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Using 2 amps with A/B/Y or Stereo effects pedal?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Big_Bend, May 11, 2010.

  1. Big_Bend

    Big_Bend Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 19, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Which is more practical..

    I have 2 Deluxe Reverb amps I want to play at the same time. Am I better off using a high quality A/B/Y switch like the Radial BigShot ABY Passive Switcher, which has a ground-lift and 180° polarity reverse feature.. Or use a stereo effect pedal like a Boss DD7?

    If I go the Stereo pedal route, what is a good choice for this? I want true bypass, very quiet, analog type delays. I had a DD6 before but it hissed too much.

    Thx for the suggestions!

  2. varakeef

    varakeef Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 7, 2007
    I guess it depends on your objecives. Why do you want to use two amps?

    If you want to have a stereo set with for example dry sound on other amp and delayed sound on other I think the effect with dry out and wet out will do fine.

    If you for example like to use another amp for dirtier sound (as a lead channel) A/B box may be yer ticket.

  3. hannigan

    hannigan Friend of Leo's

    You can run multiple amps with akai headrush 2 get the sound bouncing around from amp to amp.

  4. norumba

    norumba Tele-Meister

    Mar 14, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    I run a two amp setup with stereo fx and couldnt be happier. Its a pain to lug two amps, i suppose, but the depth and width of sound is fantastic. i use a Memory man w/Hazarai, custom built stereo chorus and Boss RV5 stereo reverb. Everything is set extremely subtle, but the combination is pretty amazing.

  5. Big_Bend

    Big_Bend Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 19, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Good questions. I want to have both amps running all the time at once, to give my sound more space and texture. I don't see myself running one amp for rhythm and the other for lead. I just like having 2 light weight combo amps that together sound better than a big heavy single combo amp.

    So I think some sort of stereo pedal would be better suited for my needs.. then again those new fancy AB/Y boxes with their reverse polarity connections might sound better too.. would that be a better option even if I plan to leave both amps on all the time?

    thx again...

  6. fendorst

    fendorst Banned

    Jun 18, 2009
    practically speaking, in terms of the sound you'll hear and what an audience will hear if you play gigs, neither option is "better." assuming you get a quality a/b/y box, it will work great. assuming you get a quality stereo effect, it will work great.

    the deciding factor is which sound you prefer. a/b/y will give you the same sound from two amps, basically more loudness spread out over a wider area. a stereo effects box will give you whatever the stereo effect is... delay, chorus, whatever... which will provide a sense of motion or movement in the sound.

    if you tend to prefer a straight guitar amp sound, you'll like the a/b/y sound better. if you like to use delay or chorus with one amp, you won't believe how cool it sounds in stereo with two amps.

    it's down to which sound you prefer. neither way is "better off."

    one thing to keep in mind: if you play gigs that require your amp to be mic'd, if you go the a/b/y route you can mic just one amp. if you go the stereo effect route, you'll need to mic both amps and the soundperson will need to run you through the mixer in stereo.

    if you have your own soundperson, the more complicated stereo setup can work great once you both get familiar with it. but if you have to trust whatever soundperson is provided by the venue, it's possible he/she will only mic one amp anyway, or he/she won't get the stereo mix right due to unfamiliarity, so the cool stereo effect you hear on stage won't be what the audience hears through the PA.

  7. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 26, 2003
    Augusta, Maine
    Why not just daisy-chain them? You'd just need to buy one guitar cable - cheaper, cleaner, and easier than all those a/b/y/stereo options.

  8. Big_Bend

    Big_Bend Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 19, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I don't know what you mean by this. Please elaborate.

    Back to stereo pedals.. anyone recommend one? I don't like Boss Delays.. what else is out there?

  9. richey88

    richey88 Friend of Leo's

    Jul 28, 2009
    philly suburbs
    Stereo Memory Man, Clone Theory, EHX has a few (kinda noisy). I just use my TU-2, FX onboard on the SCXD (just delay mainly) then Fairly dry into whatever else I'm using. I usually just play at dive bars where nothing is miked. I'm happy - play better. It's a fat sound (SCXD driving a 2x12).

  10. fendorst

    fendorst Banned

    Jun 18, 2009
    first amp has to have two input channels.

    plug guitar into amp 1, input 1. plug a cable into amp 1, input 2. then plug the other end of the cable into amp 2, input 1.

    it's old school, and generally works great when you have a two-channel amp to work with.

