YOUR "always on" pedal for a BETTER tone

Dave Locher

Member
Messages
71
I do get to wondering now and then, even though I too use a boost for tone/sound. Well actually lately been using it more for boosting solos but anyway...

The idea that some folks use a boost to get better sound, and also want a “transparent” boost really jumped out at me the other day. It’s a well known thing that if one wanted to demo two pedals, if you have one of them slightly louder it almost always (if otherwise close) is heard as sounding better.

So I’m thinking “wait a second. Since the boost is claimed by some to be able to get “that sound” at lower volumes, but since it boosts the signal you are BACK UP to a higher volume...wouldn’t you get the same thing if you just upped the amp volume? Im going to try it today. I mean I know when I hit the boost the sound comes alive, but that is because I’m thinking I want lower volume. If I turn the volume down to unity...not so much coming alive sound. I’ll see if that is so.
Maybe. But the "coming alive" is probably the bump in gain and compression you get from hitting your amp's input with a hotter signal. Once you go unity volume or lower you lose that.
 
Messages
12,329
Nothing. Guitar into amp is a fine sound.

At home my most used pedal is no doubt a Talisman reverb, which also has a nice clean boost built into it. That means it does two basic things at once. Turn the reverb off and it's a fine boost due to the preamp.

But live I use reverb much less. Or if I'm playing ACDC riffs and other basic rock crunch at home.

Guitar into amp is best all other things equal. But at home I often add size as it's just me.

The Talisman is a special reverb though. Most reverbs interfere.

The second most used pedal is a Trower OD with gain off, as a clean low mids boost for my strat.
 
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theartofutility

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
59
Nothing. Guitar into amp is a fine sound.

At home my most used pedal is no doubt a Talisman reverb, which also has a nice clean boost built into it. That means it does two basic things at once. Turn the reverb off and it's a fine boost due to the preamp...

Guitar into amp is best all other things equal. But at home I often add size as it's just me.

The Talisman is a special reverb though. Most reverbs interfere.
If playing with my '65 PRRI, I find I just love the tone of the amp by itself. I've tried putting other pedals in front as 'tone enhancers' but I keep coming back to the tone of just the amp. It's beautiful and far exceeded my expectations. I was expecting the PRRI to be very bright but mine is an FSR with a 12" Celestion Creamback and it sounds lovely just by itself. I'm usually playing with the volume around 4 or 5 and have the treble and bass at 1.

If I'm playing my Orange Tiny Terror 10" combo (modded with NOS Mullards and a Celestion Gold), the only pedal I keep on in front is the Catalinbread Talisman. Lush yet subtle.

There aren't many pedals I've found which really enhance things (from a tone perspective) for me noticeably enough to warrant leaving on. The only thing that comes close for me is a KTR. I've played an EP booster and a Chase Tone Secret Preamp but both were so subtle that I didn't feel they justified keeping (not to mention the price). I just don't understand all the love for pedals which are so subtle as to be unnoticeable. It does feel a little like the Emperor's new clothes to me.
 

rollyfoster

Supporting Member
Messages
15,272
I do get to wondering now and then, even though I too use a boost for tone/sound. Well actually lately been using it more for boosting solos but anyway...

The idea that some folks use a boost to get better sound, and also want a “transparent” boost really jumped out at me the other day. It’s a well known thing that if one wanted to demo two pedals, if you have one of them slightly louder it almost always (if otherwise close) is heard as sounding better.

So I’m thinking “wait a second. Since the boost is claimed by some to be able to get “that sound” at lower volumes, but since it boosts the signal you are BACK UP to a higher volume...wouldn’t you get the same thing if you just upped the amp volume? Im going to try it today. I mean I know when I hit the boost the sound comes alive, but that is because I’m thinking I want lower volume. If I turn the volume down to unity...not so much coming alive sound. I’ll see if that is so.
 

nujnujnuj

Member
Messages
310
That seems like alot but I have owned all of those pedals and it makes sense
I tried getting rid any of them, i just can't. Each of them has unique enhancement to your sound.

The closest one that i could get rid of is the sbeq, but it just makes my dirt stacks very cohesive.

Second one is the tim, but my base tone is punchier and clearer with it.

