BOSS HM-3 (not HM-2 !!!) the most hated/underrated pedal

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Tetanus, May 20, 2018.

  1. Tetanus

    Tetanus Well-Known Member

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    ok guys. I am a huge fan of Fortin pedals (and amps). As you might know i own a Randall RD amp which is been designed by Mike Fortin, a Fortin Zuul noise gate, and a Fortin Grind booster. I used to own a 33 Meshuggah signature Fortin booster as well, but i sold it for double the price i purchased it which founded me the zuul and grind together... :)
    The Zuul is the best noise gate on the market. Period.
    The 33 and Grind pedals are extremely good booster pedals to tighten up your sound. BUT(!) since i got an old Boss HM-3 (Hyper metal, not the hm-2 Heavy metal!!!) pedal, i have to say it can get really close to these boosters. The active bass and high tone controls on the HM-3 can provide the same tightness as the Fortin pedals, plus it is adjustable, not fixed like on the fortin ones...
    Although there is tons of bass in this pedal.
    the level at max might not give you the same amount of boost, but it is really close, and it is just enough to use on the OD channel of an already gainy amp as a booster.
    The dist could be at zero, but even then adds a bit of that fuzz and grit, which reminds me to the famous Swedish tone (HM-2), but it is not as fuzzy; more articulate, cut through the mix etc.

    It is between the hm-2 heavy metal and mt-2 metal zone.
    This pedal is awesome as a booster on the dist/od channel of a gainy amp.
    On its own it sounds shit....


    P.S.: I still love my HM-2 pedal as well, but the HM-2 is way to fuzzy, messy etc. This HM-3 is more modern and fits more into the band mix.

    I am already looking the schematics to try a few mods. For example:
    -add an amp channel switching output like on the Fortin grind/33 pedals;
    -add more volume boost option;
    -add a switch which eliminates the distortion/clipping diodes entirely (convertng it to a booster)
    -add additional tweaking option as this pedal got tons of Bass on touch.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
  2. Tetanus

    Tetanus Well-Known Member

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    ohhh my.. I spent quite a few hours to check the schematic of the HM-3. I had so many ideas... Finally i started to do some experiments.
    I started to replace a few resistor and/or capacitors in the high/low-pass filters between the gain stages. Actually the stock versions were working great so went back to stock.
    I tried a few different diodes in both clipping sections. At the end i ended up with 2 switches, 1 is eliminating the diodes, the other is replacing the hard-clipping diodes (D5 and D6) with red, 5mm LEDs.
    sw1. no diodes:
    great boost pedal with "Dist" on minimum, especially as the High and Low controls on this pedal are active, which means they either boost or cut their frequencies.
    but turning the "Dist" control up will push the pedal into an "op-amp fuzz" pedal. I love both of these sounds.
    sw2. stock diodes vs LEDs:
    the stock silicone diodes are actually sound great. I tried the usual 1n419/1n4148 diodes and they didn't sound better... so left the stock diodes in. The Germanium Bat42 (i think) was not my cup of tea either.
    the silicone diodes in this pedal gives that "chainsaw" like character, which i love. The LEDs sound less compressed, more open, more warm. Combine this type of clipping with the op-amps' overdrive sound and you can either have a nice overdrive sound or a crushing fuzz like tone.

    I added a "tightness" switch at the end of the signal. this works great as fixed switch, but i will experiment to make it adjustable.
    I also would like to install dual-concentric pots and open up the tone controls. The "High" control actually controls the mid frequencies as well, and i will try to use separate controls for these two. I also would like to add a freq. control for the mids and for the bass as well. (this pedal got tons of bass and gets really boomy really easily).


    So here is what i have in mind to end up with:
    4 concentric pots for:
    - Volume and Dist.
    - Low and it's Freq.
    - Mid and it's Freq.
    - High and (instead of it's Freq. control add) a variable Tightness control (instead of a fixed switch)

    two switches:
    sw1: Boost / Distortion mod. (basically disable or enable diode clipping )
    sw2: choose between 2 type of diodes. (Stock / LEDs)


    I also was thinking to install a DIP8 IC socket adapter and try different op-amps. Mainly the burr brown OPA2134...


    to be continued...
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2018
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  3. Tetanus

    Tetanus Well-Known Member

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    honestly, i love this pedal.
    The active Boost/Cut EQ is great to shape the tone and use it as a booster. The Dist could add minimal "chainsaw" effect, which i love as it is still articulate and not getting fuzzy.

