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About John: Equipment: Outboard Effects

Speck Electronics Channel Strip
For my live acoustic rig (left), I use a Speck Electronics MicPre/DI preamp coupled with a Speck 4-band parametric EQ -- add the RNC to smooth things out, add a little reverb from the Lexicon, and we're off to the races! The preamp/DI gives a ton of super clean gain with a lot of headroom, and the eq is like a surgical instrument, and helps me notch out the nasty frequencies from the acoustic guitar pickup (I have yet to hear a pickup on an acoustic guitar that actually sounds like an acoustic guitar without at least a little notch filtering), and deal with room-by-room oddities that cause boominess, feedback, or other problems. I also use this strip in the studio for micing the guitar and vocals. The photo at the left also shows the RNP sitting up on the board, which I use to provide phantom power and a gain stage for my vocal mic and a guitar mic for the Gibson L50, which doesn't have a pickup (I typically mic it with a small cap condenser like the Geffel MV692 or the AT4051).

I use this compressor with the Speck channel strip in my acoustic guitar signal chain in "Super Nice" mode (similar to dbx's soft knee compression) to smooth out the sound and take care of the transients. Very musical, no pumping, and completely transparent. In the studio, it's got range and can do everything from transaprent leveling to distressor style signal smashing.

Peavey Valverb
As I think I've mentioned quite a few times in these pages, over the years I've developed a preference (bordering on obsession) for 60's Blackface Fender amps. Two in particular in my arsenal are non-reverb models (the Showman and the Deluxe), and while I particularly like the overall

Lexicon MPX 100
Super flexible digital multi effects unit. This thing has everything I need (admittedly not that much). A reverb that doesn't sound like I'm playing through a tin can, and a rich, smooth delay (with "tap" tempo). I'm guessing the chorus, flange, and gate sounds are good too, but I've never really had occasion to bother using them. Currently this unit lives full time in my acoustic rack, but when I didn't have a dedicated rig for playing acoustic, I used it quite a bit in my recording rack -- all the reverb sounds on my electric guitar tracks and on vocals on the King Harvest recordings came out of the Lex.

I use this mic preamp for guitar mics when I'm not plugging in and using the singal chain described above. Lots of beautiful clean gain in a nice compact package. Beats the hell out of the built in pres on my little Mackie (and most boards I run into at clubs, for that matter). Makes it easy to just have the exact sound I want leaving the stage instead of relying too much on any particular house gear.

Alesis Nanoverb
In the Oversoul days, I used this unit for my onboard reverb (jumped into the Normal channel). It's actually a pretty versatile unit with reverb, delay, flange, and some other stuff, all quite usable, and it comes in a nice compact 1/2RU box. I've had several over the years and I've used them on a variety of applications beyond my guitar amps, including recording and a reverb send on a dry PA.

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