"Surfboard 4"

Discussion in 'Surf Music Forum' started by duceditor, May 21, 2018.

  1. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    ROUND ONE ;)

    Okay, I now have fingers as tired as my brain. Been playin' up a storm and dial twiddlin'. (No, don't you dare tell me that has some meaning I don't know about!)

    In a sense I am going about this all wrong. (No, not that. THIS.) That in that I decided to use the Mini 5 and the Surfboard. And that is breaking the rule of changing just one parameter at a time. Thus all the dial twiddlin'.

    But in truth that one parameter rule was out the window anyhow -- that because the Surfboard 4 was to me a total unknown -- not even the "how to" of its workings beyond the fairly standard knob and switch actions of each of its four effects. So I will start out there -- with how the Surfboard 4 itself works. (And that's pretty cool!)

    The "4" designation in its name -- something that was added by the good folks at WAUSA (Wangs Amplification USA) -- indicate that the base "Livemaster" unit is size four. That is what I chose for this highly focused system. (There are also units that hold 7 modules and 10.)

    Modules are effects units that basically comport themselves as individual pedals -- some clones of famous pedals (That is true for the compression unit chosen for the Surfboard 4. It is based on the highly rated MXR M-102 Dyna Comp) Others are either Biyang's own design -- some of which are highly coveted -- or possibly generic designs to which I at least cannot assign a source.) In any case these modules are more than just pedals that lock together into a single convenient package. Their interlocking as they do also allows for special capabilities.

    Surfboard controls.jpg

    The three foot buttons marked "A", "B" and "C" are not just the turn on and off buttons for this pedal or that. They are electronic actuators with memories -- each assigned to any group of modules and, if if they are digital pedal (some are analog), its/their specific settings.

    So in the above case all are "lit" and then thus those 3 (to add complexity to my explanation the left most single module is a double size unit that is in fact two modules themselves connected -- echo and reverb. ) are all turned on when "B" is selected. But not only are they all turned on, but their setting are reset to what they were when the "B" button was "saved."

    If I was to hit the "A" foot button as I currently have the memories set -- a preliminary "Ventures" setting custom tailored for pre-surf songs such as "Walk Don't Run" -- The trem and reverb/echo modules would be lit, but not the comp. And the actual settings of these modules would match what was set when they were assigned to foot pedal switch "A," not to the position the knob currently holds.

    Get it?

    (Got it.)

    Good!

    The compressor in the current "On" condition ("B"), however, being an analog design, will still be actuated as the control knob is set and thus such parameters as volume remains changeable. Whether that is a "feature" are a "fault" we can each decide for ourselves. To me it just is what it is. But I am generally a set it and forget it guy. The technology to me is just a tool. Others of us are really, really into the dial twisting. Not me.

    Once "set" you can if you wish just "forget." All you need to know is which pedal switch to hit and you will have all of the sounds you saved. And thus all the work is not lost. Yeah that!

    Twist a dial though and the light next to the assigned letter will start to flash. Hold it down to save the new settings, or just click it off, or choose another pedal switch and the unit will go back to what you had previously saved. Want to change the memory then hold that button down for a few seconds until it rapidly blinks. That means your new setting are now the memory.

    The beauty of the above is that you can experiment with different settings to your heart's content. As long as you do not turn off power that setting will hold giving you time to decide whether you prefer the old or the new.

    Okay, now some quick thoughts on the sound, modules left to right.

    Compression. Superb! Pure MXR but hiss free at any settings I tried. (Biyang and Wangs are both known for the quality of the components they use. Many from the USA, Europe and Japan.

    Temolo. Also very good. The choice of round and triangle wave styles is potentially useful. Allows for a more modern tremolo sound if you prefer that. I stayed with the classic round wave. Goes plenty fast if you wish it, and quite deep.

    The delay is good, but rather modern to my ears. More "hi-fi" then the tape type I grew up with. The advantage of that, along with its quiet, is greater range and cleanness if many long echos are desired. (I just used it for slap back and apart from its having a harder edge than I personally prefer it is quite capable.)

    The reverb is also modern digital. The "Spring" setting has the natural spring fall of and general tonality, but it is not the equivalent of an FRV-1. Hey, nothing is! Most, quite frankly, will applaud that. I'm an old coot who like his "boing." Poor me!

    Hall and room settings are rich and full. Bottom line, for surf this will do. For general purpose it will do more than do. :)

    I'll come back to all this tomorrow with fresh ears. In the past doing so has allowed for even better sound than a first attempt has allowed. That may well prove so here. In any case I got some cool surf sounds today. Mr. Moto rocked and searched for his wave!

