Can anyone recommend a good harmonizer?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Fifthstone, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    Looking for a pedal. I know Boss makes one, but is there anything from a boutique manufacturer with true bypass? Looking to do some harmony lines like you hear on Hotel California, etc. Thanks!
     
  2. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    The Boss PS-5 is a great harmonizer (and the only intelligent one this side of eventide rack units). However, if you want even sweeter harmonies, check out the discontinued Boss HR-2. It allows you to add two harmonies to your signal, and it has a detector input (basically, split your guitar signal, one side going into your dirt pedals, wah pedals, whatever, and the other going into the detector in on the HR-2). The detector keeps your harmonies strong even when placed after dirt boxes and other signal modifying effects.
     
  3. nashvillesteve

    nashvillesteve Member

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    +1...

    I found an HR-2 on the net for $100.

    Moe, I know a lot of stuff can mess with the accuracy if placed before or not using detector in, but do you think it sounds better placed closer to the end of the chain than it does up front?
     
  4. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    Thanks. I guess aren't a lot of choices out there...not like an OD pedal!
     
  5. nashvillesteve

    nashvillesteve Member

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    Whammy pedals have a harmonizer, not sure if it's intelligent or not or just 5ths/4ths... Besides those, you have the Eventide rack stuff...

    There was a post a while ago about analog synth stuff and small makers, there was a dual harmony box that was pretty crazy looking, I'm not sure if it was intelligent, but it was over $500... looked cool, though, Radiohead used it. It's probably more for synth sounds and not as much dual-guitar harmonized solos...
     
  6. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    Well, the HR-2 can do triple-lead harmonies :D

    I don't actually own an HR-2. I've heard some soundclips of them being used, and holy mother of mother, it's like brian may in a box.

    My PS-5 I use more for the pitch shifting and detuning features, so I keep it pre-gain. The PS-5 does not have a detector in, and I don't use a ton of dirt in my band anyhow. So I can't really vote for how it sounds post-gain without the detector in. :drool

    As an addendum to my previous post, the PS-5 is not only a great harmonizer, but an awesome overall pedal
     
  7. Doug H

    Doug H Senior Member

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    I don't have any problem at all with my PS-5 used post-distortion. It handles anything I throw at it and produces a perfect harmony. The main thing is to watch your levels as it will freak out if you overload it, but you really have to push it hard to do that.
     
  8. nashvillesteve

    nashvillesteve Member

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    triple lead is hard to pull off without sounding funny. That said, I should probably experiment putting it after distortion...

    My favorite art-noise thing to do is to play a note on the high E string and spin each harmony knob from left to right, one after the other. If the key is set for "E" and you do it with the open 1st string, it sounds somewhere in between Steve Miller's "Fly Like An Eagle" keyboard sound at the intro and the sound of grabbing a coin in the Mario Bros. video game. I haven't been able to get good string ensemble sounds out of it yet, as I had hoped...
     
  9. mavrick10_2000

    mavrick10_2000 Member

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    If you want Hotel California tones and quality a pedal won't do it. Eventide is the way to go. You could get a decent price on some older models.
     
  10. nashvillesteve

    nashvillesteve Member

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    +1. If you need accurate and tight intelligent harmonies.... Or you can get a Boss Loop Station and record one of the harmony parts and just tell it when to start and play along with it, it's probably more believable.

    I don't currently use the detector in, but even with the HR-2 as the only pedal in use, the harmonies have occasional errors... sounds more weird than bad. If you play chords, it confuses it and some cool sounds can be produced, but you have to remember which key setting and what chords will produce the odd sound/overtone (which is likely not directly related to either of the two ingredients in any way!)... It also distorts a little. If you're open minded, there are a ton of cool things you can do with it, though... The harmonized sound isn't always very guitar-like, depending on where you're playing. I haven't tried it in stereo- yet.
     
  11. Doug H

    Doug H Senior Member

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    I've been able to get pretty "natural" sounding harmonies with the PS-5. The key is to use the balance control. I turn it to about 11-11:30, which de-emphasizes the harmony slightly and brings my guitar sound to the forefront. That's been pretty effective and really sounds nice in stereo too. I don't use it as a "noisemaker" per se.

    The price jump from that to an (even used) Eventide is prohibitive for me. If I was into harmonized guitar parts that much I'd just add another guitarist and do the real deal.
     
  12. nashvillesteve

    nashvillesteve Member

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    At a friend's wedding reception, a bunch of people got on stage and they did a great cover of "The Boys Are Back In Town" with the harmonies between bass and guitar, sounded great!
     
  13. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    Yeah, there are two of us. And three guitar parts on that particular song. Might just take the plunge unless there are other options besides the Boss and Eventide (way out of my price range). Thanks for all the posts.
     
  14. nashvillesteve

    nashvillesteve Member

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    [​IMG]

    Schumann PLL
    There's one, up in the right hand corner. Click on the pic for a link to some info. The page has the builder's email address, they're no longer in production, but it seems he may still build them occasionally... They were $500 until 2005... that's the one I mentioned that Radiohead used. Analog, freaky-cool looking.
     
  15. fast ricky love

    fast ricky love Supporting Member

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    that is super cool! is it true bypass?
     
  16. markom89

    markom89 Senior Member

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    I know this is an old thread and an old post AND that Steve doesn't really post here anymore, but none of you guys would happen to know whose pedalboard that is... would you? I'd really be interested in finding out. Thanks.
     
  17. IvIark

    IvIark Member

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    The problem with Hotel California is that the guitars in the harmonised section aren't at conventional fixed or intelligent intervals and so to do it properly you'd need a harmoniser that allows custom scales and no pedal can do that. The lowest cost processor that will do it that I know of is the G-Force.
     
  18. CloudyJim

    CloudyJim Member

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    Uh, I've owned the Boss HR-2 and sold it. It was a good pedal, but the Zoom G2's intelligent harmonizer tracks better, though you don't have two voices with the Zoom. You do, however, have the luxury of presets. I use the G2 almost exclusively for harmonizer and EQ.

    Actually, the G2 has a minor key voicing that I couldn't get on the HR-2.
     
  19. Tbone135

    Tbone135 Member

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    I have a Boss PS-5 and an EHX Holy Stain that both do a good job with pitch shifting as long as they are post distortion.
     
  20. IvIark

    IvIark Member

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    Being a long time user of harmonisers I'd like to dispute this totally. :) I've also owned the H7600, DSP4000, Eclipse and G-Force all of which do fantastic harmonies and I've had very good results out of much less fashionable processors like the Digitech Quad 4.

    The H8000 is fantastic but it's not the only great processor out there and I doubt the usefulness for most guitarists in going for an 8 channel processor when they could be perfectly well served by a cheaper two channel H7600 which can obviously still deal with stereo rigs.
     

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