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Your thoughts on volume pedals
Old 22nd August 2013 | Show parent
  #31
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John Eppstein's Avatar
 
58 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
Just a little update: I finally bought a Boss FV-500-L volume pedal, this is the low impedance version and I tried it on several gigs replacing my FV-500-H.

I used a Z.Vex SHO and a Xotic SP Compressor as the first two pedals and both stay on all the time. The volume pedal was placed after the distortion boxes (currently a Xotic AC Booster and an Analog Man Boss DS-1) and before the delays.

There is a HUGE difference when using the Low-Impedance version, mainly more clarity and control but I'm not sure if I like it. I had the feeling that the sound got too trebly especially when using distortion.

So the verdict is pretty clear: NO MORE VOLUME PEDALS for me, at least not in a live setup.

Another reason is sheer pedal board real estate. I sometimes use a Colorsound Wah, I absolutely love the sound of it but you need to put it in a looper as it kills the high-end otherwise. A small MXR Loop Box works fine but with the Wah, an expression pedal for the Memory Man and the Boss volume pedal it would just be too trouble for me.

Also, adjusting 'swells' by operating both the expression pedal (controlling the MM's feedback) and the volume pedal itself is confusing.
Ever try a Goodrich?

Probably not....
Old 28th August 2013 | Show parent
  #32
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doorknocker's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Ever try a Goodrich?

Probably not....
As I said above, my 'issues' were not the pedals themselves but rather the way different elements (volume pot on guitar vs. volume pedal, etc) are working against each other.

One of my fave guitar players is Mike Landau and here's some interesting things quoted from the Vertex site about volume pedals that pretty much reinforce my own experience.

Michael Landau Pedalboard | vertexeffects.com


EXPRESSION MODIFICATION FOR VOLUME

This modification was the most interesting proposal that Michael made for this rig:

Michael called me one day because he was concerned about how his volume pedal was effecting the tone of his original pedalboard. Even though my modifications help, it doesn't undo all of the loss.

Mike had been experimenting with using the volume knobs on his pedals to attenuate the level of the signal going through his rig and comparing it with how a volume pedal attenuated the level. He found that when using the volume knob on the pedals to attenuate the volume, it sounded much fatter and 3D compared to the volume pedal. Furthermore, he didn't experience the loss a volume pedal would normally create.

He asked if there was any way to control the volume knobs on his pedals by using something he could manipulate with his foot, preferably the size of a Roland EV-5.

The next day I started working with the Vemuram Jan Ray Boost (one of Michale's pedals that he wanted to try this modification with) to see if I could design an auxiliary expression jack that could be used to control volume on the Jan Ray Boost with an EV-5.

After several hours of experimenting, I was able to match the taper and range of the volume pot in the Jan Ray Boost with using the EV-5 as an expression pedal to control volume.

When the expression pedal is disconnected, the volume pot behaves as it normally would without the modification. However, when the expression pedal is plugged in, it bypasses the volume pot on the pedal, and switches over to the EV-5. With the toe forward, the pedal would have full volume, with the heel down the volume would be completely off (silent) and everything in between.

This expression modification to the Jan Ray Boost allows Michael to replace the volume pedal completely because he always has this pedal (Jan Ray) on, and it is after all of his other OD/Distortion/Fuzz pedals. The result is, when he attenuates the volume of the Jan Ray, it brings the level down of everything before it as well, just like a volume pedal would, but without any of the sonic deterioration.



But still, I am a Gearslut and I certainly would give the Goodrich a shot.

But which version to get?
Old 28th August 2013
  #33
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Reverb's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
My pedalboard has been in a state on constant flux over the last few years, partly due to the stylistic range of music I'm involved with but also because I kept searching for the 'perfect' setup i.e retaining the tone while still be flexible.... Fellow Pedalslutz, you know the drift!

Anyway, lately I experienced problems with level drops and 'strange' behaviour from distortion pedals, etc that had me scratching my head. Some of it got resolved or at least analyzed: The AnalogMan Bicomprossor was a big part of my sound for a while but I gave up on it for live use due to inconsistency even when using buffers and low compressions settings. Am I crazy? Is the problem elsewhere?

Well, I just spotted this from AnalogMan and it explains it:

Analog Man Compressor Pedal Page (Scroll down to REV 4 CIRCUIT)

But I digress: For most of my gigs, I got used to have a volume pedal on my board, set after the distortion (mainly a AnalogMan Boss DS-1, sometimes an added fuzz) and before the delay(s). I could write a book about my experiences and troubles with delay pedals but that's for another time.

