Fig. 1: The basic program. The effects in the Mod, FX1, and FX2 slots are enabled; everything else is bypassed. Note the Vibrato settings in the Chorus Vibrato effect, and how the rate is synched to tempo.
AVID’S ELEVEN RACK, A GUITAR friendly
computer interface for Pro Tools LE
as well as a live performance rack unit, has
gotten a lot of attention since its introduction.
But what some people may not realize
is that there are novel ways to combine
effects that aren’t obvious at first. For example,
the stock chorus sounds like—well, a
stock chorus that’s optimized for standard
chorus speeds. However, I didn’t want stock,
but a much slower, more swirling/randomized
chorus sound with a bright “acoustic
guitar” tone. While I couldn’t coax this out
of the existing chorus, taking a different
approach gave exactly what I wanted. (Note
that this concept applies to other guitar
effects devices, not just Eleven Rack.)
The secret is using a somewhat unconventional
order of effects (Figure 1): first
Mod, set to C1 Chorus/Vibrato with Vibrato selected; then FX1, also set to C1 Chorus/
Vibrato with Vibrato selected; and finally FX2,
set to Graphic EQ. With this program, for the
cleanest sound, all other effects (and the
amp/cabinet) are bypassed.
As the stock Vibrato Rate control doesn’t
go slow enough for my purposes, I synched
both vibrato rates to tempo, with the Mod
Vibrato set to dotted-half-note sync and the
FX1 Vibrato set to whole-note sync. To obtain
a more animated, swirling sound, it’s important
that they not sync to the same note value.
Depth for both vibrato effects is set between
two-thirds and three-quarters of the way up.
Fig. 2: The Graphic EQ (FX2) settings used for this program. This is optimized for dry guitar going through a flat system, so if you end up using an amp, you’d likely need to change the settings.
Adjust the Graphic EQ to taste. Figure 2
shows the settings I used for a bridge-plusneck
humbucker setting, which provides a
bright, present sound, and reduces some of
the “meat” by pulling back at 370Hz and
When you check out the audio example
(see the More Online box)—the first part
uses the stock chorus and the second part
plays through my custom program—you’ll
definitely hear the difference. What’s more,
the patch itself is available online, so you
can load the same sound into your own
Eleven Rack. Have fun, and don’t forget to
tweak the Graphic EQ for a tone that fits
your particular ax and playing style.