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Reamp box vs the audio interface 'guitar' input?

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Reamp box vs the audio interface 'guitar' input?

Postby Elephone » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:58 pm

Hi. I've got access to a Radial Reamp JCR Studio Reamper box. I'm just wondering about uses other than re-amping, since I've can use it whenever.

Wouldn't this unit be superior to using the Hi-Z switchable input on my audio interface input to get the level right? It's an Edirol FA-66.

What about with my Zoom H4n recorder? Could it improve the signal?

I've also got an ART Cleanbox Pro. I bought it for re-amping thinking it was recommended on here. I believe it matches impedances(?) but I've never been too clear on what it's intended for exactly in terms of practical applications. It's difficult to find familiar examples of how it might be used and how else it could be used (since I've got one).

I'm not clued up on this sort of thing (obviously), bit of a blind spot.

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Re: Reamp box vs the audio interface 'guitar' input?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:55 pm

Elephone wrote:Hi. I've got access to a Radial Reamp JCR Studio Reamper box. I'm just wondering about uses other than re-amping, since I've can use it whenever.

It has no other uses: it's a reamp box. It takes in a balanced line-level signal and it outputs an unbalanced, electrically isolated, instrument-level signal. The idea is to be able to take a pre-recorded (guitar) track and send it to a guitar amp which can then be miked and re-recorded.

The manual is quite clear about how it is used: https://www.radialeng.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/JCReamp-Manual.pdf

Wouldn't this unit be superior to using the Hi-Z switchable input on my audio interface input to get the level right?

No. The hi-z input on your interface is intended to capture the instrument-level unbalanced output of your guitar directly, with the appropriate impedance to let the guitar work properly. A reamp box doesn't have a suitable high impedance input, not even if you use it 'backwards'.

What about with my Zoom H4n recorder? Could it improve the signal?

Doubt it. What needs improving?

I've also got an ART Cleanbox Pro. I bought it for re-amping thinking it was recommended on here. I believe it matches impedances(?) but I've never been too clear on what it's intended for exactly in terms of practical applications.

The Cleanbox Pro is designed to interface semi-pro and domestic stereo equipment with professional mixing consoles etc. It converts both ways between unbalanced -10dBV (domestic) systems and balanced +4dBu (pro) systems.

It can be used as a makeshift re-amper -- I believe the Elf uses one for that purpose -- converting the balanced line-level output of a console or DAW and providing a (hot) instrument-level unbalanced feed for an amplifier... but while it does the bal/unbal and level shifting well enough, it doesn't provide the electrical isolation which is a normal re-amp feature, and so it can cause ground-loop problems.

THERE IS NO IMPEDANCE MATCHING INVOLVED OR REQUIRED IN THE RE-AMPING APPLICATION!

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Re: Reamp box vs the audio interface 'guitar' input?

Postby The Elf » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:13 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:It can be used as a makeshift re-amper -- I believe the Elf uses one for that purpose...
I more often use a Little Labs Red Eye 3D for guitar re-amping; I use the CleanBox to interface to/from guitar pedals from my audio interface, for which it is ideal.
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Re: Reamp box vs the audio interface 'guitar' input?

Postby Elephone » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:56 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:It has no other uses: it's a reamp box.

Thanks. The manual also shows a direct balanced signal going to a tape machine from the reamp box. It is this that made me wonder if the signal should pass through the reamp box for direct recording.

I presume the reamp box also offers a potentially better signal fidelity than the Cleanbox used as a makeshift reamp box?

The Elf wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:It can be used as a makeshift re-amper -- I believe the Elf uses one for that purpose...
I use the CleanBox to interface to/from guitar pedals from my audio interface, for which it is ideal.

So I could use the cleanbox for passing audio though effects pedals:

Audio Interface-out>cleanbox balanced in 1 --- cleanbox unbalanced out 1 > pedal > cleanbox unbalanced in 2 --- cleanbox balanced out 2 >Audio Interface-in

...and this is an ideal device for this?

Thanks
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Re: Reamp box vs the audio interface 'guitar' input?

Postby The Elf » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:46 pm

Elephone wrote:Audio Interface-out>cleanbox balanced in 1 --- cleanbox unbalanced out 1 > pedal > cleanbox unbalanced in 2 --- cleanbox balanced out 2 >Audio Interface-in

...and this is an ideal device for this?
Yup, that's the approach. Clever little box this one.
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Re: Reamp box vs the audio interface 'guitar' input?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:10 am

Elephone wrote:The manual also shows a direct balanced signal going to a tape machine from the reamp box.

