Author Topic: Multi-fx for a beginner?  (Read 1905 times)

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Offline Joerfe

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Re: Multi-fx for a beginner?
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2018, 11:12:55 pm »
Yeah, I know it works well in live situations in that setup.
But if you practice at home sans headphones, I’m wondering if a wedge monitor or similar would be able to create a decent sound.
The Fractal/Helix/whatever crowd seems to be chasing frfr monitors, so maybe a “regular” monitor would be a bit low-end.
/Jesper

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Online close2u

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Re: Multi-fx for a beginner?
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2018, 12:18:37 am »
I used multi fx (Zoom G3 and TC Helicon Play) into a Behringer Eurolive 207 mp3  just fine.
Because it had MP3 aux in I could easily play along to backing tracks.
It was a good workable solution.

Offline Majik

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Re: Multi-fx for a beginner?
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2018, 08:33:49 am »
Many regular monitors are FRFR, at least at a moderate volume level.

TBH, I think there's so many parameters here it's difficult to generalise. Monitors with crappy speakers may not sound that great, but a decent monitor with good speakers may sound better than some practice amps.
Also it depends on whether you like the sound of the amp/cab modelling through whichever system you have, and whether you get on with multifx units in general (as this thread shows, they aren't for everyone).

My view is it can work and can work very well. But YMMV.

Cheers,

Keith

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« Last Edit: March 17, 2018, 09:43:26 am by Majik »
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Re: Multi-fx for a beginner?
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2018, 09:21:48 am »
Another aspect ...

Multi-FX + Monitor is more expensive than Solid State amp with built-in FX.

Offline Joerfe

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Re: Multi-fx for a beginner?
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2018, 07:51:40 pm »
Another aspect ...

Multi-FX + Monitor is more expensive than Solid State amp with built-in FX.

Well, I have a Boss Katana 2x12 I lug to band practice every week. At gigs the Katana is hooked up via line out to the PA and I have a monitor in front of me.
At home the Katana is a huge beast to have in the living room and I play through headphones most of the time to avoid disturbing the family.

My thought is that I could, maybe, get a Roland ME-80 or a Boss GT-100 instead. At band practice and for gigs I could go via PA and at home through headphones. For those precious moments where I can blast away at home I have a 60w Laney wedge monitor in the closet that I can use....
- I would have to get rid of the Katana though....
/Jesper

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Offline Damian666

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Re: Multi-fx for a beginner?
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2018, 08:35:20 pm »
Thanks for the replies, much appreciated.

Still undecided as to a small practice amp such as a blackstar or a spending more on a boss katana 50. Given that I think most practice may be done with headphones I wondered if it was worth getting an amp at all.

Offline Barnezy

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Multi-fx for a beginner?
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2018, 09:42:02 pm »
You could just get a Boss GT1. I’m really pleased with mine. I even did an overview of it here - https://youtu.be/m-VXkK9nNK0
 
I also love my Blackstar HT1R. Which I think with the Boss GT1 you have the ultimate bedroom setup. You can even use the GT1’s amp emulators by plugging in through the line in port on the Blackstar, so you avoid the Amp.


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Offline Majik

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Re: Multi-fx for a beginner?
« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2018, 12:30:06 am »
Still undecided as to a small practice amp such as a blackstar or a spending more on a boss katana 50. Given that I think most practice may be done with headphones I wondered if it was worth getting an amp at all.

Personally, I think you will want an amp eventually.

If you are considering not having an amp at all (for the moment) and learning is your primary objective, it might be worth taking a look at one of the Boss "e-Band" units, such as the BR-80. It's a portable multifx unit, recording studio, and MP3 phrase trainer in one and it comes with a bunch of practice loops to play along to.

You also may look at the Boss JS-8 or JS-10 which are tabletop "e-Band" units which have the MP3 phrase training capabilities as well as the multifx. However, these are quite a bit more expensive than the BR-80, although you may get a second-hand unit for a good price if you check around. The main differences between these being the JS-10 is a newer unit which can take two guitars (or guitar and bass, mic, etc.) at the same time and it has much better speakers in it than the tinny things in the JS-8.

The JS-10 could also be used at low volumes without headphones, and could probably be used as a generic MP3 player, playing music from a USB stick or CF Card. Ino other words, it's perfect for a typical bedroom. I wouldn't use the JS-8 as an MP3 player as the speakers are pretty dreadful.

