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New Pedal Day: First Impressions Of Source Audio Orbital Modulator

Discussion in 'Bass Pedals, Effects & Preamps' started by Bassist4Eris, Jan 25, 2018.

  1. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris

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    This pedal does pretty much all modulation types: chorus, flanger, and phaser, and gives you several flavors of each type to choose from. You can only save two presets, but I only use two mod pedals anyway. It seemed to me that if I could get a decent chorus programmed to one footswitch, and a decent phaser on the other, I could swap out two pedals for one, freeing up space for another goodie.

    The phaser was the quickest for me to dial in. I've been very loyal to the humble Boss PH-3 for years now, really enjoying its 10-stage setting. But I quickly found a 12-stage phaser setting on the Orbital that puts the Boss to shame, at least in my living room. We'll see how it fares in the mix next week at rehearsal.

    The chorus was trickier to dial in. To be blunt, this thing does not have a good chorus hiding in it, at least that I could find. All the chorus settings I tried sounded harsh and unmusical when A/B'd with my MXR Chorus (and I am not in love with the MXR by any means). I was about to give up when I ventured over into flanger land. I'm not 100% convinced just yet, but I'm thinking I might like the "zero thru" flanger setting on this baby better than I like my MXR chorus for the bass lines I normally use chorus on. So there's hope. Again, the mix will be the final judge, but I'm hopeful I can make this thing work for me.

    One neat feature that this pedal has is a "mod source" selector knob. This lets you choose between sine and square waves LFOs, or modulation can even be based on the envelope, something like the Pigtronix Envelope Phaser. I found a setting under the "classic" mode (an alleged cross between chorus and flanger) that could easily stand in for an envelope filter in a pinch.

    @ectoflanger currently has a tremolo thread going, and I promised him a report on this unit's tremolo capabilities. I'm not blown away, to be honest. It doesn't have a tremolo setting per se, but a tremolo parameter. So generally you get your tremolo paired with another effect. The instructions manual does show a setting for a straight tremolo sound, but it's pretty subtle. I was hoping for a wider range of volume fluctuation. It would be cool if it could go from completely silent to full volume, but it doesn't come close to that. I was really hoping one could use the envelope modulation in conjunction with the tremolo to make a Boss Slow Gear type of effect, but alas, it was not to be.

    Again, these are just first impressions from my living room. I'll post again as my opinions evolve. A pedal this complex is bound to give up its secrets slowly.
     
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  2. ectoflanger

    ectoflanger Supporting Member

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    To be honest I’ve never liked the results using either a chorus or flanger with a bass. But the MXR Phase 90 (or any phaser) rocks- the reason being is that it works via phase delay/frequency as opposed to the flanger’s working by time delay.

    If you haven’t tried one - I recommend the old school MXR 90 (with the cursive script). That’s how Anthony Jackson got that cool sound on The Love of Money.
     
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  3. jester

    jester ocdemon Moderator

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    Care to explain what "based on the envelope" means? What is the envelope? As you can probably tell, I 'm clueless about modulation effects.
     
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  4. ectoflanger

    ectoflanger Supporting Member

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    It’s the threshold when an effect kicks in- for the example an envelope filter only filters set frequencies (like s low pass or high pass filter) as set by a variable potentiometer or capacitor-
     
  5. ectoflanger

    ectoflanger Supporting Member

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    It’s also term used with synthesizers
     
  6. ectoflanger

    ectoflanger Supporting Member

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    Unless it’s third class- sorry, my smartass envelope parameter was slightly exceeded—;)
     
  7. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris

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    In general I like chorus for "pretty" parts, and phaser for funky parts. They both sound good with slap bass, IMHO. I'm not much of a flanger guy, but I did have an MXR flanger in place of my chorus for awhile.

    I always wanted to ty the "script" Phase 90, but never got the chance. I've tried the "block" Phase 90, but didn't like it as well as the Boss PH-3. But I heard the script was superior to the block.

    Basically it means that the effect follows the attack and decay of your note. A lot of times you'll hear auto-wahs called "envelope filters" for this reason. The filter sweep is tied to the volume of your signal, so as you hit the string, the filter opens up, and as the note decays, it closes. This creates that wah-wah sound you hear in funk tunes sometimes. Or, if you're a deadhead, it's a sound you'll recognize from Jerry's guitar solos.
     
