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2014...gear in review

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by revelator, Nov 29, 2014.

  1. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    It's funny, so many of these drive pedals, whether they are based on a TS, 250, or something completely unique,...... pretty much sound... OR CAN SOUND... very similar to one another.... I mean, I can what *I* want out of almost any drive pedal.... I can make a Bad Monkey sound like a Klon, and the CT sound like the FD2, despite the designs being quite different. After several dozen ODs I realized this, and since then I don't really get GAS for ODs anymore, what I have is more like curiosity now.... with my FD2, CT, Gristle King, Blue Note... I can get an OD sound I need.... but I'm still going to give the TS808HW a try (believe it or not, the 808 is the ONE famous OD I have never owned, only the TS9), and that new VS-XO.

    -SORRY FOR THE THREAD HIJACK-
     
  2. jipp

    jipp Friend of Leo's

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    i think while it seems you can coach a tone out of a pedal X of pedal Y .. pedal X can do other tones pedal Y cant. so unless you only use that one pedal sound.. i see the logic behind other pedals.
    chris.
     
  3. jgmouton

    jgmouton Tele-Meister

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    I bought 2 excellent pedals:

    - MI Audio Cross Over Drive - Very good sounding and very versatile.

    - Ramble Marvel Drive - It's a Marshall in a box, does only that but does it perfectly.
     
  4. nomadh

    nomadh Tele-Afflicted

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    no new pedals this year at all. still wanting to get more than 5% of the features of my fender floor.
    I do plan on getting the new eh b9 organpedal soon though. i havent been this pedal impressed in 15 years.
     
  5. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    I think in the case of the Cream-Tone, and in spite of its name - one owner commented that it's the "hard clipping" - which is what you have in the older style drive boxes, instead of the "soft clipping" like is found in the TS - that can really give a bit of an edge - some "grit in a good way" that's IMO lots of times just not as appealing with soft clipping/"TS-ish" designs (being REALLY general, here).

    I know lots of folks are probably comfortable just boiling it down to setting a box up for a similar EQ and maybe comparing pedals based on grouping them by gain ranges, but for me, it's equally important as to what's going on w/the clipping itself. How are the harmonics? A bit too much or maybe too smooth? Is it gritty or grainy in a cool way or useful way? Or is it something unappealing that you can't dial out? IOW - do you find yourself using the tone control(s) as something other than putting on that little bit of final compensation?

    Some pedal designs literally have the clipping suppressed at certain frequency ranges (usually the bass). I don't mean just EQ treatments that shelve off frequencies, either.

    Oftentimes, none of this is terribly relevant until you get the right box dialed in w/your rig in a live setting, and get to experience "just a bit more of a good sound or vibe." IDK how else to explain it, other than I know it when I experience it.
     
  6. majorbugout

    majorbugout Tele-Meister

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    I only bought three pedals this year. In the springs I acquired a Gain Changer. It pretty much goes without saying that I am very satisfied with this little guy. Then I picked up a Vox DelayLab when they were on clearance, very happy with this one too. For the third I just ordered a Line6 HD-500x as my Christmas present to myself. It will arrive later this week. Hopefully it is good... fingers crossed.
     
  7. Anode100

    Anode100 Friend of Leo's

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    This year? A lot of used purchases and home-builds.

    Bought...

    BOSS DS-1 - I always thought these were nasty sounding until I got me a 4 x 12...
    BOSS SD-1 - the eternal favourite for pushing an amp.
    Joyo Analog Delay - great pedal for the price - very natural sounding.
    MXR Dynacomp - it's on all the time, clean or dirty.

    Built...

    Fender Blender clone - awesome filth.
    RAT clone - built it to see what all the fuss was about, and I'm very impressed at its versatility.
    True bypass looper / booster - used to give a lead boost and engage the Joyo delay with one footswitch.

    Have also acquired a G&L ASAT Deluxe Tribute which I love.

    It's been a good year for gear!
     
  8. martwest

    martwest Tele-Meister

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    Only bought one pedal this year: Lovepedal High Power Twin Tweed. Love it.

    Next I need to decide between a Mad Professor Sweet Honey OD or a Barber Gain Changer. Have not made up my mind as it's hard to decide on the basis of YT movies and reviews. Should test them both I guess.
     
  9. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    +1. In the end, this is what it has come down to for me. This is how I differentiate drive boxes, more so than EQ curve/voicing.

    For example, I am learning that I do not like FET clipping, I hated it on the FD2 mosfet, Fulltone Fatdrive, and I THINK my Gristle King is using FETs also... because, while I love the voicing and versatility of the box, something about the clipping is throwing me off.
     
  10. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    +2. Much to my surprise I've learned I don't prefer (or even like) soft-clipping. Well-designed hard-clipping (OD-250/Rat) just does it for me live. ESPECIALLY with the drive set low. I think they are also symmetrical clippers too? Hard/symmetrical clipping gives just the right edge/grit/life that works so well and smooths out in a mix somehow. Not in the market for any drive pedals but first thing I'd check would be the clipping.

    Edit: not sure how the BD-2 and OD-3 fit in. Hard/soft and symmetrical/assymetrical. But while they are fun for home use for me they tend not get used live - except maybe as a solo boost for acoustic, where each excels for different reasons.
     
  11. Televised

    Televised Friend of Leo's

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    Two new pedals that I added this year, (after I swore I wouldn't after purchasing Bogner Blue Ecstasy pedal last year):
    EHX - Soulfood - Clean Boost/OD
    Visual Sound - H2O -Chorus/Echo
    Glad I did! Both pedals add a lot to the ever growing chain I'm trying to keep in check.
     
  12. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    Do you mean the Fulltone Fatboost? If so, that is the only one that actually will get clipping from an amplified FET gain stage.

    What you probably didn't like about the mosFET mode in the FDII was the "clipping threshold" of the clipping diode combination for that mode. It used the body diodes of mosFET transistors, but also there were other diode types in series.

    ...Point being - transistors as clipping diodes are not "active devices" - they aren't amplifier stages driven into clipping. And IMO, "a diode doesn't have a sound," per se (not even a transistor-as-diode or even an LED used as a clipping diode). Others may beg to differ, but IMO/IME, the more important aspect is that freakin' "threshold," or "proximity-to-clip." Every diode (or device used as one) has what is called a forward voltage. That is what determines (the bulk of) the sonics of the clipping process.

    So - in the case of the FDII, the mosFET mode would have a transistor body diode with a vF of .65 volts, in series with a germanium diode with a vF of .35 volts. So the "overall vF" is about 1 volt. When the amplfied signal reaches and exceeds 1 volt, the diode(s) clips the signal.

    (Just to keep things clear - the mosFET mode is "asymmetrical" - the "other transistor" does NOT have a germanium in series with it. So that "half" of your signal clips earlier on).

    ...When you see a pedal with some crazy combo of diodes in series, it really is their "combined number" IMO that determines much of the clipping characteristics. So - if you have something you like and it has red LEDs in it, you can find out that they have a rather high vF of 1.8V.

    Some will claim that germanium diodes have a different "knee," or that epoxy "rectifier diodes" are "slow," and I won't really argue with what someone wants to believe will give them X clipping or Y clipping as a result. I just personally live and die by those vF numbers. Also - something like the Bluesbreaker has a resistor in series with the diodes, and it makes their effect much more subtle.

    All of this said - getting back to "FET-based" pedals - stuff like the OCD, the Klon, the Cream-Tone, the Marshall pedals, and the later versions of the Hotcake ALL use basically the same "jFET input" op amp - the TL072 (the OCD has one that is "rejected for higher noise," and is re-branded a TL082). The jFET inputs make it a bit unique and differentiated for pedal use. It typically won't be a night-and-day difference, but IMO if you slap a 4558 in a Guv'nor, it will sound a bit different. There are TONS of other pedals that use the TL0XX-family of chips, BTW.
     
  13. dog fart

    dog fart Friend of Leo's

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    After spending too much money last year I said I wasn't buying anything this year. My wife bought a Boss Heavy Metal HM-2 for $20 in Feb(pawn shop). Her niece found a Boss CE-2 in a box of stuff when she moved in Sept. I'm giving her $100 for Christmas. She's in college and could use the cash. Since then Catalinbread Formula-5 and Echorec and finally a Ron Sound Hairpie.

