Author Topic: Pedal Order and Function Questions  (Read 217 times)

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Offline accidentalwisdom

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Pedal Order and Function Questions
« on: September 03, 2019, 02:57:33 am »
I've been working on creating a pedal board for a while, now. I'm think I'm getting close to working things out, but I'd love some feedback on some questions I'm having trouble running down answers for.

Mainly using this with an Ibanez with EMG81 and EMG85 active pickups, but also with electric bass, and acoustic/electric guitar and bass. My board is below (and image attached):

1. TC Electronic Ditto Looper (just for looping phrases to adjust later pedals, similar to a synth)
2. JHS Clover Preamp
3. JHS Sweet Tea V3 Distortion/Overdrive
4. Boss EQ-200 EQ
5. Strymon Ola Chorus/Vibrato
6. Strymon Orbit Flanger
7. Earthquaker Grand Orbiter Phaser
8. TC Electronic Flashback Delay
9. Strymon BigSky Reverb

These all feed into a StudioCraft MTK12 mixer and out to Presonus Eris5 studio monitors and Temblor sub monitor. Often, they also feed into the mixer, out to a Boss RC-505 Looper, back into the mixer, back out to the monitors.

Notes: Just ordered a Tech21 SansAmp GT2 (likely to replace the JHS Sweet Tea), and a Tech21 SansAmp Para DI. Considering replacing the Flashback Delay with a Styrmon TimeLine, to be able to dial in specific tempo matches. Dislike the Temple Audio Trio board I bought, planning to build my own.

Questions:

1. Do I need a Preamp at all? Can I get rid of the JHS Clover since the JHS Sweet Tea (and it's coming Tech21 replacement) have Level and Gain, and the Boss EQ-200 also has a level slider?

2. Do I need a DI box since I'm plugging direct into a mixer? I already ordered one, so I guess I'll find out, haha. But any feedback from someone who has worked with pedals feeding directly into mixers/PAs would be awesome.

3. Any other types of pedals I should be looking at based on my intention to feed direct to studio monitors / PAs?

Thank you!

Offline Majik

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Re: Pedal Order and Function Questions
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2019, 03:18:28 pm »
Firstly, welcome to the forums.

Before I answer your specific questions, I will point out that if you are planning to DI straight into a PA, it's going to sound rubbish unless you have either a traditional guitar amp or a guitar amp emulation in there. The guitar amp is a key part of the tone you get from an electric guitar, and different amps have different characteristic sounds.

The Sweet Tea is not a guitar amp emulator.

The Tech21 you are replacing it with is a guitar amp emulator, including cabinet simulation, so this should work and sound decent. However, whether it will give you the tones you want is a different matter.

This has relevance to some of my answers.

1. Do I need a Preamp at all? Can I get rid of the JHS Clover since the JHS Sweet Tea (and it's coming Tech21 replacement) have Level and Gain, and the Boss EQ-200 also has a level slider?

The Clover "pre-amp" isn't designed to replace anything in the guitar amp, but to augment it by adding more drive to the front-end. Whether you need it or not depends on the tone you are trying to get. It's a bit like asking whether you need the Chorus/Vibrato in there or not.

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2. Do I need a DI box since I'm plugging direct into a mixer? I already ordered one, so I guess I'll find out, haha. But any feedback from someone who has worked with pedals feeding directly into mixers/PAs would be awesome.

If you are coming out of the Tech21 GT2 then you don't need a DI box. However, it may be useful to have.

The primary use of a DI box is to convert an unbalanced signal to a balanced signal which is better for longer cable runs (especially in gig situations where there's lots of cables and equipment creating interference). The other thing a DI box can do is to convert a high-impedance instrument (like a guitar or mic) into a lower impedance signal suitable for a mixer. You shouldn't need this as the GT2 has a low impedance output.

Note that there are some other types of guitar DI which would be totally irrelevant in your case (but I'm adding this for information). These connect into the speaker output of a proper guitar amp and have the advantage that they capture the tone of the guitar amp's pre and power amp. The Para DI is not one of these.

