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Pedals or straight to amp?


Storky

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3 hours ago, paul_5 said:

Erm, it’s more convenient to use yer feet…

 

seriously though, I can’t  remember the last time I gigged without pedals, indeed most of my (currently scant) dep gigs come from having a wealth of sounds to replicate anything from synth basses to bootsy-esque squelches through to utter filth.

Horses for courses though.

The software for the pedals and effects is on a laptop/pc, the finger tips comment was deliberate. When you have a effect you like I suspect you can save it to the Positive Grid pedal.

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8 hours ago, Doddy said:

Well, Jaco used to use the fuzz in his Acoustic 360 amp and an MXR digital delay live, so a statement like that would just be plain wrong.

I know, I was trying to bait them in with that ;)

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Just remember, if using helix, you have lots of options with signal chain and also output signal. If going into the front end of an amp make sure your output is set to instrument level but if going direct into effects return make sure it's set to line level. 

For me, the best thing about the helix (and the LT is a really capable bit of kit) is the ability to split signal, apply fx to certain frequencies and then merge the signal again. For example, when I use overdrive, I split the signal at 250hz, compress the low signal and apply drive to the high signal before merging it back together. This maintains lows and low mids without making them mushy / boomy but still gives the benefits of nice overdrive. 

If I was using a helix with both amp and pa support I would have two signal chains running. The one to pa could have amp and cab sims (I personally never use cab sims) the one to the amp wouldn't have any amp or cab sims if I was running into the front of the amp head but could have a preamp sim if i was going into fx return on the back of the amp. 

The trick with a helix (or any other similar preamp) is to take your time and build your sound at gig volume. What sounds good at low volume at home usually sounds pretty bad at gig volume.

Edited by mrtcat
Clumsy thumbs.
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4 hours ago, mrtcat said:

Just remember, if using helix, you have lots of options with signal chain and also output signal. If going into the front end of an amp make sure your output is set to instrument level but if going direct into effects return make sure it's set to line level. 

For me, the best thing about the helix (and the LT is a really capable bit of kit) is the ability to split signal, apply fx to certain frequencies and then merge the signal again. For example, when I use overdrive, I split the signal at 250hz, compress the low signal and apply drive to the high signal before merging it back together. This maintains lows and low mids without making them mushy / boomy but still gives the benefits of nice overdrive. 

If I was using a helix with both amp and pa support I would have two signal chains running. The one to pa could have amp and cab sims (I personally never use cab sims) the one to the amp wouldn't have any amp or cab sims if I was running into the front of the amp head but could have a preamp sim if i was going into fx return on the back of the amp. 

The trick with a helix (or any other similar preamp) is to take your time and build your sound at gig volume. What sounds good at low volume at home usually sounds pretty bad at gig volume.

Thanks Mr TC

Great advice, I kinda know that the Helix has great potential, but as I said at the top of this thread, I’m a bit of a Neanderthal and I haven’t got to grips with it properly, to the extent that my sound is possibly better going straight to amp. 😏 If you lived nearer, I’d be hitting you up for some 1:1 help as you sound like you know how it works?

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On 20/08/2021 at 11:49, Downunderwonder said:

You left fingers off the top of the list.

Fingers plus a touch sensitive overdrive is my nirvana when overdriven tones are allowed.

 

On 20/08/2021 at 16:47, BassAdder27 said:

I know there are pick haters in the bass world but it’s the one method that really brings out the tone of a bass and adds to volume and clarity out of an amp.

 

+1^^ plus the several comments about getting a decent bass and rig that gives you a core sound that you're happy with.

 

The attack that a pick delivers is a really nice contrast to the more rounded tone from fingers which is my default for most of our covers sets. (Amusingly, I've only just 'clocked' that my fav plec thickness that I've been using for the past couple of years is 0.73mm; I spotted a pack of six 0.73mm tucked away in my drawer which had been thrown in with some random other order a while back - nice start to the day! :))

 

An often underrated area of our signal chain can be our cabs, which is the piece of kit that connects everything else to our audiences. I'm a big fan of getting the very best cab you can afford. Having been through a lot of different cabs over the past 5 years it's clear to me that the difference in quality between low / mid / high end cabs is much more noticeable than from a similar price range of basses or amps.

 

I'm still mostly a bass --> amp & cab guy, with pedal boards for home creative fun, but I've recently been using an amazingly good value Zoom B1-4 as a stand alone pedal board and tuner. This gives me a great range of sounds (dirt, synth, chorus, tape echo, plus HPF & EQ etc) which I use sparingly and default to a "clean" patch in between. 

