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Author Topic: Oh, THAT again...  (Read 1108 times)

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Kim

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Oh, THAT again...
« on: Time Format »

...The "Gear Honeymoon is Over" stuff.   :(

I go through these weird phases where I am just stunned and floored by the way my gear sounds, and then later on I feel disappointed and annoyed that something's not quite right about it.  It doesn't help when things start acting up here and there either.  Bad cables, dodgy jacks, mismatched Levels, old and finicky gear all play a part.  I wish I could stay happy with my sound.  I've changed so many things in the last few years, (mostly preamp Voicing, Drive, and EQ settings in the MP2) only to just have that nagging feeling that something just isn't quite right.  My Live/Rehearsal speaker cab (straight Sonic 4x12 with V30s) seemed...."off".  Just for kicks, I brought my JSX 4x12 over to replace it and that made a big positive difference by itself.  But still felt like not right.  So then I dragged over the JSX head and hooked that up to the cab, and completely bypassed the entire guitar section of our rack.  No MP2, no fx processor, no Midi control.  Better?  Mmmm....not sure.   I threw a dirt pedal in front of the amp and then it started to get more interesting.  I have a bunch of different drive pedals, and I picked the Ibanez Smash Box simply because it had a built-in Gate function.  Turns out, that function didn't really help at our rehearsal volume but the sound was plenty beefy.  It has so much Distortion available (and will not make a Clean Boost even when the Drive is turned all the way down) but I kept that pretty low because my tastes are "less distortion, more definition".   Last week, I found a too-good-to-pass-by deal on a pair of pedals from a local ad and picked those up: the much-maligned Boss Metal Zone and also an MXR FullBore Metal.  Well, the MXR has a built-in Gate so that was automatically favored.  I actually spent a few hours doing a shootout with all my drive/dist/fuzz pedals at gig/rehearsal volume and settled on that MXR.  It also has a ridiculous amount of Distortion available, but I turned that all the way down and gave my attention to the EQ tweaking on it.  The Gate in the MXR works heaps better than the one on the Ibanez.  So, it seems like I have something I like again (for now, right?)  ;)  but we'll have to see how it sounds with the rest of the band.  I may have to do more experimenting, which at this point is becoming quite maddening.   

I don't understand why I seem to feel this way.  I don't understand why I can't seem to dial my rack in anymore so that I'm pleased with the sound for more than 10 minutes.  I want to avoid directly copying someone else's sound, but I can't seem to be happy with my own either.  I also don't have loads of money to keep trying different pieces of gear; the amount I've spent in the last 5 years is downright shameful.   :facepalm: 
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rnolan

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Re: Oh, THAT again...
« Reply #1 on: Time Format »

Hey Kim, I hear you.  My journey over the years has been to simplify, these days I only use 3 or 4 sounds.  The best thing I ever did to my MP2 was to go with the Mullard long plates, that really worked for me and how I play.  The other big change was to use the less distorted voicings, e.g. 5 Vintage or whatever and I even started vol pot rolling and playing with the tone pots a bit.  Like you I've always run up my own sounds, I'm not fussed about sounding like anyone else.  Most of the sound though (as you know) is from your fingers.  Also as we get older, maybe we like different things (and our ears are wearing out, getting waxed up etc).  Maybe try combining the JSX set up with the MP2 rack rig and do a chow ming with an A/B A + B switch on the input(s).
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Live Rig: MP2/MB1 > Alesis Quadverb > Alesis Midiverb 4 > Yamaha AM802 > B200s/Carvin TS100/DCM200L > ADA Split Stacks/Mesa P112s

Dante

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Re: Oh, THAT again...
« Reply #2 on: Time Format »

Preach.

I'm doing the same thing as Richard, simplifying things. I found myself really only using 3-4 tones with my rack gear, and my rack gear is not getting any younger, so I looked for an alternative. I got the Viper, thought it would solve everything, but I couldn't get my G-system or my MS-3 to switch channels in it....so it still added another pedal to the board. Dammit.

