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Difficult to dial-in pedals

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by SlowpokeJoe, Feb 18, 2021.

  1. SlowpokeJoe

    SlowpokeJoe Supporting Member

    I've recently started a descent into madness finding the perfect overdrive pedal and I've landed on a couple of TB favorites that have been infuriating interesting to work with.

    These two pedals, the One Control Blackberry and the SolidGold FX Beta DLX have controls that are quite a bit different from other pedals I have used in the past, where for example turning a knob a few degrees does not just add more or less of a parameter like gain or volume but introduce a whole new sound from the last one you had dialed in.

    Both these pedals can go from "Oh wow, this is IT!!" to elephant farts and amplified static without any apparent rhyme or reason from how the switches and knobs are labeled.

    I found myself having to take photos of the knob positions when I land on something good.

    What are some other pedals that can go from sublime to utter crap with just a simple tweak of the controls?
  2. Jek Porkins

    Jek Porkins

    Jun 9, 2020
    Lacey WA
    I love my Malekko @ssmaster but its a pain in the bass to get it set just right...but when you do get it right it melts parts off of bodies!
    Nick von Nick and SlowpokeJoe like this.
  3. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    Not sure about the Solid Gold. I have a lot of their pedals and have been underwhelmed every time, finding them touchy and often too extreme for my needs even at the lowest settings. One Control has been the exact opposite. All awesome, and easy to find great settings.

    The One Control Blackberry is by far the best of the Blueberry variants (yes, I have the Queen Bee) - and setting it makes total sense to me.

    Four knobs. One is Volume, which need no explanation. Drive is self-evident too. Body is mids (pre-drive) and Depth is lows (pre-drive). They're not quite boost-only, but I think of them that way. Can't recall if maybe the Depth feeds into the Body or vice-versa, but basically if you want more beef turn up the Depth and if you want more mids/highs boost the Body.

    Since the EQ feeds into the Drive you'll get more Drive as you turn them up and that may affect your tonal balance, same as any drive circuit. I tend to run the Drive on mine fully ccw or nearly so, and that's enough drive for me.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2021
    Cube Bass likes this.
  4. Ehx qballs has a lot of range, and a lot of bad sounds between the good ones.
    FilterFunk likes this.
  5. SlowpokeJoe

    SlowpokeJoe Supporting Member

    This is good info, you'd think the manual would make some reference to how the knobs worked... :)

    What I find confusing about the Blackberry, and is a thing I have to make peace with and understand is that without the "depth" being increased (Aka, more bass) you don't get the traditional overdrive breakup of the mids and highs unless you feed the pedal a hotter signal. This is probably a surprise to me mostly due to my inexperience with the Blueberry family of drives.
  6. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    Yours came with a manual?! The one big gap for One Control is that Bjorn is Swedish (though speaks fluent English) and One Control is Japanese and clearly not employing someone which a great grasp of English, so a lot seems lost in translation. On the bright side, the CEO of One Control is a bassist.

    The Blackberry exists in part to address two issues many have with the Blueberry: 1. too much gain even at lowest settings, and 2. not enough treble (especially if boosting bass via the "Nature" knob which is essentially a tilt-EQ).

    On the Blackberry there's Body for the mids/highs and a more traditional control "Depth" for the low end, and less gain overall. Problems, if any, solved.

    Now... Bjorn hand-makes a Blackberry which IMO is the best of them all but that thread already exists. Short version for this thread: bang-for-buck the One Control Blackberry is the best of the Blueberry variants, unless you're prefectly happy with the Blueberry.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2021
    SlowpokeJoe likes this.
  7. FilterFunk

    FilterFunk Everything is on the ONE! Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2010
    For my little home studio setup, the Q-Balls is indispensable. I find it easy to stay in a range where I find sweet spot after sweet spot after sweet spot. It's actually easier for me to find more and better usable tones with the Q-Balls than I find with the much simpler, "can't make a bad sound" envelope filters out there. You certainly can't go willy-nilly with the knob turning, though...

    The Q-Balls rewards patience in a BIG way, IME. Out of all the envelope filters I've tried (and I've tried a ridiculous number!), the Q-Balls is The One for me.

