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FX chains?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
FX chains?

I've currently got 11 pedals and I use them all as sends through Ableton. When I had my first 3 pedals, I set them up on separate sends and they were never part of a chain. Since then, I've added to the original 3 pedals but still have 3 separate chains. This has just kinda happened, so there was no real design to it and no real thought went into it. But having three separate chains is now a pain in the backside and I need to do it better.

Now, I would like to have them all in one chain - what are the plusses and minuses of doing this?

I record dry into Ableton and then record again with FX etc added.

I've got;

Oto Bim
Oto Bam
Oto Boum
Analog Heat
Strymon Deco
Strymon Volante
Cooper Generation Loss
Red Panda Particle 2
Chase Bliss Warped Vinyl
MF103
Specular Tempus

Thoughts, please?

And what about the order?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Skypainter's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil F View Post
I've currently got 11 pedals and I use them all as sends through Ableton. When I had my first 3 pedals, I set them up on separate sends and they were never part of a chain. Since then, I've added to the original 3 pedals but still have 3 separate chains. This has just kinda happened, so there was no real design to it and no real thought went into it. But having three separate chains is now a pain in the backside and I need to do it better.

Now, I would like to have them all in one chain - what are the plusses and minuses of doing this?

I record dry into Ableton and then record again with FX etc added.

I've got;

Oto Bim
Oto Bam
Oto Boum
Analog Heat
Strymon Deco
Strymon Volante
Cooper Generation Loss
Red Panda Particle 2
Chase Bliss Warped Vinyl
MF103
Specular Tempus

Thoughts, please?

And what about the order?
I'd sell the lot and buy an Eventide Eclipse.
Old 6 days ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 

The only time I ever put multiple effects together into a single chain is when I am already using that particular subset of effects together pretty much always. Like - if you keep using the BIM and BAM together on your Bassline, then sure - there isn't much harm in creating a Bassline chain containing the BIM and BAM.

Otherwise, keeping them separate is vastly superior in terms of flexibility, and why care if you have 11 or 111 chains or effects in there if they're things you use...?

Personally, I'd start with all 11 totally separate, and only combine when the combos are so common in your regular use that NOT combining certain ones seems silly, at that juncture and not a moment before - otherwise you're throwing away potential flexibility before you even know how it might be useful. Why limit yourself at all?
Old 6 days ago
  #4
I have 16 analog effect sends from two Xtramix, that allows you combine them any way you'd like via a few button pushes.

An example of running them in series is a "moogerfooger only" drum track I am working on now, CP-251 (noise) --> mf-107 (osc) --> mf-101 (lpf) --> mf-105m (sequencer synced to midi clock at 140 bpm) --> 104m (delay rate synced to mf-107 env out) .
Old 6 days ago
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iksrazal View Post
I have 16 analog effect sends from two Xtramix, that allows you combine them any way you'd like via a few button pushes.
Sweet! But a couple of Speck Electronics mixers costs more than 4 times the price of the OP's effects, and you could get several Eclipses instead!

Phil, maybe you just need a patch bay. I've never set up chains longer than two fx, but I image with a larger number noise builds up and multiple AD/DA leads to signal deterioration.
Old 6 days ago
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skypainter View Post
Sweet! But a couple of Speck Electronics mixers costs more than 4 times the price of the OP's effects, and you could get several Eclipses instead!

Phil, maybe you just need a patch bay. I've never set up chains longer than two fx, but I image with a larger number noise builds up and multiple AD/DA leads to signal deterioration.
Why buy a digital Eclipse when free plugins can do effects too? Its all digital right? I fail to see the point besides being OTB, which I am 100%.

I have no digital effects or synths in my signal chain for that reason, ymmv.

Two Xtramix allows me to skip patch bays all together BTW.
Old 6 days ago
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
Skypainter's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iksrazal View Post
Why buy a digital Eclipse when free plugins can do effects too? Its all digital right? I fail to see the point besides being OTB, which I am 100%.

I have no digital effects or synths in my signal chain for that reason, ymmv.

Two Xtramix allows me to skip patch bays all together BTW.
Hardware digital fx have a dedicated processor. It makes a difference.

Also not much fun dragging around a computer as an fx box for live usage.

