School me on A/B and A/B/Y boxes and recommend one

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by funkywrench, Apr 22, 2015.

  1. funkywrench

    funkywrench Member

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    I'm looking to streamline my practicing & recording setup to allow me to easily record ideas when I'm noodling around.

    I've had the idea to get a signal splitter that sends a signal to my amp and/or to an audio interface input so I can leave gear set up and quickly record my ideas.

    I've started looking into A/B and A/B/Y boxes but there seems to be a lot of options at many different price points and a lot of disagreement about whether or not the boxes affect the tone of the guitar signal.

    I think ideally I'd like to have an A/B/Y box as that way I could still hear the signal through my guitar amp when I record the dry signal. My reasoning behind this so that I can hit record and continue to play the riff/progression/whatever with the same feel since I'll be hearing it with the same tone and gain levels that I'm already using. I find that I sometimes struggle to play stuff with the same feel when its a dry signal, and I'd like to avoid wasting practice time by fiddling around with amp sims.

    The main concerns I have seen with A/B/Y boxes is that they change the tone and/or roll off top end. I don't think I need to worry about ground loops (or do I?) since I'm not using two amps.

    So I guess my question is, who can recommend a good ABY box that doesn't affect tone, and how much do they roughly go for? It seems that a good A/B/Y box costs in excess of $150 or $200, is that correct? I'm also open to the 'tripler' type boxes with a 1 input/3 output setup if these are any better.

    Can the inherent problems of an ABY box be solved by a simple passive A/B box? This is obviously a much cheaper solution but I would lose the convenience of hearing both signals at the same time. Are there any cheap A/B boxes that will do the trick in a pinch?

    Are there any other suggestions outside of AB or ABY boxes that might help me achieve my goal better?
     
  2. Tiny Montgomery

    Tiny Montgomery Supporting Member

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    If you're running any kind of buffer, a passive A/B/Y will be fine, and shouldn't affect the tone, at all. If you're running straight in, or using all TB (or non-buffered mechanical bypass of any kind) pedals, you'll want a buffer (either built in to the aby or before it) to keep the signal strong when it's split. Some are more transparent than others, but I'm sure there are people who know brand specifics better than me.
     
  3. Viral_Rock

    Viral_Rock Member

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    Radial bigshot works fine for me. A always have at least 1 boss buffer in my pedal chain before it though, never tried it any other way.
     
  4. funkywrench

    funkywrench Member

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    I'm not much of a pedal user to be honest, I'm normally an 'guitar to amp' guy so the only pedals I own are a Digitech Bad Monkey and a Boss CH-1, which I'm not sure if either could act as a buffer.

    Funnily enough I just remembered that the Boss CH-1 has stereo outputs. I might give that a try to see if its practical to use as an ABY until I work out what I want to do.

    I'd still like a few more recommendations on an ABY too if possible.
     
  5. sleewell

    sleewell Member

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    Lehle is the best.
     
  6. stinkfoot

    stinkfoot Member

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    Regardless of if you're going to split to two amps or to one amp and the PA or a sound card, any time you're connecting two different (grounded) devices, you run the risk of ground loop hum. And you're also wise to choose a splitter/ABY that is buffered, to make sure the two inputs (in the amp and whatever device you're splitting to) don't load down the signal too much.

    If you want to be able to switch between the two, an ABY would be the ticked. I'd suggest one that is both buffered and transformer isolated, such as the Radial Twin City.

    If you're only looking to constantly split the signal, a splitter will do. Again, isolation and buffering is a good idea. I'd look at the Suhr Buffer or GigRig Humdinger.
     
  7. Given To Fly

    Given To Fly Member

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    I highly recommend the Radial Twin City A/B/Y! My reasoning is simple: it works! When it comes to utility pedals, that is high praise! I'm sure there are other great A/B/Y boxes but I won't speculate about what I have not personally used.
     
  8. playthecray

    playthecray Member

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    Loopmaster. They are affordable and built well.
     
  9. Tiny Montgomery

    Tiny Montgomery Supporting Member

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    Just be prepared to wait. Yesterday made 6 weeks I've been waiting for a simple A/B (no Y). I think they only make passive boxes, so none of the ground isolation, buffering, etc. is available. I hope to eventually know something about the build quality.

    I could have sworn it said "4-6 weeks" on the FAQ, right after I ordered (you have to dig for that info. It doesn't say, on any of the order forms). It says "6-8," now. Maybe it always did, and I just forgot what it said. At least 6 weeks for the simplest item they make (next to the one with no LED's), at any rate. I imagine a "Y" option would take even longer.
     
  10. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

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    that box kicks ass.
     

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