Ideas for Using Factor Pedals with External Switches

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    • #107474

      In another thread, I started talking with GolfNGuitarz about the lack of a bank down switch on the MF. I thought it might be more appropriate if I started a new thread. I think this really applies to all the Factor pedals. Anyway…

      Yeah, I know what you mean about not being able to bank down without an ext switch. That was also one of my initial concerns before I got the MF. I picked up a Digitech FS-300 to use with mine. While this takes up more room on my pedalboard, I now have switches for presets 1 and 2, bank up and down, brake, and tap.

      I've also got an EB VPJr as an expression pedal and that at least tripled the versatility of the MF. For each preset, I've got the stored values, the values at the heel, and the values at the toe. Since the exp pdl can control multiple parameters, it's like having three presets in one, and being able to morph between them.

      So even though the MF, ext sw, & exp pdl take up some room, I've been able to recreate the sounds of my ADA Flanger, Ross Flanger, Boss CE-2, TC SCF, EH Small Clone, EH Small Stone, MXR Phase 90, MXR Phase 45, and (more-or-less) Fulltone Deja Vibe, all of which were regulars on my pedalboard. And then there's the stuff MF can do that nothing else can, so it's been a very worthwhile trade for me.

      I've also got a TF that I use in a similar setup, with an ext switch and exp pdl. That combination allowed me to swap out my EH DMM, Boss DM-2, Boss DD-5, and Boss RV-5, so again, I saved some space. What I really like about the TF, though, is the tape delays… check out the video on the TF product page from Dave Kilminster on the Roger Waters' The Wall tour. I was fortunate enough to be able to catch the show back in October and was just amazed with the sound, well, the whole experience, but… if the TF is good enough to do that, it's good enough for me… (and then some)

      Also, when performing, I rarely use more than 5 banks. With the exp pdls, that's like having 30 presets for each pedal. Even without a bank down switch, I can pretty quickly get through the banks to get to any preset, and I still feel less like I'm tap-dancing than I was before switching to the Factor pedals.

      And, yeah, I've got a PF, too… what can I say? There's nothing that sounds like an Eventide Harmonizer.

      I've tried several MIDI implementations, too, and what works best for me at the moment is not using MIDI program change, but I've done gigs where this would've been the way to go. Most of what I do now is improvisational, so I like being able to freely select among the presets, but there are definitely benefits to using a single controller to change programs on all the pedals at once. I'm sure that if I ever incorporate my rack effects into my rig (which I've done before), I would definitely be using MIDI program change transmitted from the Factor pedals. The other option would be to use a dedicated MIDI controller, but I feel like the switches on the Factor pedals give me more flexibility at the moment.

      So anyway, I don't think that not having a bank down switch is nearly as much of a limitation as I first thought it would be. I've seen single momentary switches sell for about $5 and I picked up the Digitech FS-300 for about $30. It's smaller than I thought it'd be, which made it much easier to fit into my pedalboard. Obviously, the exp pdls were slightly more expensive, but there are cheaper options that work, too. I've got an old plastic volume pedal that I paid $20 for about 10 years ago and it works just fine (the EBs are much better feeling underfoot, though, and made of metal). Honestly, I think the exp pdl added a lot more to the versatility of these pedals than the ext switches and that's what I'd choose if I had to pick only one.

    • #121201

      Thanks for all of the insights. I am not totally down on MF. I mean, it seems like the right unit for me for the most part. Curious as to whether you run the MF in front of your amp or in the loop. The chorus sounded great in the loop, but the phaser was really a little too prominent for my tastes in the loop. I was trying to figure out how to tame it a bit and get it  sounding more subtle when the problems started.

    • #121202

      Since I got these pedals 6mos-1yr ago, I've had them setup in several different ways. I started using them all before the amp, and they all sounded good there, especially the TF, but the MF, too. I usually use the MF last because I like my echos to be modulated, instead of echoing my modulations, but that depends on what sound I'm trying to get at the moment.

      I also tried running the PF in the loop with the TF >> MF in front of the amp. Got some great sounds that way, too, but some of the more dense echos sometimes confused the PF scale-tracking (understandably). My current configuration goes like this…

      guitar >> (input) Boss NS-2 (send) >> Keeley Compressor >> Morley Bad Horsie >> (in) amp1 (loop send)
      >> (return) NS-2 (out) >> (mono) PF (stereo) >> (stereo) TF (stereo) >> (stereo) MF (stereo)
      >> (loop return) amp1 & (loop return) amp2

      MIDI-wise, I've got TF >> PF >> MF. I'm using the TF as the MIDI CLK source, so it's first MIDI-wise, which is slightly backward from my audio chain.

      Control-wise, I've got 3 Digitech FS-300 triple switches and 3 EB VPJr25ks with one of each plugged into each of the three factors. On the PF, the ext switches control tuner, flex/learn, and bank down. On the TF, they control repeat, tap, and bank down (or record, play, and stop in Looper mode). On the MF, they control tap, brake, and bank down. Mostly, I use the expression pedals to control modulation speed and depth (MF), delay time, mix, and feedback (TF), and pitch or mix (PF), but that really varies by preset and what I want it to do.