    The Ecorec was the most expensive, $180 after $50 discounted for blems and it would be easy to say least favorite because I'm a dirt guy and don't care much for Modulation or delay.But I like it!

    Surprise surprise my least favorite is actually the Boss HM-2 because it is so limited in what I can use it for. The Dist. barely goes to the 9 o'clock setting with L and H on 3 Level set to taste great for laughs and giggles, early '80s Metallica and Anthrax.

    While I've only had it for a couple of days I don't think anybody's surprised that I'm calling Hairpie buy of the year. I've spent a LOT of money chasing a good Muff sound from EHX and countless clones. I finally found it. I'm sure it's out there being built by others, but I found the builder I'm happy with and I'll tell anybody who asks.

    I can't wait to see what next year brings.
     
  14. karpis

    karpis Tele-Holic

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    Bought JDF2 fuzz face. And thats it - no more dirt need. I have not bougt any more pedals this year - good sign. Maybe guitars next year :D
     
  15. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yeah. The slew rate with the op amps in the older drive boxes tends to be lower, with the LM308N taking the prize for "super low." The 741 - relative to others - is on the low side too. I think that's why some pedals that take a dual op amp that have a 1458 in it (a dual 741) can either sound really cool, or they can make you want to puncture your eardrums out. The Joyo version of the Marshall Shredmaster substitutes 1458's, and IMO all the artifacts from the op amp slewing/latching sound absolutely dreadful.

    Point being that even though clipping diodes will typically mask most or all of the distortion from the op amp, there are designs where it makes a very noticeable difference. IMO, a TS is NOT really one of them, but lots of folks will beg to differ!

    Also - you can end up w/asym clipping from other parts of your signal chain, so it's hard to determine just how much a drive box might actually be contributing to that. For me, it's a case of "the jury is out" - there are lots of designs that I see no benefit to adding asym clipping to, but others that I will dink around with it for (IMO - it seems to work better for soft clipping applications, but IME, there is a very fine line, and it has to work in conjunction with a bunch of other things. Something like the Zendrive is a great example of what I think are fine-tuned diode combos, and that has nothing to do with whether or not I really like or would use the pedal).

    Anyway - the Rat is really an instance of "the total package." I found a new link (to me) about how and why the Rat sounds/behaves like it does:

    http://www.electrosmash.com/proco-rat

    It can get heady/verbose, but I think there are bits and pieces that do a decent job qualifying (beyond the quantifying IOW) why it has an appealing sound. I like how the author takes into account every element of the design instead of just a "can't see the forest for the trees" type of approach. He even explains the role of the "compensation capacitor" that HAS to be used with the LM308N (and OP07), and how it really has a profound effect on things.

    I have to say - I wasn't really "paying attention to hard clipping" for the longest time. I mean - I'd dink with a DS-1 just because it's fun, or build up a weirdo variant of a OD 250. I can recall Brian Marshall of Subdecay (on a DIY forum, some years ago) saying how he really didn't care for soft clipping. Even Paul C. has said that the "buzz riding on top of the notes" is something that always has to be sort of dialed-out of the design, too (soft clipping - diodes in the negative feedback loop).

    ...Most (all?) of the BJFE/Mad Professor/Bearfoot ODs that use op amps/clippers tend to have both soft clipping AND hard clipping. Think about it - this includes the SHOD and Honey Bee - they aren't "crunch machines" by a long shot. So it's all about building the design up around what "possibly shouldn't be appealing."

    The BD-2 uses hard clipping, but the vF (threshold) is on the big side - it's a quad of "series/parallel" silicon types. So it's ~1.2V for the vF, roughly. But the BD-2 doesn't use an op amp at the primary gain stages - it's a "differential" made up of individual transistors. The importance thing WRT that is a differential will never be able to give you a non-clipped amplitude that will equal most op amps. And - the "positive and negative signal swings" will not be capable of keeping a sort of "mirror image" of each other. IOW - the clipping will be asymmetrical, but NOT from the diodes.

