Volume set on your gain boxes?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Lemuel.Tan, Feb 6, 2008.

  1. Lemuel.Tan

    Lemuel.Tan Member

    Messages:
    111
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Just wanted to find out how do you guys adjust the volume on your gain pedals? Do you set the volume to be the same as if the pedals aren't switched on, when these pedals are in use? I'm currently going through this "I'm not really sure what is the most appropriate settings" phase.

    Let's hear how each one of you makes the final adjustment on this! :)
     
  2. Fireball XL5

    Fireball XL5 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,534
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2002
    Location:
    Florida
    Typically I set the Volume control higher than unity - sometimes significantly higher - and keep the Gain control set fairly low.

    Much more dynamic and sounds & feels more "amp-like" and less "pedal-like" set this way because most of the gain and distortion is resulting from the tubes being pushed harder as opposed to the pedal producing all the distortion.

    I play pretty loud though, and if you are limited by volume restrictions/concerns than this approach may not work for you.
     
  3. Lemuel.Tan

    Lemuel.Tan Member

    Messages:
    111
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Thanks! I could try that but yeah I will probably be limited by volume restrictions. Anyone else has a take on this?
     
  4. Ocean

    Ocean Supporting Member

    Messages:
    454
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Work that volume knob! Only using the drive knob for your grit really limits what you can get out of a pedal.
     
  5. mmcquain

    mmcquain Member

    Messages:
    1,124
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Location:
    Tarpon Springs, FL
    +1 on keeping the Gain knob lower and work the Volume knob up where you need it... I find that not only does this sound more "amp like", etc. but it is also a lot less "hissy" and cleaner sounding overall than if I crank the Gain and back off the Volume.
     
  6. MudPies

    MudPies Member

    Messages:
    11,640
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    Location:
    mpls
    are these suggestions geared towards tube amp users? I'm temporarily stuck with a cheap solid state amp and love my ts9. I'd love to try some tips n tricks for getting more sounds out of the gear I have.
     
  7. mmcquain

    mmcquain Member

    Messages:
    1,124
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Location:
    Tarpon Springs, FL
    Not necessarily just for tube amp users... the gain down/volume up setting just tend to keep the pedal from being too noisey... that applies regardless of the type of amp you're using.
     
  8. paulgroove82

    paulgroove82 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    215
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I agree with the 'Volume knob before Gain knob' phiosophy. I have a Keeley 808 that I don't even gain up for live use, just push the volume and it sounds so much smoother and dynamic; my amp's proud to be played at a moderate volume!
     
  9. plan-x

    plan-x Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,000
    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    Location:
    Ca Mojave Desert
    What if you need to turn off the pedal to obtain a clean sound in the middle of a song. Won't there be a significant volume drop.
     
  10. djinn1973

    djinn1973 Member

    Messages:
    310
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Location:
    Dixon Ca
    +2 I use OD and distortion boxes to add just a bit of dirt, and a slight increase in volume. The idea being (at least as far as I am concerned) to add a bit of colour to my other wise warm clean tone. I want it sound like my amp only bigger.
     
  11. Lemuel.Tan

    Lemuel.Tan Member

    Messages:
    111
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    My question too...
     
  12. bobgoblin

    bobgoblin Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,379
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Location:
    tejas
    I use a couple of od boxes on my board. I set one for the exact same volume w/just a little grit for certain rhythm sounds, and the other is set with the tone and drive and volume a bit higher for lead sounds. I find that a little more treble (& mids) works better than a lot more volume in a live band context.
     
  13. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

    Messages:
    6,240
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Location:
    New Brunswick, NJ
    Yes or if you are playing clean and need to switch to dirty there will be a significant increase in volume. I really don't see the value in this approach unless you always play distorted. I suppose the stock answer would be to roll your guitar volume down for clean tones but I find that that method results in a clean tone that is actually never fully clean and sounds worse to me than the guitar at full volume into the clean amp

    Sooo...I set my OD's at unity volume so that my clean and dirty rhythm sounds are at the same volume. I can stack OD's for more volume and gain during solos. I also usually have one pedal at the end of the chain with minimal gain and the volume set louder than unity for solo boosts. This pedal is usually a dedicated clean boost but I have also used a TS with the gain off for a midrange and volume boost.
     
