trouble understanding line levels, guitar levels & modul

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cavage
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trouble understanding line levels, guitar levels & modul

Post by cavage » Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:14 pm

hello

i hope i dont ask this in the worng place

i guess this migth look like dumb questions but now i face problems wich force me to get busy on this.

i never had to use DI boxes or impedances transformers ...

i can use my hardware without, seems anyway, and love distortion, but i would love to know the rigth way to use my stuff at least :)

so, i have my audio samples out from computer ( line levels ?) , the modular setup ( line levels too ?) and some EHX effect pedals ( dmm, bigmuff, freq analyser, wich are then guitar levels ?)

i guess that, normally, i souhoul insert a DI box or impedance transformer betwin my audio or modular and the EHX pedals , rigth ?

out of the pedals, i need nothing if i go in the mixing desk, but need something if i get back into the modular ?

am i rigth ?

and next, how to choose ? is a DI box, the same thing as a impedance trnasformer like those posted by muff ? http://tsp.bigcartel.com/product/bleak- ... ce-matcher
what other swiss tool exists ? what do i really need to make it rigth ? what things have to be counted in concern to make such a buy ??


thx :)
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Post by flight » Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:27 pm

This is actually an excellent question, I have asked similarly myself.
I can't help with all of it, but from what I have gathered:
Line levels: You guessed correct - any standard audio output, be it computer, portable music device, home stereo, etc.. "Line Level" technically means unamplified, meaning there is no additional amplification beyond what is involved in generating the signal. I don't know if there is actually a secified voltage range for line level signals.
Modular: The standard audio signal output is 10 volts peak-to-peak (10Vpp), also written as ±5V. This is the hottest (strongest) signal output you will normally find.
Guitar: These (and unpowered microphones) are generally the lowest signal levels around. I hooked my meter up to my friends guitar & bass and measured his output levels in the areas of 30mV - 150mV, around 1/100th as strong as modulars.

As far as interconnecting disparate devices goes, I'll have to let someone else answer that.
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Post by cavage » Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:53 pm

mmmm

this question is part of the mystics for me
each time i ask about this, i get answers i dont understand or people lost themselves trying to compare the utility of di boxes :)

at least, it seems, theyre is a need of "something" to put a modular or audio in a EHX pedal and also to go from the pedal to some modular again ...

rigth ?
so, say, if i want to have my modular into a EHX and out the EHX going back in the modular, i will need TWO converters ??
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Post by consumed » Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:27 pm

cavage wrote:so, say, if i want to have my modular into a EHX and out the EHX going back in the modular, i will need TWO converters ??
well, you need a way to bring your modular level WAY down so that the pedal will receive a signal at the voltages it normally works at. then coming back out of the pedal you'll need to amplify the signal (preamp) to bring it back up to modular levels.

there is a perfect module for doing this:

http://www.analoguehaven.com/theharvest ... onadaptor/


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Post by cavage » Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:34 pm

aaah, there is always a perfetc module for all purposes ;)
i cant look at the modules no more, the cabinet is full, and full of things i really want/need

so i need a standalone solution

are those little boxes what i need ? http://tsp.bigcartel.com/product/bleak ... ce-matcher and two of them then ?

is that what a DI box will do to, also need two of them ?

and, hope i am not confusing the trhead, isnt a VCA strong enough to re-give modular level ? ie i could output the EHX to a VCA, then output the vca to whatever i want the sound to get in in the modular ?
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Post by consumed » Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:44 pm

cavage wrote:and, hope i am not confusing the trhead, isnt a VCA strong enough to re-give modular level ? ie i could output the EHX to a VCA, then output the vca to whatever i want the sound to get in in the modular ?
no, typically a VCA works as an attenuator only. when fully open, the input signal=output signal (voltage).

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Post by Cybananna » Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:24 pm

maybe someone can verify, but can the stilton fit into one of the doepfer minicases, that would be an ideal solution since he's out of euro space and it really is ideal for the situation. the minicase is pretty cheap too. I just don't know if the stilton circuitry will interfere with the psu in the minicase.

