Stacking gain without noise...

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by drbob1, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Edtronics in Madison just tuned up an AC30 (new OT, caps etc) that's VERY quiet-perfect for church. Now I'm trying to build a pedalboard. I've got a lot of ODs and distortions but I'm finding that it gets pretty noisy when I stack 2 or 3 of them to get a lot of gain/sustain for solos (for instance Dredgetone into FDII into Timmy). Most of the pedals are very quiet by themselves. I'm using a DC Brick for power (or batteries for the ones I can't work into the brick). Is there anything out there that'll give me infinite sustain/cool harmonics with no more noise than the Timmy?
     
  2. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    Hmm, no help...
    Well, here's what I've got so far: I've tried the Timmy, TS808, Sparkledrive, Barber Burn Unit and Tone Pump, Analogman Fuzz (modded, not true bypass yet), Harmonic Generator, Dynaross, FDII, several ODs by Dialtone and Philpott (long gone companies), Mayer Voodoo II, few others I'm forgetting.

    Strangely, the Timmy, which I love into my Fenders and Marshalls, sounds harsh and grainy with the AC30. Right now the setup that seems to work is Dynaross into FDII into Burn Unit with the SHO to juice it just a little. It's still pretty noisy but it does give me nice sustain with rich harmonics. I might have to haul out the old Hush pedal.

    Anyone got any ideas for a compressed, sustained lead tone with little noise, preferrably in a smaller box (the Vtwin just isn't going to cut it in this application). I want a bent octave A-B on the 3rd string to hold forever.
     
  3. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    For a great OD, check out the TC Jauernig Gristle King. OD and boost combined for perfection, what you're asking for. Quiet pedal as well

    When I have a lot of pedals on at the same time (compressor, dd-20, boost, hot british), I can instantly silence them with my isp decimator. So I recommend a noise gate.
     
  4. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    I dig multiple gainers. For what it's worth, I've not done an electric guitar job in the last ten years where I didn't use a BOSS NS-2 Noise Suppressor. I like trad. Fender-type single coils and noisy tube amps, hence use of the NS-2. Some dig the ISP unit (no experience here), and some simply work around inherent noise. I dig (swear by) the NS-2.
     
  5. leofenderbender

    leofenderbender Supporting Member

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    Try stacking higher gain devices into lower gain devices ending with your lowest gainer on the end. Lower the amount of gain going into each stage. An amplifier is a circuit design that builds volume by use of multiple amplification stages. Think of your pedalboard as an amp circuit in miniature.

    My theory is that the best tone comes about by using multiple stages of overdrive pedals into a nearly clean amp - rather than trying to squeeze everything out of one effect or one stage. Multiple overdrive pedals, each at low to moderate settings, and a touch of preamp overdrive (from my amp, just enough to have a slightly hot clean tone). Mixing overdrives at lower levels makes a denser, less grainy overdrive texture that makes it sound more natural & smoother to the ear.

    Multiple stages at lower levels mean your sound is not as dependent upon your amp. That and it also means you are not as dependent upon the vagaries of volume levels that change with the acoustics of each new room. Graininess needs to go – I like natural sounding dynamic rounder wave distortion from my rig.
     
  6. michael patrick

    michael patrick Supporting Member

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    Have you tried a pedal more akin to a Big Muff? They have tons of gain and sustain on tap. As long as you keep the note ringing you won't hear the noise.

    I just picked up a Euthymia ICBM fuzz that is a Muff clone. Sounds reasonably close to my old Ram's Head Big Muff but in a smaller box.
     
  7. spentron

    spentron Member

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    Noise is an inherent property of all electrical systems, so there is a physical limit you are up against. It will help if the first gain device functions close to those physical limits. Other than that, you are down to trickery. Noise gates or a distortion with a gating characteristic (reverse nonlinearity) is one method and is not perfect. Manual gating through switching or a volume pedal is an alternative.

    One idea is to use two distortions and turn down the highs on the first to reduce its noise, since subjectively highs are a bigger problem for noise. Leave the highs on the second distortion up some since it is re-creating a new synthetic high end.
     
  8. BillyK

    BillyK Supporting Member

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    Zen --> Mos4. Unbelieveable, and quiet!
     
  9. gulliver

    gulliver Member

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    My answer would be, don't stack pedals. Get a preamp in a box type pedal like the H&K Tubefactor if you want more gain on tap without crazy noise or overly compressed tone.
     
  10. erksin

    erksin Member

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    This approach works for me too - Hellbilly -> MI Audio Blue Boy -> Timmy -> amp...
     

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