All things pedal related.

August 2019 is the first KVR Guitar Month so here's a new forum for discussion of all things guitar!
User avatar
Uncle E
KVRAF
11494 posts since 22 Nov, 2000 from Southern California

Post Tue Feb 25, 2020 10:36 pm

So I finally tested a bunch of boutique pedals that I had won in a local auction. These include a Tim, a Timmy, a Divided by Thirteen Rangemaster, a few Keeley's and Keeley mods, an Xotic BB Drive, a Jetter, the Blackstone, and a few oddities. Out of all of them, the BB Drive is the only one that really impressed me, which is probably more an indication of my age (46) than anything else. The Ibanez Fat Cat also sounds cool in a ragged yet still somehow organic sort of way. The odd thing is I used to love the Jetter, Blackstone, and Boss Blues Driver but those sound awful to me now. Also, it was interesting to find out that the Danelectro CTO-1 really doesn't sound much like the Tim at all.

imrae
KVRian
995 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Re: All things pedal related.

Post Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:42 am

What amp(s) did you try them with?

Also am I right in thinking the BB Drive is smoother with more gain than the rest? Are you using it for a saturated lead sound, or can you recommend it for some other applications?

User avatar
Uncle E
KVRAF
11494 posts since 22 Nov, 2000 from Southern California

Re: All things pedal related.

Post Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:58 am

1972 Mesa Boogie Mark I with original Altec speaker, set clean. The BB Preamp is smoother than the other pedals and has a very clean gain, so it doesn't sound like a lot of distortion even when there is. I was mainly using it for leads.

perfumer
Banned
663 posts since 4 Oct, 2018

Re: All things pedal related.

Post Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:15 am

imrae wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:42 am
What amp(s) did you try them with?
Uncle E wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:58 am
1972 Mesa Boogie Mark I with original Altec speaker, set clean.
The amp and the cab - and the mic, if you're listening to a recording - always colour/modify the sound A LOT, even when set to 'clean' for the purpose of demoing a pedal. That's what I find problematic when listening to demos on Thomann, Youtube, etc. - no, you're NOT listening to the pedal itself, there's piles of things piled on top of it and THAT'S what you're listening to.

If you want to demo a pedal properly, plug the guitar cable into the pedal, then run a cable from the pedal to the DI, then to the interface, then play and listen (through flat monitors/headphones). THAT'S what you're getting from THAT pedal.*

The difference between one type of demoing and the other is like night and day.


* Well, let's not forget the pickups you're using, what side of the plectrum you're striking the strings with (changes the sound drastically), etc. For example, I have an Ultex 1.14 - when I hit the strings with the left side (left from tip) - dark and quiet, with the tip - VERY attacky and inconsistent, with the right side - bright and crisp. What's going on?!?! :o :ud:

User avatar
Uncle E
KVRAF
11494 posts since 22 Nov, 2000 from Southern California

Re: All things pedal related.

Post Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:37 am

perfumer wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:15 am
If you want to demo a pedal properly, plug the guitar cable into the pedal, then run a cable from the pedal to the DI, then to the interface, then play and listen. THAT'S what you're getting from THAT pedal.*

The difference between one type of demoing and the other is like night and day.
Pardon me for stating the obvious but overdrive and boost pedals aren't meant to be used that way. The only pedal that I personally think sounds good directly into an interface or with plugins is the Tube Works Real Tube pedal and I actually don't think it sounds as good as some other pedals with actual amps.

Anyway, I do understand the gestalt of what you're saying. The BB Preamp sounds great with my Mark I, my Les Paul, and my style of playing, which lately just happens to be a lot of soul and RnB that calls for a smoother sound. It's not hard to understand why the Keeley Fuzz Head didn't float my boat. ;)

perfumer
Banned
663 posts since 4 Oct, 2018

Re: All things pedal related.

