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Thread: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

  1. #1
    Registered User McIrish's Avatar
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    Default Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    I currently play seven different acoustic instruments on stage with my band. For quite a few years I have been using a Zoom A3 (not AC-3). This pedal allows me to setup presets for each instrument (modelling, EQ, compression, etc) and select between them. This way, I have only one cable to deal with. The A3 has worked fairly well but I always wish it had an up and down preset select buttons. Currently, all I can do is scroll through the presets. Not a big deal but if something came out that is better, I'd give it a shot. For some unknown reason, manufacturers seem to think people play a single acoustic instrument and don't need presets. The Zoom AC-3 would have been great, had they gave you a way to save presets. As it is, it pales in comparison to the earlier A3 model.

    Let me know if you've tried something that worked very well for multiple instruments. Fast switching is key.

    Needed features:
    1) EQ - at least 7 bands
    2) Acoustic modelling
    3) Piezo de-quacker inputs
    4) At least 7 presets that are user savable
    Gibson 2016 "Harvey" Fern
    Collings MT Mandola
    Petersen Level 2 Irish Bouzouki
    Collings 0002H
    Couple of Banjos
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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    I think it would be happenstance to find anything from a perfectly reasonable marketing stance. Say you have a hundred guitar players wanting a multi effects pedal. Pretty big market, but 30 of those guitarists are acoustic players. Maybe 20 dabble in both. So, maybe it is worth adding a few features to attract that crowd. Perhaps an impedance switch and five or so presets, or a notch filter. So you add the features and you lose market share to the electric guitar crowd because you added and acoustic amp modeler. Those guys don't want to pay for that. So 30 out of a hundred are acoustic players, and 5 of those gig regularly on mandolin, or maybe they play electric, acoustic and mandolin over the course of an evening, so wouldn't three channel inputs be nifty, and you'd need phantom power too. So you end up serving a market of three. Two of those will pay a high price for your nifty gadget. So you sell two units. Zoom sells seventy or so. Over simplification I'm sure, but you get the idea.

    I had a friend who worked in the electric instrument division of Hewlett Packard. The designers would often design a super product, over designed for what the marketplace wanted. Management had to put constraints on the design, and try to give customers what they were really going to use at the price they were willing to pay..
    Silverangel A
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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    To answer your question, no. I have been using a K&K Pure preamp (the one w/ eq) and switch between Mandolin, Tenor banjo & Bouzouki. Iíve been looking for exactly what you describe, and I just picked up a Zoom A3 off of CL. Do you have any tips? Thanks
    Last edited by Dan Hulse; Feb-12-2020 at 1:02pm. Reason: Mispelling

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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    Except for the 7 band EQ, I think you'd be happy with a Tonedexter. I switch between a mandolin and an octave, but don't need any EQ changes from the board. The unit does have bass and high, plus a notch filter, but I don't change anything when switching. Basically hit mute, plug in the other instrument, hold mute until the Select option appears, press the boost button to scroll to the next patch, press mute again (maybe twice - I forget), and you're good to go.
    Being right is overrated. Doing right is what matters.

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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    Quote Originally Posted by gspiess View Post
    Except for the 7 band EQ, I think you'd be happy with a Tonedexter. I switch between a mandolin and an octave, but don't need any EQ changes from the board. The unit does have bass and high, plus a notch filter, but I don't change anything when switching. Basically hit mute, plug in the other instrument, hold mute until the Select option appears, press the boost button to scroll to the next patch, press mute again (maybe twice - I forget), and you're good to go.
    Same for me
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    Hi,
    I'm a multi-instrumentalist, too, gigging with guitars, mandolin, dobro, bouzouki, banjo, weissenborn, octave mandolin, sometimes mandolin, mandocello.
    I tried and still own various preamps: ToneDexter, Grace Felix, Pendulum SPS-1, RedEye Twin

    Lately I tried the EliteAcoustic Stompmix and love it for the purpose you describe. Here is a vid that I made a while ago - maybe it helps you decide:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZRxyR1azmU&t=88s

    Best, Bob
    Northfield F5 Artist VIE
    Collings MF 5
    Gibson F 2 (1917)
    Lawrence Smart H 5 Mandola
    Gibson K 4 Mandocello (1921)
    Sobell 10-string Cittern
    Sanden 8-string Bouzouki
    Thijs van der Harst Octave Mandolin

    guitars, banjo, dobro, weissenborn

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  11. #7
    man about town Markus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    Quote Originally Posted by McIrish View Post
    Needed features:
    1) EQ - at least 7 bands
    2) Acoustic modelling
    3) Piezo de-quacker inputs
    4) At least 7 presets that are user savable
    The Zoom A1X Four that came out last fall seems like it would do the trick for you, I have been very impressed with it.