So, I figured the Viper was only two channels, and I could get by with that by having different EQ settings and getting the same 3-4 'patches' if you will. I bought a 2-channel head and hooked the G-system to it. Once I got the MS-3, the G-system was too big to carry. FFWD to today, I'm running NO rack gear.

I have my MP-2 in a 2u rack with a Boss GX-700, for a 'fly rig' of sorts. However, it's a bit noisy....I'd rather use my Classic, but it has some sort of fuzz issue right now, so yeah. I'm running into a 2-channel head. It's simple, small, sounds brutal. But, you know, there are times when I'm endlessly fiddling with it. And, I've gone through a good deal of dirt pedals in search of a good 'classic sounding' crunch. I settled on the MojoMojo, but I admit I use the amp's dirt more than anything. It really reacts great to picking attack and volume knob-rolloffs.

I think Richard makes a good point about aging. Tastes change, your ears get worn down on the edges, shit sounds different. Go with it. It's not the destination, but the journey, don't get lost. Stay on the path ;) Never know what you'll find.
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ADA Gear: MP-1 Classic | MP-2 | MicroTube 200 | MicroFet | MXC w/Quad Switch
Current Live Rig (wait 10 min., it'll change): Peavey Classic 20mh head into the matching 1x12 speaker cab, using my Boss MS3 via 4CM.
Current Rack rig: Digitech 2120 > ADA MT-200 > 1x12 Thiele cab (EV Force speaker)

Zilthy

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Re: Oh, THAT again...
« Reply #3 on: Time Format »

I hear ya and understand.   I ended up purging everything I built up last year and finally went with what I originally intended.

2 channel head, 1 eq, 1 boost, and delay.  Just as God intended. :D

Been really happy with that, play it a lot more than I ever did all the rack and programming setups.  I think I am just done with programming.   I program all day at work.  When I play, I just want it to sound good, if something's off, just turn a quick dial.   I got my one sound and I'm happy.  If I need clean I can roll off the volume, not like I play much clean anyway.

That being said, I did just get another amp.  But this time, it was a deal just too good to pass up on, instead of GAS.   That was kind of a novel experience.
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Kim

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Re: Oh, THAT again...
« Reply #4 on: Time Format »

Been awhile since any Updates, but there have been a few.

You know....a person could just fiddle with stompboxes almost nearly as much as they could with a full rack.    :facepalm:
Anyway, I put the stomps back on the shelf and tried some other ideas because my mind seemed to be stuck in that "What If..." mode.   This time, I went back to the rack stuff (MP2/Intellifex) but used the JSX head for the Power section instead of using the rack Classic 120 poweramp.  Much better, but why?  Could be that the JSX has a Presence knob and Resonance knob to adjust because tweaking those really helped.  Could also be that I've gotten the signal gain structures matched to a better degree as well.  When I was using the rack poweramp, its Master Volume was kept all the way up on "10" because it was located on the @#$^ back of the poweramp.  Using the JSX, its Master Volume is on the front within easy reach and eventually I settled with it at about "6" and then using the MP2 volume for making any final adjustments. 

By the way, I made these changes several months ago and it's been sounding good so far!   :banana-dance:
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rnolan

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Re: Oh, THAT again...
« Reply #5 on: Time Format »

Hey Kim, cool  :thumb-up:
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Studio Rig: MP2/MB1 > Eurorack UB2442FX-Pro > TC M-One XL > Behringer Truths (with Truth Sub) / QUAD ESL 63s
Live Rig: MP2/MB1 > Alesis Quadverb > Alesis Midiverb 4 > Yamaha AM802 > B200s/Carvin TS100/DCM200L > ADA Split Stacks/Mesa P112s

Harley Hexxe

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Re: Oh, THAT again...
« Reply #6 on: Time Format »

Hey Kim,

         It's good that you have something you like going right now, but don't lose that "What if..." attitude. Experimentation is the grease in the wheels of invention and discovery.

