Easy way to get trails from analog delay w/o modding



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Easy way to get trails from analog delay w/o modding

Postby John » Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:48 am

Analog delays sound great but almost none of them have trails (for noobs, trails = when you bypass the effect, the echoes play out). This for me has been their big drawback, as I hate the click and abrupt cut-off. So I came up with a simple solution. All you need is your favorite delay, any basic switchable effects loop pedal, and a mono Y-cable or adapter plug such as Radio Shack (R.I.P.) used to offer. HOSA will do.

Run the send of the fx loop to the input of the delay. Run the delay's output to one side of the Y-adapter, and the output of the fx loop pedal to the other side of the Y. Then plug the tail of the Y into the next pedal or into the amplifier. Leave the delay pedal always on and at your favorite setting. When you activate the fx loop, the instrument signal will send to the delay and then to the amp, like normal. When you bypass the loop, your amp will get both the clean signal and the rest of what the delay is putting out, since you are only bypassing the feed to the delay and not the delay's output (which is still live and feeding the Y, along with the clean). There you go.

Here's a photo of my version of this, but there's nothing special about these particular pedals. You can do this with any delay and fx loop pedal.

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As you can see, nothing needs to to the return jack cuz the delay out remains connected to the amp via the Y cable. Basically this setup selects between feeding the amp and the pedal (which also feeds the amp), but never disconnects the delay so that all your precious analogulous repeats get to live out their relatively short (600 milliseconds or less) lives.

I'm sure someone could build a box that does this without the Y-cable, but haven't seen anything on the market. Get on it, peeps!
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Re: Easy way to get trails from analog delay w/o modding

Postby coldbrightsunlight » Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:19 am

Great idea! :rock:

Maybe I won't get rid of my loop switcher after all...

You could do it without a Y cable if you plug the outputs into another pedal that will do stereo in - mono out. :idk: Requires having one of those and putting in in the exact place on the board though so not that elegant.
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Re: Easy way to get trails from analog delay w/o modding

Postby John » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:08 am

coldbrightsunlight wrote:You could do it without a Y cable if you plug the outputs into another pedal that will do stereo in - mono out. :idk: Requires having one of those and putting in in the exact place on the board though so not that elegant.

Yes, or an amp with two inputs. I actually tested this out with two cables feeding the hi and low gain inputs on a ss Traynor, but used the Y in the example setup for mono-only rigs. A passive mini mixer will work fine as well.
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Re: Easy way to get trails from analog delay w/o modding

Postby coldbrightsunlight » Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:17 am

Yeah very true! All my amps have multi inputs so I can do this really simply, hadn't even thought of that. :thumb:
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Re: Easy way to get trails from analog delay w/o modding

Postby rfurtkamp » Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:34 am

Run an oscillating nutball fuzz that makes its own feedback and noises in a similar array - and the fun continues.

It's what I abuse the "add trails to anything" feature to 2 of the ES-8's loops for most.
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Re: Easy way to get trails from analog delay w/o modding

Postby rustywire » Sun Jul 08, 2018 1:52 pm

Clicked thread thinking it was going to be another reminder to buy an LS-2. Close enough, and effectively cheaper.

Fwiw I've taken similar approach to op with 2 standard TS cables, a volume pedal and passive TB loop, inserting vol before (dual output) delay, then after.
Before = dry to wet swells, after = trails even when oscillating.
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Re: Easy way to get trails from analog delay w/o modding

Postby BoatRich » Sun Jul 08, 2018 4:08 pm

rfurtkamp wrote:Run an oscillating nutball fuzz that makes its own feedback and noises in a similar array - and the fun continues.

It's what I abuse the "add trails to anything" feature to 2 of the ES-8's loops for most.

I do this with an Electro-Faustus drone synth in a pedal that has a thru jack for guitar. The thru jack cuts the input out but with a blended loop I can keep it on top of/under my guitar signal. A looper with a blend is seriously the most useful utility pedal
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Re: Easy way to get trails from analog delay w/o modding

Postby Bartimaeus » Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:18 am

This is a really cool workaround! It'd be pretty simple to build a pedal that does this, but then it wouldn't have that nice BOSS soft-touch footswitch.

My only concern with the Y cable is that you might get signal degradation or volume loss, since you're essentially just passively mixing two signals using the Y cable. Did you notice that at all?
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Re: Easy way to get trails from analog delay w/o modding

Postby John » Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:00 am

rustywire wrote:Clicked thread thinking it was going to be another reminder to buy an LS-2. Close enough, and effectively cheaper.

