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Who Thinks Placement Doesn't Matter?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Vinnyboonbots, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. Vinnyboonbots

    Vinnyboonbots Banned

    May 25, 2012
    I guess this is akin to the difference between a maple or a rosewood fingerboard. Yes, there is a difference -- but is it really that much?

    I'm sure there will be those who have experienced a HUGE difference, but I have to say -- after much experimenting, it really doesn't seem to matter much.

    Now, most of my devices are left on all the time -- EQ, sonic max, compressor. I guess if you're using reverb and overdrive, there's the potential for some more timbre change. But what's the difference between enhancing an EQ or EQing an enhancer?

    Anyway, I might be in the minority. But I have to believe others have come to a similar conclusion.
  2. alec


    Feb 13, 2000
    Perth, Australia
    It all depends on the effects that you're using.
    If you don't notice a difference, then you don't notice a difference. That's the only thing that's certain.
  3. MSUsousaphone


    Dec 4, 2009
    Lake Charles, La
    Endorsed Artist: Myco Pedals
    Hahaha. I guess it IS all about what you're using. I barely even consider most of those "effects". I mean....I know technically they are....but it's like calling baseball and golf sports.

    But man...we need to get you some effect effects. MOAR FUZZ!!!!!
  4. behndy

    behndy Banned

    Nov 1, 2008
    ohhhhhh Vinny. you are the cutest.

    i believe you're working from a different definition of effects than most people in the effects forum would go with.

    stuff like octavers or fuzzes or low pass filters.... going to make a HUGE difference whe they're placed.
  5. Stretchhh


    Jan 10, 2012
    WA, Australia
    I laugh at your use of the words effects even, as they aren't what I consider effects. Placement is everything when it comes to tone, usually you compressor first to buffer and limit/cut unwanted peaks in your signal before you hit dirt and modulations effects like filters, delays, chorus, ring mods.

    You really need to go and have some fun experimenting now.
  6. Vinnyboonbots

    Vinnyboonbots Banned

    May 25, 2012
    It's the reasoning I'm questioning. How does putting the compressor first buffer the other effects when putting it last would do the same thing since they're all going into the amp?

    One's perception of sound can be skewed, subjective and misleading. I just wonder how many people actually recorded the various placements and A/B'd them and without knowing which was which were able to say 'Oh yeah, that one's with the chorus second in the chain."
  7. Just take an envelope filter for example. It will do a drastically different tone if the input is hotter. Usually with a lot more envelope alteration. If you place the comp after that, it will still compress the tone, but that more altered tone. If you compress first, the envelope filter won't alter the tone so harshly. Same with distortion/overdrive. If the input signal is tamer, the pedal won't distort as much. Compress after a heavy distortion and you will compress the levels, but not the dynamics of the distortion anymore.
  8. Vinnyboonbots

    Vinnyboonbots Banned

    May 25, 2012
    I use an EF and a comp. I'll record it both ways and post it up. I'd be curious who can tell which take had the EV before or after.
  9. Be sure to select rather drastic settings. With mild compression and a mild EF nobody will notice anything.
  10. Vinnyboonbots

    Vinnyboonbots Banned

    May 25, 2012
    Of course. My guess is a dramatic sweep on the EF and a really squished compression will result in the same effect regardless of the placement. But I could be wrong. This should be interesting.
  11. behndy

    behndy Banned

    Nov 1, 2008
    just curious, but by Envelope Filter what exactly are you talking about? which model are you referencing.

    yesh, blind tests are interesting, but if you'e talking about eqing a compressor or compressing an eq.... sure. the difference can become subtle. but having an od or fuzz before or after an envelope filter like a BEF Pro or Xerograph is going to sound completely different. fuzz before or after delay sounds wildy different. pitch shifting into a huge wall of overdriven reverb is way different than pitch shifting the results. bit crushing and sample rate reduction add so many different things depending on where they are placed.

    that's what i meant by "we might be talking about different things when we say effects".
  12. Just think of it.
    An envelope filter relies on the dynamics of the input to give you various sounding output signals.
    Remove the dynamics by putting a compressor first... what's going to happen? It will not make so much difference anymore whether you dig in hard or play softer.

    Mix an envelope filter and an overdrive. Again you get different sounds depending on whether you overdrive the filtered signal, or you filter the overdriven signal.

