rukind.com

Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #139747  by JDB30
 Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:08 pm
SarnoMusicSolutions wrote:The best way to get the most tubeyness out of the Black Box is if it's the first device. But many people use it with buffered guitars so the Black Box isn't first. It still imparts quite a bit though. Even in Weir's electric Furthur rig, he has a buffer right at his guitars via the wireless transmitter. Then the reciever, and then to the Black Box. Not ideal, but still helps. It's not magic, it's simply the tube thing done very cleanly and quietly. Tubes rule.

B
And done very, very well. I've said in other posts that this device is "must have." I hit it first in my signal chain and it makes an incredible difference on every guitar and with every pre-amp I use. (Mine is built into the front end of my Revelation Preamp---another brilliant SMS creation). Quite simply one of the best devices ever made. There's no one who uses this tube buffer that would ever give it up. If you use pedals or have anything between your guitar and amp, do yourself a favor and buy one of these. Once you A/B your signal without it, you'll be hooked. Brad is a true artisan.
 #139748  by Dozin
 Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:18 pm
Hey Brad, while we're on the SGBB can you explain the Vari-Z control? What should I be listening for to dial it in correctly?
 #139780  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:37 am
The vari-z is simply a variable input impedance. With the knob fully cranked, it's at 1Meg like any guitar preamp input or many pedals. You can dial the impedance (aka: Z) downward all the way to 33k. But the thing is, the vari-z only really interacts with passive pickup connections. If your guitar is buffered before the Black Box then the vari-z almost does nothing. But if you have a passive guitar then dialing down the vari-Z tames the treble resonant peak in a magnetic pickup making it sound flatter, smoother, warmer, darker. This is very handy on sharp and peaky pickups and especially on steel guitar pickups.

If you connect a passive acoustic pickup to the BB, then the vari-Z does the opposite. Instead of controlling the treble peak as with magnetic pickups, the Z-knob will control the subs and low bass response of a piezo pickup. This is very handy in taking out the unwanted boom and thump in any acoustic instrument like a fiddle, mando, guitar, bass, etc. But if the acoustic instrument is buffered with a battery powered on-board buffer or preamp, then again the vari-Z does virtually nothing.

So for those of us using the Black Box with a buffered signal, the vari-Z knob can be set pretty much anywhere without hearing any change. I typically set it at noon as a nominal load value when used with any buffered guitar. The real benefit is the vacuum tube circuit that gets to work its tubey magic on harsh or glassy transients and to help enrich the midrange as tubes naturally do, harmonically. And the tube naturally helps with that feel thing, the subtle dynamic smoothing.

Brad
 #139788  by strumminsix
 Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:14 am
Brad, sorry to slightly side-track... Have you ever seen one of these blackboxes mounted under a PedalTrain Jr board?
 #139789  by JDB30
 Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:29 am
strumminsix wrote:Brad, sorry to slightly side-track... Have you ever seen one of these blackboxes mounted under a PedalTrain Jr board?
There's no way it will fit under any pedaltrain. Plus, you want to have access to the vari-Z control on the box.
 #139792  by strumminsix
 Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:46 am
JDB30 wrote:
strumminsix wrote:Brad, sorry to slightly side-track... Have you ever seen one of these blackboxes mounted under a PedalTrain Jr board?
There's no way it will fit under any pedaltrain. Plus, you want to have access to the vari-Z control on the box.
Ahh, what are the dimensions? Do you really change the vari-z after it's set?
 #139793  by Dozin
 Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:56 am
Thanks Brad, I was wondering why I didn't really hear any changes in tone.
 #139794  by JDB30
 Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:58 am
strumminsix wrote:
JDB30 wrote:
strumminsix wrote:Brad, sorry to slightly side-track... Have you ever seen one of these blackboxes mounted under a PedalTrain Jr board?
There's no way it will fit under any pedaltrain. Plus, you want to have access to the vari-Z control on the box.
Ahh, what are the dimensions? Do you really change the vari-z after it's set?
8.5" x 4.5" x 1.75". If you use different guitars, you would likely want access to the Vari-Z control. You can also rack mount this unit in a single space.
 #139817  by strumminsix
 Thu Jun 12, 2014 8:06 am
JDB30 wrote:8.5" x 4.5" x 1.75". If you use different guitars, you would likely want access to the Vari-Z control. You can also rack mount this unit in a single space.
Thanks!! Gotta figure out how to get this things integrated without changing my setup much!!
 #139818  by JDB30
 Thu Jun 12, 2014 8:12 am
strumminsix wrote:
JDB30 wrote:8.5" x 4.5" x 1.75". If you use different guitars, you would likely want access to the Vari-Z control. You can also rack mount this unit in a single space.
Thanks!! Gotta figure out how to get this things integrated without changing my setup much!!
To get the most out of it, you'll want to hit it first in your signal chain. What's your current path?
 #139820  by strumminsix
 Thu Jun 12, 2014 9:58 am
JDB30 wrote:
strumminsix wrote:
JDB30 wrote:8.5" x 4.5" x 1.75". If you use different guitars, you would likely want access to the Vari-Z control. You can also rack mount this unit in a single space.
Thanks!! Gotta figure out how to get this things integrated without changing my setup much!!
To get the most out of it, you'll want to hit it first in your signal chain. What's your current path?
Yup, that was the plan. Right now it's just guitar to pedalboard. So I'd hit this first then pedals.