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Posted: Sun Nov 29, 2020 7:29 pm
I've been interested in watching folks play their analog synths through various effects pedals and it got me to wondering. The only (and first) analog synth I have is a minilogue XD which has a digital effects section built in. Would an external effects pedal still be worth trying on that synth or would that be more for synths with no internal effects?
Posted: Sun Nov 29, 2020 7:49 pm
Pedals could be modulation effects like chorus of phasing, but often are things like delay and reverb. There are all sorts of opinions on these and some would say that there are external pedals which can do a much better job than the onboard effects. Others will say that the onboard effects are just fine.
Me, I'm happy with what's built in on my gear. These days, even a cheap reverb / delay sounds great so anything built in will be head and shoulders better than older gear. I'd say get to know the gear you have before worrying too much about other effects.
Obviously, as with all things audio, ymmv
Posted: Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:25 pm
I like to use distortions, amp modellers and the like. That typically precludes using on-board effects, such as reverbs and delays, since placed ahead of a gritty distortion they're usually not going to sound so good.
Pedals are always fun to try. These days I'm lazy and head straight to a multi-FX pedal. My favourites are Line 6 Helix (truly a masterpiece of pedally goodness), Digitech RP series and Zoom MS-50/70 pedals.
Posted: Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:02 pm
I'm usually not very impressed with built-in effects in synths. I have a rev2 (analog) and an integra-7 (digital). Both have built-in reverb, but neither of the two are as versatile or can go as extreme as I would sometimes like to go, so I still use an external effect. That's not to say the built-in effects are bad, they just sound kind of basic.
Posted: Sun Nov 29, 2020 11:10 pm
Pedals can be a really good way to play with effect chains, I think. Having a couple of different phasers, or some character delays (analogue or digital) can be as much a part of a sound as the patch itself. You can play *into* effects, rather than just think of them as things you slap on the end – adjusting parameters as part of the performance, setting up a patch to work just so with a certain pedal, that kind of thing. If you can find inspiration and pleasure in any piece of gear, it's worth having.
Pedals can also be something of a rabbit hole though. I remember having a bit of a clearout when I realised I had 8 flangers. :D
Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2020 1:10 am
I think that ultimately the answer is yes. :)
If the internal effects are giving you what you want/need, no need to go further. If not, or if you want to explore, external effects can add a whole new layer to the sound. For example, on a single VCO mono synth, or a synth with 2 VCOs that are hard sync'd, adding a short chorus effect (I use a strymon DECO) can really thicken out the sound and add some interesting motion to it. Stereo-izing effects like the TC Mimiq or Keely 30mS can also take a mono source and make it pop, sonically. I love the sound of my Roland Boutique JP-08 through the Mimiq.
Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2020 10:16 am
This thing about pedals, and on-board effects, it’s not important, my Micron has effects, but I still ad pedals, even two delays, or two reverbs can sound interesting, a pedal can be seen as just adding another effects engine to the one in your synth, just experiment.
My Moog's have built-in spring reverbs, if I ad a pedal reverb to them it sounds amazing, it stretches the Moog reverb, and makes it sound almost like a distant choir.
Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2020 2:30 pm
Thanks for all the feedback everyone. There are some great points here to consider and I appreciate the help!
Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:04 am
nickle15 wrote:Thanks for all the feedback everyone. There are some great points here to consider and I appreciate the help!
No problem, just make sure you check-out this...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APcXZDDhLrk
There are many videos about this, it’s basically a complete dream FX studio in your pocket, the price in no way reflects how powerful this is, even if you go on to own lots of pedals, this one will be indispensable.
Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:20 pm
That's awesome, and looks like a great pedal to try out. Thanks for the tip!
Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:26 pm
The MS-70CDR is a fantastic pedal. The MS-50G is almost identical, but with a mono input.
There's a hack to be found that allows you to populate either pedal with FX modules from the other (and from others in Zoom's pedal series) - that hack opens up a fabulous world of possibilities, such as adding distortion modules that the 70CDR otherwise lacks. The hacked combination takes these humble pedals into Line 6 Helix territory.
I really wish that Zoom would officially embrace the hack - I think it would do their pedal sales figures no harm at all.