1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

"Transparent" Distortion

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

  1. John B jr

    John B jr

    Oct 16, 2016
    Sunnyvale, CA
    With my VT Deluxe, three of the presets are used for gradually more "character" added to my base EQ. My favorite is the lowest setting but paired with a Pork Loin in front also on conservative settings. Between them, I get a nice broadband signal as the VT tubes up the bottom end while the Pork widens the mids - just what you'd expect from Pork!
    AndyLES likes this.
  2. Crazy Otto

    Crazy Otto

    Jan 11, 2016
    The grizzly also does distortion, and that's about as transparent as it gets
    gfen likes this.
  3. Adienn7


    Jan 26, 2007
    When I think of clean distortion. I think Klon clone like tunmus, overdrive using an eq pedal, a fuzz like a year of the rat by Devi Ever, or a bass fuzz face with the volume rolled back on the instrument.
    blindrabbit likes this.
  4. The last point is an excellent one - the TAFM at low gain is pretty damn awesome. I should try mine set super low to see how "transparent" it can get, especially with some nice cleans blended in.
    taylor16 likes this.
  5. Noylin


    May 28, 2014
    I couldn't get enough low mids out of the ODB without also creating too much bass for the stage
    dinoadventures likes this.

  6. have you tried a Demon? to me it's like an ODB with more of a low mid focus than the ODB's neutral character.

    now an ODB with a mid frequency selector would be the ultimate @dunwichamps
    emjazz likes this.
  7. lowfreqgeek


    Mar 15, 2010
    Tijeras, NM
    Xotic BB Bass Preamp.
    Frank_Raider, John B jr and Al Kraft like this.
  8. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I was going to suggest the Xotic Bass BB as well. The VT Bass would have been my second suggestion.
    lowfreqgeek and John B jr like this.
  9. lowfreqgeek


    Mar 15, 2010
    Tijeras, NM
    I got my BB years ago after realizing that the VT Bass altered the character of my sound as soon as I kicked it on. It was good as an always-on character pedal, but I needed a very transparent clean sound, and I wanted my distortion to not alter the character of that same basic clean sound. The BB fit the bill.
    Al Kraft likes this.
  10. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    I've had good luck with the mini moog drive pedal in front of all tube amps
    blindrabbit likes this.
  11. gfen


    Aug 21, 2014
    lehigh valley
    stayed at a holiday inn, once...
    Came here to say exactly this, or the Holy Fire if you prefer.

    Both include Distortion circuits as well as Overdrive, and both are exceedingly transparent. Don't think you can do much better.
    Crazy Otto likes this.
  12. Sunset Shalom

    Sunset Shalom

    May 9, 2016
    VHT V Drive, it can go from transparent clean boost to OD to fairly hot distortion and even quasi fuzz tones if you experiment with it.

    And it's only 50$ used or 100 new, pretty killer deal. I have yet to find more bang for the buck when it comes to drive pedals.

    Pretty much the only downside is it has a lot of controls and they are pretty interactive but once you adjust it's actually pretty damn simple.

    Controls are:


    The first 3 are very straight forward but I feel are also pretty unique on this pedal. For example there are 10 different clipping options in this pedal including various LED and a silicon and germanium diode. Each option, especially the 11th bypassed clean boost can clean up really well if you keep the gain low, and all 11 can get pretty damn sizzling if you crank the gain. I have never seen a dirt pedal with such a wide range of clean to dirt. The tone control is also unique as instead of shaping the overall tone it controls only the highs. Halfway is nice and transparent and then it can cut or boost the highs while leaving the mids intact.

    Then the texture knob acts more like a traditional tone control, halfway it stays transparent and then you can cut or boost the overall saturation. This control is highly interactive with the tone and depth controls. The depth is a 10/11 notch low end control that doesn't roll on or off low end but cuts off specific frequency points. All the way up and the low end is totally intact and can be boosted with the texture, and all the way down and it almost totally cuts the low end leaving the texture control to boost the highs much more especially with the tone cranked.

    The select knob controls the clipping, you can find a list of each option online if you look. It has some interesting unique clipping combos using a ton of diodes. For the size of this pedal it is insanely packed full of stuff. The 11th diode bypassed clean boost alone is worth the price I would say then it has the 10 different diode options which have slightly different gain and frequency responses. They start all the way to the left with the quietest one and get increasingly hot until the 11th clean boost which is the loudest and most transparent of all. Lastly is the voltage control which is the subtlest feature. This pedal has some sort of voltage increasing technology that allows it to run off a standard 9 volt but the knob can take it up to 18v or down to 4-3v or so. Like I said it is pretty subtle but still a cool feature if you like experimenting with tone.

    This pedal is great for compressed dirt tones as you can roll back the texture and gain and crank the volume to compensate for super compressed tones. Or do the opposite for some searing distortion and even fuzz. I have gotten some very muff like tones cranking the tone/ depth and gain on certain clipping options.

    I wasn't going to post pics but as my post is already a pretty long review I might as well:

    Notice the tiny voltage knob hiding on the back ;)

    Also here are the clipping options:

    1. 1N34A+BAT46、1N34A
    2. 1N4148、1N4148
    3. 1N916A+1N916A、1N916A
    4. 1N4148+1N4148、BAT46+1N4148
    5. Infrared-LED、Infrared-LED
    6. 2N7000+1N34A+BAT46、2N7000+BAT46
    7. 2N7000+1N34A+BAT46、Infrared-LED
    8. 2N7000+1N34A+BAT46、Red-LED
    9. Red-LED、Red-LED
    10. Red-LED+1N4148、Red-LED
    11. None(Clean-Boost)


    The depth knob is an 11 way capacitor selector that controls the low end in a very unique way.
    JCooper, Alien8, Crazy Otto and 2 others like this.
  13. Matt Dean

    Matt Dean Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    SF (North) Bay Area
    I've been thinking about the whole idea of "transparent" in terms of tone, and have come to the conclusion that everything has some EQ curves that are "baked-in." Even if it's your bass guitar - there is the baked in tone of pick-ups, your amp, heck even your fingers supposedly is where your tone comes from.

    So, why obsess on transparent manglers of tone?
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  14. TB sacrilege!

    but i totally agree.
    emjazz and Al Kraft like this.
  15. Sunset Shalom

    Sunset Shalom

    May 9, 2016
    For me the main reason is versatility. Pedals that specifically color tone certain ways can be great, but for more specific stuff.

    But a nice transparent boost or dirt pedal can be used as a great clean boost and colored as needed through tweaking.

    Also I would say transparent pedals work with more stuff. The more specifically colored tone is the more likely it is to respond good/ bad in different set ups I would think.

    As someone who plays guitar/ bass/ keys I prefer stuff that has a wide range that I can apply to anything in different ways.
    FilterFunk and Crazy Otto like this.
  16. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH...someone is using logic and reason!!! TB might explode!!!

    (Good point Matt :thumbsup:)
    loopee, JCooper and Al Kraft like this.
  17. Noylin


    May 28, 2014
    This kind of discussion comes up now and then in Greenboy land - why do you want a "flat" signal? I don't want a flat signal, I just want to shape my tone at points in my signal chain other than the cab..... Same thing here - I have a sound I like, I didn't get it by trying to be transparent, I want a distortion pedal that just makes it filthier. I won't be kicking it on often, and I don't want a drastic change when I do kick it on. Big baked in curves or pedals with a distinct sound are easier to deal with, at least for me, if they are always on.
    emjazz, Matt Dean and blindrabbit like this.
  18. 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 5, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.