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Posted on 07/04/08 09:05:57 AM
dooce
 

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Effects pedal
Bit of a long story, but on gigs, I play through our PA, powered by a Yamaha EMX 5000 mixer/amp. It's a scary piece of kit for electrics numpties like me and apart from the usual fiddling to give a bit of treble here and a bit of extra bass there, we have never really explored it's capabilities because it only comes out of the box for gigs when there's never enough time to do anything other than do a basic set-up.

However a couple of months ago we used it for rehearsal and in one of the long and (to me) staggeringly boring guitar-god numbers where I do little more than provide the odd honk here and there, I got to fiddle with the effects and found a "chorus" setting which gave a whole new dimension to the sound - it kind of fuzzes it up and gives it a slightly eerie quality. So at the next gig I stationed myself next to the mixer and switched the effects (I believe it's cool to call them "FX"!) on for a few solos. Sounded great and even the guys in the band pricked their ears up (fairly remarkable for that bunch of drongo's). (Who I love dearly of course )

So that got me thinking and I did some research on SOTW and found quite a few players were using a vocal FX processor called a Digitech 300 - found one on eBay for about 100 quid and have spent a few evenings setting it up. Dead easy to use - footpedal controlled, it comes with some god-awful standard settings (helium voices, monsters, telephone etc.) which I had to discard, but I've created settings which double up the sound to give me a major third up, fifth up, octave down, echo delay, chorus, etc. Not played it with the band yet and it will take some exploring to find which effect to use and when, but I'm really looking forward to the next gig. Must learn the art of self-control though so I don't spend the whole gig sounding like the AGM of the Moog Synthesiser Society!

Anyone else played with one of these things - or similar?

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Posted on 07/04/08 12:46:03 PM
linky_lee
 

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Re: Effects pedal
I haven't done it on saxophone, But I fiddled around with one whilst my friend was playing electric violin and I've done it on flute.

I've been thinking of getting it out again for some delay effects, and reverb/chorus etc. For the reggae band. Could work really nicely.

Ever tried using a whammy feature to scream out some altissimo notes? I'm cringing with the thought now... ouch.

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Posted on 07/04/08 10:19:15 PM
jools
 

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Re: Effects pedal
Ooooh, now you're in my territory.

I have a 'stage box' which both mics go through (sax and flute). In it, there's a small mixer routed to a bunch of pedals. Xoom 505 guitar, a Xoom studio rack and a Digitech Digital delay. The 505 adds either 'room delay' (great for funk!) or reverb, dub echo or filthy valve amp. All set to acoustic settings. The rack adds both chorus and 'auto wah' which is good for extreme volume dynamics. And finally the delay unit adds a vintage 'step and repeat' "Copycat" style echo.

From my experience, 'dry' sax on stage just sounds like a car horn. You have to have some electrics going on if you're doing rock. The worst case scenario is at a sound check when the engineer 'promises' that he'll add some "FX' cos they never do. If they insist on using their own settings, I just unplug the cable on the mic and route it through my box and send it back via a DI. MWAAAHAAAhaaaaa.

One of the best tricks of the Xoom rack is that it also has a "pitch' setting which adds another voice set to a different interval. I set this to a 5th and I am a one-man horn section!!!

(if I'm playing jazz, I just turn up with a saxophone. *shrug*)

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Posted on 08/04/08 08:08:37 AM
philthd
 

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Re: Effects pedal
when i saw soweto kinch his pedalboard had more units in it than many a guitarist's rig - a lot of it was loopers and delays and stuff though i think

a little bit of slapback is always good

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Posted on 08/04/08 08:19:49 AM
jools
 

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Re: Effects pedal
yeh- the Digitech does 'sample and loop' which is extremely sweet. You can set up a big phat 'parp-parp' bass line, add a harmony chord tone, then solo over the top. Hours of jolly fun.

(would be great for busking!)


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Posted on 09/04/08 11:07:31 PM
dooce
 

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Re: Effects pedal
Jools, I had a look at your vids - nice sound. I'm obviously just dipping my toe in the FX water right now - I hope I can get as good use fom the gear as you - eventually.

