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TOPIC: Pedals with s-gear?

Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 3 weeks ago #19973

I’ve got some pedals myself that I use with s-gear but I’m just a noob with no real tube amp of my own.

You guys/girls here with stacks of real amps, here is two questions:

1. how do you like having distortion and overdrive pedals in front of with s-gear? Sound and behaves like the real deal?

2. Is using a clean tone in s-gear the way to go or how do you set it up with overdrive pedals?

My aim is to buy more dist and drive pedals for rock and metal. But I get a bit worried I’m buying unnecessary stuff.
Last edit: 2 months 3 weeks ago by larserik.
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 3 weeks ago #19974

I often plug my pedal board into S-Gear -- it takes to them very well. Distortion, OD, fuzz. All of it.
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 3 weeks ago #19983

Yes in front and yes it does behave very close to the real deal.

Clean and overdriven depending on the particular pedals.

Gain stack your pedals.
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 3 weeks ago #19988

Yes, S-Gear works well with physical pedals in front of it - there's one main exception: tube amp users frequently use pedals to drive their preamps hard - this means that they'll generate a lot of output. This is counterproductive in a digital S-Gear setup - all this will do is overdrive the input of your audio interface, which is something you'll definitely want to avoid (unless you're into veeeery special crackling sounds).

But if you've made the move to the digital world, why not use the digital equivalent of dist and drive pedals - there's a broad range of pretty good stuff out there: Mercuriall, Kuassa or Distorque come to mind. With a VST host like Cantabile, you can create complex effect chains including pedals and whatnot - and recall them at the touch of a button/pedal.

Cheers,

Torsten
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 3 weeks ago #19990

Thanks for replying guys!

Yeah you do have a good point there Torsten regarding using plug-in pedals, I do have some that I like (Cytomic The Scream for example) but my Boss BD-2W feels better when playing. Hard to explain, might be placebo, but it makes it more fun. (Good point about how driving an audio interface preamp is not the same as driving an amp as well.)
Last edit: 2 months 3 weeks ago by larserik.
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 2 weeks ago #20013

I even use my pedalboard(which I use with real amps with my band) directly into the pc( trough an audio interface of course) with a multitude of pedals(Strymon Timeline,Mobius,KOT,Archer, Boss JB 2, Neunaber expanse etc etc).

It's a simple and practical way of arranging and preparing songs for my band, since I live in an apartment I can't blast my amps out loud(I mean I could, but il get the police at my door for sure).

I won't say it's perfect tough, sure delays and modulation will sound just fine.But drive pedals it's not a plug and play thing and immediate satisfaction.

As it was already said in the topic you have to watch out for gain levels, if it clips it will sound bad.

For a base tone I like the wayfarer with the boutique twin 2x12 IR, some impulse responses just don't cut with drive pedals but this one to my ears translates the natural sound of the drive pedals in a satisfatory result.

Normally I do a clean patch because that's the way I use my amp in band context(a Victory V40 btw), but even with the wafarer slightly driven(slightly!) I get enjoyable results by boosting it with the Blues driver side of the JB2 pedal (again, watch out for gain levels!).

Although i won't say this is an ideal thing(using a pedalboard trough the plugin). I had a Kemper at some point and even with that device I wasn't totally convinced of using drive pedals in front of it.

I mean, I could get ok tones.But it never sounded as good as using only the device and it's internal drives or in that particular case using profiles that already were were profiled with actual drive pedals.

It just doesn't sound or feel in my experience(and my experience alone, others might have a different opinion and that is ok) like having my pedalboard plugged in into an actual amp.

For drive sounds I definitely get better results using the SGEAR alone, but like I said it's more of a solution to a problem(of not being able to use amps in the apartment) than a perfect scenario.

Bottomline, the SGEAR plugin offers a lot of applications and solutions for your guitar life :)
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 2 weeks ago #20017

i just got the J Rocket Archer yesterday. It might be a tad expensive, but it is so worth it to me. I wanted to get a pedal that allowed my other guitars to put put a similar signal as with my 5-6 year old Gibson Les Paul with the mid-range boost (active via push-pull) knob. Feeding that signal to S-Gear is like nothing else. This pedal did just that. it makes my Grestch Electromatic sound like the much more expensive version. The Botique Blues patch was like an awakening of sorts. The first patch, the American Clean (IIRC), came out sounding as crisp and tasteful as it should.

It's also VERY easy to gain stage. Much easier than something like a Tube Screamer or a fuzz. It was like taking a blanket off of my speakers. This was to the incoming signal like a good IR is to the outgoing speaker signal.

Good Times!
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 2 weeks ago #20018

I will say some pedals are more "forgiving" with plugins and modellers than others.

The Archer works fairly nice as the user above as said(watch out for the massive output klon pedal types have!), I really like it as booster in a real amp scenario (works ok with SGEAR that way too).

But if I would have to nominate the pedal that best interacts with plugins and modellers it's the Analogman King of Tone.

It's actually a simple circuit, a modified Marshall Bluesbreaker pedal but it's such a pleasing sound that works so well with a myriad of guitars and amps (and it sounds pretty decent to with plugins and modelers).

I used to a have real Analogman made one, but I sold it for a profit to a fellow musician(needed the money for other gear).
Recently I bought a spot on clone (it probably gets you there 95% of the original sound, good enough for me):



Definitely a great piece of gear.
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 2 weeks ago #20020

Some lovely OD's getting some thumbs up in this thread. B)

In my experience S-Gear 'takes (dirt) pedals' in a truly amp-like manner.

Being a traditionalist, I like classic OD's - with a buffer. ( Yup.. I adjust for it, and I prefer it. ;) )
I have and '82 SD-1 and an old (but undated) TS-808.
Both are magnificent with S-Gear. And behave as either would before a real amp. Superb.
Last edit: 2 months 2 weeks ago by telepath.
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 2 weeks ago #20021

The problem with using an analog pedalboard in front of a digital amp is managing the gain staging to avoid digital clipping at the audio interface input (and output). Pedals are capable of creating a lot of gain boost. In front of a tube amp, that’s great - it just gives you control of where the saturation is crated and how to voice it. But the input to an audio interface will have less headroom, and you cannot distort it. Digital distortion will never sound good. If you use distortion blocks in the computer (Helix Native, S-Gear drive and amp drive, or various virtual distortion pedals), you’ll have no problem with all that extra gain because you’re already inside the computer where you have big floating point numbers that aren’t going to introduce any digital clipping between the blocks. Just watch the output in this case.

It can be challenging to mix the analog and digital worlds for many reasons - including digital clipping, stage footprint, and transportation costs. My feeling is if you want to go digital, go all digital. Keep the pedalboard as a museum piece.
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 2 weeks ago #20025

But isn’t keeping track of digital input levels quite easy to do? My sound card shows me when clipping has occurred and my daw has good visual indicators as well. Recording in 24 bit my noise flor is far away so I can keep a good safety distance to the brutal 0db without loosing quality and gain the signal in the digital domain before it hits s-gear and other plugins (if needed).

Or are you talking about something else jamsden?
Last edit: 2 months 2 weeks ago by larserik.
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 2 weeks ago #20026

digital clipping is the least on one's concerns. It's an absolute must except for whatever unimaginealbe artistic quality it might have for someone. No, the far bigger issue for making good - meaning good - is to gain stage inside the box and outside the box. And by gain staging, I don't mean simply to send out the same level that comes in with obvious exceptions. Each component has a sweet spot. one might be -14db and another piece might be -18db or even down to -22db. -14 db is almost twice as loud as -18db. That's a huge distance to be off. Send a pre-amp something at -14db that wants to be at -18db and you've got one hot, overloaded signal, and it might look alright because it doesn't make some light flash.

No, going from analog to digital and back is just fine. I don't mean to offend anyone. There is management that needs to be done in either case, and not using something good because of being afraid to digitally clip usually indicates one is playing with fire anyways. If something is expecting -18db, then it better not come anywhere near the bright colors up top.

This whole topic is good advertisement for why pedals are good. Volume and the girth, for lack of a better word, of a signal are two different things. If I can send in a beefier tone that S-Gear likes, and likes without clipping, I am going to make any guitar I have sound that much better. Inside or outside the box. Besides, outside is one less algorithm to have to get through.

Again, I do not mean to offend anyone.
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 2 weeks ago #20027

larserik wrote:

Or are you talking about something else jamsden?

He's talking about overloading the analog-to-digital converter with the output of hi-gain pedals, so you're on the right track. And, yes, most interfaces and DAWs are good about indicating clipping, but you're typically only seeing what's at the beginning of a chain and the end and it's actually quite common for the signal to be overloaded digitally.

For instance, you might bring a signal into the interface at a good level, then add an eq plugin in your DAW and boost some highs to the point of clipping that plugin's output, but then you have a compressor (for example) afterward and the signal gets brought back below clipping levels. Your DAWs channel meters may not flag the clip, but it's there. In the middle. In ProTools, if you clip a plugin the name will change colors, but it's very easy to miss that.

These anomalies aren't as noticeable to the ears as overloading your interface's input, but they do degrade the sound, and it's cumulative so the more often it happens the worse your audio will sound.

Back to overdrive pedals specifically, as he was alluding to, it's their job to overload an amp at its input, but in the digital world you can't really overload the interface's A/D converter in the same way, so OD pedals have a different effect.

This is part of the reason I have a preamp just before my A/D converter. I can hit the input rather hard and pull back its output so the DAW is seeing an ideal level. That's still not the same as throwing an OD before an amp, but I like the color options it offers.
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 2 weeks ago #20029

elambo wrote:

larserik wrote:

Or are you talking about something else jamsden?

This is part of the reason I have a preamp just before my A/D converter. I can hit the input rather hard and pull back its output so the DAW is seeing an ideal level. That's still not the same as throwing an OD before an amp, but I like the color options it offers.
This will work: using the preamp just before the digital input to act as a hard limiter to protect the digital input. But this preamp will be handling the pedal outputs that come before it and will be clipping the signal depending on how hard you push things. That might be fine depending on the characteristics of the preamp. But it won’t be the same as running a Tube Screamer with gain all the way down and level all the way up into a Super Reverb. The source of the clipping, and therefore its voicing and harmonic content are entirely different, even if you were using an exact model of a Super Revert amp (e.g., Duke).