Post Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:56 am

Uncle E wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:37 am
perfumer wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:15 am
If you want to demo a pedal properly, plug the guitar cable into the pedal, then run a cable from the pedal to the DI, then to the interface, then play and listen. THAT'S what you're getting from THAT pedal.*

The difference between one type of demoing and the other is like night and day.
Pardon me for stating the obvious but overdrive and boost pedals aren't meant to be used that way.
OF COURSE. But demo pedal X with a different amplifier and cabinet - and you will get VERY different results (and form a different opinion about the pedal).
Uncle E wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:37 am
Anyway, I do understand the gestalt of what you're saying.
Yes, there's no way to demo a pedal properly. :) :tu:

User avatar
cptgone
KVRAF
5855 posts since 1 Aug, 2003

Re: All things pedal related.

Post Sun Mar 01, 2020 8:16 am

justin3am wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:04 am
I chose the Pigtronix Resotron. It's based on the filter topology of the SSM 2040 filter and it sounds great.
I'm using an EHX 8-Step, Hungry Robot LFO and a few other things to modulate the filter pedal via it's expression and trigger inputs and it's getting pretty nuts.
Wow, that LFO looks interesting.
I don't suppose it connects to effect pedals' expression input?

User avatar
cptgone
KVRAF
5855 posts since 1 Aug, 2003

Re: All things pedal related.

Post Sun Mar 01, 2020 8:53 am

perfumer wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:56 am
Uncle E wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:37 am
perfumer wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:15 am
If you want to demo a pedal properly, plug the guitar cable into the pedal, then run a cable from the pedal to the DI, then to the interface, then play and listen. THAT'S what you're getting from THAT pedal.*

The difference between one type of demoing and the other is like night and day.
Pardon me for stating the obvious but overdrive and boost pedals aren't meant to be used that way.
OF COURSE. But demo pedal X with a different amplifier and cabinet - and you will get VERY different results (and form a different opinion about the pedal).
IMHO one should demo with the amp(s) one uses (if any), to assess their interaction (and don't forget about pickups and the gain they offer).
AFAIK the Xotic BB is meant to enhance Marshall amps.

User avatar
vurt
addled muppet weed
61192 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: All things pedal related.

Post Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:56 am

cptgone wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 8:16 am
justin3am wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:04 am
I chose the Pigtronix Resotron. It's based on the filter topology of the SSM 2040 filter and it sounds great.
I'm using an EHX 8-Step, Hungry Robot LFO and a few other things to modulate the filter pedal via it's expression and trigger inputs and it's getting pretty nuts.
Wow, that LFO looks interesting.
I don't suppose it connects to effect pedals' expression input?
im gping to go with yes ;)

User avatar
cptgone
KVRAF
5855 posts since 1 Aug, 2003

Re: All things pedal related.

Post Sun Mar 01, 2020 10:28 am

...unless the Robot talks to the "few other things" instead of the Resotron...

User avatar
justin3am
KVRAF
10984 posts since 7 May, 2006 from Southern California

Re: All things pedal related.

Post Sun Mar 01, 2020 12:12 pm

vurt wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:56 am
cptgone wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 8:16 am
justin3am wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 9:04 am
I chose the Pigtronix Resotron. It's based on the filter topology of the SSM 2040 filter and it sounds great.
I'm using an EHX 8-Step, Hungry Robot LFO and a few other things to modulate the filter pedal via it's expression and trigger inputs and it's getting pretty nuts.
Wow, that LFO looks interesting.
I don't suppose it connects to effect pedals' expression input?
im gping to go with yes ;)
:D
Yes... well, it needs a little help. The Hungry Robot modules (I have an LFO and a S&H), have a +/-5v range where pedals usually expect 0-5v or 0-3v. So I modified a Hungry Robot Mixer (which is DC coupled), to connect the output of it’s voltage regulator to the switch of it’s input jack. This allows me to offset bipolar mod signals into the 0-5v range, when nothing is connected to the mixer's first input. It also allows me to combine the outputs of the 8-step with the LFO and S&H into the Resotron’s single expression input. It's a really easy mod, I didn't even need to take the PCBs out.

