Parallel Effects Mixer/Blender

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by ianrossbass, May 25, 2020.

  1. ianrossbass


    Jul 13, 2017
    Hey all! Looking for some opinions on parallel mixers or multiple send blenders. I have made a lot of use of the OneControl blender over the years, but would like an alternative that can handle multiple effects. For a few years I abandoned running a loop just to simplify my rig, instead relying on the precious few decent guitar overdrives with a blend built in (often of dubious quality, I might add.)

    There's been a recent influx of products into this space, but they mostly don't seem to be too concerned with size, and that's aggravating to a touring musician. I am migrating from a Boss MS-3 and would like something small in the profile of a switcher. In fact, I have an ES-8 switcher that I was hoping would facilitate this sort of thing, but the parallel features leave a lot to be desired. The only thing I'm aware of in this size category is the custom work by Saturnworks. I own one little auxiliary switch of his and it has been fine, but would like to hear about the quality of his parallel/blend circuit if anyone has experience with it. I'm slightly weirded out about the fact that he only recently added a bass version with the capacity to pass a broader frequency range. Er... I don't want to be worried about that. I know we are talking preamps and buffers here, but I would like to not even think about hearing them. I just want the clean sound, plus the other sounds. And phase switches.

    From more mainstream manufacturers, it seems there are now two of the aforementioned unwieldy offerings from EHX, a possible contender from Old Blood, and the usual cast from Radial. None of these things reaaaally fit the form factor I was looking for, and most leave you with only two loops, meaning (for me) only one pedal, since I like to use a particular bourgeois purple two-sided overdrive pedal with I/O on each side. I'd love just one more for the extra drive pedal you don't need but want on the board for that special twenty seconds of silliness.

    I'm also aware of people recommending some rarity by Wounded Paw or some such thing. I couldn't find much about that. I'll add as well that the Red Panda Bit Mixer is an excellent form factor I could make do with, but the lack of phase control is a bummer.
    Phase switches are a must. Did I mention that?

    Fire away!
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
  2. gh0st42

    gh0st42 Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2019
    I haven’t seen a whole lot of very small foot print parallel blenders, etc.

    Wounded Paw units are about the same size as everything else comparable.

    The One Control is about the only mini solution I’m aware of.

    By the time you get a foot switch, plus send and receive jacks for each loop, a phase switch and level control at minimum, and possibly tone/Pass Filter controls of some kind, you are looking at a decent sized pedal regardless.

    I do seem to remember finding a rack mount unit at one point, that had 8 channels/loops, which could all be set parallel or serial as needed, and then midi controlled.

    I don’t remember the brand or model, but that is about as low profile size wise as you can realistically get, and would still need a foot controller of some kind. It was pretty expensive, even used.

    How many loops are you looking for?
  3. ianrossbass


    Jul 13, 2017
    It seems most products do 2 loops plus dry... I would prefer 3 or more, which effectively brings me back to the Saturnworks, I suppose. I'm hoping someone has one on here and can give a go/no go, because otherwise it seems it'll be up to me to take the plunge and find out. They aren't cheap with the features I've mentioned, but I'm willing to pay in order not to worry endlessly about what effects I'd like to use.
    Positive thing: I've been interested in what's out there to control input volumes of different basses, and looking into this stuff has popped up a bunch of options for that purpose... just not really the parallel blend purpose.
  4. gh0st42

    gh0st42 Supporting Member

    Oct 25, 2019
    For 3+ loops Saturnworks, EHX TriParallel Mixer, VFE Klein Bottle (Expensive and hard to find these days but the most feature rich and flexible contender), and the Wounded Paw V3 or V4 are the ones I know of.
    monsterthompson likes this.
  5. ianrossbass


    Jul 13, 2017
    Wow, the Klein Bottle looks incredible. I would make the space sacrifice for the features that provides. Er, provided. Cool recommendation, thanks.
    monsterthompson and gh0st42 like this.
  6. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    I've been using a VFE Klein Bottle for a little over 6 months now, and I am gobsmacked by how profoundly it has impacted and inspired my use of effects ...but yeah, if you're concerned with size it's not necessarily the pedal to be looking at. Then again, none of these parallel mixers/routers/loop selectors are "compact" so the Klein Bottle should be commended for packing the most punch into the same footprint as many others.
    monsterthompson and gh0st42 like this.
  7. naetog

    naetog Supporting Member

    May 26, 2006
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    Old Blood Noise Endeavors Signal Blender is 3 parallel loops (or two loops plus a clean channel) in a nice small footprint and not too expensive.

    I still have a Saturnworks 4 parallel unit, but it is more than I need, so I got this one and it's great.

    old blood noise endeavors — Signal Blender
  8. ianrossbass


    Jul 13, 2017
    I started a dialogue with Saturworks and am thinking I'll end up there, but this would be my other choice. I'm a little unclear on what happens when you have a dry channel on these devices. Isn't the dry running through the entirety of the circuit anyway, so you simply select and blend channels into it to taste? Is it just a way of controlling the output level of the dry signal? I'd appreciate you elucidating because I'd like to know if I need him to add a dry blend knob on the Saturworks should I go that direction. (I already asked him to, but mostly because I don't know what the deal is.)
    (Edit: Wait, looking at the photo of the Old Blood, how does a third loop work if there's no i/o?)
  9. naetog

    naetog Supporting Member

    May 26, 2006
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    The dry channel can be switched on and off, allowing 100% wet effects if you choose.

    I like the switchable clean channel rather than a single knob. See below for reasons.

