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About BDJohnston

  • Birthday 04/01/1965

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  1. Carl Martin is pretty solid all around. There are companies that may make better delays, or better drives or better 'something, but for the price you get very solid quality and sounds.
  2. OVERALL IMPRESSION: The Micro Vent 16, by Neo Instruments, is based on the Fender Vibratone, the latter of which has a 10-inch Leslie speaker. The signal processing uses a very powerful 32-bit SHARC DSP, which is the same one found in the larger Ventilator II. This pedal can be used with bass and keys, but certainly was developed with the six-stringer in mind. Although contained in a small stomp box, this pedal does emulate that rotary quality very well – and it does so in mono. Being able to blend a little of the Micro Vent 16 with a lot of the raw signal, so that the Leslie effect barely is audible, adds a new dimension to one’s guitar tone. Of course, you can blend in a lot of the Leslie for the swirling effect. The Micro Vent 16 retails for $349 USD, making it an important investment for most musicians, but for an authentic and realistic emulation, the Micro Vent 16 is at the top of its class. Consequently, if a quality Leslie effect is important to your sound and pedal board, the Micro Vent 16 is a no-brainer. Further on that point, hundreds of dollars can be spent on less authentic Leslie-based pedals as you search for the one that beats them all, and so do consider going this route first. Besides a great tone, there are several features that I’ll address in the Sound and Use section, including being able to customize Global Settings, e.g., able to bypass (either true bypass or buffered bypass) the effect or alter speeds (momentary or latched), and adjusting output level, all of which makes the Micro Vent 16 applicable for both studio and live use. SOUND: Smooth and lush definitely describes the Micro Vent 16. What I like about this pedal is that the effect is not overpowering, even at full blend, and remains very complimentary to an underlying guitar tone (do refer to the YouTube video for both sound and settings). No matter the mix, the Leslie effect remains clear, pristine and very organic in texture – and it does sound more realistic than other high quality Leslie effects I’ve tried (including those from Eventide). There are various elements that influence The Micro Vent 16 sound, with Speed being one of the most obvious. When slow it sounds like a smooth wave washing over the tone, whereas its fastest speed is more of a rapid pulse. What makes the Micro Vent 16 cool is that you can change rotary speed via the Footswitch (in conjunction with the ‘Speed2’ toggle), as explained in the General Use section. The Distance knob refers to ‘mic distance,’ which adjusts the strength of the Leslie effect – from subtle to intense. The Ramp knob adjusts acceleration and deceleration of the (simulated) rotor when switching between Speed 1 and Speed 2 (via the footswitch), so that you can cut off the effect suddenly or gradually (as though the rotor is slowing). The Blend knob is one of the best features, as you can determine the mix of a guitar’s analog signal with that of the Micro Vent 16. Mixing in a Leslie with a regular guitar tone has been used extensively by Stevie Ray Vaughn and David Gilmour, which gives a guitar tone a thicker and lush result. Even in a high-gain setting the Micro Vent 16 is very applicable, producing fatter and more sweeping rhythms, as well as full-bodied, melodic leads. GENERAL USE: You can create different Global Settings, as outlined in the user pamphlet, such as having the pedal true bypass or buffered bypass when off. You can alter the Leslie speed of the Micro Vent 16 by clicking or stepping on the footswitch (whether preferring a latched or momentary control). There are several ways to set this up, but this is my preferred method of operation: Upon initial operation, the pedal is on, as per its solid red LED. With a click of the switch (without having to hold it) it goes to Speed 2, which I’ll address later, as the red LED flashes. And then if I hold the switch for 1.5 seconds, it goes to bypass mode. Again, this can change, in that Speed 2 only engages if you hold the switch, whereas a click of the switch results in bypass mode. The various global and operational options make the Micro Vent 16 very customizable. The main footswitch is multi-functional and works in conjunction with the Speed 2 toggle switch. In the up position Speed 2 provides maximum speed of the Vibratone, so that you can switch from a slow(er) Leslie effect to one that is vivacious. In the middle position, Speed 2 causes the Leslie effect to stop (it may take several seconds to come to a full stop due to rotor inertia and Ramp setting). In the down position, Speed 2 slows the speed to the slowest of the Vibratone, so that you can switch from a fast(er) rotor to smooth wave. Again, the footswitch controls the shifting between speeds. Speed ranges from very slow to rapid. Blend control, which mixes how much of your analog signal you want to hear and how prominent you want the Leslie effect within that signal. At 12-noon the Blend is 50/50. The Distance knob controls the mic distance from the simulated cabinet, with full clockwise being the closest distance and counterclockwise the furthest distance. Think of that control as how intense you want the Leslie effect (which can vary further with how much Blend you have). The Ramp knob controls the acceleration and deceleration of the rotors when shifting between Speed 1 and Speed 2, providing either a smoother or more abrupt change between the speeds.