    -don
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
    csheehan, Treynor and so1om like this.
  2. so1om

    so1om Dr. Squier

    Age:
    50
    Feb 10, 2010
    Chicago
    Just a few questions that i have so far... Get ready...

    • Are you able to virtually place the pedals in any order you like?
    • And series or parallel?
    • Is there a stereo out?
    • Does the reverb have a shimmer or other types of reverbs available?
    • And can a person swamp out various pedals here and there?
    • How many presets can be stored?
    It's just that a lot of these types of multi-pedals allow a custom configuration, just seeing there it falls in the mix.
     
    Treynor likes this.
  3. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA

    • Are you able to virtually place the pedals in any order you like?

      Yes. The modules snap in and out.

      But that said there are no instructions or other info that addresses order. I could pull 'em and hear what I hear. But for now this was just fine.

    • And series or parallel?

      Again no answer.

    • Is there a stereo out?

      No.

    • Does the reverb have a shimmer or other types of reverbs available?

      There are three "types" of reverb. Hall, room and spring. But they are just generic (quite effective for all that)

      WAUSA says that there are a LOT more coming. I get the impression that all such concerns and questions will be addressed. -That this is just the beginning.

    • And can a person swamp out various pedals here and there?

      Yes. a bunch are currently available. WAUSA is there to be helpful. I expect that they will bend over backwards to give a customer exactly what he/she wants.

    • How many presets can be stored?

      3 on this. More on the 7 and 10 module models.
     
    wonkenstein, so1om and Treynor like this.
  4. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Yes. And I have WAUSA's permission to share a further discount code: Master 10

    That'll being it down to an even more freakin' amazing $135 delivered!

    It is a gorgeously made unit.

    -don
     
    wonkenstein and RoyalWe like this.
  5. so1om

    so1om Dr. Squier

    Age:
    50
    Feb 10, 2010
    Chicago
    So it's essentially a pedal board as it's plugged in and in the order it's in. I think I follow now.

    I can't make a preset where the delay is first and before the reverb and another where the tremolo is first, etc.. The order is set and thereby in series.
     
  6. mrriggs

    mrriggs Squier Talker

    Age:
    38
    76
    Apr 27, 2018
    Vancouver, WA
    Dang, I was thinking this looked really cool, especially for the price, then you started talking about memory, presets, clicking, holding, blinking lights...

    Is there an "analog" mode where you can just turn them on and off with the foot switch and they work at whatever the knobs are set at when on?
     
  7. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    I *think* that is likely. But another possibility is that the order that each is assigned queues them that way.

    The unit came with no information to speak of. Just a bit on the box and half of that in Chinese. No manual or the like.

    We could inquire of WAUSA. Until then there is just logic and speculation.


    I suppose one could put nothing into the memory apart from turning the units on. Or just start turning the dials after a memory has been created. Then it'd be as you describe until turned off. Or if no memory is created each time you turn it on.

    One issue with anything digital is that the less choices one has. "Me smart! You not needed any longer!"

    Some twenty five or so years ago I bought a top-of-he-line B&O sound system. That was so for it. I also had a Nakamicci Dragon with a zillion controls. I found it more "intuitive" to my brain than all the automated stuff. And don't get me started on why I still use Adobe Photoshop 7.1. It is so "out of date" that people go nuts. And I (who tried later releases) won't ever change. I know it. I understand it. I think. It does what it is told. Yeah team! :D

    To me the whatever doing what I want is all that matters. If I have to configure it, or work with it, no matter. As long as I get there and then can forget about it.

    I use a Fender G-DEC in my library play area. Lots of people love its on line capabilities. FUSE software. Not me. I "bothered." Got what I wanted. Saved it as close to forever as my mortality (and its -- the race is on!) allow. And that as they say, is that.

    Bottom line so far is that the Surfboard 4 is a great device. Apart from the modernity of its affects -- likely preferable to many -- it is quite fine. Easy to use. And such a bargain it is hard to believe.

    More to come. I'm just (as you can see) toe deep thus far.

    -don
     
  8. Ralph124C41

    Ralph124C41 Squier-holic

    Feb 10, 2016
    I'm guessing the reverb is a version of Biyang's RV-10, which also has spring, room and hall settings and time and blend controls. The RV-10 does have individual A/B settings for each reverb setting, but as I understand just offers a more intense version. Also your thoughts seem to fit in with the ones I've read about the RV-10, good hall and room reverbs and an acceptable spring setting but one that doesn't have any drip or splash.