However, if it's just for balanced to unbalanced conversion, I suggest the Para DI is overkill. A cheap, basic DI box like the Behringer DI100 will do the trick.

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3. Any other types of pedals I should be looking at based on my intention to feed direct to studio monitors / PAs?

From what I can see there's nothing you need, but there again the only pedal in there that I would consider to be essential , given your apparent plan to DI everything and not have a traditional guitar amplifier, is the Tech21 GT2. Everything else is purely for tonal options and effects.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline CT

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Re: Pedal Order and Function Questions
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2019, 03:50:08 pm »
Most folks start with a decent solid state amp that comes with all the various FX and possibly an XLR or line out and/or FX loop. I can't speak to your plan, which might be a very good one, but not one I am familiar with. As for your pedal chain, I would probably put the EQ pedal before the distortion/OD. I would want to set EQ levels going into my dirt pedal. At the end of the day pedal order is easy and fun to work through. Good luck!

Offline accidentalwisdom

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Re: Pedal Order and Function Questions
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2019, 04:02:49 pm »
Hi Keith,

Thank you for the welcome and the information! All excellent, and I was starting to think the Para DI was redundant to the GT2. Too bad I ordered both before considering that! Will play with it a bit and possibly put it back on Reverb.

Also, full disclosure, I am pretty new to pedals, having used only mid-range multi-effects processors like the Pod HD previously. I'm sure this is fairly evident in my questions ;D Additional disclosure - this is all for home use, I don't gig because stranger danger!

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The Clover "pre-amp" isn't designed to replace anything in the guitar amp, but to augment it by adding more drive to the front-end. Whether you need it or not depends on the tone you are trying to get. It's a bit like asking whether you need the Chorus/Vibrato in there or not.

Thanks, I'll play around more with the Clover in context with other things engaged and disengaged. I originally bought the Clover to boost the incoming signal so that the effects later down the line had something to latch onto. It seems like the EQ-200 is serving this purpose, but being completely new to this, I couldn't understand the difference between the "Volume" knob on the Clover and the Level slider on the EQ-200.

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I will point out that if you are planning to DI straight into a PA, it's going to sound rubbish unless you have either a traditional guitar amp or a guitar amp emulation in there. The guitar amp is a key part of the tone you get from an electric guitar, and different amps have different characteristic sounds.

The Sweet Tea is not a guitar amp emulator.

The Tech21 you are replacing it with is a guitar amp emulator, including cabinet simulation, so this should work and sound decent. However, whether it will give you the tones you want is a different matter.

I did buy the GT2 for it's amp emulation, as I definitely noticed that while I was able to get an acceptable tone with the Sweet Tea into the mixer/monitors, it's only borderline acceptable, though it sounded great in the Line6 Spider III I recently sold. I didn't want to get into complex emulators like the Helix or Kempler due to the cost and the, well, complexity. I wanted to put together a board of accessible knobby hardware effects that would work well with both electric and acoustic guitar and bass.

I am also thinking of ordering the Electro-Voice Evolve 50 line array system, so that my studio monitors can go back to their duty as DAW monitors, only. I've been researching PAs and "FRFR" PAs, and it does seem that they are all overwhelmingly "tuned for acoustic/vocals." I'd hoped the EQ-200 would serve to offset this. I really love the form factor of the line array systems.

My goal is to have a one-system-to-rule-them-all, space conserving solution for everything I play - acoustic guitar/bass, electric guitar/bass, synth, sample pad, and drum pad, and random other things I line-in or mic up. I understand it's going to be a jack of all trades solution, and optimal only for the acoustics, but I need to make sure it's at least solid for electric.

