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EXH Steel Leather- Mini Review and Clips

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by DosiYanarchy, Mar 7, 2008.

  1. clips -

    if the website doesnt work, ill try and provide another link, if the streaming audio doesnt work, try downloading the file. :)

    right first off the bat, i ordered my EHX Steel Leather yesterday and came this morning in record time. Like many people i was pretty curious about what it could do, and to be honest i wasnt really dissappointed, but the price paid is possibly much more than its worth.

    well, as some may say, an expander is the opposite of a compressor, so loud notes will become louder. (and quiet notes quieter)

    let me break it down a bit further:

    there are two controls, EFFECT LEVEL and RESPONSE,

    when EFFECT LEVEL is turned right down, you have just your unaffected tone comming through - turn it up and there is a high-mid frequency boost, that can be quite jarring if its more than 12 o'clock.
    the RESPONSE control is what separates it from a standard EQ pedal - it acts like a threshold control - the lower the setting, and the louder you have to play to get it to work (ie: get a fingerstyle jamerson-type sound, but as soon as u slap it sounds like marcus miller) on its highest setting, i believe all notes will be affected this is how it has sounded to me, i've recorded 4 different clips with different settings (specified with the clips) please forgive my sloppy playing and my poor rendition of the chicken, i just needed a riff and thats the one that popped into my head.

    i can see how it could be a very useful pedal, and ill just have to wait till monday to see how it performs in a band situation,

    the pedal itself seems pretty solid, takes 9v power (battery comes with it, but i believe you have to unscrew the bottom plate to change it) its True Bypass, which is handy, and as its of the NANO line, its the smallest of my pedal collection, and is just over half the width of my Little Big Muff and MicroPOG.

    if it sounds like im not too enthusiastic about this pedal, well i guess im not really, i paid £55 for it off ebay, and the seller was great as usual, but im not convinced that its really worth it yet, i mean with my sansamp, MXR Bass Blowtorch and other toys, cutting through the mix has never been too much of a problem. but dammit my curiosity got the best of me. but i think with the right setting, it could be quite cool, and it sort of sounds like ive got a new set of strings on ;)

    im gonna sit on the fence with this pedal, i wont tell you to get it, and i wont tell you not to, but this pedal sits in the realm of EQ pedals - either u'll have a good use for it or you wont, but the RESPONSE control is the key, u can set it for a just a high-mid boost, or u can leave it on for a whole song, and when you really dig in, you'll notice the difference.

    warning: i did notice a tiny amount of distortion when really digging in, but i dont think its noticable really, you'll have to see for yourselves,

    I've yet to link it before a distortion pedal, i feel that my blues driver after the Steel Leather might sound nice, also a real tube pedal or amp might benefit from the Steel Leather.

    a few notes on the recordings:
    its my Fender Jaguar bass into my Line6 toneport GX - i think is switched the 'amp' off for most of them, and may have used its 'studio pre-amp' for one, i find that the amp models are pretty rubbish is you want to run real pedals in your chain.

    Also - each section for most of the clips is a clean run, then an effected run, so you can hear the difference

    i hope i havent rambled too much,
    any questions please just ask.

    i hope i've cleared some things up for you curious cats
  2. one


    Aug 21, 2006
    Nice review! It sounds like it could have and hold its place on a pedalboard, if used correctly as a 'enhancer' for those distortions, fuzz' etc. You'll have to keep us updated as time goes by as you get used to how it works better and how it holds together in a band situation.

    Does it have any internal trimpots?
    Noise issues?
  3. OK, see I thought that sounded awesome; so its interesting that you're lukewarm about it. I think I'm definitely going to be picking this up
  4. Swift713


    Dec 4, 2006
    Florence, Ma
    Wow, I really didn't like what that did for your tone at all. I would sooner buy a pedal that did the opposite.
  5. kirkm24


    Jan 1, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    I don't think I will be buying that one. It almost sounds like a foot switchable tweeter. I suppose in a full band setting it would probably sit nice in the mix but on its own it sounds like it just adds a bunch of clank.
  6. I played it at a music store and it seemed to me as a way to make your playing dynamics have a more significant impact on the volume. If there is a song that you play where no matter how hard you crash the strings against the fingerboard you don't get the volume/ tone spike your looking for this could be used to extract a little more out of it. It seemed touchy though, and not for me (at least with what I'm playing now). I couldn't ever imagine using it with the response very high.

    IMO Blah blah blah.
  7. tommy.genes


    Feb 16, 2006
    Yo! Philly
    That might sound good when used with a distortion pedal, especially since a lot of distortion pedals sound too compressed to me - especially on bass. I'm not sure if it would work best before or after the distortion though. Please share the results if you experiment with this.

    -- T. G. --
  8. Holmann


    Dec 23, 2005
    Ashland, WI
    You really have to gig with it to appreciate it- it isn't really an "effect" pedal, in that it isn't supposed to make your bass sound really cool. All it does in help you cut through the mix a little better when you want to. Set the response so that it does nothing 99% of the time- when you dig in the effect kicks in and the accented "attack" frequencies make the bass more noticeable. I've done six gigs with mine, and thik it may be the most useful pedal I've ever owned. Notice I said "most useful", not "best sounding", or "coolest effect". It's pretty much a sound guy in a box who knows when you're going to play a fill and gives you a little treble boost- except you don't have to pay him and he won't hit on your wife.

    All I'm saying is- you can't form an opinion on this thing without using it in a band setting. I love mine, and freely admit it sounds like crap when played unaccompanied.
  9. to ONE - i didnt notice any noise issues, but then again i only got it a few hours ago and havent tried it loud yet. and i dont know about an internal trim pot - nothing about one is mentioned in the instructions.

    by the way i understand why some people dont rate what it does, i mean i thought that high-mids were the last thing id need, and also, my clips weren't meant to be studio or live settings, they were just different settings that you could hear what each control does to your sound.

    altho i paid more than its probably worth, im reluctant to return it just yet, coz i think that if i keep the effect level and response relatively low, it can get really useable punch just when i need it.

    oh yeah its important to note that in most of those clips i was playing REALLY hard fingerstyle, and that it does indeed sound different with a pick, so say if u got a nice fat warm fingerstyle tone, but u play with a pick on some songs too, but it just doesnt sound biting enuf for u, this may be your pedal.

    it does add alot of clank if you boost the controls, and its effects on lower strings can be subtler than higer ones, but this may be due to the amount i attack higher strings.

    i almost want to send it straight back, but theres something in my head telling me to hold on, at least till practice.
  10. +1 Holmann, thats why im gonna wait till practice ;)

    as for clips with distortion, i dont mind, but they probably wont be representative, coz i run 2 channels into a boss line selector and use it like a mixer, one chanel is Sansamp, the other is Blues Driver - so i get a nice warm overdrive alltogether. i can either run the Steel Leather before or after both the sansamp and the Blues Driver, or just b4 the blues driver, or just after the blues Driver, but i dont think that any combination will be the same as just running the Steel Leather before or after a normal bass overdrive/distortion (and god forbid i should try to run it either b4 or after my MXR Blowtorch - i dont need THAT much mid)

    but ill give it a go

    watch this space

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