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Ring Modulators?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Duke of Prunes, Sep 9, 2002.

  1. Hey, I don't think I've ever seen a thread about ring mods here. So...
    Does anyone own one? What do you have? What do you use it for? Do you think they are silly and useless for bass? Any other comments?
  2. The units from Bob Moog have always interested me but, damned if I know where to try them.

    The Moog Ring Mod talks about "an audio output and a carrier oscillator to produce sum and difference freq's"................. that description is virtually meaningless to me.

    I need popular songs as reference points; or at least someone using their voice to tell me if it sounds like "Sqwank" or "Weenie-Beep."

    The Electro-Harmonix ring mod, a.k.a. "Frequency analyzer", may not perform similar to the Moog since it's about $130 cheaper. All it really says is that it "adds harmonies to the played note."

    I would be tempted to try the Moog unit, given the rep. The Electro-Harmonix doesn't pique my interest since most of those effects were made for guitarists and I don't think much of their construction.
  3. monkeyfinger

    monkeyfinger Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Ring modulators work by adding and substracting a fixed value from the dominate frequency to produce two new frequencies. These new frequencies are then added to the original signal to produce the characteristic metalic sound. That is what I think Bob Moog is talking about.
  4. stevekim


    Feb 11, 2000
    los angeles, ca
    i've got a moogerfooger ring mod that i use on occasion. it's such a wacky effect, you'd really need to find the right context to play it in. i like droning notes with an ebow while messing with the oscillator and frequency knobs. you really need a true bypass unit with the moogerfooger, though. the bypass tone sucks. the black cat and frantone ring mods are both true bypass. you should definitely try the frequency analyzer. i remember finding it a very nice sounding ring mod for not too much money. do you like devo? ring mods are great if you're in an experimental, noise or new wave band.

  5. I love ring mods, as you know I'm all about synth noise and ring modulators sound pretty interesting running into a filter. I've been looking into two different ones, the moog ring mod and the EH FA. Both have their own unique features. For instance the Moog ring mod is more of a true synth ring mod but the EH FA has a bass only switch which can be very useful for bass synth. But there are two downsides to ring mods, noise and use in a band situation. They make a signal either more percussive or more melodic, they're one of the few effects that can do that. So getting the right sound out of one is integral to the tembre and rhythme of a song. It can be a bit overwelming to most players.
  6. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Paranoid by Black Sabbath (listen to the bridge).

    I have one in my multi effect. It makes funny sounds, but as if affect note height, it's hard to use in a band context, except for a wicked solo.
  7. If you can find it, There's a song by The Slip called "Get me With Fuji" in which the guitarist, Brad Barr, gets some really amazing pitch bending effects using just the frequency analyzer. Devo is always a great example, too.
    It's too bad the Moog isn't true bypass. It seems like the best (or at least the coolest looking) out of all the RMs out there. I'd like to try the Frantone unit and the Frostwave Blue Ringer. I think there's a few sound clips at Frostwave's site.
  8. I luv ringmods. :)

    I'd like to try the Moog and the Frostwave, too. I have a Black Cat, Frantone, and a Ringer Stinger. Dig 'em all. Certainly a challenge to use them in a "musical" setting, but the sound is just so distinctive. Nothing else like it.

    I've also built a couple of my own. Posted pics and audio clips of guitar and BASS!
    http://users.rcn.com/cbarth/CA ring mod.htm
    http://users.rcn.com/cbarth/ringer squeezer.htm

    The Craig Anderton Ring Mod is very much like the Black Cat, plus it has an effects loop and a LP filter switch to boost the lows. The Green Ringer part of the Ringer Squeezer sounds sort of like a cross between a ring mod and an octavia, IMHO. I added the low boost switch to that one, too. I think they both sound wicked cool with bass.

    - Charlie
  9. Don't fool yourself, the EH FA is sucky when bypassed too. As for the other units; the Frantone looks fun and simple, I've yet to hear or use one but their tone is supposidly more metallic than most. The Frostwave Blueringer is pretty neet, it obiously runs off of a saw toothed oscillator because of the hint of robotic pitch and convienently sounds more like a machine than an actual bell...
  10. If you want to attempt to get something more musical out of a ring mod, try tuning the carrier oscillator to the key that you are playing in. For example, if you are playing in the key of A, play an A note and twist the frequency knob to a position that sounds "in tune." When you get close, you'll hear that familiar bleating or pulsing sound that you get when tuning up and you start to get close to the right pitch.

    BTW - from the likes of this review, the Frostwave uses a sine wave for the carrier oscillator.
    Don't know for sure, tho, 'cause there's no other references on Frostwave's web site.

    The Frantone is, of course, selectable between sine, saw, square.

    I don't know what the Black Cat is, but it's supposed to be a clone of the vintage (old) Maestro Ring Modulator.

    - Charlie
  11. I forgot about that one. The sound samples on Lovetone's site alone would have sold me on it if it weren't for the hefty used/OOP price tag.

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