Synergy modular thread

RMosack

Silver Supporting Member
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5,852
I was poking around the SYN-2 manual in preparation of receiving mine on Thursday. I was looking at the MIDI section, since I'm debating how I want to change channels (buy the Synergy pedal or do something else). I noticed a few interesting things that kind of don't make sense to me, but maybe I'm not understanding something.


The first confusing part deals with the MIDI CC commands. There's a table that lists CC commands 56 to 60 to select the four channels or bypass, and then CC command 64 for mute. That makes sense. But then, the text says this:

"When selecting a channel using CC messages, only a message with a CC value of 64 or higher will have any effect. Messages with a CC value of 63 or lower is ignored. The Mute CC (#64) will mute all channels of the SYN-2 if a value of 64 or higher is received, and will unmute the amp if a value of 63 or lower is received."

The table just listed values between 56 and 64 to do six particular things. Bu then the text says only values of 64 or higher have an effect, and values of 63 or lower are ignored. Huh? The table just said that you need 56 for Channel 1a, 57 for Channel 1b, etc. Weird.


The second confusing part to me relates to MIDI instructions for using two SYN-2 units together. It would seem to me that the units would have to be set to different MIDI channels so that a CC command doesn't do the same thing to both units (e.g., CC 56 would turn on channel 1a for both units). But the manual says this:

"For most systems, it’s recommended that you set your SYN2s to the same MIDI channel. You can follow the programming instructions above, repeating the steps for each SYN2. When you want to access the second SYN2, make sure that the first SYN2 is set to bypass."

How can this be? Am I reading it wrong? You can set the first one to bypass, but if it gets the MIDI command for Channel 2a, won't it switch to that channel?
 

jco5055

Member
Messages
76
We need a module rental service.

Or a "Module of the month" club
I've been thinking this for a while. I feel like if they don't implement something like this, or at the very least all Guitar Centers etc start having the full stock to try out once the COVID 19 stuff is over, it doesn't make the most sense to me financially to get the Syn2 and modules.
 

chrishurley

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
674
I've been thinking this for a while. I feel like if they don't implement something like this, or at the very least all Guitar Centers etc start having the full stock to try out once the COVID 19 stuff is over, it doesn't make the most sense to me financially to get the Syn2 and modules.
I've yet to see a GuitarCenter with any synergy stuff in stock at all and I don't think any of the local stores sell it.

Some dealers are good about taking modules back if you don't like one but I'd feel bad about doing it repeatedly. Pitbull Audio was great when I bought a DS and decided that the attack was too tubby for my tastes and I preferred a BE. If I don't like the BE, I guess I'm just going to have to take a bath on it and sell it outright.

It would be cool if they'd do like the camera companies do and put on events where you could come by, see a clinic, try out the gear, get tips, etc...
 

jco5055

Member
Messages
76
I've yet to see a GuitarCenter with any synergy stuff in stock at all and I don't think any of the local stores sell it.

Some dealers are good about taking modules back if you don't like one but I'd feel bad about doing it repeatedly. Pitbull Audio was great when I bought a DS and decided that the attack was too tubby for my tastes and I preferred a BE. If I don't like the BE, I guess I'm just going to have to take a bath on it and sell it outright.

It would be cool if they'd do like the camera companies do and put on events where you could come by, see a clinic, try out the gear, get tips, etc...
I emailed Sweetwater asking if there would be some kind of "limit" on their return policy if I kept wanting to try every module and only keep what I want, and they seemed to suggest I'd start to have to pay a restocking fee and that's it...not sure how much that would be but I'd also feel like I'd get banned or something haha.
 

Elric

Member
Messages
4,679
I was poking around the SYN-2 manual in preparation of receiving mine on Thursday. I was looking at the MIDI section, since I'm debating how I want to change channels (buy the Synergy pedal or do something else). I noticed a few interesting things that kind of don't make sense to me, but maybe I'm not understanding something.


