Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Guitar cable testing

Cables. Essential. But boring to discuss. 

I recently sold my VanAmps Sole-Mate and the buyer dropped me an email asking if it added a few mids and rolled off treble when bypassed. Thanks to my geek nature, I went back and looked at the frequency chart I made for the demo and compared it to some other true and buffered bypass pedals. 

End verdict: no mids added by the Sole-Mate. 

Our email conversation went on to talk about cables and it was quite clear that going 'guitar - cable - DAW' meant more high end compared to going 'guitar - cable - pedal - cable - DAW'. The buyer said this is what he'd done, that he was so used to playing direct into his amp that the Sole-Mate was a new addition and meant another cable being used. 

I decided I'd test some of my cables. Delving into the cupboard of cable hell, I dragged out the following:

-A two metre cable made with Klotz AC106 cable with Neutrik connectors. 
-A twenty foot Planet Waves Custom series instrument cable with straight and right angle jacks 
-A 12 foot cable I soldered myself using Van Damme Classic instrument cable and Neutrik jacks.
-A 10 foot cable I soldered myself again using Van Damme Classic instrument cable but with Neutrik silent jacks. 
-A 40ft Yorkville cable I bought in Toronto in 2003 and has survived ever since with me. 

The top frequency line is peak. Ignore the bottom line. In each case it was a simple 'guitar to cable to preamp' setup. SPL Crimson gain set at 12. 

The Klotz cable is great on the low and top end. You can see the difference at 220Hz between the Klotz and the Planet Waves and Van Damme cables. The Klotz has less volume roll off at the top end than both the Planet Waves and Van Damme cables. 

The weird one is the Yorkville. It's much longer than the other cables. You'd expect more roll off at the bottom and top end but that chart doesn't show it. Klotz versus Yorkville below, Klotz on the left...

End moral: buy whatever cable you like. I personally wouldn't bother with high end cables. 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Subdecay Anemnesis Echo delay pedal

On the face of it, there's nothing to get too excited about here. Same playing field as the Catalinbread Montavillian Echo. It's going for the same sort of tape echo sound which it does well. Not quite as lovely as the Empress Vintage Modified Superdelay but good enough. 

Where this pedal stands out in the never-ending sea of echo pedals is the modulation. Very controllable, goes from the basic slow warble up to full vomit-production speed levels. 

It won't go 100% wet which is the major downer for me.

So yeah. It's a good pedal. 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

VanAmps Sole-Mate spring reverb pedal

Reverb is great. This is a great reverb. Shall I shut up now? 

However there are some caveats. It does add brightness to your tone. If you look at the video below, compare the frequency charts for bypassed mode to when the pedal is engaged. You do see some high end added in there. 

If you're looking for a big drippy Dick Dale monster reverb, this isn't it. You really need a longer spring reverb tank. 

My favourite reverb sound when playing was to stick one of these into a Laney Supergroup reverb unit. Short spring reverb into long spring reverb = ultimate reverb win. 

The Sole-Mate takes pedals really well and sounds so much better than every spring reverb emulation pedal I've used. Thoroughly recommended. 

And now the video...

Malekko Omicron analog chorus pedal

As much as I'd like to demo Morrissey's eyes, that won't be happening. Instead it's the turn of the Malekko Omicron analog chorus pedal. Designed around the great MN3007 chip, from memory the Omicron range were the first boutique pedals to go for the really small form factor as now copied so prodigiously by the like of Mooer and whatnot. 

I actually don't like the small form factor. I am a big clumsy oaf and demand big stompy things to attack. I want a pedal I can destroy, not one I have to be gentle with.

Soundwise this is a very nice chorus. It doesn't have the slightly sharp sound of a Boss CE-2, probably due to the lack of buffer, but also isn't as woolly sounding as an EHX Small Clone.

It can be run at 12v for higher headroom. I totally forgot to record this sound but it is there and this is a good thing as I like chorus pedals more at 12v. The additional headroom gets it closer to the JC-120 sound that lives in my jingly-jangly head.

S/h prices on this in the UK are usually around the £60 mark. Very good value there and the Malekko vibrato is well worth picking up as well.

Another of my standard boring videos below: