DI/Daw question

So you can go from your bass into your (in my case) Scarlett 2i2 into garageband to record. But what if I want to flip that around, can I use garageband and my DI to go out to an amp? I think this is possible but would it sound good in the real world? Because with the billions of effects, amp sims, plug-ins, rhythm tracks etc either built in or available in my DAW I’m thinking it could replace pedalboards, preamp, all that on stage if you just had a small laptop on stage.


hey @itsratso,
i record from my presonus 24c DAI straight into my GB, why do you need to go through the amp?.
I havent used effects pedals as yet , i have a b1four x sitting on the floor yet to be used, but my suggestion would be to go from guitar through effects pedals etc into the DAI and straight into GB.
If you are recording to a drum track in GB listen to that through head phones,thats how i am doing it.
I thimk the only thing you would need to do is set up the effects pedal or in my case set the b1 four x up through amp and then plug straight into the DAI?
i am sure there are others on the forum who would know more about this than me.
i am only sharing my own opinions.
Hope this Helps.
Cheers Brian


It should work fine to go from the line out on your DAI to the input on the amp. Just be careful with levels when you try it.


Does your amp have an Aux in? If it does, that might do the trick, just go from the laptop’s headphone to the Aux in.

@b.s.excavations, he wants to go from the computer to the amp, not the amp to the computer. This would turn the computer into a virtual pedal board with an infinite amount of possibilities for pedal models and board creations, without even needing a pedalboard.


I would definitely do DAI line out to the amp’s normal input before doing headphone out to aux in.

The DAI most likely has a way higher quality DAC than the computer phone out, and also it’s producing a line level signal, not a headphone level signal. Also the aux in on the amp will likely skip the amp’s preamp.


I’ve not done it but read a bit about it. Apparently you need to level and impedance match from the line level output of the Scarlett (one of the line outs not the headphone out) to the instrument level input jack on your amp. This is called “re-amping” apparently and there are ready made re-amp interfaces you can buy to sit between the DAI and the amp and do the necessary magic. No idea what they cost.
The rationale for using the re-amp box is that so you don’t have to turn the output of the Scarlett down so low to give an instrument level signal, which would kill your SNR.


Guess I kind of misunderstood the set up, I thought it was coming from the computer directly to the amp. I was not aware it could go from the computer back thru the DAI, and then to the amp. Yeah, I wold certainly use the DAI in that case.

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Thanx all, I will have to look into this reamping thing. Not saying I’m going to do it but the possibilities seem amazing.


AHA :flushed:


looks like you got a winner there, and now have an unlimited multi effects processor. All set now.


@itsratso: I would certainly appreciate a summary of whatever final solution will work for you - this is potentially very interesting for many others!

Are you aware of Apple’s MainStage?


I have not tried it yet, but it sounds like it does exactly what you have in mind. Still, the connection back to an amp is still not clear to me either. And that is why I hope you find a solution :grin:


If the re-amping works from a signal level point of view, and is not too expensive to buy the re-amp interface, then my question would be could you chain many virtual pedals in a DAW and still have it useable from a low latency point of view, with many chained virtual effects?


It’s possible to consider hooking this up without the re-amping box and see how it does. There’s no damage that could happen as long as you start with your amp turned down low.

I know this isn’t what the product marketing or some articles say.

  1. impedance matching - line level outputs usually have no trouble driving high impedance inputs. It’s the other way around where instruments can’t drive line level inputs. I’d say this is largely if not entirely myth.

  2. Level matching. The re-amp box will pad down the line level as much as 20 dB or so. However, this is no different than turning down the Monitor knob on the Scarlett as far as keeping signal-to-noise ratio goes. Turning down any soft knobs inside the DAW can destroy SNR. I don’t think the re-amp box is helping any here either if the Scarlett is designed how I think it is.

  3. ground loops. It’s likely that lifting the shield on the wire would take care of this. If one doesn’t like modifying cables, it may be worth $99 just for this switch alone.

  4. transformer. Could also help with ground isolation, but is also a potential source of distortion if it isn’t a good one.

It could be totally worth $99 for many other reasons. Like having all the right connectors on it for standard cables or being able to set the pad trim and have it always work without trying to remember where the Scarlett knobs need to be set. It may work fine without it though.


Yeah, if you’re already using a DAI, I would just try running a line out right to the amp, as mentioned.

Ground lift is a killer feature, absolutely required for me (I have a ground loop between my pedalboard and my computer). But $99 also goes a long way towards a killer preamp/DI/Drive pedal with a ground lift on its out :slight_smile:

Of course that wouldn’t help if the loop was between the DAI and the amp.


