We asked Mike, head honcho at Life is Unfair Audio to give us an insight into his rig and any tips he has got. So, without further ado…
I have a faux stereo set up that I’m using at the moment which is created by splitting my signal having a clean and distorted line and then joining them through a stereo delay & reverb before going into the normal and bass channels of my blackface bassman 135 head. There’s two main reasons I use this set up rather than having everything in a sequential order, the first is that it allows me to play extended chords whilst using an intense fuzz sound and not loose all note clarity. The second is that I find modulation tends to get a little muddy when used with a fuzz so by running them parallel allows me to keep the shimmer from the chorus as well as a thick distorted tone smeared into one.
Korg Pitchblack, A/B/Y splitter
A: Modded boss CE2 chorus clone, Triungulo Lab Harafna dual LFO filter, Boss DD3
B: Life Is Unfair The Dream Left Behind fuzz, EHX POG2
DL4 looper, Boss RV5 reverb
My clean tone tends to be a deep slow chorus with a subtle modulated reverb after. The Harafna filter I use in a fairly standard way most of the time as a super slow filter sweep as an extra layer of modulation but cranking the resonance up to full produces an oscillation from circuit which can do some great synth impressions when followed by the delay.
The dream left behind tends to be set to boost volume a small amount for a few chorus parts. The pog2 that follows it is a little overkill as I only use it to slow down the attack of the dry signal to give a cello like sound. Using this parallel system with the slow attack on the POG you can create a really interesting reverse reverb/string synth type of effect as you have the original attack as well as the slowed fuzz tone which sounds like an extra instrument coming from nowhere sometimes.
My must have pedals:
I think for this board that I use for gigs I could strip it back to the CE2 chorus, Dream left behind fuzz and POG2, anything less than that it wouldn’t sound like the same band. If I was just noodling about at home though I’d probably want a delay too!
My next purchases:
I’ve got nothing in particular in mind that I want to add to my live board except something boring like a compressor but I’ve always got my eye on interesting new modulation pedals, I really like the look at the EQD Aqueduct and Dreadbox Komorebi, the Komorebi chorus particularly because of the ability to patch into a modular system as I’m working towards integrating my guitar and eurorack synthesiser set up together in the future.
My top tip:
Try splitting your signal into parallel lines as stacking combinations of effects that way can uncover a bunch of new sounds hidden within the pedals you already have!
Mike is the owner of Life is Unfair Audio which are hand made in the UK. Check them out in store: