Pedals as a Hobby
I have quite a selection of pedals. To get a good understanding of pedals, I use "That Pedal Show" on YouTube where Mick and Dan do an excellent job of describing, set up, amp set, order of pedals and then those classic pedals for overdrive, distortion, modulation, reverb and delay.
Pedals is almost a hobby in itself as you can get a lot of interesting sounds and tones with combos of pedals. I have a Boss ME80 which is a digital set of all pedals in one. It is great, but searching for that tone I find individual pedals more interesting. Now FA AX8 and Line6 Helix are out and do modelling it is the difference between live and recording which make you think, hmm maybe pedals is now not necessary. Space wise these are more ergonomic and both have some sounds you would need a huge array of pedals to find that tone you want.
I have tried out various overdrive and distortion pedals based on artist and shop recommendation. They include a Klon Centaur clone J Rockett Archer, plexi drive, dumble drive for amp simulation and Fulltone OCD. The rest include Wampler Dual Fusion from Tom Quayle, Big Muff Nano and Boss DS-1X used by Alex Hutchings. None of these I like and all will go on ebay. I am on the wait list for Analogman King of Tone, am thinking about the BK Butler Tube Driver, Ibanez mini tube screamer and Xotic EP booster as additions. I may replace the J Rockett Archer with a Wampler Tumnus which gets rave reviews from everyone. For delay and modulation I have the TC Electronics mini series HOF, Flashback, Vortex and Corona. I have an old original MXR Phase 90. I like the idea of the toneprint with TC Electronics to change the complete sound in a pedal from your iPhone, but I hardly use it. For delay I have the Strymon Timeline and a Wampler Tape Echo. The Wampler will go on ebay as it is kinda redundant now. The Timeline does everything it can do and much more and has a midi library you can use to upload and download patches from the internet. I control the Timeline and TC pedals from an iPad.
Now I am spending more time recording using Logic Pro X which has a rich selection of soft sound for amps, speakers, I believe having the right models for amp, speaker and then modution and delay. You can either choose the set ups in Logic Pro X which includes classic pedals or record outboard.
I am waiting to get the Marshall Code as I am told the Soft tube models are very representative of all the Marshall, Fender and Vox amps and speakers. A solid state modelling amp, which just may give the sound of some of the tube chaps especially for recording. The product is relatively cheap compared to buying the models as well. Once I have this I should have the complete recording needs I want. It also comes with a stock of classic stomp pedal models. It is also using bluetooth controllable from iPhone or iPad. They all supply a footswitch as an optional extra.
I shall be interested to see how good a sound the Code can obtain. If it is as good as some of the YouTube previews it may replace a lot of what I currently have and have an ebay field day.
For recording right now I use the Laney IRT Studio with its speaker simulation and a small array of pedals. I switch all the internal Logic Pro X FX, amps, speakers etc off. The IRT studio has a great natural overdrive in its Rhythm and Lead channels, I use the Fulltone OCD as well as it can be gentler when recording, but after that maybe some delay from Wampler Tape Echo or Strymon Timeline. I intend to switch to the Marshall code which has a usb direct interface with all those models.
In my blog on Modelling this is another adventure, where you look more at IR and software for the modelling products than new pedals, but it is similar.
I get owe these preamp modellers are too expensive. My pedal board currently is about the same price as a Kemper or Axe Fx XL, so the Line 6 Helix and FA AX8 two thirds the price of my current pedals. Plus you can add new models to both at a cheaper increment than adding a pedal. However, if you want those classic Analogman, Klon, Tubedrive tones, I suspect you will not get them from the modellers.
Too often today guitars and modern amps are too precise and have no character. I played the new Fender Elites and found them dead.
Recently, I played a Gibson LP double cutaway with P90 through a classic tube amp no pedals and it was superb. Changing picks made a whole lot of difference too, so just different picks for sound is great! All the above tone search unnecessary. My JB strat. is also such you do not need anything but the amp. My other guitars are all too precise all though excellent they lack that feedback to your fingers.
I am hoping the Marshall Code will remove the need for anything else for the far distant future both for recording and live performance.