Sax effects with amplifiers

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    Default Sax effects with amplifiers

    I've recently become obsessed with Joshua Redman's "noises" in his album Momentum, largely because of the effects produced that complement his sax sound so well (in my opinion).

    One of my favorite effects includes the harmonizing of some melodic lines. At first I thought Redman just layered several tracks with himself playing the different lines, but then I saw him live, and he was able to create that "moving sax chord" sound in person as well. Shameful plug, I think I saw KT Tunstall use it too on Jools Holland. Does anyone know what kind of machinery/pedals are used to harmonize with you as you play?

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    I've just borrowed a TC Helicon voicelive. To say it rocks in this area is an understatement, it can do up to 4 harmonies in any given key, do pitch correction, reverb, delay and thickening, really expensive but reaaallllly good! The first time I worked out how to program it I was looking for the trumpet player next to me!
    Jazz without the blues is like BBQ without the sauce - JL

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    Does anybody use a processor that's less costly than the TC Helicon? I'd be interested in any suggestions and experiences with other units.

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    Quote Originally Posted by SaxPunter
    I've just borrowed a TC Helicon voicelive. To say it rocks in this area is an understatement, it can do up to 4 harmonies in any given key, do pitch correction, reverb, delay and thickening, really expensive but reaaallllly good! The first time I worked out how to program it I was looking for the trumpet player next to me!
    Saxpunter, could you please tell us which specific model TC Helicon you are using? I seem to recall there was a floor-based model, and something else (rack-mounted?).

    Also, I would very much like to hear about which specific songs you have used it with, and also to hear more about your experiences in using it. I have Roland footpedal MIDI controller which I have used to drive additional horns (trombone and trumpet) via my Synth, an approach which has sometimes worked on a couple of songs, but has its limitations. (I am much more nimble at playing lines on the sax, than I am at hitting footpedals with one foot while standing).

    At the risk of a major GAS attack for me, please tell us more about your experience.

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    Hi Harmonizer

    I've just got the midi interface working so I can control it with the vyzor software. The one I have is the rack mount one "voice works" it does have a pedal connection but i dont have the pedal.

    I have been toying with it at home but plan on programming it up in all the keys we play in this week for rehearsal, this way I should be able to just use the jog wheel to move between presets. When I dont want harmony I will just use the nice reverb, it also has a bybass function Programming it on the box is quite tricky but on the PC it is easy.

    The tracks I want to use it on include "treat her right" "leave your hat on" "knock on wood" etc.

    If it's as good as I think it will be I will offer to buy it off my mate - he's a guitarist with really bad GAS.

    Happy to update you next week if you want. Our keyboard player sometimes records so I might be able to get a sample up on myspace.
    Jazz without the blues is like BBQ without the sauce - JL

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    MartinMusic,

    I use a Boss GT-6 I found on Ebay for under $200. It has a good harmonizer function along with a lot of other effects - from wild to subtle. It even has a rudimentary synth function that can make your horn sound like a synth. The Boss ME-50 also has a harmonizer - I'm sure you can find these used for even less or you can still buy them new for just under $300 (http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...sor?sku=151304). I don't know how either one compares to the TC Helicon as I haven't used one. I suspect they're not as good but they're also a lot less expensive.

    These are both technically guitar effects pedals but they'll work well with sax as well.

    It's funny SaxPunter mentioned "Leave your Hat on", I'm working on the same thing with my harmonizer with my current band.
    Just play what the voices in your head tell you to ...

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    Okay, so I am interested in the idea of recording with some effects but know basically nothing about it. I have a simple looper pedal that someone gave me but my understanding is that to use it I need to feed the sax sound into it with a mic and cable and then feed the output of the looper to an amp of some kind. I doubt that it will work through my old stereo preamp and speakers because that has only RCA plugs so I am looking at small amps that weigh very little so I could use them at home, and at a gig to feed into the main board or not, as needed. Does any of this match what is needed to achieve these purposes?

