Over the last few months, we’ve been cooking up new presets for BigSky, TimeLine, and Mobius to share with you on our blog series – This Week’s Preset. The original idea stemmed from our desire to connect with our friends and fans creatively – through new, exciting, often experimental sounds.
However, this time we want to hear from you! Send us your own preset, whether it’s your go-to favorite, something you’ve been experimenting with, or one you came up with at 3AM during a Netflix binge. It can be a preset or favorite setting from any Strymon pedal, and you can share it with us however you like – whether it be in our blog comments, on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our favorite presets will be selected to appear in upcoming installments of This Week’s Preset!
With the release of our new MultiSwitch, we have created new firmware for TimeLine, BigSky, and Mobius to allow you to access the new features that MultiSwitch offers. The Strymon Preset Librarian software can be used to update the firmware on your TimeLine, BigSky, or Mobius directly within the application. Below are instructions that illustrate how to update your pedal with the Librarian software.
In order to connect your pedal to the Librarian you must use a robust MIDI to USB interface with developed drivers for your computer’s specific operating system version. Some MIDI Interfaces that will work with our products are the Roland UM-ONE, Yamaha UX-16, and M-Audio MIDISport Uno. Make sure to connect the MIDI OUT from your interface to the MIDI IN port of your Strymon pedal and the MIDI IN from the MIDI interface to the MIDI OUT port on your Strymon pedal.
Mobius is one of my favorite pedals to explore because of its insane versatility. Its sounds range from beautiful to bizarre, and its many modulation machines (Flanger, Rotary, Phaser, Filter, and
Vintage Tremolo, to name some of my favorites) seem to easily open up new doors to creative expression. It’s easy to get lost in the possibilities. So many waveform shapes, so little time!
One of my go-to Mobius modulation machines is the Filter. Being able to choose one of several waveforms, control modulation speed, mix dry vs. wet, and set tap division allows for some amazing sonic possibilities.
Several months ago we featured our first Instagram Video is a Tease blog. At the time I didn’t think I’d be doing another one, but as I continue to watch Instagram videos, I still find myself saying to some of them “more, more, more” when the 15 seconds is up.
Here is a new batch of Instagram videos that just as you close your eyes and start getting into it, the video ends and leaves you yearning for more.
If you have a BigSky, Mobius, or TimeLine, you can save the custom presets you’ve created onto your computer using the Strymon Preset Librarian software. You can also use our Librarian software to load these and other saved presets for your pedals from your computer to the Strymon pedals. You can download the Mac or PC version of the Strymon Preset Librarian software at the link below:
Once you have downloaded and installed the Librarian software, you will need to connect your Strymon pedal to a computer using a dedicated MIDI interface that uses developed drivers for your computer’s specific operating system. We recommend the Roland UM-ONE and the Yamaha UX-16.
On most MIDI interfaces, the MIDI OUT cable connects to the MIDI IN port on the pedal and the MIDI IN cable connects to the MIDI OUT port. However, some MIDI interfaces (such as the Roland UM-ONE or the M-Audio MIDI Sport UNO) have arrows or text on the cables to indicate the direction of the data to tell you where to connect the cables to on the pedal.
After you have installed the Strymon Librarian software and connected the pedal to your computer through a MIDI interface, launch the Librarian and click on the SETTINGS menu option to choose your MIDI IN and OUT Ports and run the connection test. The test bar should turn green and display “success” indicating the software does detect your connected MIDI interface.
Backing Up Your Presets with the Librarian Software
The main Librarian screen features both a Device List and a Work List. All changes are made on the Work List side and can be “synced” up to the hardware device using the <=SYNC button between the two list windows. After you have successfully set up your MIDI interface in the MIDI Settings window, hit the Fetch button to load the presets from your pedal to the Device List and Work List.
Once the Librarian software has finished loading your presets to the Device and Work lists, you can save all of the presets from your pedal to your computer as single .syx file by clicking the Save All button at the top of the Librarian. A window will popup to specify a location to save the presets to.
You can also use Save One button on the right side of the Librarian to save a single preset from your pedal to your computer. Just highlight a single preset in the Work List, then, click on the Save One button to save that preset to your computer.
