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Looking for some Pedalboard Advice

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by kaputsport, Oct 2, 2008.

  1. kaputsport


    Nov 14, 2007
    Carlisle, PA
    Atypical, not a typical...
    Ok... This is going to sound kinda amature, but I am looking for some advice...

    This might also get a little long...

    So after making my way from being a strictly cable in the chain player, to a full fledged 40 plus effects owner, I am looking to get this board nailed down. What I mean is...

    -Remove the unneeded fluff
    -Get all volumes exact, so looping and layering is smooth
    -Organize my Effects loops so that they make sense
    -Make the baord so user friendly, and also unique.

    Here is the list of pedals I have at the moment. An * denotes needed pedals, or pedals that will not leave the board...

    -Akai Deep Impact*
    -Human Gear animato*
    -MJM Britbender Fuzz Version 2*
    -Boss LS-2*
    -Digitech Bass Synth Wah*
    -EHX Lil' Big Muff
    -Zvex Woolly Mammoth
    -Boss BF-2 Flanger
    -Akai Intelliphase
    -Boss OC-2
    -Boss DD-3
    -EHX Bassballs (Russian)
    -Proco Rat
    -Peterson Strobostomp *
    -Boss Compressor

    I have access to an MXR Phase 90 and an MXR Flanger. I realize they will take up less space, and what not.

    I had my loops set up mostly like this:

    Modulation Loop (A): Compressor, Deep Impact, Intelliphase, BSW
    Dirt Loop (B): Woolly Mammoth, LBM, Flanger, MJM BB

    The tuner was at the end, also providing a DI if needed. The LS-2 was first in the chain and was mostly used to blend both loops together, but also was used for switching between them.

    I am seriously considering redoing the entire thing. I would like some opinions on what to use to make the best board out of the list. I cannot buy any more pedals, as I have exasperated my budget for the year...Buying Ampeg B-15s in mint condition will do that.

    What would you do? How would you set up the loops, and more spacifically, how would you equalize volumes accross the board? I want to stomp a fuzz, or distortion, and have it not be louder or quieter, but have them all at the same, using the LS-2 at full tilt.
  2. IMO, chuck the BF-2, OC-2 and compressor; I like Boss, but I have tried/owned all of those pedals and found them useless. (for my purposes anyway)

    You could probably get rid of the LBM and Mammoth aswell, as you have plenty of dirt variation from your RAT, Animato and MJM.

    Maybe the Bassballs isn't essential either, because you have plenty of funk from your phaser and TWO synth pedals :smug:

    I would run the board like this:

    Loop 1: BSW>Deep Impact>Phase
    Loop 2: (I'm not familiar with all of those dirt pedals, but pretty much put them with your "softest" distortion first, and your most extreme last)

    then run the DD-3 either before or after the LS-2 (i like after best, but it's up to you)

    Hope that all helps!
  3. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    Keep the OC-2. I've found it very useful (for my purposes anyway).

    I keep a Bassballs on my board mostly to run after synth pedals, it sounds great, makes them go all squawky and grumbly.

    I'd have the flanger and phaser after the LS-2, DI and BSW in one side of the LS-2 a filth pedal (or two, in your case) in the other side, one before it, and one after. :)

    How many dirt pedals do I have left? I'd probably sell those.
  4. kaputsport


    Nov 14, 2007
    Carlisle, PA
    Atypical, not a typical...
    The Animato and MJM are the only ones I feel I might keep. I hate the rat, but it is old school, and was used for recording.

    The OC-2 is great, I love using it.

    the phaser is a big one, cause which do I use? Also, along the lines of matching volumes, and keeping it all glued together, how would you accomplish this?

    The compressor is designed to make the Deep Impact track flawlessly, and the BSW is a noise box.
  5. kevteop


    Feb 12, 2008
    York, UK
    Yeah it can be hard. Have you got any pedals that are too loud/quiet and can't be adjusted? Short of adding loop bypass switches with volume controls on them, there's not a lot of options. You could stick a limiter at the end of your chain and set it quite aggressively, but that may well leave your sound flat and lifeless whenever it's on.

    The only volume problems on my board are my OC-2 (sounds a bit too quiet with just the -1 Oct soloed) and my filters (the resonant peaks can get a bit spiky). For the OC-2 I stick it in one side of my LS-2 so I can give it a bit of gain. For the filters, I rely on a Boss LMB-3 to take some of the edge off them.

    Which one do you prefer? That's a taste decision - we can't help you there. :) If you use phase shifting a lot, why not keep them both?
  6. kaputsport


    Nov 14, 2007
    Carlisle, PA
    Atypical, not a typical...
    The problem children all can be adjusted with volume. My question is does anyone know how to approach designing this board regarding volumes? I want the distortions and fuzzes to be seemless, but I also want you to know that they are on. I want the synths to be as loud on their spectrums, and able to blend using the respective pedals, not the LS-2 volumes. I want the LS-2 pegged at the max, and let the other pedals do what they do.

    The phaser question is one that I can't really answer. Both do the job well. The Akai sounds really organic, but the MXR sounds familier...

    I'll test them out my self...