Offline accidentalwisdom

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Re: Pedal Order and Function Questions
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2019, 04:13:30 pm »
Most folks start with a decent solid state amp that comes with all the various FX and possibly an XLR or line out and/or FX loop. I can't speak to your plan, which might be a very good one, but not one I am familiar with. As for your pedal chain, I would probably put the EQ pedal before the distortion/OD. I would want to set EQ levels going into my dirt pedal. At the end of the day pedal order is easy and fun to work through. Good luck!

Thanks CT! I had a Line 6 Spider III (112) and a Pod HD prior to this (and a junky old DigiTech long before that). I just wanted to move over to an isolated pedal solution that worked well for acoustic and electric guitar and bass. I like knobby units with dedicated switches. The one major detriment is the lack of memory settings (though the Boss and Strymon pedals have that).

As for the EQ order, I considered trying that, but wanted to first go with cleaning up the sound coming out of the distortion pedal knowing that I was feeding into studio monitors that were likely to treat the highs pretty harshly. The GT2 on the way might resolve that. But I figured the signal coming out of the dirt would be more in need of shaping than the signal coming out of the Ibanez.

One gripe on pedal order changes is that it's a pain to reorder them on the board I went with! Temple Audio Trio, with their "quick release" attachments and my own anal wire routing. Pretty disappointed with that board, don't recommend it at all, particularly their quick-release attachments which are not quick and don't even fit in the holes flushly. I plan to build my own angled board at some point and use strong velcro because I have not seen a single board out there that really has things set up the way I want.

Offline Majik

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Re: Pedal Order and Function Questions
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2019, 07:29:31 pm »
Also, full disclosure, I am pretty new to pedals, having used only mid-range multi-effects processors like the Pod HD previously. I'm sure this is fairly evident in my questions ;D

I did suspect...

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Thanks, I'll play around more with the Clover in context with other things engaged and disengaged. I originally bought the Clover to boost the incoming signal so that the effects later down the line had something to latch onto. It seems like the EQ-200 is serving this purpose, but being completely new to this, I couldn't understand the difference between the "Volume" knob on the Clover and the Level slider on the EQ-200.

You might want to mess around with the Sweet Tea in front of the GT2 as well. In this context it would work as a drive/distortion pedal.

One gripe on pedal order changes is that it's a pain to reorder them on the board I went with! Temple Audio Trio, with their "quick release" attachments and my own anal wire routing. Pretty disappointed with that board, don't recommend it at all, particularly their quick-release attachments which are not quick and don't even fit in the holes flushly.

I'm surprised at this. I've built a couple of pedal boards with the Temple Audio system (here and here) and think they are great. I'm not sure what you mean by "don't even fit in the holes flushly". I've never had any problems with the mounting plates. I am planning a new pedalboard build, for which I'm probably going to use the Duo 17.

I actually have a couple of large Temple Audio Trio boards with Raspberry Pi's and network switches mounted on them for some work projects.

My experience with them compared to traditional pedal boards and velcro is mainly positive. Once screwed in the pedals are rock solid (the pedal board I built for a gigging friend is like a tank) and although removing the pedals isn't instant, it only takes about 15 seconds to unscrew them from beneath. Sure, with velcro you can just rip them off but, in practice, this can require a fair bit of force and I find the velcro often comes unstuck from the pedalboard. My friend's original pedal board was a sticky mess of velcro and duck tape. Of course there's nothing to stop you using velcro on the Temple board instead of the mounting plates.

On my own small pedal board based on the Solo 18, I recently switched out my Digitech Trio+ for my Boss RC-3 for something I was testing. I reckon that took me about 2 minutes to change, and then about the same to change back afterwards.

Personally I find the biggest issue with moving things around on any board is cabling. I've been using Evidence Audio SIS cables/connectors which are great for keeping the board neat. I found with pre-cut cables I was spending half my time tidying up the cables with cable ties and so on (far longer than it took to physically move the pedal). Of course, if you make the cables to fit perfectly, then if you move the pedals at a later date, you may have to remake the cables. Unfortunately there's no magic bullet.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline accidentalwisdom

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Re: Pedal Order and Function Questions
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2019, 05:41:49 pm »
Hi Keith,

Sorry for the delay!

