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Mixing with guitar pedals

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Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:20 am
by bpwmurphy
Ahoy all. Long time reader, learner of much, first time poster.

Quick question (I hope!)

Am running various things out of Pro Tools, via my Fireface 800, on a guitar lead from one of the lines out on the back.

Am then running this through some pedals for silly fx and texture fun, and then back into the instrument input on the front. I then record the results when I like them.

Is this OK to do?

I haven't encountered any problems yet, but am worried that I should use a reamp box before hitting the pedals?

Thanks for some clarity on this one!

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:59 am
by Sam Spoons
Sounds ok to me if the levels/gain structure work. A preamp box is designed to convert a line out to a signal similar to that which a guitar would produce and most essential if you are feeding a valve guitar amp, buffered pedals are not so fussy.

Basically if it sounds right it's fine, you won't do any harm to either pedals or interface.

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:11 am
by Hugh Robjohns
bpwmurphy wrote:Is this OK to do?

Yep. If it sounds okay, then it's fine.

...am worried that I should use a reamp box before hitting the pedals?

Technically... yes... but it's not essential, as you've found.

The technicalities are that the interface's line output is balanced and at a high line-level (potentially +20dBu or so), whereas a standard guitar pedal expects instrument level (nominally -20dBu) from an unbalanced source.

However, a suitable 'bodge lead' will take care of the bal/unbal issue, and some careful juggling of interface output level and pedal input level will sort out the discrepancy there. So it can be made to work... as you have already found. The greatest risk is overloading the pedal input.... but you'll hear that if it happens! ;-)

Another potential issue arises if any of the pedals are mains powered, which is that you could suffer ground-loop noises... and a reamp box with its isolating transformer can be a big help in that situation.

So a reamp box takes the high level balanced output from the interface (or mixing console), unbalances it with an isolating transformer (to prevent ground loops) and the transformer may also step down the signal voltage. There's often also a volume control on the unbalanced output to fine-tune the output level.

I rate the Orchid Amp interface for this kind of job -- it's very well designed with all the required facilities but no unnecessary bells or whistles, and it's remarkably well priced. Some of our other forum members like to use the ART Cleanbox Pro -- a two channel unit originally designed to interface consumer hifi products into a professional system, so it converts in both directions. There are also many other suitable alternatives...

H

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:57 pm
by James Perrett
Do you have a pedal with a level control on the input? If you do then I'd put that first in the chain just to prevent any overloads.

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:17 pm
by The Elf
If it works, fine, but I'm of the persuasion that if a job is worth doing it's worth doing properly.

For a start I would be wiring everything to/from the Fireface with balanced cables where possible, and I'd invest in something like an ART Cleanbox Pro to sort out the interface to guitar pedals.

Get it right from the start and you'll never need to bodge in future - start bodging and a long road of bodgery lies ahead of you...

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:42 pm
by Jadoube
Sam Spoons wrote:Basically if it sounds right it's fine

+1 :thumbup: Sounds right = is right.

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 4:18 pm
by bpwmurphy
Wow.

So helpful, so informative, so polite and nice.

So unusual for the internet!!

Thanks a mill, for replies folks, am off to purchase an Orchid Amp Interface and a bunch more guitar pedals!

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:53 am
by Hugh Robjohns
:thumbup: :D

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:59 pm
by Arpangel
The Elf wrote:start bodging and a long road of bodgery lies ahead of you...

Wise words from The Elf, I must try and remember them! :D
It's crazy, sometimes, those with the most experience (me not included, experience that is) are the most guilty of bodgery sometimes, also, those with the most experience, and money are guilty of this sometimes, me not included again. I've seen this many times, in flash places, bodgery up to the ceiling.
But I am a bit crazy too sometimes, I'll go to the ends of the earth to save a couple of quid by making a wiring bodge on something that's expensive, makes no sense, but I still do it.

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2019 1:59 pm
by ManFromGlass
A long road of bodgery.
Nice concept!

Sometimes the occasional bodge leads to a happy sonic surprise.

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:20 pm
by The Elf
ManFromGlass wrote:Sometimes the occasional bodge leads to a happy sonic surprise.
But then you create a stable, re creatable version of it, or the bodge never works a second time around - and I do speak from experience!

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:51 pm
by Mixedup
As others have said, if it sounds good to you, just stick with it. If you plan on doing it a lot, invest in a dedicated DI/reamp box — I use a DAV one, which works fine; other brands are available...

FWIW, on the 'bodge' front, when I used to do this with my old Fireface 800, I often used the headphone output with a Y-lead instead of a line output. Not only did this give me (an) unbalanced cable(s) but also a hands-on level control (more convenient than fine-tuning the levels in Totalmix when you have a guitar on your lap!) without any need to add external boxes. And the output being on the front was sometimes handy too. The issue of mains hum is still a risk... though of course many pedals can run off batteries which gets around that. Of course, it's not much use if you need to use your headphones at the same time!

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:53 pm
by FrankF
Many songs have been written about bodge:
The Long and Bodgy Road, Goodbye Yellow Bodge Road, Every Day is a Bodgy Road,
(This Is) The Road to Bodge, Walking into Bodgeville...
And who can forget Bodgie, that fine Heavy metal trio from the Welsh valleys?

:oops: :oops:

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:12 pm
by ManFromGlass
and the disco era - Bodgie Fever.
Or was that a movie with John Tight Whitepants?

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:13 pm
by Hugh Robjohns
:clap: :lol:

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:26 pm
by blinddrew
It's a transcontinental thing. 'Bodge over troubled water' being the first that springs to mind.

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:37 pm
by Sam Spoons
It even shows up in Holywood, "The Bodgers Of Maddison County", "Bodgeless in Seattle", been around for a while too since "The Bodge Over The River Kwai". And the UK film industry, not to be outdone have "About A Bodge"

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:54 pm
by FrankF
Not forgetting The Stylistics and "Bodger By Golly Wow"...

Ooh, and that TV series with Adam Faith in it!

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:02 pm
by FrankF
From Wiki:
"Bodge" was originally an untitled track.[4] During the production transfer for the album Goodbye, the original music sheet was used to produce the liner notes and track listing. The only discernible word on the page was "bridge" (indicating the song's bridge section). Due to Harrison's handwriting, however, Clapton misread it as "bodge"—and the song was titled soon thereafter.
Harrison remembered the story thus:
I helped Eric write "Bodge" you know. Each of them had to come up with a song for that Goodbye Cream album and Eric didn't have his written. We were working across from each other and I was writing the lyrics down and we came to the middle part so I wrote 'Bridge.' Eric read it upside down and cracked up laughing – 'What's BODGE?' he said. After that, Ringo [Starr] walked in drunk and gave us that line about the swans living in the park.


Coat time, methinks.

Re: Mixing with guitar pedals

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:08 pm
by zenguitar
Carry On Bodging up the Khyber.

Andy :beamup: