Splitting Meatbox signal

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Riverstate, Mar 25, 2018.

  1. Riverstate


    Mar 25, 2018
    Hi there,

    For the longest time I didn't use any pedals apart from a tuner and did all tonal adjustments using my amplifier. I now find myself in a position where I am touring frequently with different artists in high pressure environments and this one size fits all mindset will no longer suffice. As part of my rig update I have recently purchased a meatbox sub-synth reissue pedal. I have tested the pedal and love what it does however I am somewhat wary of implementing it in a live setting as I have heard horror stories of otherwise healthy amplifiers going kaput when it is introduced into the direct signal chain. I have therefore decided that the best plan of action is to separate the meatbox from the amp and feed it exclusively to the PA.

    My question is essentially what is the best way to achieve this? I have had a gander online and it looks like I will be in need of a DI box but again I have little experience with the specifics of these other than what various soundmen have offered me over the years. The meatbox output is TRS so would i need a multi input/stereo DI similar to the Behringer DI20 or Palmer pan 04? Could I potentially use the THRU channel of a DI like the Radial J48 to send my effects sans-meatbox to the amp and then apply the sub after the DI; then connecting that to the PA? Could I avoid a DI altogether and just use a long TRS cable to split the output and then use a venue's inhouse DI? (Slightly hesitant to do this last option as I like being a self contained unit). Am I missing something altogether?

    Apologies if the answer to this is glaringly obvious but as I said this is a whole new world for me. I play anything from clubs to large venues and everything in between so the sound situation varies each night. I chiefly play a Hagstròm Viking passive bass and the rest of my board is largely basic effects such as compression, fuzz, chorus etc. Although it would be nice to keep this solution cheap.. reliability and simplicity are the key selling points for me here and I would not mind paying a tad extra for peace of mind.

    Again many thanks,
  2. sifrancis


    Oct 29, 2012
    Mesa, Darkglass, EQD, Mantic, Source Audio, Yamaha, Delano, Hamstead Soundworks, Jad Freer Audio
    Hi Jack,

    Welcome to the world of Subsynth wonder!
    I can probably help as I use the Meatbox/Mantic Density Hulk frequently in a split/parallel situation as you've mentioned.
    I talk about it a little and demonstrate a similar application here:
    In general the reports of speaker blowing a probably a tad over-hyped, though it can be done. I personally find the operate outputs / parallel processing a useful tool for sound-design/building, and enjoy the increased control.

    For the split out of the Reissue Matchbox you'll some type of insert cable - the EBS ICY-30 is great fro this as it's low profile and so sits nicely in a pedalboard setup without taking up too much space. You an find them on Thomann: https://www.thomann.de/gb/ebs_icy_30_y_insert_flat_cable.htm
    This will then give you your clean/dry signal to the "Ring" (which is labeled on the ICY-30 cable), and the Sub from the Meatbox to the "Tip". I generally just run everything maxed for the Sub.
    From there you can send the signals wherever you want - in my case I runt he Meatbox first in my chain, and then send the clean/dry through my effects, whilst the Sub output goes straight to a DI with no further effects/processing.
    Then my usual signal path goes out to an amp/DI/preamp...etc.

    If you want an entirely self-contained setup, a stereo DI would be ideal (go for the Palmer Pan 04 A for a cheap option - the active over the passive is preferable, and can be powered by pedalboard power 9v) - just send the Meatbox Sub output to one input and the output from your regular signal path to the other.
    You can then take XLR cables from both of those straight to the mixing desk, and additionally use the "thru" for the regular signal chain to send on to your amp.
    The Palmer Pan 04 A also allows the option of seeded a blended DI of the two inputs which may prove useful if facing limited channels at front of house.

    That would give you a reliable, simple, and flexible setup. All for around £140 (could be cheaper depending on DI choice).

    Hope that all makes sense.

    Good luck!

    fretless Bob, Mosfed, Hoyt and 5 others like this.
  3. Riverstate


    Mar 25, 2018
    Hey Si,

    Thanks for taking the time to leave such a detailed reply - it was very helpful and i found the video an interesting watch too! I have taken your advice and picked up the Palmer Active DI and EBS ICY-30 from Thomann. Can't wait to get them on my board and have a go with them in a live setting.

    Quick question - i noticed you said you have your sub at the beginning of the signal chain and separated it from your other effects. What made you decide to put it there? I haven't tried my Meatbox in combination with other effects yet but was planning to put it towards the end of the chain as might be interesting to see how this effects tone etc.

    Also - total amateur question but from your experience is there any discernible difference between an active and passive DI for use with bass? I've read that an active DI suits bass better but my old tech seems to think the difference is fairly minimal. Would be good to know what to ask for should i ever find myself without my new setup.

  4. sifrancis


    Oct 29, 2012
    Mesa, Darkglass, EQD, Mantic, Source Audio, Yamaha, Delano, Hamstead Soundworks, Jad Freer Audio
    HI Jack,

    Glad it proved helpful!
    As for the Active vs Passive thing - generally Passive would be the usual post effects/preamps (can help with noise reduction, limiting gain stages), but for flexibility in this setup the Active nature o the Palmer Pan 04 means you can blend the two outputs into a single output if needed. The Active DI also helps give a hotter/louder signal to the board.
    However, in general active is more usual when using a passive bass. That said, engineers will often have preferences, and it's always easy enough to just send the "Thru" outputs to their preferred DI if needed.

