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Synth pedal for non-weird tones?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Paul Szegedin, Apr 11, 2021.

  1. Paul Szegedin

    Paul Szegedin

    Dec 28, 2020
    Pardon me if this subject has already been beaten to death:

    Can anyone recommend some pedals/units for getting synth bass tones that are oriented more toward straight, musical, synthesized bass sounds, rather than that honky, bleed-bloop, nasal kind of stuff?

    From looking at some samples, it seems like a lot of pedals are just envelope filters that would produce maybe one sawtooth tone, and a lot of the weird stuff. Is there something out there - short of MIDI, because I'm not trying to play glockenspiel on the bass - that would produce some variety of different usable versions of a synthesized bass? Some nuance?

    I've always loved the synth bass tones in some electronic/pop music, and would like to try something in the way of a pedal. Input welcome.
  2. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone

    Feb 23, 2011
    EHX Synth9, though it will only track properly down to about the low A, on the other hand it will track almost flawlessly and with very low latency down to about there where it then begins to struggle, otherwise there's the EHX Mono Bass Synth, but that one, as the name suggests, is not polyphonic, the Synth9 is.

    Boss SY-1 might be worth looking into as well, that one tracks exceptionally well and with very low latency as well, and all the way down to the lowest note of a bass, think that even goes for the low open B string on a 5 string, and it is polyphonic too, it does a ton of stuff, but unfortunately in my opinion doesn't sound quite a good as the EHX Synth9.
    design, eriky4003, bassbrad and 3 others like this.
  3. jdch28


    Apr 21, 2015
    Costa Rica
    It's got a learning curve and you gotta spend some time bonding with it via software... But the SourceAudio C4 is a pretty versatile and capable beast.
  4. If you are not looking for MIDI, then the Bananana Matryoshka is worth a shot. Yes it can do a lot weird extreme stuff, but also has two very interactive Out controls, Out 2 peaked is for the extreme sounds, however just a little of Out 2 and a lot of Out 1 and not too much resonance or sensitivity will produce a lot of very usable 80's synth sounds, or dial in some octave for some big fat p-funk or hip-hop synth bass sounds. It's a remarkably versatile little synth with great tracking.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2021
    Spectrum and HolmeBass like this.
  5. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone

    Feb 23, 2011
    Ah ,yes, forgot that one.

    Contrary to the ones I mentioned that are quite easy to get a decent sound out of, but on the other hand also quite limited in terms of what you can actually adjust to custom tailor your synth tone/sound, the SourceAudio C4 allows for just about any imaginable synth sound, but also require of you to do some work to get there in terms of adjusting the ton of parameters you get access to via the software editor that goes with it and is needed to take full advantage of it's capabilities, I'd even say it will be pretty much mandatory.

    So if you are not afraid of taking a deep plunge into custom tailoring your synth sound by twiddling control parameters till you get it just right and likely having to do a bit of research too, to get an idea of what the different parameters actually do, either the SourceAudio C4 or eventual the PandaMidi Future Impact would absolutely be the way to go over the ones I mentioned.

    If you are more of a plug an play kind of effects person though you should properly stick to something more similar to my suggestions.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2021
    4Mal and Paul Szegedin like this.
  6. CallMeBlind


    Jul 19, 2003
    I've tried probably every synth pedal out there and what I currently use is either synths on HX Stomp or combination of octave/dirt/filter.

    With some of those dedicated bass synths I was either getting too many tracking issues or not cutting through the mix. If the mix is busy enough, I can't hear anymore the difference between the synth or distortion or other dirt.

    Another point, with pedals like boss sy-1 or matryoshka, there are many interesting sounds, however without presets it's not practical, unless it's the only pedal you have and you can fully focus your thinking around it.
    Paul Szegedin and RattleSnack like this.
  7. Nighttrain1127

    Nighttrain1127 Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2004
    Near Worcester MA
    The C4 can be quite the learning curve deal but there are also hundreds of pre made patches for it . And if they are not exactly what you want you can adjust and save them . The presets are just a simple mouse click to put them in your C4 pedal so don't make it sound like you need a degree to use it. It really is easy and there are a lot of very useable patches on the Neuro site.
    jdch28, jam.majors, DrMole and 2 others like this.
  8. revd


    Apr 11, 2020
    I'm intrigued by MIDI leading to glockenspiel. Who knew!
  9. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone

    Feb 23, 2011
    Well it can.