The first confusing part deals with the MIDI CC commands. There's a table that lists CC commands 56 to 60 to select the four channels or bypass, and then CC command 64 for mute. That makes sense. But then, the text says this:

"When selecting a channel using CC messages, only a message with a CC value of 64 or higher will have any effect. Messages with a CC value of 63 or lower is ignored. The Mute CC (#64) will mute all channels of the SYN-2 if a value of 64 or higher is received, and will unmute the amp if a value of 63 or lower is received."

The table just listed values between 56 and 64 to do six particular things. Bu then the text says only values of 64 or higher have an effect, and values of 63 or lower are ignored. Huh? The table just said that you need 56 for Channel 1a, 57 for Channel 1b, etc. Weird.
The numbers 56-<whatever> for channel 1a, 1b etc, are the CC numbers (CC == MIDI 'Continuous Controller' number) they are like a variable or address, each CC # can receive or be set to a numeric value (0 through 127 are the allowed values). That value must be greater than 64 to have an effect.

So if MIDI controller sends CC56 a value of 64 (or whatever up to 127) the Syn 2 will go to 'channel 1a'.

If your MIDI controller sends CC56 a value of 0 it won't do sh*t. :D This is kind of useful because some MIDI controllers that allow buttons to be assigned to CC#s send both an 'On' and 'Off' value when pressed. Typical on/off values for a CC based button would be 127/0 for example. This allows the Syn2 to not accidentally switch channels or try to do it twice for 'off' values.

It can be confusing because the CC 'addresses' and their 'values' are both numeric.

The second confusing part to me relates to MIDI instructions for using two SYN-2 units together. It would seem to me that the units would have to be set to different MIDI channels so that a CC command doesn't do the same thing to both units (e.g., CC 56 would turn on channel 1a for both units). But the manual says this:

"For most systems, it’s recommended that you set your SYN2s to the same MIDI channel. You can follow the programming instructions above, repeating the steps for each SYN2. When you want to access the second SYN2, make sure that the first SYN2 is set to bypass."

How can this be? Am I reading it wrong? You can set the first one to bypass, but if it gets the MIDI command for Channel 2a, won't it switch to that channel?
Pretty sure this is referring to program change based switching, so they are assuming you are using that use model rather than the other without mentioning it.... Program change commands are a different kind of message than CC's. Earlier in the manual there is a (terribly written) section on changing the Syn2 channels using program change commands and actually programming these to non-default values... these are actually programmable, so they would not necessarily collide. You are right that if you are using CC#s which are fixed at 56,57, etc. you'd have to have the two units on separate channels or they are going to do the exact same thing anytime that CC# is set.

The manual needs a ALOT more explanation on the MIDI stuff. It is WAY too terse. The section on 'programming' is pretty obtuse. It reads like it was written by the developer/engineer who coded the firmware rather than a writer. It is easy to leave out details/steps when you are the developer and deeply expert in the system, ironically. Questions a noob might have do not occur to you.

I currently only have one syn2 so I am using the CC based switching with my MIDI board and it works great.
 
Last edited:

RMosack

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,852
The numbers 56-<whatever> for channel 1a, 1b etc, are the CC numbers (CC == MIDI 'Continuous Controller' number) they are like a variable or address, each CC # can receive or be set to a numeric value (0 through 127 are the allowed values). That value must be greater than 64 to have an effect.

So if MIDI controller sends CC56 a value of 64 (or whatever up to 127) the Syn 2 will go to 'channel 1a'.

If your MIDI controller sends CC56 a value of 0 it won't do sh*t. :D This is kind of useful because some MIDI controllers that allow buttons to be assigned to CC#s send both an 'On' and 'Off' value when pressed. Typical on/off values for a CC based button would be 127/0 for example. This allows the Syn2 to not accidentally switch channels or try to do it twice for 'off' values.

It can be confusing because the CC 'addresses' and their 'values' are both numeric.


Pretty sure this is referring to program change based switching, so they are assuming you are using that use model rather than the other without mentioning it.... Program change commands are a different kind of message than CC's. Earlier in the manual there is a (terribly written) section on changing the Syn2 channels using program change commands and actually programming these to non-default values... these are actually programmable, so they would not necessarily collide. You are right that if you are using CC#s which are fixed at 56,57, etc. you'd have to have the two units on separate channels or they are going to do the exact same thing anytime that CC# is set.

