Digitech X-Series Bass Driver

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Metal Mitch, Jan 22, 2004.

  1. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    The Good:

    This thing sounds great! Found "my sound" literally within minutes. The Morph knob allows you to dial in different distortion sounds, so you don't need to buy every pedal under the sun to change your distortion sound. The Tone knob works just like the filter knob on the RAT, allowing you to roll off the highs til you get your sound, and boost slightly for cut thru a live mix. The Blend control works perfectly, much better than the MXR blend which is touchy due to the channel volume interplay and onboard tone controls. Very quiet in bypass mode, and sounds like a true bypass. Very easy to use.

    It's very cool that a manufacturer finally implemented the concept of pre- and post-distortion EQ into a single knob. Between the Morph knob and the Tone, I didn't even need my EQ pedal with this distortion.

    The Bad:

    The low end gets goofy at the extreme fuzz settings. It's there but just goofy sounding due to the EQ contour of the Morph.

    Because it's digital, there's no adjustment like gain or drive. It doesn't sound that gainy, and it can't do screamy feedback type distortion like a RAT or a Big Muff. Medium overdrive sounds are ok, but it can't do mild overdrive sounds very well - they just sound like a digital fart.

    The Ugly:

    It's MICROPHONIC. Which makes no sense for a digital device! I had it onstage next to the drum kit. With the effect engaged while not playing, the signal lights on my power amp were chugging from the drums!

    Last, but far from least, this thing is built like an EGGSHELL. The power connector is flaky. I first noticed this at home when I removed the battery and connected it up to my power supply, there seemed to be some glitchiness to the sound when using the power connector. And it doesn't sound exactly the same with a power cord as it does with a battery. When I got it on a stage with a drummer, my signal kept cutting in and out, and intermittently dropping and restoring level.

    I've never had these problems before with any pedal from any manufacturer. I give this pedal a ZERO for reliability because it couldn't even get through one practice. I could only recommend this pedal for home studio use at low volume without a live drummer. Or even better - they should just make it a plugin for digital recording. It is not stageworthy.
  2. imonfire,dude


    Jan 22, 2004
    woah, dude. it's microphonic? could i sing into it and get a distorted voice? if so, i could find that VERY useful. or do only things like drums bleed into it?
  3. marc40a


    Mar 20, 2002
    Boston MA
    I'm curious as to whether anyone else has experienced any problems.

    Mitch, Did you pick up the pedal new or used?
  4. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    Brand new from GC, still sealed in the shrink wrap inside the box. All you need to do is tap on the rear of the chassis near the power connector to get it to glitch out. It's going back to GC today, but I like the sound so much I'm gonna try a second one. If it still has the same problems I can't use the thing no matter how good it sounds. :meh:
  5. Electricmayhem


    Dec 18, 2003
    Wow. That stinks. I've tried out the driver and thought it was really cool. Too bad your having problems with it.
  6. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    Update: Got a replacement next day at GC, showed them the problem and we tested a new unit before I took it home. No loose jack/connector problems this time. Didn't notice any probs with microphonics at yesterday's practice, but I had it on a cement floor about 6 feet away from the drum kit and our volume was much lower due to lack of sufficient guitar equipment. Later this week I'll be back at the place with the raised plywood stage, and have it right next to the kick to give it the "Richter test" at full volume against a pair of Ampeg/Boogie/Marshall 100 watt half-stacks.

    Reading thru reviews of the X-Series pedals on Harmony Central, I found a post by someone who claimed they had tested every X-Series model in the store at GC and found them all to be microphonic with a high-gain amp. So I'm thinking there may be a vibration/SPL threshold that needs to be crossed before this becomes apparent.

    Also found HC reviews to be very mixed on the question of reliability. So I guess it boils down to a QC issue at Digitech. If you're getting one of these, I'd strongly recommend putting it thru it's paces immediately upon purchase - you have to register within 10 days of purchase to get the full 6-year warranty.
  7. I bought mine summer 2003, and i've been very content with it so far. I used to have a Boss ODB-3, but it was too noisy for my taste :spit: So i bought the digitech pedal and was amazed at how bright the overdrive was, while the bass remains focussed. :) I've got the whole digitech X-bass line ( minus the wah-synth ), and they're very good pedals imo.
  8. marc40a


    Mar 20, 2002
    Boston MA
    Looking forward to hearing how the second unit holds up.
  9. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    The second unit was just as microphonic as the first... :meh:

    Earlier tonight, I asked the guitarist on the other side of the stage to play a bit while I held my ear up to my speaker (volume up, not playing), and could hear him coming thru my amp.

    I was also getting the sound of wireless phones in the area dialing in between every song. The guitarist next to me had the Rangers game coming thru his amp - we made quite the pair.

    Just for reference, I A/B'ed it with the MXR M-80 and the MXR distortion channel was just slightly microphonic. Not really noticeable unless you were testing for it like I was, and no loud speed dialing click sequences. For the record, I had no microphonics or other noise with either pedal while distortion was off. The Digitech is just very microphonic and susceptible to RFI. It's a shame because I really like the sound, but I'm gonna have to throw it back.
  10. marc40a


    Mar 20, 2002
    Boston MA
    That's a drag, man.

    I have to admit that I'm a bit skeptical of the testing methods though. I mean, the clip lights going off on your amp are one thing (provided that you're 100% positive that the volume on your bass is completely off) but hearing the guitar through your amp while he's playing at high volume standing next to you? I don't know, man... I think we need a more stringent testing method.

    I mean, wouldn't just rapping on the case of the pedal produce a lot more vibration/ volume /SPL to the pedal than any of the above methods?


    Nov 24, 2001
    New York,NY

    Maybe you should tell Ronnie to lower the gain on his amp & Kyle to stop jumping around...J/K...


    PS: Say HI to everyone for me!
  12. Tecx

    Tecx Radio Rock Leads To Sterility

    Jun 9, 2002
    Halifax, NS, Canada
    Hey, I don't think it is the pedal that is microphnic... It is just picking up every little vibration from you bass - so thus it is actualy making your bass microphonic... I have heard such things from digital prosesors, especialy distortion units (due to a lack of actual gain control...)

    In other news, hows it goin Steve?.. I havn't recived the packadge yet, it should be here monday... If so, the preamp will go out monday morning - and you will have it on friday... :cool:

  13. Metal Mitch

    Metal Mitch

    Jul 14, 2003
    Alex> yes, but this pedal makes it much more microphonic than any others I've used - none of the others have been problematic or picked up cellphones! Of course running compression before distortion and riding up the input gain into the distortion aggravates the problem. :D One good thing I discovered that I forgot to mention is more gain actually changes the distortion sound instead of just giving you more of the same, or having no effect at all like some other digital pedals.

    Steve> haha! Ronnie's fine as long as his cables/pedals/adapters aren't a problem... (which is most of the time :rolleyes: ) and Kyle doesn't even have room to stand on the stage at that studio ;) will tell them you said hi. Oh, and btw I asked Ronnie and he didn't have a Mockingbird, he had 4 Biches - 2 US, 1 std & 1 8-string, plus 2 NJ, and a US Warlock!

    Marc> it's not the clip lights, just the signal lights. And the volume on the bass is up. Tecx/Alex nailed it, it's just got a very sensitive input which brings up the microphonics of the bass more than other pedals do.

    If I keep the Digitech, the MXR Smart Gate will have to be next on my list...
  14. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    My band plays at VERY high volumes, and I have never had the issues you have had. Ever.

    I love it! Best Distortion I have ever used.