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Old 01-13-2018, 11:19 AM
big jilm big jilm is offline
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Default First rehearsal with my new pedalboard setup including Soundcraft Notepad 8-FX

Hi everyone -

I can't turn anything up loud enough at home to tell how this will sound at gig volume, so I am taking it to practice with me where I can run it into my QSC K12 and turn it up a bit. Gibson J-29 with LR Baggs Element into the Fishman Aura 16, BBE compressor, Danelectro Fish 'N Chips EQ, Boss RC-1 looper, and the Soundcraft mixer.

At home at low volume, I'm not real happy with the Soundcraft. The reverb isn't terribly good from what I can tell so far. It feels a bit cheap - but the price is low, so that is to be expected. We will se how it sounds at gig volume, but if it's a no-go, it will go back to Sweetwater and I will shell out some more cash to move up to the Allen & Heath Zed i10fx.

I'll try it with the band, but the main focus will be when we are done with practice seeing how it sounds for solo acoustic and vocals.

Here's the rough setup. Nothing here is set in stone.



Wish me luck!

big jilm
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:55 AM
Irish Pennant Irish Pennant is offline
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At least the Soundcraft fits on your pedalboard and with some of the pedals you have, you may be able to dial in a sound that you'll be happy with. Good luck, I hope it works out for you.
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Old 01-13-2018, 06:26 PM
YamahaGuy YamahaGuy is offline
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Is that (in the pic) where you set the FX level on channel one? I try to have the dial at "0" which looks to be around 2 o'clock. Perhaps that may help. On my Yamaha MG8CX, I start with the FX level at the "0" location, then dial up or down the parameter on the effect. If that doesn't help...

...it looks like there's plenty of room for a reverb pedal there. I read great things about the MXR digital reverb. I'm happy with my TC Electronic Arena (similar to Hall of Fame). I bet a mini Hall of Fame would be just the ticket to satisfy your reverb desires.
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Last edited by YamahaGuy; 01-13-2018 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 01-13-2018, 10:03 PM
big jilm big jilm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YamahaGuy View Post
Is that (in the pic) where you set the FX level on channel one? I try to have the dial at "0" which looks to be around 2 o'clock. Perhaps that may help. On my Yamaha MG8CX, I start with the FX level at the "0" location, then dial up or down the parameter on the effect. If that doesn't help...

...it looks like there's plenty of room for a reverb pedal there. I read great things about the MXR digital reverb. I'm happy with my TC Electronic Arena (similar to Hall of Fame). I bet a mini Hall of Fame would be just the ticket to satisfy your reverb desires.
Hey, YamahaGuy - thanks for the reverb thoughts. I messed with the knobs today and found a setting that wasnít too bad. Not great, but useable. I have a couple of reverb pedals - a Holy Grail and a new Boss RV-6. I may mess with that one. Iím more concerned with reverb on my vocals though.

What I really learned today was that I absolutely hate the LR Baggs Element in my J-29. I simply canít stand piezo pickups at all. I hate every one I have ever tried. Even with the Aura pedal helping some, I canít stand the attack and brittle sounds I always hear coming out of the speaker. Strident and so unlike my guitar. My band mates thought it sounded pretty good, but I canít live with it. I donít know if I should try a Lyric, or a K&K Pure Western, or just try to mic it with something like a K&K Meridian. Iíll do some research here on the forum, I guess.

Anyway, Iím gonna mess with the Soundcraft some more and see if I want to keep it or send it back for the Allen and Heath. I really wanted to try the Zed i6fx, but the lack of a mid knob turned me off. The i10fx would be great, but itís getting bigger than I would like.
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Old 01-13-2018, 10:17 PM
YamahaGuy YamahaGuy is offline
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I'm not familiar with the Gibson J-29, but I'm guessing it has a bone saddle in it. My buddy had a Washburn with a bone saddle in it and the piezo sounded awful. I swapped the bone and for a plastic saddle and that helped tame the piezo harshness. Easier to swap a $5 saddle than a couple hundred for a pickup system. Best of luck. Glad you got the reverb dialed a little better.

If you ever wanna have some fun, try running your vocals through the guitar effects. It has made me want to make a separate pedal board just for vocals.
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Old 01-13-2018, 10:26 PM
AeroUSA AeroUSA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big jilm View Post
Hey, YamahaGuy - thanks for the reverb thoughts. I messed with the knobs today and found a setting that wasnít too bad. Not great, but useable. I have a couple of reverb pedals - a Holy Grail and a new Boss RV-6. I may mess with that one. Iím more concerned with reverb on my vocals though.

What I really learned today was that I absolutely hate the LR Baggs Element in my J-29. I simply canít stand piezo pickups at all. I hate every one I have ever tried. Even with the Aura pedal helping some, I canít stand the attack and brittle sounds I always hear coming out of the speaker. Strident and so unlike my guitar. My band mates thought it sounded pretty good, but I canít live with it. I donít know if I should try a Lyric, or a K&K Pure Western, or just try to mic it with something like a K&K Meridian. Iíll do some research here on the forum, I guess.

Anyway, Iím gonna mess with the Soundcraft some more and see if I want to keep it or send it back for the Allen and Heath. I really wanted to try the Zed i6fx, but the lack of a mid knob turned me off. The i10fx would be great, but itís getting bigger than I would like.
Aura was designed around the Matrix. If I was you Iíd replace it with that. I personally believe that it will make your guitar sound better unplugged as well..
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Old 01-13-2018, 10:34 PM
AeroUSA AeroUSA is offline
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If I may: I would also use the Aura Spectrum pedal which would give you EQ, compression and a tuner. Iíd also use a Ditto x2 looper. Doing this would cut your board in half or give you room for more pedals or a larger mixer.
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:06 PM
big jilm big jilm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YamahaGuy View Post
I'm not familiar with the Gibson J-29, but I'm guessing it has a bone saddle in it. My buddy had a Washburn with a bone saddle in it and the piezo sounded awful. I swapped the bone and for a plastic saddle and that helped tame the piezo harshness. Easier to swap a $5 saddle than a couple hundred for a pickup system. Best of luck. Glad you got the reverb dialed a little better.

