Guitar effects processors to me are nothing more than pieces of a computer spread out in an extremely inefficient manner.

With the current VST (virtual studio technology) plugins available to computers it is only a matter of time before the only thing on the floor will be a controller with an expression pedal.

One could control on the fly to compensate for Saturday Night Almost Live performances or as a further tool for a guitarist to modify his sound to accommodate the direction a jam is heading.

You still will need to be able to play the guitar but keeping up with technology is going to be mandatory for a modern guitar player.

It won’t be necessary to run out and spend two hundred dollars every time you want to tweak your sound.

Bands can record a song while being separated by great distances and hand off their parts via encrypted email to an engineer and get amazing results. Ron Woods says that he records into his notebook using Digidesign Pro Tools M-Powered  and does just that.

I have been watching for many years now at the creation of hundreds of stomp boxes and have become extremely aware that the Whoopi Wowie Widget that just came on the market is really a flanger with no distinguishing features. Most of the quality manufacturers at least have the dignity to call it a flanger.

Midi is the direction we are heading and most top professional musicians use it routinely in their performances. One advantage of midi is that once you have your sound established for a particular song it can be stored, cataloged and setup at the push of a button or stomp on a pedal switch and the exact sound can be recreated every time.

We were all happy when tuners progressed beyond listening to a bunch of guys tuning on stage for so long that we thought it was their act. I’ll be even happier when I don’t have to watch a bunch of guys twiddling knobs for an hour.

It’s not that bad. You can still play with your amp.

With a computer, you can have unlimited numbers of compressors, noise gates, and any other effect you want with top quality. These effects are completely adjustable just like a stomp box.

The Floor effects processors are great and getting better and if you look at the back of the better ones you will midi in/out/and thru.

Many computers, both notebooks and desktops have poor power supplies. The only noise generated by the computer that I can detect is caused by poor DC filtering. I realized this after hearing awful noises that reminded me of the Whoopi Wowie Widget. Unplugging the A/C Power adapter cleaned it up completely it sounded like a beautiful flanger.

For the professional musician, they will undoubtedly continue the use rack mounted effects and other accessories and control them with floor midi controllers so they can reproduce the exact sound they want. These are high quality processors. They are rugged and are mounted in 19 & ½ inch racks that travel well.

They many options really depend on what kind of situation you’re in. For the home and casual musician it can all be done with a computer.

Guitar Players Center has been examining the subject of Computers or Processors
for many moons, as it seems to have arrived as the future of effects. What do you think?

It’s not a new subject, although so much more is bound to materialize by debating the pros and cons of each setup.  GPC wants your opinion, tell it the way you see it, or supply us with more info.

We hope to provoke some comments and more input on this subject. By all means please Share It and lets get some more talk going on this subject. Enjoy.

More Related Articles:

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What Guitar Pedals or Effects Processors Make Your Vibe?

Guitar Stomp Boxes Versus Effects Processors Continued.

6 Responses to Controlling Guitar Effects: Computers VS. Processors..

  1. At this point, most laptops could have the power to handle processing using VST’s. It will become important for manufacturers to not get left behind (like the music industry has) when this new channel begins to flourish. I would much rather pack a small laptop that has the power to run a package like like Amplitube than have to pack a rack full of gear. My back has had enough of that after 15 years!

  2. I’m a little behind on this technology stuff, but I love playing my guitar. Could you maybe write something for us old-timers with no modern stuff except an amp…advising us how in the heck to get into the new stuff. I know a lot about individual products from reading all your really informative blogs but I’m at a loss at how to begin with it all. I need to get into the 21st century. Thanks, Danny!

  3. well,, because of budget reason, (and a bit of being show of jeje) i am buyin a midi foot controller just 150$ and is huge with two expression pedal on it, and 7 foot switch.. and a usb audio interface and USB/MIDI interface to connect the foot controller to my laptop, and use GR3 to produce my effects, i not to much into distortion so, using my laptop for delays and many other funny effect, and they sound great, very real!! at the end.. isn`t the same electronics of little pedals and processor??

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