         You mentioned the Ibanez Smash Box. If that is the SM-7 Tone-Lock series, I'm not surprised it disappointed you. While the Tone-Lock series have great sounding effects, they are not true bypass, and in bypass mode, they DO affect your tone. I have the WD-7 Weeping Demon Wah pedal which is an AWESOME pedal with a lot of tweaking capabilities. But I did to a tone comparison with it in line and out of line to the input of my amps and discovered the tone of my guitar changed significantly, and not in a good way. Believe it or not, It sounds better going into an amp like my Fender Cyber-Deluxe than any of my tube amps, or rack preamps. That's why I never bought another of the Tone-Lock series pedals.
         For an external gate, (in a pedal) Boss makes a decent one. Nuno used to use one in the front of his MP-1 when he played through those rigs, but I prefer mine in the effects loop of the preamp. I seem to get better dynamics that way. I never tried my dbx gates in the effects loop of the MP-2. Since it already has it's own gate, I didn't see the point.
        With my MP-1 rigs, I've found the best places in the signal path for noise gates, are either in the loop if using a minimum of external rack processors, or if I have a significant number of effects, at the end of the effects chain but before the delays and reverbs, (which are always the last two effects, in that order).

     I hope there is something helpful there.

Harley 8)
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I used to be ambivalent. Now, I'm just not sure...

rabidgerry

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Re: Oh, THAT again...
« Reply #7 on: Time Format »

I get this sometimes, but not in a long time.  I found it was hearing fatigue if I am honest.  Not saying that's your issue Kim, just saying I think it was in my own head.

Anyways, I guess I only have 3 or 4 sounds as mentioned by Richard for example.  But when a song calls for something that is unique such as a harmoniser effect then I have something setup for specific effect sound.  So I may have a larger library of sounds as the material and creative need arises but it's all dependent on that really.  Harmoniser is something I'm trying to use more.  I have good ones in my arsenal so I may as well add another little texture to sounds if I can.  Also single guitar band so why the hell not.  Some times a little harmony with the bass is nice also as I have found out.

My setup probably is simple, but to a lot of people it's a lot more complex.  Compared to your setup Kim it is very simple I guess.

Gerry > Guitar > Rockmaster > Boss GX700 > Rockron Silencer in loop > 1010 midi controller > Poweramp > 2 cabs

Studio is different  :lol:
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"whadda ya want? we want Heavy Metal"

Guitars:1986 Westone Dimension IV, 1989 Korean Squier Fat Strat Silver Series, 1998 Korean Squier Fat Strat, MIM Fender Fat Strat - FR, Squier Stagemaster Deluxe - Thru Neck x 2, Squier Stagemaster 22 Fret - 1st Gen, 1999 Squier Showmaster - Anniversary Edition, Squier Showmaster, Tokai FV40 Flying V

Effects:  Ada Mp1, Peavey Rockmaster, Boss GX700 Boss SX700 * Amps:   Rocktron Velocity 300 - Koch ATR4502 - Peavey Classic 50/50
Cabs: 4 x Bugera 2 x 12"
Midi Controller: Behringer FCB1010

Dante

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Re: Oh, THAT again...
« Reply #8 on: Time Format »

I was using the harmonizer in my GX700 until I found the EHX Pitch Fork. That thing is a Whammy pedal in disguise and it's the only stompbox on my pedal board besides the wah.
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ADA Gear: MP-1 Classic | MP-2 | MicroTube 200 | MicroFet | MXC w/Quad Switch
Current Live Rig (wait 10 min., it'll change): Peavey Classic 20mh head into the matching 1x12 speaker cab, using my Boss MS3 via 4CM.
Current Rack rig: Digitech 2120 > ADA MT-200 > 1x12 Thiele cab (EV Force speaker)

Harley Hexxe

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Re: Oh, THAT again...
« Reply #9 on: Time Format »

I was using the harmonizer in my GX700 until I found the EHX Pitch Fork. That thing is a Whammy pedal in disguise and it's the only stompbox on my pedal board besides the wah.