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Posted on 10/04/08 10:00:19 AM
jools
 

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Re: Effects pedal
Ta, Dooce.

basically, it takes ages to get a 'sensible' or workable sound. Lots of playing at home and meddling about with stuff. Learning about 'ground loops' and 'feedback' and endless technicalities. Figuring out how to eliminate hiss and buzz and the fact that anything with a battery in it will fail at a gig. Guaranteed. It's fun, but you end up with a suitcase to carry round and setting up takes half an hour or more (rather than the ten minutes to get your sax out of its case!). The bottom line of what I'm attempting to do, is to recreate a 'studio' effect in a live setting. LESS IS MORE. On the recordings you've heard, my effects have been done in post-production, but they represent, more or less, what I do to it live.

Its worth a go if you're interested. Its always good to push the boundaries.

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Posted on 10/04/08 3:58:28 PM
pete__taz_
 

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Re: Effects pedal
Ok all you "Educated at the School of Rock!" type guy's, I have no knowledge of how to set up the PA or even what sort of mic I use. but I want to learn. I want to make great noises like Dana Coley. The use of effects pedals/boxes appears to be an "If you can't beat 'em" approach, I know there are loads of different types of pedals and boxes so where can I learn all about them. I have to say Jools, your stage box sounds very impressive....but what does it do? I like the Idea of one sax sounding like a Parping great section, maybe you wouldn't mind talking me through your personal setup, explaining how you put it together, why you chose those particular items, how it works and when and why you use it.
I hope I'm not the only person who is this ignorant as to how my sound is projected/altered on stage

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Posted on 10/04/08 11:12:51 PM
jools
 

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Re: Effects pedal
Agh. Taz, as it says above, it's a threefold attack: reverb, compression and delay.

Delay adds an 'ambient feel' to the sound: as though it were in a room or a cathedral. 'Compression' is my term for what synthesizer players call the 'envelope' of a sound. In other words. how the sound is sculpted afterwards. Delay, is simply another way of describing what happens to the sound afterwards. An echo.

I chose that particular sequence of effects so that I could sound like a studio player or horn section from the past (Motown style for eg). I don't want my sax to sound like a synth or a guitar, I just want it to sound like it was recorded. Almost like a 'sample'

Choosing those particular items was a long and painful process. I have owned basic chorus pedals, equalisers and WEM copycat echo machines in the past but by a process of elimination I have narrowed it down to just the three that work acoustically.

"what does it do?"- it makes a basic sax sound like a 'well known recording' -whatever that is. A bit like putting a picture in a frame. On stage, particular with guitarists, it makes you sound like ... one of them. I have no idea what that means but it's true. As you say: if you can't beat 'em...


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Posted on 11/04/08 11:26:43 AM
dooce
 

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Re: Effects pedal
Taz wrote:
Ok all you "Educated at the School of Rock!" type guy's, I have no knowledge of how to set up the PA or even what sort of mic I use. but I want to learn.


Oh no you don't Pete, or you'll wind up like me - I spend 45 minutes every gig running the cables, checking the settings, positioning the monitors, getting the balance and meanwhile sweating like a pig while the guitarist twiddles and the rest of them prop up the bar and tell me the PA sounds rubbish. I eventually get the sax out the case about 15 minutes before we start playing! Not that I know what I'm doing, it's just that the rest of them know even less........

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Posted on 11/04/08 12:26:15 PM
saxnut
 

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Re: Effects pedal
Hi. I also have a long story cut down to : fellow sax player left the band, want to keep as full a sound as possible, bought Logitech 400, messing around with different patches now, have rehearsed with it twice and got positive response from the rest of band. Bricking it with a gig coming up next week so it'll have to be right by then!

Like dooce, I've no experience in this area so am doing a lot of "trial and error". The advantage of the 400 is you can edit patches on-screen then save them direct to the pedal so it's a lot less "fiddly".