Your setup sounds like the dogs', but if the OP doesn't have $4000 to go with your suggestion, a quality patchbay could meet his needs for over x20 less cash.
Old 6 days ago
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skypainter View Post
Sweet! But a couple of Speck Electronics mixers costs more than 4 times the price of the OP's effects, and you could get several Eclipses instead!

Phil, maybe you just need a patch bay. I've never set up chains longer than two fx, but I image with a larger number noise builds up and multiple AD/DA leads to signal deterioration.


Thanks for this - yeah, my concern is that noise will build with a longer chain and it is a real pain in the backside to keep swapping cables to create new smaller chains. I think a patchbay may be the answer to be honest - why do patchbays look so complicated though?
Old 6 days ago
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skypainter View Post
Hardware digital fx have a dedicated processor. It makes a difference.

Also not much fun dragging around a computer as an fx box for live usage.

Your setup sounds like the dogs', but if the OP doesn't have $4000 to go with your suggestion, a quality patchbay could meet his needs for over x20 less cash.
I dislike computers so I get your point.

I prefer effect sends on mixers, any mixer. Just one way of many.
Old 6 days ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 

I set up multiple fx pedals in chains.

Some negatives:
Some pedals will degrade your audio even when bypassed. In use, some pedals (such as envelope filters, dirt etc) create resonance spikes which then can cause issues with pedals further down the line. It can snowball, requiring remedial eq or dynamics processing. It can get muddy. Multiple analog pedals in series will raise your noise floor.

I like to wallow in muck sometimes: some songs, I want to sound like a vintage found record from a parallel universe. But my last round of recording, maybe I did this a little too much - too many pedals, and you can end up with that muffled "wet blanket over an amp" band-limited sound... not so good.

Some positives:
Some pedals sound great together. Sound design possibilities - I like to set parameters while listening to the patch and fx interacting, all at once. The fx chain is integral to the patch for me, and not only when starting with simple patches. For me, that even holds true when starting with a complex evolving patch. Sometimes pedals are symbiotic in other ways. I couldn't really use my Little Dipper pedal with a synth until I stuck a Moogerfooger in front of it (in addition to attenuating the source). A reamp pedal would have worked too, but it was in use elsewhere. Maybe sometimes a buffered bypass in front helps ornery pedals down the line. Pedal chains encourage experimentation. Sometimes I want different delays on different parts, or to use a delay before an insert effect, so it makes sense then to use the delay as part of an insert chain. And so on.

Basically, if you want the cleanest recording possible, I'd recommend against long pedal chains. I've had pedalboard size cables, under stress from twisting, go partly bad - pass a weak or distorted signal, or cause occasional artifacts or dropouts, and now there's a whole chain of short cables to troubleshoot in frustration. Each connection is a potential fail point. It might not be a cable, but a pedal jack instead, that got stressed out, and so on.

OTOH, if you don't mind experimentation and dirt don't hurt, then multiple pedals multiply your possibilities. They increase the size of your sonic world. Despite all that, when I'm not using a pedal, I tend to unplug it from the chain and physically bypass it. That's more because I tend to move pedals around anyway. If a long chain wasn't degrading my sound when in bypass, and I didn't move pedals around alot, then I'd just keep it all hooked up.

OTOH I don't make music in any standardized genres where cleanliness is next to godliness, so YMMV.

tl;dr - If dirt don't hurt, keep it as you have it. If it does... then remove the culprit and set up shorter chains mindful of the relationships created and your goals.
Old 6 days ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil F View Post
Thanks for this - yeah, my concern is that noise will build with a longer chain and it is a real pain in the backside to keep swapping cables to create new smaller chains. I think a patchbay may be the answer to be honest - why do patchbays look so complicated though?
It's not complicated.

It's x-outs and y-ins, all in one convenient location, for easy on-the-fly "rewiring" / re-patching. And per set you can choose whether it's Normaled, Half-Normaled, or not...

It's very existence is to solve your "pain in the backside". It is, literally, the tool for the job.

Are there other tools, sure. But a Patchbay is the easiest, most common, and in many cases the lesst expensive.

The SAMSON S-Patch Plus is 24pairs with the Normal switches on front which is super convenient, and it is nice enough, inexpensive ($120), and ubiquitous. Sweetwater and many others carry it.

You will, obviously, need more cables. Usually a few 8ch 1/4 to 1/4 snakes... these obviously add to the cost, so consider all that when looking at cost comparisons. A new Mixer with more Sends and Returns *might* not be much more expensive, depending on how fancy your Mixer tastes are...

