.
    Cosmin Serban likes this.
  7. Alien8


    Jan 29, 2014
    The basics are critical for a live use reliable board.

    Don't skimp on a power supply, or the power cables you need. If you need longer, buy longer, don't buy extensions.

    Don't skimp on the audio patch cables either - they can be a big cost. If you go cheap, you can count on noise and failure. So look for reliable ones, or ones you can easily fix. If you go solderless, always leave an extra inch or two so you can make a quick fix at a gig, or cary extra cable.

    When you layout your pedals, make sure you arent adding extra stress to your cables or jacks. Tie all your cables down so you dont have them wiggle around on you.

    After that, get some pedals that fit the budget, and are easy to replace if needed.
    tommyr01 and Cosmin Serban like this.
  8. oZZma


    Sep 13, 2018
    Fine choiches, I'll throw my two cents anyway

    I would not feel that need for a looper in a post-metal (genre I like a lot) band, I would save that money to buy a DI which fits as close as possible your idea of sound, being that you don't use an amp and the sound itself has a huge importance in the genre you play, and you plan to use it for the distortion too! IMO the DI is the most important pedal you're about to buy, I would not goo too budget on that, I'd rather sacrifice something else or look on Reverb for a used one

    For example MXR M80 is not cheap but not far from the price of the looper + the Hartke Bass Attack
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2018
  9. Cosmin Serban

    Cosmin Serban

    Sep 3, 2018
    Thanks, I will pay attention to this.

    As a matter of fact there is a used MXR M80 available on a local forum that i could get for around 110 euros. Should i?
    oZZma likes this.
  10. oZZma


    Sep 13, 2018
    I think you should :) It's a great choice for post metal! :)
    Cosmin Serban likes this.
  11. Master Chief

    Master Chief

    Jun 4, 2010
    I know we're talking about budget pedals, but I'll go ahead anyway:

    See if you can find a used Fuzzrocious gain pedal on Reverb.com (I'd suggest the Cat Tail as your main distortion, which is what Russian Circles use on bass anyway). Got mine for 100€.

    Also a nice delay w/ tap tempo is the Boss DD-7. These go for ~80€ used.

    As for looping, me and my guitarist both use the Digitech Jamman Solo XT (70-80€ used). These can be synced to one another, which means you can both loop without going out of sync.

    Power-wise, I say daisy-chain at first, until you expand your collection. Get a 1-spot to power your first 3-4 pedals, then look into getting an isolated power supply as you buy more pedals.

    My biggest advice, quite obviously, is to buy second-hand pedals. Instrumental music relies heavily on the texture of your sound and you're not going far with Behringer, Joyo, Harley Benton etc. Save up and buy 1 good pedal instead of 3 crappy ones.
    neuman, Cosmin Serban and oZZma like this.
  12. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    I can't say which pedals you should buy as I am not really a metal guy.

    However, when searching for effects, take into consideration that many Harley Benton, Joyo, Ammoon and a couple of others are all the same effects with different paint jobs.

    I have an Ammoon Compressor (identical to Joyo) and the Ultimate Drive (also identical to Joyo) which I really like for a very small amount of money.

    I also wouldn't have an issue using the B1on (I have a G1on that I use for Piccolo and Uke), but I would put it in an effects loop with a true bypass which you can build for next to nothing.

    If you are ok using a drill and a soldering iron, check out musikding.de for some decent DIY stuff, their prices are good and shipping is very reasonable.

    I have also heard good things about the
    Harley Benton Custom Line Bass DI Expander. I am about to order one to give it a try. It may be worth checking out.
    Cosmin Serban likes this.
  13. MordBass


    Nov 1, 2017
    What sort of amp are you using?
    Cosmin Serban likes this.
  14. oZZma


    Sep 13, 2018
    I agree with this..
    I would not spend that much for the power supply when still building my pedalboard, especially if I try to stay ín a tight budget.
    It's something that doesnt significantly affect the result when it serves just a few pedals, I used a daisy chain with 7 pedals without problems! :D
    Cosmin Serban and MordBass like this.
  15. higain617


    Sep 12, 2013
    Master Chief and Cosmin Serban like this.
  16. Cosmin Serban

    Cosmin Serban

    Sep 3, 2018
    I agree but I live in Romania, not much available around here second... I checked reverb, forums and trade apps, except that mxr m80 nothing really nice.

    I own a fender bassman combo 100 (in our little studio) and a hartke hd 25 (for bedroom pracrice). But most of the time we practice in another city in a rented studio on what is available
  17. MordBass


    Nov 1, 2017
    Sweet. So I used to run a bunch of fx in my bass rig and the xotic bass blender was a great addition. It let me run an fx loop off of it and blend it into my dry tone. However... I have since gotten rid of it since my current rig has that capability right on the preamp. Either way, its something to explore. I found that the ability to mix signals let me retain the bottom end while using a lot of pedals that werent specifically designed for bass.
    Cosmin Serban likes this.
  18. oZZma


    Sep 13, 2018
    Unfortunately Reverb is not well known in Europe as it is in USA/Canada, that's why there are few EU sellers... In Italy we have a similar site, it's called "mercatino musicale". Maybe you can check that, if you can speak at least a bit of italian there are tons of sellers and pedals there... It's much better than eBay IMO
    Cosmin Serban likes this.
  19. birminghambass

    birminghambass Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    Ditch the compressor. You may not need one and cheap ones are usually terrible on bass.
    Cosmin Serban and oZZma like this.
  20. AngelCrusher

    AngelCrusher Supporting Member

    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    No need for a compressor when you distort. Distortion is compression and using a comp in front is a luxury, not really a necessity at all.

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