Pedalboard update, 1 year later. Pedaltrain, Zoom, Radial, Fishman & Loopmaster content.

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Pat C., Oct 2, 2016.

  1. Pat C.

    Pat C. Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    It's been almost a year since I put together the first pedalboard I've ever owned and used in my 20+ year playing career. A posted a few different threads a several forums and got great feedback from other users which really helped steer my purchases. I figured I'd post up my thoughts on the products that you all helped me decide upon.

    Original threads:

    Pedalboard questions

    AB/Looper box questions

    Direct box discussion

    Current iteration of the pedalboard:


    I used this board for doubling on Electric and Upright bass. For many of my gigs I play directly to the PA (particularly if there is no drummer). With the Loopmaster I also can send either bass to my amp, or to two different amps when I run a clean/dirty rig. Lots of options, with some drawbacks. Some comments on the specific items.

    Pedaltrain Classic Jr.
    This is a fantastic pedalboard. I just wish I had gotten the next size up. I've got the 18" wide version, the 24" wide Classic two would've allowed me to keep my expression pedal permanently attached and give me more flexibility in pedal placement. I also have the hardshell case (not pictured) which I''m very happy with and glad I got.

    Radial JDV DI
    It sounds great. Used with my electric it gives me the sound of my bass and full dynamic expression.

    Fishman Platinum Pro EQ/DI
    The DI sound on this unit is pretty good with my plywood upright and K&k Bassmax pickup when set to 'pre-EQ' mode. However, when set to 'post-EQ' first the sound goes from pretty good to "eh, what happened". Even with the EQ set completely flat, the compressor off, the HPF off, etc. the signal changes pretty drastically and gets pretty muddied up. When sending a signal to my stage amp this becomes a necessary evil since that signal goes all the way through EQ, but if I had known this from the get-go I probably would've went with a different unit.

    Zoom B3
    Well, it sure has a lot of effects. Unfortunately, not many of them sound great and/or aren't very versatile. I guess that should be expected from a unit with a 100+ effects that costs only $200, whereas a high end distortion unit can cost more than that. I've spend a bit of time building patches that work for me (I didn't find any of the factory patches usable at all) and I always combine an effected signal with a clean signal to retain a solid bass sound.

    Loopmaster AB/AY Box
    This is a custom box with A and B inputs, a true bypass effects loop and A and A+B outputs. It provides me with input switching for both my basses, allows me to run by-passable effects via the loop and gives the option to send the out to one or two stage amps. Unfortunately, my overall experience has been less than stellar.
    • First, it took 15 weeks to get delivered (twice the original estimate) with no communication from them about the delay and I finally had to bug Loop-master to get it delivered. For this reason alone I would not recommend the company for a custom order.
    • Second, being simply of box of jacks and switches it has several sonic issues.
      • It's a tremendous tone suck. The difference in the sound of my basses when they got into the DI first vs. the splitter is dramatic.
      • The various inputs and outputs are not buffered or isolated in any way so it allows for buzzing and ground loops. The results can range from minorly annoying to rendering the unit unusable. With my full rig with amps it's a bigger problem, luckily I play most direct these days.
    I realize that the second point is hardly the fault of Loopmaster or the product itself, I guess it does what it's supposed to do. And I'll plead ignorance that I didn't know that this would be an issue. If I had I would've put the $100 I invested into this pedal instead into a splitter with isolated outs such as one of the Lehle or Radial options. Lesson learned.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
  2. sk8


    May 10, 2007
    United Kingdom

    You still using the Fishman? Just picked one up and interested in some real world views
  3. Pat C.

    Pat C. Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    I'm still using it with my upright and K&K bassmax pickup. I typically use the XLR DI out set to "pre-EQ", that gives a very good clean sound to the mixing board. I only use the amp out as a last resort since IMO the prramp/EQ section doesn't sound nearly as good as the DI out.

    So I basically use it as a DI/mute/tuner. An expensive one.

    If I were to do it over again I'd probably go a different route to get more features and better quality, but would have to spend a lot more money since something like the Grace Alix or Felix would be cost 2-3 times as much.
  4. sk8


    May 10, 2007
    United Kingdom
    Interesting. It is an attractive package on paper but as you say, actual application and how it sounds are possibly very different!
  5. Pat C.

    Pat C. Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    Another pedalboard update. Warning: Inane, detailed techie stuff follows...

    My apologies to Loopmaster, I have since realized that the tone suck and humming issues were not caused entirely by the AB box. There are multiple issues, one being a ground loop created when plugging into two amps at the same time. I somewhat resolved this by utilizing a Ebtech Hum X on one of the amps' AC plugs. That seems to have greatly reduced the hum. Using an AB box with transformer based outs may solved this as well, but I don't feel like shelling out a couple hundred bucks for that type of gear. As it is the Ebtech was like $80.

    The tone suck is actually coming from the Radial JDV, the most expensive piece of kit on the board. It seems that despite it's adjustability I cannot get the impedance and/or level to match the sound I get when plug directly into my Aguilar TH500. Don't get me wrong, the DI portion of the Radial sounds great and I get amazing tone to the PA. But the loop thru seems to negatively affect the signal going to my amp. Right now I'm just living with it and I just have to run high input and output gains on the Aggie to compensate.

    Other stuff:

    I pulled the Fishman off, I'm doing a lot electric bass work these days, and it's easy to grab the Fishman for when I have a upright gig and don't need the whole pedalboard, or just place it next to the board.

    I'm running a wet/dry rig which looks something like this.

    Bass > Radial JDV > Loopmaster A/B box >
    Output A > Aguilar TH500 > Carl Weber Audio 112
    Output B > Zoom B3 > GK MB500 > Carl Weber Audio 112​

    If I'm recording or running through the PA at a gig I run a Direct out from the JDV (dry) and from the Zoom (wet). With this configuration I can run just clean signal through one amp (Output A), add the second amp (Output B) for a boost while using a 'clean' patch on the Zoom, or a runing any effect I want and I always have a clean, dry foundational tone with one amp and cab. So with patches that tend to drop low end (distortion, envelope filter, etc.) I retain a thick, low sound underneath the effected sound.

    Last edited: Jan 18, 2017
  6. sk8


    May 10, 2007
    United Kingdom
    I'm liking the Fishman on my electric bass although I'm using it primarily with my peizo equipped Godin and it sounds great. Not had chance to test the DI out yet.
    Zbysek likes this.
  7. EtoBb


    Nov 27, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    Have you had a chance to test it?