Without fear of misunderstanding, an effector is a tool for spoofing sounds. Dynamics / filter effectors such as limiters and equalizers were invented to avoid the limitations of the sound quality of early radios and records, and spatial effectors such as reverbs and delays were recorded in small studios. It can be said that the color of a sound is an illusionary tool as if you are playing in a large church or concert hall. In this way, the effector is something that is somewhat trickery in the first place.
However, the image of a cheating tool for cheating is always intriguing, like the mysterious tools lined up in the old science fiction movie lab. The mysterious attraction of such an effector, like a magician or a street performer, was to inspire curiosity of musicians and engineers to create a variety of new sounds.
In technical terms, an effector is a “box that changes sound”. And it’s not just “changing”, it’s a box that “simulates” something. The reverb simulates a variety of sounds, the delay simulates a maverick, and the distortion simulates the distortion of an amplifier. And as long as it is a simulation, an effector has the limit of “It can not exceed the real thing”. In that sense, most of the effectors are incomplete, according to the producer’s intention for perfect simulation. Many of the effectors created in the late 60’s and 70’s, especially the golden age, were far from unfinished due to the technological limitations of the time. However, only the unfinished part has been supported by musicians and engineers as “a sound different from the real thing,” a sound that can only be produced by the effector.
The fuzz that tried to create amp distortion was eventually used by lead guitarists as an effector that creates much more aggressive distortion than the amp. Even for the producers, even the small boxes that have not been completed yet, the transformation of the musicians and engineers’ ideas has transformed the new sound into a magic box to create.
The rapid development of effectors since the 60’s is closely related to the change of popular music from live music to record. In particular, rock musicians considered the record to be a new art form created by studio recording, unlike traditional music. So they went to the studio day and night and repeated various experiments using effectors. As a result of such trial and error, the setting and usage of the effector that they came up with did not necessarily correspond to the correct usage that the producer of the effector intended. There were a lot of uses that the producers would use to scream when they heard it, such as “kick the spring reverb with feet”, “pass vocals through distortion” and “turn the reverb with noise gates”. In other words, with regard to effectors, the correct usage is not very meaningful. Rather, it may be the only one who seems to be the royal road of the effector-master to create a sound that the producer could not even predict, in a beating setting.
By the middle of the 90’s, a new generation of digital technologies called plug-in effects and modeling came into play, and the world of effectors has undergone considerable change. A plug-in effect is an effect that reproduces computer software and can be used in hard disk recording software on a computer. Although this changed the way the effector was used in the studio in some ways, it did not change the essence of the effector. The biggest impact on the world of effectors is modeling technology.
Modeling is a technology that attempts to reproduce musical instruments and effectors from the characteristics of materials, structures, circuits, and parts using the processing power of high-speed computers, which is like CG in the world of video It may be better if you think.
With this new technology, the difference between the sound of “real” and digital effector simulation has become inaudible even for professional musicians. As a result, anyone can easily try the sounds of vintage expensive and rare effectors and guitar amps that were not easily obtained before. This looks like something to be welcomed by musicians in a way.
But one thing I want you to keep in mind is that what is being reproduced by modeling is just the sounds and settings that someone has already used. If you’re looking for an original sound that no one else has ever tried, first messing around with the crap magic box you have before you consider replacing it with the latest modeling effects. It may be better to start by defeating and creating an original sound that you have never heard of. Then one day when you become a famous player, that sound may become a preset for your next modeling effector.