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ISP Decimator Pedal Review
Published by Rev2010
12-12-2005
ISP Decimator Pedal Review

I bought the Decimator pedal yesterday to stick in my effects loop to quiet down the typical premap noise. I have a Boss GT-8 (the Decimator comes last in the chain - after the GT-8 of course) and the GT-8's noise reduction is fairly decent but I have noticed a definite tone impact in the high frequencies when setting the threshold at my required levels. Now, with the GT-8's noise reduction even when fully gated there was a light high frequency hum that was still noticeable to be irritating though not too loud. So, disenchanted with the possibility of using the GT-8's reduction I went out and bought the Decimator on so many recommendations.

First thing I'll note about the pedal is how much it weighs. This thing is the heaviest Boss styled pedal I've ever came across. It feels like you're holding a solid brick. It's chrome which looks really hot and is made of sturdy metal. I wonder if it's the pedal construction that makes it heavy or a bunch of tightly crammed in circuitry? I'm curious. Anyhow, I set it up through the effects loop and started raising the threshold until the sound went quiet. I gave it just a slight tad of extra threshold just to be on the safe side. When I started playing I was suddendly appauled. It was pumping and breathing the sound like crazy and the volume of my guitar was cut in half. So I was nervous. So I backed of on the threshold till it was at the point where it was quiet when not playing, like you're normally supposed to set it, and bingo everthing was fine. No pumping, back to normal volume, and dead quiet when not playing. This thing even took away that small hum that was still present with the GT-8. The only way you can tell audibly that the amp is on is to go up to the speaker to hear the light ambient "air" that all speakers have when the amp is on.

I started contemplating whether it's worth the $130 (120 plus tax) to use this pedal rather than the GT-8 and I came to the conclusion of yes it is. I have to say that I don't feel they really should be charging $120 for these pedals. I think they should be more around $80 - I hope this comment doesn't draw flaming The thing that irks me most about the pedal is that the threshold difference can be sooo slight and make such a huge difference between noise reduction and completely cutting off the signal entirely!! I wish there was a lock for the adjustment knob caused I'd be scared about accidentally hitting it with my foot live on stage and turning off my sound. If I were to be using it live I would have it out of the way where it couldn't be touched. Also, they state on their website how fast it reacts but I have to disagree. It's reacts quick but don't expect "Chug chug chug -stop- chug chug chug -stop- with immediate dead silence in the stop areas cause you'll hear the noise quickly fade out as it clamps down on it. The rack version is probably much more effecient and handles this? but at $400 I'll pass for now.

So, overall it's a great pedal that gets rid of your amp and effect noise and does so completely (at least for me it does). It's true that it DOES NOT effect your tone - at least not in any way that I can hear and I have acute hearing. It's built extremely solid and rugged feeling, looks great, and is IMO a bit pricey. It is however very sensitive with threshold adjustment and the slightest bit of knob movement can mean the difference between it doing it's job and utterly ....ing up your sound so make sure to put it out of the way after getting it set. And while it does an excellent job of avoiding cutting off sustained notes it also doesn't clamp down as fast as it's advertised though it's certainly quick enough that if it's still not good enough for you than see if that rack version does the trick.


Rev.
  #1  
By noodles on 12-12-2005, 03:36 PM
This review sounds like an improved version of my Hush pedal (I have the original, two channel version). Have you ever played through a Hush, and if so, how do you think it compares? I read in GW that the same guy designed both pedals.
  #2  
By Rev2010 on 12-12-2005, 04:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by noodles
Have you ever played through a Hush, and if so, how do you think it compares? I read in GW that the same guy designed both pedals.
No I've never tried a Hush pedal but yeah the same guy designed both. How is the Hush pedal different being you said the Decimator sounds like an improved version?


Rev.
  #3  
By Shannon on 12-12-2005, 04:35 PM
Good review. Personally though, compared to my experience with the Decimator, I had way better success with the HUSH in my Rocktron Chameleon & the Boss NS-2.
  #4  
By thepunisher on 12-12-2005, 07:20 PM
could you elaborate on why shannon?

im interested in a noise supressor
  #5  
By Shannon on 12-12-2005, 07:49 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by thepunisher
could you elaborate on why shannon?

im interested in a noise supressor
The Decimator seemed to either cut off too much of my signal & it reduced the overall volume. Or, it would would allow to much noise to come through. It's a VERY touchy unit & it was very difficult to get a solid signal to noise ratio. It was too much or not enough. No happy middle.

