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BDJohnston

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Everything posted by BDJohnston

  1. Even on low Meuf II has some fairly serious distortion. And so, if you want moderate dirt then keep the Distortion around 8-9 o’clock and with the Level (volume) about 10-o’clock to start. If your amp is fairly clean and you want a harder driving tone, then begin at 12-o’clock (keep the Level around 10 and adjust accordingly). For a very dirty amp, I would keep the amp’s gain no higher than 10-o’clock with Meuf II’s Distortion at 8-o’clock (up just a touch). I then would tweak both the amp’s gain and Meuf II’s Distortion until achieving the desired dirty growl and thickness. I find the pedal’s Tone to sound pretty good around 1-o’clock, although this depends whether your amp/speaker(s) are dark or bright; consequently, I would start with the Tone knob at 12-noon and adjust from there.https://docmusicstation.fr/en/fuzz/32-meuf-2-3172668160383.html
  2. The Ruby II is surprisingly easy to use, whether working with cleans or distorted signals. Tastes will vary, but I find clean sounds work very well with the Compression around 9-12 o’clock, depending if you want a hint of tightness or more control over the dynamics and overall loudness. Of course, if you want a very tight snap to the notes, e.g., Funk guitar, you can push the envelope upward to full Compression and still retail much of the tone’s character without added noise or sterility. When working with higher-gain signals, the amount of compression (for my liking) does vary. For crunch rhythms I prefer 9-12 o’clock – just enough to have some tightness and to make certain all notes have a more even output. With lead I tend to prefer Compression closer to 1-2 o’clock, since doing so adds to the sustain and boldness of each note (ideal for long-held soulful playing, but also hammering on/off and finger-tapping). The Level (volume) control is not overly finicky. Generally I can keep it around 1-2 o’clock with my current gear set-up, while needing to reduce level/volume slightly only once Compression exceeds 1-o’clock.https://docmusicstation.fr/en/other/33-ruby-2-3172668160390.html
  3. Dark Blue II is simple to use. The Level knob controls how loud you want the signal, and Dark Blue II does have some serious headroom and volume (start with this set at 9-o’clock). The Tone knob controls the degree of bass and treble in the signal and does not seem to exaggerate any particular aspect (the bass does not sound excessively fat and the treble does not sound shrill). The Distortion knob controls how much grain and drive you want, which varies from very modest at around 9-o’clock to exceptionally thick and heavy when cranked full. As well, you can decide on whether you want that distortion to sound more aggressive and saturated with the ‘I’ position (asymmetrical) or warmer and fatter with the ‘II’ position (symmetrical).https://docmusicstation.fr/en/distorsion/29-dark-blue-2-3172668150353.html
  4. BDJohnston

    NUX Solid Studio

    Solid Studio requires some experimentation, since your choices depend on the gear (e.g., pedals, guitar pickups, etc.) you use. With the Roland Jazz Chorus 112 working so well for my clean tones, I start with that selection, although I will zip through the other cabinets to hear what they have to offer. Likewise, my dirty tones start with the Marshall 1960 cab and then I will try the others in case there is a better choice (the Fender Bassman cab seems to work well with clean and dirty, for example). My mic selection often is the Sennheiser MD421 as it offers a good amount of thickness and clarity (I may want a thinner sound or even a heavier sound and may select a different mic as I go through the fine-tuning). The next step is to select my tubes. EL34s are heavier with a bigger crunch, 6V6 have a warmer sound, and the EL84s are brighter with more high ends. I often select the EL34s, but I do have some drive pedals that have more punch and grain with the 6V6 tubes. The microphone selections vary significantly, with some producing a deeper and thicker response, whereas others are ‘lighter’ with more clarity, any of which can be used to coordinate with dark pickups/pedals vs. bright pickups/pedals. Likewise, mic placement makes a difference as having a center position translates into more high-ends, a mid position more mids and an edge position more bass. Double tracking your guitar (so that one is center and the other either mid or edge, with the same or different mic) can produce a very unique and multi-dimensional sound.http://www.nuxefx.com/