    An acoustic-focused multi-pedal with savable 50 preset spots that can contain up to 5 `pedals'. Multiple EQ's available, including notch filters as well. DeQuackers, compression, just about every common pedal that could be of use on acoustic. You can load more onto it from your PC as well as work on the patches/adjustments there.

    I run mine through the effects loop on my RedEye preamp and have been quite impressed with what $100 buys.

    The looper on it limits loops to 30 seconds, too short for most of my uses but as you can loop pre-effects it's really useful for knob-tweaking and adjusting. Also has a basic but useful set of rhythm tracks ... it's definitely made practice a lot more fun for me [and has taught me a lot about EQ and effects pedals].

    For gigging I'm betting a dedicated pedal would be more ideal, but it's hard to beat all these options at the price. IMO it seems like the next evolutionary step from where you're at currently.

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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    I stand corrected. 🙄 Itís great to have choices.
    The registered user formerly known as 1-2-many.

  13. #9

    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    Quote Originally Posted by McIrish View Post
    The A3 has worked fairly well but I always wish it had an up and down preset select buttons. Currently, all I can do is scroll through the presets. Not a big deal but if something came out that is better, I'd give it a shot.

    Fast switching is key.
    I'm late to the topic, but it was investigated a while ago on The Gear Page the fact that a lot of the Zoom pedals have a USB portr for updating and editing. This led to the discovery that many will accept MIDI for patch switching up and down, and some clever people have even made editors and librarians.

    I don't have a topic to point you to, but searching through Google for "site:thegearpage.net zoom pedal midi controller" will likely find the various discussions, and omitting the "site:thegearpage.net" will reveal manufacturers/products. You can also search for librarians and editors.

    Happy exploring!

  14. #10

    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    Quote Originally Posted by McIrish View Post
    The A3 has worked fairly well but I always wish it had an up and down preset select buttons. Currently, all I can do is scroll through the presets. Not a big deal but if something came out that is better, I'd give it a shot.

    Fast switching is key.
    I'm late to the topic, but it was investigated a while ago on The Gear Page the fact that a lot of the Zoom pedals have a USB portr for updating and editing. This led to the discovery that many will accept MIDI for patch switching up and down, and some clever people have even made editors and librarians.

    I don't have a topic to point you to, but searching through Google for "site:thegearpage.net zoom pedal midi controller" will likely find the various discussions, and omitting the "site:thegearpage.net" will reveal manufacturers/products. You can also search for librarians and editors.

    I tend to rely on my G1Xon and B1Xon for live use, but have occasionally considered getting a controller for the other pedals.

    That A1X Four looks sweet. I particularly like the "VEns" patch, and can see how useful it would be combined with a Electro-Harmonix POG2 with slow attack turned up. Thanks for the heads up.

    Happy exploring!

  15. #11
    Registered User Mark Seale's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    Quote Originally Posted by mando-bob View Post
    Hi,
    I'm a multi-instrumentalist, too, gigging with guitars, mandolin, dobro, bouzouki, banjo, weissenborn, octave mandolin, sometimes mandolin, mandocello.
    I tried and still own various preamps: ToneDexter, Grace Felix, Pendulum SPS-1, RedEye Twin

    Lately I tried the EliteAcoustic Stompmix and love it for the purpose you describe. Here is a vid that I made a while ago - maybe it helps you decide:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZRxyR1azmU&t=88s

    Best, Bob
    That EliteAcoustic is a really interesting bit of gear. How would you rate the sound quality of it versus the Grace Felix?

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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    Running a studio with some high end mics and mic preamps I'm a bit picky about acoustic sound, but the Elite Acoustic really did not disappoint me. Still keep my Grace Felix, but for multi instrumental applications as shown in my vid I always take the EA and love the sound.

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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    Has anyone have any experience using the Zoom MS-70CDR?

  19. #14
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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    I just purchased the ToneDexter, and so far I'm really, really pleased. I've tired several pickups and three or four preamps, and nothing comes close. It has the capacity for 22 different wavemaps, way more than I'll need. No EQ, just bass and treble, but both my guitar and mandolin sound incredible through it. You can sent the amount of blend between the pickup and wavemap, so if you're playing in a noisy environment you can add more pickup to get a better "punch" through the noise. I play in mostly in church, so I set it with mostly wavemap.