So far I've got 4 patches. To keep some kind of continuity in the sound, I've kept the same delay and reverb on all of them but I've not used any compression at all yet. I've toned things down from my first attempts where I used every effect on the list - Tube Pre, mic simulation etc. I've also turned the amount of effect right down as there was waaaaaay too much happening, especially on numbers like "I feel Good" where I didn't want loads of echo etc.
dooce, what level effects settings are working with?

So far I've got a "solo" patch with just delay and reverb. I've got an "octave down" with the same effects PLUS the harmony, ditto for an "octave up" (hoping for a bit of "top" or as near to a trumpet as I can get) and the same for "2 octaves down" which I hoped would simulate Alto/Bari on "Mustang Sally" type numbers - it's awful, like the QE2 is coming into port.

The octave down patch is terrific and really beefs up my sound, the solo patch is pretty good too but I'm still not happy with the others and will keep experimenting with them. That said, I can cover most numbers with the first 2 patches. Switching from one patch to another is just a matter of tapping a pedal with your foot and there's usually a few beats grace so it doesn't feel rushed.

My next experiment will be with "thicken" on max to try for a "two sax in unison" sound, am I on the right lines there?

I'd considered making up patches with 3rd's or 5th's but wonder how that would work for anything other than basic chord changes. EG you've got a major 3rd patch and there's a minor chord in there.

I've also read that parallel 5th's should be avoided but that a 4th below works - can that be right?

Please excuse the long-winded post and any theoretical mistakes on my part, not to mention any wrong terminology about the 400's effects. I'm typing this at work pretending to be busy and the pedal is at home!

I'd welcome any pointers.
SaxNut

Posted on 13/04/08 5:27:45 PM
dooce
 

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Re: Effects pedal
Saxnut, I'll dig out the settings and post them here - I took the basic, horrible sounds on the pedal and played around till they sounded about right. I've got similar to you, and yes you are right about 3rds and 5ths, but it's all just trial and error just yet. Good fun though, isn't it?

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Posted on 13/04/08 10:12:40 PM
paulyt
 

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Re: Effects pedal
Mic it up and play it through a Jim Dunlop Cry Baby Wah Wah pedal!!



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Posted on 13/04/08 10:19:40 PM
jools
 

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Re: Effects pedal
OOooh Pauly, do you know how cool that sounds? - Xero Slingsby used to use a Wah pedal and on a sax sounds incredible. Lester Young used to do a similar 'wah' effect with alternative fingerings.

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Posted on 14/04/08 08:16:47 AM
saxnut
 

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Re: Effects pedal
Boy am I glad to get these responses. I thought I might have stepped on some toes by "butting in".

Dooce - would be good to see what settings you use and compare. I'll post mine when I can. There's also a forum on the Logitech web-site where you can get some alternative settings but as it's a vocal effects pedal it's mostly guys saying they've found a way to sound like John Lennon or whatever! And yes, it's great fun, I'm having a ball with it!

Jools, had a look at your web-site - great video and great sound. Do you use different effects for each number or have "standards"?

Pauly, I'm having enough trouble sorting out my first ever pedal but you never know....... Ref the mic, I guess that's for another topic but I use an AMT Roam Elite, have you seen them - fantastic piece of kit, TINY!

Our band keeps threatening to play the Amy Winehouse/Mark Ronson version of Valerie (sorry but personally can't stand it!) and for a lot of the time the trumpet is a 6th above the tenor (is that normal?) so plan on doing a patch a 6th above to see what that's like. For the rest of it they are playing 3rd's. I'll have to do one for that as well so it will be a good exercise. Maybe also get over my dislike of the number by immersing myself in the harmonies?
SN



Posted on 14/04/08 08:25:57 AM
jools
 

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Re: Effects pedal
Saxnut - different effects for different songs. That's what makes it versatile. A lot of 'home-practice' gets you some speed when playing with a band. So long as your settings allow for the much higher volume levels (PA, monitors, mic-loops etc - keep that gain down!) AND so long as you know which set-up goes with which song ! ! ! it should be just a case of stomping on the pedals, like a well rehearsed guitarist would.