      I know what you mean about the phasers not sounding quite right in the loop. It's like putting a compressor in the loop; it does what it's meant to do, but the end product is not quite what you expect as a guitarist. Somewhat strangely, the rotary effects in the MF seem to work better for me in the loop. So, I've ended up spending a lot of time playing around with the phaser settings trying to tame them down a bit. I ended up with passible versions of my Phase 90, Phase 45, Small Stone, and Ross Phaser. Maybe not exactly the same, but close enough that most casual listeners wouldn't notice. I'm still trying to find a better Univibe type sound, and I seem to be getting close, but it doesn't have enough of that 'thump/whump" when it reaches the bottom of the oscillation cycle. If I was recording something that needed a Univibe sounds, I'd probably dig out my DejaVibe, but it's passible in a live situation.

      Also, I think the quality of the phase effect is noticibly better after the V3 update. I think the trick to getting the phase tamed is in the combination between the Intensity and Depth settings. I think there's still room for improvement on this one, and I'm still hoping for the addition of a Univibe-specific option.

      While the following examples seem to be working for me, with my guitar, my amps, and my fingers, and at least for now, you might try some of the following… I use the expression pedal to switch between (slow) and (fast) and when playing, I almost always grab it instantly and tweak until I find what I'm looking for at that instant. So, some of the range of settings, as noted below, may be a little over or underwhelming unless you use values that are in the middle of the range of those settings.

      Phaser: Intensity=45, Type=PhaseXO, Depth=75, Speed= 0.12 (slow) or 7.01 (fast), Shape=Triangle, Xnob=2 (slow) or 6 (fast), DMod=20, SMod=10, ModRate=0.50 (slow) or 0.25 (fast) (I intentionally inverted this setting), ModSource=Random, and Tempo=Off.

      I've also had luck with the Vibrato… very phaser-like. Intensity=50, Type=Retro, Depth=50 (slow) or 25 (fast) (again, intentionally inverted), Speed=1.00 (slow) or 7.01 (fast), Shape=Sine, Xnob=24, DMod=10, SMod=5, ModRate=0.12, ModSource=Random, and Tempo=Off.

      The Leslie is really good, too. Intensity=75, Type=Standard, Depth=0.70 (slow) or 6.92 (fast), Speed= .98 (slow) or 3.73 (fast), Shape=R99/H99, Xnob=45, DMod=36, SMod=36, ModRate=6.14, ModSource=Random, and Tempo=Off.

      In any case, I'm still working on going through my old presets and tweaking them for V3. If you'd like, I can send some others to you once I finish with them either via post or once the new FactorLib is released.

    • #132367

      Thanks again. I am planning on returning my unit this week and coughing up the extra for a brand new unit. I will try those settings out as soon as I can.

    • #132371

      Cool… I hope you like it! One thing, the settings I mentioned are using V3 and it does sound slightly different than V2.4.2, which is what should be on a new pedal. Definitely try the vibrato, too, it sounds more like a phaser to me than the phaser does.

    • #132436

      Well, after another snafu got resolved with GC, my MF (new unit) finally arrived two days ago. I have mostly spent time with it trying to emulate the pedals I want to remove(Boss CE-3, Boss Super Phaser, Digitech Flanger…the basics). Flanger, easy, gone. The Boss Chorus, I have it really close. There is just a little bit of warmth in the Boss pedal that I cannot quite recreate yet. The phaser has been the toughest. Even with your settings(which were really good), I just couldn't get happy with the MF in the loop. It was just too prominent for me when using phaser and flanger. I just felt like I couldn't hear much of the amp anymore(for lack of a better description). For me, right now, I am much happier with the MF in front of the amp where it feels more subtle. I know once I get some more experience with it, I will try the loop again. Also, my Boss phaser has a certain bite/buzz feel to it that I just couldn't recreate in the loop(when using amp distortion). If we could have everything we wanted, it would be nice to be able to send some effects to the loop and some to the front of the amp.

      Anyway, main reasons for getting the MF were to replace pedals and to be able to try out some new effects I have never used before(rotary/leslie/vibrato etc) without buying a bunch of new pedals and to have presets. So, the MF will achieve all of that.

      The one thing I haven't quite tracked down is that on while dialing in these various sounds, I noticed that the MF would kinda reduce the low end vs. bypassed especially when using distortion. It felt like I lost a little thump. I also noticed this on some of the presets as well.

      Still, I am happy with the purchase.

    • #132437

      I know what you mean about having some in front and some in the loop. V3 is, to me, definitely better in the phase department, but there's some subtle distortion being added by having it in front. I've got a Boss Super Phaser, among others, so I know what you mean.

      With the reduced low-end when engaged, I believe ET did that on purpose (I forget the reason why at the moment, though). Actually, I think it emphasizes the high-end, which is perceived as a low-end loss. If you set the MF to DSP bypass and not true bypass, it's much more consistent between bypass and active, which might help you offset it with your amp.

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