Re: [Harp-L] Multi-Effects for (Electric) Harmonica

Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Multi-Effects for (Electric) Harmonica
To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
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Richard Hunter wrote:
<I don't understand the meaning of "static combos of effects"
 as a difference between the Digitechs and anything else--almost all amp
 modelers, except the next-gen Digitechs that are based on the iPad, 
give you a particular set of FX that can be chained in a given order.  
Once you've set up a patch on the G3, that's what you've got--a set of 
FX chained in a particular order.  How is that different from any other 
multiFX device?>

I'm referring to the ability to 1) put any of the individual effects in the chain into bypass independently of any other, and 2) easily twiddle the parameters for an individual effect in the chain. With a digitech, you set up all your patches before hand. For example, you can set up a patch with reverb, delay, and pitch down (let's forget about amp models for now). You have to set all the parameters up for each of these effects, and the patch is a single unit. You can only turn the patch on, or put the whole patch into bypass. You can't put just the delay part into bypass. Also, if you want to, say, lengthen the delay time, you've got to push the button to start editing, then twist the dial until the led matrix for editing the delay effect comes up, THEN you can increase your delay time. This all very constraining live. The best you can do is set up a bunch of patches before hand that have the same effects set up in different combos and/or with different
 parameters (e.g., same reverb, same pitch down, just without the delay), and then get them close enough together in your list of presets that you can switch between them during a song.

With a unit like the G3 or the line 6 M9, you can set up your preset with the same three effects, say, but since each effect has it's own dedicated stomp switch and it's own dedicated knobs, you CAN put, say, just the delay, into bypass during a song. And tweaking parameters, like the length of the delay, is as easy as it is on an analog stomp box. You just twist the dial. So, these units would be way more flexible in a live situation. Mike already mentioned some of these points in his response...

<The Digitechs from the RP255 up also give you an 
expression pedal, which is the single most important thing for tweaking 
effects on the fly.  So far as I know, the digitechs are the only 
devices that offer an expression pedal as standard equipment on a device
 that sells for less than $150. >

Fully agree here.

<And if you're planning to reach down to tweak your effects manually while you play, you can certainly do that 
on the Digitechs.  But it's a lot easier to set up the sounds you want 
beforehand and then go to those sounds in performance.>

This is exactly what I'm talking about in my response to point 1 above.

< A volume 
control and an expression pedal are two different things.  The Digitech 
expression pedal can be used to control volume, but it can also be used 
to control any other aspect of any effect you're using.  >

With multieffects pedals, you can use am external passive volume pedal as a continuous control pedal by plugging in a single patch cable from the OUTPUT of the volume pedal to the "control in" jack on the back of the multieffects pedal. When you do this, the volume pedal is NOT being used as volume pedal (eg. in the signal path), but is instead controlling whatever parameters you've assigned it to control on you multifx unit. That is, it becomes an external expression pedal. I do this with my RP 155, and since I already had a volume pedal, I was able to save some cash by not buying the 255 (albeit with the loss of a couple extra amp/cab sims, a couple extra fx types, and fewer memory slots), but still be able to use the wah, pitch blend, whammy, etc.

<But in 
the end, it's all about the way the thing sounds.  I like the sound of 
the Digitechs. That's mainly why I use them.  Since none of us has heard
 the G3, there's really not a lot to talk about there until someone 

Yeah, I fully agree about this. One of us has to try it out and let us all know!!! I too, love the sound of the digitechs. I can get several really really great sounds out of my 155. However, as I play out more and more, I'm finding that I'm encountering the limitations of the unit for live performance more and more. As both of us have mentioned, there are some work arounds that let you get past these issues to some degree, but there are a few things that you just can't do live, and which hinder me a bit in the way that I want to play. I would never think of getting rid of my 155. It's awesome. But I'm realizing that it's more of a studio type of unit with a few features that allow it to be used live to some capacity. The G3 (and M9, and the RP 500 and 1000, for that matter) seem to be more engineered towards live performance, and fully functional pedal board replacement. The G3 is so exciting because it's the first pedal of this type to be down in a
 price range that's actually realistic for most folks. So yeah, someone out there go try it and let us all know!!



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