Hey guys, first post. Lots of good information in these forums. Most of the questions I have usually get cleared up within a few searches. I was wondering if I could get a little bit of insight regarding my specific set up.

Here's my main gear
Dean Vmnt Angel of Deth w/ dave mustaine livewire actives
Schecter Hellraiser Extreme C-1 FR w/ emg 81/89r actives
Orange Dark Terror
Mesa 2x12 Cab (8 ohm)

This is my signal path.
Guitar------->Dunlop 535q wah-->Boss Ns-2-->Ts9 tube screamer--> Amp input---Fx send--> ISP Decimator 2-->

MXR 10band EQ--> TC electronic arena reverb--> Boss DD-20 Giga Delay-->Fx Return--Amp Output--> Cab

Note that my pedals are powered by a One-spot except for the giga delay and the 10-band EQ.

I play metal, any kind really. I run my amp anywhere from fairly high to ridiculously high gain. For those who are familiar with the dark terror my volume knob is usually set to 10 or 11 o'clock, shape knob usually about 3 o'clock to cranked (all the way down is mid heavy, all the way up is mid scooped with treble and bass up) distortion knob gets played with alot, as does the 10 band eq in the loop.

The problem that I'm having is basically that my tone sucks.. my guitar signal sounds kinda choppy like i was hitting a kill switch really super inhumanly fast.My highs feel like they're being cut, my bass is muddy and doesn't get much punch, my pinch harmonics are definitely getting cut like crazy. It helps when i take the ns-2 out of the chain but still not near as vibrant as they should be.( Hell i get better tone and pinches out of my line 6 spider 3 practice amp) if I don't have the decimator on I get lots of static when not playing and when I kick the tube screamer on I get massive stactic-y squealing feedback. If the decimator is on i have to have it it in the noon position to get the noise down. If i kick on the tube screamer i have to crank the decimator. I've had to increase my volume to the 2 o'clock position as of late just to be heard over a solid state marshall mgfx100. Which is getting a much better tone than me right now. in my searches and own general speculations on the matter I'm convinced that at least part of the problem Is my pedals aren't being fed properly power wise as well as the issue with the combined ground loop noise from my effects being daisy chained. I intend to purchase a voodoolabs pedal power 2+ to replace my onespot before next band practice.

my question here Is, is this valid? logically it seems like the performance of my pedal chain would increase merely by having the pedals on isolated power circuits. Especially the problem with the tube screamer exacerbating the ground noise. But would this actually help my frequency response? Could this fix my choppy signal? Do you think I might need a signal booster at some point being that all together there's probably 60-70ft of cable between my guitar and cab?(which with the buffers and the tube powered fx loop and the actice pickups seems less likely.)

I've configured this rig every which way i can think of, Any help/advice I can get is very much appreciated.
Getting an isolated power supply made a huge difference for me. I don't know if your problem is all about pedal powering, but you will benefit alot from an ISO power supply.
Signal booster? You shouldn't if you have a few pedals with a good buffer. You don't want all of them true-bypass.

How is your tone when you plug straight into the amp with no pedals? Any squealing?

Have you replaced your preamp tubes?
Quote by DeathByDestroyr
See, it's important that people clarify when they say "metal", because I pretty much always assume they are a Cannibal Corpse fanboi.
1. Two noise gates is a problem. I would expect that to be a major cause of the 'choppy' part of your tone.
2. Better power supply will probably help with noise, but almost certainly not the tone itself.
3. You don't need a signal booster. Your pickups have a preamp, which will drive hundreds of feet of cable. Anything after an active pedal or preamp (including your amp's) is essentially zero. Signal loss from cable runs is not a factor here.
4. Poor frequency response may be due to bad buffer and pedal choices. Try pulling everything out and playing guitar straight into amp. If that sounds muffled, obviously the problem is not due to the pedals. Try plugging straight into the amp, playing, and then plugging in all the pedals but leaving them all off. Hear the sound difference? It will probably sound fairly muffled.
5. Try adding pedals to the chain one at a time, and see where the problem introduces itself. I wouldn't be surprised if the buffer on the wah plus the tubescreamer plus cranked mids on your amp resulted in a sound that had no definition at all. Bad buffers usually muffle the ends of the signal, so there goes your treble, and then your tubescreamer nukes the bass, and now you're trying to make up for it with that shape knob and EQ, but it's not going to work because you're trying to boost something that's not there. There's no EQ in the world that can recover bass and treble definition that was gone before it hit the amp.
6. It seems like you've got way too many things going on and you're choking your tone with one pedal and trying to revive it with another. The result is that your tone goes through a blender before it hits the speakers, and it's probably frustrating to hear the result. I would try playing with just the guitar > amp with the reverb and delay in the loop. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much you can do with a bit less gain and a simpler signal path. Diming the gain can be fun, but do you actually need as much as you're using?
7. If it really comes down to it, you may have the wrong amp. Orange amps are not known for having a tight bass, especially with distortion. If you're used to the Insane setting on your Spider, you might need to re-evaluate your expectations regarding reasonable distortion levels, or at least a good balance between tone and distortion. The Insane setting, or just craning the distortion in general, is like letting a kid eat ice cream for breakfast. It's fun, but later on they might realize that it's unhealthy and not actually that enjoyable once you get past the novelty. Try a bit less gain, try listening closely to what you hear. Try to hear tone and not just distortion. It sounds like you're starting to do that already and maybe are disappointed at what you hear.
When I plug in without pedals my tone sounds pretty good, granted not exactly how I want it to hence all the pedals. I get natural feedback with the amp turned up. Not like the ungodly ball shattering screeching I get with my pedals hooked up . All the tubes are stock, I just bought the amp like two or three months ago. I've considered changing the tubes for tonal aspects but I dont think any of them are bad.
Thanks for the tips Roc8995. I'll be sure to give your suggestions a thorough play. While punchy bass isnt as impotant to me; im usually doing lead or following/harmonizing the rhythm. Do you think I might have better luck keeping the eq from the dark terror's loop and using it to bring the volume down on the JSX it's sitting on top of? I only bought the dark terror because the jsx is stupid loud and I can't crank it to get that awesome saturation without blowing my drummers house up.
I have a pretty similar amp to what you have. I just got a new amp and had used a one spot with my previous amp with no problems really. But with my new amp the one spot just did not agree with it at all and made so much noise through certain pedals. I got a voodoolabs pedal power and it totally fixed the horrible noise. Granted I still use a NS-2 but thats just for a normal level of feedback and I prefer a quiet rig.
Your noise gate thresholds are set too high if its choppy.

