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For me, effects = mud

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by skygzr, Mar 20, 2017.

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  1. skygzr


    Feb 23, 2015
    Southeast US
    Howdy y'all -

    Based on some discussion I read here, I got myself a Zoom B3. I love this thing! Headphone out, robot drummer (never gets drunk or plays too loud) and runs for a good while off a set of Eneloops. Great for playing at home.

    I really dig having several really good preamp models. I'm a big fan of the SansAmp sound and keep a rackmount in the gig rack. The B3 model was so good I sold my SansAmp stompbox. Some of the others are pretty good, too.

    I was never really interested in effects but I started playing with chorus and some of the other filter effects. Very impressive in headphones. All shimmery 'n stuff. I'm not a big fan of distortion for bass.

    So I took it rehearsal and it was a bit of a buzz kill. Not one of the effected patches was worth a darn through a speaker. I tried fiddling with the tone balance, speaker emulation and everything else I could think of. To my ears I just lost tone and definition. At best some of the sounds were interesting novelties, but nothing worked better with the band than plain unadorned bass (with the right preamp, of course).

    I could see some of these effects being good for solos, but I am not a soloist. I've played maybe three of them in the last thirty years, always under duress. I always feel a bit tawdry afterward, like a need a bath. But that's my sack of rocks, not yours.

    I totally get it that headphones do NOT equal speakers, and that maybe I just need to set up a speaker and amp at the house and work at it that way.

    So if YOU like effects, keep at it. So far I like my sound with no sauce on it.
  2. Alien8


    Jan 29, 2014
    This reads an awful lot like a troll.

    'no effects' trolling in the Effects forum

    However, it sounds like you are an effects newb. Like playing the bass, effects don't just work, you have to get them right first. It's true that lots of effects when not used in the correct situation will make mud of a bass very quickly, however that doesn't mean they don't work. If you really want to spend some time to figure it out, its worth it if you want it.

    ...And yes, setting effects up for your specific amp and cab is critical, some take effects well and others don't.
  3. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    Thanks for letting us know. We'll close the sub-forum and burn our pedals ASAP.

    EDIT ok, so that was my snarky response... how'd i do?

    Effects on bass are very much "season to taste". Especially in band settings. At least you'll save yourself some money ;)
    vivaknoxvegas likes this.
  4. rjovin

    rjovin Supporting Member

    May 27, 2011
    tampa, fl
    Ya, this won't last long.
    nshuman likes this.
  5. NoxNoctus

    NoxNoctus The Crushinator

    May 9, 2004
    Annapolis, MD
    I don't even bother using a cord between my bass and amp anymore. If you're not close enough to hear the resonating strings, you're doing it wrong.
  6. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area
    Music effects are not for everyone nor all styles of music.
  7. skygzr


    Feb 23, 2015
    Southeast US
    Did I make it clear that this was my opinion and experience, and you were encouraged to keep doing whatever made you happy? I recall saying that.

    Perhaps I should have explicitly asked for helpful "try this or try that" suggestions. If the mods decide its a troll, so be it.
  8. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    It sounds to me like the issue is more with the B3. I don't know why it gets so much praise on TB. I also found most of the effects failed to cut the mix. The issue here may also be your rig though.
  9. GMC


    Jan 1, 2006
    Firstly, the Zoom B3's digital dirt is it's weakest set of models. Personally...I don't think much of them at all. But some of the other models are very good. Secondly, headphones are stereo...your amp is likely to be mono. That makes a big difference with ambient and chorus effects. Thirdly, most bass amps are far from full audio range (think hifi) and use quite a sharp upper mid cut. A lot of bass speakers cut off completely around 1.2Khz and so yes any modulation that sits in that audio zone will go all mushy. Lastly, a lot of mid to low end bass speakers are just trying to push the lower frequencies at medium power ranges. They aren't built for clarity or full range projection...they are designed for thump. Check out the Markbass Alain Caron range for an example of a full range combo...or a pair of them for stereo. Barefaced 12" cabs and Greenboy cabs have a similar reputation for full range and flat frequency response. But it's a small market and most cabs just want to make a mud bucket thump.
    Tourniquet Man and saltydude like this.
  10. Josh Kneisel

    Josh Kneisel

    Jun 17, 2016
    I use lots of effects, and I find my tones for them with my rig cranked to the volume I play live at and adjust during band rehearsals (sometimes that means not using them at all). I use them sparingly and try to use them in certain spots to add to my parts instead of taking away from them.. Sometimes that means literally playing one chord in a section with tremolo or only using my big muff when I really want some fuzz or playing just a few notes through a microsynth all gig long and only on certain tunes. There's times where I don't stomp a pedal on for a whole set depending on what we choose to play.
    btmpancake and Thumb n Fingers like this.
  11. Thumb n Fingers

    Thumb n Fingers

    Dec 15, 2016
    Like the OP, my effects foray started with a mulit-purpose pedal and with really disappointing results. I swore off effects for a while, then slowly started to do deeper and better research into what I was after. I have only a handful of pedals, but what I have now, I've had to put some time into them to get the right returns on.

    @skygzr, I get where you're coming from. Don't despair, but do try to isolate what effect you want to hear most in your sound, then put in the time to try different makes/models out and get the one that most suits your ears. Add the next effect you want after that with the same formula.
  12. XLunacy


    Nov 28, 2013
    Seems like a typical "bedroom tone" VS "band mix tone", except you found the B3 to blame because it enabled you to do stuff you'd never have done without it.
    Effects do need practice...
    dinoadventures likes this.
  13. Josh Kneisel

    Josh Kneisel

    Jun 17, 2016
    Best analogy I can make is that learning to use effects is like learning an extra instrument to play in conjunction with your existing bass tone.
    Bassist4Eris and Nunovsky like this.
  14. rratajski

    rratajski Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2008
    Mount Laurel, NJ
    What amp and cab are you using?
  15. Hmm, I use my pedals to remove the mud from my tone. A touch of overdrive (a good one that is, not one from a B3) really helps the bass to stand out.

    FilterFunk likes this.
  16. Chicory Blue

    Chicory Blue

    Oct 9, 2016
    I feel like expressing difficulty coaxing a good sound out of effects and "no effects" trolling are far enough apart that posts referring to it as such aren't super helpful.

    I'm having a little trouble with my B3 lately, too. My recent attempts at composing are coming out muddy-sounding, and while I feel like there's probably no shortage of ways to fix this, the audible high-pitched ringing I hear when I turn on the B3 tells me I might have an easier time if I wasn't so insistent on relying on effects.

    Not that I'd ever stop.

  17. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Closed at request of OP who was not aware of the "No Effects" trolling rule. Thanks for your understanding.

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