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running synth through bass fx rig, should I run a second amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by amos, Jan 18, 2012.


  1. amos

    amos

    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    my typical bass rig is bass --> pedalboard fx --> bbe pre -->qsc power --> 4x10.

    I'm adding an analog monosynth to the setup, and want to run it through my effects, which means it will be going through my bass amp as well.

    should I add another preamp and cabinet essentially making it a stereo rig?

    I am only giving this consideration because there will be points at which I will be using the arpeggiator/step sequencer on the synth, while playing my bass at the same time.

    Unless you guys can think of a way where I could run my synth through the effects pedals but not through the bass amp, instead out straight to the PA. the BBE has a DI out, would that work? of course I want my bass guitar tone to come from the mike'd cabinet, not so much the DI (maybe for some sub-sonics, but that's it).

    this is a confusing question, and it sort of pertains more to the effects forum, but it's an amp question at heart.

    thanks for anyone who can wade through this.

    -david
     
  2. amos

    amos

    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    so I was just thinking about this, and I realized that having a stereo amp setup does not solve the problem of having to split the bass signal from the synth signal after it comes out of the effects chain.

    the synth pumps out some crazy frequency sweeps, I guess I just need a cab that's beefy enough to be able to handle both instrument signals at the same time. anyone agree with this?
     
  3. amos

    amos

    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    bump... i know one of you has experience running a synth and bass guitar through fx boxes out to an amplifier, sometimes running both simultaneously... will a 4x10 cut it?
     
  4. RickenBoogie

    RickenBoogie

    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I run a separate rig for synthesizers, but it's still a bass rig. What I'd suggest, is running the synth to a small mixer, and maybe put the fx board on a bypass loop. My solution was to run 2 separate rigs, including 2 separate pedal boards, but that may not be good for you. The trick is the pedal board, thus the bypass loop- which may be a solution.
     
  5. amos

    amos

    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    thanks, if I could afford to buy two sets of boutique pedals, I would do that, alas another $1000 worth of pedals is not an option. I am however, purchasing a soundcraft efx8 for using an analog drum machine live, so I was wondering how I might be able to use the mixer to help with this situation. thank you for the suggestion!
     
  6. amos

    amos

    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    also, could you give me an example about how to use a bypass looper with a mixer? I have a loooper pedal, but I'm having trouble picturing the routing. thanks
     
  7. jungleheat

    jungleheat Banned

    Jun 19, 2011
    DC
    Ok, here's the thing, running both the bass and the synth through the same set of pedals is just going to cause headaches in a variety of ways. For one thing, the level of the bass and the synth are probably way different. So unless every pedal you run the synth through has both stereo inputs AND outputs, the 2 are going to be mixed at some point and you won't be able to separate them back out from each other again.

    So now, all the settings on the pedals have to apply to both the bass and the synth. Which isn't necessarily going to work great.

    Then they both show up at the same input on your amp, and you have to EQ so that both sound good, which will almost inevitably lead to compromises.

    So yeah, the best thing to do is figure out if you really need these pedals for the synth, and either buy them, or take them out of the bass chain to use with the synth. A better option might be to just get a relatively inexpensive but good sounding multieffects unit (maybe a rack unit) for the synth (or for the bass and use the pedals for the synth).

    Since you have a power amp, you may just be able to run the synth through whatever effects you decide on and into one side of the power amp, but you will still need a cab to send the signal to. It would be wise to get something that works with the rest of your bass setup, in case you want to use it all together. But if you are also going to get a drum machine, it might make sense to just start a whole separate rig altogether for the synth and drum machine, which should play nicely together, especially with something like 2 powered speakers and a small mixer (maybe with a small effects rack in an aux send).

    The cheapest but not necessarily best solution if you absolutely need to use the same effects for the bass and synth, would be to set up some sort of switching system. So you have your 2 inputs, and you switch which one goes through the effects chain, and the other one goes straight to the mixer. But this would be somewhat complicated, would probably require some tap dancing to accomplish live, and the switches alone would probably cost as much as 1 or 2 or more effects pedals (I'm thinking you would need 3 ABY pedals, which usually go for 40-50+ each).
     