    Actually I prefer it over my Fortin Grind and 33 pedals... which tells a LOT !!!
     
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  4. MABLUNG

    MABLUNG Ain't nobody like me but me.

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    Any chance of a soundclip or video??
     
  5. Robstafarian

    Robstafarian The Good and Wise Call Me “Rufus”

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    :hug:

    I am always glad to see you.
     
  6. Tetanus

    Tetanus Well-Known Member

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    I don't have a cab at home to mic it up, but can record some samples with cab IRs.
    Although my sound engineering skills are not great... so... well.
    We will se how it will turn out.
    I will do some samples later on.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  7. MABLUNG

    MABLUNG Ain't nobody like me but me.

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    :hug:
    I'm a lurker- no time nowadays for fun. Work is hectic and Home is balls :(
     
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  8. Tetanus

    Tetanus Well-Known Member

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    :hug:


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  9. Tetanus

    Tetanus Well-Known Member

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    ok, so i quickly played up a simple riff.
    I used my amp on the settings i use during rehearsals, where the tone is amazingly good through a Marshall 4x12 with v30s, in that particular room, with the drums and the other guitar... Although i occasionally dial back the treble and add a bit more middle...

    But for these samples i just used cab IRs (no cab, no mic, but angry neighbours etc.)
    used the Two-notes Wall of Sound IR loader plugin.
    2 guitar tracks, panned hard left and right.
    Drums are EZDrummer 2. I was not tweaking it, just got some basic metal tone samples loaded.

    Please note, I haven't really messed around with the settings. This is not about achieving the best tone of my life but simply to compare tones in different settings.

    Also, please note:
    the Grind is a boost, no clipping or any additional distortion/overdrive here; but shapes the tone really nicely, adds some mids, tightens the bass etc..
    The HM-3 can boost your signal and due to the active EQ you can achieve similar tightness in tone, but the highs and mids been controlled with the same pot so you can't really finetuning the tone (just yet, as i am about to mod my hm3). And of course, there are clipping diodes in the signal path, so you can't really compare them side by side. BUT i use this pedal to get a slightly chainsaw character. It's really like a more transparent, more usable, more articulate HM-2... for me anyway.
    My HM-3 got 2 switches but i used it on the stock settings.

    first half is with Fortin v30 IRs ; second half is with Kalthallen bENGel IRs.
    order in the samples:
    amp only ; with Grind ; with HM-3 as a boost ; with HM-3 as an "OD" (extra At The Gates riff with this one)

    first sample is without any mastering or EQ.
    video

    audio only


    Second sample is with EZmix's 'Metal Master' on stock setting.
    video

    YouTube

    audio only
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018 at 2:26 PM
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  10. Tetanus

    Tetanus Well-Known Member

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    so... are these audio samples so bad ???
    any feedback would be appreciated to improve...
     
  11. Tetanus

    Tetanus Well-Known Member

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  12. Robstafarian

    Robstafarian The Good and Wise Call Me “Rufus”

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    I will when I get a chance to do so. Lately, my free time has been dominated by symptom management which would make my feedback pointless.
     
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  13. Tetanus

    Tetanus Well-Known Member

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    ok mate, no rush. Take care.


    @everfreetree you liked Rob's comment, you are more than welcome to give it a listen as well and provide some feedback... ;)
     
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  14. everfreetree

    everfreetree I... I like trees.

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    To put it as simply as possible and absolutely contrast the detail in anything Rob may have to say...
    I liked it.
    It was good.

    Seemed to make a good boost, bringing... "something" out in the sound that pleased me more than it did without it.
     
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  15. Tetanus

    Tetanus Well-Known Member

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    Thank you to come back to me.
    I feel the same. Especially in the rehearsal room through v30s loaded cabinet. The HM-3 is awesome. I am about to make some modifications to be able to adjust the mid separately as well.

    Thanks again.
     
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  16. Tetanus

    Tetanus Well-Known Member

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    I just got a Randall V2 amp as well and done a thing, continue here
     

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