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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Havent had a thread on Tone Suck for a while so.

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by EddieLocrian, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. EddieLocrian

    EddieLocrian Tele-Holic

    Feb 7, 2014

    As the title says, this topic used to be all the rage, so let’s RI.

    I am specifically asking this question again because of the rise of digital foot pedals and as I’m interested in a Strymon Dig and/or Blue Sky and I need updating with a few things.

    I use some regular non-digital pedals (Diamond, Mad Professor, Mooer etc.) into a DRRI and they are great.
    I also have an old Boss GT-6 that I used to use into an old SS Peavey Bandit, and that was great.
    But when I tried my GT-6 into the DRRI that was not great, in fact it had a large amount of Tone Suck to my ears.

    So 2 questions:
    1, Do those multi-effect digital pedals inherently Tone Suck when into Tube amps, or is it just the older GT-6?
    2, More importantly, if I’m now looking at Strymon (digital) pedals, do they tone suck? If not then can anybody say why not?

    Ok, many thanks for your replies.

    ZackyDog likes this.

  2. brogh

    brogh Super Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 26, 2010
    Both my strymons were the most transparent pedals I've ever had, really not tone sucking, the gt6 probably will suck a lot, those old unit happen to have components that were the top in those years, but really not at the top today, 13 years is quite a while, would get a computer with a pentium 4 ? i doubt it.

    As you experienced it's also really depends on what device you connect into... music on youtube trough earbuds is fine .. try that on a super duper hi fi system and you'll kinda feel the tone sucking effect in the same way.


  3. EddieLocrian

    EddieLocrian Tele-Holic

    Feb 7, 2014
    Cheers brogh. So its just the creation date of the components in the GT-6 rather than 'digital' in general - :)

    And also, can anybody forsee a 'problem' if using a digital Strymon as the Last pedal in a chain of all non-digital true-bypass pedals? (as mine now happen to be)


  4. Redvers

    Redvers Tele-Meister

    Oct 4, 2016
    I have a boss GP-10 that I mostly run straight to a PA. If in include it on my pedal board and into a tube amp it doesn't sound great. You get zipper noise when adjusting the volume etc.

    Some digital stomp pedals need isolated supplies to sound good. My EHX freeze is one. You just have to a/b.
    jddub440 likes this.

  5. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Holic

    Jan 15, 2013
    Heart O' Dixie
    I'm still learning how to minimize this phenomena, but I notice it with onboard effects, and even some classic amps with reverb and tremelo - I guess I'm oriented to believe any effect or added circuit, onboard or anywhere in the signal path is going to alter tone and dynamics, its just a matter of how much? Also, some effects can have an unintended but desirable impact, such as a wireless system adding compression. Based on that, I'm assuming the best you can do is onboard effects, followed by a multi-effects pedal, followed by the fewest pedals in series you can live with, followed by 10+ pedal board - the latter reducing your musical contribution to an on/off noise switch when you solo ;)

  6. brogh

    brogh Super Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 26, 2010
    the better the AD/DA convertes and circuitry the better the result in general.

    Audio is a strange beast, there are the :

    " that sound " interpretation, that you will get only with "that" device, IE,

    there is a noise floor level in every device, if that noise begins to be part of the sound you're after when you "remove" it with a better component, it makes you feel like something is missing right ?

    " best sound " interpretation, or you'll try to get the best sounding devices that you can afford in a chain, using the same example above, the noise floor level will be very low, it will sound different, and if it's ok with you... you're just fine.

    In the end it's really the sound itself that you're after that determines the chain.

    let's put another (EXTREME) example ( >>>>> no i'm not starting a debate about vinyl/not vinyl analog and so on <<<<<< )

    let's say we have the same record on vinyl and high resolution audio files, which one sounds the best ?

    On paper High resolution audio destroys vinyl, to the ears still many people say vinyl sounds better, why ? taste, habit, advertising and many other factors.

    As Redvers said, you need to A/B things, only YOUR ears have the right answer, is it full of background noise but that happens to be what you're after ? just fine with me ... i'll be probably saying (if i were your record producer) .. we need to change/upgrade/get a better noise level... but if you as artist tell me .. that the noise is something you want as part of your sound... as a professional producer i must only agree although i might think you are wrong ( in My opinion) .

    Cope with me with the example i'm trying to express a point of view,

    Most what i experience with tone sucking is a "thinner" and less focused sound, yeah also less dynamic and less wide in frequency range.

    There are still great devices/components from the past, look at all the vintage amps that are still around, there are many examples that could be brought up for example .. think about the tape delays, there is a higher noise level than digital, is it warmer or noisier ? that's the question that you need to answer :)

    Forgot to say, keep also in mind versatility, an amplifier with a flat response great dynamics, but no volume control, no tone controls, would be really not that versatile right ?

    it's a recipe, you have gains and drawbacks the balance is up to the cook

    Hope it helps

    the tool likes this.

  7. luckett

    luckett Friend of Leo's

    Jun 14, 2011
    How do you know it's not the DRRI that is causing the "tone suck"? You said the GT6 sounded fine into the Bandit. Maybe you just prefer the Bandit over the DRRI.
    MilwMark likes this.