The manual needs a ALOT more explanation on the MIDI stuff. It is WAY too terse. The section on 'programming' is pretty obtuse. It reads like it was written by the developer/engineer who coded the firmware rather than a writer. It is easy to leave out details/steps when you are the developer and deeply expert in the system, ironically. Questions a noob might have do not occur to you.

I currently only have one syn2 so I am using the CC based switching with my MIDI board and it works great.
Thanks for the reply.

The first bit about Continuous Controller NUMBERS vs Continuous Controller VALUES makes perfect sense. I actually think I might have guessed it if they hadn't worded it so horribly. I have programmed my ES-8 in the past to turn pedals on and off in this way (0 vs 127). All they had to say was CC values of 0-63 equate to OFF and 64-127 equate to ON, or at least something along those lines.


And you are correct about that earlier programming section. They provide no numerical data (PC or CC numbers). Just text telling you to plug in "your MIDI controller", which leads me to believe the thing responds/calibrates/learns from whatever is being sent to it, and saves internal presets. You plug in your MIDI device, select a preset on that device - which apparently doesn't have to be the Synergy MIDI pedal - then hold either a Synergy channel or bypass button for three seconds. Seems dirt simple, I guess. Once I realize that it's a preset storing thing rather than a "send CC message thing", I guess it makes sense how you can use two SYN-2 devices at once. I guess...
 

Kelly

Member
Messages
3,447
I've yet to see a GuitarCenter with any synergy stuff in stock at all and I don't think any of the local stores sell it.

Some dealers are good about taking modules back if you don't like one but I'd feel bad about doing it repeatedly. Pitbull Audio was great when I bought a DS and decided that the attack was too tubby for my tastes and I preferred a BE. If I don't like the BE, I guess I'm just going to have to take a bath on it and sell it outright.

It would be cool if they'd do like the camera companies do and put on events where you could come by, see a clinic, try out the gear, get tips, etc...
I have 4 local guitar centers, they keep nothing in stock.
 

bitsandvolts

Member
Messages
278
Hey guys ... Im strongly considering ordering a SYN1 module in the next week or so. I envision alot of great uses for it. Silent recording, to complement my Friedman BE50 at home, grab-n-go playing into a clean combo at band practice, small gigs where I need to conserve stage space, etc.

Im wondering if you guys can suggest a module or two to start with. Im particularly interested in the SLO, DS, Ecstasy and Vai modules (and will likely end up with most of all of these 4 in the first year or two). My BE50 is pretty much my preferred/always tone - but for variety sake, I want something that will be a little different to start, while still providing comparable sustain, dynamics and gain (...tones Im searching for range from classic to 80s hard rock. What do you recommend?

Also....I'm curious to hear if anyone's used their synergy modules with pedals out front (boosts and TS variants)...I've heard some talk that the modules don't handle boost/gain pedals well. Is there any truth to this or is it fake news?
 

chrishurley

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
674
In other news, Friedman BE module is awesome. I tried a DS first but found it was just a little flubby for me while the BE is just right.

The BE module works OK in the Randall 22uf slots but it is definitely a little sloppier. I think it would be reasonable to put a smaller input capacitor in series with the stock .002 to tighten it up on a Randall system. Put a jumper so you can bypass the smaller capacitor on a synergy dock.

The single tone stack works fine. I wouldn't really consider these older ones dual channel. Its pretty much single channel with a boost- ala RM20.

I keep saying it: I really hope they revisit some of the older modules like the BE and make a deluxe version that has some extra goodies on it.
 

Serious Poo

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6,704
Hey guys ... Im strongly considering ordering a SYN1 module in the next week or so. I envision alot of great uses for it. Silent recording, to complement my Friedman BE50 at home, grab-n-go playing into a clean combo at band practice, small gigs where I need to conserve stage space, etc.

Im wondering if you guys can suggest a module or two to start with. Im particularly interested in the SLO, DS, Ecstasy and Vai modules (and will likely end up with most of all of these 4 in the first year or two). My BE50 is pretty much my preferred/always tone - but for variety sake, I want something that will be a little different to start, while still providing comparable sustain, dynamics and gain (...tones Im searching for range from classic to 80s hard rock. What do you recommend?

