FX – Part 3 Multi-effects
bit of history
the previous article in this series we covered the ever familiar
stomp box and how to go about setting them up, adjusting etc.
this article we go to the opposite corner and will talk about
multi-effect units and how these work.
As the word indicates these units contain a collection of effects in one
box. Since stomp boxes got popular guitar players started having
to use numerous combinations of effects to find the right sound.
This normally ended up in a huge collection of pedals of types,
sizes and power needs. Also setting up was time consuming. Many
musicians’ improvised pedal boards to contain all their effects
together and found it was a useful way of combining may effects
in one “unit”.
a lot to electronic miniaturisation the multi-effects unit came
to life in the early 90’s. Early units like the Zoom 9002 were
aimed at the entry-level market and were thought to be crude
and “thin” sounding, but eventually and mostly due to sound
modelling technology multi-effects units became a credible and
effective tool for the modern guitarist.
is sound modelling I hear you ask? Well most manufacturers have
different names for this but essentially it is technology that
models an input sound and provides and effect that changes it
to make it “sound like” something else.
for example can plug in my Fender Telecaster in my Korg unit
set a patch called LP and my Tele suddenly sounds like a Les
fact this technology is so widespread now that companies are
producing modelling amps and guitars, Line6 being a prime example.
that you know what multi effect units are lets go a bit deeper
units such as the Zoom 505 only feature up and down switching
for their sounds. So if you are using Patch 1 and want
to use Patch 10 you will have to depress the selector
pedal 10 times. Larger units have their sounds arranged into
banks and patches such as you will find on a synthesizer. For
example a certain sound will be held in Bank A Patch 1 or
another might be in Bank B Patch 3. So selecting sounds
can be easier.
usually store the sounds I will use for a certain song in the
same bank. This helps to select sounds quickly, as when you
are about to play that all important solo the last thing you
want is to look like a flamenco dancer stomping around trying
to select your sound! What I find useful is to have a clean
sound, a rhythm distortion, and a solo sound in each bank.
BANK A EXAMPLE
sometimes the patches that your unit are just not what you require
and you might want to make changes. This is where the fun starts!
these units have many settings that can be changed sometimes
the best approach is to be simple and methodically.
are some tips.
1. Does the unit already have the sound you want? I know
this might be obvious but sometimes it is just a case of looking
2. Is there a similar sound? If so use this as a starting
3. If the options above do not yield results maybe another
option would be to search the Internet. There are many websites,
which have patch databases; you never know your sound might
be out there.
the answer to the 3 options is “None of the above” then you
need to do some tweaking on your unit.
a similar sound on the unit to start of with, lets say you want
a screaming solo sound with a bit of delay this is one of the
first sounds I created on my own unit.
I did was first of all
a normal solo sound
the Drive / Amp settings for more power.
add a bit of digital delay from the Ambience section.
most importantly store the setting!
on most units this can be very important in neutralising hum
and interference especially if you have a guitar single coil
pickups. On my particular unit it is on a patch-by-patch basis.
this article although unable to delve into specific multi effects
units has giving you an idea of what to expect and what can
be done. Remember experiment don’t be scared! At worst the master
reset can return the unit to its original state.