Guide to Dual Overdrive/Distortions – Part 2

Introduction

So, two distortion/overdrive/dirt pedals in one box? Why would you want that? Or why would you use more than one overdrive or gain pedal in your signal chain? Well, players often like to stack (stack = connect in series) more than one gain pedals for their own reasons. Some players like to start with a basic clean tone on their amp (with or without slight breakup), and then use pedals to add different levels of gain onto the signal. Others may use some breakup from the amp, and use a boost and/or an overdrive to further push the amp into grittier territories. And there are also those who use drive pedals to add multiple channels to a single channel amp.

Gain staging is important to get the right amount of signal into the front-end of your amp. There are various ways to go about it. For instance, a clean boost into a driven amp can be used to get a volume boost and more sustain for solos or chorus sections of songs. A compressor pedal can be used to achieve the same effect. You could use a Tubescreamer type overdrive to add saturation to an already compressed amp. Or you can use a distortion pedal like the Suhr Riot to get a higher gain tone from a clean amp.

How a dual overdrive can be used in such situations – a. it removes the need to have two separate units on your board, and b. the different circuits of a dual overdrive can lead to a complex gain tone when cascaded (i.e. connected in series). Also, because both circuits are in the same box, it also eliminates the need for an extra patch cable and power supply or battery. Some pedals even include separate inputs and outputs for each side of the pedal for flexibility.

Now, there are numerous overdrive/distortion pedals out there with a built-in boost circuit. These pedals usually have one main drive pedal side, and an additional boost circuit. This guide is not about that. We chose to write only about pedals that have two discrete drive circuits. Pedals with just a boost circuit were not included in this list.

Here’s the second part of the list (in alphabetical order) :
(read part 2 here)

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Tech

Guide to Dual Overdrive/Distortions – Part 1

Introduction

So, two distortion/overdrive/dirt pedals in one box? Why would you want that? Or why would you use more than one overdrive or gain pedal in your signal chain? Well, players often like to stack (stack = connect in series) more than one gain pedals for their own reasons. Some players like to start with a basic clean tone on their amp (with or without slight breakup), and then use pedals to add different levels of gain onto the signal. Others may use some breakup from the amp, and use a boost and/or an overdrive to further push the amp into grittier territories. And there are also those who use drive pedals to add multiple channels to a single channel amp.

Gain staging is important to get the right amount of signal into the front-end of your amp. There are various ways to go about it. For instance, a clean boost into a driven amp can be used to get a volume boost and more sustain for solos or chorus sections of songs. A compressor pedal can be used to achieve the same effect. You could use a Tubescreamer type overdrive to add saturation to an already compressed amp. Or you can use a distortion pedal like the Suhr Riot to get a higher gain tone from a clean amp.

How a dual overdrive can be used in such situations – a. it removes the need to have two separate units on your board, and b. the different circuits of a dual overdrive can lead to a complex gain tone when cascaded (i.e. connected in series). Also, because both circuits are in the same box, it also eliminates the need for an extra patch cable and power supply or battery. Some pedals even include separate inputs and outputs for each side of the pedal for flexibility.

Now, there are numerous overdrive/distortion pedals out there with a built-in boost circuit. These pedals usually have one main drive pedal side, and an additional boost circuit. This guide is not about that. We chose to write only about pedals that have two discrete drive circuits. Pedals with just a boost circuit were not included in this list.

Here’s the first part of the list (in alphabetical order) :
(read part 2 here)

Tech

Guitar Strings – How long do unopened packs last?

Guitar and bass strings wear out with use. Your playing style, frequency and the environment all have an effect on how fast strings wear out. For this reason, it is recommended that strings be replaced at frequent intervals. But what about strings that haven’t been used? How long can they be kept in your closet or guitar case before they are unusable? Do guitar strings have an expiration date? This is something I have thought about before. So instead of speculating, I decided to write to major guitar string manufacturers and ask them.

Here’s what I wrote:

Do electric/acoustic guitar strings have a shelf life and an expiration date? How long does an unopened pack of strings last? Also what can one do to extend the life of strings when they’re on the instrument?