  5. When turning on The Atmosphere, it picks up where you left off (when it was turned off last). There are 16 Presets that you scroll through, each being a different algorithm or ‘atmosphere’ (scrolling can be done via the Preset knob or the Multi footswitch). For instance, the first preset is Spring (spring reverb), and you can be in preset mode (as created by the factory) or you can tweak any of the elements (e.g., mix, decay, etc.), which takes you automatically in default/editing mode. And you see all this information live and on the LED screen (it takes mere minutes to learn how to use The Atmosphere effectively). You can save your changes as a new preset of that algorithm if desired (and there’s also a function to restore the pedal to factory default). With any of the reverbs you can adjust the resolution (slower, longer and grainer reverb vs. smooth and refined), the overall mix (wet/dry), the volume, tone (more bass vs. treble), decay (how long the reverb lasts) and then two other elements. Those other elements are set by the Ctrl knobs, and the two elements differ from one preset/algorithm to the next. For example, and with the Hall reverb, Ctrl 1 affects the amount of pre-delay, whereas Ctrl 2 affects the amount of bass. With the Smear reverb Ctrl 1 affects the diffusion, whereas Ctrl 2 affects delay time. Any of these can be manipulated to produce real-time changes and effects, done either by hand or via Expression Pedal (you can assign things like mix, decay, resolution, volume and the elements associated with the two Ctrl knobs). The Multi footswitch also can take on different roles, whether you assign it to select different presets, used as a ‘freeze’ switch, a tap tempo, etc. Two roles can be assigned to the Multi, whether you hold the footswitch or click it once.https://www.drscientist.ca/pedals/the-atmosphere/
  6. You can get some excellent results with the 112+ and without much tweaking. This is particularly true of the EQ, since boosting or keeping plat the Bottom, Mid or Top all sound pretty decent (nothing muddy or shrill). There is a lot of headroom with this pedal, and so begin with the Level completely down, or perhaps at 9-o’clock to start. Place all EQ knobs at 12-noon (which is flat); from there you can increase or decrease any of the frequencies up to 5dB. If you’re looking for nothing but a clean boost, then keep the Drive all the way down. With the Drive at 9-o’clock you get a modest effect in dirt, whereas the quality of dirt really shines around 12-noon to 2-o’clock (at least with the light and moderate Voices and on a clean channel). If using the heavy Voice I find the Drive should be around 9-o’clock to 12-noon, depending on your tastes and how defined (less saturated) you want it. Going beyond 12-noon is fine if you like that heavy proto-metal psychedelic massive sound. When using the 112+ with a higher-gain channel or amp, the Drive should be relatively low, about 8-10 o’clock (just enough to add some ‘edge’ to the high-gain tone). Tweaking the EQ then further sculpts the sound effectively for some added bite.
  7. BDJohnston

    Eventide H9 Max

    The Editing Software (free for download) is the easiest way to choose, edit and save patches, accessed through a computer via a USB cable (not included) or via wireless Bluetooth with your phone or iPad. Navigation is easy… working through categories is easy… and making changes is easy (just like working with knobs and buttons on a regular pedal or piece of hardware). And if you have an Expression Pedal you can assign any of the controls (multiple controls as well) to the pedal and create even more diverse sounds and tones. You don’t need an Expression Pedal, but sounds like Q-Wah will have a fixed wah sound, rather than a dynamic wah sound. Below is the Overview demo, but in the Sound section you will find demos on each category (delay, reverb, modulation, pitchfactor and H9 Max exclusives). If controlling the H9 Max through its hardware, there is a ‘Hotknob’ that enables you to assign and determine the range of any element, and you can use the large Encoder/Switch (which turns or spins) to control dynamic changes, just like working with an expression pedal (changes made with the Hotknob also affect the Expression Pedal… they control the same parameters and should be considered one in the same). Overall, it took me about 40-minutes to learn how to edit, recall patches, etc., using the hardware controls, but only about 60-seconds once hooked up to the editing software. When using the H9 Max itself for editing, all the information is found in the LED window and there are LEDs all around the large Encoder/Switch to indicate the level of the element being changed (besides a numeric value in the LED Window). In terms of play or live use, the H9 Max is simple enough to use. First, be aware that you can create patch lists, although you can save 99 different patches. For example, suppose you need only 10 patches of various delays, modulations, etc., and that you scroll through those while jamming with friends or playing a gig. You can create and recall a patch list that locks the H9 Max into only those 10 patches, so that you don’t accidentally scroll beyond or get into other patches – thus making on-stage use less worrisome and better contained. Once the H9 Max is turned on, it starts off at the last patch when it was turned off. In order to access (scroll through) the patches you step on the Tap foot switch, which scrolls up to the next patch – you then press the other footswitch (Active) to select it. If you want to scroll down, step on the large Encoder/Switch to reverse directions, step on the Tap switch to find your patch followed by making the new patch Active. You also can access patches by pressing the Preset button and scrolling up and down via the spin knob on the large Encoder/Switch (patches load automatically in this mode). Pressing the Active switch at any time turns off/bypasses the H9 Max, and so you hear only the dry signal. Pressing both Active and Tap (while holding for a few seconds) brings up the highly sensitive and accurate Tuner. Holding down the Tap button for a few seconds gives access to Tap Tempo.
  8. You control the output or volume via the Boost knob, giving upward of 17dB of germanium boost for a smooth rich texture (which is why this Treble Booster does not sound brittle or harsh). The Range knob controls the incoming bandwidth – when turned up low (about 9-o’clock) you get a modest glassy type of finish to your tone, and as you increase the Range the sound becomes more broad and full (as harmonics increase). At higher ranges I tend to like it around 12-noon or slightly greater (depending on whether the signal is clean, crunchy or high-gain) to add more aggression or bite and depending on how full-bodied I want the higher frequencies while tightening up the lower frequencies. There are two EQ knobs, one for Treble and one for Bass. The Bass knob obviously cuts the low frequencies (<240Hz), but without touching the low-mids, which is important in overall guitar tone and depth. The Treble knob cuts the highs (>2.4kHz), which takes out that sharp or piercing high-end and makes the higher-frequencies sound smoother while still allowing for the harmonics to pop through. When first powering up I suggest putting the two EQs at 12-noon, and the Range and Boost at 9-o’clock, and then adjust to taste.
  9. From subtle wave to a fast pulsating ‘surfer maniac-paced’ tremolo, the OptoTrem has all the bases covered. Consequently, all bases are covered. Depth at 9-o’clock makes the effect (rate and wave) audible, although very passive within the mix. The tremolo becomes more obvious at 10-o’clock and definitely present around 12-noon. Once you get around the 3-o’clock range or greater you hear very little of the dry mix, which makes for some utterly beautiful ambient results. The Rate goes nuts at 3-o’clock and beyond, and I suspect most people would use the OptoTrem between 9-o’clock and 12-noon (unless you like Surfer music, which means pushing past 12-noon). A low Rate gives you that warbling Pink Floyd quality, whereas 12-noon works perfectly for playing the theme to Twin Peaks. The Wave knob will give you a harder hitting square wave when turned all the way counter-clockwise, and smoothes out considerably with a Triangle wave fully clockwise. Anything between will give a mix of results best described as a sine/square (similar to what you would hear in most amp tremolos).
  10. BDJohnston

    Carl Martin Panama

    Panama is simple enough to use. The Level knob controls the output or volume, and should be turned to 9-o’clock when first firing up your gear (then adjust as required). The Tone knob’s sweet spot, in my use, tends to be between 11-o’clock and 1-o’clock, although it depends largely on the amp and pickups (whether dark or bright) – a bit lower or higher still sounds pretty good. Turning the Tone lower than 10-o’clock (more bass) produced too much muffle or fatness, but I did use humbuckers and more bass may feel quite at home with single-coils. Turning up the Treble high still sounded good to my ears, and without being shrill. The Gain begins to kick in well around 9-o’clock and then upward of 1-o’clock seems to be a sweet spot (although with this pedal it still sounds good to the max). The Damping knob is very cool, in that it adjusts how loose or tight the tone, viz., how much bass you’re leaving or trimming. Once Panama is up around 12-noon to 2-o’clock, the tone (like most pedals in its category) tend to get a bit more saturated and not quite as sharp. However, turning up the Damping increases tightness and clarity so that even with Gain up full you still hear crisp distortion cutting through; and, of course, if you prefer a slightly fatter tone then turn the Damping down.
  11. BDJohnston

    NUX Roctary

    Output/Volume is controlled by the Level knob, and since the Roctary is not a big headroom type pedal, you likely can set it about 12-noon to start. The Tremolo aspect involves both a Slow and Fast speed selection, which you can alternate via the Fast footswitch (this allows you to set two different tremolo speeds). You also can set the acceleration (rising speed) between the Slow and Fast settings by holding the Fast footswitch and turning the Slow knob to an appropriate level. By setting the acceleration the Roctary acts just like a real rotary speaker, viz., the woofer rotates at a slower speed than the horn. The Bass-Horn knob varies the mix between woofer and horn (the type of speaker setup found in a Leslie speaker cabinet); think of it as a Tone control, although its effects are a bit more interesting on this pedal. There are two Octave settings (an octave above the dry signal and an octave below), and they can vary in mix, from completely off to very dominant when turned up completely (however, this also depends on the Balance knob that I’ll address soon); the Octave function turns on/off via its own switch. The Drive knob adds some dirt into the signal, which adds sizzle to a guitar tone if used sparingly, but really has its use when creating a ‘dirty organ’ tone, viz., Rock Organ Lead. Now, if you want a Leslie sound, so that the Tremolo has more of a swirling around the room quality, that is achieved by holding down the Fast footswitch while powering up the unit (thereafter, by pressing both footswitches simultaneously you put the Brakes on the speaker rotation and you hear only the usual tremolo; rotation resumes by pressing either footswitch). Another feature is the Kill Dry, which removes your dry signal so that you hear only the Roctary’s sound, and this is done by holding the Fast footswitch and rotating the Octave Up knob full counter-clockwise (reversing those steps reinstates the Dry). The Roctary is not overly complicated to use, but it takes an hour or so of tweaking and experimenting, a rather enjoyable process with this pedal. Next, the Balance indicates the degree of mix between Dry and Wet. If you set the knob about 9-o’clock the Wet is subtle, although audible and can add some very unique characteristics to rhythm and lead. Around 12-noon and the mix is 50/50, although the Roctary can overpower somewhat and depending on the other settings (more particularly the Octaves). Beyond 12-noon and the Roctary dominates. Finally, you can use an Expression Pedal to control Tremolo speed. This feature is great if you want to play some rhythm or lead lines that end with a stronger vibrato (if you listen to the Demo accompanying this review you will hear that effect near the beginning when the lead guitar plays over the acoustic guitar).
  12. Volume or output is controlled by the Level; turn it down when first engaging the Fuzz (and powering up your gear). The Fuzz Bender has a lot of headroom, and so I find keeping the Level around 9-10 o’clock sufficient in most cases. The quality or nature of the Fuzz is relative to where you place the Fuzz knob – the more you turn it counter-clockwise, the more subtle the fuzz flavor, whereas the more you turn it clockwise, the more saturated and heavier the fuzz. Obviously there is a mixing and meshing of the two, with the extent depending on where you dial in your sound. The Bias offers a lot of splat, and it produces a breaking-up quality even when turned up slightly to about 8-9 o’clock, and then burps like crazy from 12-noon onward. The Bass and Treble knobs are awesome; you get sizzling bright fuzz that cuts through the mix, but also a super heavy Doom and Gloom fuzz that is dark, but still defined in its character (or anything between). The heaviness of the Bass becomes apparent around 12-noon and beyond, whereas that cutting-edge Treble seems to hit hard at 3-o’clock. Of course, these specs are based on a thick and warm preamp (The Countess V4 by Victory) and the Petrucci MESA 4x12 cabinet (which is considered ‘dark’) that I used in the demo.
  13. The clipping setting determines if you’re looking for a fatter and darker tone (Germanium), a tone that cuts through the mix a bit better (Silicon) or a tone that has an aggressive boosting quality (LED). The Tone knob works as it should, and with a wide range of dark-to-bright it’s easy to dial into something that works with any gear – fatten up that thin sounding Strat or brighten up those muddy humbuckers. The next consideration is what type of tone you are after, since you can use a lot of Drive, a lot of Fuzz or a combination of the two in various amounts. When focusing on Fuzz the Drive adds some saturation to smooth the signal, but at the same time makes the Fuzz sound a bit angry (a fuzz-distortion type of mix). When focusing on the Drive you can achieve a very classic amp-pushing quality with a lot of Drive and only a hint of Fuzz (you would not think this a fuzz pedal with such a mix, but a fantastic sounding drive/distortion). Add in even more Fuzz and you begin getting a fatter distortion and eventually an unmistakable fuzz tone. The results are even more widespread depending if you are adding the Screamer Fuzz Germanium to a clean or dirty channel. Depending on how ‘clean’ the channel, you can really crank up the pedal with awesome results. With dirty channels that verge on high-gain it is best to add low amounts of Fuzz (8-o’clock) and Drive (9-10 o’clock) for that extra dimension so that you get a super high-gain result.
