Cameron McLaughlin

Gear

Over the past 15 years, I’ve been fortunate to own and play lots and lots of gear. As my abilities and ears evolved during that time, I was able to find the right combination of gear that allowed me to be completely expressive. I’m always searching for new ways to adjust my sound, but I think I’m 99% there. Honestly! I give my personal endorsement for each of these products because they have been road tested, and the companies provide the utmost in customer service.

Main Rig:

Power Amp: Lab Gruppen fP2200

Quality power = Quality sound.  I like to look at power amps like car engines.  Your speedometer states that your car can travel at speeds of 120+ mph.  You will probably never travel that fast, but that’s not the point.  Your engine has headroom, and that headroom allows you to travel on a daily basis for hours on end, without fear of burning out your engine.  This unit was introduced to me, and interestingly enough, I noticed a tonal change in my sound with this power amp over the Crest LT2000 I had.  Aside from the component difference, I traced the source of the change in tone to the slew rate, the rate at which the power amp can go from a resting or idle state, to full on.  While we’re talking about milliseconds, the result translated to a faster finger response while playing, and a psuedo compression of my bass tone.  Very nice!

Preamp: Mike Pope MPP-1

During my college years, I was busy piecing together my rig, and there was a period of time where I did not have a preamp.  I was playing active basses at the time, and I only had cabinets and a power amp.  For many months, I would gig by plugging my bass directly into the power amp.  Over time, I got used to the sound, texture, and feel of just the bass itself and it’s inherent electronics.  This led me to pursue a very clean sounding preamp without much coloration.  I utilized various mic pre’s and had great results, and I was very happy when Mike Pope release his bass preamp in rack form.  I’ve had the pleasure knowing Mike for many years, and I’m happy to support his product, because not only is he a great guy, but he’s a great bassist, and has contributed a lot to our community.  This preamp is amazing.  It’s simple, and it has every sound you could ever want, and every feature that a gigging/studio bassist would need.  The quality of components is top notch, and most importantly of all, it faithfully represents the sound of your instrument.

Power Conditioning: Furman PF Pro R

Having had gear blown up while playing in various bars/restaurants when giant refrigerators kick on, or needing a slight bump in voltage when no one else brings a power strip, or even just the need of a volt meter for various festivals, field parties, and new venues, power conditioning has been my friend.  Years ago, this was Furman’s best conditioner, and they have since released a newer version.  That can go both ways, and I have yet to test it out.  At the very least, they can help clear up noisy electricity through your cabinets…or at least for your guitarist.

Cabinets: Schroeder 1212R and 1210L

These cabinets are modular, lightweight, and powerful.  I do not like brittle, harsh, or crisp highs, and these cabinets formed the perfect balance for me in terms of rounding out the sound of the Hi-Fi active electronics of the basses I’ve played over the years.  This raises the ultimate point about tone:  find what works for you.  I’m sure I could switch around any component of my rig and return to the same tone, but in my case, these cabinets were the smoothing agent that turned my cotton into silk.  Jorg has been a great guy to work with over the years, and he’s been easy to get in contact with about any issues.

 

Pedals: I have chosen these pedals because they represent the ultimate in tonal variety and functionality for me.  I liken them to various shades of color and texture, or even a particular medium for inspiration.  Not a single pedal here is a gimmick, and I could engage each one simultaneously and still retain clarity and a useable bass tone.  During my early years, bass effects were few and far between.  We are now in the glory days of bass effects, and I encourage all bassists to get out there and see what can be found, and if it can’t be found, ask someone to make it for you!  You’d be surprised how many capable and willing builders are out there.

This is a heavily modified Boss OC-2 octave pedal.  It’s still undergoing some serious R&D but at it’s current iteration, it has 18 selectable tones that are blendable with the stock 1 and 2 octave down, as well as the dry signal.  It has been modified to be true bypass, and the LED has been moved to the stomp.  Every bassist should have an octave.  It’s useful in so many ways.

 

I utilize the Pigtronix Philosopher King pedal to achieve some unique textures with my basses.  The pedal has a multitude of options, and I find all of them useful.  The compression I use more as a tonal effect as opposed to it’s normal application of evening out a signal.  The amplitude synthesis portion of the pedal allows for some very expressive playing, and pairs well with delay.

 

Crowther Audio’s Prunes & Custard is by and far the most exciting pedal that I’ve stumbled upon.  Think Herbie Hancock’s Chameleon and Stevie Wonder’s Boogie On Reggae Woman.  Synth tones with fingerstyle sensitivity and sensibility…Amazing!  This pedal has a variety of sounds that are best heard rather than described.  Every track utilizes the Prunes in a different way, and there’s so many more uses!



The Pigtronix Envelope Phaser bridges a unique gap for me.  The vocal quality of the envelope is unlike any other that I’ve heard before.  The sensitivity allows for unparalleled expression through finger dynamics.  This pedal has all the tweaks, switches, and knobs that you’d ever want.  The phaser portion is just icing on the cake, and provides for some unique and useable textures, especially for chord work and spatial thickening.

 

The Malekko Echo 600D is the darker of 2 versions of their original analog delay line.  It has since been replaced with their Echo 616.  I chose this pedal because I wanted a simple quality delay.  It’s effect can be dialed in rich and thick, or dialed back to add some atmosphere.  It boasts a full set of applicable features, including an internal gain trim pot to achieve unity, stereo out with wet or dry signal, and most importantly a choice between true bypass or a buffered output to clean up and boost the signal after passing through all that analog circuitry!  This delay has a unique character, and it’s not going anywhere.