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Tube-based distortion and overdrive pedals


kmg

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Been thinking about picking up a distortion or overdrive pedal, and have been doing some research re: solid state vs vacuum tube designs. Unfortunately, the more I look, the more confused I become. I've been checking out the Seymour Duncan Twin Tube Classic, Radial Tonebone Trimode, Ibanez Tube King, and the Xotic AC+. I'm sure that there are other good choices as well. I think I would prefer 2 channels, but I'm undecided at this point. Any thoughts, opinions, experiences, etc would be appreciated.

 

Thanks,

kmg

 

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One of the misconceptions about those kinds of pedals is that they lead people to believe that because they have tubes, the distortion must be better than "solid state" designs. In some cases it is, but technically speaking, you are not getting the same kind of distortion from a pedal that you would get from a dimed Marshall let's say.

 

The reason for this is because tubes in amps are fed a very large DC voltage which provides for those great dynamics and gorgeous crunch. Now, with pedals, you are using 9V batteries and as a result, the tubes in the pedal will be "starved" of those high voltages and as a result, the distortion will more often than not, have fuzz-like qualities instead and will usually have a lack of clean headroom so you probably won't get a clean boost there. Also, some companies will cut costs by employing tubes that fall below spec so be careful there.

 

Not trying to discourage you here, but just trying to clear up some myths in regards to the "Tube is better than transistor debate". However, there are some nice designs in the Barber Direct Drive, Fulltone OCD, lovepedal OD's and so on and so forth. And I have heard nice things about Radial pedals.

 

I'd recommend going here: http://www.proguitarshop.com/index.php?resultpage=1&CategoryID=9

 

Because they have lots of choices and most have video demos to support them.

Never argue with an idiot. They'll bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.

 

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=810593

 

http://www.myspace.com/dandelavega

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(Holy Cow, there's a truckload of pedals in them there five 'pages, Zephyr !)

 

What sort of sounds, tones, musical styles are you after?

 

With what guitar, pickups, and amp? Is your amp tube, or SS?

 

Will you be feeding this into a clean amp, switching between the overdriven pedal sound and the straight/clean amps sound, or will you be using the pedal to overdrive the amp? Or, feeding the pedal into an amp with some overdrive dialed-in at the amp already, as well?

 

Do you ever use your guitars volume-control(s) and picking-dynamics to vary how clean, overdriven and distorted the sound is, or do you tend to leave that all the way up all the time and use channel-switching, pedals, etc.? (Personally, I like to combine ALL of these.)

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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One of the misconceptions about those kinds of pedals is that they lead people to believe that because they have tubes, the distortion must be better than "solid state" designs. In some cases it is, but technically speaking, you are not getting the same kind of distortion from a pedal that you would get from a dimed Marshall let's say.

 

All you need to know, right here.

 

The legendary "Tube Screamer" pedal is a solid state overdrive unit designed to push preamp tubes into distortion, basically giving you "real" tube distortion at levels you can still control. In other words, a Tube Screamer won't help you get a tube distortion sound unless you're pushing a tube amp with it.

 

The recent development of "starved plate" tube technology, where the tubes are deliberately and severely underpowered to give a "tubey" sound (i.e. lots of distortion that really isn't representative of a tube amplifier being overdriven, but most folks don't know the difference) is what you're buying when you buy a (usually overpriced) pedal with a tube in it.

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The starvation thing wasn't newly developed, just newly used commonly. I first read about it almost twenty years ago, and then it was referred to as a designer's "trick" that wasn't all that new or unique; it just hadn't been used in so many products until relatively recently.

 

And those kinds of sounds aren't necessarily bad- in fact, they can be quite good, even.

 

But I agree that there's a lot of hype and BS in a lot of the promotional stuff out there, particularly on the pages and 'pages of various retailers.

 

 

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Blackstar pedals have made an attempt to address the problem, the circuitry is designed to operate at a higher voltage than

other pedals-it`s supposed to be sufficient to really `gas` the tubes. Reviews have been pretty good but whether this is more promo or a real innovation is anybody`s guess.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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What sort of sounds, tones, musical styles are you after?

Not sure at this point. I've only been playing for about a year and a half, and am still on the steep section of the learning curve.

 

With what guitar, pickups, and amp? Is your amp tube, or SS?

 

I'm playing a Carvin Bolt kit with their Twinblade humbucking pickups into an Egnater Rebel 20 with an Egnater 1x12 cab.