    There is no battery with it, but you can buy a cord from Amazon for less than $10 that let's you dangle a 9V battery off the back for those times when plugs are scarce.

    I've used it live three times, and each time someone different has come up to me and told me I sounded great. I'll take that any day.
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    Lord of All Badgers Lord of the Badgers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    I've not tried this, but it's unusual to get an independent EQ section... https://www.boss.info/uk/products/ad-10/

    Click image for larger version. 

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    - - - Updated - - -

    I myself have a TC Acoustic Play - has the bodyrez thing.... and some slightly too silly vocal harmonising effects. Does get a good vocal sound. I digress
    My name is Rob, and I am Lord of All Badgers

    Bouzouki: Paul Shippey Axe
    Tenor Guitars: Acoustic: Mcilroy ASP10T, Martin 0-18t. Electric: Manson, Eastwood
    Mandolins: Davidson f5, A5 "Badgerlin".
    OM: Paul Shippey Tone. Mandola: Davidson 2 point.
    My band's website

  22. #16
    Registered User McIrish's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    I've jumped into the impulse response loader idea. My tests came out so well that I can never see myself going back to a standard pedal again. Yes, it is a bit time consuming creating the IRs but the results are night and day different. I'm currently using a Joyo Cab Box to load the IRs, but when my finances free up a bit, I believe I will buy a Line 6 HX Stomp. It has a little more flexibility as an IR loader.

    I did take a look at the Boss and Zoom offerings but I will keep with this new path. The ToneDexter would be a second choice. The ability to have the "true" sound of my instruments when plugged in is pretty amazing. Someone will create a more intuitive and powerful ToneDexter and that will be the standard way to get a good sound. I will happen. The results of IRs is just too good to pass up.
    Gibson 2016 "Harvey" Fern
    Collings MT Mandola
    Petersen Level 2 Irish Bouzouki
    Collings 0002H
    Couple of Banjos
    Lots of other Guitars
    http://www.shadowfields.com

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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    Lehle Acouswitch is a solid option for switching between two instruments. Built like a tank and great preamp.

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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    Hi McIrish. Assume for a moment you’re speaking to a technical idiot named Bill. I understand what you’re trying to do, and why. What caught my curiosity is the phrase ”just use one cable”. You have seven amplified instruments, how do you rig the front end for the desired onstage simplicity?

    I get confused enough just running guitar and OM into the same Venue DI with an A/B box. (Confused enough that I dont want to do it anymore since I usually end up giving up halfway through the gig and running one of them straight to the board).

    In the same vein, is there another name for “piezo de-quacker inputs”? Preferably written in large friendly letters next to the input plug. They sound quite lovely.

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    Registered User McIrish's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    Hi Bill,
    In my situation, I have one instrument cable that I unplug from the instrument when changing to another instrument. I unplug, hang the cord on my mic stand, grab another instrument, plug in and then select the correct preset on my IR pedal. My simple pedalboard is this:
    Instrument - Compressor - IR loader - EQ pedal - Tuner - Amplifier

    Compressor= Barber tonepress. I use it to even out the mandolin Dynamics. It's subtle.
    IR Loader= Joyo Cab Box. I may change to something else but the IR loader is the only pedal really doing a lot. Think of it as a 1024 band EQ. Complex to create the IR, but it solves the tone issue.
    EQ pedal= cheap danelectro 7 band EQ. I use it as a volume boost only for solos
    Tuner= Korg pitch black. It's just a tuner
    Amp= fishman performer
    I take an xlr from the amp to feed the house PA system. The amp itself I use as my stage monitor for my instruments. I have it tilted back and sitting just to my left.

    Someone will eventually make a simple to use IR pedal that can create custom IRs easily too. As far as I can see, the ToneDexter is the closest to it. The Fishman Aura pedals are simply an IR pedal with preset IRs. I wanted to make an IR for each of my instruments so the sound when using a pickup is the same sound as I would get when using a mic. impulse Response technology makes that possible. Unfortunately, it's not simple right now. I do think it will become the main way to amplify acoustic instruments in the future. The sound is just so good. I can never go back to my previous pedals after using my IRs. The instruments sounded just like themselves.

    I'm sure my setup is way too complex for most guys playing in an acoustic band. For me, I have to compete with drums, bass, keyboards and a lot of loud vocals. This is the best option I have found so far, even though it's very complex to make the IRs.

