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Are stereo pedals really stereo?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by traynor_garnet, May 20, 2011.

  1. traynor_garnet

    traynor_garnet Supporting Member

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    This is a take off of another poorly named thread . . .

    Are most stereo pedals really stereo? Or, do they just split the signal into two identical outputs? From what I understand, a stereo image is created by the differences between left and right sides; this is different than simply having the same signal in both left and right "channels."

    My favourite delay is an Arion SAD-1 stereo analog delay. I run it in a two amp setup and it sounds amazing, but is it truly stereo, or does the pedal just split the signal between two (mono) outputs? Do the stereo outputs really produce a different sound than sending the pedal's mono out to a splitter (like an a,b,Y switcher, using the Y configuration)?

    TG
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2011
  2. theroan

    theroan Member

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    Also curious
     
  3. Heady Jam Fan

    Heady Jam Fan Member

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    Umm... yea... so I think that was me who made the "poorly named thread." I guess it wasn't terribly effective since I got few replies, but it tittled "hardwire Stereo Pedals," since I was asking about those in particular.

    Anyway, I am interested too - I know some are and some aren't. For example, my TC Electronic Chorus/Flange/PM does create a stereo image and they, like Hardwire, call it "True Stereo" in their manual, but they go on to define that as not only passing on a stereo signal, but creating a stereo image. It seems hardwire, and likely other companies, define this differently. For example, Hardwire's True Stereo Tremolo only creates a stereo image when in (bad sounding) rotary settings, unlike MXR that pans the trem in the stereo setting. It is completely unclear if there is any stereo imaging in their Phaser and their Reverb, though it sounds great, did not seem to do this at all when I owned it (though I probably wouldn't pan reverb). Another good example is the DD-20 dual delay mode does not let you stereo pan the delays, so it does not create a stereo image, but rather mono out of two jacks.
     
  4. johnydoida

    johnydoida Member

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    I think it depends on the pedal. I've read reviews by unhappy stereo pedal owners on that matter. The only stereo in-stereo out pedal I have is the Line6 Verbzilla and I have tested its "true stereoness".

    It passed! ;)
     
  5. Howard Davis

    Howard Davis Member

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    Some early or cheap "stereo" pedals are just mono with two output jacks. Mono through two amps sounds like mono coming from a point between the two speakers. True stereo appears to be spread out between the speakers and has a more ambient, spacious quality to the sound.

    Guitar pedal design engineering, repairs, and custom mods:
    http://howardmickdavis.com
     
  6. traynor_garnet

    traynor_garnet Supporting Member

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    Sorry, I didn't mean "poorly named" in disrespect. I just meant that the wider issue about stereo was kind of overshadowed and delimited by the specific reference to the hardwire series of pedals. It was hard to fit that all in one opening line! :)

    TG
     
  7. traynor_garnet

    traynor_garnet Supporting Member

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    Thanks Howard. Is there anyway easy way to tell if the SAD-1 is truly stereo?

    I love the sound of the pedal (it has beaten several boutiques) but if it isn't truly stereo I can possible set up my pedal board in a few different ways, rather than having to keep the Delay at the very end feeding two amps.

    TG
     
  8. Heady Jam Fan

    Heady Jam Fan Member

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    Lol, no problem

    I would really just listen for differences between the left and right - like Howard said about spatial changes: if you set two amps up 10 feet apart with a single mono signal to both, it almost sounds like there is an amp in the middle of the two, but if there is a stereo image, you hear more space, getting a wider sound. It might be hard to tell with the delay (since it does not effect the main tone, just the delay), it is very obvious with my chorus though. But I don't know your specific pedal. My Rocktron does stereo delay (I use dual, one panned hard left, the other right). A simple way to get a stereo image is a 10-50ms delay between amps. For this, I use a DD-3 with the direct output plugged (a 1/4 jack that goes nowhere) so it is effect only to one amp. This creates a stereo image without the potential muddiness of modulation and is often used in recording. If you get a chance to test this out, it is cool because you set the speakers 5-10 feet apart and have the delay off, the sound seems to come from between the speakers. Turn the delay on (effect only, one amp) and 10ms sounds about 10-13 feet further back, creating distance and stereo image. You can play and slowly role the delay time from 10ms up to 50ms and see how the difference grows, anything higher than 50ms is two long and sounds like a delay rather than creating stereo space.
     
  9. Gorgar

    Gorgar Member

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    One way to check is plug it in to one amp, use the main out, then see if it sounds any different after inserting a dummy cable in the second out, like mentioned above. If so, it's probably true stereo, and what you're hearing is half the field, which can be an interesting effect on its own. I run a Red Witch Moon Phaser like this all the time.
     
  10. JoeyHarley

    JoeyHarley Member

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    It seems "stereo" means a few things in the pedal world...

    true stereo effect
    2 monos
    and the mostly useless (for me, at least) wet out/dry out

    but what realllly drives me crazy...the fact that most "stereo" pedals have a MONO IN????? which makes most of them useless, as you can only have 1 pedal last....
     
  11. this1smyne

    this1smyne Silver Supporting Member

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    i use the dry out of my micro pog for my dirty amp out to the stereo in on a Space, and than the effected out to my delay/reverb chain for an atmosphere amp. so mono in/stereo out itn't bad. so i get reverb out of both amps, but delays only in one.

    another way to tell if they're truely stereo: add delays into one side, combine and see if hte delays spill into the other amp when the combiner pedal is off. some pedals do this, meaning they're not true stereo cause the image in bypass isn't separate left right.
     
  12. SonicBoom

    SonicBoom Member

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    I am building a stereo board and have a few "stereo" pedals, some with mono in, stereo out (absolutely maddening if you want to use more than one). I was testing the pedals for phase changes, so I put a constant frequency input signal into each one and looked at the outputs on a dual trace scope. For the true stereo pedals (L/R in and L/R out) I used a Y chord to have the same signal into each input.

    I found that the output signals from each channel were in phase, but some pedals shifted the phase slightly. Others altered each of the wave forms. Those would have been the "true" stereo pedals. I wish I had written down the results, but at the time I was focused on phase changes.
     
  13. Heady Jam Fan

    Heady Jam Fan Member

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    Anyone have any good suggestions for a truly stereo modulation chain? Obviously there are good starts that have mono in, stereo out, but what about true stereo with stereo in and stereo out??

    PS, Other options: running a 10-50ms delay on one side to make some differentiation between speakers or a stereo spread chorus set as mild as possible (speed all the way down, width all the way up). Just a band-aid, but maybe will help....
     
  14. Whalestone

    Whalestone Member

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    According to a schematic:
    Out 1: direct + delay
    Out 2, stereo mode: direct - delay (inverse polarity)
    Out 2, direct mode: direct
     
  15. traynor_garnet

    traynor_garnet Supporting Member

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    Thanks for posting this. I was actually playing around with the "direct/stereo" switch last night and could hear a difference when playing. If I am reading your post correctly, t seems that when in stereo mode the delay is split between the two outputs/amps (one direct, one with delay). Is this correct?

    TG
     
  16. Whalestone

    Whalestone Member

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    No, the direct/stereo mode only affects Out 2; Out 1 presents a mix of direct and delay signal regardless of mode.
     
  17. Heady Jam Fan

    Heady Jam Fan Member

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    Per this thread and a few other recent ones about stereo pedals. I think the Eventide gear is pretty good at actually being stereo. I was talking with Sales and Support there today and they said, at least their modfactor, every effect will produce a stereo effect if using the stereo outputs. I have heard great things about Eventide and never bought one because they are pricey, but I just ordered a used one and I think it will be worth it after considering the cost of multiple mod pedals, lack of good stereo options and lack of ability to stack multiple ones.
     

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