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ElKrukador

HX Stomp In-Z with OD Pedals

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I picked up an HX Stomp to serve as the centerpiece of a small board I'm working on and I absolutely love it so far.  I've used the M13 with a few external stomps on gigs for the last 10-12 years and this unit is for most of my purposes a much smaller and more flexible version of that.  

 

So far, I'm trying to run two cheap OD pedals that I really like and use a lot with my band--both are by Caline--the Pure Sky and Orange Burst respectively in front of the HX Stomp.  On their own, these cheap true-bypass pedals can create a decently heavy popping sound when engaged/disengaged.  This seems to greatly vary based on the amp/environment.  

 

At two separate band practices at different locations, however, these pops became ridiculously loud and thunderous--to the point that they left an almost... static like echo in my signal that was only remedied by turning off the amp and unplugging the HX Stomp and my pedal board.  This was relatively disturbing and caused me to take everything apart and check all the cords--the problem seems to not happen anymore with home testing, but will have to confirm at higher volumes this week.  

 

All that said, I started messing around with the In-Z setting out of curiosity and found that the lowest 3-4 settings (10k, 32k, etc.) majorly serve to lower the intensity of these pops to the point that they are WAY more usable.  The 1M setting (which seems to me to be what Auto often results in) creates the harshest and most insane pop from the Orange Burst pedal (which is positioned directly in front of the Stomp).  

 

The 10k setting certainly seems a little darker and less distinct than the higher settings, but I feel like I could use other settings to compensate for this tonal difference.  Are there any negatives to taking this approach?  Does this have anything to do with the output from the Orange Burst needing to match the In-Z for HX Stomp?  I didn't find ANY mention of this kind of thing on the forum, but there were many In-Z discussions with the Helix that seemed unrelated to this particular issue.  At the very least I could use 10k on presets of songs where I'm engaging the Orange Burst and avoid it on tunes where I don't use it, but part of me would just like for it to be the same across the board just to ensure that stepping on the pedal isn't going to create insane noises or a complete noise disaster.  Thanks for any advice or help anyone can provide!   

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Anything that isn't repairing the obviously malfunctioning equipment is a (poor) bandaid to the situation. If they are truly true-bypass pedals changing the input impedance will change how the first thing in the stomp "sees" your guitar signal at the input. Whether or not you can compensate for it with EQ/gain/etc is up to your ear, but it seems like with the blocks you'd use to adjust for your crappy pedals, you could just find something close in the stomp and not have to deal with the obviously broken/malfunctioning pedals.

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22 hours ago, ElKrukador said:

At the very least I could use 10k on presets of songs where I'm engaging the Orange Burst and avoid it on tunes where I don't use it, but part of me would just like for it to be the same across the board just to ensure that stepping on the pedal isn't going to create insane noises or a complete noise disaster.  Thanks for any advice or help anyone can provide!   

 

You found a creative solution to mitigate what was happening. Nice job on that.


However, you do somewhat answer your own question. Whatever you do to fix the problem, if you decide to keep the pedals there is no magic default setting that will work short of deciding to create ALL your presets with that manually adjusted the Z setting like you did.  From your own experience, the pedals react uniquely to all sorts of amps and gear, and since the Stomp is a very complex little pedal designed to mimic a huge variety of types of gear, some settings will work well with your pedals, and some won't. Only you can know what those are and ensure your settings are always setup for it. 

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Thanks for the responses--really appreciate the advice!

 

I think I may have oversold how bad these distortions are.  I'm rather new to the pedal board part of guitar playing.  Over the years I've heard a lot of pedals make a dull popping noise when engaged.  Both these distortions seem to do that--but I've used them effectively in gigging situations for the past two years and other than making a noise, they work great.  From what I've read on the subject, this isn't particularly uncommon with pedals at all sorts of price ranges--though the solutions usually involve altering the pedal which I'm not particularly interested in doing with inexpensive pedals.

 

That said, this led me to investigate further and I've determined that ONLY the Caline Orange Burst pops when hooked up by itself.  While the other 3 are virtually silent.  Unfortunately, when chained, it seems the Orange Burst can add a larger pop to the other pedals as well.  

 

I guess what I was really wondering was what the disadvantages of running patches at an In-Z of 10k to compensate for this pop might be.  At this point, I intend on replacing the Orange Burst with something similar that doesn't pop because it's a 30 dollar pedal and it seems silly to work so hard to work around it, but this is all a big learning experience for me.  So since this distortion is signature to a handful of solos with my band, I'm going to at least try to workaround it for our show next week.  For now, for songs that require this distortion, I'll use 10k as the In-Z and on other patches, I'll just use Auto and make sure I don't engage the distortion.  

