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Tone Suck and Hiss

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Smallmouth_Bass, Aug 12, 2007.


  1. Smallmouth_Bass

    Smallmouth_Bass

    Dec 29, 2005
    Canada
    So, I just fixed up my pedalboard that consists of six pedals. They are all fairly decent and common pedals.

    20070729-001pedalboardfront.

    I've heard of tone suck, so I decided to compare my signal through the chain (all effects off) and then straight to the amp with nothing in between. What a difference! The volume drop through the pedals almost seems like half. I'm not sure about the tone, but that made quite an impression.

    The one thing is that I have the SansAmp PBDDI at the end of the chain and the 1/4" out boost seemed to make up for the difference.

    The other thing I noticed was the amount of hiss through the chain. There are two distortions (Fulltone and SansAmp), but even when they're off there is noticeable hiss (the SansAmp is the worst offender).

    My question to you guys is:
    Is it worth it? Do you like your pedals and just live with it? Or do you try and loop everything to minimize the "side effects"? Or have you stayed away from effects altogether because of this?
     
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I put any offenders in a separate loop, on the premise that their noise will go un-noticed while playing, and the levels can usually be corrected on each pedal.

    Unfortunately, even with "true bypass" systems, pedals do interact with each other electrically/electronically via the grounding connections, and some pedals can (I believe) induce others to hiss or crackle or hum etc. You can ignore it, or you can try rearranging the pedal order to see if that helps, or you can experiment with two at a time connected to see if you can find a pair that negatively impact each other, and then eliminate one of them.
     
  3. Lowpro

    Lowpro

    Sep 25, 2006
    Birmingham, AL
    Im not gonna pretend to know what a noise supressor does, but would it kinda clear up the hiss? friend of mine bought one, said it really cleared up his tone.

    I dunno, maybe it'll do something...
     
  4. Smallmouth_Bass

    Smallmouth_Bass

    Dec 29, 2005
    Canada
    Well, I generally use the compressor all the time, but the others get used sporadically. I actually put the octavider and chorus on there to fill out the space, but I am not using them in my current band (yet). I could likely get away without having any distortion of a few songs that I like it for. The tuner would be sufficient to get the job done.

    I was hoping not to have to add anything to the setup. I like the fact that I plug it in and go without much hassle.
     
  5. Crabby

    Crabby

    Dec 22, 2004
    You have a very nice looking set up with some very good pedals. However, you only have one pedal (Fulltone) that is true bypass and five that are not.

    The Punch Factory, which I also use, does not add hardly any noise and as you likely leave it on most of the time, should not be an issue.

    The other four pedals will likely be taking away a little volume and tone depending on several factors such as cables, pedal order etc.

    I would suggest that the Digitech chorus is like the worst offender as far as tone suck goes.

    I have also found that the Sans Amp unit, although an amazing product, doesn't always react well to other pedals in front of it.

    If you were to consider a looper device of some sort, even a very simple, single loop bypass pedal, you could keep the everything that doesnt get used all the time in a bypass loop which can be switched on when needed.

    I have 16 pedals in my board and use three seperate loops to reduce tone suck and volume drop.

    The Punch factory can be set with a bit of volume boost to compensate for volume loss and it wont add any noise.

    Try the pedals in different orders and as mentioned above, try only a few at a time to weed out the worst offenders.

    I own a PBBDI but don't keep it on my board as it just doesn't work with my other pedals. I much prefer the overdrive from the Fulltone anyway and just keep the Sans Amp as a back up rig.

    You have some good options there and with the addition of an inexspensive looper and some re arrangeing, should be able to make some drastic improvements and still have the effects you like. Let us know how it works out for you.
     
  6. nastyn8c

    nastyn8c

    Feb 7, 2005
    Tampa, FL
    Noisy pedals just need to be in a side chain, and it ought to be okay.
     
  7. hoerni

    hoerni

    Jun 4, 2007
    NJ
    When you say you get hiss, is the compressor on or off? I ask, because if the compressor is set to amplify your quiet passages (as apposed to just limiting the loud parts), then you would expect it to amplify the background noise when you're not playing.

