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How to Choose Which Spire Studio Effects Pedal to Use

by Charley Ruddell, iZotope Contributor May 23, 2019

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Recording effects and amp simulators are only available when you pair Spire Studio to your Spire app.

Effects pedals can make or break a performance. It allows you to stand out from the crowd, and even own the crowd as well. Access to diverse and ample pedal options is like having a wonderfully stocked spice rack; the opportunity for immense flavor is at hand, yet the possibility for too much zest is equally at large. Spire Studio's built in effects pedals can bring a little extra flavor when you need it most.

More so than the pedals themselves, knowing when to use them within the right context is the true skill to be mastered. Taste and thoughtful curation are what will carry your sound above the rest.

Assembling a full pedal collection can cost you an arm and a leg, so for those who are light on the pedal game and are equipped with a Spire Studio, you too can have bountiful tone options. When working with Spire Studio, you have five unique pedal simulators—let’s break down their functions and uses.

Big Air

Big Air is a duel chorus/delay pedal with optional toggles for delay feedback and time. It’s best used for a big rhythm guitar tone that fills a space, or for low-gain lead lines (anything staccato or with a medium-complex rhythm). The “Style” button boosts the chorus effect when it’s turned off, giving it a huge presence in any mix.

Capratone

Capratone’s delay, reverb, and drive options make it a jack of all trades when it comes to tracking guitar. It’s equally suited for driven, bluesy leads and crunchy rhythm guitars. Turn the drive down and you have a smooth low-gain lead sound similar to Big Air, but with a longer, wetter tail.

Purple Phaze

If your first instinct is to get weird, Purple Phaze is probably what you’re looking for. The phaser comes with three toggle options for rate, depth, and feedback, and rocks a reverb knob as well. For textural warbles and screwball layered leads, Purple Phaze can certainly get the job done.

Revolver

Similar to the latter, Revolver leans on the eccentric side. A duel flanger and delay, Revolver has rate, width, and feedback toggles for the flange, with the potential to get as trilly as the Purple Phaze. However, Revolver is softer and more dynamic than the phaze, making it ideal for rhythm guitars searching for brighter tones and added depth with a touch of flare. It’s the contemporary indie guitar sound in the realm of Mac DeMarco and Toro y Moi.

Rhythm Section

Rhythm Section functions solely as a tremolo pedal with an added toggle for reverb. You can adjust the tremolo’s speed and dynamics as well as its “style” which determines how smooth the tremolo flows. It’s best for slow and sultry rhythm guitars, or if the speed is cranked, a great textured lead sound.

Now that we’ve established each pedal’s strength and function, let’s dig further into some examples that showcase how they work together.

Example 1

This example emphasizes three of the pedal’s textured capabilities.

The rhythm guitars are dialed into the Revolver, Capratone, and for a little added flare, the Purple Phaze. With a treble-forward tone on your guitar, these pedals are great for well-rounded rhythm parts that sit well in the mix. Make sure the drive on the Capratone is less than half, and the width on the Revolver is less than half.

The layered leads that kick in eight seconds in are plugged into the Big Air, Rhythm Section, and Capratone. The “style” option for Big Air is turned off, boosting the chorus and giving the tone a generous spread. There’s a slight delay on the Big Air and the Capratone, and fast rate on Rhythm Section’s tremolo.

The goal of this example is to have lead tones that sit just above the mix in a light and bouncy cascade. The combination of the three leads blend extremely well and serve this purpose nicely.

Example 2

The example above uses three different guitar functions—rhythm, layered leads, and lead—to show the range of the Spire pedals.

The chunky rhythm parts are played using the Capratone and Big Air pedals to give the song a bigger, driven feel. Both pedals have delays which also fill up more space.

Around the twelve second mark are the layered lead guitars which are run through the Purple Phaze and Rhythm Section pedals. The rate of the main effect on each pedal is turned up for added texture.

The lead line around eighteen seconds in is run through the Capratone with a high drive and delay.

A surefire to make the pedals with rate toggles pop is to use the rounder effects pedals as rhythm guitars; let the warbles shine through!

Example 3

When writing songs with a lazy vibe like the example above, there are a few options for approaching the right tone.

The rhythm guitars in this track are a combination of a slow tremolo Rhythm Section, a high flange Revolver, and a high chorus Big Air. The goal was to fill up space with a variety of sounds and place them each uniquely in the mix.

The lead guitars are a combination of a fast-rate Purple Phaze and a subtly delayed, low-gain Capratone.

By slowing the tremolo rate of the Rhythm Section and using the Purple Phaze in a lead role, the coveted slacker vibe that’s infiltrated the mainstream is effortless to create.  

Conclusion

Pedals offer a unique touch to both tone and performance that an instrument or an amp can’t, and for that, they should be used thoughtfully. Spire Studio’s unique pedal options offer a wide variety of sounds that elevate your music to the next level.

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