Strymon el Capistan - mess with your sound? (Sound comparison on page 4)

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by katarzis, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. DecoWaves

    DecoWaves Silver Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2014
    For others following along in the conversation or just stumbling across this (and yes, I know Zombie thread) ...

    To address the concept of Analog Dry Path (other manufactures may describe it as Analog Dry Through), the important part of this design implementation is that the base signal remains untouched as it passes through the pedal when the effect is ON. The Mix Knob adjusts the blend between the dry path and the digital effect. By design, with the Effect engaged, if the Mix is turned all the way to the left, the signal and tone should be exactly the same leaving the pedal as it entered the pedal. The FLINT is a bit different, as Strymon shared, the Tremolo side of the pedal has no Analog Dry Path but the Reverb side does. For the Tremolo to function properly, it has to work with and manipulate the whole signal (not a blend).

    As a compare/contrast example, the Eventide H9 does offer true analog bypass but does not have an Analog Dry Path. If in true bypass mode, the signal should remain untouched as long as the pedal/effect is not activated (as if the pedal was not even in the effects chain). If the effect on the H9 is engaged, the entire signal is routed through the digital conversion process in/out.

    I hope this is helpful to those who may not have had clarity with the terminology and concepts in this discussion.
    Auditory Driving likes this.
  2. dhdfoster

    dhdfoster Silver Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    I'm curious if those who find the tone of dry signal thin have the pre-amp turned below unity. You can even boost the pre above unity and it is NOT thin.

    Because there is a pre-amp involved, I don't think in this case that the analog dry path could be considered untouched. It just isn't converted to digital and back.
  3. DecoWaves

    DecoWaves Silver Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2014
    Your post got me thinking so I went back to the manual to check, looks like the Boost is pre-digital conversion and remains analog. From the manual:

    • Analog dry path for a zero latency dry signal that is never converted to digital
    • +/- 3dB adjustable analog boost or cut when effect is engaged

    To your point, if the change in tone occurs after the pedal is engaged, then it could be that the boost was somehow set below unity. Interesting possibility to consider ...
  4. LaceSensor1

    LaceSensor1 Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2016
    Greenville, SC
    I gave my pedalboard a run through today because I'm a big straight in, no effects, tone guy. I like effects but can't take the alterations as compared to straight in, so I always check.

    I noticed the exact same thing, the mid range was thin. No loss in highs like you would expect from buffering issues, but even with the el cap turned off my tone was noticeable thinner.

    I was running a big Sky into an El Cap, and quickly removed these from the signal to check. Once I realized how bad it was I removed both from my board. I'm not sure if it was the Big Sky or El Cap or both, but the tone effect was not acceptable for my ears.

    I may throw in a little lehle loop to keep it on my board.
  5. Kennyscrown

    Kennyscrown Member

    Jun 7, 2013
    I ever noticed the El Cap messing with my tone - in fact it pretty much made everything sound better.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
    nkt275, White Buffalo and BlueHeaven like this.
  6. BlueHeaven

    BlueHeaven Member

    Aug 24, 2005
  7. Horsefighter

    Horsefighter Member

    Sep 3, 2010
    Regardless of whether all of the Strymon soldiers believe this experience to be true, I hereby add my voice to the list of the discontent.

    This is a great pedal! But the buffer in the Cap thins tone. I, too, have ripped my board apart, tested each pedal individually to figure out what was causing the thin sound. When I got to the El Cap, I had found my culprit.

    Its not a capacitance issue. And even if it is restoring some of the highs when engaged or buffer active, it is taking some complex mid-range frequencies as trade. Light legato touch and phrasing (with clean tone) essentially goes out the window. I've shown it to other tone conscious, professional musicians, and they also heard it.

    Now that I have it in an external effects loop life goes on. I applaud those who have no problems with their Strymon, enjoy that! But I had zero tolerance for what it did to my dry signal, and in the loop it went.
  8. jimijimmyjeffy

    jimijimmyjeffy Member

    Nov 16, 2015
    Haven't noticed a problem but will pay more attention. I run everything true bypass and minimize buffers. So I can't imagine there would be a problem that is not easily solvable. Just run it TBP and use a different buffer? What could be problematic?
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
  9. Danich

    Danich Member

    Aug 31, 2017
    I found a solution, or at least it worked in my rig with both el cap and ehx smmh.

