The problem with all multieffects processors is that they force you to place
time-based effects before the amp. If you play clean surf music, this is not a
problem. But if you are into intense, authentic, and pure tube amp saturation
tone, you should not put delay before the amp. Putting delay *after* the power
tubes, speaker, and microphone completely preserves the Basic Tone produced by
plugging "straight into the amp".
The complaint that "straight into the amp" hard rock purists have with effects is that "effects muddy the amp's tone". But this is only true for certain effects, in certain placements. Specifically, time-based effects placed before saturation stages cause muddy tone. The 2101 was intended to be placed before the guitar amp, and tends to lead to the old problem of muddy tone, when you saturate the amp's power tubes.
I placed the following into a 2101's FX loop, with *great success*:
Fender Pro Jr. 15-watt all-tube guitar amp
Celestion Greenback 25-watt guitar speaker
Homemade, double-enclosure speaker isolation cabinet
Shure SM-57 dynamic microphone
Radio Shack inline XLR-to-1/4" transformer
It would help to have a greater range of level control after the effects loop. Also, I need a 7-band eq both before the effects loop, and after, because equalization *before* a saturation stage is entirely different than equalization *after* a saturation stage.
PROPOSAL FOR A DIGITECH TOTAL GUITAR RIG OPTIMIZED FOR POWER TUBE SATURATION
Digitech should implement my overall design an entire rig that includes power tubes and a speaker isolation cabinet, for first-class tone. It would be expensive, but it would sound much, much more awesome than any conventional rig that places time-based effects before a saturated tube amp.
The key placement in the processing chain is as follows:
o Tone-oriented effects (eq, phaser, wah, envelope filter)
o Preamp distortion
o Tone-oriented effects (eq, phaser)
o Power tubes (8-15 watts)
o Low-power guitar speaker
o Speaker isolation cabinet such as Demeter makes
o Mic such as the SM-57
o Post-amp eq
o Stereo, time-based, post-amp effects (chorus, flanger, pitch shift, delay, reverb)
o Solid-state stereo amplifier
o Full-range monitor speakers
This is my original sequence based on years of experimentation and analysis. I have rigged together such a system using an RP10, effects pedals, equalizers, and a 2101, and the experiment was a great success. This sequence of processing stages completely preserves the Basic Tone of saturated power tubes, a speaker pushing air, and a microphone, while simultaneously enabling you to load on special effects without disrupting the Basic Tone. The only problems are cost and noise, both which can be reasonably addressed. The result is killer amp tone in a perfect marriage with killer effects tone. This combination of saturated power tubes and speaker with thick effects cannot sound nearly as good when you place time-based effects before the tube amp, as conventional, non-studio effects thinking would forever, mistakenly, try to do. The studios know that a hard rock guitar amp should be placed before echo and reverb. Now I am pointing out this crucial principle of processing stages to Digitech. Digitech could stand the world on its ear by implementing this studio-worthy total guitar processing rig.
Harmony Central pages about "effects placement"
Newsgroup postings about "effects placement"
Amptone.com ultra gear-search page
Home (amp tone and effects placement)