Walk the Walk

Not exactly what I was aiming for but ….

Two multi-effects devices – the Korg Mini Kaoss Pad 2S and the Zoom MS-70CDR.

The Zoom is an epic pedal. CDR stands for chorus, delay, reverb, and there are a whopping 86 types to choose from. Plus you can chain up to six effects in series (on the one pedal!). Plus it’s stereo. Plus patch memories. Plus onboard tuner. Plus the price! It’s so cheap!! For this video I have a stereo delay, a filter delay, a modulated delay and a plate reverb applied in that order to the volca keys. The quality of some of the effects falls short of the more expensive pedals they’re meant to be mimicking, but for the price you can’t complain. Ever since the volcas came out, people have been bugging Korg to produce a volca mixer. I’d like to add …. if you do, please incorporate sends and something like the MS-70CDR.

The Mini Kaoss Pad is also a multi-effect (100 types), but you can only use one at a time. Each effect has two parameters wired to the X-Y touchpad for creating all kinds of motion in the sound. It’s a DJ tool, not a guitar pedal, and I’ve still to get to grips with it. Maybe in the next video.

4 thoughts on “Walk the Walk”

  1. Hi Mark, I love that you do this. I love that you buy hardware and muck about with it rather than doing these things in a software-based environment. You know I agree that to be creative we need “knobs and dials”, not mouse-clicks. But aren’t you worried this is becoming an expensive hobby which could have been equally (actually possibly better?- Maybe but I’ll come to that later) fulfilled through a copy of Pro Tools? I truly understand why hardware synths are better than software (by miles). But I have to draw the line at effects. Your effects hardware isn’t really hardware, it’s just a small computer running a version of the same reverb/chorus/ whichever effect software as most DAWs. Would you not do better to reallocate all your spare money to noise-making devices, and accept that you simply don’t get the old-fashioned hardware spring reverbs and tape loops any more? They don’t exist. Generally hardware effects are only better than software ones if they are very very expensive and delivered in `large rackmount format. Only saying…and asking because as you know I need a more interactive and creative environment myself.. but I don’t feel the need to replace Pro Tools’ effects with hardware ones.. they are so good and so easy to u se… please please don’t take offence! BTW I love this latest output, so maybe there’s a lot in what you are doing…!

  2. Hi Iain. No problem. I’m aware of this. I understand what you’re saying. It’s an argument that comes up often on forums. I think I mentioned before, but there are three reasons I switched to hardware – one, it’s tactile. Two, I don’t need to stare at a computer screen. Three, the equipment will last decades without updates or compatibility problems every three months.

    This all applies to effects as well as instruments. Sitting down with that Zoom pedal is a completely different experience to tweaking on a computer. It’s a gadget. The innards may be digital, but it’s an analogue experience.

    Like you say, the only downside is the cost. But since the sole object of this exercise is my own personal fun and this is my only hobby, I’m willing to stretch a little. I don’t really spend money on anything else. The most expensive effect I have is the Strymon BigSky. I spent months agonising over the decision to buy it, but when I now sit down with one of the analogue monos and plug it in, I have no regrets. It feels like I’m doing music, not filling in a spreadsheet.

    Actually, you know those middle-aged men who drive round in leather jackets and convertibles? Do you have them there? Well that’s me, except the youth I’m trying to re-enact is me sat in my bedroom circa 1985, and the convertible is a HUGE mountain of musical equipment I couldn’t afford as a teenager! So there’s your real reason!!

  3. LOL I have a convertible (it’s Christine’s really, BMW 3 series) and a leather jacket (but a smart brown one, not a black biker one to be fair) – and I’m in the market for another convertible, so I know what you mean. It’s a very good point you make about the knobs and dials and getting away from the PC screen of course, and I’m in full agreement; I just think I’d mostly actually miss having so many effects available to me, and all the automation that Pro Tools gives me. I write lots of stuff with what I call “scene changes” where pressing all the relevant buttons on real world kit at the same time would be impossible for one person. I guess that’s why Jean-Michel Jarre sometimes used to have 20-odd keyboard players on stage!

    I’m still looking for that elusive first bit of analogue kit to start my collection…

  4. Oh no! It’s the smart brown ones I was thinking of!! Hahaha.

    I don’t think the two worlds are mutually exclusive. But for me personally, I’ve never had so much fun mucking about with music, so I’m staying put for a while. There may be a time when I say “sod this, I’m back on the computer”.

    As far as limitations go, there’s this mantra been doing the rounds for a while now that restrictions force you to be more creative. I’m pretty sure that’s not true, although you certainly need to be more resourceful. And I know that I was always overwhelmed by the embarrassment of riches in Sonar. But it is frustrating. That piece I put up yesterday, the drums are purposely simple, but that bass – two and a half minutes of the same bloody two notes repeating. If I had three hands, I would be playing that also. I can hear so much coming out from the music that I’d love to add if I was sequencing on a DAW, but I’m having to just accept each piece as it is – a quick and basic sketch. Maybe if I hit on something really good, I’ll switch to the computer to do it properly.

    When I move on to the bigger equipment, I’ll be sequencing on an old Akai MPC1000 I bought second hand. There’s no automation, but it will give me 32 channels of MIDI and as much sequencing as I need. Search for “milolab” on YouTube. I think I mentioned before, I copied his setup.

Leave a Reply