  8. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 16, 2014
    Auburn, California
    I've had a Zoom, a Korg, and a Digitech RP. All sucked tone. Now I do just a few individual pedals - tuner, wah, distortion, clean boost, chorus. That's it.

  9. EddieLocrian

    EddieLocrian Tele-Holic

    Feb 7, 2014
    Hi, as the 2 amps go, the bandit is good, my drri is great. Another level really. So guitar straight to amp the drri is 'alive'
    It seems the gt6 reduces the drri tone to less than before.

  10. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 22, 2009
    New York
    Anything digital will have A/D/A conversion, and there's usually a slight latency and loss of audio quality with that. With modern well designed equipment, it shouldn't be noticeable in many cases, but manufactures are always trying to maximize their profit, so quality can be questionable, as they cut corners on their products.

    What does 'less tone' mean? There's just different tone. There can be less 'volume,' less 'treble,' higher noise floor, etc. but I dont get how 'tone' can be quantified into an amount like, less or more tone.

  11. 1300 E Valencia

    1300 E Valencia Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 13, 2010
    Fullerton CA
    The first issue would be the power supply. Some digital pedals don't like daisy-chains, like the One-Spot.

    Delays and reverbs tend to suck juice, not tone. Which means they use up lots of power, expressed as "milli-amps". A One-Spot, for example provides 1700 mA (milli-amps). You can run 17 one-hundred mA pedals from a One-Spot. Or, one 800 mA pedal and one 900 mA pedal.

    A 1000 mA power supply is fine, even for a 10 mA pedal. Pedals don't use more juice than they need. But a pedal that requires 1200 milliamps will run out of gas on a 1000 mA power supply.

    As long as you don't exceed the milli-amps provided by the power supply, you're good to go.

    Digital pedals also tend to be fussy, and require *isolated* power, such as the various power "bricks" like the VooDoo Lab supplies. Whatever the pedal, you'll need to check both the milli-amp requirements and the voltage. Is it AC or DC? 9 volts? 12 volts? Etc. How many mA used?

  12. EddieLocrian

    EddieLocrian Tele-Holic

    Feb 7, 2014
    Hi, Its a funny thing but when you plug the gt6 into the drri it sounds like you now have a 'plastic' version of the same thing. I wonder if its because the modeling is trying to replicate the type of amp that I'm actually plugged into, eitherway its what I class as tone suck. Can't explain it better, but Im glad about the response re the Strymon pedals.
    Also I currently have a VooDoo PP2, so if I move into Strymon land it will have to be replaced with a more powerful brick as it doesnt output enough mAmp to run the blue sky / dig. Its about 150 per outlet whereas the Strymons recommend 200-250.

  13. Boubou

    Boubou Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Jul 30, 2005
    Montreal, Quebec

  14. Lies&Distortion

    Lies&Distortion Tele-Holic

    May 27, 2014
    SE Michigan
    So you don't have the Strymon yet?
    If you get one, will it not come with it's own power supply? Because that's what I would use.

    I have an El Capistan, never had any tone suck issues. I run it in the effects loop of an Egnater Tweaker, have ran in it front as well. Never had issues.

  15. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Friend of Leo's

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    I'm the epitome of tone suck. I have good tone, but I suck.
    Staypuft1652 likes this.

  16. Pepi

    Pepi Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 8, 2004
    My tone sucks period :)
    Staypuft1652 likes this.

  17. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2009
    Western Canada
    Better amps tend to expose weakness... whether it be the player, a guitar or an effect.

    Funny you mention the GT-6. I owned one for a couple years and didn't use it much because I found it very cold and sterile sounding... even when no effects or amp sims were turned on. It's really one of the only BOSS Multi-FX I found to be like this. The other BOSS products I've owned over the years did not suffer this... such as the GP-8, ME-5, ME-10 and BE-5.

    Plastic is a good way to describe the tone...

    However... please don't tell me you are using the amp sims into a good amp? You will do best to turn the amp simulation area OFF when going into an amp - only use those when going direct. Think of it this way.... you wouldn't mic a Deluxe Reverb, then run that mic through another Deluxe Reverb to get your tone. That is sort of what you are doing.
    Staypuft1652 likes this.

  18. luckett

    luckett Friend of Leo's

    Jun 14, 2011
    If you don't even know what's turned on in the GT6, it's more than likely a case of user error than the fault of the equipment. It's like turning on a tube screamer and blaming it for tone suck. Tone suck IS the tube screamer sound.

  19. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Poster Extraordinaire

    May 12, 2013
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Correct isloated power and a loop switcher are two of the easiest ways to get rid of noise and tone loss. The biggest killer on my board is a cheapo tremolo and its last in line . Stuff nowadays is far better about maintaining tone than it was a few years ago. I am more sensitive to pedals that kill dynamics like this tremolo. Its a cheap Behringer but I havent replaced it yet for other priorities. I used a looped signal into a DAW once and I could see it cutting the peaks off the waveform on side by side tracks..

  20. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Tele-Afflicted

    Aug 24, 2014
    Not meaning to ruffle anyone's feathers, but these two pedals sucked my guitar tone. That is, my hollow body Gretsch with Filtertrons didn't sound like "itself" anymore.

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