SPICETONE

Paolo Angeli Full Concert with 6Appeal October 16 2015

We are proud to present our friend Paolo Angeli playing a full concert with his fantastic custom made guitar and our 6Appeal hexaphonic pedal in Sesc, in São Paulo, Brazil.

6Appeal is mostly used for clean multichannel routing of the pickup signals from his prepared Sardinian guitar. The guitar was initally developed for Pat Metheny - read more on Paolo's website.

Besides working as a breakout box for clean signal, 6Appeal is used for fully harmonic distortion, obtainable only with a multichannel distortion device. May we suggest you enjoy the whole concert, but if you really want to hear 6Appeal distortion immediately, check out this video:

Did you notice how 6Appeal lets Paolo play these amazing harmonic overtones, which remind of throat singing (Tuvan Khoomei)? Just wow!

Or some more common distortion use here (from 2 minute):

 Go to Paolo's concert! See his tour program on his website.

 


Polydistortion in Indie and Metal Rock July 13 2015

We have a great addition to our team. Our trainee Sander Sinijärv studies electronic engineering in Tallinn Technical University AND plays guitar, both by himself and in local metal bands. Here are two demo videos that present hexaphonic / multichannel / polyphonic distortion provided by Spicetone's 6Appeal pedal.

The first demo is more on indie / pop rock side. 6Appeal set to modulate controls (drive and volume mostly), resulting in luscious vibrating harmonics. The sound reminds a polyphonic synthesizer set to arpeggiato or sequencer mode. It's all played in one take, using Roland GK-3 on a Schecter Ultra III guitar and 6Appeal polyphonic distortion pedal. The signal goes in stereo into two tube amps, and is picked up by trusty SM-57 microphones.

The second video takes us to the rock, metal and blues territory. Sound setting has more treble in it, cuts more, but is still full of rich harmonies that only polyphonic distortion can provide. It would also sound great, if you'd pair it with drums or drum machine, or live double it with bass lines from Roland GR-55 or other V-Guitar series stuff.

 

SUMMER SALE OFFER valid until 31 July 2015

If you don't have a 6Appeal yet, now it's the best time to obtain one, because we have a summer sale offer + we include a high quality 6 inch 13pin cable for free! All in all you save 67.80€ (non-EU customers save around 62$). Just buy the 6Appeal without cable and use the coupon code July15 in the checkout.


Paolo Angeli with 6Appeal distortion July 01 2015

One of the greatest avant garde / folk / jazz of our time, Mr Paolo Angeli now uses 6Appeal as the center distortion piece of his multichannel guitar setup.

The guitar itself is utmost original work of art. From his website:

On 1993, he was fulgurated by the encounter with Giovanni Scanu, the old guitar player from Sardinia, who died at the age of 95 and from whom he learnt the forms and the modules of the ‘canto a chitarra gallurese e logudorese’.

From this ‘fighting meeting’ between extra-cultivated avant-garde and popular tradition came his Sardinian prepared-guitar: an orchestra-instrument with 18 cords, an hybrid between guitar, baritone, violoncello and drums, gifted with hammers, pedals, some propellers at variable speed. With this singular instrument, constructed by the craftsman Francesco Concas, Paolo elaborates, improvises and composes unclassifiable music, suspended between free jazz, folk noise and minimal pop.

We don't have his new recordings with 6Appeal yet, but you can see 6Appeal used by Mr Angeli already, if you go to his concert (see tour dates here).

But you can already enjoy his playing here:

 


A Guru in Our Laboratory! April 23 2015

Mr. Matthias Grob, a music tech guru and guitar hero visit us in our laboratory! Matthias lives in Brazil, so having him here was really something I'd never have expected a couple of months ago:) 

Matthias is the inventor of Paradis Polydistortion, Echoplex digital, the earliest looper, Firewire guitar, many excellent VSTs and other stuff driving inspiration in musicians all around the globe.

 

Sure we introduced him to our hexaphonic 6Appeal pedal, and gave one of these to his enjoyment. We also got lot of interesting stuff from him:)

We spent fantastic time of exchanging information, idea, experiences on polyphonic / hexaphonic guitars, software and hardware development.

This might lead to cooperative projects, and it definately has already created a solid fundament for global partnership to help each other in development of the most interesting and innovative product for pioneering musicians!

And we took Matthias to Käsmu and other places in coastal areas. Sorry for the wind!

See more about Matthias:

http://www.matthiasgrob.org


Multichannel Guitar: Standard Godin Synth Access and GK-3 Divided Pickup November 28 2014

We invited our friend Mart Pauklin over to shoot some quick demos. Thanks Mart! Only standard gear used, no boutique hand made pickups or strange pickup positioning.

First of all a jolly Fernandes guitar with a Roland GK-3 pickup system attached. No permanent modification need, not a scrath on the guitar. And the positioning of the pickup is standard, close to the bridge. The sound a is rather thin in that position, but this is not the end of the world! Just plug it to our 6Appeal analog distortion/overdrive, and switch on our Root Boost circuit that adds tons of fundamental harmonics.