  3. I I also wanted to include the GP-100 by Valeton... a multi-effects unit that just released, and also the Music Man Majesty... but both are more pricey items (although the GP-100 is no more than the Well-Hung guitar strap). Honorable mentions at the least.
  4. A short video on some of my favorite guitar-related gear in the first half of this month. These make great gift ideas since most are not very expensive.
  5. My suggestion is the Meta Plexi by Cusack Music... very usable with both a clean channel or to push a dirty channel. Very Marshall in tone.
  6. Nice straps... I think there is more personality and variation in straps than what there is in guitars.
  7. I put together a short video of the guitar straps in my collection... some of which are nice matches for the guitar, whereas others I simply like for comfort, look, etc. Post your straps!
  8. My suggestion, since I've used the Tall & Fat WITH an overdrive. Place the T&F before the Overdrive... and then into your amp. Dial in your overdrive where you like it (or a bit short of that). Add in the T&F, but keep the T&F low (e.g., 9-o'clock). The T&F was designed for organ use, but on low it adds richness to a guitar tone.
  9. No, I just flip on the toggle that engages it, then I turn it off. If you keep it on you can do long legato-type runs, which sound cool... but for regular playing it's best to engage it when you need it, just so you don't get any 'strong' sustained notes happening. If you get one you will know what I mean. It's a different beast when working with a Sustaniac (and active pickups, especially).
  10. Here is a demo I did that includes the Hellraiser Hybrid with Sustaniac... both clean and dirty tones, but nothing high-gain, which likely gives you a better idea. The tone may have a slight fizz to it, because I'm going through the headphones out from the Quilter amp (I need a load box to demo that hardware properly, as I don't have a cab to mic). A few times you can hear some feedback, toward the end of a Blues line (for a few seconds only), but gives an idea how subtle you can apply the Sustaniac. Also keep in mind that the pickups on the Hellraiser may be different from the two Schecter's you're looking at. The Hellraiser plays well... I have a better neck on my Parker Dragonfly... lower action and more buttery as well, but the Hellraiser is still a very decent instrument.
  11. I have that pedal (and did a review on it). It's only good for short term sustain and feedback. With a Sustaniac you can hold the note indefinitely and switch between a sustained note, the note plus a fifth harmonic or just a harmonic feedback... simply by flipping a toggle on the guitar. Absolutely nothing like that on the FreqOut.
  12. Look into the company Black Arts Toneworks. They have a number of pedals with different flavors, and every one is thick, heavy and gnarly.
  13. It does sound different direct to a cab. I need to get a load box so that I can go from the cab output into my Powercab 212 Plus (Line 6). Working on that, since they are not cheap!
  14. Actually... the Sig Out (signal out) gave full power and the Volume had no effect (you needed to adjust volume via a mixer or some other method). Instead, I went Headphones out so that I could use the master volume. That made a difference in terms of 'clipping.' The second thing I did was use the FullQ setting rather than the Vintage setting (which has a scooped mid), which does fatten it up. Today I did a demo with the same Headphone out, but into the Blubox (by Bluguitar) for the speaker emulation... playing a Schecter Hellraiser Hybrid. I think the sound is a little more authentic, as I bypassed the cab sim of the Tone Block 202.
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