Can you really add a subtle but sublime limiter to a HiFi overdrive? It’s all in the settings…
So now that we have figured out how to use the SoloDallas as a simple Boost / Overdrive / Distortion box what does the SNAP function bring to the mix? A whole lot of subtle HiFi tone shaping that would be right at home in a studio rack let alone in an effects pedal. If set right it will work just like an expensive studio compressor; you know when it’s on…but you really know when it’s off.
While using your ears to find the most suitable settings is the most logical way to set the Storm up for your rig there are a few pointers that could save you some grief; still the easiest thing to do is to set it up as a drive with the SNAP set to minimum. Get a good tone (or at least set it up as either a boost, overdrive or distortion) then set out to find the sweet spots in the compressor section.
This seems to be the order of each of the individual “effects” or circuits:
Gain -> Compressor / Limiter -> Output
Just as a Tube Screamer can be seen as a combination of Volume Boost, Drive and Treble Booster circuits each with their own control knobs, the Storm can be seen in a similar fashion. The SNAP control does act as it’s own subtle tone control but with frequency manipulation being only a byproduct of it’s intended use.
Seen in this manner you can quickly cut to where the SNAP should be set to. With these four base settings for Drive and Volume use the numbers as the range from 0 to 10 as a guide. These are some of my favourite settings with this being my most used:
7 – 6 – 5
Here are the 4 main settings for the Drive side and where SNAP makes most sense to have set:
- Low Gain High Output: Clean Booster/Light Overdrive Using this setting for a large volume boost has a few options: set SNAP to a lower level to induce just a hint of pseudo compression that gives off the effect of it being louder than it actually is*. The more you increase this the more apparent the effect becomes . As you Venture much past the halfway mark it can get excessive and a bit flabby though compared to something as simple as a Dynacomp this is far more subtle. It may seem counterintuitive to compress a boosted signal but it works. It just oozes that cough cough vinyl sound.
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- High Gain and Low Output: Drive/Heavy Overdrive This setting is where the SNAP would seem least useful as there is little reason to clam down a single that is already low output to begin with…but it has its merit here as well. It can tame some pricing highs with its warm compression. Useful for when you need a little more gain and front-end drive or for more drive to an amplifier already that is already cooking the tubes.
8 – 3 – 4
- Medium Gain and Output (50/50) Balanced Drive and Boost This is where SNAP used most judiciously can deliver a plethora of tones that will be surprising in how varied they are. will yield a delicious balance of both drive e and output. Lots of Marshall character here. With SNAP set low it is dynamic much like a vintage Marshall head: bouncy and an abundance of gain that is not overbearing. Makes a great amp sim for a Marshall!
5 – 5 – 5
- Full Bore! High Gain and High Output Again… Excessive settings for excessive tone! While the circuit seems to overload when set with everything to Maximum it has it’s own sort of character that would work for certain tracks in the studio. This setting can get flabby if your setup isn’t tight.. Still all of this excess delivers some complex tones.
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- Used in front of a solid state amplifier the SNAP control does wonders to simulate the subtle compression of power tubes being pushed past their clean threshold and into saturation.
- This circuit can seem “dry” in some amps; it craves a complex midrange and is quite comfortable with a Marshall. Then again maybe it requires something not so much complex as LOUD!
- A Marshall amp from the less distorted eras seems to work far better than high gain 800s 900s and DSLs; that being said you can always count on this to be at home with this amplifier manufacture.
- The key to finding a balance that is suited to this pedal is to get the tone and gain and volume you want and then get the amount of clarity you are after with SNAP. It can add blankets of warmth or remain clean and clear. It all depends how “Power” and “Storm” are set.