Loading Presets to Your Pedal
To load a single preset or bundled preset file to your pedal, click on the Fetch button to load your pedal’s presets to the Device List and Work List if you have not already done so. (It is important to remember to hit the Fetch button every time you start the Librarian software before managing your presets.) Hit the Open button to load a preset bundle file (.syx) from your computer to the Work List.
Once loaded to the Work List, any presets that are different than what is in the Device List will show as red in the Work List. To load these changes to the pedal’s memory, press the <=Sync button. WARNING: Loading a preset backup file will overwrite ALL of the presets on the device’s memory with the presets from the backup file.
You can also load a single preset to the pedal by clicking on a preset you would like to replace in the Work List to highlight it, then, clicking the Load One button to select the new preset to load to the pedal. The new preset will show as redin the Work List and clicking on the <=Sync button will write this new preset to the pedal’s memory.
If you run into trouble with communicating the Strymon Preset Librarian with your pedal, this is typically due to the MIDI interface being used between the computer and your pedal.
First, make sure to download and install the latest drivers for the MIDI interface from the manufacturer’s website to ensure proper communication with that device.
Also, make sure that your connections are correct: MIDI IN cable to MIDI OUT port and MIDI OUT cable to MIDI IN port. In some cases, the MIDI cable ends tell you where to connect them (TO MIDI IN and TO MIDI OUT, for example).
Mike Longworth is a serious player who is a veteran of the L.A. rock scene. He’s the guitarist in the punk rock band Mest, and has performed and toured with Jessica Sanchez, Colton Dixon, Candace Glover, Kree Harrison, and Angie Miller—all winners and runners up of American Idol. He was a member of the band Prong for many years, and has even written a song on the band’s 2012 album Carved Into Stone.
What kind of pedalboard is this, and what is your signal path?
The board and case were custom made by me. Since I use an effects loop, I have two paths going. The first path goes into the front of the amp and is the OB.1, and various tremolos, flange, and distortions. The second path is the Mobius and Timeline, and they go through the effects loop. I have it all wired into a single router that sends it out to the amp. It makes setup time very quick. And it keeps everything very neat.
You have called your pedalboard “clean and quiet”. Can you expand on that?
I keep both paths in separate true bypass loops so they keep the signal quiet while I’m not using them. It also lets me select presets before I need them. When I’m ready for a group of effects I can just hit one button on the loop pedal and engage my effects. It keeps me from having to step on multiple pedals at the same time. I also send MIDI from the Timeline into a Voodoo Lab Control Switcher, and that changes the channel on my amp all with one button.
Can you elaborate a little more on building your own pedalboard?
It mainly started as a project. I’ve always been tempted to have an actual board filled with my favorite pedals, rather than one multi-effects unit (which I still use occasionally). It was about a 6 month process going through all my pedals. Space is limited, so I didn’t want everything on there. Once I got them all in order, I wanted the whole thing to be super quiet, so I added the true bypass loops. I had contacted a few places about wiring it up and the cost was quite high. I know how to solder and I know what cables to use, so I went for it. It worked! Maybe I should build boards?
Mest recently released the new album Not What you Expected! Can you share how your pedals played a part in this album?
I don’t usually use pedals while recording. I need to recreate those sounds live though and that’s where the pedals come in. For this record, I needed certain delays, choruses, trem, and on the song “Radio” I needed to make the guitar sound like it was coming through an AM radio. I actually was able to do all of this with the help of the Timeline and Mobius.
Mest and Kisses For Kings are more hard/punk, but you also play with Jessica Sanchez. Can you share how your pedals differ between the two genres?
I really don’t change much to be honest. My current board is pretty versatile in my opinion. It’s always evolving, but where I have it now, I can get pretty much any effect and sound I want. Because I use several multi-effects units, it saves some room and keeps me from tap dancing too much. For Mest, I let my amp do most of the work as far as clean and dirty. For Jessica Sanchez, I like to go into a cleaner sound as my main, and the OB.1 and other distortions act as a dirtier sound if I need them.
Do you have any advice for musicians getting into the punk scene nowadays, has much changed since back in the day?
