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Guitar Pedals For Mics and Vocals?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Grandy, Mar 5, 2021.

  1. Grandy

    Grandy Tele-Holic

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    I have the Boss RC-30 looper that has an XLR input and I've been experimenting with guitar pedals to spice up vocal and percussion loops. Most pedals are terribly noisy but for some reason Digitech Nautila, Obscura and Polara are quiet and sound great. What might be the reason for this?

    Originally I thought about putting my Ibanez LF7 LoFi first and then a delay and a reverb. The LF7 sounded great but the noise didn't. All gain pedals are really noisy, even when turned off. Do you have suggestions?

    Have you ever used guitar pedals with mics? What have you learned? What works and what doesn't?
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2021
  2. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    I guess the vocal microphone output is way higher than a guitar pickup. So if you put your pedal in line, the more you add, the noisier it will get. Maybe try to lower the various knobs until you get a decent result.

    Is it for recording ? if it is, there is probably a way to record the vocals without any effects, and put them on the vocals later.

    Another option is a noise gate, but i had a boss one and it wasn't that good. Or maybe i didn't know how to set it up properly, it was a long time ago.

    I have never tried any of that, but depending on the sound you want to get, maybe a bullhorn might do the trick. Or those bullet mic for harp ?

    Experimenting is fun though.
     
  3. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    I used to record my vocals through a Rat and chorus pedal. I don't remember any excessive noise though.
     
  4. Daddy Hojo

    Daddy Hojo Friend of Leo's

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    Looking forward to following this this thread. I'm looking to lightly toast some vocals for a more garage/lo-fi sound, like the Strokes or early Black Keys.
     
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  5. Grandy

    Grandy Tele-Holic

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    The idea was to record a complete performance with the looper. I've tried a mic and pedals to a mixing console before. That was a little noisy but not too bad if you do it live.

    It isn't that bad if you put them directly to guitar amp but having the looper in between makes it noisy. I need to practice with this set up before recording. That's why the amp.

    The LF7 even has a mic mode that makes it louder (than guitar or drum mode) and more noisy (even when it's off).

    But what makes the Digitech pedals so special beats me.

    Another thing is that all pedals don't seem to like the XLR-jack adapter I'm using probably 'cause it's a stereo jack.
     
  6. Nogoodnamesleft

    Nogoodnamesleft TDPRI Member

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    Thom Yorke from Radiohead was using a pretty neat setup. I had to borrow an idea one night on a sound gig from looking at it.

    A two channel passive DI, an XLR gender changer, and wiring one side up backwards to get the mic into the pedals and then the end of the pedal chain back through the other side of the DI the right way around. It worked really well as an "interface" between the mic and the string of pedals. After that it's just your imagination that needs to go nuts. High gain stuff is obviously going to present terrible challenges in a live setting (not impossible but almost much of the time). But loads and loads of possibilities. The artist that night was using a Boss reverb pedal to throw in his own effects at different periods throughout the song.

    Edit: I'll see if I can find the pic if anyone is interested.

    2nd edit: I can't find the picture that I saw before, but I've found other pictures that lead me to wonder if I was seeing things. The reverse hookup of the passive DI worked in my case. But here's some info - pedal board stuff is near the bottom.

    https://thekingofgear.com/thom/microphones
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2021
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  7. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yep you can get a nice slapback on vocals with a delay pedal
    Also running keys through a OD/distortion gives some nice results
     
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  8. Supa Necta

    Supa Necta TDPRI Member

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    Martin Sexton used to run a second mic through a sansamp and do vocal guitar solos. He stopped a few years ago.
     
  9. Supa Necta

    Supa Necta TDPRI Member

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    Whole thing is great but vocal soloing starts about 1:40
     
  10. Bedder18

    Bedder18 Tele-Meister

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  11. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    For the most part, a microphone—vocal or harmonica—really needs any pedal it plugs into to be a Low Gain pedal, otherwise it will feed back and/or sound harsh.

    Even a harp or vocal pedal that is supposed to overdrive or distort the signal should be low gain...thus, the Lone Wolf Blues Company pedals that grace my rig. Reasonable price, look cool and sound fabulous...handmade by actual coonazzes (their word describing themselves, not mine) in Louisiana as well.
     
  12. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Tele-Meister

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    an EQ pedal that boosts the mids and kills the lows will do that, and a very slight overdrive/distortion will do it.

    Most guitar pedals will feed back horribly with anything but the smallest bit of gain, if you run a mic into them.

    TC Helicon and others do make pedals that are specifically made for vocals though. basically, the key is in the EQ to make it sound like an old radio, and a tiny bit of gain to make it break up a little bit.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2021
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  13. jamesepowell

    jamesepowell Tele-Holic

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    I have to put this here. 5BADE65E-3E40-4618-A9D7-7C9E4787AE9B.jpg
     
  14. rdjones

    rdjones TDPRI Member

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    The noise is all about having a proper low noise mic preamp, impedance matching/conversion and gain staging through the effects chain.
     
  15. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

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    I once recorded some foot stomp/hand slap percussion through a Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal pedal, on a 4-track cassette machine. It was fun! It completely blew the insignificant little sounds into enormous caricature percussion. Well worth the experiment. Not the direction those crazy metal Swedes ended up going with HM-2s though.

    Later on I found a use for this craptastic, plastic Rocktek compressor pedal, which totally chops the lows and squashes the bejesus out of anything. I ran a single drum overhead mic through it on a friend’s cowpunk-ish song recording, and the bright, squashed ambient overhead sound reinforced with a close kick and snare mic recorded conventionally turned out to be a pretty cool drum sound.

    I used to sing through my DOD FX65 stereo chorus sometimes too. On all of those occasions I just used a dynamic stage mic (Shure SM57 or PE66L), a cheap XLR-to-male 1/4” cable and adjusted the channel trim to suit the pedal’s output...or a Realistic electret small diaphragm condenser with a AAA battery in it.

    It was on sale at Radio Shack! And it sounds like crap! But it’s really bright, so it suits certain “experimental techniques,” like using guitar pedals.
     
  16. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Eventide Mixing Link is a mic and instrument preamp with balanced/XLR out and an effects loop for pedals. I have one but haven't used it on a gig at stage volume yet. It is designed to apply guitar pedals to vocals, but that's not the only thing it can do.
     
  17. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I recall seeing a couple of vocal pedals over the years. I don't recall make/model. What I do recall is getting a spectacular signal back at the console, pre-compressed, pre-reverbed, and only having to do some minor EQ on it. I's an easy night for vocals from my point of view.
     
  18. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Tele-Meister

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    TC Helicon has been at the forefront of live vocal FX for years, as far as stompbox types, it seems like. Might have been them.
     
  19. Twang Deluxe

    Twang Deluxe Tele-Holic

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    I like to sing through my Boss GE7
     
  20. telel6s

    telel6s Tele-Afflicted

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    I've never really done it in-line, but I've used delay, reverb, compression and chorus pedals in the inserts and FX loops of mixing boards. If you read the live sound forums and articles, it will sound like poo because impedance, gain, eq, headroom, etc. is not "right" for vocals. But I always thought it worked just fine as well as being easier and cheaper than getting a dedicated vocals effects processor. I will add that this has been for small acoustic type of gigs, but up to three vocal mics and two instruments. Maybe trying to mix up an electric band at higher levels would show the limits of the guitar pedals in that usage.
     
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