Note that I wouldn't consider any of these a full substitute for a proper amplifier. There's no way you could sensibly use them for gigging (which you could with most of the traditional multifx units) or even for jamming with a band. They are a practice tool, not really for performances. But that's true of many small practice amps too, and the JS-8 or JS-10 is a sort of half-way to a real amp option, whilst giving you a ton of options for practicing that you don't get with a traditional amp or multifx unit.

I'm of the view it might be just what you need for now. But even if (when) you get a proper guitar amp in the future, I would put money on you wanting to keep the e-Band unit as well. They are a very handy tool to have around.

Cheers,

Keith
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Offline Barnezy

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Re: Multi-fx for a beginner?
« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2018, 01:12:09 pm »
I’d never hear of those JS products before. Are they still being developed as it seems like the JS-10 came out in 2012. They are also the same cost as decent amp and standalone multi FX until. Is there any upside with these units would you say?


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Offline Dr Winterbourne

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Re: Multi-fx for a beginner?
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2018, 01:17:36 pm »
With multi FX, I think the best thing to do is to empty a path of all its presets and then think what you need. This could be a specific chain of effects for a specific song, but I think more useful is to think about what effects you typically want. Now, I use individual pedals, mostly because I like them and I didn't like the distortions in the multi FX I had. But when I did have one, this is what I did.

Start with a sound I want - let's say a metal rhythm tone. I'd strip out the FX from a patch and then find a distortion I wanted to use. With metal, I added in a noise gate, too, to take the him and to facilitate djent. Then, I thought about what else I tend to like with a metal tone - and I like a phaser, like in Steve Vai's Bad Horsie, so I made the adjacent patch the same metal tone, but with the phaser added. Then, on the other side of the metal phaser patch, I put in the same phaser sound, but minus the metal. Now, I could either chunk it out metal style, and then add in some phaser for the fruity bridge or trippy intro, and simplify it, ie drop out the phaser, for rhythm. Also, I could have a clean phase sound, but add in distortion to it by just moving one patch.

Once I made a few of these patches, with logical transitions to their neighbours, the pedal was far more useful than with the 'sound flash in the shop' presets. Simplify it - just add what you want, and if it sounds good without an effect, just leave it out.

Compression was one effect I never understood in the old days, and I didn't really get it until I started gigging on bass. Now, I will sometimes use a Dyna Comp as 'the overdrive for my clean sound' , adding sustain to a clean tone for solos, or for tidying up some fingerstyle stuff.

Effects are something you grow into, or out of, gradually. A multi FX can be a way to explore a lot, but they can be overwhelming. I realized I was using mine in the same way I would individual pedals, so then I just started using them.
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Offline Majik

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Re: Multi-fx for a beginner?
« Reply #25 on: April 18, 2018, 03:30:33 pm »
I’d never hear of those JS products before. Are they still being developed as it seems like the JS-10 came out in 2012. They are also the same cost as decent amp and standalone multi FX until. Is there any upside with these units would you say?

Yes, they are quite old, but the JS-10 is still a current part of the Boss lineup.

And, yes, they are as expensive as a decent amp setup, but the point is they aren't really a substitute for an amp, as I said. They are something else completely.

They are, first and foremost, a practice tool. You can do stuff with them that you can't with a conventional amp setup, with or without a multifx unit.

The main "eBand" functionality is a play-along MP3 phrase trainer that lets you loop, slow down, pitch change, and centre cancel any MP3s you load into it.

They include multifx and amp simulators which are a little dated these days, but which are based on the older Boss multifx units like the well-regarded ME-80. These can be mapped to MP3 tracks so that when you select a track the tone you want for that track is automatically dialled in.

The eBand units also allow you to record whilst playing along to a track, and can act as a computer audio interface with FX. They include pretty much everything you need to practice, including a metronome, tuner and a whole bunch of rhythms and backing tracks to play along to.

The BR-80 is also very portable and has a multi-track recording mode, so you can actually use it for songwriting and recording. Several times in the past I've taken the BR-80 with me away on extended business trips to use in the hotel with headphones.

I will admit that, these days, there's lots of apps around for smartphones and computers which will do many of these functions and, potentially, do it a lot cheaper. However, in my experience most of these are too "faffy" to encourage regular use, involving messing around with interfaces and cables and a mixture of different apps.

The advantage the eBand units have is they have the same plug-and-play convenience of a regular practice amp with everything you need for studied practice at your fingertips.

The eBand units are absolutely NOT the thing you would buy if you are wanting something you can take to jam sessions, etc. But they are ideal for a bedroom practice rig where low-volume and headphone use is important and you never expect to crank it (although you can connect the line-output to a hifi amp if you want more volume).

