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Is the SanAmp really noisy in your experience?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by millard, Dec 23, 2004.


  1. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    Some of you have been kind enough to provide suggestions as I hunt down the source of icky noise coming from my nascent rack setup.

    The source seems to be the one unit that I never suspected (or didn't want to). When I press the "Active" switch on the SansAmp RBI to "off", I lose some boost in the chain but I also lose nearly all of the noise. This isn't quite what I expected from the SansAmp unit (though I did buy mine used). It seems to operate fine in every other way. All of the knobs are set to 12 o'clock. All of the buttons set for minimal pad.

    I also still have the case where touching the strings on the bass will drop the level of the noise noticeably. It's so quiet with the SansAmp off that I can't tell if this happens when the SansAmp is off. Could the SansAmp unit be damaged? Or is this just part of the price you pay for its features?

    Thanks...Millard
     
  2. yes...I have had problems with noise on a Sansamp too.
    I find it ok for playing live,but not for recording.
    I managed to fix my problem with a noise gate.
     
  3. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    How did the gate really help you? I've tried that too and the minute the sound releases the gate, all of the noise comes flooding through as well.

    Also, anyone use a preamp they like that doesn't do this?

    Thanks...Millard
     
  4. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    I don't have any problems with noise with my RBI.

    What are all your settings? What bass/pickups/pre? Have you swapped out cables?
     
  5. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    In the simplest version, bass is plugged into SansAmp RBI, SansAmp RBI is plugged into effects return of GK 115 Backline Combo (haven't gone cabinet shopping yet).

    When the SansAmp RBI's "Active" switch is off, it does a simple pass through and it is very quiet. It also doesn't have much gain -- I realize that. When the "Active" button is engaged, a hummy/crackle noise leaps into the signal chain. This noise level is definitely affected by whether or not I'm touching the strings on the guitar. This makes it super annoying when playing a passage that involves open strings as, for a moment, I'm not touching any strings and the noise leaps in momentarily.

    I do not get anywhere near the same amount of noise if, for example, I run through the compressor and use the signal lift knob to get some gain and then run straight into the amp. I haven't verified if the open string issue still occurs using the compressor's gain (will do that tonight).

    Bass is a Fender Mustang whose pickups are very quiet. Pluged directly into the amplifier, I've never had any complaint about the noise level of the guitar/pickups at any volume I could stand to listen to. Cable is a 'high end" Planet Waves model which has also never seemed to be an issue.

    For anyone near their RBI, can you power up everything to a slightly loud playing level and then stop and listen? Now press the Active button to off. Does the sound level drop significantly? Does it come back when you press it in again? This is what I'm getting and I'm wondering if it is normal.

    Thanks, Lyle, you've been very helpful on my other threads and I appreciate it.

    Millard
     
  6. Luckydog

    Luckydog Supporting Member

    Dec 25, 1999
    mine is very noisy but I never use it anymore so it doesn't matter. more stuff collecting dust.
     
  7. SteveC

    SteveC Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Never had a problem.
     
  8. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Mine can get noisy if I use too much "presence". But if the noise is disappearing when you touch your strings, The sansamp may not be the ultimate cause. I suspect a shielding problem somewhere in your signal chain, probably the cables.
     
  9. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    But what are your RBI settings? If you have the Drive and Presence and Blend all up a lot, you'll get some noise, depending on the bass.
     
  10. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Drive is full tilt. So is Blend. But I use mine as a DI and for the occasional burst of overdrive, so it spends most of the gig switched off. I get the impression you're doing the opposite, using it as a pre-amp/ tone shaper and having it switched on all night. That's the trouble with such a versatile effect, you can be using it so many different ways that it can be hard to trouble shoot.
     
  11. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    I meant Millard, but using it as a dist boost/DI is pretty cool.
     
  12. Bongolation

    Bongolation

    Nov 9, 2001
    California
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Interesting thread!

    I'd considered buying one of these because some folks seem to just think they're the cat's pyjamas, but I can't stand noisy gear.
     
  13. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    Mine, at least, is very quiet.
     
