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To connect bass head to interface... "Line out" or "Direct out"?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by andres3195, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. Hi guys. I own a Gallien Krueger MB200 head, I've seen a few videos of people using this amp through their interface (and I mean not mic'd) and it sounds awesome, such a GREAT tone. But in my case it doesn't sound even close to that. It's not that it sounds bad, it's just that there's not much difference between pluging my bass to the interface and pluging my bass to the head and then the head to the interface. Using the head between the bass and the interface I can EQ it and that, but there's not a difference in tone as I saw in videos.
    Now, here is the thing... I connect the head to the interface using the "line out" jack in the GK MB200 (1/4'' jack) directly to the interface's Instrument jack (1/4'' jack too). In the video posted below the guy plays a GK MB200 through an interface but using an XLR cable, pluged at the "Direct out" XLR jack of the MB200. Do you think buying an XLR cable and using the "Direct out" jack all the way to the interface will make it sound better than using the "Line out" one with the 1/4'' cable?
    Sorry if I made it difficult to understand! Oh, also, sorry for the ignorance lol.

    Here you can see the Line out and Direct out outputs that I was talking about...

  2. If your “interface” has an XLR input connect to the DI socket. The line out/headphone socket will be a TRS. connecting, I would think, to the amp’s speaker out via some circuitry. This will give you the sound of the entire amplifier and not just the pre-mp section.
    SirMjac28 and andres3195 like this.
  3. Seems it would be pretty cheap for you to find out the answer to this.
    TinyE, jnewmark and HolmeBass like this.
  4. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    There really shouldn't be any difference in tone between them. The signal level will be a little different, but that's nothing that can't be compensated for later. I just took a look at the block diagram for the MB200 to double check, and both the Direct out (post) and Line Out are after all of the EQ and processing.

    Just out of curiosity, are you using headphones to monitor your EQ changes? Even with good cans, some less obvious, but important EQ adjustments can be really hard to distinguish with headphones only. Just my experience.

    Edit for one final note: if you're trying to get a certain tone, or trying to match the tone that you've heard in another recording, be very aware of other variables that can affect tone up-stream, at the very least, on-board bass EQ, and technique. Either of those, depending on how they're used, can potentially impart such a strong tonal signature, that down-line EQ may not work as desired.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  5. I know, but as far as I've seen on the internet, XLR cables cost much more than they should here in Buenos Aires. Around 20 dollars or even a bit more. I'd only buy it if I'm sure that's what I need, I'm not willing to waste that money.

    Hm, so using the Direct Out of the MB200 would not be an improvement... I'm kind of dissoriented, the guy in the video wrote in the description that he is using just the bass, XLR cable, GK MB200 and his interface, same as me (with the only exception being, as I previously said, that I use a 1/4'' plug cable instead XLR). Needless to say, I'm a total noob on bass heads and all this stuff we're talking about.
    I think it would be useful to show the difference in tone that I'm talking about, I will record something as soon as I come home and post it in the comments. Thank you very much for your help. :)
  6. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Cool, looking forward to hearing it. I haven't watched the video yet, but like I said, be mindful of any differences in bass, strings, and technique that may also make your tone different from the recording.
    andres3195 likes this.
  7. That what the Direct Out is made for.

    FYI- Just because something connects using a 1/4 inch cable, that doesn't automatically make it right.
    With 1/4" connections you gotta really understand what's going on at both ends, else it can get real messy real fast.

    That being said the Chain Out is TRS balanced and should interface to a mixer though you may need a bit of a pad.
    And if you're sayin' "WHAAAA!" Then that's why you want to go with the Direct Out.
    Michael Schreiber likes this.
  8. You're right, and surely it's an obvious thing, but yeah, I know very little to nothing about this things.
    So, if that is what the Direct Out is made for, should I expect it to sound better than the Line Out?

    What do you mean "a bit of a pad"? Sorry, english isn't my first language. :)
  9. There is nothing obvious about any of this so don't feel bad.
    The worst thing that ever happened to audio was to not standardize connectors with the type of signals being used.

    Sounding better is a function of a number of things. Proper levels, balanced vs unbalanced, impedance differences.
    The Direct Out is made to interface normally to a mixer or other balanced audio device expecting the same levels and using the same type of connector called XLR.