And the responses I got from string companies-

Tech

Guide to Small-sized Guitar Amplifiers – Part 3

I like small-sized guitar amplifiers. These amplifiers are affordable and also easy to use – just plug-in and start playing. Most small-sized amp heads and combos are low power, 100% valve driven units. But there are also some micro amps out there that are transistor based and just incredibly small in size. A non-musician could easily mistake them for toys and not real musical instruments. Modern manufacturing technology has made it possible to have such amazing gear available to us.

In the final part of this list, I have listed a few exceptions that were worth mentioning, as they provide usability for a variety of needs. The list includes the model of the amp and its specs and also the pros and cons of each amp, so you can get a complete perspective on what the amp is all about.

Here’s the list (in alphabetical order) :

Tech

Guide to Small-sized Guitar Amplifiers – Part 2

I like small-sized guitar amplifiers. These amplifiers are affordable and also easy to use – just plug-in and start playing. Most small-sized amp heads and combos are low power, 100% valve driven units. But there are also some micro amps out there that are transistor based and just incredibly small in size. A non-musician could easily mistake them for toys and not real musical instruments. Modern manufacturing technology has made it possible to have such amazing gear available to us.

In this second post of this list, I have presented a list of the most prominent small amp heads available today. It is is no way an exhaustive list, but I did my best to find amps of all kinds from all over the world. I have included amps that are fully tube driven or hybrid units of 1 or 5 watts RMS. The list includes the model of the amp and its specs and also the pros and cons of each amp, so you can get a complete perspective on what the amp is all about.

Here’s the list (in alphabetical order) :

Tech

Guide to Small-sized Guitar Amplifiers – Part 1

I like small-sized guitar amplifiers. These amplifiers are affordable and also easy to use – just plug-in and start playing. Most small-sized amp heads and combos are low power, 100% valve driven units. But there are also some micro amps out there that are transistor based and just incredibly small in size. A non-musician could easily mistake them for toys and not real musical instruments. Modern manufacturing technology has made it possible to have such amazing gear available to us.

In this first part of this list I have presented the most prominent small amp heads available today. It is is no way an exhaustive list, but I did my best to find amps of all kinds from all over the world. I have included amps that are fully tube driven or hybrid units of 1 or 5 watts RMS. The list includes the model of the amp and its specs and also the pros and cons of each amp, so you can get a complete perspective on what the amp is all about.

Here’s the list (in alphabetical order) :

Tech

Positive Grid Bias – List of FX

Here’s a list of the pedal/stompbox models that come with the Bias FX virtual plug-in. Also included is a link to each effect’s product page on the manufacturer’s website, so you can see the profile and specs of the effect you intend on using.

It’s good to know about the virtual amp or FX you are using and what it is modeled after. That way, you can choose the right amp for the sound you are going for.

FX included in Bias FX

Tech

Positive Grid Bias – List of Amps

Here’s a list of the amp models that come with the Bias AMP virtual plug-in. Also included is a link to each amp’s product page on the manufacturer’s website, so you can see the profile and specs of the amp you intend on using.

It’s good to know about the virtual amp or FX you are using and what it is modeled after. That way, you can choose the right amp for the sound you are going for.

Model name – Real amp name

 

Amps included in Bias AMP

1 – Clean

Tech

Rebooting a Focusrite Saffire firewire interface

I’m currently using the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 on an OSX machine. I’ve had a minor issue where occasionally you could not get an output signal from the headphone out. This issue occurs when you cut power to the interface through the switch at the back panel without turning the computer off.

I had to resort to rebooting the computer each time this issue occurred. Luckily, I came across a simple solution on the Ableton forum. You open up the Saffire mix control software and change the sync source to anything other than internal. Then you switch it back to internal and output is restored. Remember to also select the Saffire as your default sound unit in the system preferences. And that’s it!

Here’s how you can get signal back to your headphone out,

  1. Launch the Saffire Mix Control Software
  2. Select Sync Source
  3. Change sync source from internal to SPDIF or ADAT (either will do)
  4. Change sync source back to internal.
  5. Audio should be restored to headphone out.

 

Saffire 1

Saffire 3

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