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Distortion pedals not loud enough or squealing with feedback when not playing

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Krawn, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. Krawn


    May 17, 2013
    Hey guys,

    So since I've fallen into playing bass, I grabbed my old DS-1 to get started. My band is a trio and I need louder than life, crunchy and intense distortion. Please keep in mind I am pretty new to this, so I am probably just skipping over something or doing something wrong.
    Since I've been playing I've also used an MXR distortion+ that I am basically having the same issue with.

    There are two problems:
    1. Sometimes I can't get the distortion loud enough. It will almost be lower than my clean tone. Which leads me to believe I have some level wrong somewhere. I've read that you need to seek unity gain, which I think I have done.... but maybe not correctly? I have a Sansamp BDDI on all the time, so I make sure when I set up that if it is off, I have the same level of volume as when it is on.
    2. If I do get my distortion in the ballpark of being loud enough, unless I am playing a note, I get this high pitched, loud and annoying feedback. So I have to turn the gain/level down on the pedal, but then it's not loud enough or intense enough.

    There are select times where I don't get this problem. It's been hard to pinpoint exactly why not because I use different amps and am in different situations all the time. But for the most part, I consistently have this problem.

    My gear is kind of thrown together from what I had around/could grab off of friends just to get started with the band. It's all going to be upgraded shortly, but surely there is a way around this issue for now?

    I'm using:
    Yamaha RBX>
    DS-1/MXR distortion+>
    Sansamp BDDI>
    Amp (Various)

    Could the RBX be a factor in this at all? Is it my chain order? Is it my levels?

    Extra: Apart from the low end loss of the DS-1, it has the perfect sound. I have been told to look into the VT Deluxe. Any of you that know what sound I am talking about, do you see similarities in these pedals? I have heard from other people that the VT is better for tone shaping and not relying on for distortion. Any other suggestions for that distortion?

    I am a mess of issues right now. Any help would be really appreciated. Thanks a lot guys! TB rules.
  2. waveman


    Sep 25, 2008
    I would look at the Source Audio OFD, Source Audio Multiwave Bass Distortion Pro or Zoom MS60-B. Different amp and cab configs will behave differently, so you will need settings for both. I primarily use the SA Multiwave Bass Distortion Pro, and it can get louder than unity in any situation. I also have the Zoom as a backup, and I have to tweak it way more than the SA for different configs. Anyway, find something that has the capability to blend dry and wet signal. All of the mentioned pedals do that.
  3. rratajski

    rratajski Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2008
    Mount Laurel, NJ
    Are you sure it's not missing frequencies rather than volume?

    Have you considered a noise gate post-tuner?
  4. Krawn


    May 17, 2013
    Okay thanks a lot guys. Waveman from what you said, I am taking away that for what I need - these pedals just don't cut it and these that you mentioned should. I will definitely take a look at them and thank you for your suggestions.

    rratajski no, I have not considered that - I have never used one. Can you give me any more info on what that would do for me? I guess it could be a frequency thing, but I mean it definitely sounds quite lower than my clean sound. Like there just isn't enough juice.
  5. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Maybe something like a small, clean signal boost would help your situation: http://www.creationaudiolabs.com/mk423

    PS. It would help a lot if you filled out your TB profile!

    What bass/rig are you using?
  6. rratajski

    rratajski Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2008
    Mount Laurel, NJ
    A noise gate essentially mutes the signal when under the threshold you set it at.
    If you like the pedal, get a small clean boost to put after it.
  7. K2000


    Nov 16, 2005
    Are you muting the strings with your hands, when you aren't playing? My bass will howl sometimes, if I let the strings vibrate. Dampen the strings in between notes.

    Do you love your current distortion sound? If not, start looking for an alternative distortion, and it's possible that the new unit will be quieter. Don't try to solve two problems at once. Establish a distortion sound that you love, first.

    If you love your distortion sound and it's noisy, then getting a noise gate to put after your distortion pedal is a good suggestion. I love the ISP Decimator. I see that Pigtronix has a new noise gate too. There are a bunch of other ones too.

    Unity gain might not be loud enough with a distorted tone. Clean tones can sometimes be perceived as louder than a distorted tone, I'm not sure why that is.

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