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EHX Synth9 blended with Clean Bass. I'm having to compromise!

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by ThunderFox, Jul 25, 2017.

  1. About a month ago, I bought a EHX Synth9 pedal, mainly for synth bass sounds like from the 80's, instead of having a keyboard doing it for me. It sounds exactly how I want it, and it tracks down to the Low E, even though EHX said it would only track down to a Low A, so luckily, I can play wherever I want on the fingerboard.

    I don't use the onboard volume blend between Dry and Synth tone, I spilt the signal before the pedal and link them back together after so that it can lead to one amp/mixer, leaving the pedal synth volume full, and dry volume off. So no problems there either.

    My problem is with tracking. When I use my bass, especially on low notes, it seems to sometimes lose track of the notes. If I use just the bridge pickup, this usually fixes the problem. But then I lose low end on my bass because of nature of the bridge pickup.

    I use a thunderbird 90% of the time, but usually with both pickups on full, (which isn't known for being the brightest sounding bass in the world). I'm not a fan of just using the bridge pickup on most basses, purely because I would lose lower frequencies, and not fill the gap in the mix.

    I've got ideas of how I could render this, but I thought I would consult this with the forum:

    1. THE BASS
    Changing the bass to a bass which has more clarity naturally without sacrificing too much low end. i.e. Precision Bass

    2. PEDALS
    Placing an EQ pedal before the SYNTH9, but after splitting the signal to reduce bass frequencies that cause tracking problems.

    3. STRINGS
    Getting strings that produce higher frequencies to help the pedal track more easily (Ernie Ball Cobalts).

    Someone my have another idea, if you do, let me know. A couple of thing to note though, is that it needs to lead to one amp, I can't use 2 amps because of transport + not enough sockets on mixer. Also, the pedal tracks extremely well on every other instrument I have, it's just this one I struggle with sometimes, I know it can track that low, but it comes At a cost of the low end. I have also tried using an Octave Up pedal (TC Electronic Sub N Up) to get the low notes to a range more comfortable to the pedal, but this didn't work, as the tracking became even more delirious.

    If anyone has any experience when dealing with pedals that track notes, it would be greatly appreciated, and thanks in advanced to anyone who tries to help me out.
  2. Mosfed


    Apr 21, 2013
    Chamonix Mont-Blanc
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    I don't have a synth9 but I have a lot of experience using other pedals in the series (Key9, B9, C9) to good effect.

    The key for me with those is to use a Pitchfork 40% wet one octave up in the loop where I have the 9 pedals. Then I send the keys sounds directly to the board so my cab still sees my clean bass sound and the keys don't mess it up.

    Technique is key to my success - I don't change the blend of pickups, but I do move my position to right over the bridge pickup of my jazz bass. And I try as much as possible to mute sympathetic resonances.

    The Pitchfork doesn't seem to help tracking but it doesn't hurt it either- for me it's more that it brings out some of the shimmer that is lost without it. But I only run it 40% wet.
    mrwood4 likes this.
  3. BassBrass


    Jul 6, 2009
    Boston MA
    Each effect in the synth9 has it's own delay and eq. Delay is involved in producing the pitch shifts, something EXH has been working on since the Ravish sitar. So you are dealing with latency with the synth9, a delay before the effects sound. Curious: I have found the blend of the 9 pedals to work fine (which is an improvement in new EXH) and that's a good thing because All the 9 pedals could do better by bass, why do you think your arrangement is better for tracking? They all have a dry out too. seems like a bypass loop is unnecessary extra cabling distance... EXH Could do a bass version...that would be nice. I use a Mel9 in the loop of a Superego, that's excellent!!! and I have a TC spectracomp in the loop before it, kind of squishy for more sustain. I have a C9 or a synth9 (going back and forth, I like certain patches in each) after my basic sound including overdrive, compression and fuzz in that order, again the 9's improve with compression before. They just don't have much low end and that's just the nature of the beast. A compromise exactly just like EXH did when mapping out the presets the majority of people will like. Most people don't care how much vibrato the mel9 cello sound has. Go for a clear massive sound and don't fight the thing. It's Very limited. but better to have than not. love/hate EXH could be a clubname... have you tried the EXH bass micro synth?
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
  4. The sound of the synth 9 itself is fine, but I use it along side my bass signal. Also, I have the synth 9 in the bypass loop because I put multiple effects in the loop, and the 9 isn't the first one in the chain, but even if it's the only effect being used in the chain, I still have the problem. My main problem is that for the Synth9 to sound right using the lowest notes, I have to use my thunderbird with just the bridge pickup. If I don't, it sounds muddy and it doesn't play the right notes, the synth just sounds like mud. But then if I just use the bridge pickup on my bass, the clean bass signal loses the bottom end freq. I have a buffer before everything as well, so I have no problems with long cables sucking the tone away. My main problem is what seems to be a choice between bottom end on the clean, or clarity on lower noted synth sound.
  5. BassBrass


    Jul 6, 2009
    Boston MA
    To sum up my reply, Yes it does that. Shurn'uff does. By golly. Try a Bass Micro Synth. I use a C9 on the Zeppelin patch mostly and It's For The Octave Up, same on the mel9, the flute or clarinet sound. Not using the synth9 much because it was frustrating on bass. Lots of fun with mic'd trumpet though. It's unstable and that's part of the fun. Oh, try a Canyon too. I think the shimmer and octave sounds on it are better than the synth9 (for bass).

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