Few other musical instruments have the allure and mystique of the electric guitar. Since its electrification and early use in the late 40’s by innovators like T-Bone Walker and Les Paul, the electric guitar, with its broad range of tonal and stylistic possibilities, has defined the careers of hundreds of musicians and the distinct sound of generations. For modern guitarists, the legendary sounds of the past are made available at the stomp of a box. Among my personal favorite Boss effects pedals are the Boss 63 Fender Reverb, the Blues Driver, and the RC-3 Loop Station. Whether used in combination, individually, or with other effects pedals, these three are sure to allow your creativity to explore new territories.
’63 Fender Reverb
My foremost favorite of these pedals is the ’63 Fender Reverbwhich accurately and convincingly captures the legendary tone of a vintage Fender spring reverb amp. Whether you are trying to go for a vintage country twang, classic surf-style riffs, or a warm and nuanced tone, the ’63 Fender Reverb offers an authentically reproduced tube amp sound.
Classic Fender Tube Amp Reverb
For those daring to push the boundaries, the ’63 Fender Reverb is open to experimentation and works well with other pedals for a completely personalized sound. My favorite way to use this pedal is by adding a little overdrive, rolling the tone about 75% and then kicking the Mixer and Dwell settings back to less than 50%. With your guitar at its neck pickup with the volume all the way up, this setting gives the guitar a bright and ringing character with a plenty of bite and attitude. Overall, this pedal delivers a great blend of vintage tones with the versatility to be used with other effects and styles for broad experimentation. For a pedal offering overdrive with the a similar tube amp sound signature, the solution may be none other than the famous Boss Blues Driver
A Boss Classic: The Blues Driver
You don’t have to have the blues to enjoy the range and tube-like overdrive of this reliable and tested pedal. While the Blues Driverwill certainly deliver the traditional blues tones reminiscent of players like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Muddy Waters, and Buddy Guy, this effects pedal can also deliver rich and refined warm tones. Perhaps most notably, the Blues Driver can deliver a tone that is full of mellow warmth with enough gain to remain punchy and full of attitude. Like the ’63 Fender Reverb, the Blues Driver is versatile enough for experimentation and will fit well with just about any genre or musical vision. My personal favorite way to use this pedal is in trying to emulate the mellow and over-driven style of B.B. King that can go from sounding clean to biting in seconds.
RC-3 Loop Station
Lastly, the RC-3 Loop Station offers perhaps the most versatility and the best use as a device for experimentation. With 99 separate on-board memory banks, the Loop Station has enough capacity to store tons of riffs and jam tracks. Moreover, the Loop Station affords users up to 3 hours of recording time for even the most intense and epic jam or recording sessions. Aside from its immense capacity, the Loop Station can be used to layer different recorded tracks allowing you to build harmonically rich tracks. While I use the RC-3 for practice and for layer tracks as mentioned earlier, the RC-3 can be used for just about any musical idea you may have. Plenty of artists use the RC-3 to create thick and complex atmospheres using various other effects.
Whatever Gets You Through the Night
Each of these pedals offer you a little piece of music history and allows you to mix and combine them into something totally new and personal: the ’63 Fender Reverb can take you back to the early days of rock-n-roll, or drive you to new and hypnotic sounds; the Blues Drivers will let you tap into raw energy or smooth things out, while the Loop Station can take you just about anywhere. Whatever your musical tastes or ideals, these stomp boxes can do it all.
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The Roland R-05 field recorder has arrived at Sonic Electronix! This little darling packs a lot of great features in a small (read as “affordable”) package. It certainly defies those nasty old connotations behind the phrase, “You get what you pay for.” How would you like the ability to record audio at professional studio quality resolutions without the hassle of carting around a bunch of gear? The R-05 can record uncompressed WAV files at 24-bit/96kHz for just under an hour on the included 2 GB SD memory card.