    For the amp I'm looking at the Roland Micro-1 which is very lightweight and not too expensive but seems to have many features to control the sound output. Is this a good one do you think, even though it is small. Do I even need an amp with speakers at all or can I just get an effects board and feed that into my computer to have the sound come out of the speakers I use with that? I imagine that that is not the best sound quality however, so the question is what can I use that won't cost an arm and a leg and which can be used both at home to record and on a gig to play live, either as a personal monitor for me or with the looper or/and an effects pedal like a chorus pedal to get some different sounds to what I play? Can both these types of effects be used together...the looper and the chorus? The guitar shredders I play with all have anywhere from 6 to a dozen effects pedals so I know they are not limited to just one type, but I don't think that they use them all at once.....or do they? Is that why they're so friggin loud all the time, or is that just a simple lack of sensitivity to volume, i.e., they're friggin deaf? ("This one goes to 25.")

    Regarding the chorus pedals, I see that they have them for guitars, bass and for vocalists and I read on one site that while the guitar chorus pedals work okay, the better choice is a vocalist's one which the signal from the mic is fed through. Is this true?

    Also what is a good chorus pedal that will play harmonies or chords, but doesn't cost an arm and a leg? Are these the best effects type pedals to have for sax or is there another type or types that is/are better?

    The last question is about how the sax sounds played onstage through a mic fed into one of these gadgets as opposed to how they work with guitars. Since a sax is acoustic and not electronic it's sound doesn't only go through an output cable and so the actual unaltered sound of the horn still comes out of the tone-holes and bell. How does that fit in/match/work with the altered sounds coming out of the speakers? Is there a problem that needs to be controlled or that sounds strange or is it negligible and not a problem?

    Any help anyone can give will be greatly appreciated.
    'How far y'all going?' Ruby asked us with a sigh.
    'We're going all the way 'till the wheels fall off and burn.
    Till the sun peels the paint and the seat covers fade and the water moccasin dies'.

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    I have a Helicon Voicelive, like this http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-a...voicelive-play really neat, I like the reverb, and the "chorus" which you can do 1 or 2 voices, loose or tight etc. A lot of choices for harmonizing, octave plus or minus or semitones, etc. A lot of other effects but I only stick with the reverb and soft chorus, maybe some harmonizer. I found out that the upper harmony sounds better live, but you can dial each level of effects anyway, so its fine. I used it a lot for church band.

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    Quote Originally Posted by SaxPunter View Post
    I've just borrowed a TC Helicon voicelive. To say it rocks in this area is an understatement, it can do up to 4 harmonies in any given key, do pitch correction, reverb, delay and thickening, really expensive but reaaallllly good! The first time I worked out how to program it I was looking for the trumpet player next to me!
    Okay I have been watching this space for along time, and its becoming hot ! SaxPunter can you tell me more about this TC Helicon ? I am very keen to make a purchase, and use an effects rig like this at some select gigs. In fact I am doing a tribute to a landmark album at a major festival near home, and I think something liek this would put me over the top ? Can you help me ?

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Is All View Post
    Okay, so I am interested in the idea of recording with some effects but know basically nothing about it. I have a simple looper pedal that someone gave me but my understanding is that to use it I need to feed the sax sound into it with a mic and cable and then feed the output of the looper to an amp of some kind. I doubt that it will work through my old stereo preamp and speakers because that has only RCA plugs so I am looking at small amps that weigh very little so I could use them at home, and at a gig to feed into the main board or not, as needed. Does any of this match what is needed to achieve these purposes?

