End-Of-Chain Boost | Fletcher-Munson Problem

dronerstone

Roadie
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906
Something that's been crossing my mind for a while, and probably the reason why I always bumped boost pedals back off board, especially when I placed them later in chain.

How do you do this... any clues/opinions?

I play guitar in a heavy stoner/doom/psych three-piece, so cutting through the mix is not that big of an issue, fortunately. Very much just a first world problem that I'm curious about. ;)I

Every time I added a signal booster to my setup, I ended up liking it way too much and thought switching it off made my sound dull, which is total BS - I love my base toanz, nothing wrong with them. But there's the occasional chorus or other part of a song where I believe sounding even more massive (in a subtle way) would be awesome.

So, these days, if I do boost, I'd rather go for the cocked wah/parametric kind, since that won't ever make me go "ooohhh, so nice, let's stay right here forever!" :D

But seriously, no matter if it's the GE-7 (flexible), SHO, TC Spark Mini (both very lively), or even a "linear" unit like the MXR/CAE Line Driver, "real" hardware pedal or digital model etc.

Making stuff louder always gets me, quite easily so. I feel like the worst daylight hooker to volume... LOL

Changes to the rest of the setup (which drive/fuzz, pickups, solid-state/tube, headphones or real cab, mancave, band rehearsal, or stage...) do not impact this at all.

What's your approach - strict, almost religious/dogmatic on/off, maybe? At least that's what I suspect, but it'd be difficult AF for a 40 y.o. spoiled brat like me.

As I said, just a first-world problem. Happy to hear your take - much appreciated!!! <3

PS: Also, I tried adding reverb to add slight girth. It's not the same as a simple boost though. The feel is different. ;)
 
It's weird. Years ago I NEVER used a boost. Playing through the usual suspects that already had truckloads of gain on tap; it just seemed like I should dial up the gain to just enough and then get the rest through forcible playing technique on my pick hand. I have backed off that stance a TON because boost pedals are wayyyyyyyy too good to deny.

I don't know if that answered your question but I was thinking about the general phenomenon of "never wanting to boost vs. all the time yes please" position I have gotten to as of late.
 
Well, personally, as I've been a victim of "more is more" too often myself (which is why I perfectly understand this issue), I had to aquire some sort of discipline, so I would in fact go back to the non-boosted versions of my sounds, even with the things around me being intense.
However, what I like to do is to slap a compressor (in my case a Mooer Yellow Comp) in front of the entire shebang. Doesn't add much of a boost (at least not on the attacks) but rather some "meat" or "density". And for me it's a lot easier to switch that off as the sound basically stays intact, just gets somewhat less meaty.
But, and that's why I asked: All that isn't working too well on higher gain sounds. There's just not enough of a noteworthy difference.
 
Boosts are SUPER addictive, too. I can sit at my desk and swap out drive pedals in front of my amp/modler/wtever and lose hours of time just chugging through the same tired bag of riffs and accomplishing nothing but putting :satan grin on my face :rofl
 
And oh well, generally, I handle my lead boosts (they're also working on really intense final riffings, so they're not necessarily exclusive to leads) kinda two-staged. There's that compressor in front of everything and an EQ following all basic sound stuff. The compressor is good to give me some of the mentioned "meat" while the EQ is set for a little mid and volume bump. I usually switch those simultaneously (via some loopswitcher), but I can access them individually, too, so I can as well just add a little more "meat" or a little more volume instead of always switching on both (even if that is the regular setting).
And fwiw, in addition to that boost, at the first two positions of my drive loop, there's two more boosts that I can as well add (Mooer Pure Boost and one side of a Joyo Kings of Kings), delivering different kind of boosts sort of "overall".
With all these in place, I can scale things quite well - but there's still a lot of "I wish I could just keep this switched on" inside me. And I still kinda fight it (which I think is a good idea).
Btw, something that seems to help in my case is that I rather often have (or simply like) to switch back to a completely clean funky kinda rhythm tone. That pretty much resets the ears in a way that even the non-boosted incarnations of my driven sounds are quite pleasant.
 
NICE NICE NICE! Thanks so much for the replies! :D
I'm at work right now, and have a tight schedule until tomorrow night, but I'll do my best to get back! ;) Cheers
 
Thanks again, this was really helpful! I guess discipline is the key here. My tone cuts through pretty well, and I'm the only guitarist in our band, so any boost would really only be enjoyed making certain parts of a song louder - which, in the first place, isn't actually necessary. We do play loud AF, even though it's not exactly a healthy habit. It's fun though! :D

Anyhow, I very agree with what you guys said above, totally understand the approaches and feel the same way about it.
One thing though, @Sascha Franck - thank you for the comp recommendation! I've never managed to bond with a compressor, but maybe it's time... I've always been under the impression they rob my sound of dynamics in a way, I guess I've used them the wrong way. I'll definitely try and sit down with the compressors in the HX FX, they're probably decent enough to give compression another chance, I'll try and see if it works out better these days (haven't tried one in almost a decade, I believe). I'd probably favor one with a blend knob + very minor EQ possibilities.

We'll see... ;)

Cheers!
 
I've always been under the impression they rob my sound of dynamics in a way

They definitely do. The relevant thing however being "which" dynamics they affect.
With the attack time being large enough, it'll very likely not affect your playing dynamics but just add "meat", in other words: the sound simply doesn't decay as fast.
This might still be clearly audible on clean patches (which one may like or not), but on overdriven tones it's got a similar effect as raising the gain - just that the attack isn't affected, hence not getting muddy and what not.
I hated compressors for years (for pretty much the reasons you've mentioned), but it seems that a) I associated them with some stuff I never liked much (80-ish cleans and such) and b) didn't use them the way I do now.
 
@dronerstone YO! Was thinking about this today - the effect of not wanting to turn it off once boosted. I was thinking a volume pedal might be good for you to Fletcher your Munson. IF you get it at the right place in your chain (maybe even in the effects loop) it should give you a more consistent tone across higher and lower volumes.
I have a volume pedal always on and usually drop my volume with it a tad. I still use a boost but if I need even more, its there. Also comes in handy if you want to maintain the level of distortion you have just quieter, where rolling the guitar volume down would kill some of the gain. Just a thought :)
 
Thanks again, this was really helpful! I guess discipline is the key here. My tone cuts through pretty well, and I'm the only guitarist in our band, so any boost would really only be enjoyed making certain parts of a song louder - which, in the first place, isn't actually necessary. We do play loud AF, even though it's not exactly a healthy habit. It's fun though! :D

Anyhow, I very agree with what you guys said above, totally understand the approaches and feel the same way about it.
One thing though, @Sascha Franck - thank you for the comp recommendation! I've never managed to bond with a compressor, but maybe it's time... I've always been under the impression they rob my sound of dynamics in a way, I guess I've used them the wrong way. I'll definitely try and sit down with the compressors in the HX FX, they're probably decent enough to give compression another chance, I'll try and see if it works out better these days (haven't tried one in almost a decade, I believe). I'd probably favor one with a blend knob + very minor EQ possibilities.

We'll see... ;)

Cheers!
For your use case a blend/mix option is a good one on HX.

Like you I rarely used them in the past, knowing that it was likely me not quite dialing it in correctly.

There are several comps in the HX ecosystem that have the blend/mix option that work well with both clean and even heavy dirt/filth.
 
I went through a phase of wanting to always have a boost turned on because, yeah it's often better. And if it sounds better... why not? Nothing wrong with usually or always boosting the input if it gives you a sound you like. You just need to try to maintain perspective - is it definitely better, or is it just louder? Does it serve the part and the song? Sometimes sounding worse/ thinner/ more plinky is required to give space to other things and to create dynamic contrast for the loud bits, and that's what took me many, many years to get over - if you're always compressed it feels safe but it adds a sameness to everything.
 
Try recording and listening back. How well does the boost serve the music and band?

A 3 piece should be easy to navigate your sonic slice. Maybe try: less boost or a warmer boost
 
Try recording and listening back. How well does the boost serve the music and band?

A 3 piece should be easy to navigate your sonic slice. Maybe try: less boost or a warmer boost
Thanks, good points on which I totally agree!

I'll stick to a cocked wah for now, since that's much less tempting to leave on all the time. ;)

My Stone Deaf PDF-1 has been collecting dust anyway, and it's perfect for that particular thing + easy to recreate using the HX FX.

Also, after listening over and over, I found that my rhythm sounds are thick enough and cut quite well.

I'm using an OG Sansamp in parallel with a Twin Bender, into a Model T preamp.

HX FX: I blend the "Valve Driver" and Legacy "Jumbo Fuzz", and still use that preamp in the loop. Sounds 99.9% identical.
 
This may not apply all the time but instead of changing the volume, gain etc try changing the timbre of your playing. Like if you are playing a chord progression that repeats after four bars play the second four bars using different version of the chords…

Inversions in a different area of the fretboard.
It’s a lot of mental work if you are unschooled as I am but it makes things interesting and you expand your musical knowledge ear and skill set instead of your pedal collection lol
 
I think it's just a question of defining a goal and then also understanding what is making the difference you are reacting to. "Is it just louder?" is always on my mind when I compare something and feel it's better.

If you are looking to cut better for a lead tone then usually more gain + mids + volume = good.

If you are looking to augment your rhythm tone then usually increased volume is not desirable so it would be a good idea to use a decibel meter to make sure you are not mistaking "louder" for "better." Then it becomes a question of perceived sound. More highs or mids often sounds perceivedly louder so the decibel meter won't tell the whole story.

My process with all this is usually "I've now got the boost/od on and at unity level so what should it be doing? Does it serve a purpose?" Maybe I want a bit more clarity, or maybe it's too brash and needs to be sweetened up and so on. Or maybe it's a particular flavor, like my Hudson Broadcast clone does this almost fuzz-like thing that I can't get from an amp or regular drive pedal. Or it can be used as a little bit of top end sparkle.
 
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