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Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby mikehende » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:04 pm

Hey guys, I am getting different info on the net about this issue so checking here to see if using a Guitar preamp would work just like a regular Audio or stereo preamp on a DJ system please?
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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:21 pm

Possibly... but it would be much easier to give a definitive answer if you could be rather more informative about what guitar preamp you intend to use, what 'DJ system', and what you're actually trying to achieve!

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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby zenguitar » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:21 pm

Welcome to the SOS forums. We'll do our best to help but you need to explain in more detail what you want to do and what you mean.

By DJ system do you mean your DJ PA speakers and amps and using a guitar pre-amp so you can play your guitar through the speakers. Or do you mean a DJ digital decks and mixer which you want to plug into a guitar pre-amp as an effect.

Lets us know what you are trying to do, or the problem you are trying to solve and I am sure someone can help.

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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby zenguitar » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:22 pm

Great minds Hugh. One day we'll join them :)

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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby mikehende » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:27 pm

Thanks and sorry. I have a DJ system and get the old school sound and quality I need from my system but I realize that using different DJ mixers give me a different sound and without a DJ mixer connected I get the right sound.

Thing is I need a preamp to get full power from the system amps which are Crown 3600 and it's almost impossible nowadays to find a quality stereo preamp even used so my next option is to try a guitar preamp and want to know for sure if a guitar preamp would do the exact same thing as guitar preamp or if there's no difference in performance?
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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:40 pm

mikehende wrote:I have a DJ system and get the old school sound and quality I need from my system but I realize that using different DJ mixers give me a different sound and without a DJ mixer connected I get the right sound.

I appreciate that you're trying, and maybe English isn't your first language... but I'm still struggling to understand what equipment you are talking about.

Thing is I need a preamp to get full power from the system amps which are Crown 3600 and it's almost impossible nowadays to find a quality stereo preamp even used so my next option is to try a guitar preamp...

Okay, I get that you think you need more drive into your Crown power amps.

From what I can find, it seems that the amp's sensitivity is switchable between 0dBu (0.775V) and +5dBu (1.4V) -- both being pretty typical line level signals. Any normal DJ mixer should be capable of providing that without any trouble.

However, you say above something about "...without a DJ mixer connected I get the right sound" which suggests you want to dispense with the existing DJ mixer (whatever model that may be).

That's fine, but before we can recommend something to replace it, we need to know what you are going to use to generate the source signal. For example, an iPod? A record player? A guitar? A microphone? A single source? Multiple sources? What exactly?

It may be that a standard compact mixer is all you need, but without more info we still can't really say. I know you know what you're talking about,,.. . but none of us do! ;-)

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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby mikehende » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:03 pm

Ok, I did not want to go too long into the details to turn off anyone here but here goes. I play mp3's from my computer as most DJ's do nowadays only that I still want that old school analog sound which I get when i connect my pc's audio out directly to my eq which then goes to my Ashly xover then to my 2 crown amps.

I have tried using different DJ mixers and DJ controller but those change up the sound so I am trying to ditch the DJ mixer to replace with a regular preamp to still bring out the full power from the amps. Yes the DJ preamp mixers bring out the amp's full power but as mentioned, adding a mixer changes the sound.

I had called Peavey tech support to inquire about using this preamp:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Peavey-IP-1-Ins ... PwqATIyCFQ

but was told that while I can use any guitar or instrument preamp which has a "line" input, it will depend on the preamp's "output" specs which will determine if it matches up to a regular Stereo preamp. So I am trying to figure out if just any guitar or instrument preamp will have the same output specs of a DJ mixer or stereo preamp?

Hope I have covered everything this time, if not please feel free to ask anything at all, thx.
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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:13 pm

mikehende wrote:Ok, I did not want to go too long into the details to turn off anyone here but here goes.

Most people here live and breath gear details. What turns them off is not having them! :-D

I play mp3's from my computer ... I still want that old school analog sound which I get when i connect my pc's audio out directly to my eq which then goes to my Ashly xover then to my 2 crown amps.

Okay. Getting somewhere now. But still more detail needed

How are you getting the audio out of the computer? using a headphone socket? Using some sort of USB interface?