 

The other aspect of this I'm curious about is whether or not the In-Z setting should ever be changed based on the pedals in front of the Stomp.  I watched a very interesting video on how the Helix Arbitrator fuzz model sounds a lot more usable at an In-Z setting of 10k (and whole-heartedly agreed after my own experiments)--but wasn't sure if this would be the same case with external pedals running in front of the stomp.  I'm assuming based on what I've read that the higher In-Z settings are generally preferred, but since it's something I can set patch by patch, I'm curious about how to best use it.  Thanks again for the help and knowledge! 

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3 hours ago, ElKrukador said:

I guess what I was really wondering was what the disadvantages of running patches at an In-Z of 10k to compensate for this pop might be . . .  I'm curious about is whether or not the In-Z setting should ever be changed based on the pedals in front of the Stomp.  I watched a very interesting video on how the Helix Arbitrator fuzz model sounds a lot more usable at an In-Z setting of 10k (and whole-heartedly agreed after my own experiments)--but wasn't sure if this would be the same case with external pedals running in front of the stomp.  I'm assuming based on what I've read that the higher In-Z settings are generally preferred, but since it's something I can set patch by patch, I'm curious about how to best use it.  Thanks again for the help and knowledge! 

 

In my opinion, a lot of people obsess over the impedance circuit far more than it really warrants. Most of the time I leave it to auto. My tone is crafted elsewhere. I think it works great. Some people raise it to the ceiling and love it, some people lower it and love it. Some people do a little of everything.

 

Ultimately it's just another parameter and as you noticed with the Arbitrator fuzz, it does seem to sound best at 10k in some situations . Is there any harm in setting it at that lower level? Not really . . . as long as you like it. Generally speaking (and I'm riffing straight from the manual here) lower numbers reduce some of the higher frequencies, gain, and lead to a softer feel. Higher values give more frequency range, higher gain, tighter feel.

 

All of those generalizations are irrelevant though if one you manually increase the impedance, or set it to auto, and there is a loud popping rendering the whole thing unusable. I personally think there are enough other options within the Stomp to impact gain, tightness, etc., and so if I have to mess with the impedance to make a pedal I love work then I will. That's why the parameter is there for me, and there's no need to lose sleep over it.

 

Bottom line is - as long as you LOVE the tone that comes from using that pedal with the Stomp, if you have to lower the impedance to make it work every single time - DO IT - no biggie.

 

The first law of sound design still applies - if it sounds great it is great.

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@Kilrahi Thanks a lot--your replies have been very helpful and insightful!  I think for me, having SO many options for adjusting tone can get a little overwhelming--but ultimately, I'm learning that there are many differing pathways to getting to the sound I want--and I couldn't agree more with the sentiment of sounds great = is great.  I've never shied away from using my music equipment in unconventional ways in the past, but after being somewhat amazed at the depth of Helix modeling knowledge found here in the forums and on YouTube, I'm also sort of putting myself through the paces of learning what experienced sound-crafters consider conventional.  It's been very enlightening and helpful so far.

 

I'll need to test my presets at live band volumes tomorrow, but after setting up some of the patches with the 10k setting, I'm really not bothered by the difference through my practice amp or headphones thus far when compared to the majority that are still in In-z "auto."  It is interesting to me that a lot of the editing I do on the default settings when using the "auto" In-z is geared towards lowering some of the unruly high end/fizzy harshness and that the lower In-z settings allow for somewhat of a darker starting point.  I guess in general it makes more sense to start with a brighter sound and pull away from it than trying to pile brightness back on, but it's pretty cool to have both avenues available. 

 

For the crazier harsher distortions at least (such as the aforementioned Aribitrator Fuzz--and tonight I had a similar experience with the Triangle Fuzz) starting from the darker spot is giving me easier access to usable tones that I just wasn't able to quite find from the other approach.  I'm hoping this will serve as good training wheels into finally feeling OK about throwing in some digital distortions when appropriate.  I never was able to truly successfully utilize the distortions on the M13 because of their general harshness and less tweaking options being available, but already have reeled in a couple models on the Stomp to places I feel good about.  I'm not quite ready to abandon my analog distortions yet, but it's nice to have a few more crayons in the box!  

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