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Post by cavage » Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:27 pm

consumed wrote:
cavage wrote:and, hope i am not confusing the trhead, isnt a VCA strong enough to re-give modular level ? ie i could output the EHX to a VCA, then output the vca to whatever i want the sound to get in in the modular ?
no, typically a VCA works as an attenuator only. when fully open, the input signal=output signal (voltage).
sure !
:)


yup, having a minicase with module is cool but actually i found that "too much" and space consuming rather than, if possible, little boxes i can plug and unplug betwin fx's and patches
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Post by Suburban Bather » Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:56 pm

I have all of my fx pedels hooked up to a send channel on my mixer. I use another channel instead of the recieve connection to route the output of the fx. Its nice to have both a dry and wet channel.

I have not tried running the output of the fx back into the modular yet though.
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Post by parasitk » Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:10 pm

I'd love a Stilton in pedal format, actually. That'd be more handy for me than having it in with my modular.

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Post by fluxmonkey » Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:18 pm

cavage wrote:mmmm

this question is part of the mystics for me
each time i ask about this, i get answers i dont understand or people lost themselves trying to compare the utility of di boxes :)

at least, it seems, theyre is a need of "something" to put a modular or audio in a EHX pedal and also to go from the pedal to some modular again ...

rigth ?
so, say, if i want to have my modular into a EHX and out the EHX going back in the modular, i will need TWO converters ??


Modular synth levels are much higher than either line levels or instrument/mic levels. equipment varies, but typical values are:

modulars: +/-5volts (sometimes written as 10 volts peak-to-peak)
line: 100-500 mV
instrument/mic: 1-5 mV

typical Effects pedals are usually set up to deal with instrument/mic levels--they will usually tolerate line levels, but modular synth levels will overload them and lead to distortion (the bad kind) and/or equip damage.

so, if you want to incorporate an effects pedal into your modular signal chain, first you have to attenuate the modular signal so it wont blow out your pedal, then you have to amplify the pedal's output to get it back to modular levels.

ken stone offers a PCB for a module that does exactly that: http://www.cgs.synth.net/modules/cgs60_sba.html. It can be built as a module, or you could put it in a little stand-alone project box. i believe the stilton module is similar to 4 of these circuits housed behind a euro panel, plus some additional controls.

a DI box is something completely different.

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Post by haiku-ish » Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:30 pm

or you can use a passive DI the oposite way
like a reamp.

Babaluma

Post by Babaluma » Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:44 am

flight wrote:Line levels: You guessed correct - any standard audio output, be it computer, portable music device, home stereo, etc.. "Line Level" technically means unamplified, meaning there is no additional amplification beyond what is involved in generating the signal. I don't know if there is actually a secified voltage range for line level signals.
there are two main types of line level: consumer, which is -10dBV (or 0.316V), and pro audio, which is +4dBu (or 1.228V).

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Post by Babaluma » Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:56 am

there are special boxes designed to help us in these situations. the aforementioned d.i. boxes, which convert from a high impedance line level signal that has an unbalanced output to a low impedance mic level balanced input, as well as reamps, which convert from balanced line to instrument level. i have also recently come across boxes which can convert from line to mic level (the opposite of a preamp, which converts from mic to line level).

yes, it's all very confusing. :hihi:

if you think about it, a d.i. box in reverse is not a great substitute for a reamp. however you might get usable results. ;)

you are right in thinking most discussions of this type end up in the quagmire i just typed above. :doh:

i run one of my mixers balanced aux outs into a reamp, so i can then send it to a guitar amp or fx pedals for reamping/re-recording. it's sometimes nice to mic things up and get real air and ambience around a sound. i currently have this chain patched to a boss dc-2. the outputs of the dc-2 go into two avenson audio small d.i. boxes (active) and back into two mixer channels. it sounds good, better than when i just used to run the aux straight into the pedal and the pedal straight back into the mixer.