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I rarely use effects on bass.

A lot of genres don’t need bass pedals. 
A lot of players who try pedals end up going straight to amp. 
However it is worth trying them out in case it works for you…. but nothing expensive, just a cheap zoom multi effect or similar. Then you can get rid or upgrade as appropriate.

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8 hours ago, Al Krow said:

The attack that a pick delivers is a really nice contrast to the more rounded tone from fingers

Having tried picking and finding it not my bag I have developed a decent enough tip of finger twang that keeps everyone happy. Each to their own.

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17 hours ago, BadHands said:

Personally, I'd recommend against this and to try an individual pedal you like the sound of.

I'd say it depends on the scenario...

 

If you want to try out a lot of effects, get a multi-effects. The Zoom ones are very cost effective and sound good. This may guide you down a path of individual effects once you know what you are after.
 

If you need to have many different sounds - for example in a covers band - then a multi-effects will often be a better choice than lots of different pedals. There are a few reasons for this - cost, simplicity/size of setup and simplicity of switching between sounds. Also, this type of rig lends itself well to a amp-free, low-stage volume in-ear setup - popular with wedding bands and the like. 

 

However if your needs are simpler and you know what you need - for example in an originals band - then a few individual pedals probably makes more sense. There's no point buying a Helix pedal when you just need a good drive and octave pedal. It's not to say you can't have a more complex pedal board - many people do and love them! 

 

George

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10 minutes ago, geoham said:

If you need to have many different sounds - for example in a covers band - then a multi-effects will often be a better choice than lots of different pedals. There are a few reasons for this - cost, simplicity/size of setup and simplicity of switching between sounds. Also, this type of rig lends itself well to a amp-free, low-stage volume in-ear setup - popular with wedding bands and the like. 

 

Even in a situation like that, I'd rather have a bunch of decent individual pedals than a multi effects. Yes, a multi will generally be a cheaper way of getting the sounds, but I've always preferred the sound of standalone pedals and find them far easier to use, especially on the fly.

If you're going without an amp, it's easy to put a decent DI box at the end of your pedal chain, so that's not a big deal really.

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The only correct answer in the debate of "pedals or straight to amp?" is...

PEDALS!!!!!!!!!!!!

All of the lovely, noise making insane goodness. I mean, who wants a bass to actually sounds like a bass!? Are you crazy!? Pedals is the answer :)

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On 19/08/2021 at 23:59, hiram.k.hackenbacker said:

I go bass > wireless receiver > pedal board > amp. I could use the effects loop on the amp, but have never bothered.

 

This is me also, except that I do have a compressor in the amp's FX loop.

The pedal board is pretty small, there's a volume pedal and tuner but the main thing I use is the Zoom MS60-B multistomp. I use it for tone-shaping mainly as it gives me good sounds for old-skool ska/reggae/Motown (using an Ampeg flip-top model) and also for hard edged stuff e.g. Rancid (using a cranked SVT model), plus I've got chorus and octaver patches too. I've put in the hours tweaking the two modelled patches and they sound pretty bloody good to me, I think I will be using more of this in the future. Admittedly it spends most of its time on 'bypass' though :lol:  The only other thing on the board is a Mammoth clone I made which is really only there to fill a space :D 

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11 minutes ago, pantherairsoft said:

The only correct answer in the debate of "pedals or straight to amp?" is...

PEDALS!!!!!!!!!!!!

All of the lovely, noise making insane goodness. I mean, who wants a bass to actually sounds like a bass!? Are you crazy!? Pedals is the answer :)

Yes, I well remember your mental pedalboard, it was the size of a small car IIRC :lol: 

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15 minutes ago, Doddy said:

Even in a situation like that, I'd rather have a bunch of decent individual pedals than a multi effects. Yes, a multi will generally be a cheaper way of getting the sounds, but I've always preferred the sound of standalone pedals and find them far easier to use, especially on the fly.

 

Oh there's no argument from me, standalone pedals definitely sound better than multis. However, for live work, multis are fine IMO. By the time the sound gets to the crowd, any recognisable tonal nuances are long gone :lol:  I'd need half a dozen separate stomps to get the sounds I use my one teensy Zoom for, and I simply CBA to carry that much kit around when the punters won't notice the difference anyway :lol: 

 

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FWIW, I went to see blues harmonica player Paul Lamb and his band the other night, and noticed that while the vocals went through the PA, the instruments all appeared to go straight to their amps.  Presumably line-outs to the sound desk, but I couldn’t see any pedals.  Sound was excellent.