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  8. ectoflanger

    ectoflanger Supporting Member

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    Well the script 90 sounds like the bass on For the Love of Money- sounded pretty with the Steinberger XL25A.

    Now they make a new one based on the original circuitry so you don’t have to shop for a vintage one-
     
  9. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris

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    I just got done playing around a bit more, and at this point I still like the MXR Chorus better than anything I'm getting out of the Orbital in terms of a chorus or flanger. Comparing the two, the MXR has a warmth and musicality that just screams "analog", while the Orbital is screaming "digital".

    I do really like the Orbital's phaser, though. It would be ironic if the only thing this pedal purchase accomplished was to replace a pedal I thought I was satisfied with.

    It does mean that I could save that second footswitch for more experimental sounds, though....
     
  10. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris

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    Here are a couple of sound samples. First is a demonstration of the phaser sound I dialed in yesterday. This riff is from a work in progress I call "Uncle Lester". (The link should bring up an audio player.)

    Dropbox - Uncle Lester with Phaser.mp3

    And here is an attempt at recreating the "envelope flanger" I had described in the fourth paragraph of post #1. This the main riff from another work in progress called "After Hours".

    Dropbox - After Hours riff with Envelope Flanger.mp3
     
  11. jester

    jester ocdemon Moderator

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    All I can say is that the pedal sounds really "hi-fi". Which is a big plus imho.
     
  12. XXL

    XXL

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    Yeah I haven’t bonded with any of the Source Audio pedals I’ve owned.
    Gave em shot but there was just something missing to me.
    Really like the Mobius for all my modulation needs these days... it’s digital but sounds better or just as good as other analog pedals. Amazing pedal!
     
  13. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris

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    Yeah, I kind of feel the same way. This is my third one. I also have the Bass Multiwave Distortion and the Bass Envelope Filter.

    I do really like the phaser sound in this thing, though. I may just set up two different phasers in it.

    Right now I've been messing with an envelope phaser setting, trying to emulate the Pigtronix Envelope Phaser.

    Here's a fingerstyle riff. I'm playing with exaggerated dynamics to test the responsiveness of the effect: Dropbox - After Hours riff with Envelope Phaser.mp3

    And a slap riff: Dropbox - Criticality riff w Envelope Phaser.mp3
     
  14. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris

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    Well, I made it official today and put it on the pedalboard in place of the Boss PH-3. Feels like the end of an era.

    Just one more criticism of the Orbital is in order, though. One thing I was having trouble with was some loud electronic popping from the footswitches, even though they're the "soft switch" type. This would also typically be accompanied by the pedal malfunctioning for a few seconds and putting out some truly strange sounds. The pedal has a feature that lets you switch between true bypass and buffered. I switched it to buffered and it solved the problem. But still.
     
  15. JamHandy

    JamHandy

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    Just got this pedal and... it has a wicked very loud "POP" everytime I engage either of the switches... anyone else conquered this about the Orbital Modulator?
     
  16. JamHandy

    JamHandy

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    I found these instruction for flipping back and forth between true bypass and buffered bypass in the Orbital Modulator manual (page 25):

    "By default, the Soundblox 2 Orbital Modulator is set to use the relay based true bypass. To switch the pedal to buffered bypass press and hold the right footswitch when powering up the pedal. Continue to hold the footswitch until the corresponding LED blinks 3 times. The pedal is now in buffered bypass. To switch back to true bypass, replicate this process with the left footswitch."

    After doing what is told above with the RIGHT footswitch, and still getting the "POP" I tried doing this with the LEFT footswitch, and finally... no more pop.

    From their Orbital Modulator web site, then hovering over "SUPPORT" (upper right) then clicking "FAQ", then on that page, clicking "FACTORY RESET AND PRESET BACKUP" I found this info about the same switch hold and power up:

    "Factory Reset
    Perform a factory reset by holding down the right footswitch while plugging in the power supply."

    So I assume if you had some kind of cool presets before you switch it from true bypass to buffered bypass and vice versa, your presets are now gone. This in mind, you might want to first follow the "Preset Backup" instructions using the Neuro Desktop Editor (a free download elsewhere on their web site):

    "Preset Backup
    Performing a factory reset will erase all of the user presets that have been saved to the pedal. If you would like to back up the pedal's presets beforehand, connect the pedal to the Neuro Desktop Editor with a mini USB cable. Once connected, the pedal will be shown in the left margin of the editor. Select any portion of the blue rectangle. Next, from the top menu, select Device//Create Device Backup. In the following window, give the backup file a title, and save it to a convenient location, such as the desktop. Once the factory reset has been performed, the device backup file can be loaded back onto the pedal by selecting from the top menu, Device//Load Device Backup."


