e've talked a fair bit
about the benefits
of versatility versu s
sim plicity w hen it
co m e s to pedals and
effects. Th is m onth,
w e're exploring the outer reaches
of sonic m alleability by taking a
broad look at m odeling technology.
M odeling is a digital process
by w hich you em ulate the
characteristics of another pedal
- or, in the case of the Roland
V B a ss, the characteristics of an
entirely different instrum ent.
M odeling takes the sound of your
instrum ent and applies a w hole
load of co m p lex D S P (digital signal
processing) to m ake it sound
like you're using a tape delay, or
recording in an actual cave, three
feet from the left-hand wall, or are
playing through a slightly broken
late-1960s Fender Bassm an, or
are using a m assive old studio
delay unit w hen in fact you're
using a tiny little pedal. M odeling
characteristics can include degrees
of 'w ear and tear', acoustic sp aces
and even different kinds of hum
that you'd get from an am p on
different continents.
Line 6 built their entire
reputation on m odeling am ps
and cabinets. The effects section
of the early PO D products w ere
a bit rudimentary, and rapidly
im proved (especially w hen they
realised that the dem and for 'loads of am ps!' from b a ssists w as a little low er than it w as from guitar players)
but they popularised the idea of turning up with a little guitar processor instead of a wall of cabinets, and just
playing through the PA. Th is in turn lead to the e m ergen ce of F R F R (full range flat response) am p s to reproduce
w hatever tone w a s selected , rather than sound like you'd m ic'd one am p and run in through another (w hich
w ould be a bit odd).
In the world of effect m odeling, Lexicon, T C Electronic and Digitech have all m ade w onderful rackm ount
units that offer up clo n es of cla ssic sounds. Th e sadly discontinued Lexico n M PX-G 2 that I've been using for
15 years w as w ay ahead of its tim e in the quality of its pedal em ulations, hence m e still using it now. In more
recent tim es, the T C Electronic Toneprint idea has taken it all one stage further and allow ed not only m odels of
effects, but the dow nloading of sou nds specific to particular players. The Toneprint editor allow s for a dizzying
array of options, so to narrow that dow n to 'presets', you can beam them (yes, beam them , like you're Captain
flippin' Kirk) from your phone to the pedal. Th e T C Hall O f Fam e Mini reverb pedal that I u se has the option to
m ap m ultiple effe cts to a single knob, and even plot a non-straight-line respo nse curve. All a bit fiddly if you're not
used to program m ing effects, but if you are, it's a godsend.
A n d there's m ore! If m o d els of c la ssic e ffe cts w e re n 't enough, co m p an ie s like K em per and Tw o N otes
n o w offer 'profiling': not only do they co p y c la ssic so u n d s for you to use, but you can co p y your ow n cla ssic
so u n d s! G ot a fragile old am p you love, but do n't w an t to take to g ig s? Profile it w ith your K em per am p, and
take that instead.
The possibilities are, if not endless, certainly beyond the point w here w e're going to run out any tim e soon. If
you get the chance, try A/B-ing so m e m odeled effects with their analogue forebears. You m ay find that the new er
versions, with greater versatility and (often) reliability, are 'Even Better Than The Real Thing'.
5 trin g s for B ass
Driven by Perfection.
Developed by Bassists.
Players tell us that
Strings for Bass with NANOWEB" Coating:
Oner a smooth, natural real. with enhanced grip'
- Provide greater durability and response, even during
hard-hitting attacks*
- Retain their tone longer than an/other bass string,
uncoated or coated.
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