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Just can't seem to get my octave/electronica tone right

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Omniant, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. Omniant


    Dec 20, 2007
    I'm sure a lot of you guys into house/drum n bass are familiar with Dan Kurtz of The New Deal. Well, I've been trying to cop his smooth octave tone for years and I've never been able to get it right. I realize this thread may turn into a combination of effects and other gear so I apologize, but it is primarily an effects based question.

    The way his octave tone sounds to me is just so ideal, and I've never been able to get it right. I have an OC2 and an OC3 going into a mf101 with expression control for cutoff (this is pretty much paramount to my setup). I know he's been using an OC2 into an mf101 for years now (as have I) but his sound is so much smoother and rounder. I've obviously messed around with the settings on the moogerfooger enough at this point to be pretty sure there's nothing I haven't done. I always have the dry tone on the OC2 or OC3 all the way down with the octave 1 all the way up.

    As far as bass goes, I have a warwick corvette proline. I know hes had a warwick corvette, an ibanez and currently uses a fender but regardless he's always seem to have roughly the same tone. I realize that every time I've been to a new deal show I'm hearing him through line arrays and subs so clearly that's making a big difference, but I think there is more to it than just that.

    I've also been using flatwounds for a while so I'm thinking that might have something to do with, maybe the pickups?

    There are a million clips of him using his octave tone on their website and on youtube. Here's one example of the tone I'm talking about.

    - if you scroll down and watch the video "jam" (the 5th video down I believe) you can hear it really coming through at 1:37)....ah just listening to it makes me want that sound so bad.

    I've tried to get this for years!! help!
  2. Omniant


    Dec 20, 2007
    Probably should have also mentioned that I'm using an swr red face 350 to a goliath 2 410, so its not like I'm trying to do this through a 30 watt amp.
  3. I love the New Deal, and I'm seeing at All Good this summer for the first time. Definitely one of the most talented 'jamtronica' bands on the scene. The synth player and drummer are both machine (not literally as is often the case), and Dan Kurtz has the sound and techinique that Marc Brownstein from the Biscuits dreams about haha.

    Ok I've tried to replicate Dan Kurtz's tone and gotten rather close IMO. I think you may be doing a few things wrong:

    1) On the bass, I try to aim for a smoothish jazz bass tone. I believe kurtz uses round wound strings and the strings do matter in this case. I usually have neck pickup at full and bridge blended in until my dry tone is round sounding.

    2) On the OC-2, I leave dry at about 50% and OCT 1 at full. Leaving the dry signal gives some added harmonics that sound smoother when filtered out.

    3) For the Moog, use a 4-pole setting, resonace around 2-3 unless you're doing some sweeping, in which case maybe 4-6. Blend can be around 6-9 depending on taste. Use an exp pedal to find the right frequency for the Kurtz tone.

    4) Light compression and careful eqing can help. Cut boomy bass (<60hz) and bass between 100 and 250 is the most prominent slot.
  4. Omniant


    Dec 20, 2007
    I've tried doing some compression and that doesn't seem to be getting me any closer. I've probably tried those oc2/mf101 settings at this point as well. The roundwounds could probably make a difference but I know there is still something else missing.

    You have any samples of you getting close to his tone?
  5. Sadly I don't have any method of recording that will show you the tone very well, just trust me that its rather close. If you've already got the pedal settings I would mess with an eq. Do you have a graphic eq or the ability to sweep frequencies on you amp eq? The OC-2 can sound drastically different when eqed differently.
  6. Omniant


    Dec 20, 2007
    I don't actually. Just the 3 band EQ on the head. I've thought about picking up a geb7 or something like that but I've never seen Dan with an EQ on his board. I assume hes getting all his eq'ing done at FOH.
  7. I use a 15-band ART EQ in my rack, its quite handy. In the world of effects, I think a good EQ is really a necessity. If the low end isn't sculpted right you're going to end up with a lot of mud and boom and waste amp power, especially at loud volumes.

    I'm listening to some New Deal albums now and you can definitely hear a little of his dry tone and maybe a bump around 600-800 hz.
  8. Omniant


    Dec 20, 2007
    They're fantastic arent they? Hes probably the biggest influence over my playing. My style at this point is very similar to his (and I'm primarily playing house music) but of course with my tone not being nearly as great as him I still sort of sound like a Dan Kurtz hack.
  9. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    One thing to keep in mind with the OC-2 is that the bass, pickups, strings etc don't make any difference in terms of tone. The octave down tone generated is completely independent of the instrument used. Other than tracking issues, the bass doesn't play a part in creating that tone.

    I'm on my laptop and therefore the sound quality of the video is not great, but it certainly sounds like he's got a bit of grit feeding his OC-2.

    For super synthy sounds I know many (including John Davis) use the Wooly Mammoth to get an approximation of a square wave tone. But this sound much more subtle, just using a bit of overdrive to add some harmonic content.

    I know Tim Lefebvre has used a SansAmp just to add a touch of dirt to give more tone to the OC -2.

    EQing can help and I know many people use a BOSS GEB to emphasize the deep lows, but I find that really what helps me most is having a very clean rig that is clear through the full range so that the high end of the octaver comes out well.

    Hope that helps.
  10. Omniant


    Dec 20, 2007
    Alright, well would you say my rig situation is where it needs to be? I don't have a problem with investing money into this as long as I can get the tone.

    However I would still mention that it would seem unnecessary to do a huge rig overhaul if I'm really just going to need it for a backline to hear myself.
  11. Omniant


    Dec 20, 2007
    Adube, yea I've seen that thread before. I don't think the freqbox or the basspod xt is contributing to the tone I'm talking about. As for his ampeg setup, yea I'm aware that he uses that but it doesn't contribute to what the audience is hearing as he just goes direct into the board.
  12. JohnDavisNYC


    Jan 11, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing Artist: Aguilar, D'Addario
    Well, I would say the bass plays a small role in the sound of the oc2... The tone knob on my jazz bass subtly effects the tone, but probably not enough to make the difference that you are percieving.

    Most likely you are hearing the sound of a big pa and a good engineer. The stage rig does make a difference, too. Even if it's not mic'd, the amp will effect the sound in the room a bunch.

    If you played through a big pa and experienced the foh sound, you would probably not feel it is so different.

    But, even with fx it's all in the fingers (and feet)...

  13. MD-BassPlayer

    MD-BassPlayer Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I think a lot of the huge fatness to his tone is because he's playing through a huge sound system with a lot of subwoofers. To get something close to that I was messing around with the Boss OC-3 with the Guitar input, Poly mode, Direct at 12 0'clock, Octave at 2 o'clock, Range maxed out. That got close but it was missing the huge bottom. So I added an EQ, Boss GEB-7. Bumped the 50hz slider up halfway and lowered the 120hz slider halfway. Also cut the highs a bit. Turned the tone knob down about 3/4 of the way and played closer to the neck.
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    Primary TB Assistant

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