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Do Some Types of Drive Pedals Excel at Lower Volume?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Hoodster, Sep 26, 2020.

  1. Hoodster

    Hoodster Friend of Leo's

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    For example, through a Princeton on 2 - 2.5.

    Over the past 20 years I have gone through the following dirt pedals (and these are just the ones I remember, in no particular order), from clean boost to fuzz and everything in between.

    Big Muff Pi (Original 70s)
    Ibanez TS 7
    Reverend Drivetrain
    Boss OD3 (original and modded)
    Boss DS1 (original and modded)
    Homebrew Electronics Germania
    Digitech Bad Monkey
    Fulltone Fulldrive II
    Fulltone Catalyst
    Fulltone Fatboost (two versions)
    Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive
    Barber Direct Drive SS
    Barber Burn Unit
    Barber LTD
    Dano Cool Cat Drive (version 1)
    Dano Transparent Drive (version 1)
    Dano Fuzz (version 1)
    Marshall Bluesbreaker
    Marshall Guv’nor
    Visual Sound Route 66
    MXR/CAE Boost Overdrive
    Pro Tone Wide Tread Boost
    Way Huge Green Rhino
    BBE Green Screamer
    Lovepedal Superlead
    MI Audio Crunch Box
    Xotic RC Booster
    Mojohand Copperhead Dual Boost
    Xotic AC Plus
    EarthQuaker Speaker Cranker
    Electro Harmonix East River Drive
    Joyo Sweet Baby
    Wampler Tumnus
    Joyo American Sound

    I've found the Joyo AS sounds as good as anything at low volume, so it made me wonder if these analog modelers are in general the best bet for home playing.

    Curious about other examples of those types or others folks have had best success with.
     
  2. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    My answer as always ( specifically for my old mid-rangey blonde Blues Jr., but also with my Vox Pathfinder) is an always ON Blues Driver.

    It has great taper ( and subtle ) range on its 3 controls, plus fantastic ' Volume knob' dynamics.
    So having it ON all the time does 2 fantastic things for me :

    - it allows me to go from clean to pretty much a cranked Fender amp sound at whatever volume I need to play.
    The amp Volume does not need to be at a certain level for the BD-2 to do its thing ( I set pedal's Gain knob to how much breakup/saturation I want to hear when I turn my guitar volume all the way up. But it is not a very high Gain sound' which is fine)

    - it 'corrects' the EQ and presence of this BJ, by adding some sparkle or chime, dimension, buy having the Tone knob at NOON-1:00 clock. I know newer BJ's are brighter than mine

    * just a good fit for me
     
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  3. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    They all work at low volume.
     
  4. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    What!? Low volume?!

    EVERYTHING sounds better LOUD!

    If it sounds better at low volume you’re probably not hearing as much of your flubs which in turn sounds better
     
  5. Frontier9

    Frontier9 Friend of Leo's

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    I'd use the Joyo AS as an always on flavor enhancer (low gain OD), but would not rely on it to yield great sounding mid to higher gain overdrive. I own the Caline version of this pedal and like it very much. BTW, I think the Caline version doesn't have the speaker sim in the circuit - not sure. Anyway, it doesn't sound all that great with the gain knob cranked, especially on the Tweed side of the voice control. But it sure sounds great with other ODs and distortion pedals doing the heavy lifting. Timmy/Timmy clone comes to mind...
     
  6. Roman4405

    Roman4405 Tele-Meister

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    I play at low volume most of the time through my Deluxe Reverb and I think it’s more of finding pedals that work with your setup as opposed to just the volume. Tunescreamers don’t work for me, at any volume. Bluesbreaker pedals on the other hand sound better, but that’s just me.

    You do lose a lot of the low end when turning the volume down and the Princeton can be pretty trebly anyway (in an awesome way), maybe what you really need is a three band eq on your drive pedals.
     
  7. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    If you’ve tried that many and not found what you are looking for, it ain’t the pedals.

    And if you’ve tried that many and found what you’re looking for, what do you still seek?
     
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  8. igor5

    igor5 Tele-Meister

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    IMO, Nobels ODR-1, OCD, Dirty Little Secret, Simble OD, Prince of tone (KOT), Gristle King... TS circuit can work if you compensate boosting the bass in your amp. You could reach better results putting a compressor before OD.
     
  9. Telewielder

    Telewielder TDPRI Member

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    Attenuator?
     