The punk scene hasn’t changed much in my opinion. Besides the bands who broke into the mainstream in the early 2000’s, I still see the underground scene staying alive. There are now many different sub- genres of punk, but it’s still there surviving in the underground. The best advice I can give is to just play and don’t get discouraged by what people are saying is a dead music industry. There are always going to be bands playing live and fans going to see them. That is never going to end.
Guitarist Pete Thorn can be found doing a myriad of things. He has been guitar sideman for Chris Cornell, Don Henley, Melissa Etheridge and many more. He also has his own solo album Guitar Nerd. You can check out a bunch of great gear demos on Pete’s youtube page. Or if you are looking for some tips, be sure to check out his articles over at Premier Guitar. Let’s get to know a bit more about his pedalboard!
What type of pedalboard is this?
The board is made by Trailer Trash, and I use it for touring and for recording. It’s big enough to do everything I could possibly want, but small enough that I can still carry it around myself— fits nicely in the trunk of my car!
What is your signal path?
My guitar either feeds an AKG wireless, then the pedalboard, or is plugged into the board using Providence cable. The signal runs into a Mission volume pedal and Vertex Axis wah, then hits the Musicomlab MKIII switcher. The switcher feeds a TC Polytune mini. The loops in the switcher have 8 pedals (1 per loop). They are:
The output of the switcher feeds a 1/4 inch jack on the left side of the board. Under the board is an RJM Y-Not midi A/B box, and the input and A/B outs also show up on the left side of the board. I patch the output of the switcher into the input of the A/B box. Output A feeds a D.I. This is for acoustic. Output B goes to the input of my main Suhr PT100 amp (my signature Suhr 100 watt amp). The amp effects send goes to the “post fx input”, also on the left side of my board. From there, the signal goes:
The outputs of the 2nd H9 feed the effect return of the main PT100 amp and also a 2nd PT100, for stereo. I come out of the amps into 2 Suhr 2-12″ cabs with Celestion Creamback H speakers. That’s it!
What things did you need to take into consideration when building your 2014 pedalboard?
Size. I wanted it to be small enough to carry myself! But yet, I wanted to be able to do virtually everything I did with my previous rig—which consisted of a 12 space rack, 3 speaker cabs, etc etc! I need it super-reliable and road worthy. And of course NO tone suck, and as little noise as possible. On my last tour, we had to run about 35 feet of cable between the board for every run—the amps were back by my tech, but I was up on a riser. So, 35 feet from switcher out to the amp input, then 35 foot runs to and from the effects loops of the 2 heads. That’s a lot of unbalanced cable! It was quiet and sounded great, virtually like I was plugged right into the amp with a short cable. That’s because Dave Friedman did the board right, and John Suhr makes the best effect loops on earth. Buffered, quiet, tight, solid. Quality.
You tour with many artists, what is the pedal decisions like when you start touring with an artist? Does the artist provide any feedback on those decisions?
Not usually. I usually know what to do. “Black Hole Sun”…. I need a rotary pedal! “Like A Stone”- I need a whammy. That sort of thing. That’s why you get hired—you know what to do.
Please tell us about your new solo release “The Groomed Noodler.”
I recorded that track as a way to help the Suhr guys show off their new SL67 plexi-type amp. I wanted it to be just a raw, in your face kinda tune, to really show off the amp. It sounded really cool, so I decided I’d throw it up on iTunes, and also offer it through Jamtrackcentral.com as a lesson. You can get it from them as a package with full tab, a version with no lead guitar, etc. I’m glad people dig it.
How is touring solo different than touring as “guitar sideman”? Do you do anything different with your pedalboard?
Not really—the board is so versatile. I can use it easily in different configurations, in mono, or stereo, for example. I can also quickly patch everything so all the effects are in front of an amp—useful if I had to use a rental amp like a Twin or AC30, and there was no effects loop. I designed it to be adaptable to different situations.
Any advice to other musicians on what to consider when building a touring pedalboard?
I recommend collecting all the pedals first, laying them all out—look at what you have, and measure. Then you know how big of a board you’ll need. I like the Trailer Trash boards because it’s easy to run power supplies and cables underneath. It saves space and makes for a clean setup. You can also put jacks/patch points on the side of the board. I recommend that, because you can do it like I did—put some patches there, so you can re-route things easily and re-configure how you use your board, if need be. On my first tour with the board, with Melissa Etheridge, the out of the switcher fed the input of the post FX path, and the out of the last post FX (then a Line 6 M9) fed the RJM A/B box. The A out went to a Him Kelley amp set clean. The B out went to a Suhr SL68 set crunchy. So I used all FX in front, and A/B’d 2 amps, old school. Now, I use the post FX (the time based stuff) in the loop of the PT amps and am running in stereo, and the A/B is used for switching between acoustic and electric. Easy, and painless, to configure the board both ways, because of the patching on the side. So I recommend that sort of setup.
Also—I recommend consulting someone who knows this stuff really well, when building a board. There’s so many snafus you can hit, with ground loops, power issues, etc. Dave Friedman really knows his stuff, so he keeps my boards running smooth and quiet. That experience is invaluable. I can hit the stage with peace of mind, knowing my rig is tight. Good luck guys, happy rocking!
Chris Wrate is a guitarist, songwriter and musical director that works with Ariana Grande, David Foster, Randy Jackson, Daniel Powter, Cher Lloyd, and Charice, among others. Chris originates from southeastern Wisconsin, where he got his first live experiences sitting in with local blues musicians around the Chicago and Milwaukee area. He recently sent us a photo of his pedalboard, and we wanted to learn a bit more about it.
What was most important when first starting building your board?
Having a good overdriven tone. A lot of guitar players I looked to when building my board (Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Trey Anastasio) weren’t necessarily using a large amount of effects—but had these great overdriven tones that they are noted for. So I kind of looked to them when I first got started out.
What type of pedalboard is this?
PedalTrain 3. I’ve been using their boards for a while and they seem to withstand the abuse from frequent traveling well.
What is your signal path?
Sonnus Wahoo Wah, Ernie Ball Jr. Volume Pedal (modded by Mercy Seat Effects), Empress Effects Compressor, Em-Drive by Emerson Custom, Walrus Audio Mayflower Overdrive, Mercy Seat EffectsTree of Life Overdrive, Empress Effects Multidrive, Xotic Effects EP Booster, Mercy Seat Effects Zacchaeus Boost, Electro Harmonix Micro POG, Strymon Mobius, Strymon TimeLine, Strymon BigSky.
When you are on the road what is the biggest challenge or advantage of your pedalboard? What about in the studio?
I think both in touring and in studio work, the biggest advantage I find with my board is it’s versatility and my understanding of it’s capabilities. The guitar is often thought of as a lead instrument but is capable of so many sounds and textures that can be used in great support to the music and musicians around it. Once I started to invest in modulated effects, delays, and time-based effects I really started to understand their power and ability to make you more valuable as a player when you understand how to use them in context. Especially in the studio, I do a lot of work with film and writing cues. Having a wide range of sounds to pull from can again really increase your worth to other composers/producers. The disadvantage I’ve found at times, mostly when playing live, is that I might find myself trying to do too much with my effects. It also becomes another thing you have to be paying attention to when playing, aside from remembering the form of the song, vocals and lyrics if you’re singing—now you are also thinking about what effects come when throughout the song. It can trip you up and take a little more time to become comfortable with each song especially if the set gets long.
What current project are you working?
Currently I am the musical director and guitarist for Ariana Grande. I have also recently been writing and recording a lot of cues for TV and commercials.
We recently heard from pedalboard builder Mike Vegas of Nice Rack Canada, and he gave us the story behind a challenging job to create a board for a Jazz & Chamber Orchestra guitarist, Rob Piltch. We thought the board turned out great and were intrigued by the nuances and wanted to learn more.
We asked Mike to elaborate a bit more on this unique board.
What needed to be considered when creating this board?