On the Boss NS-2 and Rocktron HUSH, I found it easier to dial in specific settings. Perhaps it's because of the 2 knobs (Threshold and Decay) vs. the Decimator's 1 knob. Beats me.
  #6  
By thepunisher on 12-12-2005, 07:56 PM
a cut in volume is a bad thing.
out of the boss and rocketron, which did you prefere?

and what are the setups(like was it in front of the amp or in the effects loop?) of them that you used?


i cant decide if it would be better to have it in front of the amp or in the loop, or get two eventually for both.
  #7  
By Rev2010 on 12-12-2005, 08:30 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by thepunisher
a cut in volume is a bad thing.
out of the boss and rocketron, which did you prefere?
I know this question is meant for Shannon but please allow me to elaborate. It only cuts your volume if you set the threshold too high. The way it's set now for me it doesn't cut any volume at all and handles the noise problem. But as I, and Shannon, both said the unit is VERY sensitive to the knob. Just a slight more of a turn can mean the difference between it working great and it pumping and cutting your volume down. But if you set it and don't touch the knob everything is fine.

Secondly, you asked whether you should use it before the amp or in the effects loop. Two questions... are you using the amps distortion and is your amps effect loop serial or parallel? If it's parallel it would be useless in the loop. If you are using the amps gain channel and your loop is serial you definitely want to put it in the effects loop (at the end of the effect chain).

*EDIT - I just played with it some more and I'd like to note just how much I really love this pedal. Originally I said that it doesn't clamp down instantly between palm mute stops. Apparently the unit does react instantly and does clamp down fast enough. I tried with other types of playing where I'd play then stop and quickly mute the strings and it did instantly stop. When palm muting I neglected the fact that the strings still have a residual vibration decay after muting the string and that quick decay is why the pedal doesn't instantly clamp down on the sound. Anyhow, I'm quite glad I bought the pedal. Even at really high volumes you can't even tell the amp is on. It does what it's supposed to and I put the pedal out of the main "effect stomping" area to avoid ever hitting the knob with my foot. I had a multipurpose adapter laying around which I use to power it so I just leave it hooking up.

Maybe if I have time this week I'll post some clips if enough people request them


Rev.
  #8  
By thepunisher on 12-12-2005, 09:14 PM
rev, thank you for elaborating.

i would love sound clips by the way.

im using the amps gain, although i got an od pedal and a wah(that noisy ....er) in front of the amp, the od is sometimes on.

im hooking an eq pedal into the loop currently, to add a bit of wanted texture.

as for the parallel/serial thing, im trying to get a hold of someone at home who has my instruction manual. the website doesnt say if it is or not.

i did call isp awhile ago,
they sugggested the pro rack g
which is quite expensive, beyond my price range in fact.

if you have used any other noise supressors/ gates, please tell me how they compare.

and sorry for hijacking your thread, but comparing always seems useful.
  #9  
By thepunisher on 12-12-2005, 09:17 PM
apparantly the manual doesnt say either, im gonna have to call about that one
  #10  
By Rev2010 on 12-14-2005, 10:16 AM
OK, now I'm annoyed. So I noticed yesterday that when switching to the clean channel on my amp the decimator cuts the sound off and on. Apparently I didn't realize the pedal version suffers from this. In my reading the info on the Decimator products on their site I guess all the info just slushed together in my head and I thought it would be ok when switching to clean. Reading back up on their site I realize the ProRackG is the one that's touted to be able to handle both without resetting thresholds:

"Not only does the Decimator ProRackG deliver the most stunning noise reduction, it also solves the problem of needing to adjust the Threshold setting every time you change gain or switch channels. By using the input guitar signal to drive both channels' level detection circuitry, the ProRackG needs no other adjustments once the thresholds are set based on the guitar input. This will give you the correct threshold with clean, crunch and even monstrous amounts of gain and if you use pedals you can insert them in the loop between the output of the Decimator Channel 1 and the input of the guitar amplifier."

So now I'm disappointed. Now everytime I switch to the clean channel I have to also shut off the Decimator. If I were to forget to shut off the Decimator before switching to clean live it would screw things up. Hmmm, man what to do what to do. I love the way it works on my gain channel damn!!!!! I can still return it but I simply don't want to dump $400 just yet for the rack version nor do I want to carry around a loose rack processor. Any other good options out there? I wonder if it would still do a good job at the front of the chain (right from the guitar to the pedal). I'll try that out tonight. I may just keep it anyway since it works so well getting rid of the noise.

But... If anyone can suggest any really decent alternatives for no more than $200 please suggest away.


Rev.
  #11  
By thepunisher on 12-15-2005, 11:19 AM
shit man that changes everything

are there any pedals where this isnt a problem?
  #12  
By mazafaka on 12-16-2005, 09:14 AM
I am in the market for some noise supression myself, for use with my 6505. The Boss NS-2 looks like an economical solution, but I assume it still suffers from this channel-switching issue?
  #13  
By Rev2010 on 12-16-2005, 10:17 AM
Well, I'm pretty sure the NS-2 technology is what's built into the GT-8 and if it is the same I'll say that it works decently but doesn't react too fast. So when you stop playing it's not a super fast instant silencing. Secondly, I found it didn't get fully rid of all the noise like the Decimator does. Lastly at higher threshold settings (which is necessary for some reason) it does indeed take a bit of treble out of your high end. Why a noise gate would do this I have no idea but it does, trust me.


