Ring Modulation

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by 220_Hz, Mar 2, 2021.

  1. Yes

    18 vote(s)
  2. No

    1 vote(s)
  3. Carrots

    1 vote(s)
  1. 220_Hz

    220_Hz Supporting Member

    May 9, 2016
    San Diego
    Call me crazy but I think ring mods are the real secret tone sauce involved to make an amp sound more “3-D”. The reason a bell sounds three dimensional is because it produces inharmonics amongst the different concaves in its shape, as well as this, a lot of the time when people refer to a “3-D Tone” they refer to the sound of 60 Hz interference bleeding through the power supply of a vintage amp. This phenomenon also produces inharmonics, but in a more similar way to how a ring mod would work.

    I’m on the lookout for a gonkulator to test this out, if any of you already own ring mods and think this is interesting I’m dying to know if a 50-70 Hz setting would recreate the effect
    gscroggin and Bonsist like this.
  2. Bonsist


    Jan 28, 2021
    That's interesting, never gave this any thought before. Never thought to use a ring modulator on anything other than synths to be honest & even then only if I need a specific desirable effect.

    Would love to know how others are using their ring mods on real instruments as well.
    Evil_Druid likes this.
  3. I have one with my sy1 that I can pitch with the expression pedal... haven’t actually tried it yet

    always been fascinated by them, the closest I came to one was the noise box fuzz but that thing was just an uncontrollable on top of the rest of its chaos
    Evil_Druid likes this.
  4. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Inactive

    Feb 23, 2011
    It's definitely interesting, but I'd dare claim it rather adds a 5th dimension to your tone than a 3rd, which is rarely desirable, despite absolutely still being interesting.
    Evil_Druid likes this.
  5. I hear what sounds like some ring modulation on Juan Alderete's bass on one of the tracks towards the end of the "Francis the Mute" album. It's right before the part on the album where he takes off and does a very distorted, wah-wah induced, Cliff Burton-flavored solo(which is also awesome).

    Timemarked to where it starts to really become audible, keep listening past the organs to get to the Cliff-esque solo:

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
  6. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    I'm not sure I agree with OP's idea that 60Hz intermodulation from power supplies contributes to the "3-D" sound of vintage amps, but that may be because we have different interpretations of what "3-D" means and sounds like. I will say that I love using ring modulation!

    Many years ago I had one of the original Maestro Ring Modulators (designed by Tom Oberheim) in my rig, and it was capable of some glorious sounds on bass.

    Though tbh one of my favorite applications was using it on electric guitar while having another guitarist's output connected to the modulator input of the Maestro (so that instead of outputting the sum & difference of my ever-changing guitar frequencies modulated by a fixed frequency internal oscillator, it was outputting the sum & difference of my ever-changing guitar frequencies modulated by the ever-changing frequencies of the other guitarist's note choices) ...and then we both improvised. Wonderfully unpredictable mayhem!

    These days I can approximate some ring modulated sounds using an Iron Ether FMeron, but if I ever have an empty slot on my pedalboard and some spare cash burning a hole in my pocket I think I'd pick up one of the Randy's Revenge ring mod pedals from Fairfield Circuitry.
  7. cosmicevan

    cosmicevan ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Inactive

    Check out the FEBER from Pladask Elekrisk. Ring Mod...and then some.

    Evil_Druid likes this.
  8. I’ve had so many different ring mods, moog, ehx and digital in eventide h9, zoom and helix. Love it, but they all sound different from each other.
    Evil_Druid likes this.