Boxy pedal? (the science of Hertz)

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by hotairguitar, May 11, 2021.

  1. hotairguitar

    hotairguitar Tele-Meister

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    Hi everyone,
    especially those with knowledge in the science of frequencies and its impressions on the ears,

    It just dawned on me of the impact of mid bump from recent experience and i have a burning question (sorry if the attached link doesn't show)

    Walrus Audio Emissary Parallel Boost - YouTube

    Please notice the tonal difference when he switch between 800Hz and 1000Hz

    My question is, does mid boosting inevitably make your tone a bit boxy?

    of course my experience was nothing remotely close to that video. I only use that video to present my case, if you will.

    The pedal i tried was a NUX Horseman into a demo Blackstar ID Core at a shop. (i'm looking for some ''transparent'' boost to add some grit to otherwise sterile clean channel of a combo amp)

    I understand that asking for a small combo not to sound boxy is unrealistic to begin with, but i can only try it with something similar i have at home. To my dismay, after careful tweaking to make the clean sound not so boxy, engaging that NUX Horseman only negated my EQ effort in one push of a button. (back to plinky plonky)

    This is not to discredit the pedals i mentioned above, but...

    Is this what most transparent overdrives do (even to real tube amps)?
     
  2. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    That's been my experience. I prefer a flatter od pedal. But a bit of a mid bump can sure save you in a mix, especially for leads, where cutting is important.
     
  3. hotairguitar

    hotairguitar Tele-Meister

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    i see...

    well i'm only playing for my self in my own room not looking to cut through the mix

    but hey, thank you mate, thats substantial nod coming from Mr Gilmour
     
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  4. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    It's a common issue. Something like a tubescreamer just might not sound good at all playing in your bedroom. In a mix though, you often benefit from narrowing your sonic space. Guitar is generally a mid EQ instrument. But playing solo, it sounds better having that low end and upper EQ presence. In a band, it can just add mud and harshness.
     
  5. JesterR

    JesterR Tele-Afflicted

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    For clean amp, yes, flat-mids OD would sound more pleasant, and, basically, do what you would get by cranking your amp a bit. Especially at home (live sound need to be adjusted to a lot of things)
    However, if you try to boost already overdriven sound, you will find, that "full" boost makes your sound farting and undefined, even at home. So, basically, if you want to boost your amp, or other pedals, TS is exactly what you need: cut some bass to keep tone defined, and maybe tame some highs to avoid too much upper harmonics from extra saturation.
     
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  6. hotairguitar

    hotairguitar Tele-Meister

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    Thank you Axegrinder77 and JesterR

    very much appreciated.

    What are some of those flat EQ overdrives please? Is, for example, MXR CAE Line Driver one of them? Sadly there is not grit generated by that pedal for your tone?

    As for Tube Screamer, I have never tried one (says it all) for the wrong reason of believing what im hearing via youtube that it gives more ''mud'' to your tone than what i am actually looking, which is ''grit'' or ''bite''

    Thank you guys
     
  7. JesterR

    JesterR Tele-Afflicted

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    Try Barber pedals, they would works much better into clean amp. Also, personally, I dig Catalinbread overdrives, since they FET-based and creating nice dynamics also.

    Also, good old Boss BD-2. Use BD-2 for a little grit, and stack with TS for leads.
     
  8. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    I did an internet search for "boxy guitar tone" as I didn't know if it was rigorously defined. It seems that most consider it to be a lack of bass and treble, where the tone is centered at about 500 Hz or so.

    Instead of an overdrive, get an EQ pedal like the Boss GE-7 and place it at the end of your effects chain. You can then lower the mids and push up the bass and treble as desired. This may not entirely eliminate "boxiness" as I would think your speaker(s) would have a lot to do with the tone as well.
     
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  9. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

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    As has been mentioned mids will help cut through a band mix, but when playing solo they can sound nasal or boxy.

    For example, tube screamers were designed to push fairly mid scooped, Fender tube amps into overdrive. Using one in front of a mid forward Marshall amp, or a solid state amp never sounded worth a crap to me, especially when practicing alone. It always sounded boxy and nasal.