    I'm not sure this helped you at all Bill but this is how I have my setup.

  27. #20

    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    Thank you, that is very informative. So, if I may, what is Impulse Response in this context?

    I dont like replugging instruments every time I switch but I can see how it would be the simplest solution...

    Thanks for the descriptions.

  28. #21
    Registered User McIrish's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    An impulse response is a very small wav file that contains the sonic fingerprint of an audio source. It's based on a technique named convolution. For years it was used as a way to create a reverb software that has the sound of a real room. The engineer would do an audio sweep or balloon pop in a orchestral hall, deconvolve it and you are left with a very small wav file that can be used in a convolution loader (IR loader). The actual wav file is typically only 25-50ms long but in the cases of reverbs with long tails, it can be longer. The convolution loader (IR loader) is limited on the size of the file it can take. They define them as sample points. A 25ms IR will have 1024 sample points. The less expensive the IR loader, the smaller the IR it can load. In my case, the Joyo Cab Box can load a 25ms (1024 sample point) IR. For a reverb, this would be way too short. But, for the sonic fingerprint of an acoustic instrument with a close microphone, it works just fine.

    I'm sorry if this is way too geeky. I have a fascination with the technology and I wanted to see how to use it. My first introduction to convolution was reverb. Then more recently it has been guitar speaker cabinets. It's amazing how much a specific speaker has an impact on the sound of an amp. I started playing with some IR plugins inside Cubase and Nuendo (digital audio workspaces). I quickly realized that I could get the exact same sound without a real speaker cabinet by using an IR of that speaker cabinet. I use it so I can record super loud guitar parts silently into the computer. Anyway, that got me thinking that if it is already possible to create an IR of a speaker cabinet, then there must be a way to create an IR of my instruments. So, in my case, the IR I create is kind of an EQ that matches the sound of my instrument with a pickup to the sound of my instrument with a microphone. From using it on a tour, I can say that my mandolin plugged into an amp sounded nearly identical to recordings of my mandolin I made in my studio.

    The process to create the IR is complex but the results are far better than anything I've ever been able to get from any other pedal.
    Gibson 2016 "Harvey" Fern
    Collings MT Mandola
    Petersen Level 2 Irish Bouzouki
    Collings 0002H
    Couple of Banjos
    Lots of other Guitars
    http://www.shadowfields.com

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  30. #22
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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    +1 on the Tonedexter here. I have one and have gigged quite a bit with it. It's not the same as playing acoustically or even through a good mic, which is still my favorite method of amplification. But for those times when a mic isn't practical, the tonedexter is a truly fantastic, usable stage preamp that hits all of the boxes you check except for EQ. I honestly don't think you'd miss it, but I suppose you could run a GE-7 or something through TD's effects loop if you really needed it.

    Before I bought the TD, I was using another major manufacturer's preamp that – minus the wavemap technology – had a similar feature set (parametric EQ, boost switch, DI out, built-in tuner) and similar price point. It always made my F-5 sound like a tenor banjo being played through a tin can. The TD makes my plugged-in mandolin sound remarkably like a mandolin. Some of the wavemaps I've made sound better than others, but every single one of them is light-years better than the live sound I had before.

    Does the Tonedexter capture my mandolin's acoustic sound perfectly? No. Does it sound great? Absolutely. It's close enough to sounding like my mandolin that I feel like I'd just be chasing diminishing returns by trying to do more to improve my plugged-in sound.

    I can't recommend this thing highly enough, especially at the price point.

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    Default Re: Any new pedals for multi-instrumentalists?

    Quote Originally Posted by wayfaringstranger View Post
    +1 on the Tonedexter here.

    Does the Tonedexter capture my mandolin's acoustic sound perfectly? No. Does it sound great? Absolutely. It's close enough to sounding like my mandolin that I feel like I'd just be chasing diminishing returns by trying to do more to improve my plugged-in sound.

    I can't recommend this thing highly enough, especially at the price point.
    Absolutely ! I, too, still prefer a good mic. But TD does an awesome job. That's why I posted my vid here some days ago.
    Northfield F5 Artist VIE
    Collings MF 5
    Gibson F 2 (1917)
    Lawrence Smart H 5 Mandola
    Gibson K 4 Mandocello (1921)
    Sobell 10-string Cittern
    Sanden 8-string Bouzouki
    Thijs van der Harst Octave Mandolin

    guitars, banjo, dobro, weissenborn

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