    Which pedal is first in the chain? A good way to prevent noise and suck issues is to use a good buffered pedal. Especially before true bypass pedals.
     
  8. fishtx

    fishtx Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Genzler Amplification/Spector Basses/Mojo Hand FX
    power can cause hiss and noise sometimes as well. How are you powering these pedals? An isolated power supply can definately help...something like the Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2+...they ain't cheap, but they work well.
     
  9. Smallmouth_Bass

    Smallmouth_Bass

    Dec 29, 2005
    Canada
    The chain is:
    Korg DT-10 > Punch Factory > OctaBass > Chorus > Bass-Drive > SansAmp

    It is now powered by the Dunlop DC Brick (underneath). I had thought about the Voodoo Labs power supply, but it's too big (and expensive). I also don't want to get too elaborate with my setup. I already feel like it's kind of big for my purposes now.

    I will try it out at rehearsal today and see how bad the hiss is. It might be negligible at high volume settings.
     
  10. Smallmouth_Bass

    Smallmouth_Bass

    Dec 29, 2005
    Canada
    Oh, by the way, I tried the setup with the compressor, OctaBass, Bass-Drive with the boost on and the SansAmp with a high drive setting: what huge nasty distortion sound! I don't have a use for it yet, but it sounds really good!

    An octavider before distortion makes it sound so nasty (in a good way)!
     
  11. fishtx

    fishtx Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Genzler Amplification/Spector Basses/Mojo Hand FX
    just for the heck of it...I would try this configuration:

    Korg DT-10 > OctaBass >Punch Factory > Bass-Drive > Chorus > SansAmp
     
  12. incognito89x

    incognito89x ♪♫♪ ♪ ♪ ♫&#983

    Sep 22, 2002
    Royal Oak, Michigan
    Good advice. My thought was the same about the DigiTech probably being the biggest culprit. I've never noticed much tone suck with the SansAmp, and I know the Aphex doesn't either. I've never had any hiss problem with my SansAmp either.

    Try placing the other distortion before the BDDI. I didn't have a problem with mine, but I did find that my XXL distortion sounds worlds better placed before the BDDI rather than after it.

    I also do the same thing you mentioned with the Punch Factory as a volume boost at the end. The 1/4 Boost works as well for the SansAmp, though it seemed to add TOO much in my case, so I just stuck with the Punch Factory boost.
     
  13. assboglin

    assboglin Banned

    Jul 13, 2007
    Are those George L cables? I used to use those but I never trusted them, and having a bad connection in one or more of those will cause you to lose some volume. I use Monster cables now and am much happier, even though they're less convenient to fit on the board. D'addario (Planet Waves) also make some good pedal cables that I use, but I don't use the DIY ones.
     
  14. Smallmouth_Bass

    Smallmouth_Bass

    Dec 29, 2005
    Canada
    They are George L's. They are sized to fit and routed under the board. The holes that I drilled are not big enough to fit them through so they are made onto the board, if you will.

    Someone talked of a looper. Are there any really small loopers (bassically a on/off switch and an in and out) that I could squeeze on there to take out the four left pedals?

    I've noticed the hiss on the SansAmp even by itself, so I am relatively certain the cables are okay.
     
  15. vtwo

    vtwo

    Dec 16, 2006
    Connecticut
  16. incognito89x

    incognito89x ♪♫♪ ♪ ♪ ♫&#983

    Sep 22, 2002
    Royal Oak, Michigan
  17. Smallmouth_Bass

    Smallmouth_Bass

    Dec 29, 2005
    Canada
    Thanks guys! I just ordered a Loop-Master. It looks like it might just do the trick!
     
  18. Crabby

    Crabby

    Dec 22, 2004
    Sweet! Which Loopmaster pedal did you get?
     
  19. Smallmouth_Bass

    Smallmouth_Bass

    Dec 29, 2005
    Canada
    The one linked above with a green LED.
     

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