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How do you guys set the level on you drive pedals

Luke Gibson

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,177
Typically what's the best way to set the volume on a Overdrive pedal? Do you balance it so your clean and overdriven volumes are the same or boosted when on? Thanks!!
 

tjmicsak

Member
Messages
5,598
This is really a matter of choice and depends on what you want to use the OD pedal for, as a change in tone, or as a boost.
 

drolling

Member
Messages
6,102
This is really a matter of choice and depends on what you want to use the OD pedal for, as a change in tone, or as a boost.
also, whether or not you're the type of player who rides the volume pot on your guitar as well

And we could take it a step further if considering the OD pedal in use. Some are A LOT more sensitive to picking dynamics than others..
 

shredtrash

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,940
3 o'clock to full up depending on the pedal. I keep the drive levels at 9 o'clock. On the other hand, I run my Fuzz Head level at about 1:30 and the fuzz at about 2 o'clock.
 

never-enough

Member
Messages
1,045
i set the volume for anywhere from slight boost to full up depending on the pedal.
i dont ride my guitar volume at all, but i do have a pretty dynamic right hand attack.
 

Luke Gibson

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,177
I have an OCD (ver 2) and a Keeley Modified BD-2, usually I set them for some boost but now I'm wondering if I should back off. Currently I'm using the clean channel of a Fender Tonemaster with the pedals because I'm not able to crank it up.
 

StompBoxBlues

Member
Messages
19,951
Thanks! Maybe I need to do a Poll.
In my experience, that wouldn't help unless you had a category for "I set it how I want it" because there are times (and od's) that I set for unity gain, and others that I want a boost out of. Haven't really tried setting for a drop in volume yet, but for some bands I could imagine wanting the OD sound for rythm...wanting to keep it right in the mix, and turning it off for soloing.

Just out of curiosity, why are you asking? What do YOU want to use your OD for mainly?
 

fishlog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,028
I have a couple in my set up Each with the volume set differently.. My Diamond J Drive's Volume is slightly above my clean volume with the OD to max I use a seperate Boost with it to really put it ahead for leads. My interstellar Overdriver is perfectly balanced and since it is soooo sensative to the guitars volume I control it more from the guitar. With my Fuzz I usually have it considerably louder with the volume a good bit above the clean level. But thats all subject to change for any reason lol.
 

TenneyThe2nd

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,149
Quiet Loud is weird.

I set mine for a bit more boost. More gain equals more volume. If I need to back it off on the guitar I can.
 

marsos52

Member
Messages
2,142
i use two o/d's one set or a little dirt or breakup at unity volume and the other
set with more drive and boosted volume for soloing
 

yeahyeahyeah

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,121
I try to shoot for a few dBs above unity.

Interesting thing is that if you hear an overdriven signal compared to a clean signal of the same *measured* volume, the overdriven signal will seem louder because the overdriven signal contains overtones and harmonics that are not present in the clean signal. Even though the two are the same loudness there is a broader range of frequencies being heard in the overdriven signal, so it is perceived as a bigger sound.

So if you set your overdrive for the same *perceived* volume as your clean signal you are actually reducing the volume whenever you kick on the overdrive.

The last thing you want to happen when you are playing live and switch on your overdrive is for your sound to drop in volume! If this has ever happened to you, you know how weird it can be! It's kind of like getting ready to whip out your big...you know...and then.... wait... I was IN THE POOL!!!!! I WAS IN THE POOL!!!!

That's a mistake you never make twice. So go set your overdrives louder.
 
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zsno

Member
Messages
878
I try to shoot for a few dBs above unity.

Interesting thing is that if you hear an overdriven signal compared to a clean signal of the same *measured* volume, the overdriven signal will seem louder because the overdriven signal contains overtones and harmonics that are not present in the clean signal.

So if you set your overdrive for the same *perceived* volume as your clean signal you are actually reducing the volume whenever you kick on the overdrive.

The last thing you want to happen when you are playing live and switch on your overdrive is for your sound to drop in volume! If this has ever happened to you, you know how weird it can be! It's kind of like getting ready to whip out your big...you know...and then.... wait... I was IN THE POOL!!!!! I WAS IN THE POOL!!!!

That's a mistake you never make twice. So go set your overdrives louder.
Perfectly stated.
 

beachwail

Member
Messages
235
I try to shoot for a few dBs above unity.

Interesting thing is that if you hear an overdriven signal compared to a clean signal of the same *measured* volume, the overdriven signal will seem louder because the overdriven signal contains overtones and harmonics that are not present in the clean signal. Even though the two are the same loudness there is a broader range of frequencies being heard in the overdriven signal, so it is perceived as a bigger sound.

So if you set your overdrive for the same *perceived* volume as your clean signal you are actually reducing the volume whenever you kick on the overdrive.

The last thing you want to happen when you are playing live and switch on your overdrive is for your sound to drop in volume! If this has ever happened to you, you know how weird it can be! It's kind of like getting ready to whip out your big...you know...and then.... wait... I was IN THE POOL!!!!! I WAS IN THE POOL!!!!

