Why Your World is Better When Wetter: Thoughts on Getting More from Effects in a Wet/Dry/Wet or Stereo Rig

After a few weeks of phasing out the gear and gigs of That Pedal Shed, Dan & Mick released their final show created in the recording space. So, how do dudes like this go out with a bang? Why not go with an out of this world wet-dry-wet rig with multiple vintage tape delays and a trilogy of boutique amps. The rough tally on the price tag? Let’s call it about $40, 000 USD, or almost 6.5 million Sri Lankan Rupees, which sounds even more impressive.

When Dan finally managed to get out a few words to describe the experience of playing this rig, it was a simple verdict and apt conclusion for the tenancy in That Pedal Shed: “That is the best guitar sound we’ve had in here, ever!” So why or how might you go about capturing this sound and feeling?

Using Different Types of Delay to Create Textures

One of the reasons this week’s TPS rig sounded so rich and multi-dimensional was due to the echo sounds on either side of the dry amp. In this case, it was a set of vintage tape delays: over on the left, it was the Roland Space Echo, and off to the right, the Binson Echorec. Together these two provided a movement to the sound that ranged from ambient pings to percussive hits.

But what was it about this set up that sounded so brilliant? Well, a lot of things. One, however, was the different tonal qualities of the echoes and the way they worked in tandem even when out of sync. The sound was textured yet articulate. The two varieties of tape played off each other. As Dan commented, the collaboration of the effects in the room was a sound that “embraced you…with clarity and definition….it’s not coming from one space, it’s coming from everywhere.”

So, if you’re at all like me, and are dealing with a somewhat problematic delay pedal addiction, it might be that this concept opens a new creative outlet for your ‘problem.’ We talk a lot of stacking overdrives, but what about stacking delays or, at least, using them in partnership? This might be a way of getting even more out of the gear you love and creating truly unique sounds.

Tonal Advantages of a Wet/Dry Setup

So let’s say you don’t have the $40k to get this rig. As Dan & Mick have tutored in the past, a wet/dry or wet/dry/wet rig doesn’t have to be this steep. It can be as simple as adding a second economy amp to your existing setup. While most of us think of extending our rigs by building sounds on the floor using pedals, picking up a second amp could be a way of getting more out of the gear you already have. So why might you go down this road?

For starters, it’s a way of both anchoring your gain sounds even while your effects are dimed out. As Mick commented after getting both echoes nearly awash, with the Two Rock running only overdrive “you retain all of that goodness and still hear every note.” Even when pairing up a set of delicate delays on the exterior with a heavy fuzz down the center, the multi-amp set up meant all elements came through in high fidelity. In a sense, the result is less a wall of sound as it is a three-dimensional architecture of tone.

If you’re thinking a second (or third) amp might be the next stage of evolution for your rig, be sure to check out our blog coverage of a past TPS episode on best-practices for stereo an wet/dry rigs here.

Closing Thoughts on Inspiring Experiences and the Evolution of Gear

As Dan & Mick turned amps off and turned the key on That Pedal Shed for the final time, they paused for some reflections on the relationship between the development of gear and its relationship to player inspiration.

“Where is the line drawn between this incredible sound [of vintage gear] and practicality or convenience?” Dan asked. Let’s face it, the old school gear makes its fare share of clunks and bumps, but when it’s working right, the sound is moving.

As Dan & Mick have reflected countless times on TPS, with pedal designs what they are these days, we’re in a “golden age of gear.” While a reclaimed and refurbished Space Echo or Binson Echorec might be out of touch for most of us, with excellent pedal renditions available for most classic sounds, it means that most of us can at least approximate that experience of playing the gear of old. In the end, the rule of thumb should be: find inspiration in the gear that not only sounds right to your ear but makes your fingers move in new and creative ways. If you get that from a vintage Echoplex, a 1980s digital rack, or a stompbox on the floor, go for it.

TPS Rig Rundown:

Guitars: Fender Custom Shop 1963 Telecaster, Fender American Vintage ’62 Stratocaster, Collings I-30LC.

Pedals: Shin-Ei FY-6 Fuzz, Keeley D&M Drive, ProAnalog Devices Manticore, Origins Effects SlideRig Compact, Supro Tremolo, Binson Echorec 2, Roland RE-201 Space Echo.

Amps: 1961 Vox AC30, Two-Rock Classic Reverb Signature with 212 cab, Hamstead Artist 60+RT.

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