Music Player Network

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Keyboard simulator pedals. #2992484 06/04/19 02:26 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 277
surfergirl Offline OP
Senior Member
OP Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 277
Not for me, but for our lead player. He has been looking at the EHX B9, C9, KEY94. Any one have any experience with these pedals or any similar pedals


Jenny S.
GP Island
Re: Keyboard simulator pedals. [Re: surfergirl] #2992496 06/04/19 02:55 PM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,240
Larryz Offline
10k Club
Offline
10k Club
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,240
Surfer Girl, we have had examples of these pedals in the past and the one I like the sound of best is the B9. It would come in very handy on a lot of old rock and roll classics (especially the doors and a lot of blues soul tunes! Check out this demo:




cool


Take care, Larryz
Re: Keyboard simulator pedals. [Re: Larryz] #2992498 06/04/19 03:01 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,017
Dannyalcatraz Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,017
I have enjoyed the few I have, and plan to round out the set. I have liked each one. IMHO, they track pretty well and sound pretty close to what they claim to emulate,

But Winston is our resident expert. I believe he has all of the EHX boxes AND the keyboard experience to compare them to. I’ll see if I can get him to drop in.


Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation:
Re: Keyboard simulator pedals. [Re: Dannyalcatraz] #2992502 06/04/19 03:06 PM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,240
Larryz Offline
10k Club
Offline
10k Club
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,240
like


Take care, Larryz
Re: Keyboard simulator pedals. [Re: Larryz] #2992505 06/04/19 03:34 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 5,388
S
Scott Fraser Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
S
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 5,388
I have the B9 & the Mel9. The sounds are pretty amazing. They will take some real getting used to. You can't just play what you always play. The B9 doesn't handle polyphony all that well, so I mostly stay with single line stuff. It can get pretty messy & indistinct pretty rapidly so I try to stay on the sparse side with it. I've used the Mel9 on one gig. Again, you really need to spend time with it to get optimal tracking & a sound which isn't just mud. On my last gig I was wanting to use it on lap steel & it just didn't handle chords well at all, so I bailed on it. It worked better with my Gretsch. They're quite interesting pedals, they take some real work to get the best from them, & they're slightly one trick ponies.


Scott Fraser
Re: Keyboard simulator pedals. [Re: surfergirl] #2992506 06/04/19 03:37 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 3,397
p90jr Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 3,397
Originally Posted By: surfergirl
Not for me, but for our lead player. He has been looking at the EHX B9, C9, KEY94. Any one have any experience with these pedals or any similar pedals


I have and use the Key9, Synth9 and Mel9.

Plus an Earthquaker Devices Organizer (multi-octave organ simulator pedal) and a Pigtronix Mothership synth pedal. And a Line 6 FM Filter Modeler pedal that has some synthy sounds in it.

I've used them to fill in for a keyboard player in a cover band...

The Key9 is awesome... but you need to either use it directly into a PA or through a Keyboard amp... guitar amp circuits are designed to bring out the best in the guitar's voice and that pedal sounds bad through them. The Mel9 and Synth9 sound alright to me through guitar amps but are probably better through a full-range thing.

What exactly is he looking to do?

Re: Keyboard simulator pedals. [Re: p90jr] #2992533 06/04/19 05:02 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 3,900
W
Winston Psmith Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
W
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 3,900
I thought I heard a knock on my cell door?

Not much to add to what everyone else has said, other than to echo p90jr's question, which is what are they trying to do, in terms of what sounds or tunes did they have in mind? Also, is there a Guitar shop anywhere nearby so they could do an A/B comparison of any of them?

The sounds are cool, with no modifications required to your Guitar, but they all require some compromise in terms of playing technique. Tracking is good, if not stellar, but don't get sloppy, or try playing too fast. Simple chord voices are best. Adding a little Reverb after them tends to smooth out the sound, IME.

The big challenge for a lead Guitarist is re-thinking how to approach solos, because they're "playing" a different Instrument, especially with the Mel9. If there are some cover tunes in your repertoire, the best way to start is to emulate the original Keyboard parts, before improvising on them; get a feel for how the Keyboard parts are played, not just what notes they're playing.

Also, treat the B9/C9 or whichever like an Instrument voice unto itself, which means put it at the very front of the signal chain. The only thing I might put between the Guitar and one of the X9-series pedals would be a Compressor. The X9 pedal will appreciate the slightly contoured input signal from the Compressor, and that way, you won't have the Compressor trying to boost low-level noise from the X9 pedal, and yes, they all put out some low-level noise.