    It can of course be used for many other purposes as well, and not just for making instruments sound like as if they in fact were a totally different instrument, but making your bass sound like a glockenspiel is definitely still one of them.
  10. RattleSnack


    Sep 22, 2011
    Same here, tracking can be bad and inconsistent when you switch basses. I prefer fuzz with low gain + filter and/or tremolo. Octaver -1 is great, but IME it has to be analog.
    Cool thing, you can get some inexpensive multieffect and have nice synth sounds this way. I use Boss GT-1B.
  11. There's ¿what? ?99¿ presets on the Future Impact, most of them usable right out of the box (unless you're really finicky). No need for deep editing, find a couple of presets you like and bounce between them.

    No learning curve required, but of course you'll get more out of it once you start diving into it.
    Highroler79 and mmon77 like this.
  12. CallMeBlind


    Jul 19, 2003
    This is one of the best options, if you can make editor work and adjust the sounds to your liking. I had it for years and liked it while the editor worked. At some point I couldn't make editor work anymore either on mac or windows. Lost all my sounds after the update and couldn't set them back without the editor anymore. Eventually had it updated with v3 sounds and didn't dig it anymore, as most of the sounds were irrelevant for what I'm doing, either because of the frequency range or tracking issues.
  13. JeezyMcNuggles


    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    If you want to sound like a "synthesizer" playing low notes, you really just want an envelope filter and a fuzz. It also helps throwing in an octaver. Keep the fuzz at very low settings (just enough).
    RattleSnack likes this.
  14. Eddie LeBlanc

    Eddie LeBlanc

    Oct 26, 2014
    Beaumont, Texas
    Don't create no problem, won't be no problem.

    Paul Szegedin likes this.
  15. Standalone


    Jan 17, 2005
    New Haven
    You can also stack envelope filters and fuzzes and distortions after octave pedals, and get synthy tones.
    MTN.bass72 likes this.
  16. There's a lot of great digital options that are really just stupid flexible, but if you want an easy out of the box solution with some basic triggered envelope action, I still say the BassMicroSynth is tough to beat, if a little large.
    geolikezik likes this.
  17. etnoo


    Aug 28, 2018
    I have no comparison but I bought a SY-1 just for trying and returned it because despite the bunch of great sounds (I really loved some of them) and very good tracking (yes, low B too:thumbsup:) for me it is useless in live situations. If you want something for playing live I recommend at least model SY-300.
  18. Sub-hoo-fer


    Nov 27, 2015
    Boss SY-1 might be worth looking into as well, that one tracks exceptionally well and with very low latency as well, and all the way down to the lowest note of a bass, think that even goes for the low open B string on a 5 string, and it is polyphonic too, it does a ton of stuff, but unfortunately in my opinion doesn't sound quite a good as the EHX Synth9.[/QUOTE]

    +1 for the SY-1. Watch the intro of the Pedals and Effects demo, skip to 22:53 or so, watch Juan rock out, then go buy one.

    also, a Talkbass “glockenspiel on bass” club must happen ;)

  19. I've got an old Korg G5 bass synth pedal that does presets and sounds good across the board unlike some of those Boss pedals.
    Kawai2g4b likes this.
  20. Paul Szegedin

    Paul Szegedin

    Dec 28, 2020
    Wow thanks for all the suggestions/input. Personally, I lean more toward something very programmable, so that I can just find a couple-few great patches that are usable - I'm not a preset kind of guy, unless there are a lot of them. I guess maybe because of latency these sounds can't have the "attack" element of some great synth samplers...

    That first EHX unit looks great - it's encouraging that it mimics both the Prophet-5 and Taurus, which happen to be my two 80s analog points of reference that I had in mind. I once saw the indie band Celebration play in Brooklyn with a Taurus for bass, and it blew my mind. Like I said, I have zero interest in the patches that sound like effects, I just want a fat, synthetic 40hz happening.

    ;)I know man - I've always been tempted to try midi, but I don't want to spend a ton to get what you need to have fast tracking, and then get bored with it and have to sell it. I guess with these analog filter types the latency is the bottleneck, but I wouldn't mind playing from, say, the A (110hz) up and pitch shifting down. But it's a temptation to do midi and get instrumentation like...

  21. 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.

    May 6, 2021

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