The most common question that customers ask us about Deco Tape Saturation and Doubletracker goes something like this: Where should I put Deco on my pedalboard? Do I put it with my drives? What about modulation? At the end of my signal path like you would a tape machine? The answer is pretty simple, and it comes down to how exactly you want to use Deco in the first place.
Are you looking to set it to Wide Stereo Mode for warbly back and forth stereo goodness? Are you hoping to use the Tape Saturation for a bit of warmth and gain before going into your amp or recording interface?
Then set it at the very end as the last pedal before your amps, monitors, interface, etc.
Are you using it as an all-in-one delay/modulation/drive Swiss-Army knife? Does it serve as your modulation and delay, as well as an overdrive or boost?
Then put it after your drive section but before your modulation and other time-based pedals.
These are just a few examples, but the exact sounds and functionality you want to get out of Deco will determine the best place to put it within your signal path.
We’ve seen that there are a few main placements for Deco that most people go with, and we’re happy to share these with you in case you’re in need of some inspiration as to how to get the most out of your Deco!
Deco as Overdrive/Delay/Modulation
For some people, Deco serves as their desert island pedal — a jack of all trades that functions as a delay, flanger, and chorus on one side, and anything from a boost to full-on overdrive on the other.
If you’re using Deco in this configuration, Deco might best be suited to live after your overdrives, but before any time-based effects such as modulation, delay, or reverb.
This is handy if you like stack overdrives, and allows you to pair Deco’s Tape Saturation with any drive pedals you have placed before it, while also keeping your tone as clean as possible by having your drive placed before your modulation, delay, and reverb.
Deco as an End-of-Chain Pedal
Another popular use for Deco is as a sort of end of the signal path treatment — the Tape Saturation side of Deco works nicely to add some natural tape warmth to any signal before going into a mixer or recording interface, the kind of subtle effect that’s not noticeable until it’s not there. This works great on vocals, drums, or bass.
You can also pair this with the Doubletracker: Set the BLEND time to maximum for no reference deck, LAG TIME to 9:00 or before, and WOBBLE to 3:00 or higher for a vibrato that wobbles at random intervals. This works great for adding a bit of warped vinyl-esque movement to any signal.
For this use case, Deco should be placed very last in the signal path, before you go out to your amp(s)/interface/mixer/etc.
Deco as a Stereo Tool
When using stereo output on Deco, its Wide Stereo secondary function is a great tool for creating some unique effects. You can read more about how to dial up Wide Stereo Mode as well as what it does here.
Essentially, the Reference Deck of the Doubletracker is sent to the LEFT OUT, and the Lag Deck is sent to the Right Out. The BLEND knob then acts as a panning control to determine how much of each deck you hear in your monitoring device. You can then use the LAG TIME knob to determine how far behind the Lag Deck is relative to the Reference Deck, directly impacting the effect you will hear.
At shorter LAG TIME settings around 9:00 or so, the decks are very close together and with a bit of WOBBLE can create a nice lush flanger, while at the longest lag time you get a full 500mS delay, which can be used to create a noticeable echo between your left and right audio channels
When using Deco like this, you can place it at the very end of your signal path before going to your speakers if you would still like it to act as an end of the signal path treatment, but you can also get creative with it. Place Deco before a stereo delay to trigger said delay at different times, depending on what your LAG TIME is set to, or use Wide Stereo Mode as a wet/dry splitter where you can separately process the Lag Deck and Reference Deck.
As you can see, the possibilities are many with Deco, and we hope that these examples serve to give you some ideas as to where Deco might best live within your signal path.
If you have questions about these or any other Strymon products, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].
Have an idea for a blog or a question about Strymon, our products, or effects in general? Comment below!