Analogue channel input overdrive solution?

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lost cause
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Analogue channel input overdrive solution?

Post by lost cause » Tue Jul 22, 2008 5:37 am

I used to achieve this subtle overdrive effect with ease on analogue mixing desks by turning the mixer input channel gain up so that the signal just goes into the red. I found that different desks produced different tones (the nicest input overdrive sound I ever heard was achieved an old Neve desk, but my old Tascam MM1 keyboard mixer produced adequate results).

Anyway, working exclusively ITB I find it impossible to emulate this analogue channel input overdrive effect. I've tried all the distortion/overdrive plug-ins and none are capable of giving me the warm overdrive sound I require for dance bass drums.

I'm looking for the cheapest possible solution to give me this effect. I'm looking at routing a signal out of the soundcard, through something that'll give me the overdrive (with a gain control to set the amount of overdrive) and then back into the computer. Does anyone have any cheap stompbox (or similar) recommendations? Or should I just get hold of an analogue mixer (Mackie 1202 or something) that I could also utilise for other purposes?

Thanks in advance.
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Post by Stab Frenzy » Tue Jul 22, 2008 5:58 am

I know exactly what you mean. I use the McDSP Analog Channel to do that, works a treat.

Running the signal out and then through something with the gain up would work pretty well, I'm not sure the Mackie would be my first choice though. It's a personal opinion flavour thing, so the first thing I'd do if I were you is try running stuff through everything you've got lying around your studio to see if any of that tickles your fancy. If you don't find anything that way there are a lot of analogue devices out there on the market that you could look into, a few that I'd check out to begin with would be the Crowther Hot Cake pedal (does beautiful smooth creamy overdrive) and a few of the cheaper channel strips from Joe Meek and Summit. You could also think about getting a nice passive transformer DI and overdriving the signal into it, then running it into a mic pre. Not the cheapest, but would sound nice.

There's a million flavours of distortion out there, the world is your oyster.

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Post by lost cause » Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:04 am

Stab Frenzy - many thanks for the input.
Stab Frenzy wrote:I use the McDSP Analog Channel to do that, works a treat..
Would love to try this, but McDSP isn't compatible with my DAW software unfortunately.
Stab Frenzy wrote:the first thing I'd do if I were you is try running stuff through everything you've got lying around your studio to see if any of that tickles your fancy.
I don't have any external analogue equipment anymore (apart from my Juno). I'm working exclusively ITB.
Stab Frenzy wrote:the Crowther Hot Cake pedal (does beautiful smooth creamy overdrive) and a few of the cheaper channel strips from Joe Meek and Summit. You could also think about getting a nice passive transformer DI and overdriving the signal into it, then running it into a mic pre. Not the cheapest, but would sound nice.
Thanks for the suggestions. You've given me plenty to go on! I'll try to check out the Hot Cake first then take it from there.
Hardware: Juno-60, Pro DCB Mk3, JD-990, XV-2020 & SRX-07, MSQ-700, LinnDrum & Forat midi, OB DX & Electrongate midi, Korg KMS-30, Kurzweil K2000, BCR2000

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Post by Alex Hamilton » Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:20 pm

Yup, I'd back up the Crowther Hot Cake suggestion, I use it between a guitar and amp for overdrive, but the drive and volume ranges are large enough to be used with a line level. Incidentally, I A/Bed it in the shop against five or six other pedals (sorry, can't remember what they were, but I think the were all in the £90-180 price range a few years ago) and this was the only one that gave a nice tight frequency response (essential for drums) and a good drive range; the presence knob is surprisingly versatile too. The only pedal that stood up to it in terms of tone was a two-channel affair from Fulltone that cost £180 (the HC was £120), and I've heard that the guy behind Fulltone is an arsehole :lol: .

I've never tried one as I've never come across one, but something that has interested me for years is the Z Vex Super Hard On; it uses a unique circuit to provide (literally) enormous amounts of clean gain, to thoroughly overdrive an amp while still providing lots of treble. He updated it to make the Super Duper 2-in-1, where one SHO cascades into another - you could use the first to overdrive to overdrive the second, and still have a signal low enough (using the second) to put into a digital mixer input. Here's the site:

http://www.zvex.com/effects.html

He has plenty of other distortions available, also none of which I've never had the chance to try :lol: . They all look very capable though - whether they fall into your price range I'm not sure because you're not specific, but they're not much more than the Crowther. Hope this is helpful.

Edit: Although actually I've just had a look at the two Z Vex pedals I mentioned above - the SHO probably isn't quite what you're after as it doesn't generate that much distortion by itself, you really need something after it to drive the input of, in which case I'd suggest something like an outboard analogue compressor. This is probably getting beyond your budget, but it's worth looking at. The 2-in-1 would be the better option.
Last edited by Alex Hamilton on Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by aeon » Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:30 pm

Though I have not used it myself, people whose ears and opinion I have faith in have - you may wish to check out an Electro-Harmonix LPB-2ube pedal.

Image

http://namm.harmony-central.com/WNAMM03 ... -2ube.html

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/aug03/a ... trolpb.htm


cheers,
Ian

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Post by lost cause » Wed Jul 23, 2008 5:02 am

Alex and Aeon, many thanks for the additional input.

I'm sure there are countless demos of these pedals (used with guitars) on Youtube, but ideally I'd like to demo each of them with a drum machine.

ZVEX and EH are available in my part of the world, however I can't find any info on Hotcake dealers anywhere other than in Europe & the US.

Does anyone have a contact email address for Crowther?

Many thanks again.
Hardware: Juno-60, Pro DCB Mk3, JD-990, XV-2020 & SRX-07, MSQ-700, LinnDrum & Forat midi, OB DX & Electrongate midi, Korg KMS-30, Kurzweil K2000, BCR2000

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Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:05 am

Don't know if you can contact Crowther directly, it's a very small operation out of New Zealand.

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Post by Alex Hamilton » Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:56 pm

Yup, here we go; I just pulled mine off my pedalboard :D , it's written on the back:

Crowther Audio
PO BOX 96-104
Balmoral
Auckland 1030
New Zealand

And I've just opened it up, in addition to that there's a PH/Fax:
+64-9-630 5523
And it also has an email address croth@clear.net.nz

It seems you should ask for Paul :D .In case you weren't aware, this pedal has a 9V DC centre negative power supply, so it's easy to plug in too.

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Post by lost cause » Thu Jul 24, 2008 4:28 am

Alex,

Many, many thanks for supplying the Crowther contact info.

You're a true gent!!! :D
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Post by MitchK1989 » Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:11 pm

what IS your DAW software?

You might want to look at the URS console strip plugins.

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Post by lost cause » Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:40 am

Hi Mitch,

I'm PC based. I use Live, and occasionally I still use Logic 5.5.0. I use native VST plugs and I also have 2 UA DSP cards installed.

I already have the URS native VST plug-ins. I must admit that the classic channel strip has never made much of an impression on me, although I quite like the URS A series and N series EQ's.
Hardware: Juno-60, Pro DCB Mk3, JD-990, XV-2020 & SRX-07, MSQ-700, LinnDrum & Forat midi, OB DX & Electrongate midi, Korg KMS-30, Kurzweil K2000, BCR2000

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