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The Boss LS-2 is to blame for my recent GAS for dirt pedals!

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Coke Kane, Feb 6, 2016.

  1. Coke Kane

    Coke Kane Supporting Member

    May 16, 2010
    La Puente, CA
    Backround. My ideal bass tone is a slightly overdriven one, just enought to add some grit and harmonics. Then I've always dreamed of getting MORE of that tone, so the obviously thought is to add more gain! But we all know, more distortion = bass loss, no way around it. Any dirt pedal advertised as retaining your low end is BS. A well designed pedal may not lose "as much" lows as another pedal, but once you distort the lows, they will sound anemic and buzzy. This might be less of an issue if you have distortion in your tone 100% of the time, because you can adjust your amp settings to simply add more bass (but you're just raising the volume of the anemic lows). This is why your bandmates always give you that look when you come into rehearsal with the new dirt pedal of the day.

    A way around retaining the lows is adding a blender pedal, or purchasing a dirt pedal with a blend option. The caveat is that the blend knob works in a ratio: more you blend in the wet signal, the lower your dry signal will be. So if you blend in 50/50, the wonderful lows that you worked so hard in setting on your amp in now cut in half. For a while, I ran a 90/10 blend and just turn up the volume on my dirt pedal to compensate the volume discrepancy, but your lows are still 10% lower than your bypass signal. What's 10%? 10% is everything when you're the bassist holding down the lows! Again, not a complete solution, but you don't lose "as much" lows.

    Now comes the Boss LS-2 Line Selector. I did my research and thought great, there are two loops and each loop has their own independant volume knob, but the manual did not state that you could blend the wet and dry signal. So the A+B MIX mode was the closest setting to what I'm after. I figured a dirt pedal in loop A and a compressor pedal in loop B. I would bring up the volume in loop B to match my dry volume ADD the volume of loop A (not blend) to taste. When I did experiment with the LS-2 in A+B MIX, I learned that if you do not plug anything in a loop, then the volume knob for that loop would control your dry volume...WOW. Finally a solution.

    This is interesting that I am prasing a Boss pedal because I never liked the tone of Boss pedals. Built like tanks and have very recognizable dirt and chorus selections, but they're not the tone I have in my head. So the funny part is that I finally found a Boss pedal I like, and it's a non-tone pedal! LMAO.

    Now in the past month or so I have amassed quite a large slection of dirt pedals. A little of everything from germanium, silicon, FET, and LED diodes to symmetrical to asymmetrial clipping. I can buy ANY dirt pedal out there and not be limited to a select bass-designed pedal that don't lose "as much" lows. The pedals that do have an inherent low cut when engaged sounds even better that those that retains some of the low end! It doesn't matter be cause my bass tone is always there at full volume. I can now focus on purchasing a dirt pedal for their TONE, and not worry about how they affect the lows.

    How this little rant helps someone in achieving that tone they hear in their head. Never give up in achieving anything you want!
    The BurgerMeister and Bassmike62 like this.
  2. MGR

    MGR Banned

    Jan 18, 2015
    Bronx, NY
    I respectfully disagree. My Mr Black Bass OD, Blower Box, Bedlam Drive, D4, Pale Horse and various other pedals did not get the message that they were supposed to drop bass. But, I am glad your personal experience with the LS2 has worked out for you personally.
  3. There are lots of dirt pedals that don't require a clean blend. I have a pedal with a built in blend and it doesn't even need it in 99% of the settings I use. The LS-2 is pretty handy though. The only pedal I use it to blend is my IdiotBox Lazer Fuzz, which actually retains lows very well in most settings but the mids and highs get boosted so much that it sounds like the lows are gone but they're not. I sometimes just crank the volume up until the bass is at unity and the mids and highs are loud as shag but in a band situation it works due to drummers and guitars eating up a lot of the mids and highs. I mostly use the blend when I'm using the Lazer Fuzz as an octave upish sound and don't feel like being crazy loud. Also the Lazer Fuzz has no external volume control and LS-2 is great for that.
    blindrabbit and grillman like this.
  4. grillman


    Dec 15, 2014
    I've been to LS-2 land and back.

    Now I prefer to mod my pedals so that they retain more low-end. And I like what I'm hearing much more. I don't have to "hide" the dirt sound anymore. Also some pedals like my Super Fuzz really don't require any changes.

    I still think the LS-2 is a neat pedal though. And I still use it sometimes to split my signal between 2 amps. Never had a quality issue with Boss.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2016
    blindrabbit and CHILDISHGAMBINO like this.
  5. Bassmike62

    Bassmike62 Punch'n Ooomph !! Supporting Member

    The LS-2 has been more of a GAS killer for me.
  6. Coke Kane

    Coke Kane Supporting Member

    May 16, 2010
    La Puente, CA
    Yes, that's the scenario that I always run into, the imbalance of lows versus mids and treble. With the band, once I engage the distortion , everything still sounds good to me because I am standing in front of my Ampeg cab, be the lack of lows is immediately notice by the band and FOH.