No, it doesn't. It shows how to record the direct signal from the guitar using a J48 DI box. ... And then how to replay that direct recording through the reamp box into the amp, to be re-recorded via a mic.

It is this that made me wonder if the signal should pass through the reamp box for direct recording.

Nope. The diagram isn't perhaps as clear as it could be, but the direct recording has to be via a DI box, not a reamp box. The J48 is an active DI.

I presume the reamp box also offers a potentially better signal fidelity than the Cleanbox used as a makeshift reamp box?

Yes.

So I could use the cleanbox for passing audio though effects pedals:

Yes.

Audio Interface-out>cleanbox balanced in 1 --- cleanbox unbalanced out 1 > pedal > cleanbox unbalanced in 2 --- cleanbox balanced out 2 >Audio Interface-in

...and this is an ideal device for this?

Pretty much, yes.
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Re: Reamp box vs the audio interface 'guitar' input?

Postby The Elf » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:35 am

Essentially you're getting confused between a re-amper and a DI. To simplify:

DI = guitar to audio interface
Re-amper = audio interface to guitar amp (or effects pedals)
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Re: Reamp box vs the audio interface 'guitar' input?

Postby Elephone » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:18 pm

Elephone wrote: I've also got an ART Cleanbox Pro. I bought it for re-amping thinking it was recommended on here.

Just want to clarify that I didn't mean to place any blame on SOS members for me buying the Cleanbox Pro. It was an impulse buy, so I should have checked it out properly.

It is especially important to me to have the best possible quality of signal to the amp, because I want to use keyboards (organs, synths, rhodes, etc) and guitars through amps with pedals VSTs also, and don't want to have gear to blame for the sound not being right.

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Re: Reamp box vs the audio interface 'guitar' input?

Postby Elephone » Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:37 pm

The Elf wrote:I use the CleanBox to interface to/from guitar pedals from my audio interface, for which it is ideal.

Just wondering... if guitar pedals are expecting to see the output of a guitar, why would the Cleanbox Pro be ideal for sending audio to & from a DAW... and yet not for inputting into a guitar amp? Is it purely the ground loop problem with using an amp? Is it also because the Cleanbox can be used to & from simultaneously?

Would the Radial Reamp JCR Studio Reamper box theoretically be ANY better to use on the DAW output with the Cleanbox just on the output of the pedal back to the DAW?

I have limited time these days, otherwise I'd simply try them out and see.

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Re: Reamp box vs the audio interface 'guitar' input?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Jul 12, 2019 9:59 pm

Elephone wrote:Just wondering... if guitar pedals are expecting to see the output of a guitar, why would the Cleanbox Pro be ideal for sending audio to & from a DAW...

Electric guitars need to play into a very high impedance to work properly. Guitar amps, FX pedals, and (active) DI boxes all provide the appropriate high impedance input.

Other equipment -- DAW interfaces, electronic keyboards, FX pedals, etc -- really don't care what the input impedance of whatever they are connected to is as long as its more than a few k-Ohms.

...and yet not for inputting into a guitar amp?

Sorry... You've lost me. The clear box pro can be used to get a signal from a DAW into a guitar amp. We've spent most of this thread discussing exactly that!

Would the Radial Reamp JCR Studio Reamper box theoretically be ANY better to use on the DAW output with the Cleanbox just on the output of the pedal back to the DAW?

A dedicated reamper avoids any risk of ground-loops, which the Cleanbox Pro could suffer, because it uses a transformer to isolate the DAW from the amp (or fx pedal). But that's really the only big difference. Personally, I'd go for an Orchid Amp Interface which is just as good as the Radial but much more cost-effective.

You might be able to plug the output of the FX pedal straight into the DAW interface line input, rather than via the Cleanbox Pro. It just depends on the signal level and whether your interface has an adequate gain range. But there's no problem going via the cleanbox pro if you want/need to.


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Re: Reamp box vs the audio interface 'guitar' input?

Postby Von Junzt » Sat Jul 13, 2019 1:37 pm

Hi!

You can otherwise opt for the Lehle P-Split II. It is quite a bit more versatile than the Radial box, which is a one-trick pony: https://lehle.com/EN/Lehle-P-Split-II
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