That's a mistake you never make twice. So go set your overdrives louder.
I Agree 100% ^^^

I change guitars and amps a lot--- this really affects the level boosts significantly, so I have to re-set my levels before every gig. I often play into a Twin Reverb so headroom makes an enormous difference. Some of my OD's will give me easily a 15db boost which will pretty much ruin the song and the soundman's trust in your playing!

It's so freakin difficult when you're in an empty club at soundcheck and you can hear a pindrop--- trying to figure out what your "loudest loud" screaming tone is compared to your crystal clean sound. Best way I've found is to hit all 6 strings with a *very* sharp attack, basically as hard/loud as your guitar can be played. Mute the strings with your left hand while you do it-use this tone as your volume comparison between clean and dirty, it will give you a much better guage. Your clean "clack" volume matched with your "dirty" clack volume with a heavy attack should put your OD at/near "unity" once in the band setting. I would typically do this for OD tones that I didn't want a boost (rhythm, etc).

If you're playing one guitar and one amp, it should only take one or two gigs for you to master the level knobs on all your OD's! No shame in "getting down on one knee" to crank that sucker up in the middle of a song if need be...... :eek:
 

j_m_s

Member
Messages
2,035
My drives are usually set to unity, or slightly above, for solos, id just use a booster.
 

Luke Gibson

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,177
StompBoxBlues said:
In my experience, that wouldn't help unless you had a category for "I set it how I want it" because there are times (and od's) that I set for unity gain, and others that I want a boost out of. Haven't really tried setting for a drop in volume yet, but for some bands I could imagine wanting the OD sound for rythm...wanting to keep it right in the mix, and turning it off for soloing.

Just out of curiosity, why are you asking? What do YOU want to use your OD for mainly?
I mainly use the od for a rhythm tone and hit something else either a COT50 or TS-9 for solo's or whatever. I usually like to set an amp on the verge of breakup and then it's not a problem (at home I crank it) I had a gig yesterday (my first real gig in about 15 years at a 5K run that Honda sponsers) and was having a hard time getting a good sound, mainly because of volume restrictions and only being able to use my Fender Tonemaster (very loud amp) I could only use the A channel (clean) with the volume so low it I could barely hear it. I ended up bosting the volume on the OCD and riding the the guitar volume knob for cleaner stuff.... basically I was wanting to know which would sound/feel better, trying to bring the clean volume up a little bit more and match the od or boost it and ride the volume... Thanks for the suggestions and help guys, that's what I like about this forum!!
 

plexistack

Member
Messages
1,055
Most of the time I set Level = max, and Drive = min. For low volume stuff sometimes I bump up the drive. This is opposite to how I used to set them for years, with Drive way up and Level to match amp volume. It really depends on how much gain your amp has, and how much gain you're looking for. Sometimes I use multiple OD pedals all set in different ways.
 

FatTeleTom

Member
Messages
1,571
I Agree 100% ^^^
It's so freakin difficult when you're in an empty club at soundcheck and you can hear a pindrop--- trying to figure out what your "loudest loud" screaming tone is compared to your crystal clean sound. Best way I've found is to hit all 6 strings with a *very* sharp attack, basically as hard/loud as your guitar can be played. Mute the strings with your left hand while you do it-use this tone as your volume comparison between clean and dirty, it will give you a much better guage. Your clean "clack" volume matched with your "dirty" clack volume with a heavy attack should put your OD at/near "unity" once in the band setting. I would typically do this for OD tones that I didn't want a boost (rhythm, etc).
+1 to all of that. It's something I just figured out recently myself.

I had been setting my OD levels based on a medium or softish attack, then couldn't figure out why my OD leads were getting lost in the mix.

At the levels I play at, my amp is running with lots of clean headroom, but the OD pedals introduce a fair bit of compression, which can throw off attempts to gauge unity volume levels. Doing the comparison based on hard attacks has worked out much better.
 

BluesHarp

Senior Member
Messages
8,574
also, whether or not you're the type of player who rides the volume pot on your guitar as well

And we could take it a step further if considering the OD pedal in use. Some are A LOT more sensitive to picking dynamics than others..
:agree

I had went into this on a thread awhile back. It seems most guys are a bit above unity, but like drolling said, it depends on how dynamic the pedal is and how you use your guitars volume pot.

When a pedal is engaged, its eq plays a large part in deciding "unity". If you hitting a low E power chord then when you have unity on a pedal like a Ts-9... then the upper mids and highs will be much louder than unity. I tend to play low sounds and then high up on the neck when setting a pedals volume. I also set lower gain pedals a hair above unity and as I go up in gain on the pedals I set them a bit higher.. with the highest being the loudest. This also most times fits the song anyway.

Remember, the band will be playing harder ( and louder! ) on freebird than on castles made of sand and your pedals should be set accordingly.

NEways, you guys have descibed why.. very well!!! ( I just finished reading the posts, lol )
 
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Messages
17,693
Mine are all slightly boosted...when I go from clean to dirty and the volume stays the same it sounds funny to me. but too drastic a boost makes the clean sound funny...so a slight boost
 




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