    With XLR connectors (balanced audio or your Direct Out) the connectors are standardized and there are usually only a couple of different levels in use, mic level = very low, or line level = much higher. If you mix the two you know almost instantly that you got it wrong.

    This is why Direct Out feeds tend to be more plug and play than anything involving 1/4" connectors. Less chance to get something wrong. You also can't always tell if the 1/4' jack you plug into is TS, Tip/Sleeve (two conductor/used for mono/unbalanced audio) or TRS Tip/Ring/Sleeve (three conductor/used for unbalanced stereo or balanced mono.) You can see from just these uses that it can get quite confusing.

    Pad = attenuator = something to reduce the level.

    Sorry about throwing the jargon around, I didn't notice your country of origin at first.
    I had kind of done that to make a point, which you picked up on very well.
    If you didn't know what all of this meant, you're better off trying to use the Direct Out.

    I hope that helped more than it didn't?
  10. wizay


    Mar 5, 2008
    Off topic: i never thought i liked GK tone but with all the knobs flat + mids 15:00 sounds reeeeeeeelll nice:laugh::laugh:drooldrool
  11. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    It's certainly possible, but unless I'm mistaken, the only difference really should be level in this case. If the level is either insufficient (unlikely here), or much too hot for your interface (more likely), you'd probably know though by looking at the signal levels in whatever program you're using for your recording, or if you have a level indicator on your interface. Being a bit general here, but in my limited experience, many interfaces can handle line-level OK as long as the level on the interface is decreased (or padded) to acceptable levels.

    I've used all manner of outs on my GK amps for recording (some at the same time): DI, Send (line out), even tuner out.

    The point about knowing what each of the outputs do is very important, but I stand by my assessment in this case that tone likely won't be wildly different between that MB200's DI and Line Out with the above taken into consideration.

    For my RB units, you can actually adjust DI level so it's variable, but again unless I'm mistaken, the line out on the MB200 should be a good bit hotter than the default DI level, but unless it's overdriving your recording preamps (you'd also hear distortion if its bad), I wouldn't expect it to sound necessarily all that different or worse. Curious to see how this pans out.
  12. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, ChopShopAmps
    Make sure your actually sending a post eq signal. The tiny button next to the xlr should be in.
    RiZzBot, el murdoque and SLO Surfer like this.
  13. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Right, if you're using the DI XLR out. My understanding is that the line out like you're using on those units is always "post".
    Old Garage-Bander likes this.
  14. BadExample


    Jan 21, 2016
    What are you using for your interface?
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  15. ThisBass


    Aug 29, 2012
    Soundwise it makes no difference nothin at all. The sound of the vidio was just the same if it was recorded with line level signal.
  16. Yeah, I know :) But as another user said, I think pre/post EQ button has more to do with the XLR output, not the Line out.

    It's a Lexicon Alpha.

    What could be the solution? :(
    I'll post a little bit of nonsense I just played to make you hear how it sounds so that you can compare it with the video posted above.
  17. Kro

    Kro Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    New Jersey
    Haven't had the opportunity to listen yet, but what bass and strings are you using? Do you have a pic of your amp settings?

    Do you like how the amp sounds through your cab or through the headphone out?
  18. That makes sense.
    Because, isn't the line out on these also used like the Chain out on other GK?
    The Chain out is meant to feed GK powered cabs.
    That means whatever EQ you have going to one cab, you want going to the other.
    So yeah. Line out would need to be post EQ.

    Additionally, even though these don't have the traditional effects loop, effects out (send) on most effects loops would be post EQ.

    Unless GK tells us otherwise in the manual, which we have all read thouroughly before using the amp.
  19. The XLR input on the Alpha is mic level only. That may require a pad to use it with the GK direct out.
    You can also plug your bass directly to the instrument input.

    Otherwise GK line out to one of the Alpha Line 1-2 inputs.
    Might work best with TS or TRS depending on what the GK manual tells you.

    Line out of the GK will likely be post EQ as previously discussed.
    If you want a pre-EQ you will need to use the XLR, if you can, or plug your bass directly into the Alpha Instr. input.

    The difference in sound between Line out and the Direct out will depend on your EQ settings.

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