Also keep in mind that most expression inputs are wired thusly:

Tip - voltage input
Ring - 5v
Sleeve - ground

This way, an expression pedal works like a voltage divider (attenuators) for that 5v. If you connect a TS patch cable to the expression input, you will be shorting 5v to ground. This an cause a problem in some cases, but not always. I usually use a TRS to TS adapter, with a floating ring. You can do that with one of these Hosa TRSM>2xTSF insert cable but I just ended up making some custom floating ring cables.

This is all part of an experiment in making pedal board with flexible modulation routing, distributed tempo clocks, and midi controlled bypass loops. I’m using a CV.OCD and an EHX Clockworks to distribute clocks. I’m using our Pacer foot controller and a Voodoo Labs Hex for midi controlled send/returns.

I’ll post about the process of putting together the pedal board, if it’s of interest. It’s going to be pretty ridiculous. I’m using a large Pedal Train board, with all of the power, signal, and MIDI routing stuff mounted to the underside. It’ll be a neat setup for sound design but it also serves as r&d for some future projects.

User avatar
Uncle E
KVRAF
11494 posts since 22 Nov, 2000 from Southern California

Re: All things pedal related.

Post Sun Mar 01, 2020 12:50 pm

perfumer wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:56 am
But demo pedal X with a different amplifier and cabinet - and you will get VERY different results (and form a different opinion about the pedal).
Maybe the way to do it is to look at multiple reviews in total, like movie review aggregators. For example, my findings with the BB Preamp is consistent with most reviews I've seen. However, the large majority of reviews of the Timmy are more positive than mine and so my review can be discounted.

User avatar
cptgone
KVRAF
5855 posts since 1 Aug, 2003

Re: All things pedal related.

Post Sun Mar 01, 2020 12:52 pm

justin3am wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 12:12 pm
The Hungry Robot modules (I have an LFO and a S&H), have a +/-5v range where pedals usually expect 0-5v or 0-3v. So I modified a Hungry Robot Mixer (which is DC coupled), to connect the output of it’s voltage regulator to the switch of it’s input jack.
Thanks for the info (I had a look at the specs before asking, but know too little of these things to understand). Interesting project.

User avatar
cptgone
KVRAF
5855 posts since 1 Aug, 2003

Re: All things pedal related.

Post Sun Mar 01, 2020 2:34 pm

Seems like a bargain at €44 (Belgian price, yours may vary), if you're into digital multi effects pedals:
https://www.thomann.de/be/zoom_g1on.htm

perfumer
Banned
663 posts since 4 Oct, 2018

Re: All things pedal related.

Post Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:03 am

Uncle E wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 12:50 pm
perfumer wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:56 am
But demo pedal X with a different amplifier and cabinet - and you will get VERY different results (and form a different opinion about the pedal).
Maybe the way to do it is to look at multiple reviews in total, like movie review aggregators. For example, my findings with the BB Preamp is consistent with most reviews I've seen. However, the large majority of reviews of the Timmy are more positive than mine and so my review can be discounted.
Who likes what is purely subjective and I didn't mean to go there.

My remark was technical: the amp and cab both have frequency curves (NOT flat), add saturation (even when clean), change the transients, texturize the sound in terms that are hard to describe but very audible (especially the cab, especially if it's old), and in the end what you're working with is not the pedal itself (you think you're demoing), but a highly interactive system of several elements - especially if you take into account what goes before the pedal.

The last few days I've been playing with guitar -> Klon KTR -> DI -> headphones. Volume on the guitar is average, KTR is on 'clean' with boosted highs to make the sound brighter, and the level of detail I'm getting, the dynamic range... is something VERY different from what a 'clean' amp+cab from the early '70s could EVER give. Brings the pickups under a microscope, then projects the picture on a gigantic IMAX screen, so to say.

Only bad thing is it's mono. So not exactly IMAX but I think you get the idea.

Return to “Guitars”