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Align Pedals vs Venue DI

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  • Align Pedals vs Venue DI

    This is a question whose answer might be fairly obvious to those more experienced with acoustic preamps and pedals than I am, but despite a fair amount of research I haven’t been able to find a convincing argument either way.

    If you’re starting from scratch, is the better option to buy a Venue DI and add the Align Session and Reverb pedals, or to buy the first four Align pedals (Session, EQ, Reverb, Active DI) instead?

    What are the comparative advantages and disadvantages? Does the gain control on the Align Session provide the same levels of adjustment as the control on the Venue? Is one or the other option more versatile in terms of which types of pickup it works well with? Are their sound quality advantages with one or the other? Noise levels?

    Is there still the possibility (mentioned in this thread) of an all-in-one Align?

    Personally I’m of the view that the Chorus and Delay pedals could sensibly be left out, since they’re rather more specialist, but Akoostick’s idea of a Venue DI Plus, adding the Saturation and Reverb to the exisiting features is one that would cover a lot of player’s needs.

  • #2
    Like most things with audio processing, choosing your pedals is very much about personal preference. I will say that I'm in a unique position in getting to try pedals before I put them on my board. Most people definitely don't have that advantage.

    For me, I think that a good EQ with the Session and Reverb is all you need to get a fantastic sound from your favorite pickup. I've been using the Session DI with the Align EQ and Reverb for a while now, but the Venue DI with the Align Session and Reverb is a great combo too. It really just comes down to how you want to build your setup. If you want the boost and tuner from the Venue, you'd lose those features with the Session DI. If you want all your pedals to be closer in size, the Venue makes that very difficult to do.

    I think the biggest disadvantage of using the Venue DI or Session DI is that you lose the ability to move the pedal order around. If you get all Align pedals, it's extremely easy to change the order of the EQ and Session to get a slightly different result. I actually prefer the Session first in the chain, but using the Session DI limits where I can put it if I need the DI feature at the end of my signal chain. It still sounds amazing! But it's a slight compromise.

    If the all-in-one Align pedal happens, it's not going to be for a while.

    I hope this is all helpful.

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    • #3
      Thanks Caleb. Certainly helpful, though I have to confess that I hadn't really thought about the Session DI. Guess my thinking was that the loop facility in the Venue allows for what I see as the optimal ordering:

      Align Saturation ––> Venue DI for Gain & EQ ––> Loop with Reverb ––> Venue DI to PA.

      With the Align pedals I'd probably go for the same order that normally appears in your videos:

      Saturation ––> EQ ––> Reverb ––> Active DI.

      Dropping the tuner and boost functions wouldn't really be an issue, so perhaps there are really just two questions left:

      Are both of these setups equally good with active and passive pickup systems? Does one sound better than the other?

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      • #4
        The biggest difference between those setups will mostly come down to the quality of the DI output. The Venue has a transformer-coupled DI, so it has a little more color to it, while the Align DI uses our all-discreet DI, which is a very high-quality and transparent sound. Aside from that, the signal chains should sound very similar. Even with the differences between the two DI's, they should still perform just as well.

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