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I'm surprised at this. I've built a couple of pedal boards with the Temple Audio system (here and here) and think they are great. I'm not sure what you mean by "don't even fit in the holes flushly". I've never had any problems with the mounting plates. I am planning a new pedalboard build, for which I'm probably going to use the Duo 17.

I got the Trio from Sweetwater a few weeks back along with 12 Medium mounting plates. I like the look of the Trio for sure. As for the mounting plates, mine don't all click in to their holes flushly, as though the precision hole and peg cutting wasn't fully precise. They are stable enough and aren't going anywhere, but if I look underneath, usually at least one (sometimes two) of an individual plate's pegs are not in the hole. Even after significant downward pressure it applied, there' is no satisfying LEGO click.

The real problem ("problem" - it's really just my nit-picking) with the plates is that it really locks you in to certain positions (especially to make sure the screw slot is in a small hole and not a cable opening) mixed with having pedals that vary between top and side ins/outs makes for having to be very precise in positioning to make sure I can actually plug/unplug guitar cables from pedals without detaching them. I spent time right after my last post re-doing the board to get everything perfect. But now that the GT2 arrived today, I am likely going to have to do some re-work, especially if I decide to keep the Sweet Tea and put it in front of the GT2 as you suggested.

Agree in the cable routing. I have all my cables routed clean now but it def took a lot of trial and error getting them set up, running through the right holes to be able to reach and not put pressure on the ins/outs or cable necks. I'm using pre-cut right-to-right Mogamis, but have heard a lot of people make their own for this purpose.

Also, the Electro Voice Evolve 50 came in, it's leagues superior sounding over my previous PreSonus studio monitors/sub (even in that perfect nearfield space). Even without the GT2 hooked up yet the sound is much better.

I may try to switch over to velcro on the Trio with that 3M super strong stuff on Amazon, in tidy little strips. I still think I want to build my own board out of wood once I find a good house to buy and can get my woodshop back up. I want a more severe angle for the board, and likely even with three levels, like stadium seats. I'm just playing on a chair/couch, not gigging, so my main goal with a board was always just to have everything in an "always ready to play, just plug in the guitar and go" state.

Thanks for the discussion and feedback! Excited to mess around with the GT2 over with the weekend.

Sean

Offline Majik

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Re: Pedal Order and Function Questions
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2019, 06:49:54 pm »
I got the Trio from Sweetwater a few weeks back along with 12 Medium mounting plates. I like the look of the Trio for sure. As for the mounting plates, mine don't all click in to their holes flushly, as though the precision hole and peg cutting wasn't fully precise. They are stable enough and aren't going anywhere, but if I look underneath, usually at least one (sometimes two) of an individual plate's pegs are not in the hole. Even after significant downward pressure it applied, there' is no satisfying LEGO click.

That is odd, and definitely not my experience. They are not locking and there is a slight bit of "wiggle" but I've really not had any issues getting the pegs to stay in the holes. And once the screw is done up they stay there. It might be worth contacting Sweetwater or Temple Audio about this.

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The real problem ("problem" - it's really just my nit-picking) with the plates is that it really locks you in to certain positions (especially to make sure the screw slot is in a small hole and not a cable opening) mixed with having pedals that vary between top and side ins/outs makes for having to be very precise in positioning to make sure I can actually plug/unplug guitar cables from pedals without detaching them.

Yes, l absolutely agree. In this post I said:

... the criticism I have of the Temple Audio system is that, sometimes, the location of the plates can restrict where you can put things, especially if you are mounting power supplies under the board. This is because each unit requires space under the board for the knurled nut that attaches the plate to the board. If you look at the photo of the underside you can see these.

Basically, you have to plan things carefully to ensure everything fits both on the top and underneath.