    I have found a mid boost TS replacement that works better for me in most of the situations I find myself in. Playing at home alone, or with friends on accoustic is what I do most, and the OD-3 works great in that setting. It doesn’t cut as much bass and doesn’t sound boxy. It also won’t cut as well in a band situation.

    I have also replace my old TS-9 with a SD-1. I prefer it’s asymmetrical clipping to the TS’s symmetrical clipping, and it EQ is a bit different, making it sound less boxy or nasal to my ears while still giving a mid boost for cutting through.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2021
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  10. Cosmic Cowboy

    Cosmic Cowboy Tele-Holic

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    For a boost to work you have to boost the frequencies that set a guitar apart from other instruments in the mix. Those frequencies hang out between about 900-1800 hz.

    Hearing a boost in those frequencies will sound a bit 'boxy' when you hear the guitar played by itself as opposed to a flat Q.

    In a mix, however, it's those frequencies in particular that sound sweetest. Most of the time in the studio...those tones we've come to love have been whacked in the high end and the low, boosted in the mids.

    Most the famous tones we love are not nearly as full-band as we hear our amps in the room. They are pretty narrow.
     
  11. Cosmic Cowboy

    Cosmic Cowboy Tele-Holic

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    This is a pretty cool video that breaks down guitar EQ in a way that is tangible.

     
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  12. hotairguitar

    hotairguitar Tele-Meister

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    Yes, a kind member in my other thread took my problem seriously and suggested and EQ pedal. Another equally kind member suggested that I may need parametric EQ, which is amazing stuff that ive sampled a bit.

    So, placing the EQ pedals after the overdrive will remove the boxiness but retain the grit i need?

    I just want some grit on some parts of certain songs before going full blast.

    *Sorry i tried to place my responseaccording to the remark and suggestion but i messed it up, i don't know how to do it correctly.
     
  13. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    I think so. It's an easy experiment to do, and again if you put it last in your chain, any grit generated upstream should be retained. Let us know your findings.
     
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  14. hotairguitar

    hotairguitar Tele-Meister

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    True, thank you... but playing in my room, i can't justify anything beyond combo
    I did sampled OD3 way before, sounded very true to whatever amp it was paired with. I may look at it again. I didn't know that SD1 is asymmetrical.

    Thank you...
     
  15. hotairguitar

    hotairguitar Tele-Meister

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    Ha! alright then, it is easy to do,

    just need to find shops that will facilitate that trial

    Thank you
     
  16. hotairguitar

    hotairguitar Tele-Meister

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    How do you give 2 likes for such Biblical truth like this? :-D simple and to the point.

    Thank you very much mate
     
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  17. hotairguitar

    hotairguitar Tele-Meister

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    Those are fancy boutique stuff, be nice to try them out,

    BD2, like the TS maybe its time for me to try them out.

    Thank you mate.
     
  18. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, some of the greatest solos ever recorded sound thin, and even terrible when the tracks are isolated, but they sound iconic when situated “in the mix.”
     
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  19. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

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    I set my amp up on the edge of breakup with the volume on the guitar rolled back some. I basically set my amp and pedals up so that I already have some grit going. Turning my giitar up will add more crunch, and rolling back my guitar more of playing lighter will allow me to clean up as well.

    More might be needed to go from cleans all the way to a screaming lead, and that’s where boosts and OD come in. One can stack an OD with a clean boost after it for leads. Even an EQ pedal can be used for a boost.

    What helped me a lot was learning about gain stages and how they work. Once you understand how they work things will make a lot more sense. I run into a slightly dirty tube amp (almost out of clean headroom) and that works much differently than running into a totally clean amp with lots of headroom.

    Basically I push my amp to deliver “more” of it’s own distortion. My pedals complement my amp’s breakup without coloring the sound very much. Into a clean amp pedals might totally change the character of your amp.

    For example, a Boss DS-1 can sound great into a breaking up tube amp. It sounds terrible into a clean amp, because it’s meant to push a tube amp into distortion. It’s not meant to be used with a clean amp.

    Part of the fun is that there is always something new to learn, and there are no rules.
     
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