    I just think that if you use only overdrive, eq and compression you Are Not going to notice big differences, especially when an overdrive also compresses the signal...
  13. Vinnyboonbots

    Vinnyboonbots Banned

    May 25, 2012
    But why wouldn't the compressor do the same thing if it's after the CF since the CF has to pass through it anyway?

    Again , going with this logic-- an EQ will "EQ" all the effects if it's first in the line. But how is that different from all the effects being un-EQ"d but then going through an EQ at the end?
  14. alec


    Feb 13, 2000
    Perth, Australia
    It's explained in the quote.
    Do the comparison - you'll hear the difference.
  15. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Here's an example using the processors you mentioned first:

    Every gain stage alters the shape and/or timing of the wave that passes through it. In most cases we don't notice this, because for example you can't hear if a wave is inverted--until you blend it in parallel with its original form. Take the exciter/maximizer devices, they divide the signal into two bands, and alter the phase relationship between the bands. If you then run their output into other processors that also change the wave timing or shape, you muck up or cancel out whatever benefit you would supposedly have gotten from the exciter process.

    As far as EQ before or after compression, I have an article about that in the FAQ linked in my sig, so check that out.
  16. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    This is not hard to understand if your use your ears, instead of just talking about it.

    Set the threshold on an autowah so that it barely reacts when you play gently, but opens the filter all the way when you dig in. This is a very dynamic effect, with the amount of filtering constantly changing, depending on how hard you play.

    Now set up some heavy compression, that kills most of your dynamic range. First or last in your chain, you'll still a drastically a smoothed signal, without big dynamic peaks.

    But they'll sound dramatically different:

    If the compressor goes first, then you'll no longer be able to modulate the EF with your right hand attack. The behaviour of the filter will mostly depend on the output level of the compressor, and it won't "track" your dynamics any more. There will be a LOT less wah action...

    Now move the compressor so it goes after the EF. Sure, the overall dynamic range will still be compressed, but you'll hear much more of the classic autowah "doowhack" sound, as the filter reacts to your plucking attack.

    Same thing with fuzz and a modulation effect. Put a polite-sounding bass into a phaser, and all you'll get is a mild "swoosh".

    Put the fuzz last, and you'll hear a mostly unaffected fuzz tone, with just a touch of movement in it. But put the fuzz first, and now the phaser gets to chew on all the extra harmonics from the fuzz. Bingo- you'll get a classic, wide, swooshy 1970's phaser sound...
  17. caeman

    caeman The Root Master

    Sep 17, 2008
  18. Read again my post. I tried to explain it.
    If not clear, look/read about how an envelope filter works, and hopefully that will help.

    For some effects putting one before or after does not matter much. For others it does, and the envelope filter is just a good example with a compressor. Or with an overdrive pedal.

    There is no right or wrong way, though: whatever you do to get a sound you like is good.
  19. jwr


    Jun 28, 2010
    Overland Park, KS
    In my experience of owning a LOT of effects pedals, I can tell you that order does make a difference. A lot of people say that it doesn't or that it's your preference, but I think it depends on how many effects you use.

    My example is this. I've been using a PT-Pro lately and have it pretty full. Anyway, I had everything set up a certain way, and was not getting the right sounds out of certain pedals. I was generally unhappy with everything and almost about to sell everything.

    So the other day, I sat down with my pedal board and started to think. I needed to put pedals with a stronger output first. So I have multiple fuzz pedals, but some of them are a lot more dominate than others. The more dominate ones would go before the more passive ones so they can boost their signal. For the rest of my effects I stick to the general rules (heh rules). Od, disto, fuzz, modulation...etc. That's just the way I like it though. Dunno if it makes that big a difference with modulation effects, but with fuzz...it's a HUGE difference.
  20. As everyone has already said, placement starts to matter a lot when using heavy distortion/fuzz, or using effects that rely on your signal envelope. Try puting a wah or filter before a fuzz, and then after it, and then tell me that it doesn't matter. Try putting a chorus or flanger before a fuzz, and the fuzz will swallow the mod effect and you'll barely hear it. And yes, using a compressor before a signal that reads your signal envelope can make quite a bit of difference, because a compressor flattens out all of your dynamics. It will probably make your envelope filter more of an on/off type of filter than the slower sweep that you could get with the compressor afterwards.

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