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uk_lefty

EHX Bass Mono Synth just arrived...

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Well, I had a bit of success making synth sounds on my Boss GT10B by combining envelope, fuzz and octave but it couldn't do everything. And being impatient I got an EHX Bass Mono Synth which has arrived today. I've got an 80s band starting up, lockdowns interrupting a lot of it, and I really dont want to bring in more musos than we need, I want to keep the band lean, so the guitarist and I are working out ways to make good 80s covers that don't need a keyboard player. Hence the synth pedal... 

So far I have easily been able to get the "Danger Zone" synth sound and I've been exploring getting sounds passable for Sweet Dreams and Don't you Want Me. I've had less than 15 mins with the pedal, but here's the first impressions... 

It can't run off batteries. If I'd known I wouldn't have taken the back off. 

The monophonic Ness is a bit annoying. 

You have to really attack the string on some settings, no subtle or soft touch allowed or you won't get any output from the synth, even with the dry signal on full you'll just drop out unless you give the string a firm pluck. Having said that playing with a plec isn't the answer, you lose a lot of nuance. 

The tracking is not great. This wants long ringing out notes, not fast intricate lines. It feels like combining this with the attack I need to be very careful how and when I try to use this, it's not going to get kicked in to a song in a moment of spontaneous improv. The issue with the tracking is the complete drop out, if it just let the uneffected note out I could probably live with it. Maybe it's my technique/ approach. I'll persevere. 

I've been playing a fretless through it... I might get some Pino sounds, I might just be emphasising the pitch wobble too much. Will try a fretted bass through it later. 

None of the base tones sound like stupid gimmicks, which is how I feel about most synth tones on multi effect pedals. So with dedicated tweaking I can get some good stuff out of it. The controls are intuitive too, you don't need to be a brain surgeon to change it how you want it. 

I think this is a keeper for my 80s band. It's unlikely to get any use in my "function" band that has 2 guitars, the songs and the 2 guitars make any bass effects other than EQ and the odd bit of drive redundant. However, for some songs I think I can get close enough for authenticity, and that's what I was aiming for! 

 

 

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I have had similar issues with synth pedals. In the end I ran a parallel loop with my clean signal in it. So even if the synth dropped out the note was still there. 

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I have the old EH microsynth. About 20 years old now. I found it to be really sensitive to the touch of strings, it also has a input pot underneath to help. Great array of  sounds, pretty versatile for synth sounds I thought and a natty wooden box too!

Bad points, 18v and no batteries. Also really poorly built internally. Each slider has a could of really thin wires that attach to separate circuit board. These also seemed to be detatching.

Final straw was a gig 'ooop north' a solo act lady on before us with a heavy cold managed to kick a drink on it and then step on it breaking some sliders. Too much night nurse apparently. 

It was never the same after that. Still got it though!

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The Source Audio C4 is what you want to lay your hands on - the EHX Mono synth is old hat really now compared to what the C4 can do. I had one a while back and encountered all of the issues you mentioned and so got rid of it. The C4 is game changing IMO.  

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, andytoad said:

I had the boss synth briefly too, but found the tracking to be awful.

The old SYB-5 or even older SYB-3? Agreed tracking on those is pretty poor.

HOWEVER(!) their latest Boss SY-1 has better tracking than a deer hunter on steroids, in fact better tracking than just about any other pedal I've come across it's that good.

Like the Monosynth the SY-1 is a synth "emulator" and not an actual synth waveform generator in the way the game changing C4 (and Future Impact) are. Also like the Monosynth all the adjustments can be done on the pedal itself without ever needing to connect to another device. The flip side is that you can't save your favourite synth sounds to memory like you can on the C4 or FI. It's not cheap though and they seem to come up used less frequently than the C4 and FI do.

PS @uk_lefty very nice little review you posted!

Edited by Al Krow
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6 hours ago, dodge_bass said:

The Source Audio C4 is what you want to lay your hands on - the EHX Mono synth is old hat really now compared to what the C4 can do. I had one a while back and encountered all of the issues you mentioned and so got rid of it. The C4 is game changing IMO.  

I'll see how much use the EHX gets and if I need to upgrade later. There's a bit of a cost difference between these and the price of the C4 is getting towards something like the second hand price of a Novation Bass Station type thing which may eventually be the way to go. 

I'm just trying to persuade my 80s band that 3 musos plus singer is the max we need. The guitarist is happy to play synth on some songs, and I'm happy to play some rhythm guitar if he needs to play synth and he can cover the bass line too. Having said all that I recorded a version of Take on Me with bass and guitar, no synth at all, to demonstrate how you can still capture the essence of the song without needing to be a poundshop Rik Wakeman. 

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6 hours ago, Al Krow said:

PS @uk_lefty very nice little review you posted!

Ta mate, I'll do some clips on sound cloud on the next few weeks and stick em on this thread. 

