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"Transparent" Distortion

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Noylin, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. Noylin


    May 28, 2014
    What are some distortion pedals that are transparent in terms of EQ?

    There are plenty of transparent overdrive pedals, and transparent overdrive threads. Many people regard the Barbershop, to take one of many examples, as "your tone plus breakup." That's what I'm looking for, but a heavier, more aggressive, hard-clipping distortion sound.

    Think OCDs and Rats in terms of breakup character. But, no baked in EQ curves: OCDs and Rats are not transparent in this sense, they are typically shaping midrange content, and/or cutting low end. Darkglass - not transparent: a blend doesn't make it so (or at least, that's not what I'm looking for).

    This is tricky, I know, because adding harmonics is changing frequency response. But what I'm looking for here are pedals that sound like "your tone" but highly distorted in a hard-clipping kind of way... e.g. different than just cranking (or stacking) fill-in-the-blank transparent OD(s).
    blindrabbit likes this.
  2. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    PM sent before I saw this....the EAE Longsword for sure.
    Crazy Otto and blindrabbit like this.
  3. DirtyDuke

    DirtyDuke Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 13, 2012
    guelph ontario
    Partner Southampton Pedals, Partner CCP
    The Fea DB distortion is probably the most flexible distortion I've ever tried.

    The FTT Bass Blaster is amazing too but more OD than distortion.

    The triton labs Fet is Sooooo good to
    Tritonlab high voltage guitar pedals
    blindrabbit, Noylin and emjazz like this.
  4. I know @Mosfed is a big proponent of the original Volt Thrower in no clipping mode for this, and sure enough, listening to demos of it sure does sound like it would fit the bill.
    emjazz and Noylin like this.
  5. Noylin


    May 28, 2014
    From recent info in the Dunwich thread it has a low mid bump going on - though if I could get my hands on one I wouldn't hesitate
    blindrabbit likes this.
  6. Noylin


    May 28, 2014
    The FEA Photon actually I'd put in this category too; it can do clean(ish) preamp to OD to distortion to fuzz to octave fuzz, ha
    DirtyDuke likes this.
  7. GMC


    Jan 1, 2006
    Wiltshire, UK
    You can push a Barbershop really over the edge by clean boosting it first. In fact any overdrive can be pushed harder by hitting it hard with a boost.
    TerribleLiar23 likes this.
  8. True, but I'd be willing to bet you'll have a tough time finding any distortion pedal that has a flat curve to it. Listening to demos, the VT sounds rather neutral (like the Barbershop), and that's what people describe it as too. I reserve the right to be wrong though. ;)
    John B jr likes this.
  9. Noylin


    May 28, 2014
    And so one of the things I'm wondering is, if distortion circuits are introducing harmonics - that is, higher frequency content - is an EQ curve that emphasizes low/upper bass/low mid frequencies necessary for it to sound "transparent" EQ-wise
    blindrabbit likes this.
  10. Noylin


    May 28, 2014
    Partly it is splitting hairs, of course. I've gone through a few not-transparent distortions lately that I have loved the sound of, but found the baked in EQ curves too much to handle in my setup (which is far from "flat" to begin with). If it sounds good, it is good, but here I'm just trying to get some distortions on my radar that get dirty, but don't impart major tonal changes. I'm very willing to believe that the VT is one of these, though I found the ODB was not.

    I'm well versed in overdrives, and have some experience with fuzz. Distortion I have mostly overlooked....
    blindrabbit likes this.
  11. That's a really interesting question, and I'm nowhere near smart enough to answer it. @Azure Skies might have the skills to though.

    I'm with you on this one - OD and fuzz I'm good friends with, distortion not so much. I guess the Mini is pretty close to being a distortion pedal, but otherwise the incoming VT125b will be my first significant foray into this area. I think some of the baked in curves turn me off as well - DG comes to mind, of course - so the VT125b experience will be an interesting one to have, for sure.
    Noylin likes this.
  12. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Brimstone XD-2 fits the bill.
    seanlava and Noylin like this.
  13. opivy3056

    opivy3056 stardust in a light beam Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2004
    San Diego

    This has intrigued me recently
  14. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
  15. Crazy Otto

    Crazy Otto

    Jan 11, 2016
    I can also vouch for the Volt Thrower, especially if you can pair it with a good blender. The other one that I like is the Cog JB-007 (not trying to sell it to you, just showing you the features), which is going to be Tom's stock big-box rat. The blend on that is also really awesome, and the two LPF's add a lot of flexibility.
    blindrabbit likes this.
  16. Crazy Otto

    Crazy Otto

    Jan 11, 2016
    This looks like an awesome box.
    blindrabbit and emjazz like this.
  17. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Away until Wed....going to make some clips of it when I get back. It really is amazing. Will make sure I get them to you T!
    blindrabbit and Crazy Otto like this.
  18. NKBassman

    NKBassman Lvl 10 Nerd

    Jun 16, 2009
    Winnipeg, MB, Canada
    I enjoyed my Fuzzrocious Demon (OCD) while I had it.
  19. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area
    I've been interested in the Longsword for a while now, but EAE is out of stock, so I haven't purchased one yet. But, I will when EAE does another run of them.
    emjazz and blindrabbit like this.

  20. if you found the ODB had too much colour then the VT won't sound any more transparent. But, I don't see how you can find the ODB not transparent enough, it leads me to believe that you're not using the EQ on the pedal effectively. It is flexible enough to be able to counteract any "baked in" EQ present in the pedal. While the VT lacks the ODB's mid control, the bass and treble are the same bax style EQ and I can make it sound very similar to the bypassed tone. Maybe "similar" is not good enough in your case though, but for me I stopped splitting hairs about 2 years ago, it just never ended and I was tired of thinking about this stuff all the time. :)
    Crazy Otto and Matt Dean like this.
  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.

    Apr 19, 2021

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