Need help/advice on how to run a stereo signal from my looper to my mixer

telewhacked

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Hey all,

I looked, but wasnt exactly sure what subforum this fits into, so just gave this one a shot.

I could really use some advice from some of you that are smarter and more experieneced than me.
I've been playing gigs a long time, but don't know as much as I should about the basics of live sound.

Its actually a very simple issue that probably has an equally simple answer. It can probably also be accomplished in more than one way (some of them likely being the WRONG way) so I just need the right advice.

Here it is in as much of a nutshell as I can put it:

I play mostly solo gigs with just guitar and vocals, and both signals go through a pedalboard with various effects, and into a Boss RC 300 looper before going out to my small mixer and into two powered speakers. Pretty simple and straight forward set up.

I have a small ampless board and use a modeler (Line 6 Pod Go) for all effects and guitar tones.
My signal chain inside the Pod Go has multiple effects that are stereo (delay, rotary, chorus etc) and I want them to pass through the RC 300 looper (which is just after the Pod Go and the very last device in my signal chain before the mixer) and remain in stereo in my mixer.

The RC 300 looper has Left and Right inputs as well as Left and Right outputs, so in theory, I should be able to use both the left and right outputs of my Pod Go> into the left and right inputs of the RC 300> and out of the left and right outputs of the RC 300 > into 2 separate channels of the mixer (one channel for left side and one for the right side, then pan them hard left and hard right?) and hopefully retain all the effects that are in stereo as they come through the PA.

As far as I know, the left and right outputs of the RC 300 are unbalanced, so I assume (?) that I need to employ a DI box of some kind to make it a balanced signal before it goes into my mixer...

For this reason, I currently run the signal from my Pod Go in mono, throught the RC 300 with a standard instrument cable > then out of the left (mono) output of the RC 300 with a standard instrument cable > into a cheap Donner DI box > and out of the DI box with a XLR-to-XLR (balanced) cable > and into a single channel on my mixer via XLR. This seems to work fine for mono, and all I want to do is transition this exact signal chain to stereo and hopefully retain all of my stereo effects in the Pod Go in true stereo.

So what is the best and correct way to do this?

A couple of questions (and I really hope someone can help me here):

-I am literally standing a foot away from my mixer when I perform so the cable runs are extremely short. Do I really even need to run my signal into a DI box between my Looper and the mixer given how short the cable runs are...or is it necessary because the outputs of the Looper are not balanced, but unbalanced? so I will need something with a ground lift if I experience unwanted signal noise?

-If I am able to use both L&R inputs and outputs on the Looper to maintain my stereo effects form the Pod Go in true stereo. What is the best way to run my signal from the L&R outputs of the looper and into my mixer?

-Could I run true stereo and get away with using just 2 TRS to XLR cables from the outputs of the looper into the channels on the mixer with no DI box at all, or will that even work?

-Do I need a true stereo DI box with 2 unblanced 1/4" inputs and 2 XLR outputs instead? If so, can someone recommend onee that doesnt cost $300+ dollars?

-Could I just add a second cheap Donner DI box (like the one I already use in mono) and go stereo XLR out of 2 separate cheap, mono DI boxes into 2 different channels on my mixer?


As you can see, I'm kinda lost and paralyzed by potential options (some of which are likely wrong) and understanding the best and cheapest way to accomplish things.

Any input that will lshed some light or lessen the confusion is much appreciated!
 

AAT65

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What mixer do you have? Check the spec for its inputs. Almost all small mixers take 1/4” jack inputs, perhaps not on all channels. I would be surprised if you can’t just use normal guitar leads from the Pod Go to 2 mixer channels. (I run from my JC-40 line out to a pair of channels on our XR-18 mixer and before that go an old 8-channel Mackie).

You can usually run a mono guitar cable where a mixer expects a balanced TRS: the signal is still the difference between top and ring, which is the key part of balanced for now: since the ring will be grounded you don’t get the noise cancelling but that’s not an issue for a few feet of shielded cable.
 