  14. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    Lyle, as I think I said way up there somewhere, all the knobs are at 12 o'clock, which I think matches closely with one of the published sample settings ("fat tube" or something like that).

    How do you run/wire yours that you find it very quiet?

    I can't stand noise in the chain that I can't explain. I'm especially troubled by the grounding thing. The RBI and the amp are both plugged into a Furman, so there shouldn't be any sort of multiple grounding thing going on. Maybe it is must my magnetic personality. :)

    FWIW, I love my Tech21 Trademark guitar amp and the folks there actually answer email. I'd much rather puzzle this out and fix it than move onto other gear.

    Thanks all for your continued help. Millard
     
  15. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    Ok, at noon on all the pots there should be no noise. I've run mine like that with a passive Jazz with two single coils, no shielding, and had no noise come from the RBI.

    Currently, I have Drive and Presence at 10:00, Blend at 2:00, bass at 12:00, Mid at 12:30, and Treble at 1:30. No noise.

    My level does decrease if I bypass the RBI, because I have the Level knob at 12:00. If I bring it down to about 9:00, there is no volume difference with the RBI active or bypassed. There is also no noise difference.

    Take the RBI out of the rack, to avoid any ground loop issues. Take everything out of your loop. Don't plug in any fx. Turn all the fx off in case they're inducing noise. Go Bass > RBI > power amp > speakers.

    Still noisy? Swap out each cable. If possible, use the RBI XLR out to your power amp.

    The only time I had noise (hiss, not hum) with the RBI was when I was using a Warwick with passive Barts and no preamp system. The pickup output was really low, and if I had the Blend over 7:00 there was a lot of hiss. With passive stock Jazz pickups (much higher output than the Barts, but not epecially "hot" pickups) I've never had any noise problems.

    When I had the low output Barts, they didn't make noise into other amps, just the RBI. So there's something in the RBI that doesn't like ultra low output pickups. Try something besides your Mustang, just in case.
     
  16. millard

    millard

    Jul 27, 2004
    SoCal
    Thanks for advice, Lyle.

    Best I can do at the moment is Bass > RBI > EFX Return on my GK Combo. I have the amp but no cabinet at the moment. I also can't try another bass as I'm having my second bass made and it won't be here until mid-January. Good hunch, though, as the Mustang pickups are very low output. Another bass I had on loan a while back, even though with passive pickups, was much hotter.

    I do have the Blend all the way up (as it is in most of the sample settings). I have the other items in the rack unplugged (except for the Furman).

    I do have some Canare L-4E6S cable and some Neutrik NP3C connectors -- I plan to make a batch of balanced patch cables. Does it make sense to use a balanced run from the RBI to the GK EFX Return?

    Thanks...Millard
     
  17. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    It can't hurt but it won't add any benefit either. Balanced lines are great if your signal is going to travel a long distance. For shorter runs, there's no real need.
     
  18. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Memphis
    Petebass is right- I was just suggesting an XLR connection as a test- if the XLR was quiet while the 1/4" was noisy, it would point to a problem with your RBI.


    BTW, earlier you said all the knobs were at 12:00, and now you say the Blend is all the way up. Does the noise go away when the Blend is brought down?

    Borrow a "regular" bass and see if you still have noise.

    Also make sure the level the RBI is putting out is a level the GK wants to see coming into its FX loop.
     
  19. Alexander

    Alexander

    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I find the drive and presence to add hiss more and more as you crank them. At 12 o'clock, mine is pretty quiet. I typically run the level around 10-11 o'clock and the blend at about 1 o'clock. Reducing the level especially takes some of the hiss out. If you are facing hum and have multiple pedals, try working the grounding switches into different configurations. I faced that problem at first and adjusted the grounds until it was gone.
     
  20. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Ditto.

    The "fingers touching the bridge" is a dead giveaway. You have a ground anomoly somewhere in the signal chain. Go ahead and swap some cables if spares are available. If that doesn't fix the problem, bite the bullet and take her to a skilled technician or soundman. It's worth the $$$ and you might pick up some useful info in the process.

    Riis