And EQ? What unit? What connections?

I have tried using different DJ mixers and DJ controller but those change up the sound...

Okay. They really shouldn't, but there are lots of possible reasons why they might.

...so I am trying to ditch the DJ mixer to replace with a regular preamp to still bring out the full power from the amps.

Okay. I understand the aim. You need something to boost the signal level from your computer into your EQ.

The only problem is that we don't know how the signal is getting out of your computer, and what the EQ needs it to be! One more go with the details and we might get there! ;-)

I had called Peavey tech support to to inquire about using this preamp ...
but was told that while I can use any guitar or instrument preamp which has a "line" input, it will depend on the preamp's "output" specs which will determine if it matches up to a regular Stereo preamp. So I am trying to figure out if just any guitar or instrument preamp will have the same output specs of a DJ mixer or stereo preamp?

I don't think that's really what you need at all.

Guitar preamps are designed to do a different job from the one you're after, and that Peavey model will only give a mono output anyway. Don't you want stereo for your application?

I'm suspecting that a decent small USB interface would be all you need, but it I'll know for sure if you can answer the questions above.

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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby mikehende » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:40 pm

Most people here live and breath gear details. What turns them off is not having them! :-D

Got it thanks.

How are you getting the audio out of the computer? using a headphone socket? Using some sort of USB interface?

Yes the regular 1/8 headphone output from the pc's internal soundcard.

And EQ? What unit? What connections?

PC headphone OUT to DBX 231 EQ INPUT then out to Ashly XR1001 INS then out to Crown Amps INS.

Okay. I understand the aim. You need something to boost the signal level from your computer into your EQ.

Exactly!

I don't think that's really what you need at all.

Guitar preamps are designed to do a different job from the one you're after, and that Peavey model will only give a mono output anyway. Don't you want stereo for your application?

No, mono as I only run one stack of speakers.

I'm suspecting that a decent small USB interface would be all you need, but it I'll know for sure if you can answer the questions above.

Definitely not a usb interface as I had both separate soundcard and mixer with built-in soundcard, those greatly adds more digitized sound to my system. Only option way I see it is a preamp.
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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:59 pm

mikehende wrote:Yes the regular 1/8 headphone output from the pc's internal soundcard... to DBX 231 EQ INPUT then out to Ashly XR1001 INS then out to Crown Amps INS....mono as I only run one stack of speakers .

Great, thanks for that.

So, you need to go from an unbalanced stereo headphone out into a mono balanced line level input, adding a bit of gain along the way.

The first issue to resolve is how you are generating the mono signal into the EQ. How (precisely!) are you connecting the laptop to the EQ at the moment?

Definitely not a usb interface as I had both separate soundcard and mixer with built-in soundcard, those greatly adds more digitized sound to my system.

Bizarre! The external interface Is only replicating the one in the computer, but with a professional line level balanced interface instead of a headphone interface, and usually with a better sounding converter chip! I've no idea what you interpret as a 'more digitised' sound, but I suspect some finger or connectivity problems? If I was doing this I'd definitely use a decent USB interface on the comouter, and balanced line out from that into the DBX EQ.

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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby ef37a » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:08 pm

"Definitely not a usb interface as I had both separate soundcard and mixer with built-in soundcard, those greatly adds more digitized sound to my system. Only option way I see it is a preamp."
Mike, you are already using an interface! The rather rubbish one in the laptop.

I have also looked at the specifications of the DBX device and the crossover and they need 'pro' levels of +4dBu AFAICT. You could get the 12dB or so of gain you need from a small mixer but as Hugh (I think) suggests, you would do better to get a modest USB interface. I can assure you that any change in the sound quality from the headphone output will be due to THAT being of poor quality not the AI!

Apart from that, I would not want to rely on a flimsy 3.5mm laptop jack in a performance situation.

Have we established where you are?

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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby forumuser939850 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:10 pm

I think it's still not clear what he really wants: just transparent sound or any kind of analog vibe.

