Wednesday evening when I cycled several of the tunes that came up on the MP3 player were from Def Lepard, and I quite enjoyed the (over-processed) guitar tones.
So I've just spent 30min or digging some of those sounds out of my gear:
Moderate overdrive - check.
Chorus (on overdrive) - check
Digital delay - check
Compression - check
It's not *that* close, but here and there there was a distinct return to a 80's that never happened on this side of the pond. And with all those effects running it was kind of fun to handle a guitar that almost played itself, the only requirement being note selection and timing (which is about 30% of what playing clean electric is about - don't believe me, go listen to Stevie Ray).
So I started out using the Jekyll & Hyde for overdrive, Rothwell Love Squeeze compressor, MXR Carbon Copy delay and Arion chorus (boring name, great effect). Dialled the carbon copy back to give just one repeat with the delay level set slightly above dry signal and a delay around 350msec. The chorus pedal is curious, because at low speeds it creates a flanging effect as well as chorus and there's almost a Van Halen quality with it. However this wasn't really doing what I wanted because the drive from the Jekyll was just too much, and the CC was dirtying up the tone too.
A quick swap, off came the fuzz from the pedal board and on in it's place went a Danelectro Transparent Overdrive. These had a great rep for tone in a budget pedal, and were reputed in the MkI version to be a clone of a boutique pedal. This is a MkII, which runs a little cleaner & snappier than the MkI, and has a fair bit of sparkle. That was set for a very mild classic overdrive, and instead of using the Carbon copy analogue delay I used a Danelectro PB&J instead - a great little digital delay. Set up for 5 or 6 repeats**, around 200msec delay and to favour the echo & away we went. Sounded really nice, less smokey, more sparkly and with a taughter, almost wiry kind of tone. Sped up the chorus so it stopped flanging and bam - 1987 here we come.
I'm too lazy to learn Hysteria properly, and too out of practice to just pick it up by ear (in retrospect it's probably just Asus2/Dsus2) but you get the idea. I'm also really grateful for the amazing collection of pedals that are available to me, all at super-low cost and all sounding great.
*One of the guys I met from Harmony Central was also known as Big Hair - he had even less than me.
** I know it's only 1 repeat on Hysteria, but this sounded good too.