Effect Order and Routing Ideas

Questions and answers related to any Zoom Gear that doesn't have its own sub-forum yet. This includes any new gear that's been announced, and any old gear you've got. Please don't "post and run". Participate in the discussion. Thanks.
NucleusX
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Re: Effect Order and Routing Ideas

Post by NucleusX » Mon May 06, 2019 11:56 pm

Still rockin my Zoom MultiStomp pedalboard, and quite happy with how it all turned out, but lately I've
gone back to PC software like Bias, Guitar Rig, AmpliTube, and Axiom. The routing possibilities with those
are quit extensive and fun to play with, and a lot less dependent on buying new hardware. Guitar straight
into an interface and that's it. Not all that practical on the run, but its a convenience at home with or
without a DAW fired up for recording or just practicing. Can keep the pedalboard packed away until needed.
Direct access to loopers, drum machines, metronomes and stuff makes it even more enjoyable ! DSP is
mainly only limited by your CPU and Interface, but there's lots of headroom for complex chains if you have
relatively decent solutions in place. One other hardware requirement was a Midi footpedal that the software
can assign FX to, I'm just using my Line 6 MKII Shortboard i already had. It's not mandatory, but it's handy.
Personally, i think this is the best way to go for signal chain experimentation now cause you're able to keep
the over-all costs low and possibilities high at the same time. I really wished Zoom had plugins or standalone
software of all the FX they've coded for their recent hardware, id love to have them in the mix too ! oh well.
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NucleusX
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Re: Effect Order and Routing Ideas

Post by NucleusX » Tue May 07, 2019 7:57 am

Concerning high gain applications.

I've come to an interesting realization with these software's recently that is not always possible on hardware.
When building gain channel chains, I'm able to bypass the amplifier (ampsim) entirely and still able to pass
the signal through the cabinets and mics. Typically i would front end a high gain amp with a Tubescreamer,
but instead I'm front ending a distortion unit with a Tubescreamer and letting the distortion unit act in place
of the amps pre-amp, and adjusting the tone stack/EQ on the distortion, then that goes straight into the cabs.
I believe this approach is termed as a "Direct" chain. The results for me are fantastic ! as the frequency range
without an amp in its path sounds much wider and maintains a mid focus clarity i often struggle to achieve
in a non-direct approach with an ampsim, which maybe just down to inferior ampsim algorithms. Controlling
the mud and fizz seems easy enough too. I can imagine this approach might not work so well in a recording
situation where the upper and lower frequencies might compete with other instruments in the mix, but on its
own, I'm finding the results quite appealing. I have also been experimenting with mixing dual paths where i
have one chain setup as direct as stated above, and the 2nd path is almost identical to the first, but with an
added ampsim. Again the results are fantastic, but getting the right balance of everything takes time to fine
tune. With a combination of distortions, amps, cabs, and mics, the number of permutations are massive, and
only a small fraction turn out to be a harmonious combination. Obviously backing these up as presets is a must.
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stubbsonic
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Re: Effect Order and Routing Ideas

Post by stubbsonic » Tue May 07, 2019 11:18 am

Seems like the only significant downsides to the software plugs approach are Latency and Portability/Practicality.

I could never really get around the latency issue, so I never had to deal with the rest. However, in a mix-down situation, having a path like that for re-amping is fine and good.

In some demo vids, someone was showing how essential a good cab sim is for shaping the dist/OD of a signal. Without it, it's a horrible sound, and even with it, you have to choose a cab sim that does what it is supposed to do.

I like your comparison of TS driving a amp pre-amp vs TS driving a distortion pedal. I wouldn't have thought it would make much difference, but that's the kind of experimentation you can do in this digital sim world-- and you can sometimes solve tone problems in unexpected ways.

As a side note, I put together a nice pedal board, and it's got some nice flexibility built-in. It's a bit over kill for most of the gigs I'm doing now-- (long story). But it would be ideal for an improv gig where I can do some big sound design kinds of fiddling.
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NucleusX
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Re: Effect Order and Routing Ideas

Post by NucleusX » Tue May 07, 2019 10:01 pm

NucleusX wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 11:56 pm
DSP is mainly only limited by your CPU and Interface, but there's lots of headroom for complex chains if you have relatively decent solutions in place.
I should have added latency to that statement. A decent machine and Interface will address %99 of latency issues.
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stubbsonic
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Re: Effect Order and Routing Ideas

Post by stubbsonic » Wed May 08, 2019 10:06 am

On my system, it is a balance between buffer & rate on one hand, and CPU & glitches on the other.

I can set buffer sizes to 64, 128, 256, 512 samples. I can set sample rates to 44.1, 48, 96.

At 44.1K or 48K playback, I can easily set the buffer to 128 without issues. At those settings, I have noticeable but not terrible latency. Setting the buffer to 64 samples gets the latency into my comfort zone, but the audio is glitchy and the performance is very unstable.

I haven't played around with higher sampling rates, but theoretically, that would give me half the latency at the same buffer sizes. Not sure if the impact on the CPU would be doubled.

