External drives

Discussion in 'Discussion' started by NelsonP, Feb 12, 2020.

  1. NelsonP

    NelsonP Senior Member

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    I'm currently trying to dial in some tones and have some questions for folks using external boost and drive pedals...

    1. Which pedal(s) do you use?
    2. What amp models do you run them into?
    3. How do you set up the amp model (clean, breakup, dirty)?
    4. How do you set up the controls on your pedal?
    5. How good are the results?

    I have 3 main uses:

    1. EP boost into a clean deluxe model, switches at unity gain, gain at 10 o'clock, to thicken up my clean sound. The EP boost sounds great with the deluxe model. Very happy with it.

    2. EQD Plumes into a clean deluxe model, asymmetic clipping mode, vol at 10 o'clock, tone at 9 o'clock, gain at 9 o'clock, to give a light overdrive. Sounds good but I have to cut the treble on the amp settings quite a bit.

    3. EQD Plumes into the BE or HBE model on the set up dirty with the gain around 6. I use the asymmetic clipping mode on the Plumes vol at 10 o'clock, tone at 9 o'clock, gain at 9 o'clock. It works well as a solo boost, pushing the mids.

    The EQD Plumes replaced an EHX Soul Food, which I used in the same way, but with vol on 10 o'clock, tone at 1 o'clock and gain at 11o'clock. I like the plumes better, but it's quite easy to get it to squash any gainy models to mush, especially if you dial the gain above 12 o' clock. Honestly I'm still struggling to get it dialled.

    Funnily enough I've settled on the internal clean boost on the plexi and top boost models. The gain structure of those models doesn't seem to like external pedals so much.

    Anyone else care to post their experiences?
     
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  2. patmepin15

    patmepin15 Member

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    Hey! I use a Xotic EP Booster and JHS Double Barrel with the Morning Glory side always on. For the MG I tend to use the switch in the down position which is more high end and set it up to have mild break up. Then the Tube Screamer side I use in the down position which I use as a saturated rhythm tone. I also have a B.B. Preamp (gain around 10 o’clock) for solos after the Double Barrel. I also use the Deluxe model on the Amplifire set to slight break up maybe less like just a tad pushed. I love the tone. I can’t replicate it with my helix.
     
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  3. Slartibartfarst42

    Slartibartfarst42 Senior Member

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    As far as is absolutely possible, I try to just use what's in the AmpliFire but I'll readily admit that the Boost block can leave a great deal to be desired. For the most part I can get by using the Clean Boost, OD and Screamer models but they just don't work well if I try to add them to a clean amp model like the 65, US Clean or Deluxe. This is very frustrating as there are a few times when I'd really like to go from a properly clean amp to one with distortion added without changing presets. The existing OD options either don't add enough gain or don't sound good or both. The Distortion model in the Boost section I find to be utterly useless as it goes from no gain to huge distortion and nothing inbetween. It also only gives one flavour of distortion, which seems to be modern high gain. I wish the AmpliFire had more and better options for this as at the moment it's sadly lacking. I have been tempted to buy an external drive but I keep hoping that Atomic will fix such a glaring shortcoming so until then I tend to use the volume pot on the guitar to clean things up on either a Plexi or JCM800 model.
     
  4. Jace Nuzback

    Jace Nuzback Senior Member

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    I'd like to have more modeled drive pedal options too, but just for the sake of conversation,
    why is it better to use a foot switch to add a boost to a clean amp model to overdrive it as opposed to
    using a foot switch to change presets to an overdriven amp model?
    Isn't that the big benefit of having multiple amp models, presets, foot switching, etc?
     
  5. Clint Martin

    Clint Martin Senior Member

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    I used to use Twins live, but when I switched to modeling I did away with all pedals since I could just switch to an amp with more gain. I do use the on board screamer basically as another eq filter.
     
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  6. NelsonP

    NelsonP Senior Member

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    Good question Jace. For me it is about have more flavours of drive to choose from.