    As for positioning the Meatbox in the chain - experiment. I am now using a Boss ES-8 so that lets me move the chain order around. Generally, for my applications I like the Meatbox/Density Hulk first as I essentially use it like you would a sine wave/sub oscillator in a synth. So when I previously couldn't switch chain order I'd leave it there. Now I get best of both worlds and can enjoy the pure sub filth of sticking the sub generator after all my fuzzes and distortions.
    Hoyt and Riverstate like this.
  5. Fuzzonaut


    Aug 27, 2013
    I also use the Meatbox in a parallel setup, sending the sub signal either to an Acoustic 301, if I bring 2 rigs, or the PA.

    Concerning placement and pairing it with other effects, I can confirm that having it after fuzz/dirt is aboslutely glorious. At the end, it just beefs up everything!
    For totally thunderous wall shaking subsounds, I combine the Meatbox with an Aguilar Octamizer.
    Riverstate likes this.
  6. Riverstate


    Mar 25, 2018
    Thanks for the info guys!

    Si - Sounds like i made the right choice getting the active Palmer then. Cheers for that. I will definitely be playing around with my chain and seeing what sticks. All this talk of sub oscillator's may send me back down the synth rabbit hole..

    Fuzz - Wow I've heard stories about those 301's. How are you finding it? My natural inclination is to put the Meatbox after my dirty pedals as i tend to have quite a driven fuzz tone in my latest project. Will have a play around with placement. Combining the Meatbox and Octamizer... how low can you go?! That sounds really interesting. is it essentially to just make the output... lower? I would be worried of muddying up the tone too much personally but would be really interested to hear how it sounds!
  7. Fuzzonaut


    Aug 27, 2013
    I absolutely love the 301! The clean tone is amazing, it just fills the room with beautiful low end, it's a reggae bassist's wet dream! Not a lot of "zing" going on of course, but for me that's great, as I don't use it on it's own, it's for my clean/sub tone, while everything else (a lot of fuzz/some modulation and delay) is in parallel on 15" and 10".

    I currently do have 2 fuzzes before the Meatbox split. Then the Octamizer is after that on the sub line and the rest of the pedals are after the split on the clean line out of the MB (no fancy switching for me).

    Combining Octamizer and Meatbox might get too muddy for most people, sure, but I like to drone with bass, so muddy or boomy with infinite sustain while everything is vibrating is what I'm after - at least sometimes.

    As I was in the practice space tonight, I quickly recorded a few sound samples. Beware of sloppy and uninspired playing, recorded on the cheap. Nonetheless I recommend nice headphones or decent speakers.
    0:00 - 0:07 clean / clean
    0:07 - 0:20 Meatbox / clean
    0:20 - 0:31 Meatbox into Octamizer / clean
    0:31 - 0:49 Meatbox / Fuzz
    0:49 - 1:05 Fuzz into Meatbox / Fuzz

    Riverstate and sifrancis like this.
  8. Riverstate


    Mar 25, 2018
    Cheers for taking the time to record those Fuzz, that was very interesting to hear! There's really that much of a tonal difference purely based on placement? Wow, okay lots of possibilities. Will be interesting to experiment with effects like phasers, compression etc. My Cali76 should be arriving soon..

    Thanks for the tips guys. May your thunderous bottoms reverberate onto gleeful crowds for many moons.

    Hoyt and sifrancis like this.
  9. Andy westwood

    Andy westwood

    Nov 30, 2014
    PedalBoard Solutions
    Hey all bit of a thread resurrection but splitting the meatbox with a trs, figured the tip would only get sun but when not engaged it’s getting the bypass clean? Just checking I’m not missing something internally that I need to switch? 788361F5-0159-4822-8783-AF619AE0869E.jpeg
  10. Fuzzonaut


    Aug 27, 2013
    Yep, with a TSR cable, just plug it in and go BOOM! When in bypass, you'll have "bypass clean" on both "channels" (tip, ring).
    Andy westwood likes this.
  11. Mosfed


    Apr 21, 2013
    Washington DC
    Partner - CCP Pedals
    The meatbox (like most other octavers) will work best first in line. It prefers the cleanest signal you can send it. It can be super helpful to have a HPF/LPF up front and frankly if you are playing live in a bunch of setups, an HPF is absolutely mandatory. The Broughton Audio filters are the best out there for me.

    while the reports of blown speakers etc are absolutely exaggerated with the meatbox, it’s good that you are looking to split the signal. The real genius of the meatbox are the sub waves it can produce and most bass cabs just don’t reproduce those frequencies as well as PA subwoofers. Running it to the PA is the only way to get those frequencies in the mix.

    Good luck. If you get it dialed in, it can be one of the coolest effects out there. Otherwise it’s just a mediocre octaver and there are better out there. I never really got it dialed right for my last band whereas a more traditional octaver was a big part of our sound, so I ended up selling mine and going with an OC-2 style pedal (the Broughton Broughctave is my go to) or a different style of octave/synth pedal (the Broughton Synth Voice).

    Edit: ooops didn’t realize it was a zombie thread.