24 track

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usually most small mixers ( depending on what you have) should have a stereo send and return, then you blend as much signal as you need back from your inputs to the looper and the looper will play back from the effects returns youur mixer will be the key
 

Kandinskyesque

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Typical Roland and their unbalanced outs, especially when they advocate plugging them straight into a mixer.

I don't have the Looper but I use a Roland GR55 guitar synth and its outputs are unbalanced.

Sometimes I can get away with going straight into the mixer with not any problems.
However, there have been a few places I've played where it's very noticeable and plugging a couple of DI boxes seemed to have sorted it.

I ended up buying a Klark Technic stereo DI for around £50/$60, it might just be psychological/placebo effect but I'm convinced the sound is better.

Maybe someone in the know might be able to explain why that's the case but I think it improves on the preamp in my QSC mixer.
 

Peegoo

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If your mixer has a 1/4" inputs on two channel strips, and there's a little impedance selector ("Lo Z/Hi Z") switch on each, you can plug a standard guitar cable into each one and select Hi Z (high impedance). That will work great because the signal from a pedal is high impedance.

If your mixer has dual inputs (XLR and phone jack) per channel, with the XLR is labeled MIC and the phone jack labeled LINE, then it's already configured to plug the pedal output directly into it.
 
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telewhacked

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First off… thanks very much for the replies.

it occurred to me that a picture is worth a thousand words and maybe I should post a couple quick pics of how I’m currently coming out of the looper and into my little mixer that would better show you guys that are trying to help me, what things look like.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a hi/lo z selector on any channels.

Attached are clear pictures of the output of the looper going into the little (purple) DI (in mono) via unbalanced instrument cable, and out of the DI via XLR, into the mixer.

The other pic shows that same XLR coming from the output of the DI and plugged into the XLR/ mic input on channel 2 of the mixer. It also shows all the ins/outs on the front panel of the mixer so you guys can see exactly what I’m working with. It’s a very cheap little Alto mixer. All my PA gear is cheap. I have a goal to upgrade most of it this year.

Maybe these pictures will help you guys further suggest what/ where/ how you would connect things. Thanks again!

48A5CEA4-41A8-43E9-9529-E981F52A7673.jpeg
80778F7D-2D64-4A3B-9D1A-C98120E49053.jpeg
5C1C29CD-AFC2-49EF-8423-FE579DFCF58D.jpeg
490BBBAB-D71F-4372-8096-E730576BF418.jpeg
 

Old Deaf Roadie

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Honestly, I think stereo is overrated, and 95% of the time the only person who cares (or can even tell the difference) is the player, and it complicates things for the sound guy (which seems to be the gist of the original post). The audience just doesn't care.
That being stated, I would get an A/V direct box & route my stereo signal to a 1/4" TRS plug. The A/V DI will sum both channels to mono. I use the green Radial model every day in my professional life.
 

telewhacked

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Honestly, I think stereo is overrated, and 95% of the time the only person who cares (or can even tell the difference) is the player, and it complicates things for the sound guy (which seems to be the gist of the original post). The audience just doesn't care.
That being stated, I would get an A/V direct box & route my stereo signal to a 1/4" TRS plug. The A/V DI will sum both channels to mono. I use the green Radial model every day in my professional life.

Thanks for the advice, but I definitely want to keep the stereo guitar effects in stereo and not sum it to mono, because even if no one else can, I can hear a gigantic difference in how much better it sounds. Also, 95% + of the time on the small bar gigs I play, I am my own sound man, so no real concerns there.

Over the years, I have always been conditioned by soundmen that I need a DI box with a ground lift to take my unbalanced guitar output and balance it to go the the board. Possibly also using the ground lift if needed to eliminate any line hum or noise.

Im currently doing exactly that (in mono) with my simple little set up, but just want to start doing it in stereo.