  14. Some coordination of the controls is required since once aspect can affect another. The Master Volume obviously controls how loud the signal is, but as you increase the Gain/Compression you will need to adjust the Master Volume. Likewise, a little Feedback goes a long way when the Reverb is very high (sounding very cavernous), whereas you can increase the Feedback as the Reverb reduces (down to ‘room’ level type reverb). The Feedback produces a shimmer to the Reverb sound, but it’s not like a typical shimmer you hear with reverb pedals (e.g., a crystal shimmer)… it can be subtle, but when turned up it produces more of a throbbing or pulsating shimmer modulation that becomes very dramatic in the background (and even overpowering if preferred and dialed in as such). The Swell knob is the most subtle of the bunch and it controls how quickly or slowly the Reverb blossoms toward its ultimate conclusion. There are three switches and since they are close together it may be prudent to add a Barefoot Button Tall Boy to the middle switch, which is a control that Holds or freezes the reverb – a fantastic feature if you enjoy drone-like background tones while playing overtop. The two outside switches including Kill, which removes the dry signal so that you have nothing but wet reverb, whereas the other footswitch Bypasses the Kaleidoscope so there is no reverb. Both Kill and Bypass have their own LED lights to indicate on and off.
  15. Start with the Drive knob turned all the way down if you want only a modest amount of drive. There is a serious amount of gain to be had even at that setting (more so with the Lo setting than the Hi setting). The sweet spots for either Lo or Hi ranges between 9-1 o’clock, which means you get the full robustness and note detail in that range and before the signal becomes more saturated or compressed. The Tone knob offers a very good range, which seems to be most notable with the Lo setting (very deep, almost muffled, to relatively high, yet not shrill). The Tone affects the Hi setting less, but still to good effect nonetheless (not as much muffle with a lot of bass). With the Hi setting, particularly for lead playing on the bridge pickup, you can get a very deep and mellow tone with the knob turned full counter-clockwise, e.g., more bass (it sounds as though playing on the neck pickup); conversely, with a lot of treble (knob turned fully clockwise) you get a very clear and cutting tone that does not sound brittle. Overall, not only is the El Rey Dorado a fantastic sounding pedal, but if it could have one extra thing I would suggest a second footswitch – one to turn the pedal on and off and the other to switch between the two channels (Lo and Hi). Certainly this would increase pedal size and the cost, but the El Rey Dorado’s Lo sounds so good for crunch/rhythm, whereas the Hi sounds so good for Lead, you may find yourself stooping a lot to make the switch.
  16. Whether you’re running SIX through a clean amp channel or a dirty channel governs the correct dial settings. As well, the amp channel’s level of gain will have a bearing on SIX’s gain level. Let’s consider a clean amp channel so that the tone either is very clean or slightly dirty/glassy. Placing SIX’s Gain around 9-o’clock will produce a modest amount of dirt or drive, good for soft rock type chording or to give some clean lead (e.g., Blues) a touch of hair and sustain. Getting the gain upward of 12-noon and beyond (2-o’clock sounds good to my ears) makes an amp’s clean channel very dirty while verging on high-gain. When working with a high-gain channel, there are two courses of action… keep the amp’s gain moderately high (but less than usual) and add in SIX at a lower level (gain around 9-10 o’clock)… or keep the amp’s gain relatively low (9-o’clock) and add in SIX at a higher gain level (e.g., 12-noon or a bit higher). Certainly the extent of either gain setting will depend on taste and the amp in question, but I find either of these actions work well (the former of which produces a bit less noise in the signal, although overall noise level is relatively low with SIX). Here are suggestions with the other settings. SIX comes with a built-in voltage doubler (no special adapter required). A basic 9v setting produces less headroom and a steadier and smoother tone; conversely, the 18v setting offers more headroom and playing dynamics, and I find it has a more amp-like quality. The Mood knob controls the bass-mids-treble contour, whereas the High knob adjusts the degree of that high end tone and sparkle. Depending on whether you like a smoother and more compressed signal, or one that has more volume and punch will dictate if 9v or 18v works best, and certainly tone adjustment will vary among amps and tone preferences. Suffice to say there is enough range with both Mood and High that it will accommodate any dark or bright amp, as well as take away harshness from thin and brittle pickups or give more life to those muddy humbuckers.
  17. Setting up the Atlantic is straight-forward, with the guitar going in and either mono or stereo going out (either a two-cable out or a TRS Y cable out of one output will give you stereo). Delay Time can be controlled with the Time knob – the more you turn it up, the longer the delay, upward of 1500ms. However, you can use the Time knob to add a measure (e.g., eighth-note) and then Tap Tempo your timing. As usual, there also are Level (mix) and Repeat knobs for the delay, while selecting three classic types of delay: Analog, Tape and Digital. The Reverb side operates as usual, with Level and Decay knobs. The added bonus is the Reverb’s footswitch, and when held adds a shimmer effect, although the sound of that shimmer varies depending on which Reverb you choose: Spring, Plate or Hall. The demo video goes through the types of delay, reverb and the shimmer effect. You can engage just the delay or just the reverb via the footswitches, but also route them in different ways: reverb into delay, delay into reverb or in parallel (whereby neither affects the other). When running reverb into delay you can hear the reverb’s decay being echoed back, whereas delay into reverb (the most common setup) has the echo fading into the decay. If running in Parallel, there is a small toggle switch on the back of the Atlantic that needs to be flipped (from its serial position). If you want to run delay into reverb, then you need to set up the pedal in order to do so, viz., hold down the delay’s footswitch when powering up the unit; conversely, hold the reverb’s footswitch when powering up will result in the reverb coming before the delay. Lastly, there is a mini USB port in the back that allows for computer hookup to obtain any firmware updates.
  18. No adjustments were required – a solid setup. Pickups were adjusted at a reasonable height with chrome pickup rings to match the pickups. There were no flaws in the paint (bubbles, streaks or consistency issues), the neck is smooth with the same red polyurethane throughout. The paint separation or edging (between black and red) is straight and without quality (bleeding) issues. The neck heel has a modest and smooth carve (no armrest or belly contour, although comfortable to play). The carbon nut has a good cut/finish, the frets well dressed (a slight bevel or roundness to their edges), and the tuning pegs have a solid feel when turned.
  19. BDJohnston

    NUX Cerberus

    Although seemingly complex at first, the Cerberus is not difficult to use with only an hour or so of tinkering – and once you dial into some good combinations you can save them to one of the 128 presets/patches. If you check out the demo video, I work through the Cerberus starting with the delay, which offers up Tape, Analog and Digital. You can select the Time via the tap temp switch or with the dial to fine-tune (you can see the milliseconds in the pedal’s window to zero in on your timing); the delay’s time dial also selects tempo subdivision (e.g., eighth notes). Reverb can be added or removed via the Control foot-switch (which also turns the modulation, drive/distortion and boost on/off). The Modulation section includes three types of Chorus, as well as Phase/Tremolo/Uni-vibe – the Chorus turns on/off via the footswitch in the Modulation section, whereas turning the Phase/Trem/Uni-vibe on/off is done via the Ctrl footswitch. This may seem odd or clumsy until you get used to the unit and, as stated, you can save any setting group as a preset so that all the fiddling is done once. Each aspect needs to be set, including the Level and Repeats of the Delay, Level and Decay of the Reverb (and what type under each) – the same with the Modulation and the same with the Distortion and Drive. This is no different from any pedal or amp. Allowing you to save these settings definitely is a plus, and particularly since the Cerberus offers you the ability to route the delay/reverb and the distortion/drive in various configurations; having the delay/reverb run parallel sounds very different from the delay going into reverb or the reverb into delay. Likewise, tones are very different if you choose to run the distortion/drive in parallel or the drive into distortion or the distortion into drive (or if you want one and not the other). The Cerberus has four preset switches on the front, which gives access to four selections at a time (without scrolling through banks), such as a clean with reverb, a clean with delay/reverb and some chorus, a crunch rhythm and then a lead (with or without boost). You can create 32 groupings (of 4) or banks like this, making it ideal for gigging and having each bank represent a different song. Banks are scrolled through easily via two footswitches at the far right of the Cerberus (the Tap Temp and Ctrl footswitches scroll up/down when in Preset/Patch mode). As well, whether in Manual mode or Preset mode you can edit (and save if desired) any settings.
  20. [url]www.MapleRockPedalboards.ca[/url] will make travel pedalboards to your specs. They're in Canada and there's free shipping... and the power of the US dollar will get you a lot. Built-in power, inputs and outputs (stereo if you like), even jack inputs for midi, fx loops, etc.