  14. Birddog

    Birddog Member

    Messages:
    3,083
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Location:
    WNY
    Me too. I play 4 drive pedals (1 or 2 at a time) into a clean Fender SS amp. I very carefully set the levels on all the pedals to the same volume, which is the same as completely clean. I checked it by mic'ing the amp, an checking the levels on Guitar Tracks. One thing I've found (which really is common sense) is that at gig volumes, discrepancies in pedal volumes are glaring compared to when you're playing "at home". I checked the pedals at gig volume (with earplugs). I do ride the volume knob frequently for dynamics and texture, but I find that having the pedals at the same basic volume gives me a nice base from which to work. Especially when you are switching pedals mid-song. It alleviates a lot of the panicky "oh s**t, that's too loud" phenomena that really throws you off while soloing...
     
  15. iggs

    iggs Member

    Messages:
    2,501
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto
    I crank my Dr. Z Route 66 to the point where it's starting to compress so any volume boost in front of the amp will not necessarily result in higher volume but rather more saturation and clipping. That's why I always run all my dirt pedals much higher then unity and then adjust the "gain" to add saturation.
    I find in general, dirt pedals do work better in a cranked tube amp ... personally, running them in a clean (tube or ss) amp sounds like running them direct into a PA.
    BTW ... I have a SS Peavey that I run OCD into for band practice so I've been on both sides of the fence.
     
  16. CWFurst

    CWFurst Member

    Messages:
    660
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2006
    I see it as having the master volume on your amp and the pre amp or gain knob on your amp. When the master volume is opened up all the way you can get a certain sound and when you turn it down the amps tends to produce a different type of sound. There is the necessary evil with opening up master volumes on the amp or pedal. It gets louder. So, you just turn down the volume and you don't loose your ears or you open them up and love every moment of it!
     
  17. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

    Messages:
    6,240
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Location:
    New Brunswick, NJ
    Setting unity gain between clean and dirty can be tricky. The culprit is compression. Distortion compresses the signal so that even when the average volumes between clean and dirty are equal the clean will always sound louder due to the peaks or extra dynamics. This is compounded at higher volumes. I usually set the OD pedals very slightly louder than the average clean volume to account for the peak volume. You could avoid this by using an "always on" compressor but that sound doesn't work for everyone.
     
  18. paulgroove82

    paulgroove82 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    215
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I used to just layer multiple stompboxes with unity gain for a thicker sound, but I found it to bee too fizzy and took away from the sound of my guitar and the responsiveness to my playing. I leave a stock Sparkle Drive (gasp, no mods!) on at all times with the drive at 11, tone at 1 clean at 11 and volume at 1 and it just kicks my clean tone up a little. I'm using an older Dr Z Mazerati head and it's so beautifully loud and clean. I use a Phoenix Custom Electronics Cream Tangerine that's set at about unity with the compression fairly low to mimick the way the Z can get when she's actually up nicely and it sends my clean tone through the roof.

    From that perspective, yes, I'm always layering my stompboxes but I'm never having to put 3 thick to get what I want; mostly just the Keeley 808 to pump and changing guitars to suit my needs. (Honestly, who can't take two guitars to a gig?!?) I consider the SD & Comp as part of my clean sound when I'm not able to get the amp cranked. Believe me, it does the trick and sounds gracefully smooth and dynamic.
     
  19. mmcquain

    mmcquain Member

    Messages:
    1,124
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Location:
    Tarpon Springs, FL
    +1 - I too run my dirt box(es) slightly louder than my clean (no pedals) level for exactly the reason described above. As for any volume drop when the pedal is off... not a problem because the clean is uncompresses and sounds "louder" (really "sound" the same because of no compression).

    All I meant by setting gain down and volume up on the pedal was use that as a starting point when tweaking the pedal so as to help keep the pedal from introducing unwanted hiss into your sound.
     
  20. Brett Valentine

    Brett Valentine Member

    Messages:
    3,172
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Location:
    NY, USA
    It's a balance with me. I have a clean boost in front of my drive pedals and another one at the back end of all the effects. The front 2 lower gain pedals are set to moderate boost. Because they are very open pedals, the clean boost brings up the volume level.

    The last two gain pedals are set for heavier distortion and a larger gain boost comparative to the combination of front clean boost and the low gain pedals so there is no level drop when it is kicked in.

    The whole thing is balanced by a volume pedal after the gain stages. I keep that at about 75 - 85% most of the time unless I'm doing pedal swells.
     

Share This Page