The other criticism is that the adhesive plates don't always fit that well on the pedals due to feet and other aspects of the pedal. It possible, it's usually best to remove any rubber feet. Unfortunately you can't do that on a lot of pedals. For instance: many Boss pedals have a single rectangular rubber foot with a hole in the centre.

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I spent time right after my last post re-doing the board to get everything perfect. But now that the GT2 arrived today, I am likely going to have to do some re-work, especially if I decide to keep the Sweet Tea and put it in front of the GT2 as you suggested.

If you are planning to chop and change your pedals a lot, then rejigging everything on the Temple board  may not be ideal. Personally I would be tempted to experiment with them off the board until you are happy with the pedals you are going to use and the order. Then you can build the board around that knowing it's unlikely to change too much.

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Agree in the cable routing. I have all my cables routed clean now but it def took a lot of trial and error getting them set up, running through the right holes to be able to reach and not put pressure on the ins/outs or cable necks. I'm using pre-cut right-to-right Mogamis, but have heard a lot of people make their own for this purpose.

Check out the Evidence Audio kits. They are neat cables and the connectors are re-usable. They aren't cheap, but they are good. I believe the Boss and Planet Waves (and others) cabling kits are similar. Just for a reference point, I had a Pedaltrain previously. They are a pretty basic board comprising not much more than a wedge shaped board with horizontal bars. Running cables between the bars is easy, but you still have to deal with the various cable ins and outs being in awkward places and keeping the cables (and the pedals) tidy is not much fun.

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Also, the Electro Voice Evolve 50 came in, it's leagues superior sounding over my previous PreSonus studio monitors/sub (even in that perfect nearfield space). Even without the GT2 hooked up yet the sound is much better.

Nice!

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I may try to switch over to velcro on the Trio with that 3M super strong stuff on Amazon, in tidy little strips.

3M SJ387B Dual Lock Reclosable tape is well regarded for pedals.

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I still think I want to build my own board out of wood once I find a good house to buy and can get my woodshop back up. I want a more severe angle for the board, and likely even with three levels, like stadium seats. I'm just playing on a chair/couch, not gigging, so my main goal with a board was always just to have everything in an "always ready to play, just plug in the guitar and go" state.

That sounds like a fun project.

In some ways I'm similar to you but where I differ is my pedal needs are fairly basic. I do have a plan for a flexible board that I can use for both guitar and bass, and which give me some nice options including stereo and, possibly, wet-dry-wet, but the actual pedals I'll use on it are not likely to change much once I've got it set up.

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Thanks for the discussion and feedback! Excited to mess around with the GT2 over with the weekend.

Sounds like a fun-filled weekend to me.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline accidentalwisdom

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Re: Pedal Order and Function Questions
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2019, 06:19:25 pm »
Hi Keith,

Just an update, have played around with the GT2 into both direct into the EV Evolve 50 and also in place of the Sweet Tea on my board. It's definitely worth the $105 I paid for it (paid $260 for the Sweet Tea!). It sounds very good, even without the Boss EQ.

I may reach out to Sweetwater about the board. At least for now it's serving it's purpose. I will definitely check out the Evidence Audio kits, but I do have a fair bit invested in all the Mogamis already. I believe there are also Mogami kits out there, too. I know with digital cables like HDMI the "quality" marketing is a complete capitalistic hoax. The 1s and 0s either reach their destination or they don't, and the distance drop off for them is a non-factor for the average consumer.

But for electric signals/analog, I'd never really paid too much heed to standard vs high-end. I just used whatever decent cable was around, Amazon Basics, Kirlin, GLS Audio, Planet Waves, etc. I decided to try out some Mogamis and was fairly impressed with the result, but not really surprised because the science makes sense. In general, I definitely don't NEED Mogamis, regular cables were doing the trick. But I guess I'm glad I bought them. The line noise was definitely reduced fairly significantly vs. the others above. I just don't detect any significant increase in sound fidelity. I think where they will come in to play is just moderately cleaner tracks in the DAW.

Enjoy the weekend!

Sean

 

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