Guitarist Rob Piltch has long been one of Canada’s “A List” players with a decided lean towards very clean sounds that don’t have a lot of extra harmonic reach added through overdrives or distortions. The signal path had to be super transparent to allow the guitar to speak very dynamically with the amp while combining the “colour” of the effects. Due to the super quiet stage volume of the chamber orchestra environment, the signal path and “noise floor” of the system had to be as quiet as possible. Each effect pedal’s mechanical switches had to be quiet as possible as well. In respect to the producer and client relationship that a session player has to maintain we built a rig that has a set up and tear down time of less than 2 minutes.
What did you need to do to address the super quiet environment?
Strymon pedals are shipped from the factory with “soft touch” momentary switches that work very quietly, so we emulated that in each other effect pedal that previously had mechanical switches. We used these “soft touch” momentary switches engaging switching relays we installed in each pedal.
To accommodate producer / client effect requests that fall outside the scope of what the system contains, we built an “external” effects loop with clickless switching between the dynamics and post effects for easy insertion of extra effects into signal path. We also built a clickless clean boost circuit of variable gain from unity to +20db.
What is the signal path?
Guitar » DriveTrain OD » Sans Amp Classic » External Loop » Marshall ED1 Compressor » Nice Rack Canada Clean Boost with 3 outputs. #1 » Tuner #2 » dry feed to Sound Sculpture Volcano & line mixer. #3 » Strymon Mobius (mono in – stereo out) » Boss FV500L stereo volume & expression pedal » Strymon TimeLine » RJM Music Mini line mixer combining 100% wet effects with 100% dry signal to create a parallel “50/50″ blend of wet & dry signal into the left & right Fender Princeton Reverb amps. The expression pedal jack on the FV500L is connected to the Sound Sculpture Volcano which acts as volume pedal for the dry signal from the Clean Boost into the line mixer.
The Clean Boost’s buffered split to send signal to tuner constantly, provides a visual “cheat” for hitting certain intervals on a pitch bend, also allows for volume swelling a bent note while coming in on pitch with other players. We included switching circuit to sum stereo effects to mono for single amp gigs, no re-patching, no signal loss, no phase issues.
We also sync’d tap tempo from TimeLine to Mobius.
Why does set up and tear down need to be so fast?
For a session player to be able to walk into a studio and set up the rig in under 2 minutes says to the producer & client that not only does the player have chops but is also respectful of the “time is money” credo in relation to studio costs etc. This factor helps the player get repeated calls from producers.
And what did you do to make that happen?
We built latching in & out connection points for signal & power to & from the pedalboard. The amplifier I/O box features switchable ground isolation transformers for the left & right amp outputs and clickless relays for silent switching to mute. A multicore cable with custom cut lengths to reach input jacks etc helps streamline the set up time. In under 2 minutes Rob can uncase the board, plug in all cables in seconds, uncase amps, plug in multicore to amps, plug in to power point, tune guitar, start playing.
Although Rob is not using MIDI to control the system we included a MIDI Integration point for connecting the Strymon pedals to an external sequencer/recording suite for clock input and possible program changes & continuous control movements as necessitated by the session that Rob may be playing on.
Nice Rack Canada is passionate about building guitar rigs, bass rigs & keyboard rigs. Our mission is for musicians to get the absolute best tone and functionality from their equipment. We can build a rack or pedalboard system to suit your desire & budget. We offer a number of lightweight & easy to setup systems that maximize your tone and conform to your unique criteria. We are committed to building the best implements we can with the highest quality materials. We consciously source as much of our materials as possible from domestic sources. We seek to help build our community by creating value for musicians through our assemblies while creating jobs through our purchasing and the forward going opportunities that our assemblies create. We value the role that we play in a musician’s creative process and are honoured to have a hand in making many forms music to be enjoyed by everyone.
Rob Pitch is one of Canada’s best known sidemen and session players. Starting in the late 70’s with his brother David on bass, both Piltch brothers played with their saxophone & clarinet playing band leader / father Bernie Piltch. Rob moved on to playing with David Clayton-Thomas in Blood, Sweat & Tears during the Nuclear Blues period. Rob has recorded & toured his own solo works as well as works by Don Johnson, Hugh Marsh, Kim Mitchell, Shirley Eikhardt, Marc Jordan, Guido Basso, and Rob McConnell. Rob also works with his avant cabaret combo NickBuzz which itself is a “super group” of Canadian jazz musicians featuring Rob alongside Hugh Marsh, Jonathan Goldsmith & Martin Tielli. Rob is also a regular contributor to the Art of Time Ensemble which is regarded as one of Canada’s most forward thinking and musically talented chamber orchestras.