      Dante,

               That does a LOT more than the Whammy pedal. I have one of the Whammy pedals, and I don't use it. it's too finicky when it's active. It's been collecting dust for the last 20 years or so.

                I like what that can do, and if I ever get one of those, I'd definitely have to get the Exp pedal with it.

Harley 8)
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I used to be ambivalent. Now, I'm just not sure...

Dante

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Re: Oh, THAT again...
« Reply #10 on: Time Format »

Before I hooked up the Expression pedal, I still preferred the Pitch Fork because it'll harmonize full chords a lot cleaner than the Boss does.
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ADA Gear: MP-1 Classic | MP-2 | MicroTube 200 | MicroFet | MXC w/Quad Switch
Current Live Rig (wait 10 min., it'll change): Peavey Classic 20mh head into the matching 1x12 speaker cab, using my Boss MS3 via 4CM.
Current Rack rig: Digitech 2120 > ADA MT-200 > 1x12 Thiele cab (EV Force speaker)

Kim

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Re: Oh, THAT again...
« Reply #11 on: Time Format »

The Ever-Evolving Rig.     :lol:

Removed the FX processor from the rack; I felt I just wasn't using it enough and became bored with it anyway.    ::)
Will I replace it with another?  I'm doubtful, but never say never....
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TommyVonVoigt

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Re: Oh, THAT again...
« Reply #12 on: Time Format »

Oh boy, does this ever sound familiar...I've been dealing with the Ever Evolving Rig Syndrome for the last two years, at least. I find a setup I like, and can just as quickly determine that it's terrible and all wrong the very next time I plug in. It's been very expensive and if I'm being honest, it does not feel completely healthy.
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Chip Roberts

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Re: Oh, THAT again...
« Reply #13 on: Time Format »

I'm going through this phase right now where I feel an overwhelming sense of pride at including boring things into my rig, like noise gates, hush units, wireless, etc.  It's kind of like when you become an adult and start spending money on boring adult things like vacuum cleaners?  It's not as fun as FX units, but it makes me feel like a pro.
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Rack of Death:
MP1 v2.01/Roland GP8/Boss NS50/ADA B200s

Pedalboard:
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Custom 2X12 with WGS Retro 30/HM75

Kim

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Re: Oh, THAT again...
« Reply #14 on: Time Format »


Anyways, I guess I only have 3 or 4 sounds as mentioned by Richard for example.  But when a song calls for something that is unique such as a harmoniser effect then I have something setup for specific effect sound...

I used to only use about 5 different programs on the preamp side.  Usually 2 Cleans, and 3 Dirty.  Everything else is different FX on those main sounds.  I've whittled those down some lately after ditching the FX unit to 1 Clean and 2 Dirty.  Next week could be different because as I said before, things always change....  ::)

Other struggles seem to always turn up as well throughout this whole "WTF Gear Phase".   And it's the same sad song and dance about upsizing/downsizing my Rigs:  I acquire gear.  Then I get more gear.  I say "no more gear" so I get even more gear.  Then I realize I'm the sorry sap who has to load/unload it, carry it, and generally move it around.  Megarack is a 2 person lift, no doubt about it.  If I have to, I can carry each 4x12 cab one at a time by myself (but I really shouldn't). But that JSX head...as nice as it is it is simply too damn heavy to hump around anywhere.  SO...it now stays at home with no intention of ever gigging with it, or it is For Sale.

As over-complicated and overkill as everything seems, I shouldn't feel so bad.  After everything is Loaded In, my rig is up and running in 15 minutes, and the bassist has his rig ready in less than 10.  The drummer can set up his kit in an hour if he really hurries.  :facepalm:   
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