Or, if you’d be satisfied with CD quality audio at 16-bit/44.1kHz, you can record up to 88 min. per GB: the length of several albums worth of material. You can even record both WAV and MP3 files, for quality and sharing purposes respectively, without the tedium of dumping the files onto your computer and converting them manually. Pretty convenient, eh?
What About The Musicians, Man?
|This unit is packed with some real handy features for musicians. The R-05 comes with Looping and Speed Change features that can help vocalists and guitarists to practice by looping or slowing down pieces of audio without altering the pitch. You could conversely speed up the audio 150% to quickly skim through a song in order to start jamming as soon as possible.For the more eager (read as “impatient”) of us out there who want to start playing immediately, the R-05 has a feature called Rehearsal Mode that will automatically set an optimum recording level – no need to spend lots of time messing with input levels. With this convenient feature, there’s no need to worry about overloading the input(s) and ending up with a remarkably high-resolution recording that’s sadly distorted beyond recognition.
Did You Fall Asleep In Class AGAIN?
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||While certainly no substitute for a good night’s sleep or for the highly respectable behaviors of actually staying awake and paying attention in class, the R-05 can serve as a real handy backup study aid for students. Simply set the recording quality to 128 kbps MP3 (lectures don’t necessarily need to be recorded at astounding, crystal-clear quality, you know), and hit record. Backups like that can definitely be life savers, especially if you’re not too good at taking notes.After you’re done studying, feel free to give your left brain a rest, load up some tunes onto the memory card and rock out for the next 30+ hours or so. The R-05 has quite the extensive battery life – perfect for you insomniacs out there! Hey, if KISS could rock and roll all night, why shouldn’t you? Make sure to check out our handy list of optional accessories when you pick up your R-05!
Time Based Effects
Also refered to as parallel effects due to the way in wich the processed signal is mixed together with the original signal, time based effects extend the duration of audio signals relative to the original signals. The two main time based effects are reverberation, and delay.
Reverb is simply a simulation of a natural reverberation of a room. The ambient sound waves that bounce around a room based on the rooms dimensions are reproduces by digital signal processing (DSP) either modeled from a convolution algorithm or a sampled impulse response. Prior to DSP recording studios had to use an actual room to record reverbs by reproducing an audio signal such as a vocal with a loudspeaker and recording it again with a microphone in the desired environment. These resulting track was then mixed back in the original signal. Reverbs are categorized by the way in which they are made. Smaller sounding reverbs are considered room or chamber reverbs while long echoing reverbs are refereed to as halls. Spring and plate reverbs refer to the manner in which the reverb is artificially created.
Delays are echo effects that are mixed back in with the original signal to give space and dimension. Delay parameters include: time, (the actually delay time from the orignal signal to the affected signal), feedback, (the amount of affected signal that is reintroduced into the delay circuit). The individually instances of delay resulting from feedback are refered to as taps.
Modulation effects are composed of audio signals that are split into two or more signals, then mixed back together creating an effect based on the relationship between the two or more identical audio signals. The effects are created by phase anomalies resulting from the varying the time and amplitude relationships between the multiple signals. they can be across the entire frequency spectrum or select bands of frequencies. Modulation effects include: flanger, chorus, and phasers. Modulation effects are some of the more spectacular and dramatic processing effects that can be done to an audio signal but they can be reproduced with very simple circuitry and even simpler DSP (digital signal processing). Flanger effects are a very common and popular effect for guitars and basses. The term flanger comes from the original way in which the effect was created. By syncing together two reel to reel tape machines and recording the same signal to both, a flanger effect can be produces by playing back the tape machines in sync and dragging your finger with varying pressure across the flange of one of the tape machines. The resulting varying speed producing a phase anomaly that sounds like a jet fly by.
Imaging is an element of audio signals that are in stereo and is simply where in the stereo image the audio signal is placed and how it behaves. For example a tremolo is a popular guitar and organ effect that raises and lowers the amplitude of an audio signal to a set rate and depth. If you were to incorporate an imaging effect such as autopan, the signal will seem to dance back and forth, left to right in the stereo image while seeming to appear and disappear.
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