Sustainor and Distortion Generator together?

New to Rockman gear? Here's some help. Questions are welcome.
Tommy Von Voigt
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:11 pm

Sustainor and Distortion Generator together?

Post by Tommy Von Voigt » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:54 pm

Hi guys! I just received my first Rockman modules this week, and I'm already digging the hell out of them. I have a Sustainor 100 and a Stereo Chorus / Delay. I seemed to gravitate directly to the distortion setting, and I really love that sound. I'm curious about getting even more gain out of this. I do have a deal in the works for 2 of the EQ modules, and will be running 1 of them pre distortion in the loop, and one post the Sustainor. From what I understand, that will help me fine the sound. But is there a way to also send the gain into complete meltdown levels? I'm not referring to modern metal sounds, though. I'm talking about that EVH thing where it sounds like a Plexi pushed way beyond any reasonable safe limits and you say "dude, that amp sounds like it could catch fire."

What about adding a Distortion Generator to the mix, to add a second gain stage? Is that doable? Could it be added to the loop? Could I do something like this:

Guitar > Sustainor Input > Sus. FX Loop Out > 1st EQ > Distortion Generator > Sus. FX Loop In > Sus. Output > 2nd EQ > Stereo Chorus / Delay

I bought one of the 3 button Rockman foot switches, so I was thinking I could set the Sustainor up for a nice clean sound, and use the first button on the foot switch to go back and forth from that to the 2nd channel, which will be on distortion mode. Then, I could use the 2nd foot switch button to take the Distortion Generator off of bypass mode, and send the gain completely over the top. In other words, I'd be enabling the Distortion Generator while the Sustainor is on the distortion channel. The third button on the foot switch could then be used to enable or disable the Stereo Chorus / Delay. My EQs would just always be on, I think. I'd dial in a nice sound and leave them be.

What say you all? Does this sound like it could work, or could even sound awesome? Or is this a recipe for disaster? Do any of you happen to have the necessary modules to test out this setup? Or maybe have tried it in the past? I'm trying to avoid buying stuff that I may not end up needing, since I still have to get a power conditioner, a rack, maybe an ISP Decimator Pro Rack G to keep everything under control, and so on.

I'm currently trying to avoid going with a MIDI Octopus, and just keep things limited to the 3 button foot switch. I've never been a pedal board guy, and I don't want to go off the deep end with that. I do dig the 3 button foot switch, though.

Sunburst
Posts: 222
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:46 am

Re: Sustainor and Distortion Generator together?

Post by Sunburst » Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:58 pm

Tommy,

Both the Sustainor and Distortion Generator have compression stages so running both at the same time will most likely be noisy. The Distortion Generator does have a bit more gain than a Sustainor so you could use it in your setup for heavy distortion while bypassing the Sustainor and vice versa. The Distortion Generator would go directly after the Sustainor in this setup.

My studio Sustainor setup (10 modules) includes a Distortion Generator setup (6 modules) on a Remote Loop.

Reference the Triple Foot Switch, I would use the channels to:

1. Change the channels on your Sustainor.

2. Trigger the rhythm volume on your Sustainor.

3. Change between CHORUS and delay on you Stereo Chorus/Delay.

HINT: Get a MIDI Octopus (or two or three) and Midipedal!

Very respectfully,

Sunburst

Tommy Von Voigt
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:11 pm

Re: Sustainor and Distortion Generator together?

Post by Tommy Von Voigt » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:30 pm

Sunburst wrote:Tommy,

Both the Sustainor and Distortion Generator have compression stages so running both at the same time will most likely be noisy. The Distortion Generator does have a bit more gain than a Sustainor so you could use it in your setup for heavy distortion while bypassing the Sustainor and vice versa. The Distortion Generator would go directly after the Sustainor in this setup.

My studio Sustainor setup (10 modules) includes a Distortion Generator setup (6 modules) on a Remote Loop.

Reference the Triple Foot Switch, I would use the channels to:

1. Change the channels on your Sustainor.

2. Trigger the rhythm volume on your Sustainor.

3. Change between CHORUS and delay on you Stereo Chorus/Delay.

HINT: Get a MIDI Octopus (or two or three) and Midipedal!

Very respectfully,

Sunburst
Hmm...I had been wondering about the 2nd layer of compression...now, if I were to get a DG and put it after the Sustainor as you are saying, how would I toggle between the Sustainor and the DG with one press of a foot switch? Is that where the MIDI Octopus comes into play?

And, do I understand correctly that if the Sustainor or the DG is on bypass, that means signal is passing through it completely unaltered? So, running a Sustainor into a DG, with the DG on bypass, is the same as the DG not even being there, and vice versa?

An even greater question is, didn’t I read correctly that there are dudes on here that are modding Sustainors to be double IC or rev 20-ish? I mean, maybe that’s a route I can take as well?

Sunburst
Posts: 222
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:46 am

Re: Sustainor and Distortion Generator together?

Post by Sunburst » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:40 pm

With a Triple Foot Switch, you would have to use two channels for the bypasses on each unit. With a MIDI Octopus you could use the H-channel with a splitter for both.

Yes, when you bypass one it's like it's not even there.

Dave Accomando of Perfect Sound Rock Refurbs (PSRR) used to do the Double IC and Quad Mods (allows you to access all four channels). But he's retired.

I know both Dave Ferringer at Rockman-Repair and Dwight Baker at B5 Amplification do the Double IC mod. Not sure about the Quad Mod.

Of course, Rockman Central Bob on Gearup has some experience in this department! HINT! HINT!

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Guitarvamp
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Re: Sustainor and Distortion Generator together?