Speck and such will be way more expensive than a Patchbay.
Old 6 days ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 
aeonlux's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iksrazal View Post
Why buy a digital Eclipse when free plugins can do effects too? Its all digital right? I fail to see the point besides being OTB, which I am 100%.
You do so because you are after the specific algorithms and code that the Eclipse runs, which ultimately result in a particular nature and quality of sound.

I'm sure those with experience of both an Eclipse and free plugs could tell you why they paid money for their effects box.

Cheers,
Ian
Old 6 days ago
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bignatius View Post
It's not complicated.

It's x-outs and y-ins, all in one convenient location, for easy on-the-fly "rewiring" / re-patching. And per set you can choose whether it's Normaled, Half-Normaled, or not...

It's very existence is to solve your "pain in the backside". It is, literally, the tool for the job.

Are there other tools, sure. But a Patchbay is the easiest, most common, and in many cases the lesst expensive.

The SAMSON S-Patch Plus is 24pairs with the Normal switches on front which is super convenient, and it is nice enough, inexpensive ($120), and ubiquitous. Sweetwater and many others carry it.

You will, obviously, need more cables. Usually a few 8ch 1/4 to 1/4 snakes... these obviously add to the cost, so consider all that when looking at cost comparisons. A new Mixer with more Sends and Returns *might* not be much more expensive, depending on how fancy your Mixer tastes are...

Speck and such will be way more expensive than a Patchbay.

Thanks for this

At present, I use (for example) audio channel 3 and 4 on my audio interface for my FX chain (stereo in and out). I then send audio through this chain via Ableton.

Am I right in thinking that the patchbay would be set up the same way to and from my audio interface i.e. from channel 3 and 4 back to 3 and 4? And then I would still send audio through it via Ableton? This is what I don't get.
Old 6 days ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil F View Post
Thanks for this

At present, I use (for example) audio channel 3 and 4 on my audio interface for my FX chain (stereo in and out). I then send audio through this chain via Ableton.

Am I right in thinking that the patchbay would be set up the same way to and from my audio interface i.e. from channel 3 and 4 back to 3 and 4? And then I would still send audio through it via Ableton? This is what I don't get.
There are many ways, strictly speaking.

I would start with something like this:

Patchbay (use the bottom row for all INs, top row for OUTs, always, as it helps organize it all):

01.BIM.Left In and Out via the back side of PB
02.BIM.Right In and Out via the back side of PB
03.BAM.Left In and Out via the back side of PB
04.BAM.Right In and Out via the back side of PB.
...
23.Interface.03.IN on bottom row of back side...
24.Interface.04.IN on bottom row of back side...

And, let's say that you always end up using your OTO BAM (reverb) last in every FX chain, or at least most of the time...

So in that case, you can take a pair of patch cables, and route them (on the front side) from the BAM's Outs (top row, front, #s 3 and 4) to the Interface 3 & 4 INs (bottom rowx front, #s 23 and 24), and just leave it there most of the time.

That way it's one less thing to change, if such an example ends up happening often enough to bother. You'll have to sort all that out via first hand experience.

You can also take some common combo you use alot, like, I dunno, your Analog Heat into your Mooger Phaser into your Volante... and if that combo is pretty much always that combo in that order, then cable them together as a combo and just take the first IN and last OUT and cable THAT pair to the backside of one pair of Patchbay sets as though it's a single unit. Less crap to redo...

But the point is, one you have the Patchbay and Snakes/Cables themselves, you can do and redo this oodles of ways, as it suits you, and as your needs develop.

I've ignored Normal and Half-Normal details for now, just to keep things even simpler. You can dig into those later, once you've got it all setup and have used it in this form and have a better sense of what some of your default routings end up being.

That help? Any other curiosities about how?
Old 6 days ago
  #15
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Westlaker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by aeonlux View Post
You do so because you are after the specific algorithms and code that the Eclipse runs, which ultimately result in a particular nature and quality of sound.

I'm sure those with experience of both an Eclipse and free plugs could tell you why they paid money for their effects box.

Cheers,
Ian
Holy hell -- is @ aeonlux actually back in the house?? I hope so. A key contributor from the Golden Age of this subforum!
Old 6 days ago
  #16
Lives for gear
 

...
Old 6 days ago
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bignatius View Post
There are many ways, strictly speaking.