So, a divided pickup (hex or hexaphonic pickup) is not only for MIDI syntheziser and so on, but it also opens up the gates to multichannel guitar processing! In this video, the strings are panned in stereo; you don't have to pan it so hard, but this time I did just to make the difference.

 And now for Godin electric guitar with standard built in RMC pickup (piezo bridge).

What you need for this sound: a "synth access" Godin guitar with RMC bridge pickups or any guitar with non-destructively mounted Roland GK-3 divided pickup and 13 pin preamp (hexaphonic pickup), 6Appeal pedal by Spicetone, a soundcard with stereo input and any DAW that can run a convolution reverb plugin. We used these fantastic very real sounding impulses by Gregor Hennig (Studio Nord Bremen; http://www.grgr.de); Vielen Dank Gregor! I did cut off the very low and high and applied a limited plugin; also, Youtube compresses the sound quite a bit; but all in all no gimmicks or secret processing tricks. Multichannel guitar is here to stay!

 

 


Hit It - Fairlights (6Appeal hexaphonic distortion MIDI synced demo) September 26 2014

"Hit It" by Fairlights (Enda Bates)

Spicetone's 6Appeal hexaphonic distortion, routed to DAW and synced to a drum track with MIDI from computer. 

Gear List
Godin LGX electric guitar with RMC piezo-style hexaphonic pickup
Spicetone 6Appeal (breakout box mode)
Motu Ultralite multichannel soundcard
UAD Stereo Reverb + Delay plugins
Time Freezer VST plugin

Description
The track uses three presets on the 6Appeal. The first one is a fairly full-on distortion setting with the Gain and Tone turned up full. The strings are panned across the stereo field with the low strings quite central, and the two middle strings panned about halfway left and right. The melody is played solely on the top two strings which are hard-panned left and right to give the impression of two distinct melodic lines, with a rhythmic backing from the other, more centrally panned strings.

The rhythmic pulsing in the opening is created by tapping the back of the guitar neck with the right hand while holding a chord with the left. In the first half of the track, the melody is played on the top two strings using hammer-ons and pull-offs (as the picking hand is occupied tapping the neck).

In the second half of the tune a new, modified version of the initial preset is used. This has a tremolo effect on the lower three strings which mimics the tapped pulsing effect from earlier but using modulation, which now frees up the right hand for strumming and picking. This was done using LFO2 which is tempo-synced to the drum machine track using MIDI clock from the DAW.

Finally, the end section just uses a clean preset with the same stereo spread. Apart from the 6Appeal, the only other effects are simple things like some stereo delay and reverb. The one exception is the Time Freezer plugin (which is very similar to the EHX Freezer pedal), thats used to create a sustained drone from the top three strings towards the end of the track. No amps or amp modelling was used.

 

The same with a promo video (and with Youtube compression, sorry):

 


6Appeal in Breakout Box mode - 13pin Guitar to DAW September 25 2014

Just a short test ride, how to use 6Appeal as active breakout box for a 13pin guitar. This means you route each string separately out from your guitar, into your soundcard (or mixer) and are free to apply panning and do crazy postprocessing.

This time I used 6Appeal's analog distortion, but one can just turn down Drive and Level, turn up Dry and thus output really strong clean signal (with adjustable Gain).

For connectors, yep, 6Appeal uses TRS outputs, so there's one output for a pair of strings. If your soundcard has TS inputs, you have to use insert adapters or insert cables to route the signal. I've got MOTU 828, so I used TRS to double TS cables (insert cables) that costs me 30 bucks - and these are gold plated Klotz cables.

For the signal: we have a Schecter Ultra guitar with Roland GK-3 pickup (V-Guitar divided pickup), that goes to 6Appeal with a 13pin cable, and from there to soundcard.

For effects used: standard Logic Pro X stuff - different guitar amp model on each guitar string, some reverbs, delays, rotary speaker for high E string and subbass for lower E and A.

The tune that I play so sloppily is "Pachka sigaret" ("A Package of Cigarettes") by Russian band Kino.


6Appeal Makes a Great Companion for A Singer/Songwriter September 19 2014

A real world proof that 6Appeal hexaphonic overdrive can really fill the background for a solo singer to stand out. I mean, acoustic guitar would be great, too, but it never really fills the stage. It's one take, except a brief solo.

The Song: "If Your Soul is Tender", music by Kristel Mägedi, lyrics by Latvian poet Eduards Veidenbaums (1867-1892), translation by Margus "Contra" Konnula.

There's some post processing effect on Kristel's vocal and a very brief guitar solo recorded afterwards (Thanks, Eero!). All the modulated vibe and tremolo comes from 6Appeal.

Spicetone's 6Appeal hexaphonic overdrive pedal used by folk-punk singer Kristel Mägedi. The guitar is equipped with Roland GK hexaphonic pickup. Hohner Orgaphon 41MH tube amp. A bunch of mics.

And the guitar is a Fender Squier, equipped with GK3 pickup.


