How much gain or dB into pedals?

joeguam

Member
Messages
214
I'm a systems engineer by day so the tech specs of user manuals interests me. I was reading through some and, for instance most Boss pedals, list that their nominal input level is at -20dBu. So theoretically, the Boss electrical engineers designed their circuits to operate optimally (i.e. lowest noise, best tone, etc.) when the input is at this level. They also list that their nominal output level is -20dBu as well - so this would mean any pedals after a Boss pedal in the signal chain would receive -20dBu.

So my questions are:
1. Have you ever measured how many dBu's you're driving into your pedals and if so, what are you giving them?
2. Would the ideal signal chain start with the guitar pickups -> preamp or gain stage to bring it up (or attenuate down) to -20dBu -> DI box to convert to low impedance -> FOH mixer mic input which would have a built-in preamp to raise it up to line level (e.g. -10dBu, 0dBu or +4dBu)?
 

northfortyrecords

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,348
Excellent question - I'm interested in knowing about this too. I've been reamping into guitar amps and sometimes pedals. It's difficult simulating the signal level that the pedal or amp usually sees from your guitar's pickups...
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,306
They also list that their nominal output level is -20dBu as well - so this would mean any pedals after a Boss pedal in the signal chain would receive -20dBu.

Not necessarily - the output of the pedal is usually unity, which would give you the same level as you put into it. If it's an OD or something with an output volume like their EQ or A/B looper, there could be tons of gain, or even a reduction.

2. Would the ideal signal chain start with the guitar pickups -> preamp or gain stage to bring it up (or attenuate down) to -20dBu -> DI box to convert to low impedance -> FOH mixer mic input which would have a built-in preamp to raise it up to line level (e.g. -10dBu, 0dBu or +4dBu)?

Not if an amp is part of your sound.

If it isn't, then yes, it would be the best way to do it. Impedance plays as much of a role as level, so that needs to be matched also.
 




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