  11. varakeef

    varakeef Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 7, 2007
    It definately works on Deluxe Reverbs the way fendords described.

  12. Kelsey

    Kelsey Tele-Holic

    Aug 5, 2003
    Memphis, TN
    As long as you use the same channel on each DR (e.g., the reverb/trem channels), otherwise you will likely have a phase problem.

    If you decide on the ABY approach and want to run both amps at once, then I would recommend an active/buffered switcher over a passive unit -- i.e., the Radial JX-2 Switchbone or Twin City over their Big Shot. The buffer reduces noise and prevents the volume loss you often get when splitting a signal over amps. The Radial buffers are very good and keep your tone intact with all that cable you've got going back to the amp.
    You can run a nice wet/dry rig with an ABY if you want a subtle reverb, delay, or modulation in combination with your base tone.

  13. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 26, 2003
    Augusta, Maine
    1. Plug in amps 1 and 2.

    2. Run your guitar cable (or the cable from your pedals) into amp 1's Vibrato jack #1.

    3. Run another guitar cable from amp 1's Vibrato jack #2 to amp 2's Vibrato jack #1.

    4. Turn both amps on.

    5. Adjust each amp independently to taste.

    6. Rock out!

    Like this:

    guitar > (cable) > amp 1 > (cable) > amp 2

    More details (in case you're interested):

    Most players like the Vibrato channel. But it works the same with the Normal channel. You can use amp 1's Normal jacks, instead. Likewise, you can jumper to a Normal jack in amp 2.

    What you CAN'T do is go INTO amp 1's Normal channel and OUT the Vibrato channel - or into the Vibrato channel and out the Normal channel. That's because the two channels aren't connected to each other. Only the paired jacks are connected to each other.

    So on amp 1, use ONLY the Vibrato jacks or ONLY the Normal jacks.

    ...That is, unless you want to daisy chain either amp's two channels together. I do it on my Bassman head, which has the same set-up as your amps: A two-jack bass channel and a two-jack treble channel, each with independent tone and volume knobs.

    I plug the guitar into Bass 1 and use a short pedal cable to jumper from Bass 2 to Treble 1. That way, I can blend the two channels any way I want.

    You can do the same thing with your amps.

    Daisy-chaining is REALLY fun - and it just takes a spare cable.

  14. tazzboy

    tazzboy Former Member

    May 5, 2005
    Well if you are running the amps at the same time the a stereo pedal.

  15. franchelB

    franchelB Friend of Leo's

    Sep 25, 2005
    Irving, United States of Texas!

    I've thought about suggesting using a 4-in-1 mixer. I know that DOD made such a gadget back in the day...and I have it.

    But I DO wonder if the "daisy-chain" would work on a keyboard amp combo and a bass amp head? My keyboard amp combo has a 15" woofer and my bass amp head powers a 2X10 cab.

  16. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 26, 2003
    Augusta, Maine
    I'm not a pro. Here's what I know. Two side-by-side jacks that are connected to the same circuits are, naturally, also connected to each other. So, since they're connected, a signal coming in through one will go out through the other. Distance does degrade signal somewhat (which is why using short cables is popular), but beyond than that, it doesn't change your signal any more than using a true-bypass pedal does.

    It's easy, it makes sense, and it works. So people do it.

  17. hannigan

    hannigan Friend of Leo's

    You taught me this in an earlier thread sure enough it works
    thanks Charlie I love learning simple useful things.

  18. teleluvver

    teleluvver Tele-Meister

    Aug 25, 2008
    Cleveland, Ohio
    I want to make sure that I understand this, because I've been thinking of using an A/B switch to use two amps, one clean and one dirty. I currently run one amp, and it's got a mic in front of it. If I used an A/B switch, and I switched to the second amp, I would have to have a mic in front of it as well, would I not? These are old amps with no line outs, and I prefer to mic anyway. How would an A/B switch eliminate the need for micing both amps, or am I misunderstanding? Thanks.

  19. eddie knuckles

    eddie knuckles Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 11, 2008
    Worcester, MA
    I just want to use my Ampeg Jet J-20 and my Vox Pathfinder at the same time. Sparkly and creamy....mmmmm....

  20. Martin R

    Martin R Friend of Leo's

    Jun 26, 2008
    Of course you'd have to mic both amps.

    (And check out Startouch pedals. The A/B pedal has individually grounded channels.)

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