Also....I'm curious to hear if anyone's used their synergy modules with pedals out front (boosts and TS variants)...I've heard some talk that the modules don't handle boost/gain pedals well. Is there any truth to this or is it fake news?
First, congrats in advance. My $0.02: You simply can't go wrong with the SLO module, it's magnificent. I own 11 modules, it's my favorite of the whole bunch. It covers a lot of range and does it amazingly well.
 

chrishurley

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
674
Hey guys ... Im strongly considering ordering a SYN1 module in the next week or so. I envision alot of great uses for it. Silent recording, to complement my Friedman BE50 at home, grab-n-go playing into a clean combo at band practice, small gigs where I need to conserve stage space, etc.
Its a handy little device with a lot of great uses. I'm glad they included the 4CM switching because that means you can add it to any amp with a good loop- like yours. Other preamps without that are a lot less interesting.

Im wondering if you guys can suggest a module or two to start with. Im particularly interested in the SLO, DS, Ecstasy and Vai modules (and will likely end up with most of all of these 4 in the first year or two). My BE50 is pretty much my preferred/always tone - but for variety sake, I want something that will be a little different to start, while still providing comparable sustain, dynamics and gain (...tones Im searching for range from classic to 80s hard rock. What do you recommend?
The BE is my sound for 80's hard rock. If you love your BE, I don't think you will beat that sound but you can always get some other flavor.

The SLO is well loved on the Synergy platform- I'd like to try one but haven't yet.

The Ecstasy is very flexible and has a lot more gain than the BE channel. If you want something for "liquid leads", that or the Vai module might be your thing. You can get a lot of sounds out of the Ecstasy due to the switches on it. It doesn't really excel at cleaner sounds in my experience but there are some in there. Flexibility is the thing with that module though- and super saturated lead tones.

I found the DS to be a little flubby coming from a BE channel. The DS amp is well loved so this is just a preference issue.

I think the Synergy Plexi is also pretty well liked. You can get a little more vintage voice for your BE with that.

I haven't tried any of the more aggressive channels. If you want to bring teh brutalz then we've got some options that people love.

Don't forget the older Randall and Egnater modules. Some of those can be a lot of fun. If you see "Jaded Faith" or "Salvation Audio" modded modules, those are ones that had something ranging from a tuneup to a complete overhaul by a specialist. Friedman also did some modifications. The Randall TopBoost was a pretty decent voxy-style module in stock form. I think there is one on Reverb right now. That would be a little different from your BE and its pretty cheap.

Also....I'm curious to hear if anyone's used their synergy modules with pedals out front (boosts and TS variants)...I've heard some talk that the modules don't handle boost/gain pedals well. Is there any truth to this or is it fake news?
On the older Randall system, the front end tube of a Plexi (for example) was set up differently than the front end of a Plexi-style amp. Playing guitar into the amp, it could still sound great but when you ran a pedal into it, you would have a different behavior. The Randall rolled off low end after the first stage instead of on the first stage. So if you compared one amp that rolled low end off on the first stage and the Randall which rolled low end off after the first stage, the pedal might behave differently. I don't know if it was really a problem because you could presumably adjust the pedal but people get hung up on the modular Plexi isn't identical so it must have a problem. In reality, its just different.

On the Synergy, the modules have a little control over what the front end is doing so you can have a plexi front end that is a little more true to what you'd normally see and pedal behavior should more closely resemble what you'd expect.

Cheers! Welcome to the Synergy Universe!
 

Elric

Member
Messages
4,679
The SLO is universally adored and it is the first module I got. It is pretty darn excellent absolutely a must have for the Syn system but that said, I will say a few things for @bitsandvolts with regard to his specific post:

1. It is probably gonna overlap severely with the HBE setting on your BE amp, in terms of the ground it covers through the same power amp and cab. You already have an amp that will cover a lot of that ground.

