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Gain staging pedals and effects

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  • #16
    Re: Gain staging pedals and effects

    Originally posted by LLL View Post
    I used to "gain stage" in the 80s with my old BOSS pedalboard and BOSS stomps... OD into Distortion into etc...

    No wonder I sounded like thin, tinny, buzzy ****.
    Yes. But I bet you were going into a HOT RODDED Marshall that could handle, and maybe even preferred, being driven to hell and gone going in!!! LOL!!! These modeling jobs are the opposite I think. Dunno. Will see. Want to check something on this tomorrow. Will post my findings if my suspicions are correct.

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    • #17
      Re: Gain staging pedals and effects

      Originally posted by dpaterson View Post
      Yes. But I bet you were going into a HOT RODDED Marshall that could handle, and maybe even preferred, being driven to hell and gone going in!!! LOL!!!
      Pretty much - although it was just a stock 2210. It's hilarious the amount of gain I needed (or thought I needed) to play back then...
      Lefty Lounge Lizard's Guitars & Amps Extravaganza

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      "Where you can swap out one pickup magnet and instantly become an expert at everything."

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      • #18
        Re: Gain staging pedals and effects

        I never think about gain staging. My setup isn't that complex.
        Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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        • #19
          Re: Gain staging pedals and effects

          Originally posted by Mincer View Post
          I never think about gain staging. My setup isn't that complex.
          Mine is not that complex either. Typically BOOST>OD/DIST>MOD>DELAY>VOL/WAH.

          The boost and the OD rotate depending on the tone I am chasing but typically the boost will be my BBE Bohemian Treble Boost or Triskelion Harmonic Energizer going into an MXR D+ or my Decibel 11 Dirt Clod. Those pedals with the amps natural distortion give me a full thick chuggy sound.


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          • #20
            Re: Gain staging pedals and effects

            Hmmmnnn...

            Well I just did my little test on this and I'm surprised at what I've found (a tad confused at the same time).

            Test was done by simply taking output from the pedal chain into audio interface. Calibrated using iZotope Insight. Baseline value taken as the dry guitar signal with all pedals off peaking at -6dB.

            Chain was guitar->MXR DynaComp->Boss GE-7->Boss DD-7 (simple as that).

            Here's what happened (nothing like I expected):

            Guitar only and signal PEAKS at -6dB (as calibrated above).

            Engage MXR DynaComp and signal PEAKS drop by at least 6dB (-12dB).

            Engage Boss GE-7 and signal PEAKS climb back up to roughly the same as the dry guitar signal (-6dB).

            Engage Boss DD-7 and signal PEAKS jump to around 6dB hotter (0dB) than dry guitar signal (this for a pedal that's not supposed to be doing anything else other than providing delay!!!).

            Bearing in mind I'm talking modelling amps. here (this may or may not be an issue at all with tubes) this means that my amps. with my current pedal settings are getting at least +6dB MORE signal than they're "expecting" from a guitar. Whether or not this is causing clipping I don't have the faintest idea (which was kinda the reason for asking about this and doing this test).

            Dunno what to make of this.

            What's obvious to me though is that you cannot gain stage pedals in this fashion for the simple reason that the level knobs (at least on these pedals) are not level knobs but EFFECT level knobs (two very different things) (I seem to think that this was mentioned earlier OR on the other thread re: true bypass vs. buffered bypass).

            I'm also pretty sure that using PEAKS for this excercise is not valid. I say this because even although the guitar signal drops considerably post compressor it SOUNDS louder with the compressor engaged.

            I've got a MXR Custom Comp. which I did not try in this test (for some reason or the other I cannot seem to get the same "brittle bite" with the Custom Comp. as I do with the the DynaComp).

            I'm thinking now that the only way to achieve what it is that I was trying to achieve is to simply ensure that the final output of the pedal chain is equal to the dry guitar signal and not bother with what happens in between. How to do that is another story. Would probably have to take the form of a volume control pedal at the end of the pedal chain and before some type of VU meter pedal. Or I could use my Boss CS-3 (which I don't use) and configure as a limiter (that's the one pedal where the level knob actually controls the output level as opposed to it being an effect level if "Sustain" is fully counterclockwise).

            Would sure be nice if amps. like these had input level meters!!!

            Problem with these things is that unlike tubes (where distortion will simply increase and be palatable and even desirable) these things get to a point where the distortion gets distorted type of thing.

            Regards,

            Dale.
            Last edited by dpaterson; 12-16-2018, 04:12 AM.

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            • #21
              Re: Gain staging pedals and effects

              Following on from the above here's some useless information (may be of benefit to somebody in the future) (who knows):

              If nothing else and based on the above: "UNITY GAIN" (I use this term loosely here) on the Boss DD-7 is with E.LEVEL at 12 'o clock and not 3 'o clock as the manual would have you believe (or possibly confuse you into believing). If E.LEVEL is at 3 'o clock then effect level is apparently equal to dry signal according to the manual. This MAY mean that at 3 'o clock the output level is being boosted because theoretically you've got x 2 equal signals going out. This would pretty much explain the +6dB boost when E.LEVEL is at 3 'o clock.

              This DynaComp still infuriates me though. One of the very first threads I started on these forums was about this pedal matter of fact. Bottom line though: it's just how it works and that's that (this after doing mods. to it and then reverting back to original etc. etc. etc.) (also some new posts have surfaced on the Internet about this being the way it works and that's that). The Custom Comp. doesn't drop levels AS much. And the Boss CS-3 doesn't seem to drop them at all but then again it doesn't compress anywhere near as much as the MXR pedals regardless of settings.

              So yeh. In my case anyway: apparently an exercise in futility. Guess the best I can do it ensure that the wireless signal is as close to a dry, cabled, guitar signal and, well, what comes out the other side of the pedal chain comes out and is what it is.

              Have fun.

              Regards,

              Dale.
              Last edited by dpaterson; 12-16-2018, 06:16 AM.

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