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An audio interface with a guitar FX Loop

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An audio interface with a guitar FX Loop

Postby TheLegit » Sun Dec 20, 2020 8:26 pm

Imagine having an audio interface with a guitar FX loop so you can have some guitar pedals going in, and then have a complementary guitar amp sim VST allowing you to route that loop in where ever you want (front end or through the loop or even after the cab if you want). Sound like a good idea or too niche? Some of today's sims are so good it would be great to send your preferred pedals in to really customise your own sound perfectly.
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Re: An audio interface with a guitar FX Loop

Postby Kwackman » Sun Dec 20, 2020 8:30 pm

One with a send/return, like a Audient ID22?
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Re: An audio interface with a guitar FX Loop

Postby CS70 » Sun Dec 20, 2020 9:51 pm

The Eleven Rack was exactly that - too bad that AVID didn't give a damn and the drivers constantly sucked - when I tried to use it as an interface, only period I had a weekly BSOD with Windows.

But I believe most modern amp emulators do? Helix, Kemper, Hotone, Boss... the main issue of course is that they are very minimalist interfaces, and the driver support is probably gonna be dropped in a few years anyways.

Audient has the Sono which is guitar-oriented and not sure how successful it's being. In my experience a lot guitarists don't really know much about sound, and they're so wrapped in in guitar mythology that the little they think they know is mostly superficial BS. So not sure about the market potential :lol:

But could be an idea if you had the right scale of production and distribution...
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Re: An audio interface with a guitar FX Loop

Postby zenguitar » Sun Dec 20, 2020 11:16 pm

I thought of the Sono too. No FX loop, but can be treated as a guitar amp you can put pedals in front of and has Two Notes cab & mic modelling.

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Re: An audio interface with a guitar FX Loop

Postby Wonks » Sun Dec 20, 2020 11:53 pm

From a practical point of view, any external audio FX loop within an amp sim would add latency, which could well make it unfeasible for live playing, basically doubling the latency of the interface + sim without the loop. Setting the smallest buffer size available will help, but that normally means a very hefty computer unless your project is very small and the computer optimised for low latency performance.

An interface with dedicated re-amp inputs and outputs (that could be used for an FX loop) might interest some people if they were high enough quality, but if you add on the cost of the components that go into a quality re-amp box like a Radial, then you'll near enough double the cost of a low-price interface, and I can't see that being popular with the interface marketing people.
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Re: An audio interface with a guitar FX Loop

Postby The Elf » Mon Dec 21, 2020 9:34 am

The larger Helix models do all this (including dedicated re-amping features), but not sure about the economy models.
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Re: An audio interface with a guitar FX Loop

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Dec 21, 2020 11:51 am

The Elf wrote:The larger Helix models do all this (including dedicated re-amping features), but not sure about the economy models.

As does the Headrush Gigboard and Pedalboard, Still not cheap but a fair bit cheaper (if, possibly, a little less comprehensive) than the Helix.
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Re: An audio interface with a guitar FX Loop

Postby Wonks » Mon Dec 21, 2020 11:58 am

However, they aren’t going to make ideal multi-purpose audio interfaces with mic pres, line ins and monitor outs etc.
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Re: An audio interface with a guitar FX Loop

Postby Mixedup » Mon Dec 21, 2020 12:13 pm

Wonks wrote:if you add on the cost of the components that go into a quality re-amp box like a Radial, then you'll near enough double the cost of a low-price interface

Yes, you'll add significantly to the cost... but there are much cheaper units than the Radial ones (which like most of their stuff is great but not inexpensive). Eg. Orchid do one for £56 inc VAT and postage.
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Re: An audio interface with a guitar FX Loop

Postby The Elf » Mon Dec 21, 2020 12:43 pm

Wonks wrote:However, they aren’t going to make ideal multi-purpose audio interfaces with mic pres, line ins and monitor outs etc.
Agreed, but not in the OP's brief.

Though the Helix does have plenty of I/O, including mic and line.
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Re: An audio interface with a guitar FX Loop

Postby Wonks » Mon Dec 21, 2020 4:09 pm

Depends purely on how you read it. I immediately took it to mean a standard AI with those features as amp sim VST software was specifically mentioned, and with a Kemper/Helix etc. you don’t need the VST.

Maybe the OP could elaborate?
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Re: An audio interface with a guitar FX Loop

Postby TheLegit » Mon Dec 21, 2020 5:34 pm

Wonks wrote:Depends purely on how you read it. I immediately took it to mean a standard AI with those features as amp sim VST software was specifically mentioned, and with a Kemper/Helix etc. you don’t need the VST.

Maybe the OP could elaborate?

Yeah essentially no standalone units like Kempers or Helix's - it would be great to route say my Strymon Big Sky or Timeline into something like one of Neural DSP's plugins so you have those sounds working in the FX 'loop' of the amp sim.
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Re: An audio interface with a guitar FX Loop

Postby The Elf » Mon Dec 21, 2020 5:45 pm

TheLegit wrote:
Wonks wrote:Depends purely on how you read it. I immediately took it to mean a standard AI with those features as amp sim VST software was specifically mentioned, and with a Kemper/Helix etc. you don’t need the VST.

Maybe the OP could elaborate?
Yeah essentially no standalone units like Kempers or Helix's...
The Helix isn't a standalone (though it can be). It has four inputs and four outputs that you can dedicate to hosting external effects (though I use them for additional synth inputs). And a microphone input - and multi I/O via USB.

It's a very flexible guitar-oriented audio interface - with guitar FX loops!

But if it's not for you, it's not for you. I won't mention it again! ;) :lol:
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Re: An audio interface with a guitar FX Loop

Postby Vaultnaemsae » Mon Dec 21, 2020 7:07 pm

Shouldn’t any more-than-2x2 audio interface do the trick? If you’re using plugin amp sims use two instances and only the necessary parts in each I.e. preamp/fx in A and power amp/cab sims in B. Have them in sequence. In your DAW (Live 10 for example...can’t speak for all DAWs) you may be able add an external audio effect tool in between the instances of your fx/amp sim plugins — which essentially becomes a virtual fx loop. Set up your hardware fx in a loop via the I/O of your interface. Route the audio to it. Done.

I’m just thinking out loud. But I’m quite certain this will work. I’m pretty sure I’ve done it in the past. As long as you gain stage all correctly you’ll get good results.
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Re: An audio interface with a guitar FX Loop

Postby CS70 » Mon Dec 21, 2020 7:48 pm

Vaultnaemsae wrote:Shouldn’t any more-than-2x2 audio interface do the trick?

It would but line ins may emit (and expect) too hot a signal etc.

I take the OP meant a normal interface with one Hi Z input, but with also an additional output and input to put a pedal loop in without having to literally worry about anything (levels, impedance), just like you put pedals in front of the amp. Since this would affect the input signal before it hits the (emulated) amp, it could even be set to work before the AD converter and would not bring any more noticeable latency than it is. It would be different, of course to simulate an FX loop which sits between the preamp and power amp of the emulated amplifier. But for FX in front, it wouldn't be complicated.

It's not too daft an idea - there's lots of people who care about playing the guitar and zero about the electronics involved...
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