    EP Booster
    - sweetens the tone right through the frequency range. Works very nicely on the Deluxe model. The Clean Boost gets some of the way there but doesn't sound anywhere near as sweet.

    Green Russian Big Muff - it's a very different kind of fuzz to the internal model, which is more like a Fuzz Face (spikier, more treble)

    EHX Soul Food - no Klon model in the Amplifire. Although I got a bit tired of the fizziness that comes from having any gain on a Klon style pedal I've now taken the Soul Food off my board and replaced it with an EQD Plumes, which itself offers 3 different flavours of drive. I've been experimenting with that over the last few days and am having more success with less gain on the amp model, with the volume up and gain down on the pedal. I like the tone of the Plumes, but I might be able to achieve 90% of it with the internal screamer model, a dB boost on the preset and a bit of EQ.

    The above as well as the lack of polyphonic pitch shifting and some of the more ambient reverbs led me to mounting my Amplfire on a board / using external pedals and midi switching.

    I'll admit GAS also had a role to play!

    @patmepin15 How do you use your EP Booster?
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
  7. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    I use a Tumnus, TS Mini, and a Hoof fuzz in front of the AA6. I also use the boost block but with different settings. I generally like the tones out of the pedals better and find them easier to adjust, especially on the fly.
     
  8. NelsonP

    NelsonP Senior Member

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    Can you elaborate on how you use them?

    Which amp models do you use them with, how do you set them up etc
     
  9. patmepin15

    patmepin15 Member

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    @NelsonP

    I leave it on all the time after my other drives and before the AA to fatten up my tone from my strat. There’s something about the eq from it that is great (low mid boost perhaps). The dial is all the way down or no more than 9 o’clock and I think the bright switch is on and in boost mode from the internal dip switches.
     
  10. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    I mostly use them with the 65 clean, Bassman, Plexi and SLO amps as those are the ones I use most. The Tumnus is used like a typical Klone, usually a mild boost with just a touch of hair. The tube screamer I use with various levels of gain and as one would expect, it tightens things up by cutting bass and boosting mids along with adding its characteristic grit. The Hoof fuzz is a very versatile and smooth fuzz pedal ranging from thick and dark to thin and bright and it gives sustain for days. They are all in front of the AA6, nothing in the loop.
     
  11. Slartibartfarst42

    Slartibartfarst42 Senior Member

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    It's a fair question and I agree it's possible but there are a couple of reasons why I'd rather get the gain from the boost block instead of switching amp models:

    1) Adding some sort of drive pedal to an amp model like the 65 Clean helps to keep the flavour of the original amp whereas if I switch from a 65 Clean to a HotBrit (for instance) it gives me core tones that are radically different. This is easily my main reason.
    2) It would mean rearranging the order of my presets so that I always had the higher gain amp model right next to the clean model and I prefer to sequence them in ascending gain order. I'm not sure why, I just prefer it that way. I must have OCD!
    3) Taking it further, I'd like to be able to use two boost options at the same time. This way I can either get two different flavours of distortion from the same preset or I could have one set to crunch and the other to distortion or I could run both simultaneously and cascade the gain.

    In a general sense I just think it's something where the AmpliFire is quite weak. The Screamer and OD options are OK at best but if I'm honest, I've had a Bad Monkey that was just as good and probably a lot better. This is hardly a boutique pedal!!! The Distortion model is just awful and I really do mean it's absolutely woeful. I used to own a Hardwire Metal Distortion pedal that was superb but the one on the Atomic is pretty much unusable. The Clean Boost I find to be very good. I never use Fuzz so I can't comment.
     
  12. Vicenzajay

    Vicenzajay Active Member

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    I also sort this outside the AA at this point. My signal going into the unit goes through a Mad Professor LGW - a wonderful, open sounding TS circuit - set to about unity volume with the drive knob at about 55%. It functions as the perfect boost/OD for clean patches of all amp types - allowing the patch core tone to remain recognizable while delivering a wonderful crunch. I know this shouldn't, perhaps, be necessary with a modeler of this caliber - Slartibartfarst42 has a valid point. That said, I had the pedal already, and was very familiar with dialing it in - so it made for a relatively easy solution in my case.