    ...IMO, the "problem with the clipping diodes" in the BD-2 is that they fall before the second gain stage (second differential), and it puts out frequencies down ~70Hz. Both the first and second gain stages are adjusted in synchronization via a dual-ganged pot. You have a similar sort of issue w/the OCD, although the gain is fixed at the 2nd stage, and it's lower than the BD-2. But it's basically the same kind of splatty/buzzy/harsh sort of thing, when the gain is set too high (IMO).

    The OD-3 has symmetrical soft clippers "where it matters most" - at the primary gain stage, which again is a differential and not an op amp. There are other clippers that really function more to "pad/clamp" big signal transients, but I don't tend to think of them as super-traditional clipping diodes. For instance, there's a popular mod to pull a pair in the OD-3, and those are more for this "padding effect," so while you will get a more open sound with them pulled, there will also be some buzz in the decay. Whether or not it's audible on stage IMO is nits for the individual to pick at.

    Boy - I hope some of this fits in with the gear that folks got this year, and found appealing. Apologies otherwise! :oops:
     
  16. JoeNeri

    JoeNeri Friend of Leo's

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    :lol:
     
  17. Maggot

    Maggot Tele-Afflicted

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    What I got this year:

    ZVEX Fuzzolo: Lots of stellar fuzzos coming from a tiny 2-knob pedal. With the waveform knob turned down, along with the guitar's volume, it's an old-school overdrivey fuzz. Turn that same knob up and it's splatty and gated. In between is everything in between.

    Donner Tuner: It seems pretty nice. Tracks well. Keeps me in tune. Display is insanely easy to see for such a small pedal. $20.

    Joyo Crunch Distortion: One of those pedals that sounds harsh on its own, but rockin' with a band. Great for both high gain stuff, and turned down for middy, jumpy overdrive. It's an MI Crunch Box clone that sounds better than the original, but not as good as the even cheaper clone that my friend picked up in China.

    Donner Stylish Fuzz: How could you resist the name? It's not the best Muff clone I've ever tried but certainly not the worst either. It's great to have if Big Muff isn't your main flavor. It sounds better than two of the four "real" EH Muffs I've owned.

    Biyang Baby Boom Delay: It has a nice sound. Lively and almost microphonic, if that makes sense. I wish I'd gotten a more flexible delay with a tap tempo, however. Also it's not really true bypass; it won't work bypassed without power and the sound bleeds through when bypassed if the repeats are up too high.
     
  18. revelator

    revelator Tele-Holic

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    image-820135413.jpg
     
  19. revelator

    revelator Tele-Holic

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    So the app made me load images in different posts.

    First is my board right before Easter & the second is now.

    This year has been the year of "reacquired gear". I repurchased several pedals I had bought in years gone by. Honorable mentioned for best of the year goes to The Pearl (you'll notice it went from black to white *cough*cough*insert MichaelJackson joke*cough*cough* cause I sold it, missed it so much I rebought it)
     
  20. sclitheroe

    sclitheroe Tele-Meister Ad Free + Supporter

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    2014 Highlights:
    - Boss OD-1X. I need to find time to play around with this more, but it demonstrates tremendous clarity and a lot of cleanup - pretty versatile, and it also handles hot input from fuzzes better than any digital I've used to date; indeed, better than many analog OD's.

    - Catalinbread Karma Suture. If anything, I need two of these :) It does thick fuzz and light OD so well it's hard to decide which configuration to use the pedal in, and I'd love to have two so I could switch between them

    2014 Disappointments:
    - The Boss DS-1X. The tone/voicing does nothing for me, I far prefer the classic DS-1. Fortunately, my daughter, who is just getting started in guitar, gets a kick out of it, so I'll let her use it for now

    - The Wampler Velvet Fuzz. I'm gutted on this one - if the tone knob had a wider sweep, this would be a keeper without a doubt. But it's so dark anywhere below 1 or 2 o'clock, and I'm not interested in changing my fundamental EQ on the amp to accommodate one pedal. The EQ control on this pedal is as bad as a BD-2, just in the other direction. A quarter sweep of usable range.


    -Scott
     
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