    Any vets here have an opinion...? Mystic Boo? Toasted? Anyone???
  7. kaputsport


    Nov 14, 2007
    Carlisle, PA
    Atypical, not a typical...
    Bump as the Animato shows up today... So tonight I test and build.
  8. At the end of the day, you'll get 20 different oppinions from 20 different people. Just follow your ears, spend a good few hours working on your order, try crazy things that don't usually work!
  9. kaputsport


    Nov 14, 2007
    Carlisle, PA
    Atypical, not a typical...
    I figured that was the response I would get...

    I may just redo the board, and spend the time to do it right, but the loops are all going to change.
  10. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    You rang? ;)

    I'll take a stab at this and give you my two cents. Let's start with the "permanent" pedals. Given that these aren't going anywhere...

    That leaves these to deal with:

    Ditch these three, replace with an EHX Bass Big Muff. It's flexible and grittier like its Russian predecessor, and while it doesn't have the sharp crunch of the RAT, you'll find it does have a good crunch of its own.

    But I also notice you have a Britbender... if it's indeed true to the Tonebender, then perhaps a Big Muff isn't the best idea in general. If you do use the Mammoth for its synthier and sharply gated possibilities, keep that and ditch the other two instead.

    Either way, try a Bass Big Muff - you may find yourself doubting your Britbender and replacing FOUR pedals with one. :D

    A/B with the MXR, keep your favorite of the two.

    A/B with the Phase 90. If you haven't used an EHX Nano Small Stone before, now's a good time to compare that, too. Also, consider whether you really do use the extra perks of the Intelliphase.

    Having never used an Intelliphase myself, I'm not sure how to advise you other than the above.

    Do you use the sub-octave at all, given you extensive use of synth tones elsewhere, and the sub-adding features of some of your synth pedals?

    I don't think you need this.

    Got any songs using delay? If not, you probably don't need it. However, it's different a different than what the bulk of your collection can do, so perhaps for now it'd at least be worth keeping, even if not on the board.

  11. How big is your pedal board? The reason why I ask: Don't you mind carrying around all that stuff? I am not knocking your playing style... hell the more FX the better... but I just wonder when you have to ask yourself if you have reached the point of diminishing returns. How about a pic of what you normally carry with you to shows/rehearsals?
  12. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    Ok, of course, it's very difficult to tell someone else how they should set up their gear since we all have different musical and tonal goals, but here's what jumped out at me:

    By my count that's four fuzzes and 1 harsh distortion. Not to mention that the Bassballs, Deep Impact and BSW incorporate some fuzz-type sounds depending on the mode. A lot of players like having a range of dirt pedals on their board, but it certainly seems like you have some overlap. I'd consider cutting the last three. The Animato and Britbender should cover your synthy to classic fuzz sounds and while neither does exactly what the Mammoth does, I'm not sure it's worth keeping around if you are absolutely sure the first two are staying.

    Also, I see you have some overlap when it comes to the Deep Impact, BSW and OC-2. The first two are synth pedals and the latter two are octavers. I know you want to keep all three, but I would think if you were trying to trim down your set, you could cut either the BSW or the OC-2. I'd say the BSW, but that's just me.

    While I like them both, I generally only have phaser or flanger. For what I remember of your music, I think the ones you have (Akai, Boss) are better than the MXR versions. If you were to keep one, I think phaser would serve you better.

    The DD-3 is pretty solid. If you use it, keep it. And if not, lose it.

    I know you said you weren't in a position to buy new pedals, but if you trimmed your board down, you could certainly pick up some money selling them. Something to consider is the WOBO dual looper. I think the LS-2 is a much better bet if you want to run things in parallel, but if you have certain pedal combinations that you'd like to turn on and off, it works rather well.

    Hope that helps.
  13. kaputsport


    Nov 14, 2007
    Carlisle, PA
    Atypical, not a typical...
    Well, the Rat was never on the board, but it is in the total arsenal...

    The board consists of the following right now:

    Akai DI
    Compressor (boss, blue for tracking the DI)
    and a peterson...

    The LBM is probably on it's way out, or the WM, and the Animato is added to the line up.
    The bSW and Deep Impact are nessicary, as well as the OC-2...

    The flanger, not so much. It may be leaving.

    Any idea on volumes? Experience with LS-2s and whatnot. I am going to mess with it tonight and see if there is anything I can make happen.
  14. kaputsport


    Nov 14, 2007
    Carlisle, PA
    Atypical, not a typical...
    I am going to attempt to get a very synthy sub down on the DI and hopefully I can get rid of the OC-2... But we will see.
  15. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    The only thing I can say about the LS-2 and volumes is that I wouldn't ask it to do any work in regards to regulating pedal outputs.

    When I used mine in a similar fashion to what you are doing, I first ran everything as one long chain and found unity gain for each pedal individually, marking it with a carpenters pencil on each pedal.

    Then I put them in the loops of the LS-2 and blended to taste. The only difficulty came with filters, especially ones like the Funk-A-Duck or FX25 with big volume spikes. Of course, you could run a limiter in the loop as bongo often suggests. Other than that, I didn't have any volume issues with my pedals in the LS-2.
  16. kaputsport


    Nov 14, 2007
    Carlisle, PA
    Atypical, not a typical...
    Well, the Animato has shown up, and well, it is awesome...

    Here is the re-made board, and everything sounds incredible. I even got the compressor to play extra nice with the deep impact...
  17. kaputsport


    Nov 14, 2007
    Carlisle, PA
    Atypical, not a typical...
    Up for the update...

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