    For patches that are already fairly overdriven, I have been drawn toward using the boost block in "clean boost" mode. That seems to be what I'm gravitating towards as I continue to tweak presets.
     
  13. Corey S

    Corey S Member

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    I use three drive pedals, in this order:
    • Foxpedal KIngdom (Klon style)
      • Tone: 3:00
      • Gain: 12:00
      • Volume 9:00
      • OD switch: Right
      • Clip switch: Left
    • Foxpedal Slowhound (TS style)
      • Volume: 10:00
      • Drive: 12:00
      • Tone: 3:00
      • Howl: 3:00
    • Creation Audio Labs Holy Fire
      • Gain: 10:00
      • Overdrive: 1:00
      • Distortion: 1:00
      • Tone: 3:00
    I use mostly the US Clean, Top Boost and Rumble Bright models set to clean or just on the edge of breakup. I am a P&W player so I don't have a lot of experience with the high gain amp models. I think the Kingdom sounds good with any of the amp models and it is my most used drive pedal. If I need more drive, I prefer the Slowhound with the US Clean or Top Boost and the Holy Fire with the Rumble Bright. I am really happy with how they all sound.

    I have an AA3, and when I first got it I experimented with using the switches to go between clean and dirty amp presests. It worked pretty well, but I found with only 3 switches they were better utilized for other effects such as phaser, tremolo and a boost.
     
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  14. tepc

    tepc Well-Known Member

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    I use a Steel String Clean Drive set at unity in front of everything. Amplifire, Fractal or a real amp and never turn it off. It just adds "something" to everything.
     
  15. Phil Whitmore

    Phil Whitmore Member

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    I use my trusty old Boss OD3 and a Fulltone Fulldrive 3 into the US Clean .... sounds great
     
  16. Slartibartfarst42

    Slartibartfarst42 Senior Member

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    The other reason is that I use a Midi Mouse to change presets so that all 6 buttons on my Atomic can be for effects but I've noticed that when I change presets, for a second or two the new preset sounds like someone has thrown a heavy blanket over the amp before the real tone of the new preset kicks in. That's no problem when I change presets between songs but it makes changing presets mid-song impossible. It's a real pain because we do a few songs that run clean and dirty so at the moment I have to use a dirty preset without too much gain and no boost so that I can get a clean tone using the volume pot on the guitar. It would be a hell of a lot easier to use a clean amp model and then add the dirt through the boost section. Unfortunately the Atomic is catastrophically poor at doing this and it's very frustrating. Many years ago I had a Digitech RP1000 that could do this better than the Atomic!
     
  17. Matt

    Matt Well-Known Member

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    That’s odd. My AA6 switches between presets very quickly and cleanly using the built in buttons. Can you use midi for effects and the onboard pedals for presets switching?
     
  18. Slartibartfarst42

    Slartibartfarst42 Senior Member

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    I have absolutely no idea at all and I have no idea how to set it up for that if I could. Changing presets mid song isn't something I've ever really done so I may be mistaken but I don't think the midi switching always had this problem. Perhaps it's a problem with my Midi Mouse or my AA6 rather than a general problem with the AmpliFire.
     
  19. Quadfire

    Quadfire Well-Known Member

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    By any chance do you have the wah enabled and set to auto off park?

    I've noticed that if the wah is parked, when you change presets it turns on until it parks again after your configured park time.

    Other than that, the AA changes presets smoothly.
     
  20. Slartibartfarst42

    Slartibartfarst42 Senior Member

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    You're a genius!!!

    Yes, I do have the wah enabled and the expression pedal is set to park so that must be it. I thought it didn't have this problem before and it never occurred to me that it was the wah causing the problem. In that case, I'd really like an update to fix this issue! In the meantime, I suppose all I can do is reduce the park time to as little as possible.
     

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