i could upload some examples if anyone's interested. i like to fool myself into thinking it sounds more like an sdd-320 dimension d now. :mrgreen:
Last edited by Babaluma on Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Babaluma » Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:58 am

modular levels are great. you can run them straight into your desk/interface without a d.i. and they still sound fab. i sometimes find i need to attenuate at the modular, because even with the pad in i am still overloading the mixer!

how about speaker levels? you don't want to go plugging those into your patchbay, that's for sure! :twisted:

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Post by Kent » Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:04 am

Cavage, I have a couple of Passive Transformer DI boxes that you can try. One each for "To" & "From" modular. Let me know if/when you are ever in the 10e Arrondissement and you can come borrow them. At least you'll know if it works for you.

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Post by smitty » Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:39 am

I think this is what Babaluma is referring to :

http://www.reamp.com/

There was another forum post somewhere yesterday that had a variable box where you could control the levels, or is it hidden somewhere in this thread?

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Post by cavage » Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:09 pm

rahhh

the thread has gone to where it finish each time i ask about impedances : ie i'm lost

so, i can forget to ask myself about DI boxes ? it is not the purpose ?

i will think more about this module wich seems a cool swiss knife ...
but it is euro, i have only frac and 5u and it really piss me off to have an external minicase just for that purpose ...

well ... anyway thanks to all the people answering in detail :) super cool forum hehe

and thanks a lot kent , i sent you a pm with phone numbr etc ...
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Post by cavage » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:23 am

is it possible the impedance problem could be solved by using the effect boxes ( ehx ) into my mixing desk send/return function ?

i did plug the EHX boxes the same way i plugged my PCM70 into the mixing desk, ie AUX send/returns and now i dont seem to overload the stompboxes ...

will the signal going thru the mixing desk be converted to those line levels labyrtynth format ??
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Post by Babaluma » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:27 am

some effect boxes these days are designed to be used that way. my maxon delay and distortion both work well with line level signals. older effects may work and be usable, but might also be more noisy and have a poorer frequency response than you are used to, when using the wrong level/type of signals. try it out and see! i did it this way for years, and it's only been very recently that i've started using d.i. boxes and a reamp, and for me the change in quality has been entirely positive. that's not to say i didn't achieve great results when doing it the old way. ;)

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Post by cavage » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:33 am

arghhhh

i am gonna smach my head on some wall !!!!!

I WANT TO DO IT THE GOOOOOOD WAY !!!!

from what i read in this thread, i concluded DI boxes are not usefull in my situation and you just wrote you use DI BOXES and reamps ????

my god, this is a maze

could you describe the way of the signal if you use some stompboxes ?? please ! hahahahaha
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Post by Babaluma » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:41 am

i go like this:

balanced mono aux send out from my mixer into reamp

reamp mono guitar level out into effect box (or actual guitar amp)

effect box mono/stereo out into d.i. boxes (converts instrument level to mic level)

d.i. outs into mic preamp channels on the mixer

blend with dry signal at the mixer if you so desire.

it's a lot of money and hassle, but i feel it's worth it. can post some examples if people would like.

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Post by cavage » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:56 am

that is what i figured, exept going out of an AUX to the reamp but people here said no need of DI boxes and i heard people said no way ...
anyway, this sounds good to me ...

what you take out the AUX balanced mono from your mixer can be the modular ? rigth ?



lost
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Post by Babaluma » Tue Feb 24, 2009 7:14 am

cavage wrote:what you take out the AUX balanced mono from your mixer can be the modular ? rigth ?
of course, you can send anything that's plugged into your mixer out the aux sends, even the signals coming back in from the d.i. boxes. :mrgreen:

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Post by cavage » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:19 pm

ok, then , if i feel your setup is what i need ( ? haha )
then i need 1 reamp and 1 DI box ( direct / passive ?)
i mean, at least ... ?

i guess it is gonna be soooo funny to search for the rigth DI and reamp for my needs regarding the offerings here and there !


:doh:
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