    I was going to guess the delay is set up similar to the AD-10 which also has blend, repeat and time controls. However the AD-10 has two time settings (600 ms and 1,100 ms) but this unit seems to have some sort of tap delay so that sounds like a plus.
     
    so1om and Treynor like this.
  9. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Yes. And also a manual (rotary) variable.

    What does the switch to on the AD-10? Does it give a second range to the rotary control?

    -don
     
    so1om likes this.
  10. Ralph124C41

    Ralph124C41 Squier-holic

    Feb 10, 2016

    AFAIK, yes. If you set it at 600 then the time range would be o-600. I'm guessing if you use the 1,100 settings then the range is o-1,100 but it could be the higher range of 600-1,100.
     
    so1om and duceditor like this.
  11. Ralph124C41

    Ralph124C41 Squier-holic

    Feb 10, 2016
    Btw, not to go off subject, but what is that blue JM or Jag in your photo. It seems too dark a blue to be a Sonic Blue Squier VM JM. All the ones I've seen have such a light blue finish that the guitar looks more like a blue-tinted white guitar.
     
  12. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    It is a sonic blue VM Jazzmaster. The photo is unaltered -- just a quick 'snap' made with an iPhone.

    But you are right. In most photos they come off as very pale

    Here's another shot of her taken some time ago...

    Jazzy.jpg

    -don
     
    squierbilly likes this.
  13. Ralph124C41

    Ralph124C41 Squier-holic

    Feb 10, 2016
    Thanks, Yes the second picture is more like the ones I've remember seeing.
     
  14. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Squier-Nut

    534
    Feb 16, 2018
    North Central NC
    That's a very pretty guitar, Don.
     
    duceditor likes this.
  15. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Yeah, it is. And a beautiful player too.

    Quite at the heart of what Squier-Talk is about, and so many of us here have in common: Finding, appreciating and sharing all the amazing bargains available to we guitar players right now.

    And that, too, is why I think the Surfboard 4 is so cool. Working with it even the little I so far have I see it as, like the VM Jazzy, a quality piece -- really beautiful to look at and use -- that "does the job" at a super bargain (unbelievable, really!) price.

    Is it the exact equivalent of, say, having a 1963 Fender reverb tank (or even a Boss FRV-1)? No. But it is acceptably close. More than good enough to get the sound a casual surf player needs, and that easy and cheap.

    As another poster here occasionally puts it" "Cool beans!" :)

    I'll continue to post my finding about the S4. Thinking I may plug it into some other amps and see how it does there too!

    -don
     
    wonkenstein and Treynor like this.
  16. Triple Jim

    Triple Jim Squier-Nut

    534
    Feb 16, 2018
    North Central NC
    By the way, I thought of you this morning when a company in Poland I ordered some electronic parts from sent tracking information. DHL accepted it today, and it's going to arrive Thursday, for the shipping cost of $9.90.
     
    duceditor likes this.
  17. Ralph124C41

    Ralph124C41 Squier-holic

    Feb 10, 2016
    Again I apologize for going off a tangent to this post, but I'd also like to point out that Wang has similar units to this one, but in different configurations and at different price points. Somebody else may have already noted that.

    To find the page go to:https://wangs-amps-usa.myshopify.com/collections/all

    Some of the other units are:
    The Blues Lawyer (?) : comp, delay, TS-9 clone, Big Muff clone
    Ambient 4 (chorus, tremolo, that delay/reverb unit)
    Jazz Doctor 4 (delay, chorus, TS-9 clone, comp) $160
    Metal Head 4 (Rat clone, clean boost, Metal End (2-unit Norwegian high gain)
    Stratman 4 (comp, tremolo, chorus, Xotic BB clone)

    There are some other packages offered with up to seven pedals in them

    Some of the names of the units really throw me, as well as some of the pedals chosen. Why no reverb in the Jazz Doctor 4 for example?
     
    squierbilly and so1om like this.
  18. eaglesgift

    eaglesgift Squier-Nut

    Age:
    50
    761
    Apr 18, 2014
    Chiang Mai, Thailand
    I’m not sure why a jazz guitarist would need a Tube Screamer either.
     
    wonkenstein and so1om like this.
  19. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Jazz players sometimes get angry too. ;)

    -nod
     
    wonkenstein and so1om like this.
  20. so1om

    so1om Dr. Squier

    Age:
    50
    Feb 10, 2010
    Chicago
    Right. I wonder if the "Jazz" in the name of that pedal option was in regards to indie players that use jazzmaster style guitars? But let's not forget that you can use a tube screamer without imparting a ton of gain. Just a little goose which may be called for in jazz. add that little crystalline clarity.
     
    wonkenstein likes this.