Devin Townsend recently sat down with TC Electronic to build a pedalboard using almost exclusively the company's pedals, according to "the specifications that I would use for my trip."
As you can see in the embedded player below, the musician used a Dunlop Custom Audio Electronics wah that he placed next to the board, and then a series of TC devices. Devy said (transcribed by UG):
"So, we'll start with Dunlop CAE [wah], which is a really cool one. ... Then the first one in line would be the tuner because then I could do the mute globally."
The next step was a tremolo pedal, with Townsend saying:
"Let's go with the Trem next, and that would be before everything. Because if I have the Trem after the delays - the effect of that sort of space of multiple delays and reverbs that I'm trying to achieve start to stutter.
"And what I'm looking more to do is to have the tremolo hit those delays, so it's got this more wobbly effect, as opposed to the stutter effect."
The musician then proceeded into what he described as "my gain stages," saying:
"I think I'll start with the compressor. I tend to put the compressor before or after these pedals, the gain stage pedals, depending on the application, but I'm gonna try the compressor first today.
"The compressor will go into the low gain. Actually, let's change this. Let's put the compressor into Spark [boost pedal]. The way that I utilize the compressor is almost to give the effect of, like, the tubes that have been warm for a while.
"So it just sort-of softens the attack full stop, and it's not like a country-guitar sort of compression. So we'll put this there. But I don't want anything to hit the compressor prior, to make that attack more pronounced. So this Spark Boost I tend to use as the third stage of gain.
"The clean sound would be the compressor. The low-gain would then be, in this case, the Mojo Mojo, which is a nice low-gain sort of tube-amp-sounding distortion, and then this here [Spark] acts as a lead boost.
Devin continued by adding modulation effects, saying:
"Then I typically, unless I'm trying to achieve some sort of analog delay effect, I'm gonna put all my modulation effects after my gain stages.
"So in this case, what we'll try to do is replicate what I do with the Axe-FX or a computer. And what that typically is, is an analog delay sound. In that case, I need a very basic analog delay for this; I'm gonna use this one which will be mono, and that will go into the Hall of Fame [reverb pedal].
"And this is going to be an analog sound, maybe about 500 milliseconds with a fair amount of repeat. Actually, more like 800 milliseconds with maybe 60-70% repeat, and a dark sound.
"So we'll sort of cut the top off of it, and that feeds into this, which is going to be maybe a 10-second Hall, but the mix that we do ultimately softens this as well. And then the last stage is this: we're gonna run it into a Ping Pong delay, so that takes this big goo sound and spreads it further.
"So, now that we've got Mr. Pink there [Brainwaves pitch shifter pedal] we're gonna have to sort of tighten this up just a touch. I think now if at the end it makes it better for you, I think that's worth the effort. So, let's say that this is what we want to set up."
The musician then said about his approach:
"Basically the whole idea of what I try to do with the clean effects sound is to try and make a quasi-infinite delay and reverb chain that tonally sits under the guitar so I can continue to play while it sort of blooms in the background.
"And to do that, I need to have a delay in front of this that's mono, that has very little in terms of attack and then a reverb that coming after it softens that attack further, plus with a darker sort of hall sound; it's unobtrusive, it doesn't have that sort of pixelated high-end thing.
"So, it's a real fine line for me between it working and not. Because we're in mono, the effect will be different than it's in stereo, but whoever gets this board, the idea is that you take the stereo out and you run it into two amps."
You decided to have the Spark in front of your drive. So we're talking about lead - it was more drive, not more volume?
"Yeah, it's more drive. I'm in standard tuning, and I'm never in standard tuning, so now I'm just, like, trying to figure out."
You brought that onto yourself. Did you just want to try standard tuning or...?
"They have it set up that way, some people that aren't in my ridiculous tuning can see whether or not they want to...
"What is your tuning?
"Open C, so with the seven-(string) it would be G-C-G-C-G-C-E."
You can watch the whole thing in the embedded player below.