    For the amp I'm looking at the Roland Micro-1 which is very lightweight and not too expensive but seems to have many features to control the sound output. Is this a good one do you think, even though it is small. Do I even need an amp with speakers at all or can I just get an effects board and feed that into my computer to have the sound come out of the speakers I use with that? I imagine that that is not the best sound quality however, so the question is what can I use that won't cost an arm and a leg and which can be used both at home to record and on a gig to play live, either as a personal monitor for me or with the looper or/and an effects pedal like a chorus pedal to get some different sounds to what I play? Can both these types of effects be used together...the looper and the chorus? The guitar shredders I play with all have anywhere from 6 to a dozen effects pedals so I know they are not limited to just one type, but I don't think that they use them all at once.....or do they? Is that why they're so friggin loud all the time, or is that just a simple lack of sensitivity to volume, i.e., they're friggin deaf? ("This one goes to 25.")

    Regarding the chorus pedals, I see that they have them for guitars, bass and for vocalists and I read on one site that while the guitar chorus pedals work okay, the better choice is a vocalist's one which the signal from the mic is fed through. Is this true?

    Also what is a good chorus pedal that will play harmonies or chords, but doesn't cost an arm and a leg? Are these the best effects type pedals to have for sax or is there another type or types that is/are better?

    The last question is about how the sax sounds played onstage through a mic fed into one of these gadgets as opposed to how they work with guitars. Since a sax is acoustic and not electronic it's sound doesn't only go through an output cable and so the actual unaltered sound of the horn still comes out of the tone-holes and bell. How does that fit in/match/work with the altered sounds coming out of the speakers? Is there a problem that needs to be controlled or that sounds strange or is it negligible and not a problem?

    Any help anyone can give will be greatly appreciated.
    You just need a two quarter inch (dual mono) cable to RCA. It'll work. But an amp is a better choice for a couple different reasons. That's assuming your looper pedal has stereo outputs.
    Don't do drugs. Do Overtones.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGPySDpoSiY

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    A good way to amplify and add effects for live or studio use, is an amp with a low impedance input, like an xlr input, that has an effects loop (an IN and an OUT effects jack). Many acoustic amps, and acoustic guitar amps have both today. You run your favorite effects thru the loop, and the signal is handled properly without all the confusion of setting up a pedal board, levels, impedance mismatches, lost grounds, etc. This also allows you to properly use products marketed for guitar, vocal, keys, etc. Some amps will also have onboard effects. I've found onboard effects tend to limiting. The best effects are either pedal or processor based. Reverb, delay, and chorus effects can be had separately and linked/chained into the effects loop, or there are combined floor units like a Vox Stomp Lab, Digitech and Boss make multi-effects units as well. Pro's will go with separate effects, because they are usually the best. You can easily spend $300 each on the best reverb, delay and chorus effects. Likewise, the TC Helicon is really expensive, but its one of the few harmonizers that works.

    I patch together a rig from existing gear: low impedance dynamic mic into an impedance transformer into a Cube 80XL which has onboard effects. The onboard delay and reverb are decent. The chorus is too weak for a sax imo. I've got an acoustic amp that takes a dynamic (XLR) mic directly, but its effects are even weaker, so I run a delay pedal in its effects loop.

    I'd recommend a multi-effects unit < $100 to experiment. I think the Vox has a harmonizer also called an octave chorus, octaver and virtually all other common effects. And look for an amp with an effects loop and low impedance (XLR) input. Lots, and lots of options...
    Best, Jim

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    Quote Originally Posted by littlewailer View Post
    You just need a two quarter inch (dual mono) cable to RCA. It'll work. But an amp is a better choice for a couple different reasons. That's assuming your looper pedal has stereo outputs.
    Stereo outputs for the Stereo pre-amp or for the Roland micro? My pre-amp has RCA inputs for Aux that are for stereo (L & R channels) so why wouldn't that work? And I thought the guitar amps like this Micro are mono because it only has one input plug for the cable that comes from the guitar or pedal or mic. Can you clarify this for me please as I'm afraid I'm a bit of a dunce on electronic stuff as I have never done anything other than trip over guitar cables on stage and I have usually avoided them at all cost. Now it seems I want to become one of these guys. From neanderthal to geek in one lifetime. LOL.
    'How far y'all going?' Ruby asked us with a sigh.
    'We're going all the way 'till the wheels fall off and burn.
    Till the sun peels the paint and the seat covers fade and the water moccasin dies'.

