“Pedals are analog! Pedals are evergreen! Pedals had been here for a while and did their things successfully; all the
legends play pedals. You know why?ty with it. These Because, every pedal carries a personali lifeless robotic processors
are for new-age yo-yo’s…”
“Oh! An ‘Old is gold’ grandpa! This is the new sound for the new world, if you don’t like it, you don’t buy it. Go on and
keep stomping on steam punk rusted boxes, while we here will embrace the new technology; plus its inexpensive, plus
we have all the sound patches in this world, plus its definite yet versatile, easy to master and easy to record!”
Yeah I know! Calm down! This is not a real fight just a comparison….
And I also know that this is also been the hottest topic of debate in the world since the day one crazy sound engineer
decided to fuse a digital clock into a fuzz pedal; that was kind of over exaggeration but you get the point that there are
almost a thousand papers and theories who refute pedals over processors or vice versa. However, I am just going to
stand in between and let you decide what is the best or what you prefer.
Processors come packed with loads of sound patches and effects which may actually confuse you for a while, but it will
teach you everything related to effects overtime; from how to tweak them to how to control them, I mean everything.
Playing guitar will feel like trying out new ice cream flavor; but for the ears, not for… Tongue. It’s great for practice and
entry level shows. You may throw in POD HD 500 in your intermediate level. But once you realize that you are going to
hit the main stage soon, your fans may expect something professional. Hey if you have something like AXE FX, then we
are cool with your digital gear. In general terms and excluding the exceptions (like AXE FX), Processor focuses on quantity
of effects rather than its quality.
First off pedals are analog; the pros and cons of analog devices is a different topic all together, but the elitists will always
press on analog devices… Always had been... However, these devices have big numbered price tags and it’s not like you
buy one and you are all set, you need a bunch of them. Well that’s the turn away signal in the first look for almost
everyone, until you realize what you are getting for that price. Pedals are absolutely opposite to processors. The makers
usually focus on one feature at a time. The bigger price you pay the more sub-features and quality you get, it’s simple
that way; like you buy an expensive delay pedal, and it will handle all your delay related tantrums you throw at it.
Multiple operation modes? Check. Diminished unwanted noise? check. Tap tempo control? check. Chorus effect? Check.
Control over delay time and feedback amount? Check. Sound with saturation, warbles and flutter; Check-Check-Check.
And all those things in high quality sound, which can be customized in your unique liking. However, that one pedal may
cost you around 20,000 rupees!
So you see I am neither a pedalhead nor a processorhead, so I try to see things differently, you know; from a third person
view. Things get easier that way. So I see them in a different way where my ‘priorities’ are the numero uno priority. My
priorities are that
- Fits in my budget and my requirements?
- Is it durable?
- Is it simplistic? So that I can do last minute changes on stage (if so).
- And lastly is it too flashy or too dull?
Now those are basic priorities. If you go in depth there would be hundreds of them, but these points generally sum it up.
So to the first point-
1. Does it fit my budget and my requirements?
Okay, you did a bit of a research in your local avenues where musicians perform and you realize that they have pretty
good amplification system, good sound and fairly decent sound engineer. So, your basic requirements like compression,
EQ, noise gates etc are all set. You just need some effects and you are good to go.
Now, what kind of musician are you? What kind of effects you actually need?
Let’s say you are an acoustic guitarist; singer-songwriter, all you need is reverb! And chorus (if you want to keep it fancy).
Effects like Delay, looper, flanger, vibrato, Phaser, fuzz/overdrive etc is optional. Distortion is useless for you whatsoever.
Get yourself Boss RV-6 reverb pedal, and you will do awesome.
Or, you have a death metal band; fair enough, you need 3 effects; 4 tops. You need really heavy distortion like Boss dx-1x,
a wah-wah like Dunlop GCB95 crybaby and delay; something like Boss DD-3, if you are into soloing and riffing. Trust me,
that is enough to demolish the gig venue!
But things get different if you/your band have a versatile sound and/or like to experiment. Then you need multiple
effects. Now, in such cases where your band/you are going to use it for jamming or entry level stage shows and you have
a small budget, better go for digital processors like POD HD 500, it will come handy. However, in a concert setting, where
you have an audience of at least 300, your digital gear may disappoint you.
NOTE FOR THE BEGINNERS: - If you just bought your first electric guitar; it is highly recommended that you buy a
processor like Boss ME-25 or Zoom G3X. Both have wah-wah pedals, packed with a bunch of effects and modulation
choices which can keep you busy for months. Zoom G3X focuses on traditional pedal-type setting, It’s actually a smart
decision if you plan to jump to real pedals in near future. On the other hand Boss ME-25 focuses on more compact
version and keeping your ear as the first preference to adjust the sound and effects rather than occupying space used for
virtual representation. Go for what suits you the most.
2. Is it durable?
It is always a smart move to buy durable equipments. It’s ok to buy fragile mugs once in a while, you can always replace
it. But what about the FRIGGING guitar effect device! You just don’t visit a local shop and ask the guy to pack a looper
pedal once every 3 months! So, it is suggested to go for something heavy duty. It’s ok to buy a fiber body processor for a
short run; people usually upgrade their equipments after a couple of years. And also the makers know that not every
user is going to handle the device like a flower; more like a rock, so they use those materials that will resist a little bit of
abuse. But sadly, that doesn’t last long. I remember my first processor; it was Digitech RP 50 (discontinued) after 4 or 5
years I had to wrap it with brown industrial tape to keep all the parts together!
Everything in this world needs maintenance. Except for a hammer, or a wrench, or a screwdriver, or a... well not
EVERYTHING! But all of your music instruments do. Sometimes just a powerful blow in the gaps does the job but not
always. Processors are digital devices and Pedals are electronic, both of them need different maintenance experts. If you
hear/see something funny (or paranormal) is happening with your device, it’s better to hand it over to the professionals.
P.S. - Don’t rely on TV technicians to fix your gear. I tried it, it was a goofy decision.
4. Is it simplistic?
It’s a different thing to manage your effects in the studio, you can take your time and tweak it the way you want, for 100
times if required. But when you are on stage and you realize that the kind of reverb you have on your guitar is too much
for the venue; you need to press it down so that it won’t hinder your playing. In such cases, you need your gear to be
simple to edit. Traditional pedals really have no issues in this area, all it has is 3 to 4 knobs and a switch; piece of cake.
But the processor can really get on your nerves, especially if you are new with it. You see; the processor manufacturing
companies have a responsibility to stack a bunch of amp models and effects in one box, so they need to jam it in and
neatly organize it as well. Hence, they are compelled to assign multi functional knobs which make it complex to use. So,
it’s your preference that way.
5. Too flashy or too dull.
Stage show equals theatric experience. The musician in you has a very few options to express itself on stage. If you play
some serious and intense Heavy metal or hard rock; your Pink overdrive pedal MAY look too girly. You don’t want that,
do you? If the above factors are taken care of, you might like to put this point in your second priority.
So yeah, that’s it guys. I hope you liked it and would be helpful to you.