01 January 2012

Boss NS-2

Right, I'm going to kick start this with something I've noticed about the Boss-NS2.

I wanted a noise gate because my setup was pretty noisy, especially at high gain.
So I Googled for a bit and decided the entire ISP Decimator vs Boss NS-2 discussion is a bit like Nintendo vs Sega, Vi vs Emacs, Jap bikes/cars vs Euro bikes/cars, Apple vs Microsoft etc etc etc
(btw, the correct answers to those are, in order: Nintendo, Vi, Japanese bikes/cars and Debian)
Anyways, apparently it's very hard to try and make an objective opinion about the damn pedal.
"There's tone sucking going on", I've read that a gazillion times on forums and in reviews.
Nice information dudes, cheers for that!
Well, I haven't tested the ISP so I can't compare the two, but I noticed something:

I never really liked the sound of my Hardwire TL-2 distortion on the Blackstar HT1 in some situations.
It was ok for everything except for those real chunky down stroked riffs Metallica is known for.
As soon as I engaged the pedal on either channel of the amp 2 things happened:
* the chunkiness disappeared and no matter what I did with the TL-2's settings, I couldn't get it back. It sounded pretty tame actually.
* high tones got boosted slightly ("high" dial at 12 o'clock). Wasn't that big of a deal, just turned the dial down a little.

So, I got the Boss NS-2 today (it's a lot cheaper than the ISP and if it's good enough for Mr Hetfield, it's good enough for me) and I set it up like this:

guitar -> NS2 input
NS2 output -> amp
NS2 send -> TL-2 input
TL-2 output -> NS2 return

So the standard "let's put the distortion pedal in the NS2 loop" set up, basically.
I engaged the distortion on the amp's clean channel and lo and behold, my chunky sound is back.
Don't ask me why, I have no idea... but I'm digging the sound a lot.

So, is there tone sucking?
Define tone sucking... my tone has definitely changed, for the better that is.
The chunk is back and the highs sound "normal" again.
The distortion pedal now sounds like what I'd expect from a distortion pedal.
It took the NS-2's effect loop but it sounds good to my ears now.

The noise reduction and gating function of the NS-2 works like it should on my set up btw, thought I should mention that as well.
Some people on the forums I've read on the subject claimed it didn't work for them, YMMV.

For completeness' sake here's the gear used in the set up:

* Epiphone '84 Explorer reissue (EMG's 81/85)
* Blackstar HT1
* Digitech Hardwire TL-2 Metal Distortion
* Boss NS-2