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When effects just can't get along.

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Benjamin Strange, Nov 19, 2004.


  1. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I have an interesting dilemna. I currently am using this setup:

    [​IMG]

    When my Meatball is working correctly, the Machine barely gets any input gain happening. When I turn the Meatball off, the Machine works fine. But then when I turn the Meatball back on, it won't trigger correctly - it sounds like it's not getting enough input gain. I'm using a passive bass with some fairly hot P bass type pickups.

    I've heard somewhere that I might be suffering from some capacitance build up somewhere. If this is the case, how can I keep if from happening again? Any ideas as to what my problem is?
     
  2. NioeZero

    NioeZero

    Sep 2, 2001
    Dunno about your problem, man, but...

    Holy $#!% thats a tasty board.
     
  3. Davehenning

    Davehenning

    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I have had that problem too.
    Try putting the pedals in a different order. Try all of the different permutations until it sounds good.
     
  4. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    It doesn't have to do with them not sounding good, it has to do with a strange capacitance problem. I discovered that when my Meatball is acting funny, I have to unplug the Machine and then replug it back in and then the Meatball works fine. Until I try to turn the Machine on again... and it all goes wonky again. Weird.
     
  5. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Hi Ben, one thought is, there might not be "enough" capacitance. There may be some residual DC pulling down the signal somewhere. This sometimes happens when a pedal's output is driven directly off an op-amp, without a series capacitor. You could try putting a 10 uF 22 volt electrolytic capacitor in series with the cable feeding the Machine's input. If that solves the problem, then whatever's feeding the Machine is causing it. Electronic circuits sometimes lock up like that, DC can cause them to go outside of their operating parameters. Then, at some later point, if you have a schematic, you can check to see it there's already a capacitor there, or not. If there is, you may have a shorted or flaky cap.
     
  6. Trevorus

    Trevorus

    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    It may also be a bad cable. Sometimes when the signal side touches the ground in the plug side, it can intermittently cut out, or just have a severe drop in output. It can seem like dirty cable ends, but you may just check all connections as well.
     
  7. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    This sounds about right. Interesting new development: I added another pedal at the end of the signal chain, and all of a sudden all the pedals seem to be working correctly. Strange, stuff.
     
  8. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    This is precisely why god gave us cherry bombs.
     
  9. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    By the way, how do you like that Meatball pedal?

    I just surfed their site, the list price is 300 pounds (like, 600 bucks?). Is it worth it?

    Does it have reasonably sophisticated ADSR control?
     
  10. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Mines actually the original model, not the reissue. I got mine brand new before they went out of business, and prices on them jumped to almost a grand! Nuts, dude!

    This is the best envelope filter on the planet, period. Huge, juicy tone; the closest thing to it is the Mutron III, which doesn't have nearly as much control.

    And the ADSR control is absolutely insane. With all the options on this thing, I can make it sound like whales, a banjo, and indecipherable underwater sounds. Tough part is figuring it out, and then finding a setting where you want to keep it. It's also rather large.
     
  11. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Is the original model better than the reissue?

    If so, what are the problems with the reissue?
     
  12. Droog

    Droog

    Aug 14, 2003
    PDX
    Damn it, now I'm curious.

    How about the machine feeding the Wolly Mammoth? Is'nt the Machine a signal boost of some sort? Guess I could just go to his sight but some user knowledge would be good.
     
  13. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Don't know. Can't say. The re-issue sure is cheaper, though!

    The Machine is a sort of fuzz in reverse; an odd order harmonics fuzz. A fuzz for fuzzes. It sounds terrible, which is exactly why I love it.
     
  14. Thee

    Thee

    Feb 11, 2004
    San Luis Obispo, CA
    No, it sounds wonderful! Like kittens in a pedal form. Or maybe like rainbows or butterflies, hard to say.

    Actually, Zachary has demo videos of most of his pedals up, gives you a pretty good idea of what the machine does.

    http://zvex.com/machine.html
     
  15. Benjamin...another thought to the 'capacitance/pedal order' problem this thread began with...I noticed you use George L cables. I USED to use these. Yes, they sound great when they're made right, but if one of them isn't assemble perfectly, you will get signal fluctuations. You won't lose everything and you won't short out, it will just not be completely grounded and the signal will float in and out.

    Methinks when you added the pedal to the end, you inadvertently bumped the suspect cable and corrected the problem.

    When I did my board up with George L's...10 pedals...and this happened to me, it took forever to find the problem and fix it because once I touched the cable, the problem went away for awhile.

    Just something to think about.
     
  16. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Nope. I know how to make the George Ls flawless. Not to mention I've had this problem before I used those cables as well. I think I've just got a gremlin or something.
     
  17. That's what I thought too, the first 3 times I remade all of them. I have the Right angle ends, like you...I used a straight razor blade to cut the cable, so as not to pinch the wire together...I put the cable end into the jack, gave about a 1/2 turn to seat the pin...bent the cable just enough to thread the cap, then screwed the cap in, letting it bend the cable...cinched them down with pliers. I thought this would do the trick, since they're the directions on George L's website.

    I'd love to keep using them because I'd really like to have perfect cable lengths between pedals. What do you do differently?

    (Hey, I'm in no way trying to be sarcastic, so I hope you don't take this as argumentative...I'm so pissed that I spent the money and have had the bad luck I've had when others have success.)
     
  18. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Well, I'm doing them the same as you, really. I guess it's just a question of practice. Cut them with brand new razor, push them into the ends (give them a good push), bend them, and then screw in the end. I've never had a problem once I got the hang of it.

    You might want to check out the Planet Waves version. I understand theirs are even easier to do.
     
  19. Do you find any significant difference between the black cable and the red cable? I've always used the red 'cause it's cool, but what mad you do black?
     
  20. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Because that's what they had. There's no difference in the cable other than the colour. I don't buy into that "cables sound different" crap.