    The Frostwave Funk-A-Duck, while juicy as heck, is very hard to dial in, IMO. Same with the original Chunk Systems Agent 00Funk.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2021
    cheapbasslovin likes this.
  8. If it just in regards to volume...
    catalinbread v8 tone fuzz and stomp under foot sonic generator - just below 9 o’clock is unity. Accidentally blow my ears off through headphones a few times with those turned up.

    for degrees of dialing in - only one I can really think of is iron ether polytope. I’m not sure what version I had but you could go from a nice lush chorus to insane sounds with some of the dials
  9. I have a Q-tron+ with an effects loop, and if there were a Q-balls with an effects loop I'd be in heaven. Once you find the sensitivity the rest is just a joy to play with.
    FilterFunk likes this.
  10. The Mouse

    The Mouse

    Jun 2, 2009
    The Aguilar Tone Hammer. The gain/ volume, boost/ cut and AGS features aren't immediately user friendly.. Great sounding pedal though..
  11. Bisounourse


    Jun 21, 2012
    Gent, Belgium
    Moog MF Drive: great sounds to be had, but it really is a steep learning curve.
  12. Aloe


    Apr 10, 2016
    I found MXR Envelope filter to be very sensitive to controls, but didn't bond with this pedal.

    everything from Source Audio has tons of controls and offers lots of possibilities to screw everything up. with the exception of EQ, I think, and maybe the first-gen pedals like original BEF.
    Jek Porkins likes this.
  13. SlowpokeJoe

    SlowpokeJoe Supporting Member

    That is interesting as at a glance it looks like a pretty standard set of controls
  14. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    All I ever use is OD/distortion and sometimes compression, so I'll stick with what I know.

    Compression by its nature is relatively unintuitive with a steep learning curve. It's obvious from the "compression destroys your dynamics!" complaints that lots of people can't figure out how to use it properly. That said, even intermediate users can have a tough time finding that sweet spot between too much and no discernible effect.

    Dirt is usually more intuitive. Some exceptions have been mentioned above, but here's another: crossover (AKA multi-band) distortion. This is becoming more popular primarily to avoid low-end phart/mud that can come from standard distortion. Crossover distortion can keep lows clean (or sometimes less distorted) while dirtying up the high band (or in some cases, a midrange band). The problem is that it can be a tricky balancing act: each band can have its own gain level, there's two volume levels (or one mix knob), and one (or sometimes more) crossover point(s). And that's the typical minimum for two-band distortion. I've seen a couple of three-band distortions, and Wounded Paw (I think?) offers six-band distortion.
  15. Jakeman

    Jakeman Swamp Thing Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2006
    New Orleans, LA
    Iron Ether pedals all take a while to dissect, but the rewards are huge.
  16. G.Bisson


    Feb 26, 2009
    EHX Bass Micro Synth. Capable of unique sounds that may never be found ever again. It desperately needs save-able presets.
    Anything with envelop filter can be extremely sensitive
    neuman, The Mouse and SlowpokeJoe like this.
  17. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    You found the dirty secret to dirt pedals. Bottom end is sacrificed by most builders. Nearly all of them.
    No affiliation- I really like Wampler pedals for bass and guitar. He designs in a pre-gain bass control on most of his OD and fuzz pedals. The EQ points are useful for bass guitar in my experience.
    There is no perfect pedal for every player. But I know some very in-demand makers are more in touch with the actual sonic demands of bassists.
    Baxandall bass control. Most, nearly All very sought-after pedal builders miss this. And why not, we are a tiny fraction of the guitar pedal market.
    This guy gets it in my opinion.
    SlowpokeJoe likes this.
  18. Koshchei


    Mar 17, 2019
    Peterborough, ON
    Earthquaker Rainbow Machine. It goes from “that sound” to a really useful harmonized chorus in about 1mm of knob rotation. Cough and it’ll be back to “that sound”.
    SlowpokeJoe likes this.
  19. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    This thread made me think of the Polytope, which has a very small range of adjustment where it acts like a gorgeous, trebly chorus pedal that is equally great for adding character to quiet clean passages and pushing heavily overdriven/fuzzed out parts into the stratosphere. Move some of of the knobs or switches anywhere else and you get completely deranged sound-effect nonsense -- which I don't mean as an insult, as the Polytope is specifically designed for all kinds of extreme effects, but it is a vast departure from what I have ended up preferring to use it for.
    The Mouse and Jakeman like this.
  20. Jakeman

    Jakeman Swamp Thing Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2006
    New Orleans, LA
    I'm the same way with all the IE pedals. I use the Polytope for slightly detuned chorus, the Arching Prisms as a phaser, the Frantabit as a light bit-crush, etc. I find it both demanding and fun to delve into the feature sets, even though I use them as standard, basic effects.
    The Mouse likes 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.

    Feb 28, 2021

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