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    Hey, thanks arkinet, that sounds great. I checked it out and it has lots of great sounding features and since it has a built in looper I can sell the one I have. I have a Ditto looper which is basically brand new that I got for a good price from another guy. So selling it will help offset the cost of the Voicelive. The thing I still don't understand is what I need to feed it into at home. I see that I can plug it into my Mac to download new presets but can I feed the sounds from it into the Mac to come out the speakers? Can it play through an ordinary stereo or do I need to buy a small guitar amp like the Roland Micro that I mentioned? I am guessing that at a gig I can just feed it into the main sound board that controls the PA or do I have to plug it into one of the amps that the guitarists and bassists use? I'm totally lost on that front.

    As to mics, what kind do you use? The Helicon TC 75 is not cheap. It does have switches that control the operation of the Voicelive, which seems nifty for singers, but a sax player has his hands busy already so that is of no utility. No doubt there is a pedal controller that does the same for not too much dough. And of course it's a large vocal mic and not a clip-on so seems limited as I would need a stand for it. I was looking at the T-Bone Ovid clip on package for sax and the price is not too high, but I have no idea how good it is. I'm sure there are other brands that are much better but they all seem to go for over 3 bills.

    Any ideas?

    BTW, has anyone ever told you that your SOTW alias sounds like a name straight of the Lord Of The Rings? There was the Arkenstone that Thorin the heir to the dwarf throne was looking for. You don't happen to have it do you?
    'How far y'all going?' Ruby asked us with a sigh.
    'We're going all the way 'till the wheels fall off and burn.
    Till the sun peels the paint and the seat covers fade and the water moccasin dies'.

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Is All View Post
    Stereo outputs for the Stereo pre-amp or for the Roland micro? My pre-amp has RCA inputs for Aux that are for stereo (L & R channels) so why wouldn't that work? And I thought the guitar amps like this Micro are mono because it only has one input plug for the cable that comes from the guitar or pedal or mic. Can you clarify this for me please as I'm afraid I'm a bit of a dunce on electronic stuff as I have never done anything other than trip over guitar cables on stage and I have usually avoided them at all cost. Now it seems I want to become one of these guys. From neanderthal to geek in one lifetime. LOL.
    Yeah, into your hi-fi stereo.

    The cable would have one end with 2 quarter inch cables and the other end is rca. You can also sometimes use a regular Y cable and a stereo adapter (headphone 3.5mm to quarter inch stereo) together.

    I used to do that (both methods) when I was bringing my electronics to my friends house and I didn't want to bring any speakers.
    Don't do drugs. Do Overtones.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGPySDpoSiY

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    Quote Originally Posted by musekatcher View Post
    A good way to amplify and add effects for live or studio use, is an amp with a low impedance input, like an xlr input, that has an effects loop (an IN and an OUT effects jack). Many acoustic amps, and acoustic guitar amps have both today. You run your favorite effects thru the loop, and the signal is handled properly without all the confusion of setting up a pedal board, levels, impedance mismatches, lost grounds, etc. This also allows you to properly use products marketed for guitar, vocal, keys, etc. Some amps will also have onboard effects. I've found onboard effects tend to limiting. The best effects are either pedal or processor based. Reverb, delay, and chorus effects can be had separately and linked/chained into the effects loop, or there are combined floor units like a Vox Stomp Lab, Digitech and Boss make multi-effects units as well. Pro's will go with separate effects, because they are usually the best. You can easily spend $300 each on the best reverb, delay and chorus effects. Likewise, the TC Helicon is really expensive, but its one of the few harmonizers that works.

    I patch together a rig from existing gear: low impedance dynamic mic into an impedance transformer into a Cube 80XL which has onboard effects. The onboard delay and reverb are decent. The chorus is too weak for a sax imo. I've got an acoustic amp that takes a dynamic (XLR) mic directly, but its effects are even weaker, so I run a delay pedal in its effects loop.

