#1
After tinkering with my pedalboard for some time, I would like to know why don't companies make OD pedals with a gain knob that goes from 0 - to - blow your face off?

That way a player can actually choose to use the pedal as a clean boost (relying on the volume knob only), or as a blow your face off destortion.

On another note, can someone explain to me why does a note sustain longer on:

Boost -> mild OD

as compared to

high to mega OD?

Not only are there differences in sustain but clearly also in tone, and level of distortion, even though the concept is clearly the same. Ie. boost pedal is really a gain knob on the overdrive.

Maybe my concept is wrong somewhere. Thanks!
#2
All of my ods have a gain knob, not sure what you're talking about there but just a friendly fyi, Guitar Gear & Accessories is a better place to ask about pedals.


And ya, your concept is a bit off. A boost pedal may add gain but thats only cause its pushing the tubes harder, it doesn't add its own clipping.
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Last edited by lucky1978 at Jul 14, 2014,
#3
oh crap i didnt see that section lol sorry! I don't know if I can do it but if an admin sees this I'm happy to have it shifted!

What I meant was, the gain knobs on OD pedals are never at 0 gain. Meaning, when you turn it all the way to the minimum, there's still some distortion in it. And what do you mean by 'pushing the tubes'? Its going straight to the OD pedal not the amp, so I figured it would be different?
#4
So you're not using an amp? I'm confused.

By "pushing the tubes" I mean even a clean boost gives the signal more juice, the more a tube amp is pushed the more it'll "break up" as in gain. A ss state amp is different though, they aren't cool like that.
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#5
Oh no, I was the one that got a bit confused I guess. But then again why is there a difference in sustain and distortion the scenario I described then?
#6
Probably because more gain=less clarity.

Overdrive pedals are not the same as distortion pedals. Generally, a distortion pedal will always add gain, even if, as you mentioned, the gain is at 0. A good overdrive pedal will do what you're talking about. You can set an od's gain at 0 and use it as a clean boost.
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#7
Quote by saltyfries
(a) After tinkering with my pedalboard for some time, I would like to know why don't companies make OD pedals with a gain knob that goes from 0 - to - blow your face off?

That way a player can actually choose to use the pedal as a clean boost (relying on the volume knob only), or as a blow your face off destortion.

(b) On another note, can someone explain to me why does a note sustain longer on:

Boost -> mild OD

as compared to

high to mega OD?

Not only are there differences in sustain but clearly also in tone, and level of distortion, even though the concept is clearly the same. Ie. boost pedal is really a gain knob on the overdrive.

Maybe my concept is wrong somewhere. Thanks!


(a) Because generally ODs use different circuit topologies from distortions. Often ods have diode clipping in the feedback loop of the op-amp, whereas distortions have clipping to ground. You can select both with a switch, though, so it can be done, just would add expense. And the cynic in me says they can't sell you two pedals that way.

(b) again, possibly because of the different circuit design.

Hopefully if matt or one of the other electronics types sees this he can confirm (or say what i'm saying is BS ) and help more.
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#8
Quote by lucky1978
Probably because more gain=less clarity.

Overdrive pedals are not the same as distortion pedals. Generally, a distortion pedal will always add gain, even if, as you mentioned, the gain is at 0. A good overdrive pedal will do what you're talking about. You can set an od's gain at 0 and use it as a clean boost.


to much gain will detract from clarity causing the notes to mush together which can be perceived as less sustain. of course in the right hands the notes running together can sound great to. as for the no gain well many overdrives will still give you a little but it's the volume that hits the front end that causes the distortion. try different settings for varying results.
#9
Quote by saltyfries

(a) What I meant was, the gain knobs on OD pedals are never at 0 gain. Meaning, when you turn it all the way to the minimum, there's still some distortion in it. (b) And what do you mean by 'pushing the tubes'? Its going straight to the OD pedal not the amp, so I figured it would be different?


(a) yeah on most ods it still clips a bit even with the gain at zero- that's a consequence of the design, the diodes still clip (assuming the pedal uses diode clipping). a clean boost normally doesn't have a clipping circuit.

some ods will go low enough for the gain on 0 to be genuinely clean, though. e.g. klon.

(b) not sure what you mean here
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#10
Well, you're applying sweeping generalizations that don't apply to a significant portion of pedals on the market and your application lacks any specifics. As a result, your questions don't really make any sense. There are many ODs that can be completely clean boosts. The reason others can't is really something you can only ask the designer, but my guess would be that it typically doesn't sound all that good with the frequency shaping going on.

The sustain issue is going to vary depending on which two pedals you're specifically talking about and how they're set. Generally, more gain = more sustain and boosting another OD is adding quite a bit of gain depending on settings. You're comparing apples to bridges though and asking which one is smarter.
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#11
Well sorry for the confusion.

But with regards to the pedal stacking sustain question, this is my setup:

A) Guitar -> TS808 (0 gain, high volume) ->TS808 (11 o'clock gain, high volume) -> amp

so my question is why is the sustain on this setup significantly longer compared to:

B) Guitar -> TS808 (max gain, max volume) -> amp?

Also, could I theoretically replicate the results with:

C) Guitar -> Clean boost (micro amp etc) -> TS808 (11'o clock gain, high volume) -> amp

Apart from the sustain, why does the level of distortion sound different in A and B as well?

Thanks for the help so far guys even if i havent been lol
Last edited by saltyfries at Jul 14, 2014,
#12
Well, when running two 808s, you're getting the extra compression from the first one that's there regardless of where the gain is set, and the high output setting means the second will be distorting more. You're not really getting more sustain, but the illusion of sustain since what's normally too quiet to really hear is brought up in magnitude before it even hits the second 808.

Furthermore, looking at the schematic of an 808, the theoretical max gain is about 110x the input signal. At minimum, that's about 10x, and at 11 o clock, about 30x. Cascading gain stages means the gains multiply, so theoretical gain with a 10x stage into a 30x stage is 300x. This isn't actually possible with the low voltage rails in a pedal, but it can work close enough. This will vary depending on volume setting (so in reality, if you're first 808 isn't set to max volume, you might get something like 200-250x, but that's still significantly more than 110x.

There's also no theoretical limit to distortion (well, actually there is, a square wave is basically a sine with an infinite number of harmonics, but it can't actually be implemented in practice), so the increase in gain means the clipping stage will be pushed further into distortion, which again gives more compression and the illusion of sustain.

As for tonal differences, you're getting a huge bass cut with two cascaded 808s, which will lead to less mud in the low end, which could account for the perceived clarity. High end response will depend on tone control settings.

The Micro Amp into a TS808 could give you the same levels of gain, but you'd lose out on the frequency shaping of the other 808.
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