If you ever wanna have some fun, try running your vocals through the guitar effects. It has made me want to make a separate pedal board just for vocals.
The J-29 has a Tusq saddle, if I recall correctly. I am pretty sure I am done with piezo pickups. Thanks for the tip about using guitar effects for vocals - I may play around with that at some point.
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:08 PM
big jilm big jilm is offline
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Originally Posted by AeroUSA View Post
Aura was designed around the Matrix. If I was you Iíd replace it with that. I personally believe that it will make your guitar sound better unplugged as well..
Thanks for the info - I didnít know that the Aura was made around the Matrix. I have never tried a Matrix with the Aura, but I have listened to a guy that uses a Matrix with the Bose Tonematch, and I still hear that brittle harsh sound that I canít stand. Maybe it would sound nice with the Aura, I donít know.
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:10 PM
big jilm big jilm is offline
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Originally Posted by AeroUSA View Post
If I may: I would also use the Aura Spectrum pedal which would give you EQ, compression and a tuner. Iíd also use a Ditto x2 looper. Doing this would cut your board in half or give you room for more pedals or a larger mixer.
Thanks for the thoughts. I am pretty unhappy with the pickup thatís in my guitar right now - I think thatís where I am going to concentrate - then decide on pedals/preamps etc. Iíll keep this in mind, though!
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:26 PM
AeroUSA AeroUSA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big jilm View Post
Thanks for the info - I didnít know that the Aura was made around the Matrix. I have never tried a Matrix with the Aura, but I have listened to a guy that uses a Matrix with the Bose Tonematch, and I still hear that brittle harsh sound that I canít stand. Maybe it would sound nice with the Aura, I donít know.
The Aura reduces/removes that.
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Old 01-14-2018, 04:13 AM
larren larren is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big jilm View Post
The J-29 has a Tusq saddle, if I recall correctly. I am pretty sure I am done with piezo pickups. Thanks for the tip about using guitar effects for vocals - I may play around with that at some point.
Hi big jilm, I have a Tanglewood OM (all solid with Engelmann top and rosewood back and sides). It has a Baggs element which I really like, and had a bone saddle from new. I always get good comments from sound guys and other guitar players on the plugged in sound. I had some work done on the frets, and as the original saddle had a couple of deep grooves in it, the tech replaced the saddle with a Tusq one. It sounded terrible on the first gig.....very harsh and brittle and I couldn't EQ it to get a decent sound. I refitted the original bone saddle, and it was back to normal. I have since picked up some new bone saddles and fitted a new one with no sound changes. I know there's not a lot of love on here for the Baggs Element, but I really like them......you may just have to find the right saddle for your guitar and play around with EQ.
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Old 01-14-2018, 08:08 AM
big jilm big jilm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larren View Post
Hi big jilm, I have a Tanglewood OM (all solid with Engelmann top and rosewood back and sides). It has a Baggs element which I really like, and had a bone saddle from new. I always get good comments from sound guys and other guitar players on the plugged in sound. I had some work done on the frets, and as the original saddle had a couple of deep grooves in it, the tech replaced the saddle with a Tusq one. It sounded terrible on the first gig.....very harsh and brittle and I couldn't EQ it to get a decent sound. I refitted the original bone saddle, and it was back to normal. I have since picked up some new bone saddles and fitted a new one with no sound changes. I know there's not a lot of love on here for the Baggs Element, but I really like them......you may just have to find the right saddle for your guitar and play around with EQ.
Thanks for the thoughts - dropping in a bone saddle is something I have wanted to try, so I may give this a shot. Thanks!
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Old 01-14-2018, 04:09 PM
big jilm big jilm is offline
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An update for those who may be following:

Messing with the rig today at low coffee shop levels at home, I find the Soundcraft isn't bad. I started singing through my AKG 214 condenser, and the vocals sound about a thousand times better than they did with my old yell-for-rock-voice SM58, which always sounds murky with my baritone voice. I switched to a J-45 Aura patch on my Fishman pedal, and it sounds a lot better with my J-29 than the previous patch did. I was using a Martin spruce/rosewood HD-28 patch that I felt sounded the most like my guitar, but it was so woofy through the mixer and speaker that it was an issue. I am still thinking that I will get on the change-my-pickup train (as futile as that may end up) pretty soon.

Overall, the mixer is pretty cool. I am still trying to get my head around how the reverb works, but I am dialing it in pretty nicely right now. I don't think I am in love with the reverb, but I no longer hate it at all. I am most concerned with the reverb for vocals. I love the size of it and that it fits on my Pedaltrain. The mic preamp seems decent, though I am no expert. I am liking how my vocals sound right now with my AKG through the Soundcraft into the QSC K12. Sure blows my old Fishman Loudbox Performer out of the water. I like the fact that it has a mid control, unlike the Allen & Heath Zed 6fx which is the other one I was considering. Plus, the Soundcraft is smaller and lighter (and likely more cheaply built). I am thinking I will keep the mixer as of now, but I am still messing with it. I can say that while I was playing and singing, I was inspired by the sound... I can tell that I was feeling it, because every time I really dig a tone I start playing some cover and end up morphing it into a songwriting session, so there's that.
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Old 01-14-2018, 08:49 PM
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Like you, I'm still experimenting with the vocal reverb of the Soundcraft NP8fx. I've been setting the master aux and parameter at about 1:00 and the channel aux around 10:00 which I really liked.
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