Big Muffs and Synths

Discussions on sound production outside the synthesizer such as mixing, processing, recording, editing and mastering.
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JSRockit
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Big Muffs and Synths

Post by JSRockit » Tue May 29, 2007 6:33 pm

I've been leaning towards buying a distortion pedal again for synths (been using plugins lately). In the past I have bought expensive boutique stuff and generally was not satisfied with the price / performance ratio. I've been looking at the EH stuff. Which one of the big muffs works well with synths? I like the look of the Russian ones...but ultimately it comes down to the sound. Anyone using them?
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Post by WWBJD » Tue May 29, 2007 6:41 pm

I use a Russian Big Muff. It's iffy.. sometimes I can get the exact sound I want, sometimes I can't. Has worked great in conjunction with the Deluxe Memory Man also from EH.

At the higher sustain settings you're going to get a lot of noise at times and not good noise, but kind of a breathy noise. It may just be that I need to amp up the synths at times before hitting the pedal though.

Also works great for drum machines!
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Post by megawatt » Tue May 29, 2007 7:21 pm

I owned a russian muff and it had a lot of noise (and not in a good way). It has a dark sound and adds compression. It sounded cool sometimes but didn't offer a lot of variety. It had a sound though.

I got a better sound that I prefered overdriving the Moogerfooger pedals. Also very limited (it not a distortion pedal) but delivered a nicer sound (plus not a bad phaser :)).

Distortion is a flavour. Start cheap and work your way up until you find a taste you like.

Expensive doesn't mean better in this case. I understand the desire though to not get a "tone-sucker" though and boutique pedals seem like more fun. If you found that the EH memory man took away too much tone from your nice moog than you might want to stay away from the EH line. I personally have always dug the Memory Man but will admit to it carving a lot of bass frequencies.

I'd suggest also playing with the inputs on some of your synths in your signature. I've always liked running things into my EMX or monomachine.
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Post by JSRockit » Tue May 29, 2007 7:24 pm

megawatt wrote:
Expensive doesn't mean better in this case. I understand the desire though to not get a "tone-sucker" though and boutique pedals seem like more fun. If you found that the EH memory man took away too much tone from your nice moog than you might want to stay away from the EH line. I personally have always dug the Memory Man but will admit to it carving a lot of bass frequencies.

I'd suggest also playing with the inputs on some of your synths in your signature. I've always liked running things into my EMX or monomachine.
I actually liked the Voyager through the MM...but found that it was a one trick pony for my needs...and that plugins worked fine for delay...especially since I like to sync them to tempo and can't make quality recordings worth a s**t anyway. I did like the Metasonix TM-1 that I had, but again...a one trick pony for $450. Maybe I'll stick to plugins...or just try the EH and sell it if it sucks.

I'm not a big fan of the effects in the EMX for external purposes... thought they work ok for internal synths. The MnM's track effects are nice...but the distortion leaves a bit to be desired. Tried the evolver for this need too and didn't care for it. Believe it or not...the camelphat free plugin has worked out ok for me.
Last edited by JSRockit on Tue May 29, 2007 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by polardark » Tue May 29, 2007 7:26 pm

Distortion pedals and synths is a bit of a chapter in itself. Personally, i feel that some synths, especially digital VAs don't work very well with external analogue distortion pedals. With analogue monophonics at least, i haven't really noticed any problems. Possibly analogue synths often have more headroom when doing nasty distorting things to the output signal. Also, patches just using a single oscillator will sound more harmonic with a distortion effect while detuned multi-oscillator patches will sound more "dirty".

In my opinion a bass distortion is better than a plain guitar distortion for synths. Especially for bass patches. Tacky as it may seem, i love using the $20 behringer bass distortion pedal. It's not quality, but mine's not very noisy and if it breaks or if i get tired of it i have no qualms about getting something else.

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Post by Spike Vincent » Wed May 30, 2007 10:16 am

I use an original Big Muff,but it's the only distortion unit I have so I can't compare it to anything else...I agree that bass overdrive would likely be more appropriate for synths,there's more low frequencies involved.
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Post by piRoN » Wed May 30, 2007 12:15 pm

I much prefer the Double Muff to the Big Muff for the most part. It's considerably more versatile (the Big Muff has always seemed a bit of a one trick pony to me) though it won't give you the bottom end of a Sovtek BM. It's especially nice on the effects loop of your mixer... dial in the grit to taste.

Now the Zvex Fuzz Factory... that little beasty blows them both away in a crashing wave of ripping self-oscillation.
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Post by haricots » Wed May 30, 2007 2:30 pm

I had a Little Big Muff (bought was I was a guitar playing teenager) and didn't like it at all for synths - it was a little over the top for my tastes but others may like that type of extreme distortion.

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Post by hageir » Wed May 30, 2007 2:53 pm

pick up the issue of futuremusic with the 100 pedals review + dvd = sound examples on drum loops, rhodes piano, guitar & vocals..

they cover the whole spectrum ,boutique, boss, vintage and a lot more..

I don't remember what number it is, but I'll find out tonight if you want!


it's really helpful
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Post by redchapterjubilee » Wed May 30, 2007 4:32 pm

I had a Russian Big Muff and felt like it just sucked the tone out of my synths. I've had better success with a Boss DS-1 or Boss Heavy Metal pedal. Those were much nicer to my ears. These days I run my Moog through an Alesis Bitrman and I like that. It's way over the top though. I will also sometimes just overload my Bellari tube pre and that distorts rather nicely.
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Post by Zonkout » Wed May 30, 2007 5:03 pm

Never used a Big Muff and probably won't now based on the comments here.
I recommend the Realistic Reverb for distortion. It's cheap and doubles as an analog delay!
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Post by Uncle Screwtape » Sat Jun 02, 2007 6:16 pm

I found that running my Mini through a Muff helped thicken up the sound a bit, but not with the KS4 or the Virus. Turned out that it added to the capabilities of a single Osc. Mono, but the other two already have enough going for them that they didn't need that kind of assistance.
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Post by pelican » Sat Jun 02, 2007 6:19 pm

I use boss pedals for all my distortion

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Post by m03 » Sun Jun 03, 2007 12:10 am

Also, be aware that the EHs use non-standard power adapter connections (atleast the newer ones like the Big Muff Pi did).

I thought it sounded a bit c**p on my synths. I wouldn't get another one.

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Post by aeon » Sun Jun 03, 2007 12:46 am

I find other overdrive, distorion, and fuzz colors to be more suitable with synths than the Big Muff circuit.


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