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Using my home hifi system for at home guitar/bass noodling?

Discussion in 'Home Audio (Stereo Systems)' started by dB, Mar 19, 2020.

  1. dB

    dB Member

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    Thought you guys might have some thoughts on this. I've got a modest (by hifi standards) but nice home audio setup...Parasound Halo Integrated going into a pair of Spatial Audio M3's. I'd like to be able to plug my bass or electric guitar into this and us it as a living room, pedal platform for sitting in the listening chairs and noodling at lower volumes.

    Bad idea?

    If it all seems feasible...I assume I'd need a separate preamp of some sort that would plug into one of the inputs of the Halo? Any suggestions on the type of preamp and best input to use?
     
  2. dB

    dB Member

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    speaker specs:

    [​IMG]
     
  3. 2020jan08

    2020jan08 Member

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    I'm using a Line 6 TonePort UX2 interface sometimes to connect a guitar to my hifi. I'd be careful to connect a bass, I think. At least keep the levels low.
     
  4. Steve Dallas

    Steve Dallas Member

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    After moving to a new house and having to consolidate my music room with my study, I have found satisfaction plugging my Helix into my Cambridge CXA-60 integrated amp (via SPDIF coax) and driving my Dynaudio X14s. I use it for guitar and bass at reasonable volume levels very successfully and am quite happy with the results. Totally do-able.
     
  5. dB

    dB Member

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    How are you plugging it in?
     
  6. Steve Dallas

    Steve Dallas Member

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    I use the Helix's SPDIF output and plug it into the Cambridge's Coax input using a 10' digital coax 75 Ohm cable.
     
  7. JWDubois

    JWDubois Member

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    I played bass, guitar, synths, and drum machines through my 70's JBL L45s for years. No problems, other than the woofer surround foam finally rotting away.
     
  8. jnovac1

    jnovac1 Supporting Member

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    semi-hijack, how do you like the m3s?
     
  9. CheckSix

    CheckSix Gold Supporting Member

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    You are risking damage to your system. There is a vast difference in speaker design of hi-fi drivers and instrument drivers. Recorded Music has less dynamic range and instantaneous peaks, than a live input instrument.

    Other than that, its fine.
     
  10. johntoste

    johntoste Member

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    I agree that it's a bad idea.
    Enjoy those fine products in the way their designers intended.
    Buy a little combo amp for noodling, they're cheaper than repairing your stereo.
     
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  11. Steve Dallas

    Steve Dallas Member

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    He did say he was interested in low volume noodling. He just has to be careful with the output gain setting. A compressor / limiter would add a margin of safety if desired.

    I have been doing this in one form or another for years and have never hurt anything, but I always have some kind of preamp in front of the hifi amp. This gives me significant control over what hits the speakers. For bass, that has sometimes been nothing but a compression pedal with the output gain turned up a bit.

    There was a period of about 2 years, in which my Helix was plugged directly into a pair of studio monitors running 150W RMS each. I played bass and guitar through it--always using some kind of amp+cab or preamp (for bass) model. This is essentially the same thing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2020
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  12. spence

    spence Supporting Member

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    Why not just get a small practice amp?
     
  13. dB

    dB Member

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    Thanks for all the responses.

    I’ve actually got a pair of SWR Cali Blonde amps that make fantastic lower volume bass amps. I use them for a stereo acoustic setup, but also quite a bit for bass. I was just hoping to not have an amp in my living room...and my hifi sounds so damn good that I was thinking it could be a good rig at home.
     
  14. dB

    dB Member

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    They’re incredible. I have the older version from a few years ago. I imagine the newest version sound even better. For a low price hifi setup, this combo is hard to beat.

    Low price is relative, but in the hifi world I think I did pretty good. All in, I spent about 6k on the Spatials, the Halo, a Planar P1, and cables.
     
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  15. CheckSix

    CheckSix Gold Supporting Member

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    I realize all of that. You guys are flirting with disaster. Use things as they were designed for and how they were intended to be used.

    It's still a bad idea because of RISKING damage because of a mistake. Use a HiFi system for recorded music and use an instrument amplifier, for an instrument. It's a simple concept.
     
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  16. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    i do this all the time, it's totally fine.

    the key is to use something that recreates the amp+speaker+mic+recording studio signal chain and then send that into your home stereo, that way it's no different than listening to a recording of guitar or bass. yes, keep the levels low, but that's the idea, something to tame the peaks and the highs and lows which can overwhelm hifi speakers.

    i use an old johnson J-station going into the s/pdif in on my old M-audio soundcard on my PC, which is what feeds audio to a sansui receiver and some big technics stereo speakers. there's a million "IR" boxes and interfaces and amp simulators and whatnot to get your guitar into a home computer, i'm sure most of them will also output the processed audio directly.

    again it isn't supposed to sound like an amp in the room with you, it sounds like a recording of that amp.
     
  17. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    look at the line 6 Pod, that's what it was made for. their helix stuff is the same concept at a much higher level. many companies have cheap IR boxes to simulate the sound of a mic'ed amp.

    aside from being safer for the speakers they'll sound much better, guitar raw into a home stereo sounds pretty nasty.
     
  18. amigo30

    amigo30 Supporting Member

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    I've done it and it sounded surprisingly great at a low-volume. Plugged guitar into a GSP1101 - and GSP1101 into a preamp input.

    But I still think it's a bad idea. As someone else said - there are good reasons not to and it's just flirting with disaster....
     
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  19. MarBon

    MarBon Member

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    late 80's... Didn't know anything about gear - no internet, no info...
    Plugged beat-up old guitar straight in a small mixer an the mixer to a cheap stereo. Somehow I made it work but the sound was.... well I stopped playing shortly after that.
     
  20. Eveningtheme

    Eveningtheme Member

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    I know people are saying this is a bad idea because of the dynamics of an instrument.... but personally I think that unless you have an active bass with a super hot pickup and a built in preamp cranked that only problem you'll run into is how high you'll need to crank the volume to even be able to hear the bass.

    But I also don't understand hifi culture, I grew up with a particular family member that had the highest of high end gear in every house, and it just sounded like normal speaker with the bass on 10 to me.
     

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