Post by Guitarvamp » Fri Sep 21, 2018 2:08 am

I think you might be barking up the wrong amplifier, here. I'm not sure I would describe any of the Rockman products as "complete meldown" distortion. True, the Distortion Generator has more distortion than a Sustainor, but in the overall scope of distortion sounds, it's all pretty close to that classic Boston sound. The high gain amps have their place, and they can be worked into a rig with Rockman gear, but to me at least, they are in a different class.

Which Van Halen album/song "sounds like a Plexi pushed way beyond any reasonable safe limits"? Eddie's "brown sound" is pretty unique, and can be had from the 5150/6505. But the 5150/6505 will also do much heavier sounds as heard from metal bands like Carcass, Cradle of Filth, Periphery,In Flames, and Venom, to name a few. What do you use for distortion now?

You could also work an A/B setup - Rockman clean, then switch to higher gain pedals/preamps, joined together for the Rockman chorus/delay.

The MIDI Octopus is only for channel switching. A Remote Loop would be for A/B'ing or signal loops. The Rocktron Patchmate has 8 loops and switches all in one rack space.

The Sustainor quad mods and double IC will have nothing at all to do with distortion or gain. Just FYI.

Tommy Von Voigt
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:11 pm

Re: Sustainor and Distortion Generator together?

Post by Tommy Von Voigt » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:45 am

Guitarvamp wrote:I think you might be barking up the wrong amplifier, here. I'm not sure I would describe any of the Rockman products as "complete meldown" distortion. True, the Distortion Generator has more distortion than a Sustainor, but in the overall scope of distortion sounds, it's all pretty close to that classic Boston sound. The high gain amps have their place, and they can be worked into a rig with Rockman gear, but to me at least, they are in a different class.

Which Van Halen album/song "sounds like a Plexi pushed way beyond any reasonable safe limits"? Eddie's "brown sound" is pretty unique, and can be had from the 5150/6505. But the 5150/6505 will also do much heavier sounds as heard from metal bands like Carcass, Cradle of Filth, Periphery,In Flames, and Venom, to name a few. What do you use for distortion now?

You could also work an A/B setup - Rockman clean, then switch to higher gain pedals/preamps, joined together for the Rockman chorus/delay.

The MIDI Octopus is only for channel switching. A Remote Loop would be for A/B'ing or signal loops. The Rocktron Patchmate has 8 loops and switches all in one rack space.

The Sustainor quad mods and double IC will have nothing at all to do with distortion or gain. Just FYI.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving the sound. I was just wondering if there was a way to push it even harder into that “I’m about to lose control of this amp” territory. I’m definitely not looking to sound like any of those super crazy heavy bands. Maybe the best way to describe it is me just wondering if there were a way to hit a “more” button on this thing.

I’m suspecting the EQs are going to make a big difference, and allow me to really sculpt things and add just a little more hair.

Sunburst
Posts: 222
Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:46 am

Re: Sustainor and Distortion Generator together?

Post by Sunburst » Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:48 pm

Hmm... the VOLUME sliders on both Sustainor channels go to 10. But there is plenty of space between the 10 graphic and the top of the slider track. I'd Sharpie in an "11" right above the 10. Now your Sustainor goes to 11! That's 1 more! Heck! Why not go to 12! Problem solved!

;)
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Tommy Von Voigt
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Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:11 pm

Re: Sustainor and Distortion Generator together?

Post by Tommy Von Voigt » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:25 pm

Sunburst wrote:Hmm... the VOLUME sliders on both Sustainor channels go to 10. But there is plenty of space between the 10 graphic and the top of the slider track. I'd Sharpie in an "11" right above the 10. Now your Sustainor goes to 11! That's 1 more! Heck! Why not go to 12! Problem solved!

;)
But, why don't I just make "10" louder and just go to "10" instead?

RockmanCentralBob
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Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 2:10 am

Re: Sustainor and Distortion Generator together?

Post by RockmanCentralBob » Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:07 pm

Hi, just saw this discussion and thought I'd weigh in...

Eddies Plexi sound (at least from the first couple albums) is, to me, actually really not crazy high gain. Eddie plays very fast, so he doesn't need a ton of sustain. What it is is more boosted treble (pre distortion), nice new strings for lots of clarity, and more output tube distortion (though, you can get some that by hitting the PI tube hard too, which is part of the basis behind the LarMar PPIMV Plexi mod).

You can do roughly the same thing with a Sustainor and a good pre-EQ in the loop....

On the EQ...
Boost the 125 hz, 2k, 4k and 8k
Drop the 31hz, 62hz, 250hz, and 16k
Leave the 500hz and 1k flat.
Put the Sustainor in Edge mode and boost the treble to taste.
Crank the EQ volume to your desired level of gain.

If you have a post distortion EQ, lowering the low frequencies will help too.

Tommy Von Voigt
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:11 pm

Re: Sustainor and Distortion Generator together?

Post by Tommy Von Voigt » Sat Sep 22, 2018 2:30 am

RockmanCentralBob wrote:Hi, just saw this discussion and thought I'd weigh in...

Eddies Plexi sound (at least from the first couple albums) is, to me, actually really not crazy high gain. Eddie plays very fast, so he doesn't need a ton of sustain. What it is is more boosted treble (pre distortion), nice new strings for lots of clarity, and more output tube distortion (though, you can get some that by hitting the PI tube hard too, which is part of the basis behind the LarMar PPIMV Plexi mod).

You can do roughly the same thing with a Sustainor and a good pre-EQ in the loop....

On the EQ...
Boost the 125 hz, 2k, 4k and 8k
Drop the 31hz, 62hz, 250hz, and 16k
Leave the 500hz and 1k flat.
Put the Sustainor in Edge mode and boost the treble to taste.
Crank the EQ volume to your desired level of gain.

If you have a post distortion EQ, lowering the low frequencies will help too.
Thanks Bob! I’m going to try that!