I’ve been lurking for a while, I’m a bassist and currently have a small-medium pedalboard that I use for home and gigging. It consists of a couple of preamp, a drive, compressor and tuner.
In the past I used the GT1000core, this was excellent for I/O. Stereo input and output and 2 FX loops allowed for easy integration of analog FX pedals. I got pretty far with the routing on the Core but always found that the build-in fx were a little safe despite being excellent quality, I wanted something a little off the beaten track.
Enter Mod Dwarf, it looks looks incredible, I love the ethos of open source, rich community and from what I heard can get pretty crazy if you want. The only thing stoping me pulling the trigger is the lack of I/O, 1 fx loop is enough for me to create a single FX loop.
So I’d use the Pre and Post fx loops of the CAPO for channel/input 1 and 2 of the Dwarf. It would allow me to stack FX modules in the Pre loop either before or after (but not both) the analog drive pedals and delay or reverb at the end of the chain.
This means that for live I wouldn’t be able to make use of any cab sims to send to FOH etc and I couldn’t add compression/octave before my drive pedals and modulation after etc. That being said if the AIDA-X modelling works, perhaps I could just create a model of my analog drives and the need for multiple FX loops becomes redundant?
Just for context, the Jad Freer Capo is an incredible Preamp/DI pedal, it features a pre/post DI and FX loop which is super handy for recording. To allow the pre DI to stay clean, it has a pre fx loop which allows you to stack any pedals you want after the pre DI signal but before the preamp stage.
It’s the one pedal that has to stay on my board, it’s incredible
I’ve used the dwarf similarly in a few different setups. I treat each in/out pair as a separate effect chain as you have drawn out. My Eden WT500 has a post and pre FX loop, so it sort of replaces the Capo in your drawing (though much, much heavier ). I also use a similar setup when playing through my guitar amp, which only has a single FX loop. In that case, in/out 1 is in front of the amp, and in/out 2 is in the amp’s FX loop. I have found that this provides about as much integration of physical effects as I need for my playing contexts.
Is there some reason putting the amp and cab sim/IRs in the Post FX loop (in/out 2) on the Dwarf wouldn’t suit your needs? Is the return of the Post FX loop getting further amplified/processed? I’m not familiar with the Capo.
This looks super complicated but essentially it’s set up so the analog drives are in the Core fx loop 1, the preamp section of the CAPO is in fx loop 2 of the core (much like using 4cm for your amp fx loop). This means they can be freely moved around in the Core patch. Then this is placed within the CAPO pre/post loops so that the DI signal for both clean and affected signals are preserved.
Because of the stereo out of the core, I’d pan the signal and only apply cabsims to the side passing back to the capo, the other side would go straight to my amp without cabsims applied.
I know this isn’t possible on the Dwarf but just trying to establish I can get away with that or if it’s possibly too limiting.
Spent a bit of time reading up about the various plugins available and learning a little more about the ecosystem.
Really impressed by the Dwarf, it seems like the perfect sandbox for experimentation and creating unique interesting guitar/bass fx. The addition of AIDA-X is also really interesting, capturing analog pedals and amps, download other peoples captures etc is all an incredible selling point.
I’m incredibly happy with my core bass tone, it’s the perfect sound for what I do and have always struggled to match with other modellers like the Helix or GT1000core. What I want is a way to experiment with interesting signal routing and blending, creating really bespoke ambient delays and stuff like that which seems to be where the the Mod stuff excels around my current board. The I/O just doesn’t support that sadly.
Stereo in/out and 2 mono fx loops is the perfect configuration for creating a hybrid pedalboard in my opinion, if there was a version of the Dwarf with this instead of the other connectivity options it’d be an easy sell. TBH even stereo in/out and a single fx loop would be enough to push me over the edge.
Not sure if it’s possible via the USB to extend with an external pair of FX loops or something similar but I think that’s the main barrier to entry for me.
