my effects & amplification
the effects and amplification I currently use
effects for my acoustic dulcimers
My dulcimers have natural sounding pickups and the signal is treated by the excellent Boss DD-500 delay unit. This delay processes the signal to the highest of audio standards, so the integrity of the acoustic sound is preserved. The delay effects that I use for dulcimer, with a few exceptions, are so subtle that you might only notice them by their absence. They add a hint of body and place the music in a natural sound space.
effects for my acoustic guitars
My guitars also have natural sounding pickups. Most of my traditional songs and airs, like my dulcimer music, are given a very subtle treatment via the DD-500 delay to place the music in a natural sound space.
My more modern and adventurous pieces however, undergo further processing. Firstly, some of the pieces have subtle modulation via the Boss MD-200 (blue box) to add a little texture to the guitar sound. Then the depth of the DD-500’s (cream box) programming comes into play. Each piece has its own, carefully programmed delay patch (or patches) using a variety of state-of-the-art delay types. Lastly, the Boss RC-30 loop station (red box) allows me to layer sounds of different textures and/or play back recordings of sounds of nature during live performance.
All three units can operate in mono or stereo and process the signal to the highest of audio standards with no degradation to the sound quality.
effects for my electric dulcimer
My solid-body electric dulcimer is effectively a dulcimer version of an electric guitar with a smooth-sounding humbucking coil pickup. To process this signal, I use the Boss GT-1 guitar multi-effects unit. This highly quality unit is extremely powerful both in programming and facility. It holds almost every electric guitar effect and can be programmed to have many effects operating simultaneously and in any sequence. Each piece has its own patch (or patches) and the output, set to be compatible with PA or acoustic amp, yet still sounds like an electric guitar amp stack.
amplification & PA
Schertler Jam 200
The Schertler Jam 200 acoustic amp has several inputs with comprehensive mixing facilities. As well as being powerful and bi-amped, the Schertler’s class A circuitry delivers exceptional detail and clarity, yet still retains a warm character.
Bose S1 Pro & Bose-Yamaha mini PA
The Bose S1 Pro is a remarkable and versatile speaker that belies its small size and delivers a powerful, clean sound with a strong bass. The S1 Pro has two inputs with preamps for acoustic guitar and/or microphone and, when placed in a number of positions, it will auto-adjust the tone accordingly. A single S1 Pro can be used as an acoustic amp, an extension to the Schertler amp or a mini PA system in its own right. The Si Pro is powered by an internal battery, which makes it ideal for electrical isolation in a radio station, for quick set-up or for outdoor use.
Two S1 Pro’s used as powered speakers, in conjunction with the high quality Yamaha MG06X mixer, make for a simple but great-sounding PA for solo and duo performances in small venues. The S1 Pro speakers can also be used as foldback monitors for the Stagepas PA (below) and the MG06X can also be used with the Stagepas PA as a sub-mixer, to extend the number of inputs.
Yamaha Stagepass 500
The Yamaha Stagepass 500 is a compact PA system with professional features which delivers a smooth, detailed sound. With more input channels, the PA can cater for larger ensembles. Pole mounted speakers disperse the sound for medium sized venues.
microphones, preamp & DI
For acoustic instruments my main preamp is a Fishman Platinum Pro (silver box) which has class A circuitry and sounds exceptionally detailed and smooth. The Platinum Pro has many useful features and comprehensive EQ, leaving sound engineers little to worry about.
I use the legendary Sure SM58 mic for my own vocals and, for greater clarity, a Sennheiser E-935 mic for female vocals. My Sure SM58 is fed to PA via the Boss VE-1 Vocal Echo (blue box). This voice processor conditions my vocals to give a polished, professional sound. There are also two versatile AKG C1000s condenser mics for additional instruments.
An EMO E525 passive stereo DI provides a high-quality balanced signal to a PA from acoustic and electric effects. All my mics, effects and preamps are battery powered – so there is no need for mains power on stage, unless I’m providing the PA.