    I'd recommend a multi-effects unit < $100 to experiment. I think the Vox has a harmonizer also called an octave chorus, octaver and virtually all other common effects. And look for an amp with an effects loop and low impedance (XLR) input. Lots, and lots of options...
    This is very helpful too, so thank you musekatcher. About the low impedance business, I'm a bit lost. Is a low impedance mic a typical voice mic one finds on stands at gigs (shure, etc.) and how is it better than a high impedance one....whatever that is or if there is even one? Are clip-ons like the T-Bone Ovid the same type of mic too or some other creature? And do you need the impedance transformer to change the impedance to high before it goes into the Cube? And what will happen if you don't use that but just plug the mic in directly? Are electric guitars high impedance and mics low? Is that the reason?

    Here is the Roland Micro Cube I'm considering. It isn't that expensive yet it seems to have some effects like the ones you've mentioned. But I can't tell if the input is low or high impedance. Do you know?

    https://www.amazon.com/Roland-Batter...cro+cube&psc=1


    And here is the T-Bone Ovid clip on mic for saxophone. Anything you might know about it would be really useful and greatly appreciated, as is everything you and the other guys are helping me with.

    https://www.thomann.de/gb/the_tbone_...f=search_prv_3

    https://www.thomann.de/gb/the_tbone_...sax_bundle.htm
    'How far y'all going?' Ruby asked us with a sigh.
    'We're going all the way 'till the wheels fall off and burn.
    Till the sun peels the paint and the seat covers fade and the water moccasin dies'.

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    Quote Originally Posted by littlewailer View Post
    Yeah, into your hi-fi stereo.

    The cable would have one end with 2 quarter inch cables and the other end is rca. You can also sometimes use a regular Y cable and a stereo adapter (headphone 3.5mm to quarter inch stereo) together.

    I used to do that (both methods) when I was bringing my electronics to my friends house and I didn't want to bring any speakers.
    Hey thanks man. I appreciate it. Gonna try it tomorrow. Also I like you Sig about overtones instead of drugs. I play lots of overtones these days, particularly at the improvisational jam I play at a lot. The more I do them the better I get at them and they sure feel great. Even when you get it wrong it often surprises you and comes out good anyway.....LOL....(Monk's I played the wrong wrong note comes to mind here).



    Of course I should be honest and admit I sometimes have smoked some weed outside with some of the other players during the break and so I was getting high on top of being .......errrrr......high........but hey, I was cooooooooool! *

    * I only smoke for medicinal purposes, of course.
    'How far y'all going?' Ruby asked us with a sigh.
    'We're going all the way 'till the wheels fall off and burn.
    Till the sun peels the paint and the seat covers fade and the water moccasin dies'.

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Is All View Post
    Hey, thanks arkinet, that sounds great. I checked it out and it has lots of great sounding features and since it has a built in looper I can sell the one I have. I have a Ditto looper which is basically brand new that I got for a good price from another guy. So selling it will help offset the cost of the Voicelive. The thing I still don't understand is what I need to feed it into at home. I see that I can plug it into my Mac to download new presets but can I feed the sounds from it into the Mac to come out the speakers? Can it play through an ordinary stereo or do I need to buy a small guitar amp like the Roland Micro that I mentioned? I am guessing that at a gig I can just feed it into the main sound board that controls the PA or do I have to plug it into one of the amps that the guitarists and bassists use? I'm totally lost on that front.

    As to mics, what kind do you use? The Helicon TC 75 is not cheap. It does have switches that control the operation of the Voicelive, which seems nifty for singers, but a sax player has his hands busy already so that is of no utility. No doubt there is a pedal controller that does the same for not too much dough. And of course it's a large vocal mic and not a clip-on so seems limited as I would need a stand for it. I was looking at the T-Bone Ovid clip on package for sax and the price is not too high, but I have no idea how good it is. I'm sure there are other brands that are much better but they all seem to go for over 3 bills.