I used Ernie Ball VPs for a long time, finding that the Jr. version was way inferior as opposed to the standard one which I got back to. But about a year ago I switched to a Roland FV-500-H which I thought was more transparent sounding and sturdier built.

Well, I just started to realize that this could be the problem. Does anybody have thoughts how different volume pedals impact the chain? I noticed that Mike Landau is using the keyboard version of the Roland pedal and I wonder if that has to do with impedance? I'm pretty untechnical about this stuff but I took great care testing different pedal setups, cables and buffers (mostly I keep a Z.Vex Super-Hard-On engaged as my first pedal).

Might going back to an Ernie Ball solve the problem? I'm actually thinking about losing the volume pedal permanently but again, I was just amazed about these level problems which I didn't experience before.

Here's another point: I use the volume and tone controls on my Tele and Strat quite a bit. Actually part of the reason for using a volume pedal is the option of having a more distorted and sustaining (rhythm) sound and that's why I place the pedal after the distortion pedals. So basically there are two volume potis at work. This seems like a normal setup to me and I used this for years but I wonder if this is a factor in the 'misbehaviour' of the Roland pedal?

I know this is a broad subject but I'd appreciate any feedback, thanks!
I stopped using a Volume pedal ( the ernie ball jr in my case) due to similar issues. I was having all kinds of crazy things happening in my chain. The pedal eventually stopped working all together and once I removed it from by board I never had any issues.
Old 29th August 2013
  #34
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mcgruff's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Don't whatever you do try a Behringer. I picked one up cheap on ebay thinking I can always rip out the guts and use the pedal to build something if it's no good.

Noisy as hell. At least the pedal itself seems sturdy enough to do something with.
Old 1st September 2013 | Show parent
  #35
Gear Guru
 
John Eppstein's Avatar
 
58 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
As I said above, my 'issues' were not the pedals themselves but rather the way different elements (volume pot on guitar vs. volume pedal, etc) are working against each other.

One of my fave guitar players is Mike Landau and here's some interesting things quoted from the Vertex site about volume pedals that pretty much reinforce my own experience.

Michael Landau Pedalboard | vertexeffects.com


EXPRESSION MODIFICATION FOR VOLUME

This modification was the most interesting proposal that Michael made for this rig:

Michael called me one day because he was concerned about how his volume pedal was effecting the tone of his original pedalboard. Even though my modifications help, it doesn't undo all of the loss.

Mike had been experimenting with using the volume knobs on his pedals to attenuate the level of the signal going through his rig and comparing it with how a volume pedal attenuated the level. He found that when using the volume knob on the pedals to attenuate the volume, it sounded much fatter and 3D compared to the volume pedal. Furthermore, he didn't experience the loss a volume pedal would normally create.

He asked if there was any way to control the volume knobs on his pedals by using something he could manipulate with his foot, preferably the size of a Roland EV-5.

The next day I started working with the Vemuram Jan Ray Boost (one of Michale's pedals that he wanted to try this modification with) to see if I could design an auxiliary expression jack that could be used to control volume on the Jan Ray Boost with an EV-5.

After several hours of experimenting, I was able to match the taper and range of the volume pot in the Jan Ray Boost with using the EV-5 as an expression pedal to control volume.

When the expression pedal is disconnected, the volume pot behaves as it normally would without the modification. However, when the expression pedal is plugged in, it bypasses the volume pot on the pedal, and switches over to the EV-5. With the toe forward, the pedal would have full volume, with the heel down the volume would be completely off (silent) and everything in between.

This expression modification to the Jan Ray Boost allows Michael to replace the volume pedal completely because he always has this pedal (Jan Ray) on, and it is after all of his other OD/Distortion/Fuzz pedals. The result is, when he attenuates the volume of the Jan Ray, it brings the level down of everything before it as well, just like a volume pedal would, but without any of the sonic deterioration.



But still, I am a Gearslut and I certainly would give the Goodrich a shot.