    The closest pedal I have that retains more low-end is the Way Huge Green Rhino. Having an extra pedal (LS-2) to on the pedalboard is a pain.

    Thx MGR, I will definately check out those pedals!
  7. grillman


    Dec 15, 2014
    If you have to boost the volume level beyond unity to hear some bass it means the pedal sucks you low-end. 90% of dirt pedals can achieve the same amount of low-end if you crank the level up. But many times the mids and treble become so loud it is ridiculous. This is unuseable in a band situation. You have to find those rare gems that have at least the same amount of low-end at unity. Or you can mod existing pedals.

    By the way the Green Rhino is a way cool pedal and a great choice. It has a ton of low-end to deliver.
    And no need for a blend with this one. Because having the LS-2 on the board is indeed a pain. And increases significantly the number and length of cable.

    Here are a few pedals I tried that maintained a decent amount of low-end while being pushed :

    - Univox Superfuzz
    - Sovtek Big Muff (the green ones)
    - Bearfoot Blueberry Overdrive
    - Blackart toneworks Quantum Mystic
    - Earthquaker devices Hoof and Cloven Hoof
    - Earthquaker devices Sound Shank (sucks a tiny bit of low-end but it's worth it..)
    - Way Huge Swollen Pickle
    - Lazy J Cruiser
    - Fairfield Circuitry Barbershop
    - Idiotbox Blowerbox
    - Wampler Euphoria
    - Solid Gold FX Beta
    - Blackout Effectors Musket Fuzz
    - Zvex Wooly Mammoth
    - Catalinbread WIIO
    - Wampler Triple Wreck
    - Empress Multidrive
    - Mountain King Electronics Megalith

    There is some overdrive, some fuzz and some distortion. No doubt you will find at least one you like among those.
  8. AciDBatH666


    Feb 13, 2008
    Lafayette, LA
    I got an LS-2 in yesterday. Gonna try to make a dirt channel. I'm just kind of torn to what route I want to go with my B channel. Keep B completely dry or run my phaser/delay/chorus in it. And then there's my compressor. I'm debating on just running a solid one line chain like normal and putting the LS-2 in the front and keeping the B empty... Or split it up to just distortion on A and some light effects on B.
    Either way, I'll be testing it this week before our gig this Friday. Gonna try to come up with a simple solution that works for now and really dig into it in the future.
  9. Coke Kane

    Coke Kane Supporting Member

    May 16, 2010
    La Puente, CA
    The options are limitless. I currently run the LS-2 after my compressor because the compressor is always on and I like running the compressor into distortion (keeps the tone solid instead of fizzy and indistinguishable). Let me know how the distortion sounds like with the LS-2!
    zapped777 likes this.
  10. AciDBatH666


    Feb 13, 2008
    Lafayette, LA
    Well it's not as ground breaking as I thought it would be. I'll have to play it live in the jam room to see.
    Currently I've got it set up like so
    Channel A: B3K-B7K
    Channel B: Compressor-M81 EQ
    Output: Phase/chorus/delay

    I wanted the effects to be at the very end of the chain, so basically all I'm blending is a clean channel with compression and an EQ so that I can possibly tweak that clean tone, and my distortion channel separately.
    I just finished rewiring and sorting my pedalboard. Hopefully I'll be able to test it before our gig Friday. Otherwise I might just run with it as is and see how I feel about it after.
  11. I used to run a Hyperion into a loop and then dry with the ls2 a while back as the Hyperion was so upper mids / treble wall of fuzz... But it sounded too layered and took up real estate. Using the ibanez pd7 I can get so much lows it's ridiculous but then I've got the issue that it's too compressed being stand alone like you said. Especially playing a slap and pop line!

    Which is why I'm impressed with the source audio gear with a dual blend in that you can do a normal dry/wet with finding that volume balance you describe or use the side that acts like an ls2 blend in that no distorting lows and still blends... I find that more reasonable but then it's only one brand as opposed to running multiple through an ls2 loop... I sold my ls2 though so not sure I'd ever go for getting it back!
  12. Coke Kane

    Coke Kane Supporting Member

    May 16, 2010
    La Puente, CA
    If you want compression and EQ on your clean tone, your should place those pedals before or after the LS-2 so the your clean tone will remain constant when you stomp on the LS-2. No need to plug anything into Channel B so the volume knob for that channel will control your clean tone (match it to your bypass volume, so any distortion you add from Channel A will add to the sound instead of blending 50/50 which drops the low end = HUGE. Also, make sure the B3K and B7K don't reverse the phase, or else you would need to add another pedal in that loop with a phase switch so your sound will not thin.
    crguti likes this.

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