The reviews for Mobius have been rolling in, and we’re very excited about what everyone has been saying!
Featuring 12 different types of modulations – chorus, flanger, phaser, a flexible rotary effect and more – “the amount of high-quality effects [Mobius] crams inside is amazing,” writes guitar blog GuitarNoize.com.
Within each modulation type lays a wealth of mod effects that Premier Guitar magazine describes as “shockingly accurate.” The “sonic undulations” of the rotary effect, PG continued, are “deep and complex, and at times sound impossibly real.” We’re deeply honored to have received the Premier Guitar “Premier Gear” award, which the magazine bestowed upon Mobius earlier this year.
In its popular audio blog, The Deli magazine is “extremely excited” about Mobius’ release. It calls the mod pedal “super diverse” thanks to its wide variety of classic mod effects including “everything from lush choruses to pulsating tremolo as well as unlikely additions.”
In a shootout versus some classic mod pedals, Mobius won Sound On Sound magazine’s praises for its “clarity, warmth, smoothness and depth.” With “sounds as glorious as its tech-spec suggests,” Mobius “more than held its own” against its predecessors. SOS ranks Mobius “among the best [mod pedals] of its type.”
Our friends at Premier Guitar think “it’s getting harder to surprise folks with how good Strymon pedals sound,” which makes us really happy. Sound On Sound noted that we’ve “quickly gained a loyal following” in the three years since we began making pedals. And The Deli made us blush when they called us “one of the sickest companies making stompboxes right now.” Thanks, guys, we really appreciate it! :)
We just read Premier Guitar magazine’s review of our new Mobius modulation— and we we’re extremely excited to announce that Mobius has received their coveted Premier Gear award!
Here’s what they had to say:
“The Mobius is a pedal of very deep capabilities that exponentially widens the sound potential of a pedalboard, opens up studio and production possibilities, and can inspire whole tunes.”
“The sonic undulations are deep and complex, and at times sound impossibly real—to the point of being confounding. Just how is a 4′ tall Leslie with wildly spinning drum and horn speakers hiding behind that practice amp?”
“The quality of the Mobius is superb. It’s dead silent—quiet enough to use for outboard mix buss duties. And it’s difficult to imagine a modulation unit doing much more as capably as the Mobius does.”
“If you’re an incurable studio tinkerer, session expert, or a gigging guitarist who plays in a classic rock cover band one night and a post-rock project the next, the Mobius gives you just about every modulation weapon you could ever need.”
We’ve been hard at work building Mobius pedals! We’re busy shipping out pre-orders to our North American customers, and will be making a large shipment to our international distributors in early January. Here are some photos of our recent activity:
Circuit boards complete!
Chassis anodized and ready to go.
Audio testing and programming. Jorge keeping it real.
Contest has ended. Congratulations to Jeff Kerwin from Tallahassee, FL. Stay tuned for other giveaways!
We wanted to celebrate the holiday season and give you the chance to win a Strymon four-pack! Enter to win a holiday care package that includes our TimeLine delay, blueSky Reverberator, OB.1 Optical Compressor & Clean Boost, and our brand new Mobius modulation. I’m not sure what we were thinking— that’s over a $1400 value!
All you need to do is fill out the form below. Contest ends on December 18. Good luck and happy holidays. Ok, go!!
Enter the contest form below.
Please only enter once. Entering more than once will not improve your odds.
Strymon TimeLine multidimensional delay pedal and 9V power supply ($449 value)
Strymon Mobius multidimensional modulation pedal and 9V power supply ($449 value)
Strymon blueSky reverberator pedal and 9V power supply ($299 value)
Strymon OB.1 optical compressor & clean boost and 9V power supply ($218 value)
Enter the contest:
Enter the form below.
Contest has ended.
Contest has ended. Congratulations to Jeff Kerwin from Tallahassee, FL. Stay tuned for other giveaways!