Boss NS-2, Boss LS-2 and Splitter to suppress noise in bi-amp rig?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bdhoward27, Jul 29, 2020.

  1. I have a theory on how this would work, but I can’t find any literature regarding the matter...

    Recently I’ve been looking into the possibly of running a bi-amped rig- bass amp + guitar amp. I probably wouldn’t want to go lite on the preamp drive sections, especially with the guitar amp. I enjoy my drive and fuzz pedals, too. Things will get noisy and I don’t want it to be that way between notes or when I’m not playing...

    I own a Boss NS-2 that I haven’t used for the better part of 5 years because I never quite got it to function the way I needed it to. My sustained notes weren’t sustaining in conjunction with my drive pedals and noisy pickups. How dare they! Regardless, past me planned on selling it until I realized I may not have been using it properly. I also own a Boss LS-2 that I haven’t used in some time because it lacks phase inversion on one of the loops. Now, in a theory that hasn’t been put into practice, I feel as if I could use them to achieve what I eventually want to do - suppress excess hiss and hum coming from drive pedals, etc. going into the preamp sections of 2 different amps in a bi-amped rig. All I would need to do is to purchase something like a Saturnworks Active Splitter and I’m set...... maybe?

    Without the use of any FX pedals, this would be the signal chain:

    Bass out > NS-2 input

    NS-2 send > LS-2 input
    LS-2 send A > Guitar Amp input
    Guitar Amp FX send > LS-2 return A

    LS-2 send B > Bass Amp input
    Bass Amp FX send > LS-2 return B

    LS-2 out > NS-2 return
    NS-2 out > Splitter

    Split A > Guitar Amp FX return
    Split B > Bass Amp FX return

    I do have concerns on where to place high gain pedals in this setup, amongst others, but I’ll leave it here for now. I have learned a lot from the TalkBass community! I do appreciate any input. I look forward to the responses!
  2. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    In your diagram, it looks like after you've split and routed your signals (in a clever but mind-numbingly complex way) you sum the signals again in the NS-2 so that you're just sending the identical signal to both amps. Seems to defeat the purpose of the whole exercise.

    If you want a split rig with a guitar and bass head, just split the signal with the LS-2, and use the NS-2 in the guitar loop since that will probably be where you will generate the most noise.

    Let me know if I'm missing something.
    bdhoward27 likes this.

  3. I don’t feel that you’re missing anything. What you’re saying makes sense. Although, the original intention of eliminating as much excess noise as possible throughout the entire rig still remains...

    Can I do this by using the pedals I already own? With your method, the problem is solved on 1/2 of the rig. If I have to bite the bullet and spend extra money on another suppressor or gate to solve the entire issue, then so be it. I just wanted to focus my funds elsewhere if I already had the tools for the job...

    Yes, I agree that the majority of the problem would lie in the preamp section of the guitar amp. I also agree that sending the identical signal to both amps in the FX return does somewhat defeat the purpose of how most would bi-amp. Although, I feel a HPF prior to the guitar amp’s FX return would remedy that issue somewhat. Obviously I wouldn’t want to buy a guitar combo to bi-amp and then immediately ruin the cabinet if I decided to kick on a sub octave. The HPF may be unnecessary step if I can figure out a more efficient path. I did have a method of splitting that I felt would take my original question on a tangent. If it would help in this thread I’ll gladly try to piece it together as coherently as I can. Some more context couldn’t hurt, though...

    The excess noise would need to be eliminated from dirt pedals and the preamp sections of both amps, and do so prior to any modulation. I’ve read that putting the NS-2 prior to dirt pedals will give it a better understanding of what the sound coming from the original source is. I also worry about how the NS-2 will react if modulation FX are placed in its signal path. I wouldn’t want to potentially lose any sustain that lies underneath its threshold from a delay or reverb pedal. That was the reason I felt it necessary to split the signal again after the output of the NS-2...

    Anyway, I’m on a tangent. I’ve said enough for now. I’ll leave it here for the time being. Thank you for your words of wisdom thus far. I appreciate the TB community very much! I look forward to more insight!
  4. JKos

    JKos Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2010
    Surprise, AZ
    Correct. You want it to be very early in your signal chain.

    If you want reverbs and delays to trail off, they need to be after the NS-2's output.

    Recombining your signal chains seems rather counterproductive.
    bdhoward27 likes this.
  5. JKos

    JKos Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2010
    Surprise, AZ
    How noisy is it when you turn the bass volume off? Have you tried the NS-2 up front as a "simple noise gate"?

    An NS-2 with stereo return and output would be ideal, obviously. But I can't find anything like that. Yes, there are stereo (or dual) noise gates but none have a sidechain input to work like the NS-2.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
    bdhoward27 likes this.
  6. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    Whenever I approach something like this, I first try to get the sound, and then worry about noise. Who knows, you may wire your rig up and find that the noise isn’t an issue, especially in a live context.

    also, have you posted this to the effects forum? There might be more expertise regarding what you’re trying to do.
    bdhoward27 likes this.
  7. I’ll try best best to respond to everything...

    After reading the information both of you have given me, it seems I’m putting the cart before the horse. Given the difficult circumstances (global pandemic), I felt it necessary to be as financially cautious as possible and gather as much info I could before upgrading my rig...

    @ihixulu you’re right. I think sound before noise concerns. I think that the guitar amp is where the main issue will lie, but it looks like I may just have to give it a go and experiment...

    The “counterproductive” response seems to be unanimous from both. Recombining the signal from both preamps was the only way I found this might work given the utility pedals that I currently own...

    I’m not sure how much extra noise will be generated from the guitar cab since I haven’t committed to one yet. I’m looking at a few Vox and Marshall tube combos. I’ve also dealt with excess noise from a bass amp in the past. Just trying to figure out the best way to cover all bases...

    @JKos I used the NS-2 in my chain years ago. I didn’t like how it cut sustained notes off prematurely, but I don’t think I was utilizing it properly and there were other controllable factors I wasn’t considering at the time. I never used it as a “simple noise gate”. Rather, if I had to describe the manner in which I used it, I would say it was in more of an “intermediate” fashion. Basically putting the noisy pedals within the NS-2’s send + return without taking it into the preamp + FX loop of the amp. The output went to the input of the amp. I figured sending to both amps prior to modulation would work better, as the NS-2 would also recognize any extra noise from both of the preamps simultaneously.

    It seems this question may strike up an interesting convo in the Effects Forum as well. I think I may give it a shot there, too.

    Thank you for contributing to this thread. Both of you have given me great advice to consider.
    ihixulu likes this.
  8. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    Hey, good luck and more importantly, have fun!!
    bdhoward27 likes this.

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