Ian Allison is an uber-creative bassist with a flair for synth-pop arrangements. He’s also a member of the crew over at Scott’s Bass Lessons. We asked Ian about his Origin Effects Cali76 Stacked Edition and (now discontinued) Cali76-TX-LP compressor pedals.
What’s a piece of studio gear that you cannot live without?
For me, it’s about getting to work QUICKLY. I want to be able to grab a bass, flip a switch, power up my desk and START. I used to think that having a ton of outboard gear, pres, comps, etc. was super important – but it ended up bogging down my process as I would spend a stupid amount of time “shooting out” preamps on different basses. UGH. So recently I simplified everything so that the barrier to creativity is low, or certainly lower. I guess a big piece of that is my interface. I just use a simple UA Arrow and I LOVE it. I got it to take on the road and then it ended up being my main interface at home too.
What’s your favourite Origin pedal? And can you describe your favourite setting?
Without question, my favourite Origin pedal is a bit of a unicorn now I think. I was lucky enough to grab a big box Cali76 TX-LP serial number 16! It has the Lundahl transformer along with dry blend and boost. I mean . . . here’s the deal, I NEVER TURN IT OFF. It has literally been on every live gig and record that I have made for the past 4ish years. It’s like I’m a damn 3 year old and it’s my binky. Can’t live without it. What I like to do with it is dial in a pretty aggressive setting on the comp side, 12noon input, 8:1 ratio, slow(ish) attack and medium release, then I dial in about the same level of clean into the overall signal. MAGIC HAPPENS.
Cali76 Compact Bass vs. Cali76 Stacked Edition?
I dig the compact bass a lot. I’ve used it when traveling and can’t bring the big guy. But I recently got the Stacked and I will say that it is my favourite Origin comp offering apart from the TX-LP. I love the super fast action of the big box, but sometimes if I’m honest, I wish the release were longer – and the Stacked gives me that with super simple controls. It’s UNSUNG in the bass community. I hope to help change that.
How does the Cali76 compare to rack compressors?
Well . . . I sold my Distressor ????. For me, it is about workflow. I just know the Origin stuff so well now that I can dial in anything I need FAST. That really matters to me.
You’re known for playing synth bass sounds on your electric bass. How does Origin fit into your pedal chain?
The Cali76 is the FIRST thing I plug into, always. It feeds a few 3Leaf pedals, their Octave and Doom2 which is like a synthy low gain octavia fuzz. Then I run into a Line 6 HX Stomp for drives, other synth sounds, filters, modulation, verb, etc. I find compression to be super useful in providing a strong signal to the octave pedal first – which is the platform for every other synth element to build on.
What’s next for Ian Martin Allison in 2021?
I am fortunate to have a lot going on right now! I’m working on an instrumental record of my own music, playing on a lot of other people’s records that I’m excited about – Eric Hutchinson, JS Ondara, Haley, Jeremy Messersmith, etc. – making tons of video content for my instagram and for Scotts Bass Lessons YouTube channel and website, and I’m increasingly involved in helping companies I love dream up and demo new products. I would die to be involved in doing something with YOU Origin.
Be sure to keep up to date with Ian’s low-end adventures by following his Instagram page here!