If your highs are being cut you might be using very long cables and need a buffer. Or just use the EQ pedal to EQ them back in

Your bass is muddy probably because you are using TOO MUCH bass on the eq. Try dialing the bass back some and let the low mids do its thing.

Most of your noise is most likely due to the 1 spot and all the electonic interference around you. If you use an isolated power supply I could almost guarantee that your noise gates wouldn't have to be so high/choppy. I ran a high gain orange amp with 11 pedals with a PPII and my decimater is never passed 8:00.

It might be better to run one of the noise gates near the front of your chain (like you are doing now) and take the other noise gate and put it in the loop after your eq but before reverb/delay. That's what I would try but there is really no wrong way to put it.

I've met a lot of happy Dark Terror users. Once you get your pedal situation settled you'll be back to layin some toneful metal riffs in no time
Last edited by cheesefries at Feb 4, 2014,
Totally agree cheesefries, my gate threshholds are definitely too high. The ns-2 is supposed to be there for short breakdown staccato stuff as it is now it also takes care of unwanted feedback. The decimator in the loop is to bring down the noise floor. I didnt use to have them set so high. Come to think of it, I only recently have noticed this being an issue. The last pedals I added in were the wah and the Arena reverb. Since I immediately unplugged the wah and chucked it at my rhythm guitarist after he called me kirk hammet and still had the same problem, I suspect that the immediate culprit is the reverb or rather the interaction between it and the onespot and the rest of my chain. Causing me to have to gate-up on that noise. Pedal power it is then.
Quote by skeletor1990
Thanks for the tips Roc8995. I'll be sure to give your suggestions a thorough play. While punchy bass isnt as impotant to me; im usually doing lead or following/harmonizing the rhythm. Do you think I might have better luck keeping the eq from the dark terror's loop and using it to bring the volume down on the JSX it's sitting on top of? I only bought the dark terror because the jsx is stupid loud and I can't crank it to get that awesome saturation without blowing my drummers house up.

It seems strange to me that you can't get the JSX to sound good at a reasonable volume. It's not like you're pushing it into power amp distortion. Sure, louder always sounds better, but the JSX has a good master volume and tons of preamp gain. The whole point of its design is to get you a good distorted tone at any volume. The Dark terror is 15 watts max, you are probably starting to clip the power tubes, which is only going to make the bass definition worse.

I'd give the JSX another shake, try putting just the tubescreamer in front of it. Try it with the gain all the way up, and again with the gain way down and the volume high, see what each of those gets you. I have a suspicion that you are trying to pull way, way too much gain out of these setups and they're fighting you every step of the way.
Too much gain? Does...not........ compute sorry it's taken so long to reply, working overtime on nightshift and whatnot, anyways.

I went to my drummer's house and got to expeiment with my rig a bit. I broke down my pedal chain and played with the guitar straight In....sounds pretty good except for all the hum and feed back. Start adding in pedals and get decent results with the giga delay, eq, and decimator in the loop and just the tube screamer up front. Still got feed back but hthe hum was gone. any pedals after that and my tone just started dropping back to crap....awesome. just for S and G's I switch up my ac outlet power configuration and all of a sudden I have amazing tone, i mean dayum good! My bass gets awesome punch, my highs are crisp and my pinches are squealing like pigs getting stuck with a hot poker.......however, I now have an UNGATEABLE HUM, feedback is pretty bad too, pedals hooked up or not.. The decimator thrown in the loop doesnt do anything for the hum until the point where it completely cuts my guitar out. In the front it doesnt do anything for the feedback either. I had to leave for work by then but im going to look at it again today, but i'm now dead sure my problem doesnt have jack to do with settings or how much gain in cranking. Im taking an oscilloscope and an extention cable to practice this time.

Any input is very much appreciated!
When's the last time you replaced the preamp tubes? Might be worth a shot.
I haven't eeplaced any tubes yet. I just bought the dark terror a couple months ago and figured the tubes should be good. I reckon they could have gone bad as for some fault of manufacturing. Tubes, as I understand it, have a highly veriable functionality. I.E. nrw tubes can come screwed up straight from the manufacturer. I figured quality control from the amp manufacturer should have protected me from this but there's no telling really. Should I go with the same tubes as are stock with the amp for testing? Or try to find the "optimum" tubes for my purposes?