2. It is not very versatile at all, IMHO. Probably the only single thing you can say about it that is not positive but it is definitely the case, IMHO. The blue channel and the Red channel seem like the same thing as near as I can tell and the shared EQ makes that even worse. I basically dial in the red and then turn the gain down to about 9-10 O'clock to try to get a crunch out of the Blue.

I'd recommend the Ecstasy based on your post by far compared to the SLO. It is a completely unique voicing and is crazy versatile. It has a sh*t-ton of gain on tap, unlike a lot of the Marshallish modules but it is usable across the whole sweep. The Blue channel is just awesome, I was expecting the Red to be my fave but the Blue can do so much.

IMHO, the Bogner stuff is unbelievable. I have both the Ecstasy and Uberschall... It hasn't gotten the attention on the net that the SLO has probably because the SLO had a couple of years head start for people to check it out and the Bogners dropped about a week after the freaking apocalypse landed in the States. :D I haven't put my SLO in the Syn2 since I got the Uber and that was over a month ago.

I really strongly agree with @chrishurley that the 'legacy' modules with a single shared EQ feel like a single channel preamp compared to these newer ones with dual EQs and switches. I am now GASsing for the Powerball and the upcoming Fryette modules pretty bad. I will probably hold off on the Vai thanks to the paint job... LOL...

The SLO would really benefit from a revamp in spite of how great its one trick is... and they REALLY need a BE/HBE module now that all these other modules are coming out. Although, I am sure neither of those will happen.

Regardless, the Synergy stuff is really cool as can be. Gobs of fun. I'm sure you'll find a lot to love about it.
 

bitsandvolts

Member
Messages
278
First, congrats in advance. My $0.02: You simply can't go wrong with the SLO module, it's magnificent. I own 11 modules, it's my favorite of the whole bunch. It covers a lot of range and does it amazingly well.
Thank you sir! Im really thinking the SLO or the XTC will be my first module. I'm leaning towards the SLO as a first module actually. I suspect, if I like it. I will get the XTC in short order.....now I'm starting to think maybe going for 2 out of the gate. Maybe SLO and XTC.... or SLO and Plexi (or 800) to start.

On the older Randall system, the front end tube of a Plexi (for example) was set up differently than the front end of a Plexi-style amp. Playing guitar into the amp, it could still sound great but when you ran a pedal into it, you would have a different behavior. The Randall rolled off low end after the first stage instead of on the first stage. So if you compared one amp that rolled low end off on the first stage and the Randall which rolled low end off after the first stage, the pedal might behave differently. I don't know if it was really a problem because you could presumably adjust the pedal but people get hung up on the modular Plexi isn't identical so it must have a problem. In reality, its just different.

On the Synergy, the modules have a little control over what the front end is doing so you can have a plexi front end that is a little more true to what you'd normally see and pedal behavior should more closely resemble what you'd expect.

Cheers! Welcome to the Synergy Universe!
Thank you for your great and in-depth response! My hope is that, at least with some of the lower gain modules (DS, Plexi, 800, etc) I can get away with a simple T/S out front (which is my favorite style of gain pedal).
 

chrishurley

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
674
The SLO would really benefit from a revamp in spite of how great its one trick is... and they REALLY need a BE/HBE module now that all these other modules are coming out. Although, I am sure neither of those will happen.
I heard Dave Friedman remark that there are some other things in the works for modules from Friedman. I think the question might even have been specifically about a BE/HBE combination module.

I am still hopeful that they eventually revisit some of the older modules. The Ecstasy and other newer modules show that they've got a lot of new tricks compared to the originals.

It seems to take a while to get new modules out. I can imagine them building a BE Deluxe while they slowly dry up the supply on the regular BE. At some point, roll out the deluxe and run a special on the old BE to flush them out of the channel. Easier said than done perhaps.
 

bitsandvolts

Member
Messages
278
The SLO is universally adored and it is the first module I got. It is pretty darn excellent absolutely a must have for the Syn system but that said, I will say a few things for @bitsandvolts with regard to his specific post:

1. It is probably gonna overlap severely with the HBE setting on your BE amp, in terms of the ground it covers through the same power amp and cab. You already have an amp that will cover a lot of that ground.
I dont mind some overlap. I have a very compact 50 watt head that I built that is very similar to the clean channel on the BE50. I use that on top of a Friedman 1x12 for small gigs where I only have room for a 1x12 sized cab. It would be nice to have a footswitchable unit that can sit on top of the amp and give me similar tones to my BE50, without brining out the Friedman and the larger cab. So to me, a little bit of overlap is a win!

2. It is not very versatile at all, IMHO. Probably the only single thing you can say about it that is not positive but it is definitely the case, IMHO. The blue channel and the Red channel seem like the same thing as near as I can tell and the shared EQ makes that even worse. I basically dial in the red and then turn the gain down to about 9-10 O'clock to try to get a crunch out of the Blue.
hmm, that might not be a bad thing either. I generally use my HBE channel on my BE as a solo boost. So having the SLO blue side be my meat and potatoes rhythm sound and the Red just a little more gain and volume, I'm good!

I'd recommend the Ecstasy based on your post by far compared to the SLO. It is a completely unique voicing and is crazy versatile. It has a sh*t-ton of gain on tap, unlike a lot of the Marshallish modules but it is usable across the whole sweep. The Blue channel is just awesome, I was expecting the Red to be my fave but the Blue can do so much.

IMHO, the Bogner stuff is unbelievable. I have both the Ecstasy and Uberschall... It hasn't gotten the attention on the net that the SLO has probably because the SLO had a couple of years head start for people to check it out and the Bogners dropped about a week after the freaking apocalypse landed in the States. :D I haven't put my SLO in the Syn2 since I got the Uber and that was over a month ago.
Im definitely excited about the XTC module too. In fact, this whole thing started for me because of the new Bogner 3534...I was all set to get a Bogner 3534 until I saw the SLO-30 come out at NAMM and I started hemming and hawing, knowing I couldn't swing both. Then I stumbled onto the synergy stuff and I started scheming!! ;)

I really strongly agree with @chrishurley that the 'legacy' modules with a single shared EQ feel like a single channel preamp compared to these newer ones with dual EQs and switches. I am now GASsing for the Powerball and the upcoming Fryette modules pretty bad. I will probably hold off on the Vai thanks to the paint job... LOL...
OMG, I used to own a Legacy and miss it. But that green paint job on the module is nasssssty and will hold me off until I've bought a bunch of other modules and run into more $. I wish Steve would get the hell out of the past and realize that no one buys his stuff because of the clown colors, but because he's a monster player with great tone.
 

Jason_86_951

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,382
IMHO, the Bogner stuff is unbelievable. I have both the Ecstasy and Uberschall... It hasn't gotten the attention on the net that the SLO has probably because the SLO had a couple of years head start for people to check it out and the Bogners dropped about a week after the freaking apocalypse landed in the States. :D I haven't put my SLO in the Syn2 since I got the Uber and that was over a month ago.
The Uber is my favorite module of them all with the XTC a close second. I am LOVING the rolled off, bombtastic cleans on the Uber's Twin Jet channel. Sound much fun to play!

I have been selling off all my other modules, not because they are not great, but because all I want to play are the Bogner ones....:dude
 

Serious Poo

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The Uber is my favorite module of them all with the XTC a close second. I am LOVING the rolled off, bombtastic cleans on the Uber's Twin Jet channel. Sound much fun to play!

I have been selling off all my other modules, not because they are not great, but because all I want to play are the Bogner ones....:dude
The Überschall is a monster preamp. Absolutely.
 

jco5055

Member
Messages
76
The Uber is my favorite module of them all with the XTC a close second. I am LOVING the rolled off, bombtastic cleans on the Uber's Twin Jet channel. Sound much fun to play!

I have been selling off all my other modules, not because they are not great, but because all I want to play are the Bogner ones....:dude
If I do go Synergy (here's hoping I get to try some modules out as mentioned), I think I'd probably start with just the Engl and Bogner modules and figure out which are my faves and which to sell.

I'm a lot more "metal leaning" than the average TGP user so the Powerball/Savage/Uberschall is def what I'm most interested in so far, but then I'd want to try the XTC for lead tones.
 




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