Boost pedal AFTER amp head BEFORE load box?

Bobo Fret

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For late night recording I'm using a Tube Amp Doctor Silencer, which is an attenuator with a speaker sim output (in addition to the direct output).

So:

Guitar --> 45-watt amp --> TAD Silencer --> Mic Pre --> Converters --> DAW

The signal comes in very low. The same was true with the Palmer PDI-03 I used to own. It's not bad if I dime the amp, dime the TAD output and dime the mic pre, but it's not a super clean amp sound at that point.

Any harm to be done by adding a clean boost pedal between the amp's speaker out and the Silencer?

I was thinking of trying the direct out of the Silencer too with some impulse response software (Two Notes Wall of Sound has a demo with some free cabs I could check out). Maybe the direct out has more output volume than the speaker emulator output????

What are you guys doing for late night recording when the kiddies are sleeping? I had a Kemper, but I kept migrating to the models of my own amps/ And though it sounded ok, it wasn't as good as my actual amp heads into the speaker sim of the TAD Silencer, so I ditched the Kemper.
 

walterw

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yikes no!

nothing after an amp's speaker out but a speaker or a load box! you'd be dumping all that amp wattage into a poor little effects pedal, burning it up and probably the amp along with it.

after the load box, you can do anything you want with that safe line-level signal.
 

Bobo Fret

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That's what I was worried about.

A stupid question, I realize, but safety first, right? Better to ask and be sure. It's one of the reasons I always wear a helmet when playing guitar. Pants...maybe, maybe not.
 

Chadjohneto

Silver Supporting Member
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If you are asking if you can plug your line level source into a boost before your pre the answer is yes, unless your pedal can only get instrument levels into it. It might sound kind of janky, but it is worth a try. Doesn't your mic pre have a gain control? I would start there.
 

Motterpaul

Tone is in the Ears
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I have seen many attenuators with "line out" options for recording. I would assume a guitar pedal would work in there, I don't see a problem with trying it.

I think Walter possibly thought you meant putting a guitar pedal on the amp's output with no attenuator. Of course that would not work.
 

Thinline_slim

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Your question about where you can safely add a boost has been answered so I won't reiterate.

The fact that the level is so quiet though is a little strange. I wouldn't think you'd need to dime the amp just to get a good level in the DAW. I don't know anything about the TAD but have you tried both the XLR and the 1/4" outputs? Does your interface have a -20db switch that could be flipped? What DI are you using?
 

sysexguy

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1,254
Your TAD needs to be set to "Load" unless you are also connecting a speaker. The line level signal shouldn't require a boost. This signal should be connected to your Daw's line input and you should between the TAD's line output trim and the DAW's input gain be able to have a solid signal inside the DAW.

If this is not the case, there is a problem somewhere and the first thing to check is what is coming out of your amp. Reconnect a speaker (no TAD) and check that, then try the TAD with the speaker connected and finally, try the TAD set to Load, on to DAW

Andy
 

Bobo Fret

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I think we're squared on the boost - thanks guys.

My recording solution involves Mytek converters and an RME HDSPe AES in/out card. Perhaps not the most traditional sound card/interface solution, but the latency is damn near zero and it sounds great.

The mic pre I use for sure has a gain control, it's just dimed. No pads engaged. And the TAD is set for Load with trim dimed too. I dime the input volume on the Mytek AD. And everything works peachy re: amp head to speaker cab.

Don't get me wrong, I make this all work, it's just everything has to be dimed to do it. Or at least to get some semblance of a clean tone. It is weird that there seems to be a maximum effective range of my amps volume that's greatly truncated when recording this way. I get get more dirt, just not more volume over the effective range.

I will try the direct line out of the TAD. I'm betting there's a massive difference between it and the speaker sim output. I would have had the verdict on that by this point in the thread, but I had back surgery a week ago tomorrow and I'm supposed to be on bedrest for awhile longer yet. There's a little contorting involved to test this out that involves moving a couple cables from their current configuration that I could not possibly pull off just yet. Narcotics and a forced "vacation" have spurred me to ponder my signal chain, in true TGP fashion. I'll report back on that ASAP.
 

sysexguy

Member
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Dimed is great on a Marshall, but as you describe, it is a symptom of a gain staging problem.

What is the input of your "dimed" preamp? If you are feeding a balanced input with an unbalanced signal you will be missing some level. Also some, but not all line inputs bypass the mic input gain stage and thusly the adjustment is doing anything...this may be your issue.

Andy
 

Bobo Fret

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That's a good point.

I'm generally using the balanced TAD speaker sim output into the balanced input on my Chandler mic pre. It's a lower gain proposition, for sure. I seem to remember experiencing a similar thing with the balanced outs on a Kemper as well. I'm sure the unbalanced line out on the TAD will net me more gain.

But then I lose the dynamics of the speaker sim. That's also why I'm looking into alternatives like the Two Notes Wall of Sound plug-in mentioned in my initial post (I started a separate, dedicated post for that). I'm hoping I could re-coup some input gain and have some nice, dynamic sounding impulse responses. Have my cake and eat it too.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
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40,637
it is weird that an active balanced out would be so weak, especially into a mic pre, which should be able to take a plain ol' low level dynamic mic signal and blast it.

assuming you've checked the "dumb" stuff like cables and +4/-10dB switches, maybe there's an actual problem with one of the units involved?
 

Bobo Fret

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Well, I got it together and hooked up the direct out on the TAD straight into my converter, and sure enough, tons of gain on tap. No mic pre needed. I'll have to contact TAD to see if there is supposed to be such a massive discrepancy between the two outputs. Seems like a a much more massive disparity than you'd expect between balanced and unbalanced outputs, all other things being equal.

So while I had the direct out hooked up, I dl'd the Two Notes Wall of Sound III plug-in. They only give you a couple free cab/mic options, so I played around with those. Sounded ok, I guess. My amp sounded less like itself (plexi clone) than it does into the TAD speaker emulator. More like the Kemper that lost the A/B vs. my real amp head into the TAD. Rather convincingly. I'll play some more, of course. I can't pass judgement after 10 minutes, so we'll see.
 




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