You can have a lot of fun running these through other effects, like Phaser or Rotary for the Organ sounds, and Phaser, Tremolo or Overdrive for EP. (EP through Tremolo is a classic 70's KB sound.)

Main consideration would be the Bang-for-the-buck factor. New, any of them go for just over $220US, used ones for around $165US - that's not cheap, especially if it's only going to be used for one or two songs, once in a while. It's still much cheaper than any polyphonic Guitar-to-MIDI system.

I liked them but didn't really love any of them, however, you have to remember that I'm comparing their sound to some of my high-powered Synths, so there's no way a fairly simple pedal with all of two parameters is going to match up. The Mel9 was the most interesting and amusing to my ear, and fairly convincing. Definitely has that slightly grainy tone I associate with the original. Key9 had the least appeal, all around, such that I never got one.

A lot of players are using some version of the EHX POG, or the EQD Organizer to emulate Organ tones. The POG is nearly as expensive as the B9/C9, but the Organizer is around $35-40 less, and it's more compact. Neither of them exactly emulate classic Organ sounds, but the Organizer gives you a lot of control over your sound.

Good hunting . . .


"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

http://www.novparolo.com
Re: Keyboard simulator pedals. [Re: Winston Psmith] #2992552 06/04/19 06:35 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 277
surfergirl Offline OP
Senior Member
OP Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 277
I'm not sure it is worth the price, we have done well without one. He would have to choose between playing lead or keys. Anyway it was just something we were kicking around at coffee the other day. We would use our expense fund for it, so it will have to wait till we get a PA system. I'm starting to wonder if we should do that at this point also.
Thanks for the feedback and we will take a trip to the music store to give them a try at least. The store we use has a B9 and C9. That seems to be the only ones available here. Not much beyond the major brands available.


Jenny S.
Re: Keyboard simulator pedals. [Re: surfergirl] #2992571 06/04/19 08:03 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,017
Dannyalcatraz Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,017
Quote:
You can have a lot of fun running these through other effects, like Phaser or Rotary for the Organ sounds, and Phaser, Tremolo or Overdrive for EP. (EP through Tremolo is a classic 70's KB sound.)


My “big idea” with these pedals was to put a poly-octave pedal* behind one in the chain, set so as to effectively give myself the equivalent of an “18-string” guitar. Using the Pipe Organ setting split thus into 3 simply sounds majestic.

Quote:
Not much beyond the major brands available.


That’s why credit cards and the Internet were invented.

(Well, not really, but sometimes it seems that way.)

If you find something you want that isn’t available nearby, just ask, and we can help you find a reputable retailer. Or even a good deal on used gear.





* specifically, the POG circuit of my EHX Epitome.

Last edited by Dannyalcatraz; 06/04/19 08:07 PM.

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation:
Re: Keyboard simulator pedals. [Re: Scott Fraser] #2992624 06/05/19 01:56 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 25,193
Caevan O'Shite Online Content
20k Club
Online Content
20k Club
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 25,193
The B9 and C9 are great pedals for emulating classic keyboard sounds with your electric guitar! A LOT of FUN. I got a lot of satisfaction out of getting convincing key-like sounds without those, but they're excellent pedals and much simpler and easier to get good results with- one pedal, stomp, play...

Note that they work best with the bridge-pickup, guitar-volume full-up, first in line after the guitar- no other pedals turned on in-between them and the guitar, with the possible exception of a clean-boost or compressor before the input. Maybe.

Originally Posted By: Scott Fraser
The B9 doesn't handle polyphony all that well, so I mostly stay with single line stuff. It can get pretty messy & indistinct pretty rapidly so I try to stay on the sparse side with it.

They're quite interesting pedals, they take some real work to get the best from them, & they're slightly one trick ponies.


Now... I also have a B9 and have test-driven the C9, Key9, and Mel9- and personally, I've found them to be surprisingly very good at tracking chords, quite able to "handle polyphony"- even surprisingly complex extended chords- BUT, I also happen to always play fingerstyle, without a pick, and pride myself in my damping and muting with both hands, and simultaneous string-plucking with my picking-hand fingers, as well as using my "touch" to trigger and control envelope-controlled pedals like "volume-swell" effects. This approach rrreeeaallly lends itself to controlling the B9 and other "9"-series keyboard-simulating pedals from EH and their ilk. "Your Mileage May Vary".