Edited by Baxlin
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15 minutes ago, Rich said:

Oh there's no argument from me, standalone pedals definitely sound better than multis. However, for live work, multis are fine IMO. By the time the sound gets to the crowd, any recognisable tonal nuances are long gone :lol:  I'd need half a dozen separate stomps to get the sounds I use my one teensy Zoom for, and I simply CBA to carry that much kit around when the punters won't notice the difference anyway :lol: 

 

^^ This 100% 

 

Add in the ability to have a preset set up per song which you can scroll through (50 available on a B1-4 which is more than ample for any gig) and you also avoid the faff of tap dancing multiple pedals during a live set (guitarists are the worst for this!) which really helps live set "flow". 

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5 minutes ago, Doddy said:

Even in a situation like that, I'd rather have a bunch of decent individual pedals than a multi effects. Yes, a multi will generally be a cheaper way of getting the sounds, but I've always preferred the sound of standalone pedals and find them far easier to use, especially on the fly.

If you're going without an amp, it's easy to put a decent DI box at the end of your pedal chain, so that's not a big deal really.

Each to their own. You are absolutley correct that it is can be easier to tweak the sound of individual pedals on the fly, and that they'll often sound better than a multi-fx - though this is less true today than it was in the past. 

 

However - they're not necessarily far easier to use. To give a real life example, I use the Sansamp model on my Helix. I have it programmed differently within different patches though. I use it with the treble cranked but not too much drive in a patch I use for Sledgehammer. I also use it with lots of drive a general purpose patch. To acheive this with individual pedals, I'm either needing to buy the same pedal more than once - or try and adjust them mid set. With my Helix, it's just one pedal to press.

 

There's also things like split paths, switching multiple pedals on/off at once that make life easier on a multi-effects. Yes, you can acheive this in the analogue world, just not very easily. Not to mention the fuss of patch cables and powering a bunch of individual pedals - along with the associated noise it can bring.

 

However, what I will definitely concede is that to get the best from a multi effects is that you need to spend time with it - understanding how it works and programming it to suit your needs. The built in presets are rarely what you want. You can't just drop it in like you would an individual pedal and expect it to sound good. For this reason, a multi-effects really isn't for everyone.

 

George

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4 hours ago, Rich said:

  I'd need half a dozen separate stomps to get the sounds I use my one teensy Zoom for, and I simply CBA to carry that much kit around when the punters won't notice the difference anyway :lol: 

 

Fair enough. The punters might not notice, but I will, and usually so will the person paying.

 

3 hours ago, geoham said:

Each to their own. You are absolutley correct that it is can be easier to tweak the sound of individual pedals on the fly, and that they'll often sound better than a multi-fx - though this is less true today than it was in the past. 

 

However - they're not necessarily far easier to use. To give a real life example, I use the Sansamp model on my Helix. I have it programmed differently within different patches though. I use it with the treble cranked but not too much drive in a patch I use for Sledgehammer. I also use it with lots of drive a general purpose patch. To acheive this with individual pedals, I'm either needing to buy the same pedal more than once - or try and adjust them mid set. With my Helix, it's just one pedal to press.

 

There's also things like split paths, switching multiple pedals on/off at once that make life easier on a multi-effects. Yes, you can acheive this in the analogue world, just not very easily. Not to mention the fuss of patch cables and powering a bunch of individual pedals - along with the associated noise it can bring.

 

However, what I will definitely concede is that to get the best from a multi effects is that you need to spend time with it - understanding how it works and programming it to suit your needs. The built in presets are rarely what you want. You can't just drop it in like you would an individual pedal and expect it to sound good. For this reason, a multi-effects really isn't for everyone.

 

George

I've used multi effects before, and I always found that no matter how long I spent programming patches, I always needed to do little tweaks when I got on a gig. I find it so much easier to just bend down and tweak a knob.

The big thing for me though, is that I'm just not a massive fan of the drives and octaves on most multi effects. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Live Imused tomuse an overdrive pedal, but my new Orange amp has a decent overdrive built in, so other than a Behringer tuner I am pedal free on stage.

 

At home I use a Boss overdrive and an elderly Korg multi function pedal.

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Always straight from bass to amp - haven't used any effects for bass since I started playing over 45 years ago, never felt the need to change the sound, just adjust the amp to suit the room and that's usually it for the night.

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