 

Will you be feeding this into a clean amp, switching between the overdriven pedal sound and the straight/clean amps sound, or will you be using the pedal to overdrive the amp? Or, feeding the pedal into an amp with some overdrive dialed-in at the amp already, as well?

 

Not sure; I want to experiment. But I'm leaning toward overdriving the amp, but I want to try having some gain already dialed in the amp. Since the amp is a single channel, a 2 channel pedal could allow me to dial in 3 different tones.

 

Do you ever use your guitars volume-control(s) and picking-dynamics to vary how clean, overdriven and distorted the sound is, or do you tend to leave that all the way up all the time and use channel-switching, pedals, etc.? (Personally, I like to combine ALL of these.)

 

I'm with you. Combine them all.

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I'm gonna guess that a variety of tones and overdrive/distortion sounds within the range of "Blues", "Classic Rock", and "Hard Rock" will work for you...

 

Hmmmn; hard call to make which way you want to go here initially; I think you should first find everything that you can get out of that amp with your guitars volume-control and your picking dynamics, WITHOUT any pedals- it's a cool amp that you should be able to get some great "natural" overdrive and distortion sounds from.

 

Then I'd look- ehr, listen for pedals, tube or SS, that worked well to push your Rebel 20 into further, enhanced overdrive and distortion, without sounding and feeling like they isolated you from the amp or substituted for it.

 

Something along the lines of a Tube Screamer stylee, Chandler/BK Tube Driver, Ibanez Tube King, SD Twin Tube, Fuchs/Plush Valve Job...

 

Are there any stores near enough to you where you can try a few different pedals out with your own guitar and amp?

 

While it's a little more of a separate/additional preamp that asserts a lot of its own authority in between your guitar and amp, I do think that you'd really like the Radial Tonebone 'Trimode', although they can take a while to dial-in with all those controls and options! I have a Radial Tonebone 'Plexitube', and love it, and I also want a 'Trimode', as well. Between the two, I'd say that the Trimode would suit you best here (it's more dynamically responsive than the Plexitube), at least at first if you were only going to have one overdrive/distortion pedal- and at their prices, I bet you won't be snagging both at the same time! Their dual channels and multiple EQ and gain controls are extremely cool; once you find the right settings for your tastes and guitar and amp, well worth the time. If you happen to get one of these, let me know, I'll gladly do my best to help you keep frustrating knob-twiddling to a minimum! :cool:

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Been thinking about picking up a distortion or overdrive pedal, and have been doing some research re: solid state vs vacuum tube designs. Unfortunately, the more I look, the more confused I become. I've been checking out the Seymour Duncan Twin Tube Classic, Radial Tonebone Trimode, Ibanez Tube King, and the Xotic AC+. I'm sure that there are other good choices as well. I think I would prefer 2 channels, but I'm undecided at this point. Any thoughts, opinions, experiences, etc would be appreciated.

 

Thanks,

kmg

 

I have 3 of them the Duncan Twin Tube and 2 Nady TD1's of the three I like the Duncan's smooth silky distortion. The Nady has a far wider tonal range, and it sounds just as good, I have 2 Nady TD1's. One for my full pedal board, and one in my Hot Rod Deluxe road case for quick jams and only one amp/pedal case. My full pedal board has a lot of wires because of the Boss switching device in it so I can go between my GNX2 and the analog pedals. The TD1's cost $125 the Duncan cost $220 and the Nady's can do everything the Duncan can do and far more tonally.

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In a lot of cases the addition of a vaccum tube in a piece of equipment is just a gimmick. How many tube mic preamps and f/x units aimed at the home recording market are there? Same with pedals. As Zephyr pointed out, the voltages are critical in making the tube work properly.

 

I have a TubeWorks RealTube pedal thats ok but my diode-powered RAT totally smokes it for tone and flexibility. Id worry a lot more about having a tube amp than having a tube pedal.

"You never can vouch for your own consciousness." - Norman Mailer
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Huh, I think knowing what kind of financial situation you're in would help. I have the Digitech RP255, but the Boss original DS-1 is good as well. Here are some YouTube links:

 

(Boss DS-1)

 

(Digitech RP255)

 

 

GuitarPlayerFL is really spreading the good word about the Rp255, I have to say, it's awesome.

Stick it to the man.

 

http://profile.ultimate-guitar.com/anderseb/

 

(Muh homepage of greatness)

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