Home made effects: Can they be done?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Nick Gann, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    I had an idea a little while ago that I thought sounded pretty cool, but I haven't seen any effects in production that do what I want it to do. So, I was wondering if I could actually make it myself somehow. Keep in mind, I have no idea how, what components I'd need, etc.

    I want an effect that simulates a guitar playing over me. I know there are effects that put out a the signal one octave up, or a 5th up, but what I want is an effect that puts out an octave above, a 5th above that, and the next octave over that. Basically, it makes it sound like a guitar is playing a power chord of the note I am playing. So, essentially, it can either be three knobs, or three switches and a volume knob. If it is three switches, each will turn on either the octave, the 5th, and the second octave. If it is knobs, each of the three will be independant volumes for the octave, 5th, and second octave, with no need for the overall volume. I would use two amps (bass and guitar), so I would need two outs. The bass signal would be split, and a clean signal would go to the bass out, and the second signal would be "re-harmonized" and go through the guitar out.

    Or, I could just get a regular signal splitter and make the effect with a single out for the guitar amp.

    I was thinking about including a distortion, but I can just use a regular distortion pedal after this one.

    Uhhh... that is about it. I probably left something out, but I am sure you can fill in the blanks.

    So, what would I need to make this, how much would the parts cost, what skills would I need to do it, etc...

    BTW, I got the idea when listening to some of Clatter's songs. Click the Ad up top when you see it, its awesome stuff!
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    There are effects that do that, they are called harmonizers and many digital multieffects have one built in. I have an old Yamaha rack multieffect from the 1980s that does almost what you want (only generates two harmony notes, not three).

    Two to take a look at:
    DigiTech Vocal Performer http://www.digitech.com/products/vpr.htm
    DigiTech Vocal 300

    As far as rolling your own: what you want to do is going to require digital circuitry so that makes it REAL expensive. Not for just the parts but then you have to write software too!

    Home made effects that ARE easy to build (and cost effective) are things like distortions, preamps, compressors, some types of EQ. Everything else is cheaper to buy off the shelf.
  3. let's talk about those then...
  4. dave_clark69

    dave_clark69 Guest

    Jan 17, 2003
    I have recently got this program called cadence psd 14.0. i got it off my dad, many of you will know that is costs like £10,000. Any hoo, this program is what i use to make circuit boards. it is good becuase you can have the board layed out how you like, and is simple because it auto routes it. I usually use the website muzique It is good because it is full witht he schematics. Some times, with schematics you can change parts that you dont want, or want as additional. Like an LED showing that the circuit is active, or to change a few of the resistors to give a higher gain. With these circuits you must be able to understand it, or have some one who does. Otherwise it is no good printing off the layout and when something goes wrong you will be screwed. The good thing is that you can make them into a big stomp box :bassist: :bassist:
  5. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Thanks, I didn't know about those. I will look into them!

    Thats what I was afraid of :(

    Thanks a lot, you've been a great help. :)
  6. Sounds like an enhanced version of the Akai Unibass to me; enhanced in that instead of just having octave and 5ths above that, but octave above that.

    With the built in distortion, and the separate outs, for ~£150 it's getting pretty close to what you want.

    I'd guess. Maybe add a chorus pedal to the effect out - I'm sure I've read someone here saying he does just that, then runs *that* to two separate guitar amps.
  7. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    This type of effect would be difficult and expensive to build on your own. Your best bet is to look at the multieffect boxes on the market including things like the Roland bass synth.
  8. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Where can I try out a Unibass? Or the roland bass synth for that matter (if you're talking about the v-bass, then there is no way I will be getting that).

    Any specific models of harmonizers that I should check out?

    It looks like there will be no inexpensive solution for me. I guess my dream will go unrealized :crying:
  9. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    I use a boss ps-2 for octave up. It can also do 2 octaves up at the same time. I like doing 1 up and 1 down.
  10. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Cool, I'll look into it. How does it sound overall in your opinion?
  11. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    2 octaves up is a bit "mickey mousey." 1 octave up is pretty cool. I always mix in the clean tone. It tracks very well. I use 1 octave down more than 1 octave up. It does other intervals also, but I find I have no use for those. The boss hr-2 also does this.
  12. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    I looked on the BOSS site, and I couldn't find anything about the HR-2 or the PS-2...

    I searched google for the HR-2, and I found a few reviews, and it looks like it may possibly be what I am looking for. It seems as though they are discontinued. Same with the PS-2 :(
  13. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    You can find 'em on ebay. The hr might be discontinued, but the PS model is going strong. I think they're up to PS-5 by now. It also does delay and chorus. Read the reviews at www.harmonycentral.com
  14. AFAIK, they're discontinued, but they pop up on eBay sometimes - I scored one off there earlier this week.

    Quite a few TBers have them, I think, and IIRC, Jazz Ad's page has sound samples of one, amongst other synths and stuff.