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Give your keyboards some personality, add pedals.

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Re: Give your keyboards some personality, add pedals.

Postby Adam Inglis » Sat May 01, 2021 11:00 am

The Elf wrote:
Arpangel wrote:All of my most used pedals are on aux sends, Dub Style, that’s where a hardware analogue mixer is essential, you don’t have the same instant access with digital.
Yes you do with RME's TotalMix. It's much more flexible and instantaneous than a mixer.

This is how I'm dipping in and out of any pedal I like, and creating pedal chains of any combination or order (including feedback), at the drop of a hat. And I can recall any chain I like with one click of a button on my master keyboard.

And I'm sure there are other digital systems with the same facilities. An analogue mixer is not a necessity, and will actually be less flexible.

This is very interesting Elf.
What I love about my analogue set up is how it handles the headroom - getting things to the point of 'just under chaos' reveals some lovely subtle distortion/'enhancement' (??Aphex™??)
that I've never heard otherwise. I would have thought that a digital set up that you're describing wouldn't have lent itself to that sort of thing?
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Re: Give your keyboards some personality, add pedals.

Postby The Elf » Sat May 01, 2021 11:33 am

It's perfectly possible. Of course if the 'chaos' you're referring to is happening in the mixer itself you might not get the same result, but using TotalMix I can easily patch another piece of gear with good overload characteristics anywhere in the chain. And I can trim the drive in and out of every piece of analogue gear to suit what I need - and, again, all recallable with one button.

Let's also not forget that some pedals will be better used as a send and others as an insert - and sometimes you may want to flip between the two options. With a mixer you're doomed to getting busy with the cabling. With TotalMix it's a doddle and recallable in a click.

This is a good example of the combination of digital control and analogue signal path in symbiosis. As I've often found when presented with such technology choices, a considered combination of both can be a thing of beauty!
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Re: Give your keyboards some personality, add pedals.

Postby Adam Inglis » Sat May 01, 2021 11:51 am

But surely, this means that your system requires every possible pedal to be on it's own send and return path, with the requisite A to D to A conversion applied to each... just how many channels are we talking here?? How does managing that surely large number of channels not get out of hand? It sounds like a recipe for mouse-related repetitive strain injury....
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Re: Give your keyboards some personality, add pedals.

Postby The Elf » Sat May 01, 2021 12:27 pm

Yes, every effect has it's own connection to TotalMix - but that would be the same with a mixer. After that the rest is a doddle. It's the same number of connections whatever you connect them to.

I'd rather make a couple of mouse clicks to set up an effects chain than have to re-cable every time!

And if I'm cabling a few guitar pedals in a chain the number of A-D-A stages is way down my list of concerns.

As to numbers... to each their own, but I currently have 64 ins and outs.
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Re: Give your keyboards some personality, add pedals.

Postby Arpangel » Sat May 01, 2021 12:42 pm

The Elf wrote:
Arpangel wrote:
Adam Inglis wrote:Agree with the OP... and while you're there, hang them off an aux on the desk so you can feed them back on themselves...
https://mezzoauto.blogspot.com/2021/04/ ... -desk.html
... and you'll have a whole new world of sound!
All of my most used pedals are on aux sends, Dub Style, that’s where a hardware analogue mixer is essential, you don’t have the same instant access with digital.
Yes you do with RME's TotalMix. It's much more flexible and instantaneous than a mixer.

This is how I'm dipping in and out of any pedal I like, and creating pedal chains of any combination or order (including feedback), at the drop of a hat. And I can recall any chain I like with one click of a button on my master keyboard.

And I'm sure there are other digital systems with the same facilities. An analogue mixer is not a necessity, and will actually be less flexible.

With my mixer, I don’t even have to use a computer, or deal with software, it’s just there, right in front of me, tactile, real knobs, I don’t mind about the limitations, if there are any, compared to software, it’s more than I can explore already.
It’s just great being able to see everything, all, at once, and "clearly" see where each knob is at.
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Re: Give your keyboards some personality, add pedals.

Postby ManFromGlass » Sat May 01, 2021 12:42 pm

Brilliant idea using TotalMix like that!
But I only have 8 ins/outs on my RME so would be pretty limited. Might be time to consider a used unit with more ins/outs.
Research time.
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Re: Give your keyboards some personality, add pedals.

Postby The Elf » Sat May 01, 2021 12:53 pm

Arpangel wrote:It’s just great being able to see everything, all, at once, and "clearly" see where each knob is at.
Same here. Nothing is hidden from me.

I'm glad your system works for you, but that doesn't mean it can only be done that way.
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Re: Give your keyboards some personality, add pedals.

Postby FrankF » Sat May 01, 2021 1:31 pm

Arpangel wrote:Track 1.
Bel BD80s, Prophet 5.

That's a great collection of pieces: you must be very proud of that album.

The opening phrase on track 2 is maddeningly familiar: is it a nod to anyone?
Maybe Budd, Eno, Mertens, or Mrs Mills?

And do I hear a smidgeon of the great Benito on track 9? :bouncy:
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Re: Give your keyboards some personality, add pedals.

Postby The Elf » Sat May 01, 2021 1:45 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:But I only have 8 ins/outs on my RME so would be pretty limited. Might be time to consider a used unit with more ins/outs.
I feel your pain. I was in the same situation for a long time, and I had to use a couple of mixers to make ends meet. That worked up to a point, but it was clunky and inflexible.

Once I had enough I/O direct into my computer it became so much easier to manage. Now I can have all my synths and effects available all the time - and patch stuff in and out on a whim. It makes for a much more creative environment. In my case I also have patchbays, which are quick to try stuff out, but they don't recall a signal chain (or gain staging, or mixing) as TotalMix does.

ManFromGlass wrote:Brilliant idea using TotalMix like that!
I can't really take credit, as it's pretty much what TotalMix was designed to do. Every output can have its own separate mix of inputs and software outputs. TM does tend to scare RME newcomers, but if you can once get your head around it the benefits are immense. It makes this type of thing very simple, and you can clearly see exactly what is going on.
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Re: Give your keyboards some personality, add pedals.

Postby ManFromGlass » Sat May 01, 2021 3:05 pm

So far the used RME market is pretty slim but I’ll keep an eye out. I’m using a patchbay now to cobble the pedals together but TotalMix would be the best.
And you are having no issues headroom and volume-wise direct patching into the RME?
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Re: Give your keyboards some personality, add pedals.

Postby The Elf » Sat May 01, 2021 6:57 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:And you are having no issues headroom and volume-wise direct patching into the RME?
No problems at all. I keep my ART Cleanbox Pro on a couple of bay points, and I will use this if I need to trim the level, or break a hum. My RME is the MADIFace XT, and the inputs are from a pair of Ferrofish A32s, so it's the A32s that handle input gain. A common way to expand I/O on RME interfaces is via an ADAT port or two - and even something like the Behringer ADA8200 has input gains.

That said, for pedals, once I have a basic 'unity-through' gain setting, I'll simply lower or raise faders to ease each pedal's load, or to push it harder. Usually I will drop the feed to the first pedal in the chain.

ManFromGlass wrote:So far the used RME market is pretty slim...
Yeah, us devotees tend to buy 'em and keep 'em - and RME keep providing the updates!
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Re: Give your keyboards some personality, add pedals.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat May 01, 2021 8:17 pm

Arpangel wrote:All of my most used pedals are on aux sends, Dub Style, that’s where a hardware analogue mixer is essential, you don’t have the same instant access with digital.

... As always, it very much depends on the digital desk, and in some cases the instant access is actually better as you can adjust the aux mix on faders instead of knobs, so can change more than two things at once.
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Re: Give your keyboards some personality, add pedals.

Postby BobTheDog » Sun May 02, 2021 7:11 am

Has anyone here tried a Zoia or Poly Effects digit/beebo pedal?
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Re: Give your keyboards some personality, add pedals.

Postby The Elf » Sun May 02, 2021 8:01 am

BobTheDog wrote:Has anyone here tried a Zoia or Poly Effects digit/beebo pedal?
I gave the Poly Beebo/Digit a try. I ended up sending it back.

The worst aspect for me was that I began hitting restrictions as soon as I started. I don't recall all the details now, but I do remember that I wanted to create a feedback loop, which was permitted by the device, yet it then muted it's output! Following a bit of support contact it transpired that there were no plans to change this behaviour.

That wasn't all, but, as I said, I don't recall the other trouble I had. It all added up and the other compromises (1/8 inch jacks, tiny screen, MIDI on TRS, etc.) were too much to bear on top.

The Zoia looks interesting, but I haven't tried one.

I'm happy with the Line 6 Helix, and if I need something smaller I'll now opt for one of the smaller Helix options - they sound excellent, with good support (I updated my Helix just yesterday), full-sized I/O (and lots of it - no need for easily-lost breakout cables), multi-path FX chains, lots of pedals/switches, expandable with off-board pedals, colour-coded switches... So much to like.

And if I need something truly tiny I'd opt for a Digitech RP or a Zoom MS pedal (with the 'jailbreak' hack).
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Re: Give your keyboards some personality, add pedals.

Postby BobTheDog » Sun May 02, 2021 8:49 am

Thanks for the info,

You have added to my already high level of unease about the Poly Effects stuff, not having feedback seems a bit of a restriction!

I do have a Helix which I have connected up to my guitar rig which as you say is excellent, but was sort of looking for something more experimental which led me to the Zoia and then I noticed the Poly Effects pedals and started looking at that.

The Zoia does seem to have a great community and some of the patches available are definitely on the experimental side!

If I get one I will let you know how it pans out...
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