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Thread: Switching from multi-effects to a pedal board...

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    Default Switching from multi-effects to a pedal board...

    For years it was just an amp with drive/gain, and then I was just learning to play guitar without getting confused about pedals.

    Then I bought a Line 6 Spider V (60 watt) for the built in multi-effects and amp modeling. The goal was to start with a giant butt load of options, and then narrow it down from there following a "keep it simple, stupid" game plan. THEN, the next step is to convert what I know about my own personal taste into an amp head and pedal board setup.

    I'm now at a junction point, because I either need to narrow things down just a bit more, or end up with an overly-complex pedal board.

    If I'm replicating my multi-effects setup now (the stuff that I actually use and/or prefer not to give up on), and turning into a pedal board, I've got maybe 2 chorus pedals, at least 1 flanger...and then do I need a phaser...???? 2 maybe 3 distortion pedals, a rotary drum, tremolo, 2 delays, and 1 compression.

    At least 10 pedals...!?! I'd seriously like to get under 7. My problem is that I like to add "industrial / psychedelic" into the mix from time-to-time, and that requires PEDALS!!! But those aren't my go-to style of music.

    Bearing in mind that I haven't shopped for pedals so my ignorance level is high, and I'm not necessarily looking for suggestions on brand/model but will listen: am I getting overly complex at 10 pedals...??? It doesn't confuse me when I'm switching presets on my Spider V, and then dialing it in just a touch for a particular song. But 10 sounds like a bit much to me on a pedal board...or two.

    Whoops, forgot about the Cry Baby. And the looper...

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    Default Re: Switching from multi-effects to a pedal board...

    Hey Gransen, for me, establishing what is the application of the Pedal board or at least your aspirations for the board kind of narrows the answers to a direction -can you tell us a bit more?

    Is it for home recording, or home jamming -ie -it's mostly staying put? local jamming and gigging where it moves often in a car in and out of places, long trips and gigging? or touring?

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    Mojo's Minions Sirion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Switching from multi-effects to a pedal board...

    Why does "industrial/psychedelic" (now that is an odd combo!) demand pedals? It might just be me, but unless you need something that you just cannot get from a multi-fx (editing on the fly is a big one, even if modern units are getting good at this), I would go for a higher-end one rather than getting individual pedals. It will most likely save you a lot of money that could be better spent elsewhere, as well as a lot of headaches when it comes to troubleshooting: ten pedals can obviously work, but once a patch cable gets dodgy it will take some effort to locate the problem. Keep in mind, too, that most pedal rigs will not allow you to change several effects with one stomp, which it sounds like you might be used to.

    Could something like a Line 6 HX effects work? That, or the FX8 would probably be good units for you. I am sure that most other people are going to recommend pedals to you, though.

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    Default Re: Switching from multi-effects to a pedal board...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sirion View Post
    Why does "industrial/psychedelic" (now that is an odd combo!) demand pedals? It might just be me, but unless you need something that you just cannot get from a multi-fx (editing on the fly is a big one, even if modern units are getting good at this), I would go for a higher-end one rather than getting individual pedals. It will most likely save you a lot of money that could be better spent elsewhere, as well as a lot of headaches when it comes to troubleshooting: ten pedals can obviously work, but once a patch cable gets dodgy it will take some effort to locate the problem. Keep in mind, too, that most pedal rigs will not allow you to change several effects with one stomp, which it sounds like you might be used to.

    Could something like a Line 6 HX effects work? That, or the FX8 would probably be good units for you. I am sure that most other people are going to recommend pedals to you, though.
    He probably wants to experiment with lots of sounds and have the flexibility of selecting from a giant swath of products and tones -instead of being beholden to a single company's proficiency at every desired effect stuck to a single form factor, functionality and chip set.

    To me, it makes a ton of sense -if you want options and like flexibility

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    Mojo's Minions Sirion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Switching from multi-effects to a pedal board...

    To a certain extent I can understand that, although I think there are enough products out there that does every common effect well enough that it really shouldn't be something you need to worry about, unless you are looking for something very specific. My practical experience, however, has been that it you end up with fewer rather than more options to experiment with if you go for single effects, unless you are willing to throw a significant amount of money at the project, and possibly end up with a shelf of pedals that you never use. In this case, it also seems like the range of effects is wide enough that a large sample will be needed that a lot of bases will have to be covered, so that it would make sense to go for a product that covers many or even all of those bases, unless one is looking for something that can't be had in any such unit.