I was reading user comments on Amazon for this. One person said that it works really well with Clean guitar signal, but if you want to use effects, you should use the Active version.
I am just looking into what this is and does, I don’t know very much about it.

The powered one is double price however.


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Interesting. So the basic gist of these things is impedance and level matching, and providing a ground lift?

Certainly can’t hurt. I wonder how much it improves things.


Well I was just kicking around the idea, I hope everyone isn’t waiting for me to do it :joy:


I tried doing research on this and I couldn’t find a direct answer to the question of whether you can use DAW effects in a live performance situation. I did find some answers to some of the questions and have tried to piece it all together here.

Can you use DAW effects in a live performance situation?
The short answer is, No. This seems to be entirely related to latency. Even though each device/plugin/app/whatever is only responsible for a very small amount of latency, when you add all of it together it pretty quickly becomes too much. You can only have 10ms of latency before it starts to throw things off.

Bullsh!t, Deadmau5 and Skrillex both use Abelton during live concerts!
Yes, they do. It has features built in specifically for triggering sounds and samples in a live show. This is a very different signal chain - action - result - combination than trying to use a DAW in the way we’re talking about.

What’s causing all this latency? My computer is Bad Ass and I use it for 1st Person Shooter Internet games all the time!
Most computers are built as general purpose machines with the ability to add the bells and whistles you want and make them all work together. This only goes so far since at it’s core it’s still a general purpose machine and not necessarily designed for the purpose you’re using it for.

For instance, most computers can do video games pretty well but a purpose built top tier Corsair One Pro i200 Video Gaming Computer will cost $4500.

Granted, you can spend $4000 on a purpose built DAW workstation for recording but it still isn’t designed for live real time processing like we’re talking about since that’s not the generally expected use for a DAW workstation.

Why can’t musicians have nice things like those gaming nerdz?
It all comes down to economics. Video games are a 138 billion dollar industry (right now). Whereas, the DAW industry isn’t expected to reach 4.5 billion dollars until 2027 (current numbers were hidden behind pay walls).

Since video games are worth so much more it’s worth it to manufacturers to make sure hardware, operating system, and gaming applications work as well as possible. Since the DAW industry is smaller there are fewer people working on it.

There is good news though. Even though the DAW industry is small by comparison it is seeing a sustained boom time which attracts investors who bring in money. More money means more functionality and a faster turn around time on bringing that functionality to market.

We have this thread, Deezer's Spleeter, talking about a new software algorithm that lets you take a completed song and split it back out into the individual instrument tracks, called stems. More investment would see software like this becoming a reality.

Then there is also development on using the Graphics Processing Units on video cards to do audio processing. This could very well make the idea of having your DAW replace all of your pedals and amplifiers a reality for a real time live play environment.

Then what are my options?
This is where purpose built computers shine. Current examples include the Kemper Profiler Stage ($1700), Fractal Audio Axe-FX III ($2000 +$700 with foot pedal), Line 6 Helix ($1700), and to a lesser degree, Zoom Multi Effects, Boss Multi Effects, etc.

What if I want to test this out for myself and plug my line out directly into my amp?
Sounds cool. Please let us know how it goes. Nobody else seems to be talking about it so BassBuzz might get traffic from all over the world to see how it turns out. I will warn that line level to instrument level can cause problems for various electro-magical reasons that @DaveT went over above. Reports I read included hum, buzz, distortion (not the good kind), and it just sounding “not right”.

Well, what about those Re-Amp boxes?
These are highly recommended for this purpose since they can fix all of the problems caused by going line level to instrument level.

As a weird side bar, I ended up getting pretty deep in my searching and found where live sound engineers use these things to solve all kinds of problems. Like if you’re using a wireless unit between your instrument and your other gear you can have buffering problems making your tone sound dull and lifeless. If you put a re-amp box between the wireless receiver and the rest of you equipment it fixes this. How, you may wonder, does this work? I have no idea. Electro-magitism? Maybe?

Dude, why should I trust any of this information?
:rofl: You probably should not. :rofl:
I’m not a professional on any of this. However, my Google-Fu is strong.
And I had about eight hours to spend researching and correlating.
Ahh. Researching and correlating. It relaxes me.
But it does not always make me right.

If anybody finds themselves in a situation to test out the instrument - DAI - DAW - effects - DAI - amplifier for real time play, I would really like to hear how practical experience turns out.


Amazing work sir. All in all if it was as simple as plugging in to your DAW I think it would be a common practice which it obviously is not. Also software like that Apple one above would not exist, which I think bears more research into (apple mainstage).


Great overall!

This is correct, though. MIDI sequencers (built in to DAWs) get used live all the time - I’ve done it myself. Every time I have performed live, in fact. And both DJs and EDM musicians use Ableton Live live a lot - it’s arguably what it is for.