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Can I hack my way to a better tone? - Royal Blood sound?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by TheAndinator, Nov 1, 2019.


  1. So here's my dilemma:

    I'm trying to build a decent-but-cheap rig to get a sound similar to Royal Blood.
    If you haven't heard of them yet, think The White Stripes, but backwards. The bassist/lead singer, Mike Kerr, is using multiple guitar and bass amps with pitch-shifting pedals to build a sound that sounds closer to a full band and it works! Instead of Jack White using an octave down, Mike uses an octave up for his lead sound.

    If you haven't heard them please click this!

    Anyways, for the foundation of my octave up setup, I have a TC Electronic Sub-N-Up mini pedals, a Behringer Bass Graphic EQ pedal, and a Fender Frontman 212r. Like I said, cheap! I have a variety of modulation and dirt pedals to fit in for the fun effects and crunch, but the previously-listed elements are really the foundation. I use the toneprint application for the Sub-N-Up pedal to adjust all the parameters for cleaning up the Octave-up sound. There always seems to be a little delay and some glitch-like sounds that are only noticeable when the octave-up side is solo'ed. I have heard that Kerr uses an EHX POG for his octave up, does anyone know how to adjust my pedal best to hit a tone that is closer to the POG? Along with that, I tend to cut the highs with the pedal and amp EQ to get a sound close to Queens of the Stone Age. I feel like their lead tone matches up well.

    I'm not really trying to make a complete copy of Royal Blood, but I know how much their sound works! Anything close or even better would be appreciated! Maybe I'm just tired of waiting on guitarists :D.

    Rock on!
     
  2. rratajski

    rratajski Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2008
    Mount Laurel, NJ
    Builder for FUZZROCIOUS PEDALS
    Biamping (tri-amping + FOH), VERY precise finger work on the frets to get the best/cleanest sound out of the POG, VERY precise right hand work, and a team of people in the studio and live are how he gets the best sound of his gear/POG.

    ALL digital octavers have artifacts.
    ALL monophonic analog octavers are messy in some way.
    It's about sculpting your tone and playing very precisely.
     
  3. After trying every octave up my favorite so far is the TRex Quint Machine that does poly down, up octave and up a fifth for massive power chords or harmony. It ain't cheap and it does not split signal but it will take processed signal well as well as being easily processed by other pedals which is a huge plus.
     
    TheAndinator likes this.
  4. Thlayli1116

    Thlayli1116

    Dec 29, 2017
    I've given this a try myself, using a POG.

    I think the point of the POG is the 2 discreet outputs, dry out and effect out, running to 2 separate amps, a bass amp for the dry unaffected bass tone, and a guitar amp for the up-octaved tone. In my case, I used a Fender Rumble 15 for the bass and a '96 Fender Bronco Tweed guitar amp, both 15 watts. (I can appreciate cheap and cheerful.)

    I had to soak the up-octaved sound in fuzz (all that I had at the time) in line after the POG to make the affected sound tolerable to me (I really can't stand the sound of a naked POG, not sure if other octave pedals are different.)

    That said, I think I got close. In the most generous definition of the term.
     
    TheAndinator likes this.
  5. Correlli

    Correlli

    Apr 2, 2004
    NZ
    Royal Blood - Without Busting the Bank

    Basically it's Fuzz, Harmonizer, Octaver, Bi-Amping

     
    TheAndinator likes this.
  6. I really do appreciate the help from everyone, but I really am looking more into Sub-N-Up toneprint settings, Preamp EQ, and Amp EQ for the octave-up tone.

    I probabaly should state that I do have a separate amp running for bass as well. Clean bass really doesn't fit into the overall sound well. As stated in previous replies, you really gotta drive the low end to get a full sound that combines with the octave up. As crunchy as the sound is, the tone of the RB studio albums is so smooth at the same time! Major props to those who were involved in the production.
     
  7. JohnArnson

    JohnArnson

    May 28, 2019
    I am using the stock polyphonic octaver of my Sub'n'Up mini, with the exception that I used the Toneprint app to Lowcut the 1 octave and 2 octaves down at 20Khz via the featured Output EQ (basically killing both signals completely), as well as a lowcut at 80Hz for the output EQ of the 1 octave up (as the low E on a bass pitched one octave up is about 82Hz), since a bit of low signal was always coming through with the 1 octave up signal, and I get a much cleaner 1 octave up tone this way.