Fwiw I've taken similar approach to op with 2 standard TS cables, a volume pedal and passive TB loop, inserting vol before (dual output) delay, then after.
Before = dry to wet swells, after = trails even when oscillating.
Recommended :hobbes:

Definitely! And the same setup works in a two-input amp, as long as you have something that can split the signal to clean in and volume pedal>delay. Now passively splitting the signal can fuck with other stuff, as mentioned:

Bartimaeus wrote:My only concern with the Y cable is that you might get signal degradation or volume loss, since you're essentially just passively mixing two signals using the Y cable. Did you notice that at all?

In this configuration it's not mixing but rather passing either clean or effected signal. The only mixing is when the clean signal is selected and the trails are being discharged from the delay. It doesn't feed any signal to the delay when it's bypassed, so you get the full jimmyjuice. I didn't have any problem with the signal in this setup, but the delay I used has a pretty high output and is louder on than off. I was also concerned that there would be crosstalk/feedback or any other unknown unknowns but it worked and sounded full and clean! Then again I did not put it in a chain with any temperamental handmade fuzzes so YMMV

In the splitter to volume/delay and bypass configuration, you need an active signal doubler if you don't want to lose volume and dynamics. You could always put some kind of boost before or after the split to compensate, and some people like to play with a roll-off of volume anyway. A Boss tuner is ehhh for this; it buffers (sluttily) but I've experienced noticeable volume loss when using one in a two-amp setup. There are a couple versions of the Empress buffer/splitter/fx loop which are good options, or just put this after any stereo effects you have.

Another dope option: if you have a Twin Reverb-style amp, you should be able to plug into the non-reverb channel, run a cable from the other input (which will function as a direct output) of that channel to a volume pedal, then another cable back to the input of the reverb channel. Then you can fade that channel in and out. The reverb might get squirrely or hummy if set too high even though it's faded out, as it's still an active channel. If you don't want to use the amp verb, just turn it down and put a delay or whatever pedal in line after the volume pedal.
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Re: Easy way to get trails from analog delay w/o modding

Postby John » Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:26 pm

BoatRich wrote: A looper with a blend is seriously the most useful utility pedal

Truth! The T1M Blender with expression control is the MVP on my board
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Re: Easy way to get trails from analog delay w/o modding

Postby oscillofuzz » Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:52 pm

Great idea John! Could this also work, without signal degradation, to have the delay 'always listening' to your playing but not playing back actual repeats until you switch the PSM-5 on (a la the coveted EHX 16s Digital Delay) if you hook it up as follows:
your instrument into the GUITAR input - Y cable from the AMP output, one side to DELAY's input, otherside to ACTUAL AMP's input - DELAY's output into the PSM-5's RETURN input (with SEND left empty)?

As I was typing this I realized you could solve the potential signal degradation problem by using a buffered splitter & extra cable in place of Y cable, but this still leaves me with other questions:
does the PSM-5's RETURN input still receive signal if there is no jack in the SEND?
and perhaps more importantly; if above = yes, how does it sound? since the delay's output + your 'clean' output are mixed back together crudely. Or am I interpreting this incorrectly and does the PSM-5's RETURN effectively replace (as in, what is actually being sent to the AMP out) the 'clean' signal GUITAR input when the PSM-5 is engaged?

Any chance you could try this out and report back on how it behaves?
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Re: Easy way to get trails from analog delay w/o modding

Postby John » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:42 am

oscillofuzz wrote:Great idea John! Could this also work, without signal degradation, to have the delay 'always listening' to your playing but not playing back actual repeats until you switch the PSM-5 on (a la the coveted EHX 16s Digital Delay) if you hook it up as follows:
your instrument into the GUITAR input - Y cable from the AMP output, one side to DELAY's input, otherside to ACTUAL AMP's input - DELAY's output into the PSM-5's RETURN input (with SEND left empty)?

The PSM-5 switches between sends, so in other words when Off it's sending the Guitar jack to the Amp jack, and when On it's sending Guitar to the Send jack, and the Return signal goes to Amp. Therefore if you send from Amp to delay, then delay to Return, you're sending delay to the delay and will feed back. It might sound awesome but it's not what I think you're going for.

oscillofuzz wrote:Any chance you could try this out and report back on how it behaves?

I'll give it all a shot anyway and see if something cool happens!
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Re: Easy way to get trails from analog delay w/o modding

Postby oscillofuzz » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:56 am

John wrote:
oscillofuzz wrote:Great idea John! Could this also work, without signal degradation, to have the delay 'always listening' to your playing but not playing back actual repeats until you switch the PSM-5 on (a la the coveted EHX 16s Digital Delay) if you hook it up as follows:
your instrument into the GUITAR input - Y cable from the AMP output, one side to DELAY's input, otherside to ACTUAL AMP's input - DELAY's output into the PSM-5's RETURN input (with SEND left empty)?