Max MSP / Ableton Live patch for 6Appeal September 07 2014

A contribution from Enda Bates:

"I've created a Max MSP patch that demonstrates how to use MIDI to control the 6Appeal. The patch, as well as some screenshots are attached below. I've tested this in Max MSP 6.1.8, however I havnt checked it in the free Runtime version of Max yet. I imagine it should work there in exactly the same way (although you wont be able to edit or modify the patch). I've included controls for the presets, all of the main Pot controls, and a small selection of the most common menu items. If you want to access other menu items, you can just copy and paste an existing control and tweak the MIDI note number to the new value."

NB! We tested Enda's patch with Ableton Live with Max, and it works perfectly! Just drag an empty Max instrument to a new MIDI track, click Edit Button and under File, load the patch (save it to disk beforehand).

Here's the file:

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0253/7907/files/6Appeal-MIDIcontrol.maxpat?1044

And here are two screenshots:

 


Initial Feedback from Enda Bates September 02 2014

Mr Enda Bates, a musician, composer, producer and academic based in Dublin, Ireland, is one of the first users of 6Appeal. He was so kind to provide detailed feedback and comments. Here they are in full length. No cuts or editing from Spicetone, as we're enthusiasts, not spin doctors.

"The Build Quality is really good; it feels quite sturdy and the cable connections are strong (13-pin connectors can be tricky like that sometimes, but not here).

The sound quality is, on first impression, fantastic (I really love that analogue distortion) and I can easily imagine this being used in mono-output mode for recording heavily distorted guitar tracks (stuff in the style of Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkins would sound great with this type of distortion). 

Perhaps what I examined most on this first look was the breakout box functionality, and I have to say, this is really quite a dramatic improvement on the breakout box I was using previously. When using a passive breakout box the hexaphonic signal is quite low and requires a significant amount of gain to be added to the soundcard inputs (such as on the MOTU Ultralite used here). This can cause significant amounts of hiss to creep in, which isn’t too troublesome for live performance work but is actually highly problematic for recording purposes (a problem I've encountered before). Straight away there was a significant gain boost with the 6Appeal which meant I could lose about 6dB of gain on the soundcard inputs. When i added in the Output boost function I could take about another 10dB of gain off the soundcard inputs, which is hugely impressive (and left me pretty much at unity gain on the soundcard). Effectively this pedal is also a dedicated hexaphonic preamp and I can see this pedal being used as high end recording device for hexaphonic guitar. I've been planning just such an album and I can definitely see myself using the 6Appeal as the primary preamp for recording the hex guitar.

The Root Boost functionality is also very useful and really improves the sound of these types of pickups which are inevitably mounted in the bridge. 

The 6Appeal also worked straight out of the box with both my RMC equipped Godin, and my Roland GK-3 equipped Les Paul. This was actually an issue with my previous setup, as the Roland requires power from the breakout box, but the RMC doesnt. In fact, the RMC could be damaged if supplied with power in that way so using both guitars was always left me slightly nervous. With the 6Appeal though, it was very easy and just required a change in presets on the soundcard to compensate for the slightly different pickup gain structures.

The method of indicating what the current KNOB value is, relative to the current physical position of the KNOB is nicely done and fairly intuitive.

The more detailed programming and the adjusting of parameters in the menu took a little while to get used too. It’s definitely a very efficient means of allowing access to a lot of parameters from a small number of controls, but this does also require quite a lot of research to get to grips with. I’m not sure how feasible this is, but if these menus could be programmed using a computer application and the USB connection, that would pretty much eliminate this issue as you could have a simple graphical display which would make things much clearer.

The one thing I would perhaps question is the number of physical jack connections. For example, would having an extra, dedicated mono-out simplify some of the menu settings a little.

On a similar note, while using Y-cables and stereo, jack connections for the individual string outputs is very neat and tidy, I wonder would it be better just to have 6 individual mono outputs. Perhaps this is not physically possible internally for space reasons, but I think it would actually simplify things. For example, I don’t have any Y-cables right now so I’m still using the 13-pin output from the 6Appeal, into my old breakout box. Now as I like the 6Appeal a lot, I will now pick up some Y-cables but these are not always that easy to find. For example, if I was playing a show and one of my Y-cables failed, it could potentially be tricky to replace right there and then."

So, this is the first long third party feedback:) For the Y-cable thing, yep, using stereo outputs is a limitation cable-wise; there was a hard decision if we make the box even bigger than it is, to accommodate more jacks. We decided not, as the box is already about the size of an iPad, which is quite enough for a guitar pedal.

Update: Good advice from Elantric of VGuitarforums:

"I find this TRS snake handy to have on hand for breakout box use with the Spicetone 6Appeal
Hosa Cable STP804 Snake Insert Cable, 1/4 Inch to 1/4 Inch"

Update:

Enda opted for Stereo to Two Mono Sockets Adapter Plugs that fit perfectly; there's no need for Y cables then. Any adapters will work but uses these adapters.

Thank you for reading! As we have already told the people who've gotten 6Appeal already - your feedback and references is highly appreciated!