From the demos they sound incredible, very excited to here the reverbs.
I think the other thing that worried me was the latency, especially compared to units like the GT1000. Had a bit of a play in Logic, cranked the buffer size to 1024 samples which supposedly results in around 50ms round trip and it was still useable. I suspect even heavier patches on the Dwarf will be fine.
Just wondering though with latency, is it reduced when modules are disabled? How does using I/O 2 as an fx loop affect things?
The audio stack is always running, so it doesn’t matter if plugins are disabled or not. The Dwarf does not have a true bypass (Duo and DuoX had physical bypass, which added to the hardware cost and size of the units so this was removed from the Dwarf for these reasons).
You can either run at 128 or 256 buffer size. The first will give the shortest latency. For much heavier pedalboards and signal chains it sometimes is required to use 256, but this is still 4x faster than your test in Logic
That will double your latency, as then you’ll have the signal chain
input 1 - > Dwarf internal → output 1 → [external effects in loop] → input 2 → Dwarf internal → output 2
instead of yust running through the Dwarf once.
Somewhere I read that latency is about 8ms when using 128 buffer size and ~16ms when using 256 buffer size (I hope I remember correctly, think it was in a Youtube Video by Leo Gibson on the AIDA X within Dwarf).
So the whole chain might give you up to 32ms latency.
I don’t know the routing within the CAPO, but if the 32ms are too much it might help to feed some of the signal coming out of Dwarf output 1 directly into the amp so you get at least some part of the signal (the one before the FX loop) within only half the total latency.
This is exactly what my thinking was, most of the latency measurements I’ve seen have used stereo fx or just not elaborated on the specifics.
Hmmm it’s a tricky one, in theory its fine because I can play with that kind of latency fine in perfect conditions. For fast passages where I’m having to play fast i guess it’d be more problematic. By integrating the Dwarf on my board I’m essentially ensuring I’m always running a minimum of 16ms, for complex setups potentially 32 and up. From what was said in the video (think its the same one) that’s roughly the floor for latency levels.
As I use this board for everything home practice, gigging and recording then it’s a pretty big impact.
I think where this leaves me is trying to remove the analog drives from the equation. If I could capture a model of my EAE Longsword and Halberd and use AIDA-X to capture them both in one, that’d remove the need for the FX loop. It would free up the 2nd output to use IR on for FOH too.
It’s a lot of compromises, ultimately I guess it depends if I want to go the Core route which integrates seamlessly with my current board but is restrictive in terms of sound or the Dwarf which has all the limitless flexibility in-terms of fx but doesn’t really integrate with what I have.
Thanks for all the replies, it’s starting to seem like a mob therapy session
My pedalboard is Tuner to Drive Pedal (mostly for boost) to Dwarf Input 1 to Output 1 (for all the pedals you would put before an amp) to Simplifier to Simplifier Loop to Dwarf Input 2 to Dwarf Output 2 (for all the pedals you would put in the effects loop of your amp) to Looper to Hotone Loudster Amp to Cabinet. Works fantastic. Basically channel 1 is before the amp, channel 2 is the amp effects loop. I don’t notice any latency. The simplifier is analogue, I could use the Dwarf Amps but the Simplifier sounds great to me.
I think I’m going to get a Dwarf after a lot of back and forth.
In lots of ways the Core works great in terms of seamlessly integrating with my pedalboard. When I had one I was permanently frustrated by lack of community, software updates and hitting limits with what I could do.
The Dwarf is more likely to scratch the itch for creating some genuinely unique and interesting tones. It’d be cool to play with modelling and perhaps even writing some modules at some point. A few compromises here and there but worth it to support a company who genuinely seem passionate about what they do.
I was thinking, @gianfranco : wouldn’t it be possible for people whishing to try-before-you-buy to keep on the side a couple of dwarf units to be “rented” out to potential buyers over something like a week at a fraction of the retail price (covering shipping, handling, reasonable margin, insurance etc…) ?