Ive been questioning whether I really need a DI at all based on how short the cable runs are from my looper to mixer, and thinking maybe I could just get away with two separate TS (or TRS) to XLR cables straight from the unbalanced outputs of my looper and directly into the mixer, bypassing any DI at all. The only thing that concerns me is the sometimes dodgy power and location of outlets in the venues I play and the possible need for a ground lift.

I can’t seem to find a decent stereo DI box that has dual ins and outs and doesn’t cost a fortune. Some of them are $350+.

Is anyone out there using a decent stereo DI that will do what I need without costing an arm and a leg?
 

Rich_S

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The DI box you’ve been conditioned to want is important when you’re driving long cable runs back to a FOH mixing desk. If your mixer is right next to you on stage, just use regular guitar cables to plug into those LINE inputs on your mixer. There’s no need to convert to Lo-Z for a 6 foot run.
 

telewhacked

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Thanks everyone that took the time to read this post and offer your advice. I agree that given the very short cable runs, I could get away with just coming out of the unbalanced outs on the looper and straight into my little mixer in most scenarios… However…

The town I play in is an old southern port city with hundreds of years of history. Many of the downtown venues are in very old, pre-1900 buildings and can sometimes have dodgy or “dirty” power. You almost never know what or where a bar manager is going to point to when they say ”yeah, you can just plug in over here” and sometimes just locating a convenient place to pull power from can be dicey.

I also do very occasionally play a gig where there is sound and an engineer provided. In the interest of being able to provide a sound tech whatever they need and to also have a ground lift in case I run into noisy power or a ground loop issue when I’m on my own, I think I’m gonna just buy the cheapest “decent” passive stereo DI box I can find and be ready for whatever may happen.

If anyone wants to recommend a reasonably priced passive stereo DI box, I’m all ears. I just need something that gets the job done and don’t want to spend a lot on something pricey like a Radial etc.

Hopefully I can find a reasonably compact one and not something that looks like old Soviet era military surplus…
 

schmee

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I use Ditto loopers. I have never used a DI box to the mixer.
I am also setup so my guitar signal goes around the looper as well as through. That way with kill switches I can kill the loop to the amp or board, and still pass signal onward from the guitar. I wonder if you did that, if you could do it stereo?

This method the looper still 'thinks it's playing', but the signal onward is cut so it is making no sound if I hit the kill switch. Yet my guitar and effects are still good to go.
 

telewhacked

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This is the 2 channel DI that I use about £50/$60, fairly rugged and reliable.
Klark Teknic now owned by Uli Behringer/Music Group who also own the TC Helicon stuff.

https://www.klarkteknik.com/product.html?modelCode=P0CN5
Thanks for the link.

I use Ditto loopers. I have never used a DI box to the mixer.
I am also setup so my guitar signal goes around the looper as well as through. That way with kill switches I can kill the loop to the amp or board, and still pass signal onward from the guitar. I wonder if you did that, if you could do it stereo?

This method the looper still 'thinks it's playing', but the signal onward is cut so it is making no sound if I hit the kill switch. Yet my guitar and effects are still good to go.
Hadn't thought of that! I think I follow what you're saying, but if you don't mind could you give a little more specific detail on how you route your signal "around" the loopers?

Thanks
 

schmee

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Thanks for the link.


Hadn't thought of that! I think I follow what you're saying, but if you don't mind could you give a little more specific detail on how you route your signal "around" the loopers?

Thanks
The 'kill switch ' is a switcher like the Tone Bone Big Shot EFX which signal passes through unless it's pushed "on" going out through a device like a looper.
 

Guitarteach

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I’d just use a pair of standard 1/4” cables from the looper outputs into the channel 5/6 pair of line sockets and not give it a second thought. That pair and 7/8 are stereo channels.

I always carry some DI boxes and use the Radial Stagebug actives myself though. Solid boxes, good features. I’ve just never envountered a noise issue to need them for my multifx and just use them for DI bass, acoustic and mandolin.


Passive version..
 
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