    Long story short, lower the volume of you'r rig, if you have a drive pedals like i do, just turn them down, and it should solve all the problems.

    Here are some thoughts about why it works.

    Pretty much any pedal has a preamp, and any preamp has a threshold. You hit it harder and it becomes gated, all of it's characteristics become more pronounced, you hit it softer and you hear little to no difference. And where preamp can really affect you'r "base" tone is basically in any pedal that has a blend/mix control, because even though you might think that it's just adds affected signal to unaffected one, you'r unaffected signal also goes through a preamp. As a result when you hit you'r not really true bypass digital delay/reverb with high volume, you notice a difference.

    Although, since i don't consider myself incredibly clever when it comes to electronics, it is just a theory and i might be wrong, but it explains why some people have a tone sucking problems and some don't, and how major people in music industry have a great sound, regarding the pedals they use.

    Just wanted to share some thoughts after spending quite some time with my own rig, and making my own pedals, hope it helps someone.
  10. BlurryMatt

    BlurryMatt Member

    Feb 6, 2015
    I ran into the same problem, and I might've found the most simple and effective solution. I mistakenly pressed both buttons down and turned the Mix knob almost all the way down because I thought that's what would take all the spring reverb out of the sound. I was mistaken because that turned the "Boost/Cut" volume down, so when the pedal was engaged, my signal was weaker (obviously). So before you go building a new pedalboard and trying to chase true bypass whatever, just make sure you're not making the same mistake I was making.
  11. abby_normal

    abby_normal Member

    Jun 5, 2018
    Since I'm fairly new here I read this zombie thread with interest. I also recently added an El Cap to my board along with a Flint. So, I had a bit of time this morning and got out he manual and tried to dig deeper into the secondary settings. For the life of me I couldn't get a bad tone out of the thing. for a test I reset all of the secondary controls to factory default, tried it in both true bypass and in trails mode with the buffer and couldn't tell a difference with the pedal engaged or not. Except that I was finding some great settings as I was experimenting with the secondary settings. What a cool pedal and I've only done this now on multi-head mode B. Going to take some time to explore further but I'm real happy with my purchase.
  12. trap

    trap Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2006
    Kinderhook , New York
    Haven’t noticed it. It enhances the signal when on. More highs and clarity like my former Empress Tape Delay did. Don’t notice a thinning of the mids.
    Check the secondary function (boost), on the mix knob.
  13. GTone80

    GTone80 Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    Zombie Post is back !
    Let's add my point of view to this thread.

    First of all, I am part of the Strymon lovers.
    I really enjoy all of their product, and got 5 units from the brand.

    My favorite Product by far is the El Cap, such a great unit.
    In 2018 I cleaned up everything in my rig : Power went to a zuma, all cables are Evidence The Forte and SIS.
    I only use 5 pedals MAX to avoid capacitance, and the first is always a buffer.
    Reason to cleans it all is the arrival of the wonderfull Tone King Sky King, that sounds immense.

    At the momemt I Run like that :
    Tumnus Deluxe (Buffered) -> Polytune -> Jan Ray -> El Cap -> Blue Sky -> Sky King

    I've experienced a Tone Suck on my Rig due to my El Cap.
    It thin up the sound, with a lower dynamic range.
    Now I'm a bit pissed off about my favorite piece of gear... I went into the instruction manual and I get nothing better.
    When I start to ear it, I only focus on that now... and ends up by plug in straight into the amp.

    I also have last in the chain my Blue Sky. Did not tried it alone yet.
    Does people experienced the same problem with other Strymon units ?

    I also have a Timeline & Big Sky on my bigger board. I think I'm good for an A/B comparison to see if they are doing the same.

    Of course now I'm in for a Volante. But impossible to know if it will be the same.
    It seems that they dropped the Boost/cut +3dB function. Maybe a clue ?

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