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    Default Re: Switching from multi-effects to a pedal board...

    I play at home, and I'm just starting to get into recording for fun. I currently use the USB output, and don't need to graduate from that concept. When I buy a new amp, if it doesn't have USB, then I can use the mixer pedal that I already have (forgot that one too...I've got three pedals now: Cry Baby, looper, and mixer).

    Aspirations...??? If I got good enough to join a bar band or whatever, I'd do it. If we made it big, I'd go for it...!!! If I end up dying in fifty years having never jammed with others (at a higher level than I have at this point), then I probably sold myself short. Call it, "Bar band is a stretch, but I'd do it."

    Music style...??? Heavy metal / hard rock / rock & metal ballads. Genre...??? Think of how eclectic (or "diverse") Led Zeppelin is. No Quarter is trippy! When The Levy Breaks is "hard driving yet trippy." Kashmir is similar in that regard. But that's not all that they do!!! They've got some bluesy stuff like Bring It On Home...that turns into hard rock.

    Think of that diversity, and it's heavy metal instead of hard rock. If I formed a band, it would be called: UZD FUD (with lines not umlauts over the "U's," and pronounce "Used Food.") If you're paying to see a heavy metal band called THAT, what type of sludgy nonsense would you expect from the amps...??? That's me...but add some psychedelic trippy stuff and rock/metal ballads from time-to-time.

    Why do I need pedals to play Industrial or Psychedelic stuff...??? Try to get a phaser sound without any pedals or multi-effects whatsoever!!! It's not ALL like that, but it comes into play.

    One trick that I totally love is to play a chorus pedal just over the reverb...and then cut it before the reverb decays. Call it "Super Reverb." Okay, now don't mess with THAT pedal...and add some chorus/phaser/flanger type of stuff.

    Why not stick with multi-effects...??? They impose limitations that a pedal board would not. The ONLY concern that I have with a pedal board is the need to re-order the pedals in order to alter the sound. Not too hard to do on-the-fly if you have it setup right, but it requires preparation to do that. Thus, it's not much of a concern.

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    Mojo's Minions Sirion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Switching from multi-effects to a pedal board...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gransen View Post
    Why do I need pedals to play Industrial or Psychedelic stuff...??? Try to get a phaser sound without any pedals or multi-effects whatsoever!!! It's not ALL like that, but it comes into play.

    Why not stick with multi-effects...??? They impose limitations that a pedal board would not. The ONLY concern that I have with a pedal board is the need to re-order the pedals in order to alter the sound. Not too hard to do on-the-fly if you have it setup right, but it requires preparation to do that. Thus, it's not much of a concern.
    My apologies, I read your first post as though you were saying that you couldn't do industrial or psychedelic with a multi-fx. Anyway, it sounds like you have made up your mind on pedals. Be aware, though, that they come with limitations of their own (any particular pedalboard will almost certainly be MORE limiting, even with ten pedals on it), especially when it comes to switching several together and storing presets. I am pushing this because I know that whilst single pedals are the rage at present I don't think the reasons most people go for them are particularly convincing, and I want you to consider the options before embarking on what could easily become a very expensive hobby.

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    Default Re: Switching from multi-effects to a pedal board...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sirion View Post
    My apologies, I read your first post as though you were saying that you couldn't do industrial or psychedelic with a multi-fx. Anyway, it sounds like you have made up your mind on pedals. Be aware, though, that they come with limitations of their own (any particular pedalboard will almost certainly be MORE limiting, even with ten pedals on it), especially when it comes to switching several together and storing presets. I am pushing this because I know that whilst single pedals are the rage at present I don't think the reasons most people go for them are particularly convincing, and I want you to consider the options before embarking on what could easily become a very expensive hobby.
    Yeah, thanks! I don't want to just spend money for the sake of spending money either!

    There are two limiters with the multi-effects pedals that I'm familiar with, and this is the reason I'm thinking of going with a pedal board...

    (1) How many effects can you use at the same time...??? Currently, I'm stuck at 4, and then I'm done (excluding my wah pedal).

    (2) My wah pedal goes in exactly ONE spot in the ordering of the pedals...at the beginning. If I buy a separate multi-effects pedal (not the L6 Spider "built in" effects), then I can put that wah pedal either in front or behind the multi-effects unit.

    Yes, I agree, 4 pedals is amazingly enough. But no it's not. The problem comes into play when trying to seriously massage that "weird" sound into shape when going with industrial metal or psychedelic rock/metal. It's a matter of splitting hairs, yes, but I've come to find out that sometimes spitting that hair IN THE RIGHT SPOT IN THE ORDER OF THE PEDALS makes absolutely ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD!!!