But which version to get?
In your case I'd say probably one of the active models, H10K or L10K. They contain a buffer circuit to prevent the tone suck problem and can also provide up to 3.5 dB of extra gain. The difference between the two models is the pedal casing - the H is high profile and the L is low profile.
Old 1st September 2013
  #36
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doorknocker's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
In your case I'd say probably one of the active models, H10K or L10K. They contain a buffer circuit to prevent the tone suck problem and can also provide up to 3.5 dB of extra gain. The difference between the two models is the pedal casing - the H is high profile and the L is low profile.
Thanks, I might check this out later.
Old 1st September 2013
  #37
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litepipe's Avatar
I would add that I got the low profile version but wish I got the high profile version. I like the extra throw in a volume pedal to make finer adjustments.
Old 1st May 2014 | Show parent
  #38
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Igotsoul4u's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
any new developments on volume pedal options? Anyone try the mission pedals out? I know goodrich and Hilton make great pedals, but they are more expensive.
Old 5th May 2014 | Show parent
  #39
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doorknocker's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Igotsoul4u View Post
any new developments on volume pedal options? Anyone try the mission pedals out? I know goodrich and Hilton make great pedals, but they are more expensive.
FWIW, I bought a Ernie Ball Jr. pedal from AnalogMan with a buffer inside. It works GREAT.

Ernie Ball VP JR. Active Volume Pedal 6181

I realized that my problems came from using the volume pedal 'late' in the signal chain (Post distiortion, Pre delays) so even using a ZVex Super Hard-On as my first pedal/buffer didn't really help.

With the EB Jr. I don't need the Super Hard-On anymore, the only thing to watch out is not forgetting to hook the EB to the power supply as there's no sound otherwise.

Anyway, problem solved!
Old 6th May 2014 | Show parent
  #40
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Porto View Post
If you're looking for compact volume control, look at the Keeley Katana. It's a small pedal size, with the volume knob on the side. I put a rubber knob cover (dunlop) on it and can control it with my foot. You can't do volume swells, but you can adjust it to alter gain characteristics of your board. The knob is also a push/pull switch that adds a mid boost and a bit of drive if needed. It has like 20dB of boost for slamming the front end of an amp too.
I own the Katana, and the pot shaft on the knob seems fairly thin since it's a push-pull pot. It may work for you, but I'm too clunky footed to try and roll it with my foot - I'd be worried I'd bend that pot shaft the first time.
Old 8th May 2014 | Show parent
  #41
Gear Guru
 
John Eppstein's Avatar
 
58 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Igotsoul4u View Post
any new developments on volume pedal options? Anyone try the mission pedals out? I know goodrich and Hilton make great pedals, but they are more expensive.
You tend to get what you pay for. Volume pedals are simple devices but if they're not well made of high quality materials and components they won't last long before they start to give annoying problems.

That being said, I haven't tried the Mission pedals you and the above should not be taken to refer to them, it's just a general rule of thumb.

The most reliable pedals tend to either have a radio-cord type mechanism instead of a gear or be optical, although some don't like the feel of some optical pedals.
Old 8th May 2014
  #42
Gear Guru
 
Musiclab's Avatar
I've been using a Visual Volume pedal which seems OK.
Old 10th May 2014
  #43
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
heard a lot of good things about the MVP from Ernie Ball
Old 5th June 2014
  #44
Lives for gear
 
Igotsoul4u's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I ended up settling on the Hilton "pro guitar" volume pedal. I picked it up from Gary Sill Music and he was as cool and kind as they come. Great communication a quick shipping. Hilton Pedals & Accessories The pedal is not cheap so it makes the purchase nice and slutty.

The hilton seems very well made all though the grip on top of the pedal is not centered and slightly crooked. Doesn't bother me but might drive the OCD types nuts. The pedal is extremely light but feels tough. The hilton is a potless infrared light controlled volume pedal which hopefully means it will need less service then other pedals. The guitar edition has some differences which are quite handy. Dedicated tuner out. The axle stiffness/movement is adjustable. 9v power jack for use which works with my voodoo labs pedal power (optional PSU), I/O is is right/left for pedal board chains. heel down volume is an external adjustment on right side of pedal.

There are a few reasons why my volume pedal search is over. The pedal is transparent. I do not notice a difference in my tone with the Hilton first in my chain. What's also great is the tone is consistent at all volume levels. The volume taper is perfect for my playing. I feel like I have total control over my swells. Overall the taper seems to be even without any jumps or awkward points in travel. It seems to play nice will all my other pedals. The best part is that it felt natural from the first time I used it. I was making music right away which is not the case with other pedals I have tried.

I initially had a ernie ball jr but I thought it was the definition of tone suck. I also don't like the failure rate when talking or reading about other players experiences. I was thinking of going with a "thrutone" mod but the guy is on tour and the pedals are unavailable. I purchased a mission VMPro and liked everything about the pedal except the volume tape was extremely abrupt going from dead quiet to 40% if I barely moved the pedal. I could not achieve slow musical swells. I tried adjusting the stiffness but it didn't help much. Unfortunately had to send it back.

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