Problem adding fx pedal to fx chain

Hey all,
I recently bought a new pedal (ZVEX Lo-fi Junky) and am trying to add it to the chain on the aux send of my mixer. Right now all I have is a Meris Mercury 7 reverb on the aux send, which works great. When I add the ZVEX to the chain (on either side) it doesn’t work at all, other than nastily doubling any signal I feed into it.

If I plug a synth directly into the ZVEX, however, it works great. It seems to just not be working as an fx piece when in the chain. This sucks, because I’d like to route numerous instruments through it at varying levels, like I do with the Meris. Any thoughts on how to make this work??

can you be a bit clearer about what makes it “not work”? is it silent? you mentioned “nasty doubling”, but i’m not sure what that means…

gonna make some assumptions here in the meantime. what’s probably relevant here is two things about how the LoFi Junky specifically works:

  1. it has a very strong compressor with make-up gain. this means if you’re not gain-staging properly (i.e., your aux send is sending it a very quiet signal), you’re going to get rather strange (and loud) results
  2. it’s a vibrato effect, meaning it’s pitch shifting your signal. when you add a vibrato-modulated signal back to an un-effected signal, you no longer get vibrato, you get chorus. (i’m oversimplifying things a bit here, but that’s basically the idea). this is probably what you mean when you say “nasty doubling”?

Both of these facts taken together: what you probably want is to do is use the LoFi Junky as part of your primary signal chain, rather than on a send. Then, to modify the effect strength, the pedal has that “Comp <-> LoFi” knob. You can think of full-counter-clockwise as “dry”, and full-clockwise as “wet” (altho the pedal will always compress)

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Is your aux send balanced or unbalanced? Nearly all pedals use a TRS jack on the input with the ground side of the battery clip connected to it, so that when a cable is connected the battery is connected to ground via the cable’s sleeve (since putting a T/S cable into a TRS jack shorts the ring and sleeve contacts together) but without a cable the battery is disconnected and won’t get drained.

If you’re connecting a balanced signal to the pedal with an unbalanced cable that theoretically shouldn’t be a problem, but it can things get weird sometimes so that might be something to look out for also.

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When I turn the send knob up on a channel, that channel gets louder and muddier/harsher, but there is not “effect” taking place that I can hear. Like I said, though, if I plug a synth directly into the Junky it works great. Only as a send effect does it “amplify” a channel like I’m saying, without doing anything else. It sounds like it’s just amplifying the dry tone (which I figured it would a little anyways since it’s not true bypass).

Damn though, thanks for the tips. If I use it as part of my primary signal chain, do you have any other ideas on a way I could send multiple instruments through it and control how much each is effected?

It sounds to me like it’s probably a gain-staging issue? Have you tried adjusting your Master Aux Send Level for the aux send that you’re using? Maybe this is too hot? I know on my end when I’m using guitar pedals and such on my Aux Sends it’s always a game of finding that sweet spot with the gain staging.

If you’re able to share a video I imagine that would be very helpful with folks here trying to troubleshoot your issue.

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Someone else recommended a re-amp device since my mixer aux is likely line level and the ZVEX takes instrument level. But I’ve used other pedals that take instrument level and they have usually worked. I’ll mess around with gain staging and whatnot. Sucks man, I really want to use this as a master effect on all my gear!

take a $40 passive DI and a TRS 1/4" to XLR F

AUX OUT into LINE OUT XLR on the DI running it backwards will take the Balanced line level signal and bring it down to instrument level via the transformer. Almost all passive DI boxes can do this.

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I’ll try that, a whole lot cheaper than that re-amp thing!

If you’re handy with a soldering iron you can also make a perfectly decent passive reamp for like $20. You don’t really need to make it balanced and you can save some money by using 1/4" jacks instead of XLR, and even more by not bothering with the volume control. Depending on what parts you already have around, you could probably make a minimal one for a little over $10.

EDIT: The original Recording Magazine version of this is the one I’ve built a couple times: You Can DIY! Reamplification Revisited | audioXpress

Slightly more expensive but I literally never use the resistor-only mode, I have an XLR to TRS cable permanently plugged in to it, and I rarely use the onboard volume control so if I make another it will be more like the first one I linked.

Since you have this on an effect send and not a channel insert, it sounds like you are hearing the dry unaffected signal in parallel with the lofi junky. If you plug a synth straight into the pedal, you have no dry signal and only the output of the lofi junky. The “nasty doubling” you’re referring to is probably phase cancelation and/or chorusing of hearing both the dry and affected signals at the same time which is not really how this pedal is intended to be used.

It’s possible there’s some sort of impedance mismatch by using the send from your mixer but I don’t think a reamp box is really going to solve your issues here. I would try flipping the polarity of your effect return channel if you can and see if that improves anything.

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Yeah, this effect is designed to be used as an insert, so using it as a send effect won’t work properly, but there are a few things you can try depending on your mixer’s features:

  • if your sends can be set to pre fader, you can use that while bringing down the level of the channel to remove the dry signal.
  • If you have an output bus (like the mackie vlz mixers) you can use that instead of a send.
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Thanks for all the helpful help! So when I took the Meris Mercury7 out of the equation and just used the Junky as a send effect it worked well (obviously have to turn down whatever channels I’m sending to it, but I knew that). So I think maybe the Mercury7, being set to “kill dry” signal was like muting what was going out of the Junky? Anyways, I think I’m just gonna use the Junky as a send, get a decent delay, and connect the Mercury to the main outs on my mixer.

I’m kind of new to using hardware sends, so is the reason the Junky isn’t good as a send because it doesn’t have a “Kill Dry” setting, isn’t stereo, or something else?

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Actually, if you had the Junky and the Mercury7 in a chain, with the latter’s dry turned down, you’d end up with a Lo-Fi reverb, which is I imagine not what you intend. Does your mixer have multiple aux sends?

It’s just the type of effect. Sends are usually used with effects such reverbs and delays, where the wet signal is spread over time and very distinct from the dry signal, which is generally mixed in. Units that produce these effects will have a dry level because of this, and this is turned down when used as a send.

The Junky produces compression and vibrato, which produce signals that are very similar to the dry signal, and they give different results with the dry signal mixed back in (parallel compression, or chorus, respectively). Note the Junky can produce a mix of compression and vibrato, which might sound quite strange with the dry mixed on top of it…

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