    As a side effect the output volume of the 1 octave up increased drastically for some odd reason (much, much higher than unity gain with the octave up knob maxed), so you will need to turn considerably down on that knob compared to where you got it now to get it right.

    But even before I did this I got perfect tracking with almost unnoticeable latency from the 1 octave up signal, and to me the stock polyphonic octaver of the Sub'n'Up has a much more natural sounding 1 octave up tone than the POG, which octave up has a slightly synthy organ like quality, so honestly don't know what you are talking about with delay and glitch sounds (are you sure your unit is functioning properly?), or why on Earth you would want your Sub'n'Up to sound like a POG for what you use it for.

    All I add to my 1 octave up from the Sub'n'Up is a really subtle tremolo effect and a bit a reverb, then into my Joyu American Sound (analog preamp emulation of a Fender amp) before going into channel 2 of my amp.

    Couldn't be happier, sounds really good and very authentic, almost exactly like an 8 string bass with 4 pairs of bass and octave up strings.

    Strange to me the Quint sounds even more artificial than the POG, with absolutely no attack left of the original signal and in place of it an oddly "flaming" very digital sound.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
    TheAndinator likes this.
  8. JohnArnson

    JohnArnson

    May 28, 2019
    @TheAndinator

    Just did yet another discovery that improves the tone of the stock polyphonic octaver a bit, namely engaging a low shelf filter set to 35,5Hz, -20dB, -12db/Oct and a high shelf filter set to 5,6Khz, -20dB, -9dB/Oct on the "Input" section's EQ in the Toneprint app.

    So try to load the "Default Poly" setting in your Toneprint app, then:

    - In the "Input" section set "EQ1" to "LoShelf" at 35,5Hz, -20dB, -12dB/Oct and EQ2 to "HiShelf" at 5,6KHz, -20dB, -9dB/Oct

    - In the "Sub2" section (be sure "Link" is set to off) set "EQ1" to "LoCut" at 20Khz to completely kill off the 2 octaves down signal

    - In the "Sub1" section set "EQ1" to "LoCut" at 20Khz to completely kill off the 1 octave down signal

    Store this as a separate user preset and then proceed to store it on your Sub'n'Up pedal

    The reason to kill off the 1 octave and 2 octaves down signal completely via the Toneprint app is that I discovered that for some odd reason a slight bit of their signal bleeds through to the 1 octave up output signal, making it a bit more muddy and less clear, even when manually turned down completely on their respective knobs, and even if the level of these signals displays as -100dB in the Toneprint app, as usual when the knobs are at minimum.

    Using the respective EQs for the 1 octave and 2 octaves down output signal in the Toneprint app, as explained above, to cut them out works flawlessly though and results in a much clearer and more defined 1 octave up tone, this is the main secret to improve it's tone, but further more editing the EQ of the input signal to the octave engine via the Toneprint app, to cut off some of the highest frequency content as well as excessive low end, as also explained above, improves it further, though this will be a much more subtle improvement.

    Be aware though that for some very strange reason this causes the output volume of the 1 octave up signal to increase drastically, way beyond unity gain, even before the octave up knob is maxed, and even if the level of this signal displays as 0dB in the Toneprint app, as usual when the knobs are maxed, so you will have to turn your octave up knob way down from where you normally would set it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
    TheAndinator likes this.
  9. JohnArnson

    JohnArnson

    May 28, 2019
    @TheAndinator

    Sorry for the spam, but forgot one detail in my instruction list on how to improve the tone of the 1 octave up of the Sub'n'Up.

    As follows:

    Load the "Default Poly" setting in your Toneprint app, then:

    - In the "Input" section set "EQ 1" to "LoShelf" at 35,5Hz, -20dB, -12dB/Oct, and then "EQ 2" to "HiShelf" at 5,6KHz, -20dB, -9dB/Oct, to cut off some of the highest frequency content as well as excessive low end.

    - In the "Sub 2 Output" section (be sure "Link" is set to off) set "EQ 1" to "LoCut" at 20Khz, to completely kill off the 2 octaves down signal.

    - In the "Sub 1 Output" section set "EQ 1" to "LoCut" at 20Khz, to completely kill off the 1 octave down signal.