From experience, there is nothing worse than being on stage, between numbers, on your hands and knees struggling to see an LCD display or read a control setting in near darkness. It just looks 'amateur'

-and you need loads of batteries, because even if you got a new one on the day of the gig - it WILL fail on the night.

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Posted on 14/04/08 08:33:31 AM
philthd
 

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Re: Effects pedal
had a dreadful gig as a guitarist where all my peadls batteries died, one by one - i was on my knees after every number rerouting patch cables.

end result - i wouldnt dream of not powering effects from the mains ever again

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Posted on 14/04/08 08:37:21 AM
saxnut
 

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Re: Effects pedal
Hi Jools, I'm hear what you say about variety although I'm hoping to keep the number of patches down as we are a party/pub band and don't need loads of different sounds.
At this week's rehearsal on Brown Sugar, I play Alto on that one, used my octave down patch throughout until the solo. One step on the pedal to change, then back again and I felt like a pro - pity I can't play like one.
I'm planning on using the pedal on mains power so that's not an issue but the AMT needs an AAA, we've just gone to in-ear monitoring, they all need AA - and guess who's in charge of the batteries????
SN

Posted on 15/04/08 1:41:56 PM
saxnut
 

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Re: Effects pedal
Hi again, have just had another go at some new patches. One of the best was also the simplest as I just used "double" to fatten the sound.

However, I also tried different harmonies and that wasn't so successful. I tried a 6th up on one and another with a major third down. Neither seemed to sound right for even simple riffs.
Any bright ideas out there?


Posted on 15/04/08 1:57:18 PM
philthd
 

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Re: Effects pedal
a simple effect like that isnt going to take into account the key/harmony structure of the tune.

with many vocal effects units and other harmonisers you can painstakingly program with the chart for each number which will then give you the block chord voicings feel youre after - i assume this is where youre falling down (but wont pretend to know definitively)


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Posted on 15/04/08 2:19:55 PM
saxnut
 

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Re: Effects pedal
Phil - think you've got that right on the button.
I'm really only trying to "get by" while I'm on my own and octaves/doubling and stuff seem to work fine, so think I'll leave it at that for now. I've got to get this ready for our next gig this Saturday (in reality for tomorrow night's rehearsal) and won't be able to spend much more time before then anyway.
For the future though I'd like to learn more about the EQ and compression settings and see how far I can take this.
As dooce mentioned above, it's a load of fun though.

Posted on 20/04/08 09:19:22 AM
saxnut
 

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Re: Effects pedal
Bit of an update. Used the pedal on a gig last night. Fantastic results. In the end I stuck to two patches, "doubled" and "octave down" and it was pretty obvious which one to use and when. Said before we are a pub/party band and the set list is heavily Stones/Blues Brothers/Commitments so sophistication not required!
It was great knowing I was in control of my own effects and not relying on someone else to give me "a bit more reverb please". That and knowing my sound will be the same every time I play.

Dooce, have you used yours yet? Totally to be recommended.
SN

Posted on 20/04/08 6:51:09 PM
dooce
 

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Re: Effects pedal
I used it at rehearsal last week, not that successfully. There must be a problem with the electricity at the rehearsal venue because the display goes beserk and although the effects work, you can't see which one you are using - works fine here at home though. I found there is way too much reverb/delay on most of the settings, so it's back to the drawing board for the final ones - but even so, it makes the sax sound fantastic - in the right place.

