The 2112 for the Steel Guitarist

The Digitech 2112 is a fully programmable Guitar PreAmp/Effects Processor for studio or live applications. It is designed to have more of the look and feel of a typical guitar amplifier. This is achieved by having PreAmp parameter controls on the front panel of the box, giving the user instant control over principle aspects of their sound. Digital effects can be moved around within configurations, giving the 2112 the best combination of flexibility and easeof use. A unique feature in this product is its dual distortion paths. It is possible to run Tube Distortion AND Solid State Distortion in parallel. They can even be panned hard Left/Right for really huge sounds. These dual paths also allow very smooth morphing from a clean to a distorted sound. The Dual S-DISC IIs offer Seamless Program Changing, which means that you don't have to cut off the end off your Delays and Reverb when you change Programs. The 2112 is the most powerful, easy to use Guitar product ever developed by DigiTech. A custom LCD display along with button illumination make it the standard that all other Guitar Processor/PreAmps will be measured by. Analog Effects: Compression, Analog WahWah, TubeDistortion/Clean path (2-12AX7s), SolidState Distortion/Clean path Digital Effects: Choruses, Flangers, Phasers, Tremolo, AutoPan, Rotary Speakers, Detune, Chromatic PitchShift,Intelligent PitchShift, Whammy, Delays, Reverbs, PEQs, GEQs, Silencer-II NoiseReduction, NoiseGate, Compressor, Cabinet Emulation Inputs/Outputs: Guitar Input, Mono FX Loop (PreDistortion), Balanced TRS 1/4" Outputs, MIDI In/Out-Thru, ExpPedal Input, Control One Input

The 2112 is a very powerful combination of preamp and multi-effects.  It offers both tube (dual 12AX7) and solid state preamp modules that may be used separately or together and dual S-DISC II digital signal processing (DSP) chips to get an incredible array of sounds.  This power and configurability come with a pretty steep learning curve.  The objective of this set of web pages is to dig out of the 82-page manual the concepts a steel player needs to get started using the 2112.  In the following pages we will look at how the 2112 processes your signal so that we can get the best 'straight steel sound' and also look at some of the more commonly used effects.  It is important to understand how presets (or PATCHES) are stored and how to tweak the factory presets as well as create our own patches.  You will notice early on that the factory presets are mostly geared for the rock guitarist, so we will have to delve pretty deeply into the guts of the system to get the most out of it.

    * General info like
          * how to connect everything
          * setting levels
          * how to use the 2112 for gigs
                * with a combo amp like a Session 400
                * with two combo amps for a stereo sound
                * with a rack mounted amp like a MosValve 500 or Stewart
    * Understand how the tube and solid state preamps can be used to get a good basic sound
    * Understand how the 2112 processes effects like delay, reverb, chorus, etc.
    * Modify factory settings
    * Create custom settings from scratch

I will refer often to the manual.  The 2112 manual contains A LOT OF INFORMATION, but it isn't always organized logically -- to my mind, anyway.  If you see (MP 12), for example, that will refer to Manual Page 12 and I will not repeat most of the information you will find there.
My 2112 is connected as shown below
Refer to MP 11-13 for using two combo amps or for running direct, for applications such as a studio situation.
The 2112 is, among other things, a preamp.  There are several level settings that you should be aware of, both on the 2112 itself and on the amplifier you use.  Steel guitar pickups are notoriously HOT, that is, they produce A LOT OF SIGNAL and can overdrive the input stage of the 2112.  So, the first level you need to set is the INPUT LEVEL on the left side of the front panel.  Plug your guitar directly into the 2112 (no volume pedal) and select Factory Preset #45 -- Stereo Country by pressing the [Program] button until the [Factory] indicator is seen on the display, just below the Patch Number.  (for more info on the front panel, see MP 3-4)  Set the Input level at about 9 - 12 o'clock or 1/4 to 1/2 of the maximum.  Strike a chord as hard as you can play it and note the level indicator on the LED display.    There is a Clipping indicator to the left of the Input knob.  If the red light appears, you have the Input attenuation too high -- back off of it until the red light does not appear when you hit a strong chord.  Make a mental note of this setting -- it is the MAXIMUM YOU SHOULD EVER USE.  Staying at or below that level should avoid distortion caused by your guitar overdriving the 2112.  If you are using another processor, like the Stereo Digital Reverb that I use, you may need to adjust the Output level to avoid overdriving the reverb unit.
In a live playing situation, a steel player often needs to tweak the reverb levels and settings for different rooms or different songs.  The 2112 is a multi-effects processor which does not provide an easy way to adjust a single effect (like reverb) on stage.  I recommend using a stereo digital reverb unit like the Alesis Microverb or equivalent.  That unit goes for about $250 on the 'street', but the best reverbs (like the Lexicon PCM-81 -- the 'Rolls Royce' of reverbs) can cost more than $2000.  If someone wants to give you a PCM-81 for free -- TAKE IT!

It is possible to use the reverbs in the 2112 or to use the reverb in your combo amp(s) if you choose that solution.  Be aware that you won't be able to change reverb parameters easily on the 2112 in a stage situation.

If you are using a single combo amp, you should use the LEFT/MONO output.  Two combo amps could be used for stereo output.

Next, we will look at how we get started to tweak the 2112 to the best advantage of the steel player.

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