    That's the crux of the problem, "splitting hairs efficiently and effectively."

    I'll even say that the old argument that external pedals SOUND better than multi-effects systems is no longer an argument like it was when I first picked up a guitar over 15 years ago. It's not overall sound quality that I'm after, but the ability to SHAPE my sound in a specific way. And please read this: I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT THAT LESS IS MORE!!! Trust me on this one!!! I love the sound that I get from some of the Spider V amp model presets without any effects other than reverb and the overdrive built into that amp model...no distortion pedal required.

    One last thought...

    An experiment that's on the books for me is to modify one of my guitars by putting in a STEREO output jack, and then being able to switch it so that each pickup is running to it's own output. THEN, split the two raw signals, and run them through their own set of effects, THEN run them to their own amps.

    One pickup has some of that "Super Reverb" that I described earlier (a touch of chorus [EDIT: DELAY, NOT CHORUS] that cuts before the reverb fully decays), and some mild overdrive/gain on the amp. The other pickup runs through a set of effects pedals that turns the sound into "toxic electromagnetic goo" that's merely "musical in quality, but not music on it's own." If I'm playing rhythm, then it sounds like I've got a backup rhythm guitar player...who just happens to be able to follow each and everything that I do exactly like I'm currently doing it.

    Remember, the band would be called "UZD FUD." (Does that mean the stuff that gets dumped down the garbage disposal...??? NOPE! Guess again...!!!)

    It would be easier to get gigs with THAT name that it would be if the band was called "Feces," or "Poopy Stuff," or something like that...
    Last edited by Gransen; 02-09-2019 at 01:29 PM.

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    Default Re: Switching from multi-effects to a pedal board...

    The last multi-effects I owned was a Boss GT-6. It did a lot of cool stuff, and I used to spend a lot of time on here arguing that one pedal that cost almost as much as a processor was stupid.

    Now that the multi-units sound really great, I've gone the other way and am piecing together a board. Go figure.

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    Default Re: Switching from multi-effects to a pedal board...

    Quote Originally Posted by JB_From_Hell View Post
    The last multi-effects I owned was a Boss GT-6. It did a lot of cool stuff, and I used to spend a lot of time on here arguing that one pedal that cost almost as much as a processor was stupid.

    Now that the multi-units sound really great, I've gone the other way and am piecing together a board. Go figure.
    Sing it to me, bruthah...!!! I've got "going backwards" nailed down to a science!

    I looked at that Boss GT-6, and my first thought was that I might need a multi-effects pedal, and then a couple of add in's because it only allows for 4 effects (like they all seem to do). I like using the same reverb for all my songs, just different levels, so I plan on using that as part of the guide to narrow down the proper amp (find one with the right reverb). No need for a reverb pedal. I like having that delay pedal for the "Super Reverb" right before the reverb, so that would get installed between the amp and multi-effects pedal. Now I've got my "Super Reverb" under control (including "off" if need be), and I still have 4 effects to play with on the multi-effects system! And since I'm 90% or more stuck with "distortion first" when I use it, maybe I get one of those and go between the guitar and the multi-effects.

    If the distortion just has to come after something else, then I can just go into the multi-effects and use that distortion setting.

    So, maybe it's one multi-effects and two separate external pedals (excluding loop and wah).

    Question: Does anyone have experience plugging individual pedals in along with a multi-effects; and if so, is there anything for me to be aware of...???

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    Default Re: Switching from multi-effects to a pedal board...

    The OP probably doesn't want to hear this, but the best solution for what he's after is probably something like an AxeFx. In terms of sound quality, it'll stomp all over anything Line 6 has ever made, except maybe a Helix. In terms of routing flexibility, it has no parallel that I know of. The only downside really is the cost; too steep for me otherwise I'd probably have one.
    Quote Originally Posted by crusty philtrum View Post
    And that's probably because most people with electric guitars seem more interested in their own performance rather than the effect on the listener ... in fact i don't think many people who own electric guitars even give a poop about the effect on a listener. Which is why many people play electric guitars but very very few of them are actually musicians.

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    Default Re: Switching from multi-effects to a pedal board...

    Quote Originally Posted by dystrust View Post
    The only downside really is the cost; too steep for me otherwise I'd probably have one.
    Looking at it from another angle, the only real downside of a pedal board is the cost...the rig I'd build would cost more than that thing!!!