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Posted on 20/04/08 8:52:35 PM
paulyt
 

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Re: Effects pedal
As a geeeetarist I need to say that those multi effects pedals are pretty crap. You spend hours setting them up at home and they never sound the same on the 'shop floor'. The best way to control your sound is through separate pedals. On my pedal board I use Boss pedals and a Jim Dunlop wah wah. The boss pedals I use for guitar are a DD3 (digital delay), a flanger and an overdrive. Added to this is a tuner. All powered by a Soundlab 6 output power supply unit. The reason I use separate pedals is that it's easy to set each one up individualy at rehearsal and they sound the same at a gig. The reason I use Boss is that I think they are the best. Now, with a little experimentation, and the range of pedals you can get, I reckon that a pedal board for a sax could give a huge range of sounds. I, personally, would never again use Behringer pedals.
PaulyT

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Posted on 21/04/08 07:58:31 AM
dooce
 

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Re: Effects pedal
Paul - I am in complete numpty-dom here, but I got a Digitech, which is aimed at vocalists, simply because I could plug an XLR equipped mic into the back of it and go - and there are quite a few sax-players using them already if you search on SOTW. All the geeetar effects use jack connectors, and OK you can get an adaptor, but I figured that a signal from a sax mic would be far more comparable to that from a vocal mic than that from a guitar, so the processor would deal with it better. And anyway, it was cheap.

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Posted on 21/04/08 10:12:49 AM
saxnut
 

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Re: Effects pedal
Simplicity was the thing for me. I only got mine because I didn't want our overall sound to be "thinner" when my friend left. However, I was a bit conscious of not over-complicating things for the first time out gigging with it either. Moving from one patch to the other was a quick one-tap move. I'm sure I'll experiment further with it now I'm over the first hurdle though.

I was really chuffed with the sound on Saturday using the two patches mentioned above. Some of the guys who've seen the band a few times said the overall sound was as good (or bad!) as normal.
The down-side is a pedal is no substitute for a real player. Nor was there anyone to glare at when I played a bum note.
The up-side is I was perfectly in tune and in time with myself all night.


Posted on 21/04/08 1:03:46 PM
paulyt
 

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Re: Effects pedal
I was talking about the multi-effect pedals, and how they can be a pain to set up, rather than the processors. The temptation might be, as it was for me, to get a multi-effect pedal. I was just saying - if there is a temptation, resist it cos it's not, in my opinion, a good choice!

PaulyT

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Camping? Let me tell you, there's only one thing worse than waking up in the morning to find a Cub in your tent - and that's finding a Brownie in your underpants!

Posted on 24/04/08 5:47:12 PM
philthd
 

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Re: Effects pedal
found this interesting (especially since ive been fighting the GAS for a jamman for a while)

bruce lamont - who i mentioned in another thread - talks through his rig


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Posted on 21/05/08 03:49:35 AM
alan
 

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Re: Effects pedal
SaxNut - I am really interested in your setup that you bought. We have been looking at a way to beef up our sound in the horns (two of us - trumpet and tenor). We play funk (we sound like a marching brass band). Your unit seems the way forward and have found a reasonably priced one on the ebay. Just to confirm - when you say 'Logitech 400', do you mean DigiTech VX 400. I am not nit-picking, just want to be sure we are talking about the same thing. Cheer Alan

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Posted on 21/05/08 06:22:38 AM
saxnut
 

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Re: Effects pedal
Hi Alan, first off, yes it's a Digitech Vx400 - sorry for the earlier "typo". If you have a choice, go for the 400, rather than the 300 model, as with the 400 you can edit patches via your PC (not Mac) which makes it so much easier to mess around with them.

Following Jools suggestion, I'm branching out with different patches for different songs. Latest addition uses "phaser" which sounded great on "Superstition" at our last gig.

Obviously I just use it with a single mic but it looks like you could use the L/R line inputs (alternatively instrument and mic inputs) so you should be able to get both of you through one pedal.

I just read the relevant part of the manual and you can choose to route each input via full or part effects (or totally dry if you wanted?). So you could set it up (for example) with one of you playing a harmony, the other straight but with both of you still having the same delay and reverb. If you both went through full effects and used "doubler" or "de-tune" or octave down/up you could sound like a 4-piece section - LOADS of stuff like that.

I'm not technical enough to know what kind of mic you would need to plug into "line in" or "instrument in" - I can obviously just use "mic in" but my guess is your best bet would be to use the 1/4" jack left and right "line in" and take it from there.

According to the manual you can also route each of you to different outputs but at that point I lost the will to live!
Hope helps.
SaxNut
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