Distortion or Overdrive

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by ardahaywood, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. ardahaywood

    ardahaywood Member

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    I have a 50 watt Crate Stealth tube amp, Randall 4x12 cabinet, and I switch between a Jackson RR5 (Drop C), and an Ibanez RG7321 7string (half-step down).

    I've used just a boss ML-2 over a clean channel for a while but it died on me and I'm wondering if I should get a new one or get an overdrive pedal and run it over a distorted channel, and if so what pedal.

    I play stuff like Protest the Hero, Trivium, and Dream Theater
     
  2. chevymeister

    chevymeister SS.org Regular

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    From my understanding, an overdrive accentuates the current distortion of your amp. The distortion pedal acts as a hard clip and creates a new type of distortion.

    If you like the sound of your amp but want to tighten it up, add more gain... overdrive imo.
     
  3. 5656130

    5656130 I AM AHAB!!!!

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    Based on the music you play, get a OD and run it on a high gain channel.
     
  4. ardahaywood

    ardahaywood Member

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    I've heard great things about the maxon od808, any thoughts?
     
  5. Strobe

    Strobe SS.org Regular

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    Basically, overdrive in this sense is a boost. It's kind of like clean amplification of your signal (gain increase) before the amp. Boosting the input drives the pre-amp tubes harder - giving you a higher gain sound. At the same time, a lot of overdrive pedals also apply a specific frequency attenuation. Tube screamers and Maxon 808's cut out a little bit of base frequencies. This can improve the clarity and "tighten" up the bass.

    When I use a overdrive pedal - I typically set the gain on it to zero, and turn the drive/level/volume (whichever it is called on your pedal) up fairly high. The reason I set the gain to zero is that I am usually using it with an amp that has enough gain on tap (do not need more diode clipping), but I want to push the front end harder and cut/boost some frequencies. That said, if you were playing your overdrive pedal into an amp with less distortion than you desire, you could use the pedal to add gain directly. There are a number of overdrive pedals which decent sounding transistor based gain - but I find I prefer to stick with all tube gain in most situations and just use the pedal as a boost.

    In this sense, the boost is kind of like having an active pre-amp on your pickups while at the same time making EQ changes. They really are just quite useful with a tube amp.
     
  6. Strobe

    Strobe SS.org Regular

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    That is the one most folks on this forum like. I do not own one - I use a BBE green screamer. Honestly, I do not know how it compares because I do not have much personal experience with the od808. I can say that while I have heard some awesome tones with an od808 (especially with a 5150/6505, love that combo), I am definitely quite happy with the BBE Green Screamer.

    If you want to hear a bit of what an overdrive does, I like this youtube video. It is a bit long, but the guy is a talented player and he gets a really sick tone with 6505 + tube screamer (bear in mind, most folks seem to prefer the od808 to the tube screamer).

     
  7. theo

    theo Got Hype(machine)?

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    if you like the distortion your amp does, but want it cleaner and tighter then grab a tubescreamer (or similar, they dont differ GREATLY) put it in fron of your amp with;

    Gain: low or off
    Tone: to taste
    Volume: maxed out, or close to

    Then roll the gain on your amp back a bit, find out how low you can get the gain whilst still sounding good and enjoy.
     
  8. ardahaywood

    ardahaywood Member

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    if i turn up the gain on the od pedal will it make the distortion heavier because the only problem i really have with my amp distortion is that it is a little bit thin sounding
     
  9. theo

    theo Got Hype(machine)?

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    Adds some mids dude! (assuming they aren't already turned up)
    Dialing in more distortion in front of your preamp won't necessarily make it heavier, I find cleaner gets heavier rather than more gain. If you dial in too much gain you'll lose definition and "bite"
     
  10. ardahaywood

    ardahaywood Member

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    Alright i'll keep that in mind, thanks a lot
     
  11. theo

    theo Got Hype(machine)?

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    Glad I could offer some advice.
     
  12. BabUShka

    BabUShka SS.org Regular

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    Using the "12 o'clock" settings will thinken your sound a little bit more.
    Simply set the volume a little bit above halv the way, and gain a bit below.

    To be honest, i would be careful spending lots of money on a OD-pedal in your case, since youre not sattisfied with the stock sound of your amp.
    Imo the amp has to deliver a good and fat crunch/gain in order to get a good sound out of an OD. The OD just spices your sound, but if you dont like the gain channel of your amp, then get a new distortion pedal instead.
     
  13. Sephael

    Sephael Divine Paradøx Contributor

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    Some people use distortion pedals with the gain almost at zero in place of an over drive, which still gives you the option of using it on your clean channel as distortion. Personally don't know how good this is .
     
  14. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    There's more than one way to skin a cat.

    Does your amp totally require a pedal out front?
     
  15. theo

    theo Got Hype(machine)?

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    taking a kind of different approach, look into the Amptweaker Tightmetal, VERY good pedal, I messed around with one for a week or so and I think it sounded pretty much as good as my 6505+ after some time spent dialing.
     
  16. ardahaywood

    ardahaywood Member

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    yeah, the amp distortion on it's own just doesn't cut it
     
  17. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Ok, progress. What about the tone makes it not good enough? Too much bass? Highs? Etc. Let us know :yesway:
     
  18. Toshiro

    Toshiro .... Contributor

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    I had a Crate Stealth at one time, that amp is voiced like a JCM800 with a SD1 boost built in. The amp was designed by Lee Jackson when he was working for Ampeg(St Louis Music, also owns Crate), and that guy has a rep for his Marshall mods. In fact half the gain channel's clipping is diode based, something that turns a lot of the tube purists off.

    The gain channel was tight as hell, but had no low end. Diming the bass knob did nothing. A boost pedal in front is only going to increase this issue, so I would run an EQ in the loop.
     
  19. ardahaywood

    ardahaywood Member

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    I've got close to a good mix now, the problem I'm still having is that my highs slightly over power the bass and make the tone sound a little to sharp but if i lower them anymore then my bass overpowers the highs and the whole tone just gets really thin.

    If it helps my current settings are
    Presence: 4
    Reverb: 5
    Bass: 9
    Mid: 4.5
    High: 6
    Gain I: 4
    Gain II: off (don't have a footswitch for it)
    Pre-Amp:10
    I'm testing it with my jackson, which has Seymour Duncan SH4's in it
     
  20. adadglgmut

    adadglgmut Notes from a Ghost

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    I had the EXACT same issue with the Ampeg vl-1002 (another lee design). EQ in the loop is what saved the drive channel on that thing.
     

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