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Synth and other weird sounds

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Rodan, Mar 18, 2004.

  1. Rodan

    Rodan Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    Ok, here's the deal. I've been recruited to play bass on a project where there was never any real bass to begin with.

    A friend and I have been writing some stuff on Propellerhead Reason. Think Chemical Brothers, Boards of Canada, Air and Amon Tobin. It's cool stuff, the only thing is we both just decided to make it a live project and will try to play stuff three or four times a year.

    Since I neither he nor I are very good keyboards and we think it would be so much cooler to do it with other intruments, I've been "assigned" the bass chair, but I have to find ways to emulate the tones on the songs we've already written, which sound nothing like an unprocessed electric bass.

    I've have a Whammy Pedal and a Rat, but will need something totally unique to help me try to copy the sounds on the basslines. I'm probably only going to be able to a few pedals, and would like to keep it reasonably priced ($300-350 max). If I had a lot of money to spend I'd just go and get a Roland V-Bass and the problem would be solved.

    Right now I'm thinking Electro-Harmonix Bass Micro Synthesizer and I'm also very curious about the Moogerfooger Low Pass Filter. I like these because they're analog and if I'm not mistaken I believe these are quality units.

    Other stuff I've read about is the Akai Deep Impact and Digitech Bass Synth Wah.

    At this point in the game, any help would be really appreciated. I know there are some of you here with some awesome pedal boards who are very familiar with this stuff and could help me. The idea a few good synthy tones a la Moog and stuff with some filtery sweeps and stuff.

    I haven't tried any of these pedals and none of the places around me carry these, except for maybe the Digitech Bass Synth Wah (and you know how most music stores are never the most receptive about having bass players actually try out pedals)

    Anyway, any advice would be great.
  2. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    How is your cash situation? I only ask since the pedal trade is very brisk.

    Buy a few you asked about, and play with them. If you don't like them, then re-sell it. I have been doing that for the past couple months myself. I haven't lost any money yet.

  3. Rodan

    Rodan Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    Good point. I assume it's always better to buy used that way you don't lose as much on the transaction, huh?
  4. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Yeah bro. Pick one up used. Lot's of guys here buy/sell pedals. It's the only way to go when you are experimenting.

  5. dirtgroove


    Jan 10, 2003
    Taipei, Taiwan
    Specifically what kind of sound is it that you are looking for?
    Most of the time air seem to use a fairly conventional bass sound and it works well in givinig the music a more organic sound.
    For most Chemical bros songs it seems that they're not using a bass guitar like/sound. If it's those deep boomy bassy synth sounds- prepare your self for alot of headaches trying to find what works for you. At the risk of alienating people here I find it alot easier to use a keyboard/synth for a great deal of song parts. :eek:

    If heard a lot of people here recommend dod fx25s with the filter turned so it doesn't open.Also, a nice cheap start.
    The digitech synth/filter is also nice and cheap but I can only get a few decent sounds out of it that I use. It doubles as a fantastic octaver.

    The deep impact is also very popuilar here and it really can get quite extreme. Think 80 synth sounds, a few sub bass sounds, a decent octaver and an envelope filter- It's greatest asset is it's ease of pragramming. It's asomething I've grown to love though as when I first tested it I found the factory presets shockingly bad. It also has 9 banks and claims to be true bypass.

    The boss gt6 does some truly astonishingly good things but does an even more astionishing number of things that make me have to lie and vigorously deny having come from my amp during band practices. :meh: Admitedly I'm not that bright- but it also took me about a month to learn to use.
    The me50b might be a better option as it's cheaper and has a few less firills.

    Be wary of the Boss SYB3(? :confused: ) Boss claim it is a usefull tool that is perfect for hip hop/ electronica and dance music. This is infact a total lie. It makes some great lo-fi digital messed up noises when it fails to track a not (sorry- make that every note. :( )Generally though It does to your sonic output what a giant preying mantis attempting to waltz would do to your bands visual aspect. It does double as a fantastic doorstep, however.

    The Korg g5 does some great synth stuff and is probably the daddy in terms of being able to edit the sounds and having 9 banks. I've just mine though using it was giving me too many signal headaches ( rubbish bypass that won't so much eat your bass tone so much as chew it vigorouslty and give it back to you all mangled and weak. I also found it too hideously ugly to have infornt of me whilst playing- :D).

    In my experience it's better to clear any sounds that you have in your head out and start by trying out different things and accepting what they can can't do.
    I find it immensely frustratiing when I approach the an effect attempting to imitate a sound I already have in my mind. It's easier to start fresh, get to know the pedal and find out what works for you.
    Please keep us posted on your findings.
  6. I'm a fan of the Digitech Bass Synth Wah. For truly weird and highly varied tones, this is one of the cheapest and easiest pedals to use. A spin of a knob calls up 7 different filter effects. Crazy as it may seem, I use two in my setup and fiddle with them often. The band loves it.

    Avoid the Boss SYB-3...bad tracking on bass.

    Alex aka Tecx used his bass to trigger a Tama synth drum module in This thread with very interesting results.

    EH Microsynth is limited by it's inability to save settings or change sounds quickly and accurately, and sliders that can get bumped around.
  7. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    If you have the dosh for an EH Bass Microsynth or a Moogerfooger, consider the Adrenalinn or the Adrenalinn II. It's the shiznit for electronica-sounding lines.

  8. supermonkey


    Mar 15, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I can vouch for the Digitech Synth-Wah, I just got one. 2 good envelope filters, a couple of good basic synth-sounds, octaving, plus auto-wah. Its major advantage is tracking, which it does well -- much better than the lousy (and 2x the $$$) Boss pedal.
    Built like a tank, stompbox portable, plus a cool add'l output optionally routes the synth signal separately from dry signal.
    For $80 bucks new, you can't really go wrong.

    I'd get one of those, and then check out the E-H Bass MicroSynth to see if that kind of investment is needed.
  9. KB


    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    I have recently being playing in an electronica type of band and I find that the Akai Deep Impact and the Moogerfooger lowpass (get an expression pedal or 2 for it as well) work really well. The Deep Impact can sound keyboard-like or just weird. I agree the generic factory presets on it aren't the greatest in the world, but play with it a little and you can get some neat tones, now more expensive since they aren't made anymore. Has 9 presets.

    The moogerfooger low pass is a really cool beast. I have 2 expression pedals for it (1 changes the frequency of the filter and the other changes resonance---at high resonance values the pedal self oscillates creating really weird sounds). Nice tone, though it does take some learning, plus it is expensive.

    The EHX Bass Microsynth has some neat tones, but is very difficult to use (especially live) and really has some major tone suck. It has more of a 70's "flash gordon" type of synth tone. I had one and just found it too difficult to replicate the same sounds in different situations. I recommend the Akai over this one.
  10. I have the EHX Bass Micro Synth and love it but due to it's fragility and analog nature I use it strictly for recording. For live I am getting excellent sounds from the Akai Deep Impact so if you can find one get it. I am also able to get some pretty servicable synthy sounds out of the multiefx I own, Zoom 506, Zoom 607 and Digitech BP-8. I especially like the Zooms since you can use an envelope filter or compressor with either the fretless or synth or octave patch and then add distortion and reverb and delays as needed and you can easily save your creations for performance. I have several lead tones, phat bass tones and a couple of taurus patches that fit the bill. Adding to and changing up your signal chain is also a way to expand the tonal possibilities.
  11. Heck, I play keyboards too. I'd recommend get a good analog or virtual analog synth, pref one with monophonic portamento...it doesn't have to be a full-length keyboard, the shorter the better so you can integrate it into your bass rig -

    Moog Rogue
    Moog Source
    Roland SH-101
    Roland Juno 60 or 106
    Sequential Pro-One

    Virtual Analog/New Analog:
    Korg MS2000
    Moog Voyager
    Alesis ION
    Alesis Micron
    Yamaha AN1x
    Clavia NordLead
    Roland JP-8000

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