    Any ideas?

    BTW, has anyone ever told you that your SOTW alias sounds like a name straight of the Lord Of The Rings? There was the Arkenstone that Thorin the heir to the dwarf throne was looking for. You don't happen to have it do you?
    Theres 1 mic in and stereo out, left and right. You can plug it in on any amp with an xlr in, if not use the xlr to 1/4 adaptor. I've been using the N/D 468 dynamic mic, so far I like it. Connecting to pc for recording or just fun stuff I use Blue Icicle xlr to usb like this http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-a...ter-mic-preamp

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Is All View Post
    This is very helpful too, so thank you musekatcher. About the low impedance business, I'm a bit lost. Is a low impedance mic a typical voice mic one finds on stands at gigs (shure, etc.) and how is it better than a high impedance one....whatever that is or if there is even one? Are clip-ons like the T-Bone Ovid the same type of mic too or some other creature? And do you need the impedance transformer to change the impedance to high before it goes into the Cube? And what will happen if you don't use that but just plug the mic in directly? Are electric guitars high impedance and mics low? Is that the reason?

    Here is the Roland Micro Cube I'm considering. It isn't that expensive yet it seems to have some effects like the ones you've mentioned. But I can't tell if the input is low or high impedance. Do you know?

    https://www.amazon.com/Roland-Batter...cro+cube&psc=1


    And here is the T-Bone Ovid clip on mic for saxophone. Anything you might know about it would be really useful and greatly appreciated, as is everything you and the other guys are helping me with.

    https://www.thomann.de/gb/the_tbone_...f=search_prv_3

    https://www.thomann.de/gb/the_tbone_...sax_bundle.htm
    Yes, typical vocal hand held mics like Shure SM58s and all the clones are low impedance, like 100-200 ohms, so most vocal amps, PA's and such have an input impedance around 1000 ohms. You generally want about a 10 to 1 ratio. Electric guitars are around 5000 to 10000 ohms, so guitar amps have input impedances around 50,000 to 100,000 ohms. And piezo pickups like for guitars have impedances around 1,000,000 ohms, so acoustic amps and pre-amps run 1M ohms to 10M ohms. And then their are acoustic amps that have two channels, one for an instrument like a guitar, and the other for a mic to deal with the different impedance needs.

    I've got a Micro Cube. Pretty amazing for the size. You can run a mic straight into it, but the tone may be brittle and thin sounding thanks to the impedance mismatch. A impedance matcher would help, but I wouldn't bother with a Microcube - the speaker is too small to replicate the low end of a sax very well anyway, which may not be important for your application.

    You can get a passive impedance transformer like the Hosa MIT-129 for $15. I'm using a Hosa MIT-176 impedance transformer to feed a mic into the big brother Cube 80XL.

    Another option is to get a small personal PA. It will have inputs for vocal mics, and instruments. The Kustom PA50 might be an option too, but no effects:

    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-a...onal-pa-system

    Some research would probably identify a personal PA that has both instrument and vocal channels, plus effects in a single box.
    Best, Jim

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Is All View Post
    Okay, so I am interested in the idea of recording with some effects ...

    Also what is a good chorus pedal that will play harmonies or chords, but doesn't cost an arm and a leg?
    of course, most DAWs come with built in plugs that include all kind of great effects. though lately i've been playing with a couple of Moog external pedals. the Minifooger Chorus is not overly expensive, rich sounding, and capable of subtle to mind melting. my trick is to simply record on mic straight into the DAC and get a good, basic track. i then play that track back into the DAC and into the pedal, which i can control as i put it back into the DAC and record another track, the one i use in my mix.

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    Default Re: Sax effects with amplifiers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Is All View Post

    * I only smoke for medicinal purposes, of course.
    A little dab'll do ya.
    Don't do drugs. Do Overtones.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGPySDpoSiY

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