    All options open, all bets are off! Don't worry if the OP doesn't want to hear your thoughts on this topic. That AxeFx is another something for me to ponder.

    Remember, my current deal was intended to be completely temporary. "An introduction to effects pedals." I'm not replacing to upgrade something that I actually liked...!!! Read the reviews on "speaker sound quality" on a Spider V 60 watt...it's really bad. And get this: you can't replace the speaker and fix the problem, it's the circuit driving the speaker! The headphones and USB output sound awesome!!! But that speaker in the cab can go F itself...!!!

    The plan was for headphones and USB output for recording, so I didn't care.

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    Default Re: Switching from multi-effects to a pedal board...

    This is interesting to me , I would like to get a relatively inexpensive unit that was just effects and not amp simulation , cabinet simulator would be ok though

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    Default Re: Switching from multi-effects to a pedal board...

    If you need to switch multiple effects at once and go to pedals, definitely consider adding this to you board. Gives you power of a modeler with whatever pedals you have:

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    Since you already have multifx you might consider to simply sit down and collect pedals you like one at a time used. If you don't pay too much you can always rotate them finding the best for you without much extra expense.

    Personally I found that when I moved to simple pedals my tone improved for three reasons: Those pedals sound better, I got more options, and practical reasons forced to cut down amount of effects on at once which I think now sounds actually much better.
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    Default Re: Switching from multi-effects to a pedal board...

    Quote Originally Posted by gutiarguy777 View Post
    This is interesting to me , I would like to get a relatively inexpensive unit that was just effects and not amp simulation , cabinet simulator would be ok though
    Depending on what you consider inexpensive, a Line 6 HX Effects at $600 new is worth a look.

    Helix has great effects, and an HX Effects floorboard is pretty cheap for what it does, if you don't care about amp modelling (and if you only care about amp modelling at home, you can get a discount on Helix Native and run the plugin in a DAW, or SAVIHost if that's too complicated to set up). Precise models of many effects, with excellent quality ADC/DAC and impedance switching input.

    I don't have personal experience with patch programming on Fractal, I know Axe-Fx divides up it's DSP differently than Helix, and has fewer amps at once. On Helix Native I have patches with 3 at once (max is 4, but you can color things with neutral amp settings and using extra preamps, too, though they don't have separate power amp models yet), sometimes due to trying to duplicate weird artist rigs, other times just for switching to different amps for clean or crunch without having to switch patches entirely.

    It is excellent for dirt, though I sometimes prefer the legacy versions of dirtboxes (boost/overdrive/distortion/fuzz) with extra controls over the closer clones. Some of the legacy ones have less hiss, too (which makes them a less accurate clone in a few cases, but I often prefer that particular inaccuracy). There's some crazy stuff you can do with bias tremolo and harmonic tremolo in parallel paths before leslie model, or into cabs/IRs, then into a stereo univibe with the lamp bias turned down a bit for squishy textures.

    The reverbs can produce excellent results, but aren't as instant gratification as some competing units. Delays and modulations are much better. The tube and tape echo units are great fun.

    With 4 channel method (input to modeller, loop out to preamp then return from preamp into loop return, then modeller out to power amp input), you can do a lot of crazy things, particularly with full modellers that include amps/preamps. But even without, just being able to place graphic EQ and time domain effects after the preamp while still using compressors, dirt, and EQ in front of the preamp is very powerful, much like an old rack rig, but in a single floorboard unit.

    And Snapshots and Scenes are very powerful. Being able to use buttons to change effects settings inside a patch lets a multi-effects or modeller behave a LOT more like a pedalboard.

    If you have particular pedals you want to explore, you may not find a modern multi-effects does them perfectly. But if you don't mind occasionally resorting to stuffing an extra EQ after or before a virtual dirtbox in a patch, you'll probably find you can save a lot of money and get remarkably similar sounds.

    Fractal and Helix both regularly get firmware (or just software, for the Native plugin in Helix's case) updates that often include new amps and effects, in addition to frequently improving modelling accuracy globally. Helix is currently undergoing some maintenance redesign, so nothing but bugfixes until spring. But they hired a team of experts at polyphonic pitch effects, so I expect another batch of crazy fun in an update within a year.

    There's little reason not to combine options, space and budget permitting. If you need one particular effect (Digitech FreqOut or EHX POG for example), no reason not to just use it with your multi-effects. Or maybe use a looper and pedal assortment in the loop of your modeller.