The PSM-5 switches between sends, so in other words when Off it's sending the Guitar jack to the Amp jack, and when On it's sending Guitar to the Send jack, and the Return signal goes to Amp. Therefore if you send from Amp to delay, then delay to Return, you're sending delay to the delay and will feed back. It might sound awesome but it's not what I think you're going for.

oscillofuzz wrote:Any chance you could try this out and report back on how it behaves?

I'll give it all a shot anyway and see if something cool happens!



You're absolutely right John! I did some more thinking and my reasoning was off. The Y split needs to be before the PSM-5 to prevent the delay's output feeding back into itself; so like this: from Guitar/previous FX -> Y split or (buffered) AB splitter - signal line A goes to PSM-5 GUITAR input - signal line B goes to DELAY's input - PSM-5's AMP output goes to amp/next FX in chain - DELAY's output goes into PSM-5's RETURN input. PSM-5's SEND is left empty.
This way the Delay should be left on and is thus constantly listening to your playing via line B, and your Amp/next in chain will constantly be getting the dry signal via line A. When you then turn on the PSM-5, its empty SEND interrupts the dry line from line A, but the effect mixed signal from the Delay's out is coming back (via line B which is always on as well) on the PSM-5's RETURN input and from there goes to the AMP out to the rest of the chain. My only concern at this point is that this might result in a pop or something when you engage the PSM-5's switch, but hey, this forum generally isn't about clean-&-sterile tones, unlike TGP :p

If you could confirm that this works, I also have a switching system in mind (requiring a small AB mixer) that allows one to change between both Listen and Trails, all switchable, so with longer delays you could record spontaneous loops, put the feedback/repeats on the edge of infinite, turn off the Listen switch to stop additional input signal from entering said loop, while simultaneously leaving Trails on, without losing 'dry' signal input, so you can play over said loop. Until you wish to switch the continuous loop off (which you can do by disengaging the PSM-5, or rolling back the feedback/repeats to let it fade out) and resume regular playing.
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Re: Easy way to get trails from analog delay w/o modding

Postby Faldoe » Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:32 pm

a^^^^ Yes! I have been thinking about what you are talking about in the second paragraph!!!
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Re: Easy way to get trails from analog delay w/o modding

Postby oscillofuzz » Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:50 pm

The switching system I have in mind is as follows:
From Guitar/previous FX -> ABY switch pedal (preferably buffered I guess) (possibly EHX SwitchbladePlus) - signal line A goes to PSM-5 GUITAR in - line B goes to DELAY's input - PSM-5's AMP out goes to actual Amp or next FX in chain - PSM-5 SEND goes to AB Mixer in 1 (like this https://www.loop-master.com/passive-mic ... p-241.html) - DELAY's output goes to AB Mixer in 2 - AB Mixer's OUT goes to PSM-5's RETURN

In this scenario, both signals coming from the ABY start in an on position. Signal line A is the dry signal, and remains the dry signal thru the SEND out that goes to the AB mixer in 1. Signal line B is the 'listen' signal for the delay, so it constantly gets your signal. And constantly sends it back out to AB mixer in 2 But none of it is sent back through the PSM until you engage it. When you do, the PSM-5's RETURN gets both the dry signal (from line A) and the 'listen' signal (from line B) back from the AB mixer OUT. This also means you have to set the Delay pedal to 100% wet and do dry/wet mixing on the AB mixer, otherwise there would be too much dry signal added when engaging the PSM-5 (which is why to use an AB mixer instead of reversed ABY switcher). Your spontaneous loop is now playing, can be made continuous if you turn up the repeats, and if you switch off signal line B coming from the ABY switcher, no new material will enter the loop, and you can solo/jam/whatever over it. If you dial back the repeats (depending on the delay this could theoretically be done via exp. pedal to keep your hands on the guitar) from a (near-)infinite to a more modest setting your spontaneously recorded/engaged loop will fade out like John's originally proposed Trails setting as you keep playing. Alternatively you could also just let the loop, loop and switch it off instantly at will by disengaging the PSM-5. With the feedback/repeats turned down and the delay memory (almost) empty you could set up for a new loop by turning/leaving the PSM-5 off, turning signal line B from the ABY back on to re-enable the delay's continuous listening, setting the feedback/repeats below infinite and then when you re-engage the PSM-5 your last x amount of (milli)seconds that was heard by the delay is repeated, can be made infinite again by turning up the repeats/feedback knob, turn off signal line B from ABY to again prevent newly played material from being added to the delay memory, continue playing on top of it etc...

(i was already quite tired while typing this so i hope it makes sense as both an instruction for how to set it up and a description of how it would operate)
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