  8. amos

    amos

    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    thank you thank you thank you. this has given me clarity on the subject matter.

    edit: I think I need to accept the fact that my pedalboard is going to work best as a dedicated fx unit for my bass.

    and your idea of running 2 powered speakers for a stereo synth rig seems like the best idea. the mixer I'm picking up has built in fx that I was goin to use with the drum machine, and when it comes down to it, I mainly just wanted to use my bass fx on the synth for the fuzz box. Just need to buy one additional fuzz box, maybe a b:assmaster, which sounds great with a minimoog, I'm sure it would sound sick with a dsi mopho (what I'm using). anyway, getting off point, that's a discussion for the fx forum.

    much appreciated.
     
  9. JEDBass

    JEDBass

    Mar 10, 2009
    West Hartford, CT
    For a while I used to run my synth rig through my bass rig at the same time. Here's how I did it:

    1.) Got a mixer with plenty of line inputs.
    2.) Ran the effects loop out of my bass amp into one of the mixer channels (must be line level input).
    3.) Ran each of my synths into the other available channels with line level inputs.
    4.) Ran the mains out back into the effects return on my amp. The back of my mixer made this even easier with a selectable -10/+4dBv output. This setup allowed me to keep a nice clean signal from my synths going into the power amp section of my head and away from the bass preamp/gain.
     
  10. JEDBass

    JEDBass

    Mar 10, 2009
    West Hartford, CT
    Oh, almost forgot....in order to make sure you're gain matched, it's important that if you follow my setup, you should set your mixer level for the bass channel to be equal to a completely bypassed signal (of course making sure the mixer isn't clipping along the way), provided your head has an hard effects bypass. Only after that, you then bring up your synth levels to match, but don't go adjusting your mixer mains level, only the synth channel levels. Hope that helps.
     
  11. amos

    amos

    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    JEDBass: awesome. But I'm confused what you mean about setting my mixer level for the bass channel, as in the first post you never said you were running your bass into a channel on the mixer.
     
  12. JEDBass

    JEDBass

    Mar 10, 2009
    West Hartford, CT
    amos, Please allow me to clarify. Point #2 is the channel where the bass "signal" coming out of the effects send goes into the mixer. The bass itself does not plug directly into the mixer. The reason I specifically mention setting the gain/level for the bass signal in the mixer is that (IMO/IME) ideally you want to keep the level the same as the bypassed signal, since the power amp section of your head was designed around the output stage of the preamp. Messing around with that balance may cause you to not get the best performance out of the head. It's really not much different than gain matching from a seperate preamp/power amp setup, just that you're using a mixer for the controls instead of input sensitivity knobs on a PA style power amp. Does that help explain things a bit better I hope?

    By the way, all of this is just I've done/learned from my own experience. If someone else wants to chime with any technical issues with my particular strategy please do so, but I'm not aware of any.
     
  13. amos

    amos

    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    Aw I got it I think, you are just talking about matching the signal coming out of the effects send into the mixer, with the signal of it bypassed since the mixer itself is essentially a second preamplifier for the power amp. this is how I match the level of the synth with the level of the bass, through the same rig.
     
  14. JEDBass

    JEDBass

    Mar 10, 2009
    West Hartford, CT
    Exactly! It's also why I strongly recommend you run the effects send into a line level input on the mixer. That way it bypasses the mic pre and also should by default provide a better gain match without too much fuss.

    Another side benefit to all of this is that you can run multi-effects units into the aux send/returns on the mixer and blend any of the signals to your heart's content. Also, if your current PA is a bit limited channel-wise, you could always use a second aux send to supply a single fully mixed signal to your PA. Of course, whoever runs the main board won't have the versatility of controlling each source level, but it's nice to have the option handy. Either way, it's a very versatile setup. Just be careful not to use a junky mixer (or multi-fx if you do use one) that could add a lot of noise to your signal.
     
  15. amos

    amos

    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    JED: I'm looking at the Soundcraft EFX8 with built in lexicon effects processor. it's got 8 line-in plus 2 stereo line in. I will be putting each of the six voices on the analog drum machine into its own channel, but that still leaves me with two 2 mono and 2 stereo line ins for a synth (stereo), and effects return send (mono)
     

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