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  • Effects pedals for keyboards?

    Do guitar effects pedals and such work just as well on keyboards?

    If not, what do you guys use as far effects go?

  • #2
    My rig is pretty much all ROMplers - all of which have on-board effects that can be selectively applied to patches as I wish. I use these - and do not add any additional effects to the signal chain once it leaves the instrument.

    Back in the day when I was lugging a Rhodes and a Clav - I tried using a couple of stomp box effects over the years - but was happy to abandon them. The sound never really thrilled me - and I always found the added noise, the added headache of dealing with batteries, etc - to be a huge pain. I know there are lots of "retro" guys who love 'em - so I'm happy to leave that stuff to them.
    The SpaceNorman

    www.facebook.com/SuperstarsOfRock
    www.souldoutrocks.com

    Keyboards and Tone Generators: Yamaha CP300, Kronos 88, Roland AX Synth, Motif ES Rack
    Keyboard Rack: Samson SM10 Line Mixer, Motu MIDIExpressXT MIDI Interface, Shure PSM200 IEM system, M-Audio Wireless MIDI, Live Wires IEM ear buds, iPad wOnSong.
    Stage Amplification: Stereo via 2 Yamaha DSR112s

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    • #3
      On my one rig I'm using a Roland JX-3P plugged into the following;

      modded crybaby wah
      ROSS Compressor
      Dano TOD
      EHX Big Muff w/ Tone Wicker
      Boss MIJ BF-2 Flanger
      MXR Carbon Copy delay

      To be honest the setup is working rather nicely for the style of music I'm playing with that group.
      <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://woodylaboratories.wordpress.com" target="_blank">I Build/Mod/Repair Pedals.</a><br />
      <br />
      Good deals with: Aaron_SS, ShortScaleMike, DRGUN</div>

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      • #4
        Do guitar effects pedals and such work just as well on keyboards?

        If not, what do you guys use as far effects go?


        Yes they work very well. I do mostly take analog stuff scince keys got pretty good digital FX (that might have more power than stomp boxes that are way too expensive).

        Overdrive boxes for leads and organs are probably the first thing you should buy, keyboard drives are terribly digital sounding. There is no digital overdrive sound comparable to the stomp boxes or real tubes + speaker. Stay away from digital drive boxes, they sound crap, only one I can think of is the boss fuzz -3 pedal though.

        For digital FX stray away from guitar FX, a rack or good keyboard should have these covered.

        I have quiet many drive pedals, a boss compressor, chorus, boss Rv-3 crappy delay reverb unit, also a phaser and some other crap...

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        • #5
          Do guitar effects pedals and such work just as well on keyboards?
          If not, what do you guys use as far effects go?


          A few do. The ones I have use most regularly are the Small Stone phaser and the Dimension C chorus pedal. (You do have to watch for levels with the C, it unfortunately distorts at normal synth levels.) I also occasionally use a couple Moogerfooger pedals (especially in conjunction with my only patchable synth, the Future Retro XS).
          <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">What I make with way too many blinky light modular items, plugins, and an Alesis Andromeda. <br />
          <a href="http://forbiddenstar.com/" target="_blank">Forbidden Star: </a> home studio / melodic ambient / New Age / the deep zone<br />
          <a href="http://boneyfiend.com/" target="_blank">Boney Fiend: </a>the band, man / punk / garage / beer</font></div>

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          • #6
            It all depends on what keyboard and synths you're talking about, what guitar effects you're talking about, and whether you already own the guitar effects or you considering purchasing them.

            Many keyboards are stereo. Most guitars aren't. Most keyboards have line outputs. Most guitars don't. Most keyboards have built-in effects, with the advantage of being able to program them as part of individual sounds or combinations of sounds. Most keyboards can't program external guitar effects. Internal keyboard effects can be controlled with pedals and switches attached to the keyboard. Most guitar effects have their own control. Built-in keyboard effects don't usually suffer from excessive noise and accidental disconnections that occur with a chain of guitar effects.

            But yeah, some guitar effects work ok, since audio is audio. If you plan on buying guitar effects to use with a keyboard, that's usually a bad idea, since the money is usually better spent upgrading the keyboard to one with better effects, or buying studio grade stereo multi-effect racks. For example, a Korg Triton Extreme 61 has 5 insert effects (each being one of 102 different effects), 2 master effects (each being one of 89 different effects), valve force tube overdrive, and EQ, which would require a huge pedal board to get anywhere near the capability of what it has built-in, and the pedal board would be noisier, less reliable, non-programmable, and probably monophonic.


            When you say studio grade multi effect racks do you mean stuff like this?

            http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Lexicon-MX200-Dual-ReverbEffects-Processor?sku=181014

            which ones would you recommend ?

            I'm looking for more reverb, and anything else that will be useful.

            I do mostly ambient stuff

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            • #7
              Yes, that's exactly the kind of multieffects rack I was talking about. Take a look at the Alesis MidiVerb4 and Microverb4, or any by TC Electronic. Avoid Behringer in this category. What keyboards/synths do you have?


              Roland SH201, Roland SP404, and the occasional Kaossilator

              (well, the sp404 isn't really a synth.. but yeah)

              edit -

              I have been looking to expand my 'rig' (both keyboard-y wise and effects etc.) , and as the holidays are coming up and I already have $440 saved I could probably get myself some pretty decent stuff...

              I just don't know what to spend it on...

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              • #8
                Yes sir! I use an old but very classic (out of production) BOSS SE-70 Pro multi-effects processor to add lush layered stereo effects to my dry mono Prophet 5. It's my "magic box". This thing will do just about anything you can think of...up to 8 effects at one time....Stereo Delays; Stereo Reverbs; Amp simulators; Flangers; Step Flangers; Phasers; Chorus'; Dimension D; Pitch Shifters; Harmonizers; Compressors; EQ's; vocoders; Auto Pan; auto wah; Leslie simulators; tremolos; vibratos; built-in chromatic tuner...list goes on and on... There is even an expression pedal input that you can define per patch! As far as noise floor issues, this unit is extremely studio quiet.

                Since the SE-70 response to MIDI program change, I connect the MIDI out of the Prophet 5 to the MIDI in of the SE-70 Pro. When I can patches on the Prophet 5, the SE-70 will also change patch. So now, I have a complete multi effect set-up for each patch on the Prophet 5.

                NOTE: In MHO...the SE-70 Pro does not sound good if you think that you'll be using it to add effects to keyboards that already have on-board effects such as Motifs, Tritons, Fantoms, etc. The overall effects just get too processed and washed-out sounding. But, this unit rules on older vintage mono synths such as Moogs, Oberheims, Prophets, Jupiters; and especially on DX-7's.

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                • #9
                  First post. There's probably a welcome thread somewhere. But hey folks.

                  It all depends what you want to achieve - i'm really not a fan of digital multi-effects - at least not at the budget you're on about there - you could probably find something okay for the budget but it really won't be TONS better than the effects on the SP404. The SH201 sounds ace and thick and analog, so it would be a shame to mask that.

                  Not caring about such quirks as fidelity or stereo I put my main board through guitar pedals live. On-board distortions and overdrives on keyboards and synths have historically been so poor that aside from expensive rack units there have been few other ways of making a thick, meaty keyboard sound from not too expensive gear.

                  IMO stereo sound on a gig is just a bit overrated, considering that in a full venue less than half your audience might be able to appreciate it. For recording purposes you could always get a patchbay later on and have your effects running via that - now you see them, now you don't.

                  With a soldering iron and a bit of patience, a BYOC Mouse (Rat clone) would serve you well in terms of distortions, much more so that the on-board ones from the SP404. Big Muff's are a cheap way in to thick fuzz, couple those together and you'll have something monstrous - add in a long reverb / delay and you're into Sigur Ros territory - that's my idea of ambient by the way. That would be a fairly cheap way into distortion and overdrive.

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                  • #10
                    On my one rig I'm using a Roland JX-3P plugged into the following;

                    modded crybaby wah
                    ROSS Compressor
                    Dano TOD
                    EHX Big Muff w/ Tone Wicker
                    Boss MIJ BF-2 Flanger
                    MXR Carbon Copy delay

                    To be honest the setup is working rather nicely for the style of music I'm playing with that group.


