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Rethinking my VTDI settings

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Kro, Feb 4, 2017.


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  1. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    TL;DR: Watched an Ampeg midrange demo that started me thinking about the character knob differently. Fiddled with settings, and found a great tone with boosted character and drive and very low blend.

    IMG_20170130_125118510~4.jpg

    Full ramblings below:

    I've been happily using my VTDI pedal now as an always-on drive pedal for about a year now. I'm not one much for fiddling with settings, so usually when I find a tone I like, I set it and forget it.

    Just a quick upfront about EQ (low, mid, and high knobs) - since this is EQ post Sansamp circuitry, I try and keep it as neutral as possible so that when it goes into my amp's input, it doesn't overly mess with my preamp (that I use for stage EQ), and so that sound guys more or less get a tone they're expecting and can adjust at the board without hassle. In A/B testing of pedal off and pedal on with blend fully counterclockwise, I actually find that all knobs at noon is close enough to neutral for me - at least on my VTDI (other VT models might vary). I then layer everything else that the Sansamp does, including speaker sim, on top of that. End result is not flat, but not overly EQd either.

    With that being said, that leaves us to talk about the more interesting aspects of this pedal: blend, character, and drive.

    A few weeks ago I was watching some YouTube clips, and came across this demo, that for me at least, shed some new light on the character knob, and got me to twisting knobs again.



    In my opinion Tech 21 does a terrible job at explaining this knob. They mention that it impacts attack and drive, but don't really tell you how very much, aside from giving relatively useless descriptors that below noon is more SVTish, and that above is more modern indie rock tones (which probably use SVTs a good bit at various settings).

    From what I can tell, the special part of the character knob is that it adjusts mids before the rest of the Sansamp circuit, so basically it has a similar effect on the driven tone through compression and introduced harmonics that boosting mids has in the video I posted.

    To my pedal! Old setup was blend 50/50, character at noon, and drive at ~11:00 for a relatively neutral tone with my Stingray and just a bit of warmth and breakup when hit hard.

    After expirementing with the character knob more keeping in mind the vid I had just watched, I started really enjoying the tones I was getting with character and drive both boosted just a bit past noon. I was getting more mid breakup that sounded great and cutting, though it was a little thin. I played with the EQ to fatten it back up a bit, but still wasn't 100% happy, until I started messing with blend.

    I was curious as to how blend would effect the signal without the EQ adjustments, so I set all three back to noon. I backed the blend back a bit from noon, and found it to be an improvement. As I slowly backed it off more and more (without looking), it kept sounding better and better, but it still had a suprising amount of the Sansamp flavoring to it. After sweeping it a bit I finally got the sweet spot with the knob, and upon looking down was amazed to see that the blend was all the way down to 9:00!

    This setting surprised me due to how high character and drive were set along with the low blend, but I found myself loving it. Did a little bit of recording straight from the VTDI last week like that and I was very happy with the results.

    Anybody else have similar success with high character/drive settings and a low blend? Curious to hear others thoughts as well.
     
  2. I'll join you on the re-thinking. My passive basses sound amazing with Tech 21 suggested SVT settings - my active 5r, a bass & mid-heavy sounding Yamaha, the suggested 1:30 setting on the bass knob is killing my drummer's IEMs and he believes it's too bass heavy. I wanted a pedal to 'level' the tones but it looks like I must have a different setting for my active bass. Will play the pre-amp on bass gtr, blend and the bass & mids before next practice.
    Good luck Kap'n Kro.
     
    AndyLES likes this.
  3. Very similar settings to mine! Had mine for a year and still just love it. Probably the most important ingredient in my tone. I just have my blend a little higher, with a bit of a bass bump to add extra meat to my aTK.

     
  4. This pedal has shown me I need to buy an svt.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
  5. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Yeah, I tried that SVT setting with my Stingray 5, and immediately thought it was awesome and ballsy upon first testing it, and then quickly realized it was way too scooped and "dead" sounding when used in the mix. Tech 21 did say that they came up with those settings based on a passive P (I think), so it make sense that it works with your passive basses.

    I touched on this a little in my original thread, but as far as tweaking EQ is concerned, I'm a huge fan of really only adjusting at the last point possible in a chain, keeping everything else more or less neutral (not flat, but just not heavily adjusted) before that point. That means for me that my amp handles EQ for stage, and the board handles EQ for the house.

    Not sure if you have another amp coming after your VTDI, or if you have a separate mixer used for the IEMs, but that might be helpful as well instead of trying to tweak the VTDI EQ to work with every single output device that comes after it.

    The other option that you touched upon would be to use your onboard EQ to bring your active bass' tone more in line with that of your passives so that it works well with your existing settings. The downside then being that your active sounds more like your passives. ;)

    Good luck to you as well!
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2017
  6. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    I lust after those Ampeg tube amps every now and then, which I think is what originally brought me to that V4B demo that day.

    Lucky for my back and my wallet that I refuse to use tubes in my rig that's subjected to the stresses of the local club scenes.

    Thankfully the VT gives me what I need in that department for live performances, and most of the studios I've worked with have their share of vintage Ampegs or other tube amps on hand to work with for recording. All in all, I don't really feel like I'm missing out at all.
     
  7. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Didn't even make it a month.

    After playing with the settings I noted above for a few weeks, I started feeling like having blend so low wasn't giving me the touch-sensitive overdrive I crave (really just breaking up as I dig in), but was rather giving me a consistent level of OD from medium to hard playing tamed by the blend.

    I went back to pretty much blindly twisting knobs and arrived at the settings in the image below. Guess what? Turns out they're almost exactly the same as where I had them before I changed them. At least I'm consistent...

    IMG_20170219_224508866~2.jpg
     
    eriky4003 and Ba55Man1ac like this.
  8. Tweaking for my Yamaha 5 has led me to: Blend at max, bass lining up perfectly with the blend, mid slightly lower than the SVT setting for passive basses (10:00), and the highs at the SVT setting for passive bass. I sometimes spout the tried and true "Mids are your friend" but my previous setting for the active bass with it's low-mid heaviness character was likely causing stress for my drummer's IEMs and likely my cabs. Now, mids are my friend!
     
  9. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    When you say "bass lining up perfectly with the blend" what do you mean? If blend is fully clockwise, is your bass fully counter-clockwise?
     
  10. The blend at 100% is like 5:00 or 5:30. If you were to take a ruler from the blend setting and line the bass knob setting as if they were one line (10:00 or 10:30 using this method). This seems to tame that bass's heavy bottom. BTW, I do have the tone knobs on the bass at 50% so I am following Tech 21's instructions for setting the VTBDI for active instruments. BTW, absolutely love this pedal. My four strings passive basses sound amazing on the SVT setting, and now only minor tweaks for an active instrument works well with my K.I.S.S. philosophy. My GK MB500 is set to flat settings I've found on TB and maybe a touch less of hi-mids.
     
  11. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    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.

     
    Mar 8, 2021

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