Stupid question of the Day: +4dbu/-10dbv: just wanted verification

cisspcism

Member
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2,078
So I Know Professional Line level is +dbu
and I know Consumer Line Level is -10dbv

but sometimes it seems like they suggest (equipment manufactures) using -10dbv as instrument level.

ie when wanting to use a DBX rack compressor in between guitar and Amp input they suggest setting the ins and outs to -10dbv

but -10dbv is not instrument level correct?

Just asking as I have a huge urge to buy one of those Radial 500 series work horse rack devices and use some of the 500 series modules between my Guitar and Amp input.
 

scotticus

Member
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877
Between guitar and amp is usually -10 (instrument level), and in an FX loop is usually +4 (line level)
 
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168
-10 dbV is where you want to be

however - pickup impedance into the rack gear is a big issue here. if you plug directly into a module thats not high impedance (usually labeled Hi-Z, Inst, or DI), you will get a lot of high end loss.

before hitting the rack gear you will need either an always-on boost or buffer with a low impedance output or DI box (with XLR output) to preserve tone.
 

Silent Sound

Member
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6,253
Between guitar and amp is usually -10 (instrument level), and in an FX loop is usually +4 (line level)

-10 dBV is not instrument level. It's a lower line level. Instrument level is much lower than both of those. -10dBV is basically what most stuff with RCA jacks that plug into your TV or stereo will run on, like CD players, old VHS machines, old school video game consoles, etc. That's why they call it consumer level. +4 dBu is pretty close to -10 dBV, but slightly hotter, and is more often used in professional music equipment. They're pretty much interchangeable most of the time, though sometimes you'll gain some clarity by using one setting or the other, depending on if you're experiencing very slight distortion from over loading an input (going from +4 to -10) or getting some added noise from a weak input (going from -10 to +4). It shouldn't hurt anything to switch between the two to see which one sounds best.

-10 dBV would be closer to instrument level, but it's not the same. There's also a massive impedance difference when switching between -10 dBV and instrument level, so if you're running from a -10 dBV output into an instrument level input, you'll probably have a thin sounding signal with way too much volume. You can often compensate for this with some EQ and rolling off the volume a bit, but it's not going to sound the exact same as if the impedance were lined up correctly, hence the purpose of reamp boxes.

If you need to run from a -10 dBV or a +4 dBU signal into an instrument level input and want to maintain as much tone as possible, get a reamp box to got between them. That's what they're made for. The Radial X-amp is my preferred device for this.
 

TheoDog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
20,770
There is no harm in always starting with the lowest input level available in order to protect pre amps from incidental spikes.
 

cisspcism

Member
Messages
2,078
-10 dBV is not instrument level. It's a lower line level. Instrument level is much lower than both of those. -10dBV is basically what most stuff with RCA jacks that plug into your TV or stereo will run on, like CD players, old VHS machines, old school video game consoles, etc. That's why they call it consumer level. +4 dBu is pretty close to -10 dBV, but slightly hotter, and is more often used in professional music equipment. They're pretty much interchangeable most of the time, though sometimes you'll gain some clarity by using one setting or the other, depending on if you're experiencing very slight distortion from over loading an input (going from +4 to -10) or getting some added noise from a weak input (going from -10 to +4). It shouldn't hurt anything to switch between the two to see which one sounds best.

-10 dBV would be closer to instrument level, but it's not the same. There's also a massive impedance difference when switching between -10 dBV and instrument level, so if you're running from a -10 dBV output into an instrument level input, you'll probably have a thin sounding signal with way too much volume. You can often compensate for this with some EQ and rolling off the volume a bit, but it's not going to sound the exact same as if the impedance were lined up correctly, hence the purpose of reamp boxes.

If you need to run from a -10 dBV or a +4 dBU signal into an instrument level input and want to maintain as much tone as possible, get a reamp box to got between them. That's what they're made for. The Radial X-amp is my preferred device for this.

Thank you very much for this. So i know I will need a re-amp device from Radial ( they make a 500 series for this purpose) ti amp input.

but what about between Guitar and the input to lets say one of the radial 500 series eq's? I would be using the voodoo labs gcx buffered input before it but would the instrument signal be hot enough? Or would i need a preamp?

I am thinking i would need my guitar to go into a 500 series preamp with instrument input >>into 500 series eq >>into reamp device >>> into amp input.
 

scotticus

Member
Messages
877
-10 dBV is not instrument level. It's a lower line level. Instrument level is much lower than both of those. -10dBV is basically what most stuff with RCA jacks that plug into your TV or stereo will run on, like CD players, old VHS machines, old school video game consoles, etc. That's why they call it consumer level. +4 dBu is pretty close to -10 dBV, but slightly hotter, and is more often used in professional music equipment. They're pretty much interchangeable most of the time, though sometimes you'll gain some clarity by using one setting or the other, depending on if you're experiencing very slight distortion from over loading an input (going from +4 to -10) or getting some added noise from a weak input (going from -10 to +4). It shouldn't hurt anything to switch between the two to see which one sounds best.

-10 dBV would be closer to instrument level, but it's not the same. There's also a massive impedance difference when switching between -10 dBV and instrument level, so if you're running from a -10 dBV output into an instrument level input, you'll probably have a thin sounding signal with way too much volume. You can often compensate for this with some EQ and rolling off the volume a bit, but it's not going to sound the exact same as if the impedance were lined up correctly, hence the purpose of reamp boxes.

If you need to run from a -10 dBV or a +4 dBU signal into an instrument level input and want to maintain as much tone as possible, get a reamp box to got between them. That's what they're made for. The Radial X-amp is my preferred device for this.

Wow, you learn something new every day. I (obviously) didn't know a lot of this information. I was just always told that stompbox type effects were -10 and rack effects were usually +4. Thanks for the info!
 

Modulator

Member
Messages
2,731
Since using a Reamp is mentioned, you might take a look at the Pigtronix Keymaster. Can be used as a reamp, mic/balanced line I/O, dual effects looper/blender.

Personally, I think getting into and using 500 series gear for a guitar amp is way overkill, but at least you'd have some nice front end year if you use it to record. And taking it to any gig is almost just asking for it to get messed with or worse.
 




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