Rev.
  #14  
By thepunisher on 12-16-2005, 10:22 AM
hmm, the boss doesnt sound too good.
  #15  
By noodles on 12-16-2005, 10:56 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev2010
No I've never tried a Hush pedal but yeah the same guy designed both. How is the Hush pedal different being you said the Decimator sounds like an improved version?
To me, when I set the Hush where I needed it, it softened the attack of everything. It just didn't seem to open up quick enough.
  #16  
By Rev2010 on 12-16-2005, 12:15 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by noodles
To me, when I set the Hush where I needed it, it softened the attack of everything. It just didn't seem to open up quick enough.
The Decimator doesn't do anything like that. Attack is exxactly the same as well as is the guitar tone. I'm keeping my pedal because I really like it's noise reduction, its awesome, and basically there's nothing else out there to choose from within my price range that would handle both the gain and clean channel threshold differences. I'll just have to get used to stomping the pedal off shortly before switching to the clean channel.


Rev.
  #17  
By Jerich on 12-29-2005, 06:53 PM
hey guys...as a long time ISP user and owner of both two pedals and one rack mounted version ... I found that there is always a give and take form Noise gates...they either Kill too much (shutting gate quickly) or let it slide (let too much go through)..I found that NS - didn't have the flexiblity that I wanted, The ISP does. I set my ISP to a Minimum of 20-25. ..I know it seems like not enuff but I run it both pre/effects loop of my Engl Powerball and I swere not a Noise from it. But once again..everyones ears are thier own and the need for Noise Killers are always per your type of music or tone desired. I looked for years for something worth a CRAP to kill Hiss etc...and found it more in ISP. the Pedal versions sound great on distortions But i must agree the cleans Loose something or it sounds Like PAC MAN eating a dot when it shuts down ...all I can say And I am sure i have said enough is I still have never been totally happy with any Noise suppressor of any type they all still need to be tweeked, just remeber to Ying/Yang and accept it...it will make us all feel better... None really work well
  #18  
By Rev2010 on 12-29-2005, 07:02 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerich
I set my ISP to a Minimum of 20-25.
Yeah I set mine to right about 25 as well. Works great. And honestly, the noise reduction isn't needed for clean so I just shut it off when switching to clean. It can be a hassle but it's turning out to be a very small hassle.


Rev.
  #19  
By Jerich on 12-29-2005, 07:17 PM
see............... there is a collective thaught then..Killer man...
  #20  
By zimbloth on 06-26-2006, 09:25 AM
I simply want to tame feedback from my Mesa rig. Would the pedal version be enough you think?
  #21  
By Rev2010 on 07-19-2006, 05:36 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by zimbloth
I simply want to tame feedback from my Mesa rig. Would the pedal version be enough you think?
Whoa, sorry I never saw this Zimbloth. I know I'm a month late but here it goes...

The ISP Decimator works best with amps that have a series loop. Most Mesa's by default have a parallel loop. I had my Triple Rec modified to a series loop using a mod directly from Mesa. I couldn't be happier. Now I just stick the ISP at the end of the effect chain that's in the effects loop and it keeps everything dead silent. And yes, it would help cut down on feedback, even more so at slightly higher settings. But with a parallel loop you can only use it in front of the amp, not in the loop, so it would probably still help a lot in that it would be gating your pickups but I can't say this with 100% certainty since I've never used it this way.


Rev.
  #22  
By zimbloth on 07-20-2006, 01:17 PM
Yeah I appreciate it, but it is too late I've already purchased a Boss NS-2 and I use it in front of the amp, not in the loop yet, and I love it. Totally transparent and eliminated all the feedback. I did try a ISP Decimator pedal they had used at GC with a Recto head the same way and it did the job seemingly just as well if not better, the knobs were just way more sensitive than the Boss'. I haven't tried it in the loop yet, but if you check what DSS3 said in my review for the NS-2 in the Gear Review section, I may try running it that way when I get more cables.
  #23  
By Jerich on 07-21-2006, 06:24 PM
i have reccomend this pedal the various guitar players with 50 50 decide on getting it...the boss has more of a taylored settings..but they do not work for cleans and distorts the same...the ISP has one setting set it for clean and dist and go..this too stinks at times...but putting either on in the loop is a great idea...i run an ISP decimator in the loop......of dist channel only..cleans and leads no ISP!!! it will kill the vol tone settings you wanna do on the fly....
  #24  
By kmanick on 09-05-2006, 03:21 PM
I use the ISP decimator pedal in the loop of my 5150 combo and it works great.
Works well in the loop of my B-52 as well , but that amp is a lot quiter so it stays on my 5150.
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