Cheers,

Keith
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Offline Majik

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Re: Multi-fx for a beginner?
« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2018, 03:53:47 pm »
I will add, although the eBand units are quite old, the quality of the tones on them are good. The tones you can get from them are absolutely something you could gig or jam with. It's only the form-factor of the unit itself that really doesn't lend itself to that.

You could, for instance, plug the line outputs of this into a mixer/PA and perform with it at a pub gig or small function and, tonally, it would be easily good enough. I wouldn't recommend doing this though, as it's not really designed for this sort of thing and would be easily damaged and fiddly to use.

But, they are a great option for a typical bedroom, especially if it's exclusively going to be used in a smallish bedroom with headphones or on the speakers at very low volume so as not to annoy the neighbours or wake the kids at night.

In that sort of environment, paying extra to get a tube amp (any tube amp, including the low-wattage ones) just because you've heard that "tubes sound better" is (IMO) a really dumb thing to do, because at very low volumes (and certainly with headphones), it's simply not true.

I'm talking here about the sort of maximum volume levels where you can easily have a conversation over it without raising your voice.

If the amp is only ever going to be used with headphones or these sort of very low volumes, then there are much cheaper and better options than a tube amp. In that situation, pretty much any decent modelling amp or analogue solid-state amp will give you as good a sound or, probably, better along with more built-in facilities for a beginner and for less money.

If it's for exclusive headphone use then you really don't even need an amp. As you suggested, a standalone multifx unit would do the trick nicely. The eBand units are like a multifx unit with a whole bunch of additional features designed to make practicing and learning fun and easy, and (in the case of the JS models) with the addition of small speakers.

The eBand units aren't for everyone.

If you need a proper guitar amp for jamming/gigging or just really want one and can actually use it at a volume level that justifies it (my benchmark for this would be at a level where you can keep up with a decent singer) and only have the budget to buy one thing then buy a real amp.

If you don't need an amp and need something quiet, but good, for bedroom practice, or if you just want something which is a great practice tool and you can afford to get it alongside your proper amp to use as a practice tool, then they are well worth considering.

In another thread, I mentioned I used my Katana amp far more than my Tube amp. Well, I use my eBand about 10 times more than I use all of my real amps put together.

Cheers,

Keith
« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 04:26:54 pm by Majik »
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Offline Barnezy

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Re: Multi-fx for a beginner?
« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2018, 09:33:58 pm »
Interesting, I didn’t realise such a device even existed. I can see how something like this could be convenient and useful for practice. I wonder if they will refresh it soon with the latest emulators and maybe bluetooth streaming so it can double as a music speaker.


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Offline Majik

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Re: Multi-fx for a beginner?
« Reply #28 on: April 18, 2018, 10:46:15 pm »
Interesting, I didn’t realise such a device even existed. I can see how something like this could be convenient and useful for practice. I wonder if they will refresh it soon with the latest emulators and maybe bluetooth streaming so it can double as a music speaker.

Personally, I can't see them doing it any time soon. The original JS-8 was excellent apart from the speakers, which were rubbish. The new JS-10 seemed to mainly be introduced to remedy that complaint.

I can't see them wanting to introduce a new model just to update the modelling. After all, whilst it's not the absolute latest they have, it's still current.

In fact I would say that most of the modelling you have in your GT-1 is a variant of that used on the eBand units. The primary difference seems to be that on the eBand units you don't have the ability to change the order of FX block in the chain, like you can on the GT-1.

But that's not new either: the GT-1 modelling configuration is a cut-down version of that on the GT-001 and GT-100.

Oh, and there's no PC based patch editing tool for the eBands.

Unless you are into advanced, complex effects and tweaking your patches to the n-th degree, then I honestly don't think you could tell the difference between the sound of most of the patches the eBand units and those on the GT-1. And given it's a practice tool, not one designed to be used for studio recording or playing through at the O2, I don't think it's appropriate to extend the patch configuration beyond what it does already.

You can still do some very advanced editing and store user patches if you want, and I've done this a few times to create a set of patches either for specific songs where I needed an effect, or just to give me a baseline tone which wasn't available on the presets; as usual on these units, a lot of the presets aren't that useful.

Bluetooth? Yes I could see why that would be useful, but I can't see them refreshing the range just for that, especially when you can easily get a cheap bluetooth audio receiver for about £25 and plug it into the aux input.

Cheers,

Keith
« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 11:09:08 pm by Majik »
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX
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