This was another non-functioning pedal handed to me by my friend Mauz, the DOD DFX94 Digital Delay / Sampler. I’d gotten pretty cocky after I’d fixed his DOD FX9, so I took this one on with confidence.
When working, the DFX94 was purported to have a spacious maximum of 4 seconds delay along with an “infinite repeat” and a sample function. I had no idea how to get any of these special functions to work as finding a DOD manual online is kind of like trying to find a funny Owen Wilson movie. What I did know was that the normal delay functions wouldn’t power up.
One guitarist I played with was adamant that mute switches and volume pedals were for the unskilled. He insisted every guitar player should learn how to use their volume knob on the guitar or they shouldn’t be playing. A bold statement from a big dick. For the rest of us pussies, there’s devices like the DOD FX-17 Volume / Wah pedal, manufactured from 1987-2000.
Since the first wah, people have been trying to find new ways to do the same thing. First it was the Crybaby style pinion gear to turn the pot and then a pulley system to get more sweep, but that could always lead to scratchy pots. Morley invented the LDR light-based system with a movable curtain to avoid scratchy pots, but the curtain system took up some room.
My jefe, Mauz, handed me this broken hunk of gear in the hopes I could figure out what was wrong. The DOD DFX9 digital delay was a pretty cool pedal back when it worked, he assured me. I put it in a drawer for a few months until I got around to check it out. I was dubious about taking on the repairs of some cheap-o digital pedal.
The DFX9 was DOD’s shot at BOSS, their far east competition. BOSS’s DD series of compact digital delays had become quite popular in the ’80s and was surpassing older, analog delays like the DOD FX90. Self-proclaimed as “America’s pedal,” DOD would not go down without a fight. Non-functioning and with the jacks falling out, Mauz’s DFX9 pedal was a casualty of the war that DOD lost. FYI, I got ADD about curing the DFX9 of its PTSD ASAP.
My Ampeg SVT-2 Pro is a champ. It can roar like the SVT buried inside of it and sing with all the bells and whistles of a graphic EQ, direct out, and even more I haven’t figured out yet. It’s got two major problems, though. One is the weight. It’s a beast, weighing in at 68 pounds unmounted. When Impaled toured the first time with Incantation, Kyle unlovingly dubbed it “the brick.”
The second problem is the look. The SVT-2 and 2 Pro are victims of their time… the nineties. Everyone was looking to put things in rack mounts. Rack mounts look like shit. They belong in the back of a Google server warehouse, not at a rock show. Ampeg partially addressed this situation when they made the Ampeg SVTRC series. These are nice looking rack mount boxes for their stupid looking series of heads. I wanted one. My 2 Pro is a good amp on the inside and I wanted it housed like one.
I started my quest for the ulimate live bass sound by adding a Sansamp Bass Driver DI and a Sennheiser MD421-U microphone to my usual accoutrements. The Sansamp allows me control of the EQ on my direct line and the microphone has a wider frequency range than most to catch all the low end. It also keeps my signal going to the mix board should something unfortunate happen to my head, like blowing a fuse.
Because I can’t leave well enough alone, I had to come up with something special for the microphone and present a unified, refrigerator-box-size of brown noting bass farts. I wanted to fashion a multi-use way to mount the mic on the cab where it would sit awaiting some sound person with a cable who would surely say, “oh my, he’s so prepared and easy to work with, I will actually work tonight and not do blow in the bathroom during their set.”
DI boxes. I didn’t like them. I didn’t understand them. I’ve invested in this refrigerator size cab and monster amp spewing forth fuzz and ass-end frequencies. Then, some sound guy comes along and puts a DI box before the amp and cab, negating the EQ on my amp, and cranks fuzz sans bass. Now it still sounds like ass, but not in the good way. Why can’t they just mic it?
I’ve had this argument against DI boxes and pro mic’ing bass for awhile now, until someone more knowledgeable than I finally asked, “Do you bring your own mic that can actually capture full bass frequencies?” Oh. Hadn’t thought of that. I don’t know shit about mics. I don’t know shit about bass frequencies. I don’t know shit about shit, apparently.
I bought my SVT2 Pro from my friend Janis sometime in the late nineties for about $800. I really had no idea what it was, just that it said Ampeg like all the other bass players had and that it was very, very heavy. It must be good, because it weighs a lot, and was dubbed by Incantation as “the fucking brick” on Impaled’s tour with them in 2000. It had been on tour with Janis while she played in Stone Fox and L7. I guessed it was pretty good, but I was still too busy trying to learn to play and keep up with my bandmates who’d all been playing years longer than I to actually read about my purchase.
After a love / hate relationship with constant amp breakdowns for a decade, I finally figured out the SVT2 Pro had a vent on the side. I also figured out Ohms, and that I’d been abusing this poor thing for years with incorrect speaker hook ups. Sometimes, realizing my stupidity overwhelms me.
It seems like I was just in Europe, with Ludicra, but here I go again with Impaled. Some years are just like that. I must remember to be thankful and try to forget my crippling debt, my age, and the work hours I’m losing out on. Oh no, touring is fun. It’s great to be 35, have no money, and sleep on floors in strange lands.