    Sometimes I just want a bunch of distortion, but then adding that dry signal in makes it more apparent in certain mixes.

    It's great with delays and reverbs too. Getting that washed out sound then clicking on the clean channel while still keeping the effected signal going sounds great.

    The Saturnworks I have is 4 channels with a master bypass, but I just ran one clean just linking its send directly to the return, leaving the other 3 for the fun stuff.

    You'll need to rebalance your levels when you get whichever pedal, but I find it's worth the trouble.

    I actually have one channel of the OBNE Signal Blender set with all my effects in series, and the other with a synth.

    I like running my OD into delay into reverb anyway, so this lets that happen while keeping my synth signal separate, along with the clean channel.

    There's really no wrong answer amongst all the recommendations. It's really what form factor and number of channels you need.

    This is definitely a good time to be a bass player!
  10. ianrossbass


    Jul 13, 2017
    Yeah, I suppose if you don't mind a little tap dancing action you can get a lot of mileage out of running all the effects you want blended in one series as long as all the volumes are balanced properly. I figure I'm going to end up going the 4 loop, phase switches, dry blend, master bypass route and just be done with it. I think that's as much as I'll ever want on any one gig. I'm still waiting to hear back on whether or not that all fits in the oblong switcher style enclosure. Hopefully! Thanks for your input.
  11. naetog

    naetog Supporting Member

    May 26, 2006
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    I'm sure that'll be awesome!

    You will find amazing combinations of effects in parallel, so prepare to go down that rabbit hole!
  12. Jase The Bass

    Jase The Bass Guest

    Sep 1, 2011
    There are several options for this. I have a Rolls MX41 for sale on my Reverb store. PM me for the link and bass players only price.

    Basically you need a summing mixer. They also go by the name resistance mixer or passive mixer. They come in passive and powered form. The passives are an easy DIY build, the powered requires a little more advanced knowledge on how to put a circuit together.
    Here are some models:
    Rolls MX41 - passive
    DOD 240 - passive
    Behringer MX400 - powered
    any other buffered or unbuffered splitter

    I used the Rolls MX41 at the end of my effects chain for a multi channel board. clean channel in 1, effected channel in 2, and SDRUM in channel 3. It was great to be able to blend the effect chain lower than the clean channel. It all comes out to one mono channel to the amp.

    Something to keep in mind with a passive summing mixer is you will lose some volume levels. This is a good thing especially if you have wildly loud distortion pedals. The volume loss is easily made up by gain and volume controls on your equipment. Other really cool stuff audio engineers do with summing mixers if you want to dig around on tha net.
  13. ianrossbass


    Jul 13, 2017
    That seems like a relatively cheap solution, but I'd be worried about phase issues for one. What are you using in the front of your multiple channels to split in the first place? I see you can use a small summing mixer in either one i four o mode or four i one o. So do you use one on either end of everything or just rely on a pedal in front that has a few outputs?
    I don't think it's the solution for me at all, but it's a cool approach I hadn't thought of and I'd love to hear back or see a picture of your setup.
  14. Jase The Bass

    Jase The Bass Guest

    Sep 1, 2011
    Yes, this important info to know. I had a 2 channel JFET buffered splitter at the input of the pedal board to split the signal into two. I did not run into phase issues with my setup. You can always correct phase issues with a EHX LBP1 or another small utility pedal that reverses phase.
    The effects I used are EHX C9 Organ, Mooer E7 Synth, Digitech Ricochet, Zoom MS-60B, the preamp was a Mooer Blueno Micro and the drum machine was a SDRUM. I play a passive J bass.

    Buffered splitter ch1 > preamp > summing mixer ch 1
    Buffered splitter ch2 > effects connected in series > summing mixer ch2
    Drum machine (stand alone) > summing mixer ch3

    Summing Mixer output > amp input

    The cool factor regarding a summing mixer is since there is a slight volume drop in all of the channels, you can make that up with a preamp. You can connect a different preamps to each channel that "colors" the audio in different ways. It creates an interesting layered sound. When I had a super wet synth appreciator sound going on ch2, the clean (ch1) preamp bass signal stayed intact. It gave me the sound of two instrument playing together. Its a really good wet/dry setup with using only one amp. The passive summing mixers with volume control essential act as a blend knob on effect pedals.

    Hope this helps.
  15. SidNitzerglobin


    Feb 12, 2019
    The Pigtronix Keymaster works great for me. Love the routing options of the 2 loops & the crossfade via expression pedal worked great when I was messing around w/ a full biamp set up. It's been really useful for re-amping stuff a couple times too. Here it is on my practice/noodling board where it's living today:
    I always wanted to try a Lehle Parallel L as well, but it looks like maybe they're discontinued now?

    Both of them are pretty big though so likely not much help, sorry...
  16. Billtbagginz

    Billtbagginz Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2020
  17. If you want to keep it simple like you said there I cant say enough good things about my Wounded Paw Blender V4. I love how easy it is to set the volume on the individual pedals and use the Wounded Paw controls to blend them all together just right.
    gh0st42 likes this.
  18. ianrossbass


    Jul 13, 2017
    I dawdled on picking an option because touring isn't happening until sometime into next year, and it's looking at this point like I'll go with the G3 Atom since Dan built parallel and phase correction into the unit. Solves my problems and in the form factor I'd prefer.
  19. keatz


    Jan 19, 2011
    If you are able to split the signal (off a boss tuner for example), then a Lehle P-Split in reverse would make a great blender. Has the handy phase switch but no volume control. They do have pedals specifically for splitting and blending but you are spending a bit of money by then.
  20. Primary

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    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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