The Canadian Guitar Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,363 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My visit to player99's humble abode netted me some homework. One of the pedals he asked me to fix was an Xotic Effects X-Blender. Interesting pedal, in the same vein as the GigRig Wetter and similar from Earthquaker and Empress.

It allows you to introduce or bypass a second parallel path, and blend between the original input signal and whatever you have plugged into the send/return loop. On top of that, the polarity of the loop signal can be inverted, and there is a switch-selectable boost function with very effective EQ for the loop signal.

The big knob allows for blending/mixing loop/wet and input/dry. If you simply run a patch cable from send to return, and set the mix knob to 100% wet, the unit can be used as a simple clean booster.

Running a chorus in the loop, turning on the boost function, bumping up the treble and turning down the bass, allows for a nice crisp chorus to be dialed back a bit instead of being in your face. If one inverts the loop signal, setting the mix/wet-dry knob in middle-ish positions can get you varying degrees of cancellation.
All in all, an interesting and useful pedal, as I'm sure all the variants made by other companies are as well.

My own DIY units provide a 2-out/2-in splitter/mixer arrangement with a stompswitch to completely bypass anything external. The two return feeds can be blended with individual level controls rather than a master blend knob. I add some gain to the mixer stage so being able to use the full rotation of a pot to pad things down is helpful. Having the dual loops is useful because sometimes the sound you want to make requires parallel processing in two fashions. For example, I could send one feed to a fuzz and a second feed to a delay. What I get to mix together is a clean delay sound and a non-delayed fuzz sound. The stompswitch allows me to cancel the whole shebang in one move. That's not better or worse than what the X-Blender does, just one more set of possibilities.

These are useful devices.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,363 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
So I took a break from soldering and decided to plug in and conduct some experiments.

I plugged player99's Arion and CE-2 chorus pedals into my DIY blender that allows me to run them in parallel. Two unsynced chorus pedals mixed together provide a thick sound. I love my Behringer DC-2 clone, but even that one has some perceptible back-and-forth because the two delay chips it uses are counterswept by a single LFO. As one chip goes high the other goes low. When the choruses are completely usynced, that sense of predictable motion is gone.

Like the X-Blender, I also include a phase-reversal switch for one of the inputs. An interesting result occurred. Chorus pedals, you'll recall, combine a dry signal and a time-modulated wet signal. When I inverted the phase of one of the pedals, and mixed them in roughly equal proportions, the dry from each chorus tended to cancel out. Not entirely, mind you, but enough that the vibrato-like pitch-wobble became much more evident.

Next, I plugged two '60s-style fuzzes I had made into the two send/return channels. Bear in mind that, although the harmonics generated tend to stand out quite strongly, underneath it all is the note fundamental Again, when placed out of phase with each other, there was some cancellation of the fundamental between the two fuzzes, yielding a tone that was somewhat thinner and "struzzier" sounding.

Parallel processing is interesting, especially when combined with phase inversion.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,227 Posts
All of that went over my head, but, it' sounds like you're having fun. :D
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,227 Posts
I have trouble just comprehending 'wet/dry'. lol
I'm not a pedal man. Straight in, crank to 11.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,486 Posts
The dry signal is your guitar, the wet signal is the effect. So imagine plugging into a phaser pedal which is plugged into your amp. You literally hear one signal or 100% wet signal from the amp. But what if you could make that 50/50 guitar and phaser instead of 100% phaser?

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,363 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Amps also have "wet" and "dry" paths. The signal sent to the reverb pan is often tapped from some early point in the preamp section and then mixed in with the unreverbed preamp signal. So two parallel signals that are mixed together is actually not that foreign. Where guitar amps generally set the maximum amount of reverb that can be mixed in at less than the level of the unreverbed preamp, blender boxes will permit either signal to be greater than the other. At their heart, they're just mixers.

The phase-invert stuff...Some pedal flip the phase of the signal such that whatever was positive comes out negative and vice versa. You're likely aware that putting two pickups out of phase gets you a thin nasal tone with noticeably reduced volume. That's because mixing signals that are opposite phase, and similar in frequency-content, cancels out, like adding +1 and -1, or matter and anti-matter. If I'm combining two pedals, and one has an output opposite phase to the other, then in order to make them add, rather than cancel each other, I need to re-reverse the phase. Happily, I only need to do this to one of the two signals being combined in order to set things right, and it doesn't really matter which one I do it to.

With the two chorus pedals, their individual time-delayed signals have little overlap, but the clean signal that each combines with time-delay is pretty much exactly the same in each pedal. So if I put the two pedals out of phase with each other (i.e., "invert" one of them) the clean signals will cancel each other but the time-delayed part, since they are unalike, will not, or at least not very much if at all. The general principle is that when you have two near-identical signals and they are opposite phase, combining them in equal proportion will result in cancellation.

I hope that makes sense to you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,363 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Nah, but thanks. I now have two others that do the same thing for me. You need to experiment with it more. You have a lot of good drive/distortion pedals that could probably deliver up some really interesting tones when used in tandem.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,486 Posts
Parallel drives sound amazing, mixing fuzz and overdrive is even better.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top