  21. Although Night Owl Industries suggest “try it in front of your favorite distortion pedal or another tube effect for endless possibilities,†I found my tone and results as good when adding the Edison Preamp AFTER some effects and other preamps (likely because my cab simulation came later in the chain). The sound was fine when used before in other instances, but placing it after impressed me as much and depending on the gear. The Edison Preamp is about as easy to use as it comes – a footswitch to turn it on and off. How great is that? No tone controls, although you need to adjust the volume accordingly (whether aiming for parity or boosting the signal). Insofar as the volume is concerned, how much you turn it up will depend on what is being connected to it. For example, if using the Edison as a stand-alone preamp (going into a cab or cab simulation) and with some pedals, the volume can be turned up more than if using the Edison to push an amplifier or other preamp. Then again, by keeping the gain/volume down on another amp or preamp, then certainly more volume can be had with the Edison (depending on what balance or ratio sounds best to your ears). Regardless of the setup, you will find there is a sweet spot in coordinating gear, so that you have enough push and sound fullness without adding distortion or artifacts.
  22. There are two independent Delays and a Reverb in the Ocean Machine. You can select Patch mode or Play mode (settings can be altered in either mode, although Play mode allows for Tap Tempo of the delays (and these can be set independently with different times), as well as the Freeze mode described below. When the unit first powers up you’re at a position you last left the Ocean Machine (it remembers where you left off). There are 24 pre-made patches that you can scroll through (up or down via the Delay switches), and if you make changes in Play or Patch mode you can save it to one of the patch numbers. The demo video included with this review addresses many of the features. The Menu knob allows access to the various aspects, and in there you can alter the millisecond timing of the Delays, if you want to add a Tempo (e.g., quarter-notes, quarter-notes doubled or tripled, etc.), whether you want to add a ping-pong effect to either, what order you want the two Delays and Reverb, etc. If in Play mode you can turn the Reverb and Delays on and off (allowing you to stack the effects while playing); otherwise (in Patch mode), the two Delay footswitches control the scrolling of the patches up or down. When in Play mode, stepping on the Reverb and Delay B footswitches simultaneously enters you into Tap Tempo mode. Also, with either Patch or Play mode stepping on both Delay footswitches enters into the LOOP function. When recording a loop you have 44-seconds of record time and you can add countless dubs. This looper functions easily – one click to begin or end recording, another click to add a dub, two clicks to stop playback, and a hold of the footswitch to cancel (erase) any recording made. During playback there is a Reverse switch (to play the recording backwards) and a Half Speed switch (to slow the recording way down for some cool and slow reel-to-reel effects. Of course, you can jam your guitar to the recordings and while making changes in the Reverb or dual Delays. One of the coolest features is the FREEZE option (when in Play mode). You can hold down the Reverb or either Delay footswitch and that effect (e.g., plate reverb, tape echo, etc.) will continue to sustain until releasing the footswitch. You then can play over top the drone, which actually can be quite interesting and lively in detail (particularly when you add Shimmer to the reverb or use an interesting delay like Galaxy). And besides having Global EQ settings you can control both input and output levels for easy integration with other gear.
  23. BDJohnston

    Orange Acoustic Pre

    Somewhat easy to use, depending on the complexity of your setup, the Orange Acoustic Pre takes little time to get to know. To look at it from a simple perspective, there is a quarter-inch line in and out, which is true of both channels, although most mono players would use Channel A only. That channel has both a Gain and Heat knob. Gain adjusts the level input, whereas Heat alters the level of valve gain in the upper frequencies (adding compression and harmonics), which helps keep the signal sparkly and punchy for finger-pickers, whereas flat-pickers will experience better results by keeping the Heat down (unless you want a sharp attack). The EQ is straight forward, in that you can mix as much bass, treble and midrange as desired, whereas the midrange also has a sweepable Frequency knob to select the center frequency from 180Hz – 1.8kHz, a feature that really adds to tonal shaping. Channel A is very warm and organic sounding, whereas Channel B has a flatter response not driven by the internal 12AX7/ECC83 tube (meant as a very clean channel for a mic or secondary guitar input, e.g., a guitar with two pickup outputs). Channel B has the same EQ controls with a Gain control. Both Channels are affected by a Line Volume control, but also a Main Volume (which affects the XLR outputs). There also is a 48V phantom power that you can switch on for Channel B’s XLR input (if you choose to use that input, although that channel also has a quarter-inch input). Both channels have a Phase Inversion switch, which reverses the audio waveform, ideal if a guitar with two pickup sources run out of phase. However, when flipping this switch with a regular guitar you do get a more ‘pinpoint’ or dynamically narrow tone (if that’s what you like). Both channel XLR outputs have a ground lift, to reduce any background noise/hum. A cool feature is that both channels has its own FX Loop, which means you can add a phaser or flange to one channel, whereas the other could have a delay or tremolo, making for a lot of different hookup possibilities and sounds. Finally, there is a built-in reverb, which is very natural and quite good in its own right, affecting both channels concurrently.