At some point, I'll experiment with that more.

There are some interesting effect apps on iOS. ToneStack (by Yonac) is impressive, as is BIAS Amp 2 and JamUp Pro. There is an issue with iOS that you are at the mercy of the developer. I'm not kidding. If there is an app you like and use, it could vanish, and you'd be f**ked. This could happen if the developer removes the app from the app store at some point, then you get a new device, or if you update your OS, or if you delete an app to make room then change your mind and want to reinstall, but it is gone. Just a word of caution. I suppose it is another reason why I resist investing time in that platform for effects.
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NucleusX
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Re: Effect Order and Routing Ideas

Post by NucleusX » Wed May 08, 2019 12:08 pm

Yes that balance is always something to be mindful of, but the midpoint will depend on the hardware itself. There
are interfaces on the market with varying quality and connection standards such as native USB3, Thunderbolt, and
Firewire which will significantly shift the balance point in your favor. Interfaces with USB2 tend to suffer the most.
44.1khz is the usual choice for most situations, and some would argue 96khz is not worth the performance hit it
exacts on system resources for the perceived final result on audio dynamics. On my interface, I am able to get
below 5ms of latency @ 44.1khz/256 samples without glitches or artifacts using just the USB3 standard. Latency
is imperceptible when speed picking, which is the test that I use to determine the latency performance for myself
after i have created a fully decked out signal chain that i would realistically use on an ongoing basis. It passes.
On my Soundblaster X-Fi i have installed in one of my desktops, I'm able to get down to 2ms of latency, but of
course it operates over an internal PCI-Express connection, so its no surprise really, it has the specification for it.
As long as you stick to the ASIO device drivers supplied with your hardware, latency will be kept to a minimum.

I'm aware there are some benefits to be had in the Apple ecosystem for audio enthusiasts, but i prefer my Windows
environment where things are more of an open standard than the walled garden Apple is known to be, so those
aren't really issues I find myself having. I despise Apple if I'm to be perfectly honest, each to their own i suppose.
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stubbsonic
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Re: Effect Order and Routing Ideas

Post by stubbsonic » Thu May 09, 2019 11:17 pm

NucleusX wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 12:08 pm
I despise Apple if I'm to be perfectly honest, each to their own i suppose.
Without going into details, I have relied on Macs for MANY years and for the most part they have served me VERY well. But, Apple has also done lots of things that have been profoundly disappointing. I have a love/hate relationship with my iPad.

That said, I can see at some point, I may do some experiments with an iPad pitch-to-MIDI and effects setup. Maybe the latency will be tolerable.
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NucleusX
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Re: Effect Order and Routing Ideas

Post by NucleusX » Fri May 10, 2019 5:43 am

Ahh, being an iPad, you can only expect so much from it. I'm doing it all on i7 desktops, so plenty of power at my disposal for it.
Might be wrong but it sounds like you have an iMac aswell, i wouldn't bother doing any of this on anything but some kind of PC.
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stubbsonic
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Re: Effect Order and Routing Ideas

Post by stubbsonic » Fri May 10, 2019 11:57 am

My main computer is a MBP with an i7, my main Audio/MIDI i/o is RME Fireface 800-- which is a really good box-- but no offline DSP-- other than mix (levels, pan). I wouldn't bother trying to host effects in my DAW as it has less bandwidth for that kind of activity. MainStage 3 is a host with lots of effects, including all my AU/VST effects. I have a couple other options, but again. I don't see myself taking my MBP to gigs.

I could imagine using an iPad-- as long as I had a hardware back-up rig. My older iPad is not up to the task. I got a more recent one, and I haven't really tested it to see what it's like. Fortunately, I'm pretty busy, making ends meet.
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stubbsonic
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Re: Effect Order and Routing Ideas

Post by stubbsonic » Sat May 11, 2019 11:20 am

If the pitch-to-MIDI ends up actually working ok, that is a whole new angle-- of course there's no way it won't have some latency, so I'll have to see if it is something I could acclimate to. I've worked hard on getting my time to be really solid, I don't want latency to come along and mess me up.
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NucleusX
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Re: Effect Order and Routing Ideas

Post by NucleusX » Tue May 14, 2019 9:33 am

Just spent the weekend putting alot of my attention into Guitar Rig 5 by Native Instruments. I'm really enjoying it and
seeing the potential in it now after crafting some presets of my own. The interface is pretty slick too, in a rack-like
layout. Built in loopers, metronome, music player to jam along with, and a few very interesting items in it that make
routing quite flexible. I think I've found my jam with this one. It operates as a standalone host or as VST in a DAW.
I'm yet to delve into the midi and automation options, but it seems very well featured for live performances. With a
reasonably extensive chain the CPU averages around %25 on a 4790K, haven't noticed any latency yet either. :music:
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stubbsonic
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Re: Effect Order and Routing Ideas

Post by stubbsonic » Thu May 16, 2019 9:16 am

AWESOME!!!! Most of those NI products are pretty deep, too. Have fun!
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