Additionally, I've found them to be too bright with my tube-amp set for my usual guitar tones; if I were using them a lot, I'd either find a way to EQ 'em to tame the treble, or, run them into a dedicated amp. Again, "Your Mileage May Vary".


Surfergirl- I'll also highly recommend pairing the Boss RT-20 "Rotary Ensemble" with those EH '9 pedals for even better Leslie/rotary sounds, ESPECIALLY if run in stereo, or run Left Out to a guitar-amp, and Right Out to the PA and monitors. Incredible huge rotating stereo imagery! Maybe a used one could be found for a good deal... A B9 or C9 set to organ-sounds run through an RT-20 sounds amazingly convincing. Turn up the (Key) "Click" on the B9 or C9 through an RT-20 and you're really cookin'!

Similarly, good dedicated phaser or tremolo pedals go well with and make more convincing keyboard sounds from these EH '9 series pedals.

The built-in rotary effects in the EH B9 and C9 pedals are nice and enjoyable, but can't compare to the RT-20 and other dedicated Leslie-simulation pedals.


Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~
_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _
Re: Keyboard simulator pedals. [Re: Caevan O'Shite] #2993042 06/07/19 02:40 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 5,388
S
Scott Fraser Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
S
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 5,388
Originally Posted By: Caevan O'Shite
Now... I also have a B9 and have test-driven the C9, Key9, and Mel9- and personally, I've found them to be surprisingly very good at tracking chords, quite able to "handle polyphony"- even surprisingly complex extended chords- BUT, I also happen to always play fingerstyle, without a pick, and pride myself in my damping and muting with both hands, and simultaneous string-plucking with my picking-hand fingers, as well as using my "touch" to trigger and control envelope-controlled pedals like "volume-swell" effects. This approach rrreeeaallly lends itself to controlling the B9 and other "9"-series keyboard-simulating pedals from EH and their ilk. "Your Mileage May Vary".


I also fingerpick exclusively, though I tend to hang out on the neck pickup, or both, & the B9 or Mel9 is 2nd in the signal chain, right after a Barber Tonepress. Close voiced chords have been the main problem for me. Wide open voicings tend to track better. Thus far I've been using them pretty much with effect full up & dry off. I suspect a 50/50 blend would reveal chord voicings more clearly.


Scott Fraser
Re: Keyboard simulator pedals. [Re: Scott Fraser] #2993044 06/07/19 02:51 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 25,193
Caevan O'Shite Online Content
20k Club
Online Content
20k Club
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 25,193
Originally Posted By: Scott Fraser
I also fingerpick exclusively, though I tend to hang out on the neck pickup, or both, & the B9 or Mel9 is 2nd in the signal chain, right after a Barber Tonepress. Close voiced chords have been the main problem for me. Wide open voicings tend to track better. Thus far I've been using them pretty much with effect full up & dry off. I suspect a 50/50 blend would reveal chord voicings more clearly.


Aaaahhhh... I believe that these EH '9 series pedals respond and track best from the guitar's bridge-pickup...


Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~
_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _
Re: Keyboard simulator pedals. [Re: Caevan O'Shite] #2993202 06/07/19 09:05 PM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 5,388
S
Scott Fraser Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
S
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 5,388
Originally Posted By: Caevan O'Shite
Aaaahhhh... I believe that these EH '9 series pedals respond and track best from the guitar's bridge-pickup...


I'll try that next time I have that rig set up. thx.


Scott Fraser
Re: Keyboard simulator pedals. [Re: Scott Fraser] #2993506 06/09/19 12:15 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 3,900
W
Winston Psmith Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member
W
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 3,900
Originally Posted By: Scott Fraser
I also fingerpick exclusively, though I tend to hang out on the neck pickup, or both, & the B9 or Mel9 is 2nd in the signal chain, right after a Barber Tonepress. Close voiced chords have been the main problem for me. Wide open voicings tend to track better. Thus far I've been using them pretty much with effect full up & dry off. I suspect a 50/50 blend would reveal chord voicings more clearly.


Scott, one issue I found with the Mel9 is the "Vibrato" inherent in the voices; I could easily see where that would have an effect on close-voiced chords, making them sound badly de-tuned. While EHX maintains that it's integral to the original Mellotron sound, it seems more pronounced within the Mel9. An early review in Electronic Musician magazine also cited sample loops repeating as part of that sound.

EHX Mel9 Review

I finally went back to my hardware Synths for Mellotron sounds. I suppose I've been spoiled by the degree of control I get with them.


"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

http://www.novparolo.com

Moderated by  Bluesape, myles_rose 

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.3