    Here's the link (10-11-19) to the Neuro Desktop Editor free dowload:
    Editors & Firmware

    --------------------------------------------

    Whereas viewing YouTube demos on this pedal it seemed like it would be fairly intuitive to get right to all the different modulation effects. It is actually very confusing and nothing intuitive at all. IMHO its rather over-engineered and doesn't easily switch from one effect to the other. I thought the "Effect Knob" would simply switch between each different advertised and labeled effect, but there is a lot of butt time, manual reading time, and head scratching time involved with trying to get decent sounds out of this thing. As a first impression I am very disappointed. This also my first blind purchase of a Source Audio product. I am usually a stickler for in-store test drives before buying. This is a great example of why. I have also been viewing vids on the Nemesis Delay and the Ventris Reverb. If they are as difficult to get sounds out of, it would be a huge waste of like $700 for me to get both.

    A recent firist time BOSS purchase of their RV-500 reverb found yet another turd hanging out in Internet-buy-land. Another over-engineered product that makes huge wide ranging claims about what it can do. Frankjly all of the factory presets on the wheel that come with the unit suck. The "Shimmer" is totally un-use-able and nearly out of control. One more pedal I bought without first doing an in-store test drive. My major problem is living in Jacksonville, Florida, and having no great music stores here that carry any of these items. Just two totally suck-wad Guitar Centers that MAYBE carry about 20 pedals in each store. GC only stock what they can sell very fast, and neither of these pedals would be something they would stock. You ask the GC sales guy "oh, we can order it off our web page"... which means you take a gamble, spend your hard earned bucks up front, then all the bullshit about returning a turd that doesn't live up to any expectations.

    Living in Nashville then Los Angeles at different times spoiled me for finding stores that actually have a decent stock of items ready for test driving... Jacksonville is the worst city I've ever lived in for music... I think the last musical anything that happened in Jacksonville was Lynyrd Skynyrd in about 1964... since then the music in this city dried up and blew away and is non-existent.
     
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  17. JamHandy

    JamHandy

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    Now, I have did several test drives of the Strympon Mobius... its been on my wish list for years. One detrimental factor for me is the current $449.00 price tag. I rarely if ever have that much cash all at the same time. The other thing is the amount of butt time involved sitting down with the manual to figure the thing out. I would estimate a year or more of butt time (for me, I don't do well with manuals at all) just to get a couple decent sounds out of it. Howbeit the factory presets are way way better on the Strymon stuff than what I've experienced with the BOSS RV-500 (which I'll keep calling "The Turd" unless I can actually find a decent sound in the th9ing, the factory presets suck bad).

    Somewhere in time guitar pedals got really really technically advanced. So much different than my original 1979 ProCo Rat (I bought new in 1979). Used to be pedals had 3-4 knobs and did one thing really well. Now its look at them on YouTube, place your bets and gamble the gizmo can do what it says it can do when you buy in online minus an in-store test drive... then miles and miles of butt time sitting sipping coffee, trying to decipher some English major's other worldly worded page after page after page manual. Which to me is zero fun.

    All I really wanted was the original Mu-Tron Phasor II sound, and I've spent a lifetime looking for "that" sound. And I don't ever have the $500 cash to buy a "vintage" one these days. I remember when you could get them at pawn shops for $40... those days are gone. Most phaser pedals mimic the MXR line of Phase 90, etc. Just not enough juicy sweep for me. Its got its place in posterity and a great pedal, but its not even close to the Mu-Tron.

    The Mobius has a 16 stage phaser inside (and maybe more) but the price and the manual butt time just kill me...
     
  18. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris

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    I did initially have the "pop" problem. For me it was solved by switching from true bypass to buffered. My understanding is that some pedals do this because of a buildup of static electricity. My guess is when you and I were switching modes, we somehow discharged this buildup.

