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Need some help: Serial or parallel fx in wet/dry/wet rig?

Bandalero

Member
Messages
891
Greetings All,

I've got a wide range of high-quality gear available to me here to enable the setup of a nice wet/dry/wet rig, but I'm not confident on the best way to route or configure my four (4) rack-mounted FX units on the wet side (i.e., chorus, delay, reverb, multi-FX).

Currently, I've got the primary (tone-generating) amp reporting it's dry signal directly to a 2x12 straight off the amp's Main Outs, and I've got a Line-Out jack from that same amp that could easily be used to feed the entire (stereo) FX signal chain with a dedicated "wet" (solid state or tube) amp to a separate pair of 1x12's, but the following question invariably arises:

1) SERIAL: Should I run the single Line Out from the primary amp directly to the first of four different rack-mounted FX units and connect them to one another in serial (i.e., daisy chain) fashion, then to the 'wet' amp and speaker cabs?

Or . . .

2) PARALLEL: Should I run the Line Out from the primary amp to a Mackie Onyx-1620 Mixer with the four rack-mounted FX units connected in parallel (via the Mixer's Send/Returns), then connect the Mixer's Main Outs to the wet amp and speaker cabs? :dunno

Which of the above options is likely to provide me with the most versatile, least noisy, most professional-like arrangement? Any guidance at all from those folks with wet/dry/wet experience or from veteran studio types would be deeply appreciated.
 

phalanges

Member
Messages
490
A wet dry wet rig is by definition parallel.
There's nothing wrong with either method that you mention but if you need to set-up and tear-down this rig, simpler can be advantageous.
My wet/dry or w/d/w was/is: amp speaker out to cab, line out to fx set to full wet and dial in the fx amp(s) volume to whatever speakers to taste.
If this is a non moving, home or studio rig then having a dedicated mixer mixing stereo or 5.1 or whatever your income allows can be fun too.
 

effectsman

Member
Messages
3,615
I would run each of your effects units in parallel, so that each one only sees the dry signal as input. Otherwise depending on the order, but for example, your dry signal will go to the delay, which then becomes dry + delay which then goes to the chorus. So the chorus doesn't see the true dry signal, it sees a signal that already has delay on it. Each unit is going to see an input signal which is progressively added to by the other effects and will risk it sounding muddy.

I haven't had separate delay,chorus, etc units like you, but when I had my TC unit it enabled me to specify the routing of my modulation effects as serial, semi parallel (so only delay and reverb saw dry signal) or totally parallel so each effect block only saw the dry signal as an input. Parallel sounded best to my ears. YMMV
 

Bandalero

Member
Messages
891
Thanks for the feedback, and yup, this is strictly a home studio application (just for fun), so breakdown and transport isn't an issue.
 

Bandalero

Member
Messages
891
I would run each of your effects units in parallel, so that each one only sees the dry signal as input. Otherwise depending on the order, but for example, your dry signal will go to the delay, which then becomes dry + delay which then goes to the chorus. So the chorus doesn't see the true dry signal, it sees a signal that already has delay on it.
If I take the Line Out from the amp to the mixer and each effector (each FX device) is connected to that mixer via its own dedicated Send/Rtn circuit, then each effect (FX) is in parallel and is isolated from the others (i.e, neither ever sees the other). The question is, is that the best overall approach?
 

shg

Senior Member
Messages
1,219
I would run each of your effects units in parallel, so that each one only sees the dry signal as input. Otherwise depending on the order, but for example, your dry signal will go to the delay, which then becomes dry + delay which then goes to the chorus. So the chorus doesn't see the true dry signal, it sees a signal that already has delay on it. Each unit is going to see an input signal which is progressively added to by the other effects and will risk it sounding muddy.
As a rule, filter effects go in front of the preamp and time-based effects go after. E.g I always have the ol' MXR Phase 90 out in front of the amp.