  24. The Aria has several features. The Compressor is the best I have used so far, and Robert Keeley is well known for this technology and for good reason. The Blend knob allows you to add Compression, yet maintain as much dynamics in your tone as you like. With the Blend turned low (9-o’clock) there is obvious compression, but with some difference in notes played softly or aggressively. Most importantly, harmonics and dynamics shine through. Even at 12-noon compression rounds out the tone very well, but dynamics still pop and you don’t get that flat squishy effect. Turned up full and there is some squishiness, yet it sounds more natural and authentic than what I’ve experienced with other compressors (you don’t get that massive tone suck common in other compressors). The Sustain knob works well, and I tend to like it around 12-noon – that setting does not produce too much background hiss and allows you to play some slow lead lines without the signal dropping quickly. And there’s a Level and Tone knob on the Compressor side for some final tweaking. There also are Level and Tone controls on the Drive side. The Drive knob produces a modest effect around 9-o’clock and hits a sweet spot around 1-o’clock (presuming you’re running through a clean amp). Beyond 1-o’clock and the tone becomes more saturated, which is fine if that’s what you want, but note definition coupled with maximum gain (while maintaining note definition) seems to be around 1-o’clock. If added to a higher-gain amp channel, then obviously the Drive needs to be tamed if used as a boost. The Drive side also offers two settings – low-gain and high-gain. The low-gain setting produces far more dynamics and headroom, and has an excellent clean-to-rock sound (more appropriate for rhythm, but sounds good with lead as well). The high-gain setting seems to sit best for lead playing, as it has a smoother and more saturated attribute. That quality is even more apparent (regardless of low-gain or high-gain) if you toggle switch the Drive before the Compressor (since the compressor smoothes out the drive); conversely, placing the Compressor before the Drive maintains more of the tone’s original characteristics and push in the mix. The Aria offers a few different options for hook-up. Typically, you would place the Aria at the front of the pedal chain, as would be expected with a compressor and drive, but you also can use Stereo TSR cables so that you can fit other pedals between the compressor and the drive, such as a wah, distortion, flange/phaser, etc. In a sense, think of it as an effects loop. From there, and at the flip of a toggle, you can decide if you want the Compressor first (more dynamics and headroom) or the Drive first (a smoother, rounder and warmer tone).
  25. Using the Relay G10S requires very little initial setup. The Transmitter (the part that plugs into your guitar) inserts into the Receiver for initial charging, which takes about a half-hour (which then gives upward of 8-hours of use). You can leave the Transmitter in storage when not in use, although you need to ‘press the Release Latch on the Receiver and pull the Transmitter out one stop so that the battery does not drain’ (fully inserted and the Transmitter communicates with the Receiver). If you leave the Transmitter in your guitar it will enter ‘sleep mode’ when there is no play for 4-minutes (the battery continues to drain, albeit more slowly). The Receiver has up to 11 possible channels from which to choose. Typically you would leave it on Auto so that the Receiver can search for the clearest channel with the least interference. However, if other band mates are using a wireless system you will need to select a Channel to prevent honing in on their territory and to keep their signals from interfering with your signal. Both the Transmitter battery life and the Receiver (RF) signal strength can be viewed clearly on the Receiver (3 LEDs each, with ‘RF’ on the left and ‘battery life’ on the right). When you see 3 RF Green LEDs light up you have a strong signal, whereas 2 or 1 Green LEDs mean there is some strength, but not as good (and you cannot wander as far away before losing your signal). Red LEDs indicate anything from a usable or short range to too much interference. Having good reception (3 Green LEDs) means upward of 130-feet of freedom, just in case you want to stroll through an audience while playing. In regard to battery life, you get upward of 8-hours of play time on one charge, indicated by 3 Green LEDs. As you get down to only 1 Green LED you have about 1.5 hours, or a bit more, of charge. Red LEDs provide warning with 30-minutes or less of charge. As indicated previously, there is a Cable Emulation option, to add analog warmth to the signal (since the G10S is so amazingly clear); a function that can be useful for bright amps and pickups – or perhaps you simply like a warmer tone relative to your gear. This function can be used only if you use the quarter-inch jack instrument out. The other ‘out’ option is the XLR DI Output that goes to a mixing desk, audio interface, etc. As well, there is a micro USB input for firmware updates and optional power.
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