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Carl Martin?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Metal Mitch, Dec 23, 2003.

  1. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    Anybody tried the Carl Martin Contour & Boost?

    One of the things I really like is shelving, I find it much more useful than fixed-frequency tone controls or EQ. Unfortunately it seems to be overlooked by almost every preamp manufacturer. I just discovered the C & B, and it appears to provide 2-band shelving in a pedal! Has anybody tried this, and could post a review?

    I'm also interested in the 3-band parametric. Most EQ pedals will add noise when used for cut. How does the CM parametric sound? Also, does this have a standard unbalanced out?

    And since both of these pedals are 12v, what's the best way to power them?
  2. IncX


    Jul 23, 2007
    i recently acquired a carl martin contour and boost from a guitarist friend... and out of plain intuition i got it from him.

    i tried first with just my bass (yamaha bb604) and amp (bassman 250) ... it ddnt add much of an effect, it seemed to act like a parametric EQ of some sort, but nothing special.

    when i turned on my sansamp BDI, locally made orange squeezer clone and a cheap boss imitation 7 band bass EQ (boosted mids) ... i got an overdrive sound. i wasnt too crazy with it when im jamming alone, but i noticed it cuts thru the band, to the point that i dont even use it as an OD anymore, but rather, something i could step on when i want to cut thru (usually works on metal songs).

    however, be warned that it tends to suck a little of those "sub" frequencies (no matter what you do), and in return you will get gritty mids.

    the buttons that affect your sound the most is the "high pass" ... turning it full up will eat your lows. the "low pass" is strange, since eventhough you set its gain to full and the high pass's gain to zero ... the volume is very very low (it wont be heard onstage at all) ... while you do the opposite - setting the low pass and gain to zero while boosting highs... you will be heard - albeit it doesnt sound good.

    i wonder if its broken ... im not sure.

    i tested it on guitar, and it shapes the guitar a lot better.

    my verdict is:

    the contour is a good box to OD your mids, while sacrificing some subs ... it is a helpful pedal especially if the bass drum already covers the "sub" frequencies, since it will help you cut thru the guitars a lot better. subs and mids seem to be polar opposites.

    but if you want to really change your EQ curve or tone, i suggest you start out with a good equalizer, or a bass xciter, or a sansamp... and just think about the contour and boost a little later .... when you are bored or something.


    this is my first post in this forums :)
  3. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Thanks for the useful info, and welcome!
  4. Nice review.
    Thanks and welcome!
  5. whoa...4 year bump?!
  6. IncX


    Jul 23, 2007

    for real man?

    i was following the thread instructions about "searching" first before i post... and i looked for "carl martin contour" on the search page and this was the most relevant ive seen.

    i was thinking that i could get tips from you guys (im from the philippines... and boss is still the super pedal to a lot of ppl here) about the carl martin contour... and i ddnt see anything, so i contributed and maybe guys with better access to gear and A/B capabilities can help me understand this pedal more.

    thanks for finding the review informative and of course, the warm welcome :)
  7. stingray69

    stingray69 Talkbass Legit

    Aug 11, 2004
    St Louis Area
    Since this thread is somewhat newly revived, I thought I'd chime in. I've had the Carl Martin Contour & Boost for about 2-3 years now. I've had a love/hate relationship with it - but let me state that at the time I was playing active basses exclusively. Now I find myself very much a passive J-bass kind of guy at heart, and it is nothing but love at this point for the Contour & Boost. IMO, things got kind of overly bright too easily with the active basses (although that could be dialed out). With a passive J-bass, the Carl Martin really excels (I'm finding most effects pedals in general just get along better with passive instruments). Anyway, I almost forgot I had the pedal (that's how long I haven't used it) - but decided to break it out tonight on the passive Jazz bass - WOW! Am I ever glad that I did! Just with the variable gain hi-pass & lo-pass filters on the CM pedal, I was able to dial in a more natural & overall better tone (IMO) than I could with a 5-band parametric EQ (which I'm pretty handy with & have 10+ years of tweaking experience).

