Tuesday, 19 January 2055

Soundbelch - effect pedals, guitars, amps, and sounds I like.

Everyone knows what boutique pedals played by people with talent through amps which cost loads of money sound like. PGS Andy, Mike Hermans, Brett Kingsman, Pete Thorn, the stoner from Gearwire... 

Then there's me. 

Every demo is the same. An Epiphone Dot loaded with a Bare Knuckle Stormy Monday bridge pickup is plugged into a pedal via Planet Waves cables. That pedal is connected to a recording PC via the DI input of an SPL Crimson audio interface going into Reaper. No other plugins or pedals are used. I then play whatever random shit comes into my head and you get to hear the pedal as it is, uncoloured by amps, microphones, or salty talent explosions. 

For the anal, I use Jim Dunlop USA Nylon .50 or .60mm picks, Rotosound 10 strings, and change my strings about once a year because I hate new strings. 

I'll also talk about amps, guitars, and sounds in general. 

Monday, 20 March 2017

The Retrosonic chorus - a CE-1 that isn't noisy or with lousy bypass.

People who know me, which totals 8, know I love the older JC-120s. The third series with the direction connections to the power amps rule. Absolutely top three amp material there. 

The chorus is great. I had a 1st series JC and the chorus just wasn't as good. The third series may not be the real original but it works better for me. 

So this... well, it's good. It's a good chorus. It's limited in what you can vary with it as there are so few knobs. The vibrato is a bit too fast for me even with the rate at minimum. 

I like it but quite honestly would rather have a Boss CE-2B. 

Spoken like a true heretic. I'll be on fire by evening. 

Listen here!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

The Gurus Echosex 2 echo pedal - doing that whole Binson Echorec thing

If you want pristine clean echo, this is not for you. 

Short version: does a lot more than I thought it would. Nice front end, surprisingly good on the MBV smeary sound. 

Beautifully built.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The Yamaha FX500 - distortion hates me. Modulation loves me. And it does reverse reverb!

I bought one of these about ten years ago and really liked it (yes, it was sold. Just like most of my gear). The bypass isn't great but it has so much going for it. The operation is simple and there are plenty of good sounds within this unit. 

None of the distortion sounds are good. About half of the presets you will skip over within seconds. The compressor has the ability to be a bit crunchy in a very digital way that sometimes works but mostly doesn't. 

But the modulation.. oh, the symphonic modulation. It's fabulous. If I want reverb from a rack unit of this era, I'm jumping on an Alesis Midiverb II, Quadraverb, or one of the cheaper Lexicons like the Reflex. The biggest strength of the Yamaha units like the FX500 and SPX90 (if you're not into the reverse reverb) is the modulation options. 

To start with, I'll go through some of the presets I like. As ever, it's straight DI recording with a small amount of compression to balance out the audio at the end supplied by the Kotelnikov compressor plugin.

Monday, 20 February 2017

The Yamaha FX500 - Soft Focus setting - look, plugins can get you sort of there too.

A rather self-explanatory video really...

Plugins used:

Audiomulch as the host
Klanghelm's DC8C compressor
Longsound.de's Microverb plugin
SDelay (native Audiomulch plugin)
Valhalla Space Modulator (free to owners of Valhalla plugins)

All the relevant settings for the FX500 Soft Focus sound can be found in the manual (easily found online).

Imagine something like thisL

compressor at the front --> reverb set for 3.4s of reverb, 100% wet -->  delay plugin with 250ms left, 380ms right. Set for 72% feedback, 70% wet mix --> Symphonic chorus type sound adjusted to taste.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Montreal Assembly Count To 5 sampler - it's an experimentalist's dream

This doesn't need a long write up. Read the MA CT5 web page, read the manual, and then buy one. 

Being a DAW user with no amps, a lot of what this does I have already in plugin form. Having the knobs in front of you though does throw up some great instant ideas. Having pitch variations in front of me rather than as point and click knobs on a screen is a good thing.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Rawk D King of Blues Marshall Bluesbreaker clone pedal - quite brilliant

Marshall Bluesbreaker Mk 1 pedals go for good money here in the UK. I've sold them for anything between £120 to £200 and some of these have gone overseas as well. Most of the clones end up being disappointing. The Analogman King of Tone for instance has a lengthy waiting list, sells s/h for £350, is based on the Bluesbreaker Mk 1, and has never failed to disappoint me in that it's no better than the pedal it's inspired by and over double the price. 

The Rawk D King of Blues is not expensive. It's under £100 new from the seller in Greece. It's nice seeing these newer sellers coming through at such good prices (Vick Audio pedals are now for sale through Atlantic Guitars in the UK at £100 and under per pedal). 

The King of Blues is beautifully wired. It might sond strange to say that wiring is beautiful but this is. The yardstick for great wiring is still the Paul Cohrane Tim v1 I had but this is right up there. So so cool. 

Soundwise... it's a Marshall Bluesbreaker. It's got a bit more fidelity than the original, perhaps a bit more headroom, but it doesn't get too clear and clean, which is where most BB clones fall on their ass. It still rocks: too many clones clean up too much. If you really want a BB pedal and don't want to sell out big money for an original, then get this. You won't regret it. 

No audio demo of this one as I really can't be bothered to make one and you don't need to hear me play the same badly timed nonsense I always do.