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9 hours ago, Al Krow said:

The old SYB-5 or even older SYB-3? Agreed tracking on those is pretty poor.

HOWEVER(!) their latest Boss SY-1 has better tracking than a deer hunter on steroids, in fact better tracking than just about any other pedal I've come across it's that good.

Like the Monosynth the SY-1 is a synth "emulator" and not an actual synth waveform generator in the way the game changing C4 (and Future Impact) are. Also like the Monosynth all the adjustments can be done on the pedal itself without ever needing to connect to another device. The flip side is that you can't save your favourite synth sounds to memory like you can on the C4 or FI. It's not cheap though and they seem to come up used less frequently than the C4 and FI do.

PS @uk_lefty very nice little review you posted!

Hello Al,

Yes that's right, it was the first model out of the stables. Truly rubbish..

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Update: 

A couple of good squishy envelope filter type sounds in there as standard with the tweak ability on sensitivity, control, dry volume... 

On all settings finger noise has to be controlled or it can glitch. 

Will be looping this in to my multi effect to push a compressed signal, maybe a driven signal in to it. I might even go crazy and send a dual octave signal in just to see what that does to the monophonic processing (or have it pushed out as a dual octave... Or BOTH!!!) The possibilities are... Not endless but the maths is quite hard. 

 

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17 hours ago, dodge_bass said:

The Source Audio C4 is what you want to lay your hands on - the EHX Mono synth is old hat really now compared to what the C4 can do. I had one a while back and encountered all of the issues you mentioned and so got rid of it. The C4 is game changing IMO.  

Or the Future Impact, which is about to get yet another brilliant upgrade. 

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57 minutes ago, Quatschmacher said:

Or the Future Impact, which is about to get yet another brilliant upgrade. 

Agreed. I didn't get on with the FI so much but I know how much you rate it and you are a man who KNOWS! 

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Funny wnough I was watching a load of pedal videos on YouTube today.  One of them mentioned bass synth tracking - said the Digitech bass synth wah had really good tracking.  That second hand information may be of use to someone 😂😂

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, dodge_bass said:

Agreed. I didn't get on with the FI so much but I know how much you rate it and you are a man who KNOWS! 

The main thing which lets it down is the preset management. (Can’t fault the synth functionality at all, which is way beyond anything else in certain aspects.) After the next update, I will be pushing to get stuff added to the editor which makes the patch management easier. In fact I already have been and others involved have also expressed that it is necessary. Perhaps once no more updates to the device are possible they may be able to focus their attention more closely on the editor side of things.

What was it you struggled with? Now you’re more familiar with the C4, the FI will probably make more sense to you. 

Edited by Quatschmacher

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12 hours ago, Pea Turgh said:

Funny wnough I was watching a load of pedal videos on YouTube today.  One of them mentioned bass synth tracking - said the Digitech bass synth wah had really good tracking.  That second hand information may be of use to someone 😂😂

I had one of those years back and the sounds were just far, far too extreme. Same with the Boss SYB pedal I had. They're fun for two minutes home prattling about but if you want to contribute to a cover of an 80s pop song you're just going to ruin it frankly. Same with the synth presets on my Boss GT10B. I don't know who they think would ever use those sounds. 

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Posted (edited)

The biggest issue I have with my MonoSynth is that using the stomp switch momentarily kills the signal. I'm talking about less than 1/10th of a second but that's easily enough to be noticeable (and to throw me off my rhythm!) so like @stewblack I run mine in a loop to maintain signal.

Does yours do the same?

 

Edited by Happy Jack
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2 hours ago, Happy Jack said:

The biggest issue I have with my MonoSynth is that using the stomp switch momentarily kills the signal. I'm talking about less than 1/10th of a second but that's easily enough to be noticeable (and to throw me off my rhythm!) so like @stewblack I run mine in a loop to maintain signal.

Does yours do the same?

 

So far I've just been playing riffs through the various presets trying to find the sound I need for certain songs, haven't tried clicking it in and out yet. I have been advised to put it in the loop of my multi, even though EHX say its best not to, so I can try and give it a compressed signal and see if that evens it out a bit. 

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In the meantime I've been experimenting with the sounds. I've not recorded anything yet because I'm trying to find the right sounds to put in to covers then record guitar and bass parts for the band/ project I've got going. And I've somehow ended up selling off my Boss GT10B and my Zoom guitar multi and pre ordered a Helix Stomp. Not sure if I still need the EHX pedal now... 

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On 22/01/2021 at 14:45, uk_lefty said:

In the meantime I've been experimenting with the sounds. I've not recorded anything yet because I'm trying to find the right sounds to put in to covers then record guitar and bass parts for the band/ project I've got going. And I've somehow ended up selling off my Boss GT10B and my Zoom guitar multi and pre ordered a Helix Stomp. Not sure if I still need the EHX pedal now... 

There are, from what I’ve heard, some ok synth-type sounds to be had in the Stomp but they won’t touch stuff like the C4 and FI.

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