I realise that I never followed up on my Pedalboard 2013 – Pedaltrain 2 article regarding my plans (last summer) for a new “Big Board”, so here is an update.
In fact, this is the first iteration of the Big Board (hence “version 1”) and has since been reorganised (update to follow when I have time to write the article), and was put together in June 2013.
Once again, the heart of the board is the Musicomlab EFX Mkiii MIDI Looper/Controller, set up so that loops 1-4 are before the amp and loops 5-8 are in the amp’s FX loop. The Musicomlab also changes the presets on the Eventide Timefactor via MIDI.
The pedal choice was my attempt to come up with a multi-purpose board, which could be used either as part of my main Dual Rectifier rig or with a clean amp at a “backline supplied” gig. Hence the 3 dirt boxes – none of which are used with the Dual Rectifier rig. All I/O is handled by the Patcher, mounted on the rear face of the Pedaltrain.
Musicomlab Loops 1-4 are before the amp, Loops 5-8 are in the amp’s FX Loop.
- Polytune Mini – This is true bypass, so doesn’t give me any issues with the wah
- G-Lab True Bypass Wah Pad with Dunlop Zakk Wylde wah
- Musicomlab Loop 1: Mesa Throttle Box (for rhythm)
- Musicomlab Loop 2: AMT P2 (alternative rhythm, just a different flavour of dirt)
- Musicomlab Loop 3: Mesa Throttle Box (this one is for my lead sound)
- Musicomlab Loop 4: Empty
- Musicomlab Loop 5: TC Electronics Dreamscape (chorus and modulation effects)
- Musicomlab Loop 6: Eventide Timefactor
- Musicomlab Loop 7: Empty
- Musicomlab Loop 8: Empty
The board is powered by a VoodooLabs 4×4 mounted under the Pedaltrain 2. I’m not a great fan of the Pedaltrain PSU mounting kit’s use of self-tapping screws, so I took the trouble of mounting some Z-Nuts in the relevant places under the board. Much more secure and less chance of stripping threads, etc.
Once again, my trusty Loooper Patcher manages the connections from the board to guitar, amp front end input and amp FX Loop. The amazing G-Lab True Bypass Wah Pad is loaded with the excellent Dunlop Zakk Wylde Crybaby. The voicing of this wah has been well-chosen to work well with high gain and humbuckers and, to my ears, sounds great.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
As this board was never used in a “backline supplied” situation, I never needed to use the Throttle Boxes and the AMT P2. Although I kept one Throttle Box and the AMT P2 for version 2 of this board, I think I will ditch this idea completely for the next version and rely on a Mini Board along the lines of the Pedaltrain Jr 2013.
On the plus side, I’m reasonably happy with the Eventide Timefactor (once I figured out how to configure it), and I only had to spend a few hours creating patches based on my G-Major 2 delay settings. I say “reasonably” because I find it has a muddiness to it in comparison to the TC Nova and G-Major delays I am used to. The G-Major settings translated pretty well to the Timefactor, though I found I had to reduce the feedback setting in all patches. The equivalent of a 25% feedback on the G-Major Delay seems to only need 17% or so feedback on the Timefactor. No biggie, easy to adjust.
The Dreamscape was a disappointment. It just didn’t suit me, so this has since been removed and sold.
The main negative of this board is that there is no solo boost available to me with this configuration. For simplicity’s sake, I am using only one channel on the Dual Rectifier (I don’t need a really clean tone for any of the Phazy songs) and, as I’m not using the Dual Rectifier’s footswitch, I can’t access that amp’s Solo function. So, I’ll need to address this, probably using my MXR Mico Amp as a clean boost in Loop 7 or 8 of the Musicomlab.
Bearing in mind the above, I have since re-configured the board to remove the Dreamscape and to add a clean boost. You can see what I ended up with in version 2 (to be posted shortly).
Finally, cabling is a mixture of George L’s and Lava. I love the low profile of the Lava connectors, but the solderless cable is a little more fiddly to work with than the George L’s. Sound quality difference? Too many years playing in loud rock bands means that these ears can’t tell any difference between them – they both sound great.
(Apologies for the crappy iPhone photo. Not enough light and a little shakiness of the hand.)