I would start with something like this:

Patchbay (use the bottom row for all INs, top row for OUTs, always, as it helps organize it all):

01.BIM.Left In and Out via the back side of PB
02.BIM.Right In and Out via the back side of PB
03.BAM.Left In and Out via the back side of PB
04.BAM.Right In and Out via the back side of PB.
...
23.Interface.03.IN on bottom row of back side...
24.Interface.04.IN on bottom row of back side...

And, let's say that you always end up using your OTO BAM (reverb) last in every FX chain, or at least most of the time...

So in that case, you can take a pair of patch cables, and route them (on the front side) from the BAM's Outs (top row, front, #s 3 and 4) to the Interface 3 & 4 INs (bottom rowx front, #s 23 and 24), and just leave it there most of the time.

That way it's one less thing to change, if such an example ends up happening often enough to bother. You'll have to sort all that out via first hand experience.

You can also take some common combo you use alot, like, I dunno, your Analog Heat into your Mooger Phaser into your Volante... and if that combo is pretty much always that combo in that order, then cable them together as a combo and just take the first IN and last OUT and cable THAT pair to the backside of one pair of Patchbay sets as though it's a single unit. Less crap to redo...

But the point is, one you have the Patchbay and Snakes/Cables themselves, you can do and redo this oodles of ways, as it suits you, and as your needs develop.

I've ignored Normal and Half-Normal details for now, just to keep things even simpler. You can dig into those later, once you've got it all setup and have used it in this form and have a better sense of what some of your default routings end up being.

That help? Any other curiosities about how?
This is great - thank you

I'll give this a go and then get back to you if I need anything else

Thanks again
Old 6 days ago
  #18
TBH the whole Eventide tiered pricing thing is one reason why I went analog instead. That and I never use reverb.

Eclipse seems far inferior to the H8000 yet their pedal line seems better too. And then there's the 2016. Never could figure it out, so I moved on.
Old 6 days ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil F View Post
This is great - thank you

I'll give this a go and then get back to you if I need anything else

Thanks again
You're welcome. Best of luck.

Ask anytime.

Remember - shorter cable runs cost less, and in some cases will have less effect on the sound.

(Long cable runs, even a single cable sometimes, can roll off the highs a little, and it gets worse the more length is added. It's why some pedals are buffered, after all. So keep the pedals as close to the Patchbay as reasonably possible to reduce Snake lengths and $$ and mitigate any effect on sound.)

No need to sweat a few feet, but an extra 20ft because you want them across the room would not be advisable, generally speaking...
Old 6 days ago
  #20
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monomer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by aeonlux View Post
You do so because you are after the specific algorithms and code that the Eclipse runs, which ultimately result in a particular nature and quality of sound.
Well, THAT, and the fact that you can freely chain effects inside it.
Old 6 days ago
  #21
Gear Maniac
 
Skypainter's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iksrazal View Post
TBH the whole Eventide tiered pricing thing is one reason why I went analog instead. That and I never use reverb.

Eclipse seems far inferior to the H8000 yet their pedal line seems better too. And then there's the 2016. Never could figure it out, so I moved on.
What? So the Eclipse is far inferior to the H8000, and even the pedals are "better" than the Eclipse? And a few posts back you were claiming Eventide is the same thing as free plugins! Indeed you sound confused.
Old 6 days ago
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skypainter View Post
What? So the Eclipse is far inferior to the H8000, and even the pedals are "better" than the Eclipse? And a few posts back you were claiming Eventide is the same thing as free plugins! Indeed you sound confused.
Ask eventide why their digital stuff costs 500 to 7000 for the same ones and zeroes, I have no idea.
Old 6 days ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iksrazal View Post
Ask eventide why their digital stuff costs 500 to 7000 for the same ones and zeroes, I have no idea.
Because it's not literally the same ones and zeros, nor the same platforms/hardware.
Old 6 days ago
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bignatius View Post
Because it's not literally the same ones and zeros, nor the same platforms/hardware.
Well I skipped their entire product line because I remain unconvinced on the value of the platforms/hardware ymmv.

I have looked a lot at their products for a long time, shrugged, and decided it wasn't for me.

Some of their gear is very high priced like the H9000, its not gear for everyone.
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