    Just because you like one kind of thing, doesn't preclude using another as well. Pick what works for your needs, not somebody else's neurotic dogma.

    Modellers, and flexible path multi-effects, really compete better with pedalboards. But there are pedals that do things modellers don't yet, or that just have a unique sound or feel that's easier to get that way, even if you trade off ease of automatic control adjustment in patches (particularly snapshots, I love adjusting multiple knobs with one button press).

    I find my sound is better with a modeller than pedals and old multi-effects, because I can tweak effect order at whim, save snapshots of different settings and switch back and forth at whim while tweaking each snapshot... No tonesuck issues, no need to do anything other than disable an effect not needed for current snapshot. But you can still just do a classic dirt into modulation into delay into amp if that's your preference.

    Pedals have their strengths, modellers can switch readily, and save different configs for easier experimentation, but if you tweak knobs live and a few expression pedals aren't enough, a pedalboard allows a lot more knobs. And if some particular tweak on a pedal is vital to your sound, it is easier to just use that, rather than combining multiple effects and EQ in a modeller.

    I have hundreds of effects and amps (and get another dozen or so every 3-4 months with free updates) and 128 IRs (which don't have to just be speaker cabs) to choose from. I don't see how you can get more options at once than that out of a pedalboard that doesn't include multi-effects and MIDI control. Selecting particular options... Depends on your needs. There's a few families of fuzzes that aren't well represented in the big modellers and multi-effects yet, and some of the standalone digital modulated reverb & delay effects from Strymon are stunning and easier to get their sound out of the actual unit than competing modellers.

    I used to always play guitar into amp, though I liked an intellifex in the loop. But being able to build virtual pedalboards that don't add ANY noise or tonesuck, and don't involve killing my back bending and fiddling, permits a lot of experimentation when the mood strikes.

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    Default Re: Switching from multi-effects to a pedal board...

    Oops, missed specific question about integrating pedals & multi-effects. Jacew is on the right track, some sort of looper, though given you have a multi-effects, I'd probably look into one that is MIDI-controllable. If you don't want all your pedals on at once, or to deal with tapdancing to switch their states when you switch patches (or snapshots, if you upgrade to a modern multi-effects or modeller), the looper will still be useful. I don't know which to recommend, features and price vary a lot, especially if you want integrated effects (which don't tend to have as much routing flexibility as flagship modellers).

    You also mentioned stereo guitars... The flagship Helix has 4 separate inputs, simultaneously usable. And support for Line 6's VDI for Variax input, which I believe can simultaneously do variax digital guitar modelling on one channel while doing the guitar electronics on another.f

    I've heard of people using the Helix for vocals, 2 guitars and bass at the same time. Relatively simple chains for each, though (for instruments, 1 dirt or compressor, amp+cab, modulation, delay and reverb, and that's about all that can fit). Most I've messed with is a patch for 2 guitars, one panned left into a JTM45 model with G12H30-55 cab with hint of room reverb, one right into a JMP model with G12M25 with a bit of tape delay and plate reverb.

    HX Effects only has stereo input, but it keeps the dual send/returns (which can be used as 2 mono loops, or one stereo). It can't do 4 paths at once, maxes out at 2. If 2 loops are enough, and they don't need to be stereo, HX Effects may do everything you need in one box. It even has a pair of switch ports for controlling amps or other effects. Plus MIDI & USB.

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    Default Re: Switching from multi-effects to a pedal board...

    I did what you are doing. Had a pedal board with multiple delays, choruses, reverbs and amp sim pedals, and used a loop switcher to effectively change entire chains. Heavy is hell. The switcher was $400, one reverb was $300, one of the delays was $300. After several of those, the board was way more than double the value of my amp.

    Now I just use a $99 Zoom MS-50G and a $110 AMT volume pedal on a Pedaltrain Nano board and sling it over my shoulder when I carry my guitar to the gig. I think you can have up to 6 effects in any order and thereís 50 user presets you can cycle through, so itís like having 50 pedal boards. Has emulations of just about every chorus, reverb, flange and amp you could want. The only thing I need is a mini wah and it would be complete.

    I donít miss my old board. Maybe a couple effects were higher quality sound, but not worth the cost, weight and space. The amp sims in the Zoom are better than almost all my pedals and rack versions. Donít miss the old board. If I needed more sophisticated chaining/ordering I would just get a second Zoom.

    If I were seriously going to spend the thousands of dollars for a real flexible multi-chain pedal board again, then the AxeFX / Kemper kind of thing might be a much better option.
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