6Appeal First Impressions by Shawn November 08 2015

There's an excellent overview in VGuitar Forums. Many thanks Shawn!

I couldn't resist copying it to our blog, though of course it's better to read it in the original source here.

I've been able to spend a few hours with this now, & figured I'd share my initial thoughts.  

6Appeal First Impressions
« on: October 10, 2015, 11:29:15 AM »


Learning the Unit & my First Preset:
I read the manual about 10 times before I "got" it.  No exaggeration - I have a highly annotated and dog-eared copy of the manual.  The way all the features work together is beautifully engineered, logical and highly intuitive.  The UI is unique, however, and has a learning curve.  Over time, you get to appreciate reading a lot of info at a glance, but this will take time and a healthy set of grey matter/memory.  (Having grown up in San Francisco in the '60s and '70s, I'm not sure I have the latter...) 

I spent most of my time thus far in "Menu 1", the basic sound sculpting menu, learning the features & making a preset for jamming with my buddies.  The unit allows you to defeat the tone knob (Menu 1.10), and doing so creates a fuller sound that was more appealing to me.  I used a Peavey Wolfgang with nice hot pups and a set of 9s.   I suspect that lighter gauge strings like 9s may warrant defeating the tone stack. 

As much as I love hex distortion, you don't want to overuse it.  Fortunately you can turn on processing of your mag pup signal (Menu 1.10).  Then you can mix a bit of your processed mag pups in via the Mono pot. 

THAT was an exciting discovery - the mix of hex distortion + some mag pup distortion to fill it out sounds fantastic. 

Since I was driving it from a GK3 mounted close to the bridge of my guitar, I used BOTH Root Boost circuits (Menu 1.7 & 1.8 ).  At the time, I was at home doing this at low volume...   

A note on the manual - it uses a notation of "0On_16Off" when describing Root Boost and Output Boost settings.  the "0" refers to the mono channel and the "16" refers to hex channels 1-6.  Thus, to affect your mono/mag pups and your hex processing, you would use the setting 0On_16On (red).

First Jam:
I've been playing with my friends for years, using various gear & software, including a GR-55, a VG-99, tube amps, Amplitube, etc...  This was the first time my drummer said, "THAT thing is BADASS!"

You can't really get a feel for this unit until you *feel* it live, at playing volume. 

I had no other processing - just my guitar via 13-pin to the 6Appeal to my PA.  Playing over a PA, the first thing I realized was that one Root Boot circuit was plenty.  I immediately disabled one of them.   

The 2nd order low-pass filter is fun and dangerous.  I was feeling my oats & started experimenting with the 2 frequencies & resonance at playing volume - which the manual tells you NOT to do.  After calling all dogs in a 20-mile radius, my amp reset itself.  I will not do that again. 

Pros:

  • Hex distortion - if you love hex distortion you'll love this unit; it's what it does...
  • ANALOG distortion circults, full ANALOG path through the device - a very cool rich sound
  • Mono mix - your mag pups add some ooomph to the Hex distortion
  • Two pole (2nd order) low-pass filter - lots of variability in how you roll off your highs
  • Sequencer - a highly configurable slicer effect, up to 24 steps of filter, panning and/or drive settings
  • Spread knobs & "smile" vs "tilt" - a unique idea that allows you to differentiate how the above effects are applied across the 6 strings
  • Envelope - there are 3 ways to define envelopes; hex envelope processing requires external note on/note off generation, e.g., via using an FTP or a GR-55's MIDI OUT.
  • Small company of dedicated folks - you send in a question and get a rapid response - maybe even from the primary engineer
Cons:
  • Learning curve & UI
  • Cost
Bottom Line:
NONE OF THE DEMOS DO THE SOUND JUSTICE.  This is fully analog hex distortion.   Does anybody else even try to do this?  I dunno...  It's pretty freaking glorious when dialed in. 

The features are pretty deep.  This mix of deep features & a radically unique approach to a UI means there is a steep learning curve.   

Those who love exploring new gear & new sounds (like myself) will have a great time with this.  I could easily see pros/techs having fun with this.  Folks who want to zip thru presets will be frustrated - you must adjust settings for your gear. 

I'm still getting familiar with the basic settings & the filter.  As I learn the Sequencer & Envelope better, I'll share my learnings & some sound samples. 


Open disclosure: Spicetone gave me a promotional discount, in the hopes that I'd get jazzed & start writing about this.  Well, I got jazzed...