Best OD/DS/Delay/Reverb Pedals for use DIRECT ONLY (no amp)?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by roefactor, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. roefactor

    roefactor Member

    Feb 16, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    Hi. Inaugural post, great forum, been reading for a while but no reason to post until now.

    SHORT VERSION: I do guitar work but due to venue circumstances I can't use an amp. I do 90% of my work there. What overdrive / distortion pedals would you fine people suggest to get the best sound out of direct PA speakers (4x Mackie SRM450s, 2L 2R) that aren't overly reliant on the amp for their tone?

    I play a Gibson LP Studio.

    Thanks in advance.


    I do a lot of guitar and bass work, for two primary purposes.

    - P&W in a church with acoustic issues preventing me from using an amplifier. I am the only guitar player, a couple of times the only musician, so I need to fill as much space as possible. I am starting to do ambient work as well.
    - Recording work in a home on CDs for worship and ambient music. My housing situation prevents me from micing up an amp/cab.

    I know several effects, particularly overdrive, rely on good amp tone to sound their best. I have no amp tone.

    Current setup: For preamps, I'm currently using a Hughes & Kettner Tubeman MKII (has decent overdrive but distortion channel is not great), and for bass I'm using a Tech21 VT Bass Deluxe Character pedal. I often have to play both on short notice, so I keep all my effects on the same pedalboard.

    I currently own the following: The two preamps above, input selector (to switch between guitar / bass when necessary), Tech-21 Blonde Character Pedal, CE-5 Chorus, FRV-01 Reverb.

    I recently sold my GT-10B processor to get some cash to get good-quality effects. This is my planned chain order. Items in bold are what I need input on.

    Preamp (Guitar or Bass)
    -> Input Selector
    -> Tech21 Blonde Character Pedal (Used for distortion, can sell/replace)
    -> CE-5 Chorus
    -> DELAY 1 [investigating DD-20, SD SFX-10 Deja-Vu Tap Delay, Strymon Timeline if by a miracle one shows up used, or any other suggestions you fine people have]
    -> REVERB 1 [Currently FRV-01 Spring, may sell and replace based on advice, see below]
    -> DELAY 2 [see above]
    -> Vol. Pedal
    -> REVERB 2 [investigating Eventide Space vs. Bluesky]
    -> RC50 Looper

    Your input is greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.
  2. 78deluxe

    78deluxe Member

    May 8, 2009
    The 1st question I'd ask is what are you going to use for an amp?

    You list the Tech21 Blonde as a pedal you have, are you going to use this as your amp? Using just a dirt box will sound terrible, you need something with amp + cab simulation. Do you like your H&K MKII direct or the Blonde better.

    If so then the question becomes what tones are you going to try to achieve, thus you can get some responses based on what would work well with the Blonde or H&K.

    Barber Electronics makes a number of OD/Distortion pedals that work well with the Blonde. I only tested a H&K many years ago, so I won't be much help there.

    As for Delay. DD-20 is great for P&W as well as Ambient (the timeline used will be about the same cost as new).

    Reverb: I'd look into the Hall Of Fame. Amazing little box for the price. Space and Bluesky are great, but pricy given how solid the HOF is.

    The RC50 Looper - I'd seriously do some research on that one. Depending on your needs, it might not be the best bet. I personally thought it was somewhat of a failure.
  3. roefactor

    roefactor Member

    Feb 16, 2012
    Toronto, Canada

    I prefer the sound of the H&K MKII. It's on the clean channel most of the time and overdrive on the occasion I need it for rhythm (I play mostly clean). Should I be putting the blonde in front of the H&K on the chain then? Guitar -> Blonde -> H&K instead of Guitar -> H&K -> Blonde

    Clean tones are more what I use for rhythm. I don't use overdrive a whole lot. I haven't been getting a decent tone out of the H&K but I'm willing to chalk that up to other settings and not the pedal itself. Open to suggestions (mostly overdrive appropriate for P&W, Hillsong, Chris Tomlin, Israel Houghton, etc). Any suggestions appropriate to that would be helpful.

    To be more specific of the sound issues, our church runs out of a warehouse. Brick walls, concrete floor, aluminum ceiling - basically, a big reverb chamber. We don't even have 60 dB of dynamic range in the auditorium. When the heat is running, the noise floor is between 55-60 dB, 50 Senior Pastor (and, if we're running facts, OSHA) wants a limit of 90 dB. (I'm also in charge of sound.)

    Regarding reverb, I totally forgot that I had an RV-5 on order when I wrote this post ($80 used, saying no almost wasn't an option). That would then leave me trying to find a shimmer (or similar) reverb. Any options besidse the Space, Timeline, Bluesky, or, oddly enough, I read a review that if you stick a Behringer RV600 in a true bypass loop, the shimmer function on it works very well.

    Tomorrow I'm going to my local Long & McQuade (Go Canada). They have a HoF and Space in store, I'll have a chance to compare and contrast them, then figure out which I like best, leave, and find it used on craigslist :p

    I already own the RC50, it has uses to me outside of pure playing / recording (it has a mic input for voice and it makes lessons for my music students more fun) although I'm certainly willing to investigate better options for pure playing and a pedalboard setup.

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