    - In the "Up Output" section set "EQ 1" to "LoCut" at 75Hz (since the low E of a bass 1 octave up is about 82Hz), to cut out any eventual unwanted lower frequency content.

    Store this as a separate user preset and then proceed to store it on your Sub'n'Up pedal.


    The reason to kill off the 1 octave and 2 octaves down signal completely via the Toneprint app is that I discovered that for some odd reason a slight bit of their signal bleeds through to the 1 octave up output signal, making it a bit more muddy and less clear, even when manually turned down completely on their respective knobs, and even if the level of these signals displays as -100dB in the Toneprint app, as usual when the knobs are at minimum.

    Using the respective EQs for the 1 octave and 2 octaves down output signal in the Toneprint app, as explained above, to cut them out works flawlessly though and results in a much clearer and more defined 1 octave up tone, this is the main secret to improve it's tone, but further more editing the EQ of the input signal to the octave engine via the Toneprint app, to cut off some of the highest frequency content as well as excessive low end, as also explained above, improves it further, though this will be a much more subtle improvement.

    Be aware though that for some very strange reason this causes the output volume of the 1 octave up signal to increase drastically, way beyond unity gain, even before the octave up knob is maxed, and even if the level of this signal displays as 0dB in the Toneprint app, as usual when the knobs are maxed, so you will have to turn your octave up knob way down from where you normally would set it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
  10. DirtDog

    DirtDog

    Jun 7, 2002
    Retired
    Anderton’s (UK) did a YouTube piece on how to achieve Royal Blood tone in the cheap. Check it out....

    Edit: disregard...I didn’t see the post by @Correlli
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
  11. CyberSnyder

    CyberSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Maryland
    I Endorse Alien Audio Basses
    I just used a Line 6 HX Stomp and got a respectable facsimile. Also had something close from a Foxrox Octron 3
     
  12. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    Germany

    IMHO, after trying this out, too, it is essential that the signal gets split. I did it with a single amp, using a micro POG and a LS-2. I split the signal in the micro POG and hooked up a mild overdrive with a good EQ and a fuzz into the line that gets the octave up signal and I don't remember what I did to the dry signal, but one or two pedals were in there, too.
    I reassembled the two separate lines using the LS-2 and went into the amp.
     
  13. Thank you so much for the very detailed info! This helps so much!
     
    JohnArnson likes this.
  14. JohnArnson

    JohnArnson

    May 28, 2019
    You're welcome, at least I hope it helps.

    Though as said I haven't experienced any tracking or latency issues using the octave up feature of my Sub'n'Up whatsoever like it sounds you have, not even before I found a way to improve the tone of the default polyphonic octave up tone, so not sure if your unit works properly.

    I get as good as perfect tracking without any strange digital glitch artifacts and an almost unnoticeable latency from my pedal.

    The input EQ settings I suggested, beside contributing to a better tone, might also help a bit with better tracking though.

    In my opinion the Sub'n'Up is the absolute best solution on the market for a 1 octave up effect if you are aiming for it to sound as natural as possible.

    That said pitching a signal up a whole octave is always going to sound somewhat artificial no matter what, but the Sub'n'Up is about as good as it is possible to get in my opinion.

    Better than the octave up of the POG which got a somewhat synthy organ like quality to it, which of course is fine if that is what your aiming for, as it too tracks perfectly and have very low latency, but less optimal if you are trying to get an as natural sounding octave up tone as possible.

    Please do write a follow up, I am curious to know if my suggested settings helped you.

    If not your unit might not be working as it is supposed to.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
  15. Robertron

    Robertron

    Feb 12, 2010
    NewYork, NY
    Big fan of Royal Blood. I've dialed in the tone from "She's Creeping" entirely through the Source Audio C4. I know you didn't mention looking for a new rig but the C4 can really do Royal Blood in one box.
     
    Correlli likes this.
  16. I’ll definitely write a follow-up when possible, but I’m also at college so it’s fun having most of my stuff a drive away. My goal kinda starts with being able to play the Royal Blood stuff for my own amusement and building my own tone and style from there. Definitely taking the advice of better tones and what not. I just like aiming towards the RB sound more than other 2-pieces like Death From Above 1979.
     
  17. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    This.
     

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