Distortion units--what's the consensus?

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sgnhh
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Distortion units--what's the consensus?

Post by sgnhh » Sun Jan 27, 2008 3:06 pm

Are Metasonix units the holy grail for distortion, or is there some other line that meshes well with the modular scene?

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Muff Wiggler
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Post by Muff Wiggler » Sun Jan 27, 2008 3:37 pm

Holy grail ;)

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J.w.M.
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Post by J.w.M. » Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:18 pm

http://www.deviever.com/fx/index.html. I'm using their fairly simple VF and it creates some epic distortion.

I don't have any Metasonix yet, but from what I've heard, they're pretty amazing at this sort of thing also.

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Post by sgnhh » Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:13 pm

Muff Wiggler wrote:Holy grail ;)
What do you think is their best distortion box, though? Agonizer, Scrotum Smasher, or Butt Probe? In terms of flexibility in application (ie: which unit can you get the most out of) and harshness.

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Muff Wiggler
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Post by Muff Wiggler » Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:19 pm

measuring by 'most harshness/distortion', in my opinion, the Agonizer wins, hands-down.

For flexibility I would say it's probably a tie between the Agonizer and the Scrotum Smasher.

They have great boxes that don't have distortion as the primary goal, the preamp, the oscillator and the filters. Of the distortion boxes, I'm always time and time again amazed by - one, the sheer gain and psychotic-ness of the Agonizer, and two, the sheer flexibility of the Scrotum Smasher.

I always think that most people who want a flexible distortion would have the most fun with the Scrotum Smasher. It's a really standout design within the Metasonix range, in my opinion, in terms of how very flexible and easy to control it is. I think of all the boxes, the TM-1 Waveshaper has the broadest 'generic appeal' to electronic musicians in general, and the Scrotum Smasher has the broadest 'generic appeal' to people who want distortion boxes.

Check out my ER-1-vs-TM-7 demo. Not to pimp my own shit or anything, but every time I listen to that, I'm amazed at how much stuff the Scrotum Smasher is able to do to a static drumloop. I always have to remind mysellf that the input signal hasn't changed at all, as all sorts of new stuff starts to enter the loop..

Here I quoted the post so it'll be easy to find if you are looking for it
Muff Wiggler wrote:ok, here's the TM-7 one

this one was REALLY fun to do! 8)

two files this time, as there's no bypass on the TM-7 (only Zuul)

the first one is small, like 300k. it's the drum pattern totally clean, direct to my soundcard.

the next file is about 9mb, it's the exact same pattern (nothing gets added or changed at all, same pattern throughout) through the TM-7

same deal as before - starting off as clean as I could get it, then slowly getting progressively nastier and nastier. i think you guys will really like this one

here's the dry drumloop

here's the TM-7 at work

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Post by zerosum » Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:49 pm

Mini Wave

Really nice(horrible non linear) distortion effects with audio ran through it.
Everyone needs one( or two).

The TM-7 can also function as an oscillator so you get distortion,waveshaping and a pitch source for its "useful applications."

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Post by zerosum » Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:56 pm

The TM-1 is the most versatile unit out of the 3 I have used(TX-1,TM-1 and TM-7), The TM-1 is excellent in a modular setup.
I think most people try it without using it as a VCA or modulating the BEAM CV and make their opinion then, but it is much more flexible when used with other modular gear.

There is a lot that the TM-1 can do besides distortion.
Mini Wave plus a TM-1= :!:
Thats one of the "holy grails"

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Muff Wiggler
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Post by Muff Wiggler » Sun Jan 27, 2008 7:19 pm

while i agree about the flexibilility of the TM-1, I don't find that to be a 'standout' of that particular unit however, as all the Metasonix stuff has CV inputs and many can be used for VCA or tremolo effects, and all can be coaxed into oscillation....

and while the distortion effects of the TM-1 are quite certainly exceptional, i do consider it is more of a waveshaper than a distortion device, although I suspect that many people will find that means roughly enough of the same thing to not matter. If the difference is meaningful to you, well there you have it. However in the full range of what it can do, a percentage of that is indeed great distortion effects. The 'entire' range of what a TX-1, TX-2 or TM-7 can do is what I consider distortion, and thusly I tend to lump those in a different category than the TM-1.

However one of the great things - and the frustrating things - about Metasonix gear is that it all seems to mean something a little different for everyone that uses it. I think it part because of the surrounding gear one may be using with it, I think in part due to the expectations and frame-of-reference of who is using it, and also I suspect due in part to variences from one unit to the next. I say frustrating because it makes it hard for people to make/find/get an opinion on these things without trying them, because they really are perceived vastly differently from one user to the next. I suppose they are the ultimate 'quantum' gear in this respect ;)

in this thread you can compare the range of TM-1, TM-5 and TM-7 each being fed the same drumloop.

I would say the best thing is go to Analogue Haven or Robotspeak or some shop where they have these in stock. Bring a couple of your favorite noisemakers and try them out and see what works best for you

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Chuck E. Jesus
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Post by Chuck E. Jesus » Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:44 pm

the only thing i can offer is all distortion boxes seem to sound different...i'd suggest trying some cheap stomp boxes first, they are plentiful and inexpensive...i know there are some big meta fans here, and i'm not trying to shit on that, but i don't think you need a "holy grail" to get dirty/over driven sounds, or a boutique item...start out with the cheap stuff, and as you feel the need, move on to the specialty stuff...don't forget about overdriving the channel on your mixer, and modern modular filters seem to be built with overdrive in mind....

one last suggestion: run a mixer send to a distortion box, and bring the return up thru a mixer channel, and send a bit of feedback via the aux send back to the distortion box...

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Muff Wiggler
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Post by Muff Wiggler » Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:45 pm

they are ALL good suggestions, that's one of the things with distortions isn't it? there's so many out there.... I've owned and sold so many and still hang onto so many as well..


DwarfCraft's The Great Destroyer is also another good choice, and it won't break the bank

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Post by sgnhh » Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:46 pm

I've had a few different distortion guitar stompers... I suppose I was just curious what the best Metasonix box for this is. It's too bad the Agonizer costs so much.

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Post by Muff Wiggler » Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:52 pm

well, it's not much cheaper, but lots of people think the Butt Probe is at least as aggressive as the Agonizer, if not moreso

which you would think, consisting of three BN6 tubes, that it would be

I dunno - perhaps I have a particularily 'hot' Agonizer. But none of the others can do such a crazy over-the-top-high-gain madness. The Butt Probe is close, but not quite the same.

However, the Butt Probe has buffered outs, whereas the Agonizer likes to fry things. Perhaps my ears/mind are just reacting to that and in truth the Butt Probe is gain-ier. I dunno :oops:

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Post by sgnhh » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:11 am

I think I'll eventually pick up a Scrotum. The TXs are just too hard to come by (and those current ebay auctions are already outrageously priced for me).

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Post by Kwote » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:02 pm

sgnhh wrote:I think I'll eventually pick up a Scrotum.
:lol: :lol:
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Post by thermionicjunky » Mon Jan 28, 2008 1:16 pm

If we're talking high-gain clipping distortion, I also suggest the TM-7. The gain ranges from moderate to extreme without a hell of a lot of hum. It can also provide some low pitched feedback that is somewhat similar to the TM-1 and high pitched feedback which can be voltage controlled with surprising stability and has a very interesting timbre. There are knob positions where the feedback is more noise-like and is particularly effective with some reverb.

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