Pgc and secret preamp are indispensible for me. They just make your tone waaaayyy better.
 
Messages
574
Another great always on preamp - The Nocturne Dyno Brain. Adds some upper mids presence. There is a bass cut as well if you require more clarity.

 

bulbasaur_85

Member
Messages
2,145
For me, it's a less inspiring to play without some reverb or delay. A completely dry clean or driven tone isn't as fun and brings out less creativity personally.
 

Gallery

Supporting Member
Messages
7,296
Kingsley Page

Lately it's "always on" for clean to edge of break-up and even light dirt tone no matter what amp I'm using.

It's been on my recording board. I just bought a second one for my live board. I may even buy a third as a back-up or for my small practice board.

To use some of those cliche TGP descriptive words, it adds some sparkle, clarity and bell like pop and chime to my cleans. It's a subtle improvement over the already stellar natural clean tone of my Monarch, Nathan Jr, Germino Classic 45, and Jim Kelley Reverb, but now that I'm addicted it's a necessity no matter how subtle. I originally bought it for my Friedman JJ100 because I find the clean channel to be a bit bland (I didn't buy it for the cleans) and it was the perfect tool for that job. It totally brought the JJ clean channel to life. Now it has found its way into use for all my amps.

Technically, it's not ALWAYS on because I don't usually use it with heavy dirt (If my Kingsley Harlot is on the Page is usually off), but hopefully you'll forgive me for that.



 
Messages
12,329
If playing with my '65 PRRI, I find I just love the tone of the amp by itself. I've tried putting other pedals in front as 'tone enhancers' but I keep coming back to the tone of just the amp. It's beautiful and far exceeded my expectations. I was expecting the PRRI to be very bright but mine is an FSR with a 12" Celestion Creamback and it sounds lovely just by itself. I'm usually playing with the volume around 4 or 5 and have the treble and bass at 1.

If I'm playing my Orange Tiny Terror 10" combo (modded with NOS Mullards and a Celestion Gold), the only pedal I keep on in front is the Catalinbread Talisman. Lush yet subtle.

There aren't many pedals I've found which really enhance things (from a tone perspective) for me noticeably enough to warrant leaving on. The only thing that comes close for me is a KTR. I've played an EP booster and a Chase Tone Secret Preamp but both were so subtle that I didn't feel they justified keeping (not to mention the price). I just don't understand all the love for pedals which are so subtle as to be unnoticeable. It does feel a little like the Emperor's new clothes to me.
Have the KTR too. Great pedal, especially with my Hotrod Dlx which needs help. But my Friedman needs no help, and the KTR becomes a 90s stoner rock thing (tighter than a muff for live). It polishes the sound too much to use all the time for me, and I only use a pedal on the board nowadays if it really makes a difference in many situations. The Talisman is an 18v clean boost already.

But the Trower OD is often useful as it tightens bass more cleanly and controls highs better than the KTR, for me, and boosts mids in just an ideal way with my particular rig, as if I dialed in the mids myself. So that's my classic mid boost, instead of a tube screamer. My amp has good gain but sometimes you gotta boost and tighten.

The KTR is great in theory, but sometimes a random pedal just works to give you what the amp and guitar are missing. But the KTR is great for building a core sound if you want that, and is a fine straight boost, if you need that.

Used to have a 60s PR. Sorry I got rid of that amp. It is a perfect little amp for some things.
 

NeilYoungFan

Supporting Member
Messages
2,244
My Cornish ST-2 is pretty much always on, as it makes my tone better (and I adore my amp). The Providence delay 80's (set mildly, so that it doesn't take over) is rarely off, too
 

ry-guy

Member
Messages
1,610
RC Booster for extra presence or grit. Dod 250 preamp to add some girth.

Yeah the amp only, “not good enough” argument is narrow in my thinking. Even if you have the best amp in the world, there’s still only so much of a sonic range that it can control. It’s own controls have eq notches and filters at certain frequencies. Anyone who has spent time with an eq knows there’s different frequency notches that you slightly boost or cut, even when you get great sounds from an amp, to give it an extra sweetness.

it’s why there are quests for pickups/cables/tubes etc. people love an amp or guitar and just want that extra bit of goodness. Anyway, that’s my opinion, carry on.
 




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