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Posted on 22/02/09 04:32:12 AM
alan
 

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Effects Box
Ok, so you live in an area where there aren't alot of horn players around. You've got a buddy who plays trumpet and you're in a funk/r&B/soul outfit. Trouble is you want a horn section that sounds like JB Horns or Tower of Power. OK i know what you're thinking "Surely that takes practice!" But seriously, I've listened to Average White Band for ages, then saw a video of them and was very suprised to see there was only one alto and one tenor.

Can anyone suggest a good effects box that can have two inputs and output what sounds like a six piece horn section. Slight reverb, transposition (e.g. up a minor third etc) to create harmonies. I seem to remember some posts here a while back about this but can't seem to find them.

Aslo I don't have a Ph.D in Computer programming or electronics, so a really easy user interface would be important.
Any advice would be much appreciated.
Cheers
Al

Posted on 22/02/09 08:50:11 AM
nachoman
 

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Re: Effects Box
from my experience most pedals designed for guitars (with the exception of delay/echo/reverb-y things) tend to colour a sax tone too much to be viable. As you say- a bit of delay, a harmonizer and possibly a chorus pedal would seem to be the thing (chorus will colour your basic tone but in a quite 1970s sort of way, stick a tenor through a chorus pedal and you'll recognize the type of sound that comes out from various late 70s early 80s recordings- though the only one I can think of at the mo is X-Ray Spex). Harmonizers are great- but go for one designed for vocalists unless you want your harmony part to sound almost-but-not-quite-like a sax).....


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Posted on 22/02/09 12:42:57 PM
dooce
 

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Re: Effects Box
Have a look at Digitech products. I've got a Vocal 300 box which is designed for voice but you can programme some nice delay/reverb/fixed transposition intervals into it. The more recent models have a transposition arangement where the rhythm guitar or keyboard is fed into it, it works out what key/chord and then provides a harmony voice. Dead clever.

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Posted on 23/02/09 10:10:28 AM
lockjaw
 

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Re: Effects Box
I've always wondered about trying a harmoniser, but one thing bothers me. Generally, horns playing harmonies will have varying intervals from note to note (generally minor 3rds, major 3rds, 4ths and 5ths, occasionally major 2nds on a 7th chord) depending on where you are in relation to the key.

Doesn't it sound horrible if you just set a fixed interval?

Maybe setting an octave is the safe option? But that isn't technically a harmony of course.

Posted on 23/02/09 5:06:35 PM
col
 

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Re: Effects Box
This is probably going to make me look like a philistine, but I use a Yamaha Silent Brass ST5 for effects. It was cheap as chips (I know, you get what you pay for!) but has a range of effects. The only one I ever use is Echo on 'Pappa was a rolling stone' tried the harmonisers which give either a 5th or an octave above or below, but it sounds like a a cheap electric organ.
It has a number of other effects and a tuner, metronome, phrase trainer and with an ear-piece acts as a cheap monitor. Not bad for 30 on e-bay. Having never used any effects before it seems a good place to start to learn what you need/want. I'm experimenting with the Chorus effect to get that AWB fill. By the way, their website has a good article by the sax player on how he achieves that and the amount of hours it takes to programme just one song, and the equipment needed.

Posted on 24/02/09 03:26:38 AM
alan
 

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Re: Effects Box
Thanks for your comments. Dooce, cheers, your mention of Digitech allowed me to narrow the search and find the thread which goes into alot of detail about effects (sorry FX !). It seems the Digitech 300 has alot of aproval. The Digitech 400 even more because you can creat and experiment on your PC first.

I read the wonderful article you mentioned Col, by Freddy V of the Average White Band. It is here
http://www.averagewhiteband.com/_musos/fredsgear.html
He uses a TC Helicon VoiceLive. Although posters in the previous thread said that it is really quite complicated to understand and set up, but they do say that you can create a 4 piece horn section from one input.

An interesting point that Freedy V makes is "One of the keys to getting a believable section sound is to always voice the real sax as the top note in the harmony. If you put the harmonizer voice on top, it sounds a bit kazoo-like." Good tip, also he usually only ever uses 2 further voices, rather than the full 4 available.

So just 2 main questions.
1. The Digitech 300 or 400, has great effects but can you create harmony, horn sections, with them, like the VoiceLive, if so how many further voices after the 'dry' sax?
2. Do these effects boxes only work with one input, or could you have two instruments and create an even beefier horn section?
Cheers,
Al

PS - The TC Helicon Voice lives seems to be about $500, the Digitech Vocal 400 seems to be about $300 and the 300 = $200

Oh and then there is the DigiTech Vocalist Live 2 Harmony Processor and the DigiTech Vocalist Live 4 Harmony Processor

Posted on 24/02/09 10:17:41 PM
dooce
 

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Re: Effects Box
So far as I know, the Digitech 300 & 400 only allow a fixed interval to be programmed in. You can programme your own stuff into it - you would want to 'cos the standard factory patches are mostly just stupid alien voices, telephone effects etc. I've programmed mine for octave down, fifth down, fourth down etc - mostly so I can create a doubled harmony in a major key - but that is it - whatever you play while that effect is on is that fixed effect so, other than the octave down, it will sound horrible and atonal if you play anything other than the root note. You could be clever and switch between 4th/5th but boy, you would need to be quick! That's where the "harmoniser" comes in and so far as I know, it is the only way to create a brass section type harmony from one or two instruments that doesn't restrict what you actually play.

But then, others probably know an awful lot more!

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Posted on 25/02/09 05:11:10 AM
nachoman
 

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Re: Effects Box
Thinking of using effects on saxes- anyone know what exactly a Condor Box was- it's a late 60s early 70s effect processor much used by the tenor guy from Dr John's band- check out 'Gris-Gumbo YaYa' or 'I Walk on Guilded Splinters'- great sax sound but i've never been able to pin down exactly what it is that's been done to the sax' tone....

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