Wah-king the talk | The Canadian Guitar Forum

Wah-king the talk

Discussion in 'Effects Pedals, Strings and more' started by mhammer, Mar 19, 2020.

  1. mhammer


    Nov 30, 2007
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I picked up a Danelectro Free Speech pedal about 5 years ago. The guy I bought it from either didn't have or forgot to include the microphone assembly it normally comes with, so it has sat as an "unused bargain" on the shelf since purchase. After digging up some technical info, I finally wired up a pair of little electret mic capsules yesterday, and fired it up last night for a few minutes before bedtime.

    The pedal runs off 9V, and uses a battery-powered low-power amp that drives a flat-but-efficient built-in speaker. The speaker is mounted, facing up, below a hole into which one inserts a vinyl tube. The tube goes up a mic stand. A new unit comes with a dual-mic assembly that sits on each side of the end of the tube, with a custom holder that holds the tube and mics. The mic assembly is a pair of electret capsules that are "phantom-powered" by the pedal. Nothing "stereo" about it, just two mics to make sure the sound from your mouth is captured efficiently. One mic will work as well.

    The "Growl" control adjusts how much distortion is in the signal fed to the mini-amp/speaker. The assumption is that the ore harmonic content is showing up at the end of the tube, the more there is to filter with your mouth. The Volume control adjusts the effect output level. The mini-amp is a little noisy, and I'm sure jostling of the mics with one's face also contributes noise of a different kind.

    But it's an in-line effect pedal; no P.A. necessary. Step on the bypass switch and everything before and after the pedal goes to your amp, like normal. Cumbersome, with respect to integrating with a pedalboard; especially if you don't have a mic stand with a goose-neck or boom. The stand I have is just a straight up-and-down one, so currently it has to be integrated with other FX using cables. I'll have to pick up something that lets me park the stand to the side, so that I can put the pedal on the board

    I have to spend some time mastering the proper mic positioning, and how far the end of the tube should extend beyond the mics. It will be a challenge managing the drool so that it doesn't contaminate the mics or drift down the tube to the pedal innards. I suspect as well that EQ-ing will be important in getting a full sound from it. Many of the earliest, and well-known, talk boxes would use more powerful drivers and bigger amps to push them. This one is probably 1/2W at best, and the speaker only 3", so hefty bass and lower midrange is not its strong suit.

    But it's fun, and at the very least, even if I can't make you "feel like I do", it makes one helluva wah. I look forward to trying it out with other effects like the EHX Attack Decay unit I bought last year.
    CathodeRay, Alex and Ti-Ron like this.
  2. Ti-Ron

    Ti-Ron Gold Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    Longueuil, Qu├ębec
    Now, put that into a theremine and look at all the wildlife that will come to visit you! ;)

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