    The Orbital has a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it the controls get easier to wrap your head around. I tend to agree that Source Audio makes overly "techy" pedals, but that's what some people love about them. Their newer pedals actually have to be programmed with a computer or a mobile device. Which is obviously super useful on a gig. :rolleyes:

    I started this thread nearly two years ago. The Orbital remains on my board, using the same 12-stage setting I described in my OP. I gave up on flanger, and instead programmed an envelope phaser into the other switch. So I basically have a two-mode phaser now.

    If you want a nice, simple phaser that works well on bass, I recommend the Boss PH-3, in 10-stage mode. I used it on this track (bass enters around 1:45) The Hamster, by Uneven Steven

    Also, welcome to the forum. A lot of the pedal geeks like myself post a lot in this thread: Pedals You Want To Try

    And we'd love to see your pedalboard! Show Your Pedalboards (Evo) Then
     
  19. JamHandy

    JamHandy

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    Thanks for the reply. Yes, changing to buffered bypoass fixed the POP problem...

    I am secretly a guitar player hiding out in a bass forum. I do have some nice bass stuff. I just acquired an Ibanez SRM300M in soda blue. I snatched it up because as soon as I plugged it in, it had a really good clear tone that I liked. Not a top-dollar model, probably in the Paul Reed Smith SE class, or Mexican Fender area... maybe even lower, but I like it... gave the whole sum of $250 for it, and couldn't wait to get it home, haha

    I have an Ampeg BA-112V2 combo -- 75 watts, 1x12", etc etc... got it for a steal at a pawn shop for $160... it can be dialed in for some nice tones

    I also have an "old school" rig -- heavy and not what folks see today...

    - Anvil 4-space rack (from 1979)
    - Ashly SC-40 Instrument preamp (also from 1979) (I've owned both since 1979, LOL)
    - Symetrix 501 Compressor (unknow year)
    - Crown XLS-1000 power amp (fairly new-ish)

    Running that into a 1x15" cab loaded with a (just freshly reconcd) Electro-Voice EVM Po Line 15L... actually the 15 is at the re-coner's place right now... should be out in a week or so...

    Pedals are my "thing" so I have a bah-zillion of them. I was shooting for praise and worship guitar with delay and reverb ambience and got pretty much carried away, LOL... I have (most of them) stuck on a Pedaltrain Pro (32" wide) board not plugged in, just for the purpose of having a picture. I have several more now since I took this picture. The Orbital Modulator isn't in the picture yet, plus I just bought a DLS Effects Versa Vibe, and an Akai HeadRush E2 Delay...

    I think there is a picture li9nker thing on here, so I'll post the pic... Before anyone goes gaga and finger points, I don't intend to use all of these at one time. Its just my "thing" to keep buying stuff to try and keep or maybe sell, or maybe just keep for comparison later... Somewhere I have a list of everything on the board...

    Imgur

    That's a link to it, not sure how to post it in the text here...

    FWIW, here's a list of what's what... (yes, I have bad G.A.S.) (my guitar collection is worse, haha)

    From the top left:
    GFI System Cabzeus Stereo Speaker Simulator + DI Box
    Strymon Zuma PSU
    TC Electronic Flashback Delay (v1)
    Fulltone Clyde Deluxe Wah (w/ buffer)
    EHX Pitch Fork Polyphonic Pitch Shifter
    Lovepedal Rubber Chicken Talk Box Auto Wah
    TC Electronic Body Rez Acoustic Pickup Enhancer (for acoustic stuff)

    Next row:
    EHX Lester G Deluxe Rotary Speaker
    Diamond CPR-1 Compressor
    MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay M169
    Cusack More Louder Clean Boost w/ Buffered Bypass
    Lovepedal MCG 25 Kanji 9 Overdrive (one of only 10 made in red for Motor City Guitar's 25th anniversary)
    Whirlwind Rochester Series Gold Box Distortion
    BOSS FV-500H Foot Volume Pedal

    Last row:
    BOSS RV-500 Reverb
    Electro-Harmonix 22500 Dual Stereo Looper
    Electro-Harmonix 22500 Dual Stereo Looper Footswitch
    Digitech SoloXT Looper
    Digitech FS3X Footswitch for the JamMan
    JHS Angry Charlie v2 Channel Drive
    1979 ProCo Rat Distortion (I've owned it since new)
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
  20. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris

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    You can copy and paste your image right from the host. Hope you don't mind me taking the liberty....

    [​IMG]
     
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