I know that DJs talk about the sound of different DJ mixers(A&H verson Denon etc.). I definitely don't like the sound of my Native Instruments controller.
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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby Wonks » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:15 pm

If you've tried feeding the headphone output into a turntable mixer that was designed to accept only the phono feeds from record decks, then it's very likely that you've been feeding the headphone output from the computer into a pre-amp designed for a record deck, which means that it will have an RIAA preamp curve built-in (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIAA_equalization )which heavily boosts the bass and reduces the treble - which could explain why you were getting a 'strange' sound when using the DJ mixers.

There are DJ mixers with both record deck and straight line inputs, and some with line-input only, so it may not be the case, but the line-in types shouldn't have altered the sound.
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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby mikehende » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:30 pm

The PC's headphone OUT is connected with the regular 1/8 plug into the EQ INPUT with 1/4", with xlr doesn't make any difference in sound. I get a 70s/80s mono type of analog sound when I hook up as mentioned, if it was just my opinion I would say I am mistaken but all of my other friends notice the exact same thing. I am even surprised I am getting that sound without using record or tapes anymore.

I had bought an Allen and Heath Xone 23C mixer only because of the built-in soundcard, while getting great sound, it took away the true analog tone I was getting.

So guys, to get back to the issue at hand, I need a preamp in order to maintain the old school sound and power I am getting, I have been posting on every forum in the hopes of finding someone who has a DJ system using a guitar or instrument preamp or finding an electronics technician who can advise on whether or not the output of a guitar preamp matches that of a stereo line preamp or preamp/mixer.
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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby mikehende » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:34 pm

Wonks wrote:If you've tried feeding the headphone output into a turntable mixer that was designed to accept only the phono feeds from record decks, then it's very likely that you've been feeding the headphone output from the computer into a pre-amp designed for a record deck,

There are DJ mixers with both record deck and straight line inputs, and some with line-input only, so it may not be the case, but the line-in types shouldn't have altered the sound.

Not at all, all DJ mixers I have ever used including Stanton, A&H, Denon Numark e.t.c all have separate line in and phono inputs so no issues there.
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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby Guest271017 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:38 pm

mikehende wrote:The PC's headphone OUT is connected with the regular 1/8 plug into the EQ INPUT with 1/4",

Sounds like this might be the issue. You're losing a side or worse going stereo to mono with the wrong cable.
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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby mikehende » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:44 pm

I highly doubt that. I had spoken with friends who specialize in hooking up DJ systems with different configs and they say the same that running a system without a mixer gives a different sound.
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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby Guest271017 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:52 pm

I'm thinking you need something like this.


https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail ... gLJWvD_BwE
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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby mikehende » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:56 pm

Thanks but that's what I have. My issue is not a cabling issue.
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Re: Can I use a Guitar Preamp for DJ system?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:46 pm

mikehende wrote:The PC's headphone OUT is connected with the regular 1/8 plug into the EQ INPUT with 1/4"

You're going to think I'm being difficult here... But I'm just trying to get all he relevant details because they really are important in getting to the bottom of this.

The 1/8th-inch headphone plug is a presumably a TRS (tip-ring-sleeve or stereo) type. Is the 1/4-inch plug to the EQ a TRS type too, or a mono TS (tip-sleeve)?

EDITED -- I see from your later post that it's a mono TS type. Okay that's useful info. It's technically not the right way to do things, and it could potentially blow up your computer sound card... But if it's works for you now that's fine, I won't argue about it! ;)

But basically the situation is that you're shorting the left and right outputs of the computer headphone amps together with that mini-jack to one quarter-inch cable. Most headphone amps wont like that too much, and im now suspecting that perhaps your '70s vibe' is actually related to a suffering headphone amp adding some distortion that you happen to like. That wouldn't happen with a USB interface and a hook up with balanced outputs, of course, and maybe that's why you were less happy with the sound.

... or finding an electronics technician who can advise on whether or not the output of a guitar preamp matches that of a stereo line preamp or preamp/mixer.

Any professional standard balanced output will work fine with your EQ, and the Peavey preamp you mentioned has a pro-level balanced output. That's the easy bit.

The question is really more to do with the input side. It's hard to know how much gain you need, but I suspect something like that Peavey would do what you need. Just make sure you use the balanced output and an appropriate balanced cable between peavey and DBX.

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