As far as the post-gain effects go, I personally prefer chorus first in series delay and reverb second in parallel. So the signal from the preamp gets chorused, then (the chorused signal gets delayed) + (the chorused signal gets reverbed) and those two are mixed together. You don't really want (delayed chorused signal gets reverbed) or (reverbed chorused signal gets delayed) for obvious reasons.
 

Bandalero

Member
Messages
891
It sounds like the "parallel" option through a Mixer is the preferred way to go, but just to clarify here, I'm less concerned about the relative order or sequence of the various FX's being used (i.e., reverb, delay, chorus) than I am about 'where' to place them:

1) SERIES (straight-chain linear fashion directly ahead of the amp),
2) SERIES (straight-chain linear fashion but in the amp's FX Loop),
3) PARALLEL (independent of one another, each in its own Send/Rtn Loop of a Mixer).
 

effectsman

Member
Messages
3,615
you could follow shg suggestion of having the wet signal chorused and this goes to the delay and reverb separately, in which case it would be effectively semi parallel and look like this.

amp 1 line out >>>> chrous >>>>mixer with delay and reverb in separate loops >>> amp 2 (power amp) >>>> wet speaker box/es

The totally parallel option would also have the chorus in the loop of your mixer.

Using the mixer and then to a separate amp and speakers is the way to go I think compared to running things in the effects loop of an amp. Zachman is the authority around here as his big rig is W/D/W. I have only ever had a W/D rig and that to me sounded heaps better than running a single amp with effects in the loop.
 

psychodave

Senior Member
Messages
1,201
Out of my amp I go into two 4x12's with dry only. I use a Suhr ISO box to get a line level into a Rocktron Intellifex and finally into an HH V800 power amp. From there I run two 4x12's with both wet and dry signal. So I use four 4x12's with each cabinet having dry signal and the two outside cabinets having some wet signal. You can use a mixer, but I never needed to since I am happy with my tone. I have a few videos under "psychodavee" on youtube showing the sound I get.
 

Bandalero

Member
Messages
891
you could follow shg suggestion of having the wet signal chorused and this goes to the delay and reverb separately, in which case it would be effectively semi parallel and look like this.

amp 1 line out >>>> chrous >>>>mixer with delay and reverb in separate loops >>> amp 2 (power amp) >>>> wet speaker box/es

The totally parallel option would also have the chorus in the loop of your mixer.

Using the mixer and then to a separate amp and speakers is the way to go I think compared to running things in the effects loop of an amp. Zachman is the authority around here as his big rig is W/D/W. I have only ever had a W/D rig and that to me sounded heaps better than running a single amp with effects in the loop.
Yup, makes perfect sense and I'll have to check that configuration out. The only concern I have would be my Chorus unit. The Line Out from my primary amp is obviously a mono signal, so I don't know if it makes too much difference at that point, but the only rack-mounted chorus unit that I have (an older Boss CE-300 Super Chorus) is also mono, not stereo (i.e., pair of bridged Outs = A + B). Thus, the two Chorus connections to the Mixer would be identical (mono) signals. The only other options I have for a true stereo chorus are stereo chorus pedals, either a Dunlop MXR or Boss CE-20 Ensemble), but I don't know how well those will stack-up with a generally higher quality rack-mounted counterpart.

Actually, some guys have indicated that the use of this CE-300 Super Chorus is unnecessary since I'll also be using a TC-2290 Delay which does indeed have some integral chorusing effect, but its nowhere near as lush or as easy to dial-in as the relatively cheap (and arguably 'cheesey') CE-300.

Anyway, I've got the answer now to the single largest question I had which was the 'serial' vs. 'parallel' vs. 'FX Loop' thing, so now its probably going to be a matter of simple trial and error.

Thanks All!
 
Messages
6,514
Is it okay to run a line level (+4dB) signal (from parallel effects loop) into an instrument level (-10dB) effects pedal? The effects pedal output would go into a separate poweramp and speaker/s, in a parallel setup.

I guess it would affect the tone of the signal, but in what way? Make it darker? Muddy? Bright? Thin? Or negligible?
 




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