Pretty odd question involving using a cheap sound card as a "pedal".

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by SonexReducer, Mar 16, 2015.

  1. SonexReducer

    SonexReducer Member

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    I made a record's worth of demos and the guitar sound I got by just directly plugging my guitar into my computer and turning up the input volume is completely amazing in the context of what I do and I've tried everything within my power to recreate this sound live, amps, pedals, to no avail.

    Is there some sort of digital boost, rack unit, or even a way to use the actual soundcard to get CLOSE to this sound live?

    I'm including the soundcloud with the actual demos if that's any help.

    Thanks.

    [SOUNDCLOUD]https://soundcloud.com/black-magic-summer/the-golden-age-of-planned-communities[/SOUNDCLOUD]

    EDIT: okay, just hooked up the wife's 4-track to my Vox and after tweaking with the trim, output volume (phones), track volume, and my pickup tone I got it there. I mean, it's there in the type of "distortion", it slams hard and fast and quickly dissipates, and the EQ is there as well, but the thing is that it's not clear, it's pretty murky and there's a lot of noise, and I cant put the output volume up to unity without loosing it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015
  2. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    A clean boost, full up into another clean boost?
     
  3. SonexReducer

    SonexReducer Member

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    I've tried chaining boosts, including using the demo tape fuzz as a boost, not even close to this type of distortion.
     
  4. Multicellular

    Multicellular Supporting Member

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    Sounds like digital breakup to me. Something like a WMD Geiger Counter even the smaller Geiger Counter Civilian Issue version pedal can do that. The Geiger Counters run your signal thru a wavetable, similar in method as digital clipping at some settings.
     
  5. SonexReducer

    SonexReducer Member

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    Interesting, I agree that the digital breakup is a huge factor. Maybe impedance too? I'm not an expert. I've listened to some geiger counter samples, and it's very hard for me to tell if it can get close for mostly the demos focus on very extreme, over the top tones.

    But that harsh, splatter is there. Also, I think there being no EQ to the guitar signal is pretty important.
     
  6. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    Try getting a cheap little notepad mixer and cranking the channel input gain way up?

    Like Lennon did on Revolution.
     
  7. SonexReducer

    SonexReducer Member

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    I tried using my little mic. line amplifier / mixer, and it just boosted the signal much in the same way a clean boost would cranked.
     
  8. SonexReducer

    SonexReducer Member

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    I'm actually interested if any of the many guitar shops here in town have a geiger counter i could try.
     
  9. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    The idea is to get your clean guitar signal boosted to a level where it overdrives the next stage.

    Does your mic/line amp have an input gain, or Trim control? That's where you want to crank it.
     
  10. SonexReducer

    SonexReducer Member

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    No, I don't think so. It just takes a signal and makes it stronger, biught it because my cheap computer's mic. input / recording input was too low.

    Maybe I'll do what I've been thinking about, busting out my wife's tascam and going through that, but I'm pretty sure I'll end up with something that sounds like psychocandy or medicine.
     
  11. jmoose

    jmoose Member

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    Pretty typical overloaded DI sound... you'll never really find a pedal or anything to replicate it through a standard amp.

    Part of the problem is that a guitar amp is a huge hi pass/lo pass filter while running direct is a broad, full-range sound 20Hz - 20kHz. Anything you plug into an amp is automatically going to have that ratty top end filtered off.

    If you really love it best option is to maybe try some keyboard or bass amps... something with a tweeter/horn that'll keep the extended top end. You'd still have to feed it with a fuzz or something but being full range they would more closely represent a "DI board" overdriven guitar.
     
  12. SonexReducer

    SonexReducer Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion jmoose. I was even thinking about plugging into a power amp without a preamp and overdriving it. There's definitely something very strange about the EQ, I hear it like it's totally even, almost honk-ish.
     
  13. JamonGrande

    JamonGrande Supporting Member

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    I've owned a Geiger Counter for a few years now; I don't think you would be completely satisfied with it honestly. It does have the same "bandwidth" in terms extreme highs and lows that most dirt pedals roll off. But it is also a much more saturated sound than your clip, and can be hard to dial back to cleaner settings (some settings are either full bore gain or silent).

    I also don't think going into a power amp directly will get you there either. But in that case, it will be a lack of signal strength hitting the amp.

    It is the sound of a heavily boosted signal hitting a non-guitar preamp hard. I remember getting a similar (but chorused) sound running into and overdriving a Roland Rs-09 synth; ratty and lacking sustain (the polar opposite of so many threads here). I think the cheap mixer idea will get you there easiest.

    Joe
     
  14. SonexReducer

    SonexReducer Member

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    Thanks Joe,

    Yeah, It's actually a pretty clean sound, it's more the way I attack that brings up most of the fuzz. I've always fought for less sustain in a pedal, and more top end.

    And you're right, tons of threads on how to cop smooth, velvet, scooped bedroom tones, and that's totally cool, but I'll never be Eric Johnston.
     
  15. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    I dig what you're going for, but I can also understand why there's not a huge perceived market in pedal-world for that sound. You might talk to someone like Paul Trombetta or the guy from Basic Audio about a custom build. Those guys are known for going to the edge of the universe of spitty, out-of-control fuzz tones. They might have some ideas on how to make a circuit that can do that hard clipping without the unpredictability of fuzz.
     
  16. SonexReducer

    SonexReducer Member

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    There's a guy on here named midwayfair and he's pretty amazing in the way he can analyze tone and character and actually articulate it into words. He builds pedals, and he even asked for isolated guitar tracks which I sent to him to analyze, he even sent me a pedal to try out, and we pretty much came to the conclusion that it's that digital clipping that defines that sound.

    So I thought I'd ask here about actually using like... a digital sound card somehow, or a rack unit, whatever... I swear, if I were a millionaire, the first thing I would do is commission some MIT Student to just build me something.
     
  17. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    Well technically if you're getting that sound from your current home setup, all you really need to do is get one of those Radial DI boxes that can convert USB to XLR line level output and go direct into the PA (or a powered speaker).

    You'd have to take your interface and a laptop to your gigs, but it probably weighs less than your amp and pedalboard. :D
     

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