  10. Hoodster

    Hoodster Friend of Leo's

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    Many of them have worked fine, but since the American Sound (unlike many traditional pedals) doesn’t seem to lose anything at low volumes, I was wondering if there’s something about the way those analog modelers work that makes them excel at low volume. That’s all. No need to be snarky.
     
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  11. Roscoe295

    Roscoe295 TDPRI Member

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    The Exotic BB Preamp pedal has a Bass & Treble knobs which, I find, helps preserve low end (at all volumes - but especially low volumes). For me... it’s always on.
     
  12. Strebs

    Strebs Tele-Meister

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    I've been using my Bogner Oxford fuzz at low volumes lately. It gives some nice drive, crunch, and sparkle. It's a versatile beast and one of my most used pedals for low volume practice.
     
  13. 41144

    41144 Tele-Afflicted

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    +1 for the BD-2 ... surpised not to see it in the list and, imo, won't get as 'dirty' as a TS but has plenty to explore.


    ie Have you a reference point for the "Drive" sound you want to "excel" thro' a Princeton.
    Regarding volume - on the amp at 2/2.5 is a good indicator but, again taking the Gov'nor (80s-90s version?) as an example, do you like Gain low - Volume high, vice-versa, treble-bass ... they all play into it don't they?
     
  14. AlbertoMilanese

    AlbertoMilanese Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    DOD Looking Glass. One of the all time great drive pedals imo...
     
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  15. Gatordad

    Gatordad Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    +1 DOD Looking Glass.

    However, there are a lot of valid choices that will or can have significant differences depending on the amp you playing into. For example, I am currently playing mostly through my silent practice/playing headphone rig where I run my small pedalboard into a Two Notes Torpedo CAB M+ into a Behringer UMC-404HD audio interface and headphones. I use either a Fender Bassman 4x10, Twin, or Mesa Lonestar 4x10 ves cab IR and most of my od pedals sound very good at lower levels where I don't hurt my ears. With this thought, it then comes down to which flavor of od you prefer. With this setup, I have great results with the following:

    Barber Gain Changer
    Thorpy Peacekeeper
    Origin Effects RevivalDrive Compact
    RYRA Klone
    JRockett Archer
    JRockett Blue Note
    Wampler Clarksdale
    MHP RAW

    At this point, the Peacekeeper, RevivalDrive, RYRA and RAW have been my choices and I will use which ever suits a song or practice session. I love blues, and these all work very well at low gain, low volume levels. I hope you find the one, or two or more, that will fulfill your needs. The journey that takes you there can be quite fun, but be forewarned, it can be expensive, too. Just my $0.02, of course.
     
  16. Itgoesto11

    Itgoesto11 Tele-Meister

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    I liked the Friedman BE-OD into my Princeton -at low volumes sounded, great cranked too but after adjusting the EQ.
     
  17. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    Maybe you should define low volume. For me, it's about 85dB. All me pedals sound great at that volume. If it's
    70 or 75, nothing sounds particularly good. If you need to be that quiet, you would do well to get a headphone rig.
     
  18. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

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    Of course this is a huge generalization and it will not hold for a lot of people and in many different situations, but I think the short answer is yes. Some pedals are going to sound better at low volumes.

    The reason is to do with the Fletcher-Munson curves: the way ours ears and brain process sound is volume dependant. Simply put, we hear some frequencies better than others depending on how loud the sound is. This is said to come down to evolutionary biology: our hearing evolved to hear midrangey sounds with great sensitivity at lower volumes because that is what helps us understand each other when we speak or a baby cries.

    From the guitar POV, this means that the quieter the sound gets, the more you need to boost treble and, to a significant but lesser extent, bass to get what we find pleasing.

    This means that pedals with a brighter sound profile (or sometimes--depending on what you're going for and somewhat surprisingly, more bass) will sound better at lower volumes. And my (admittedly subjective) experience basically bears this out. I think brighter sounding pedals tend to sound better when the volume is lower, whereas midrangey pedals tend to sound better at stage volumes. I like tube screamer pedals at high volume. I like brighter pedals (like the Blues Driver) at home.

    Again, this is a generalization. But in general, it's going to be true because volume changes the way we hear the relative balance of bass, mids and treble.
     
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  19. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    You make a good point. The Joyo is an amp simulator and it seems to perform well across the volume spectrum. I don't have a Klon, but I do have a Soul Food. I enjoy the sonic properties of it, but found that to get something pleasing drove my volume above what I thought was comfortable. I've got a JHS Morning Glory that performs really well at low volume. I'd like to understand what it is about the circuits that makes that so.
     
  20. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Barber Gain Changer
    Boss Blues Driver
     
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