    Tone is too subjective to describe, so I thought I'd just record a clip - switching the CM pedal on & off. You can really give a passive bass a very modern, active feel at the stomp of a switch without having to re-adjust your main EQ - helpful if you bring only a passive bass to a gig but need a more modern, active tone for some songs. A pretty nice option to have in your arsenal. Pedal is dead quiet to my ears and even the volume jump is almost complete quiet (no big thump upon activating). This pedal can get loud as hell if necessary. The clip represents only about half-gain of the pedal's range of boost - and running through a bass rig, I definitely don't even need this much gain, but I wanted to demo a portion of it's boost capabilities as well. Also, the pedal can go much deeper on the bottom & much brighter on the top end - the clip is somewhere in the middle of the road of its bass/treble range. No other EQ is on the clip other than simply kicking in the CM pedal - straight into the computer. Enough talk - here's the clip:


    Hope this helps anyone out there considering this wonderful pedal. :cool:
  8. stingray69

    stingray69 Talkbass Legit

    Aug 11, 2004
    St Louis Area
    Forgot one more thing - I do agree that this pedal does take out the lowest of the sub frequencies to a minor extent - would not be noticeable live IMO. But IME, those frequencies are not my friend on most gigs (unless your into reggae-dub, solo work, etc.). Most rooms I've ever played in only add to the low end (and not in a good way). I usually find myself dialing out the ultra low end of the spectrum. In the studio, you may notice it & want to bring in some ultra low end via additional board EQ, or leave the pedal out altogether & get your sound dialed in via alternate means. :cool:
  9. stingray69

    stingray69 Talkbass Legit

    Aug 11, 2004
    St Louis Area
    Forgot to mention - at one time I also owned the Carl Martin 3-band Parametric (semi-parametric actually) EQ. It was dead-quiet as I recall. Yes, it does have both balanced & unbalanced outputs. Both the Contour & Boost & the Parametric EQ are powered via the built-in, internally hard-wired, regulated (+-12V) power supply. You simply plug either pedal's 2-prong AC power cord into a standard AC wall outlet - no wallwarts or adapters to fiddle with.

    In retrospect, I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed with the 3-band Parametric, I did not feel the price was justified for only a semi-parametric EQ. That said, it did it's job very well (and quietly), so I shouldn't complain too much, and it was nice to have a good quality 3-band parametric I could toss into a gig bag, but the Contour & Boost can yield equally usable tones, and I found it to be ultimately more usable overall. I sold off the Parametric EQ on E-Bay quite some time ago, but I'm very glad I decided to hang onto the Contour & Boost.
  10. stingray69

    stingray69 Talkbass Legit

    Aug 11, 2004
    St Louis Area
    Here's a quick description of specs as found on the internet:

    Great for guitar and bass.

    This versatile pedal is designed to boost and change the contour. The circuitry is designed with high- and low-pass filters with a fixed crossover frequency at 440Hz, so that the high-pass filter operates from 65Hz to 440Hz and the low-pass filter from 440Hz to 8kHz. Both filters are individually sweepable with a boost range of up to 12dB. With these 2 filters it is possible to change the contour in any way your creativity inspires you. Features a built-in regulated power supply.

    Carl Martin Contour n Boost Features:

    * Both high- and low-pass filters with a fixed crossover point at 440Hz
    * Both filters are individually sweepable
    * A boost range of up to 12dB
    * This combination lets you change the contour in any way your creativity inspires you
    * Built-in regulated power supply

    So, as you can see, the frequencies below 65Hz will be attenuated. As stated before, I personally do not feel like I'm missing anything at all in a gig scenario. Others may mind. Really low frequencies (40Hz, etc) would need to be added in via your amp EQ or otherwise if one desires.
  11. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Interesting. Normally if a device has both a high-pass and a low-pass filter then the bottom end of the high-pass shouldn't cancel out the low pass, but looking at their product description on their site (especially the line "midrange emphasis which is so important for electric guitar") I think you're right in this case.
  12. manchild


    Jan 30, 2008
    Sorry to bring this thread up again, but did a search for the CM contour and found this. Im not too familiar with how filters work - im sure this wont be correct but is the contour pedal a kind of a 2 band eq with very wide spread points at each eq setting?

    Im interested in using the CM EQ as a preamp/eq/colouring device but didnt want to rule the contour pedal out if it would be more useful.....................

    Can anyone help out on this?

    Many thanks
  13. Bob C

    Bob C

    Mar 26, 2000
    Duluth, MN
    Don't apologize for reviving a thread! For all the "Do a search" talk, it amazes me that people act so surprized to see an old thread brought back. That thread isn't old to someone who has never read it before.
  14. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Yes, that's my understanding of it.
    The previous posters indicated that there's some loss of low end with the C&B, whereas I can say there is no loss of low end with their Parametric EQ/preamp. In either case, the coloration will not be significant, so if you want more color in addition to EQ controls, you might want to look elsewhere. A couple other pedals to consider: Fromel Shape EQ, Catalinbread Varioboost, Barber Linden.

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