                    Damn... I am considering a Big muff with Tone wicker myself. Is it good, great even? I have hard time deciding between bass muff and the tone wicker...

                    BTW what is a dano TOD? Uh looked it up... transparent overdrive. I like the mid hump pedals a bit better...
                    Got any samples?

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                    • #11

                      It all depends what you want to achieve - i'm really not a fan of digital multi-effects - at least not at the budget you're on about there - you could probably find something okay for the budget but it really won't be TONS better than the effects on the SP404. The SH201 sounds ace and thick and analog, so it would be a shame to mask that.

                      Not caring about such quirks as fidelity or stereo I put my main board through guitar pedals live. On-board distortions and overdrives on keyboards and synths have historically been so poor that aside from expensive rack units there have been few other ways of making a thick, meaty keyboard sound from not too expensive gear.


                      I think a good reverb or, even better, a good tube reverb or reverb tank is key to live ep's and piano (at least for my ear) ... plus good reverb has great uses to warm/soften up ambient stuff ...

                      the other bonus with guitar pedals is - if you are like me and tweak on the fly live ... guitar pedals are generally great because its all on the surface ...

                      that said too many pedals are a hassle ... so i typically pick and choose my battles based on need and because i don't like messing with more than three pedals at a gig - so for chorus, flanger, and other stuff I use extremely sparingly I go with my keyboards on board effects ... for delay/reverse/weird fuzz effects and a looper - I have a small powered pedal board with an eventide timefactor delay and a fuzz probe ... for reverb I use the reverb tank on my amp or if i am running in direct I'll use my Valverb (which is not really a pedal but it is a nice sounding tube reverb unit generally used by guitar players) ...

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                      • #12
                        Damn... I am considering a Big muff with Tone wicker myself. Is it good, great even? I have hard time deciding between bass muff and the tone wicker...

                        BTW what is a dano TOD? Uh looked it up... transparent overdrive. I like the mid hump pedals a bit better...
                        Got any samples?


                        I've got mixed feelings about the tone wicker. Unfortunately I got it right before going on tour and I didn't really get the usage out of it before we left to "dial it in." I can say that it does suck out the mids quite a bit and you can get lost in the mix, espically in a larger/louder group setting. I plan on playing around with it a bit more in the next few weeks and see if I can get a better sound out of the thing. It sounds great with a guitar though!

                        The TOD is fantastic, espically for the price. I use it mostly as a boost and to add a bit of dirt to my Wurly inspired patches. I don't have any clips yet, but I'll keep you posted when I do.

                        Next on the list will be a phaser and perhaps a digital delay to add a nice contrast to the dark repeats of the carbon copy.
                        <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://woodylaboratories.wordpress.com" target="_blank">I Build/Mod/Repair Pedals.</a><br />
                        <br />
                        Good deals with: Aaron_SS, ShortScaleMike, DRGUN</div>

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                        • #13
                          I wrote a patch for my Digitech RP-7 that makes a synth organ sound more like a B3- I programmed some first-note swell (which only works when you first begin playing a song or phrase) and some tremolo, which is speed-varied with the expression pedal. Other effects, too, tho I can't recall what they are.

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                          • #14
                            On my one rig I'm using a Roland JX-3P plugged into the following;

                            modded crybaby wah
                            ROSS Compressor
                            Dano TOD
                            EHX Big Muff w/ Tone Wicker
                            Boss MIJ BF-2 Flanger
                            MXR Carbon Copy delay

                            To be honest the setup is working rather nicely for the style of music I'm playing with that group.


                            this sounds like a sonically interesting setup. who are you playing with?
                            <div class="signaturecontainer"><b>-jason</b><br />
                            <br />
                            <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/donaldjasoncrunk/videos" target="_blank">youtube</a><br />
                            <a href="http://donaldcrunk.bandcamp.com/album/history-switchboard" target="_blank">bandcamp</a><br />
                            <a href="http://soundcloud.com/donaldcrunk" target="_blank">soundcloud</a></div>

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                            • #15
                              Do guitar effects pedals and such work just as well on keyboards?

                              If not, what do you guys use as far effects go?



                              oh yes...they do.


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