It is clearly possible to use analog pedals in front of a digital amp. But it 1) has some limitations for gain staging, 2) requires some care in how you use it, and 3) won’t sound the same as the same pedalboard in front of the analog amp the digital amp is modeling.

If all the pedal models are in the digital domain along with the amp, then all your dealing with at the audio interface is a relatively small guitar input. Here its key to avoid clipping and use a High-Z input. The digital version of the pedals will work more like their analog counterparts if they’re all in the digital domain. This is because there’s a lot more headroom in the algorithms than there is at the digital inputs and outputs. Yes, it is possible for on digital pedal’s output to overdrive the next digital pedal in the chain’s input. But that’s usually not digital clipping and might sound fine.
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 2 weeks ago #20031

I always used real pedals in front of S Gear until I tried to get the same results with the effects of Line 6 helix.

Now when I need a pedal I use the pedal in my Heix Native. However if I do not need one I put the helix Native at OFF. I realized that leaving the Helix Native ON even with No PEDAL or effects was adding some compression to the S Gear amps.

I thought I was dreaming about that but it is subtil but there. I would compare the effect like an always on pedal or simply a MXR Dyna Com with the sensitivity at 0 and the output at unison. As always I am using very high quality headphones when I play most of the time.
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Last edit: 2 months 2 weeks ago by fatherjacques.
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 2 weeks ago #20032

Simple noise floor math.
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 2 weeks ago #20034

Can you elaborate :-) Do you mean nois generated by the Helix Native software itself?
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Last edit: 2 months 2 weeks ago by fatherjacques.
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 2 weeks ago #20037

Oh my goodness, I apologize. I fell asleep while posting and must have hit submit instead of closing my browser.

Bad manners notwithstanding, the whole concept plays out like this. All of our interfaces have some sort of noise floor. Those are getting better and better, but it's still a factor. Mine (Hi-Z) is rated at -111db. Let's say I send in a signal from a Les Paul and am now dealing with a -35db signal. I need to turn that signal up 17db to get there, or almost 3X the volume. The amp sim boosts it to whatever the needs are by virtue of any sort of volume or gain is desired to get to -12db. That's twice the level than before the amp sim, that could be much higher, and can climb two more multiples just in volume alone if pushing the overall signal to it's limits. The noise that was inherent to the system also increases and has to be dealt with one way or another.

Of course, nobody can hear that -111db, nor can they hear it at 3-6 times that amount. It does, though, become part of the signal. Part of the final product, so to speak. Even a very soft, low no-gain nominal noise can throw a little cloud over the tone. Of course there are many ways around this. Noise filters, noise reduction software, etc. But what happens when we start applying gain, interference from the guitars and add that to the noise floor? Things start to get hairy. More noise to manage. Noise removal has a cost.

So, then, what if we send in a signal of -20db to the interface and convertor? No, not a hissy or over-driven distortion tone. i mean a nice, clean tone at least as clean as the guitar itself? We no longer have to turn up the signal 3X the original to hit that -18db requirement, which means we do not have to turn up the noise 3X. The AD converter has more tone to convert and less empty space to account for or otherwise apply some made up algorithm to finish a simulation.

Now, if the manual for one's Hi-z input says it wants a clean -40db (example) and warns of sending higher, well, I guess all bets are off, right? I'm saying that in any scenario what I've had an option to do so, a stronger signal up to the specified range that the component allows, the better it is. It is really that basic and fundamental and cannot be disproven other than the following disclaimer.

There are a million ways to break this scenario. eg - Suggesting one runs a sans-amp with it's own -95db noise floor breaks the logic is just trying to break the logic to try to win some pointless internet forum argument rather than to acknowledge a possible better solution. I could easily say that the inside-the-box method will fail if I open it up and pour scrambled eggs into CPU fan and smear jelly into the channel's input jack. Any way it happens, no matter what one does, they have to do things in a smart manner to achieve desired goals. To tell someone that pedals are bad by virtual of not being post convertor is not correct and steers someone from a possible good solution. (albeit with the possible intentions of hoping to ensure they stay away from bad solutions.)

A much simpler version of all this is to assume that the better a signal is at any given component's point of entry, the better the chances for better outcome.

And, of course, disclaimer #2 rules are meant to be broken.
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 2 weeks ago #20038

Thanks for taking the time to explain. I am not sure I understood all of this but will certainly read about that :feeling it:
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Pedals with s-gear? 2 months 2 days ago #20072

If you're looking to stay digital, I've just purchased Audified Multidrive pedal pro plugin, who i'd never heard of until earlier today. Trialled them for <30mins and went straight and bought them! Been playing and recording for 30 years, and never managed to get a sound like I have today.

In front of S-Gear, they sound awesome. They add something too even when the pedal is turned off. Coupled with Valhalla reverbs and delay I think I've found my prefect digital amp setup (and all pretty cheap too)

(BTW I don't work for these guys, nor have any ties to them, but i'm as blown away with these plugins as I was with S-Gear ;)
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