Signal chains and sound shaping (again?)

So, something @howard and @peterhuppertz were just discussing in a different thread got me thinking again. I am still very confused about the many ways to go from an input (the bass; and for the discussion here, let’s assume it puts out a neutral signal) to a recorded tone that is close to what you want to achieve (for a given song, genre, your general preference etc.).

For what I own hardware-wise, I could think of at least six configurations and I just wanted to put them out here for discussions - i.e., why a certain configuration is good or bad, or meaningless, or to be avoided because of reasons a, b, c etc.

To explain the graphic: I have a Rumble Studio 40, which is a modeling amp (i.e., it simulates amps, cabs, and effects); the GT-1B is a multi-effects board (i.e., it also models amps, cabs and effects), but for the discussion it could be replaced with any assortment of effects or just a pre-amp; GB stands or GarageBand, which also models amps, cabs and effects, apart from recording.

So what is feasible? What is impossible (e.g., because of signal levels being too low)? What is ludicrous? What is loony? What is the best approach?



The short answer is all of those are viable. 3, 4, 5, and a version of 6 without the DAI would make the most sense to me.

You have a bit of overlap in that you have modeling effects on both the GT-1B and the Studio 40. The GT-1B has an enormous advantage though - it can be used with other amps, or without an amp. The effects on the Studio 40 are anchored to the amp.

This is why I wouldn’t choose to have effects onboard on my amp. Even if you found a sound you really liked, it’s tied to that amp. Much preferable to find the sound you like on your pedals rather than in the amp.

This is not to bag on the Studio 40, mind you - it’s a great and versatile practice amp. I just wouldn’t want it to be where my main effects were, given the choice. Even so, having amp and cab sims on the Studio 40 is still cool, because you can make it sound like other amps while playing around.

My own setup is close to #5, except I run XLR from my final pedal to the DAI.

Unless you are mixing other instruments in I do not see much point in running analog out of the Studio 40 in to the DAI unless you don’t want to use its interface, for some reason. I’ve never used it though so there may be a reason.


I think I should have taken electrical engineering back in college . . . :slight_smile:


Thanks for the input, @howard!

My standard recording config is actually #4, where I use the modeling within GB, which, for bass, is a little less versatile than what either the Studio 40 or the GT-1B could offer.

I haven’t been overly successful to get config #3 to work (signal levels seem awfully low) or #2 (this must be some hardware setting somewhere on the DAI or something in GB, but I can’t get a signal through via XLR).

The GT-1B doesn’t have an XLR out, so #5 still would be analog into the DAI first.

#1 and #6, I haven’t even tried yet - just wondered whether it was possible. But, I guess, it doesn’t make much sense - at least if I can get the XLR connection to work.

I totally agree with you regarding the added challenge of being able to “take your sound with you” and reproduce it with other amps/in other venues. But, let’s take it one step at a time :smile:


totally agree.

my vision of all this is that you want to avoid unneeded analog-to-digital and/or digital-to-analog conversions. that’s why there is not much sense to use an analog output on the Studio 40 to enter into a digital thing (DAI). it is only true because your amp has a digital circuitry and so has the capability to be in the “3” configuration, which is obviously impossible with an analog amp.

'hope it makes sense and somewhat completes what @howard said !

it works. it’s similar than what I used (Line6 TonePort UX1 + Pod Farm) for all my covers before I bought the hardware Line6 preamps.

also, do the GT-1B have an USB out ? if yes, it would be better to use it than the DAI in the “5” configuration.

note : funny enough, my recording configuration is pretty similar to the “2” which is what I tell to avoid. but that’s because my old Line6 preamp does not have an USB out ! otherwise I would use the “3” configuration.


Thanks, @terb - I always appreciate you guys chiming in, and, slowly but steadily, I hope to get better with this stuff.

So, #3 would be the best option if I wanted to exploit the Studio 40’s sounds!?! And, likewise #5 if I wanted to exploit the GT-1B!?

Unfortunately, the GT-1B doesn’t have a USB out; it only has USB to program it and download sounds and patches etc.

OK; back to some more experimenting… :smile:


you sure will ! there are two distinct things : some kind of specific language which makes all this absolutly obscure if you don’t know what we’re talking about ; and some kind a logic which works with the knowledge on how those electronic things work. it’s not really easy at first but the more you talk about it the more you learn et get better :slight_smile:


yes. it appears that you’re pretty much with the same case with your GT-1B than me with my Bass POD Pro (digital thing with only analog output). some clock / sample rate issues may occur in this case, beware of having the same sample rate on the GT-1B and on the DAI, otherwise you will have some clicking noises.

and also a “7” configuration would be interesting if you want to use the GT-1B with the Studio 40, and it would be like “6” but without the DAI (or like “3” with the GT-1B added between the bass dans the amp)


So, I played around with #3 some more, and while I understand the basic idea of avoiding too many A/D or D/A steps, I think the USB interface introduces some new challenges.

First, I needed to figure out that not every USB-B to USB-C adapter is equal… the one I used first introduced some serious latency (more than 1 second) and some irregular high-pitched noises :rage: Another adapter proved better.

Then, I needed to really crank up the USB gain on the Studio 40 - basically to its max setting of +20 (dB?). Maybe the Studio 40 has a “cheap” internal A/D converter!?! Or maybe it needs the GT-1B in there in the chain as a decent pre-amp?!?

More stuff to explore… much more!!

EDIT: so the second USB-A to USB-C adaptor has “developed” some latency… :grimacing: I had left the whole setup for a while (while eating something) and now it also has latency… what the heck is going on??

EDIT 2: OK, so I just wanted to check the recording levels (latency or not), and hit the recording button - no latency anymore!?!? I start to understand why some people only want to deal with analog :grin:


That has got to be maddening.


pretty unlikely. Fender doesn’t usually go in the low-quality territory and today, decent A/D converters are not so expensive.

pretty unlikely too, the amp has its preamp and it should do the job.

maybe something with the drivers on the computer ?

also I’m wondering if the latency is not just the playback of the signal played by the computer, which you can (must) set to off and use only the amp itself as a monitor, in this case.


Aaaaah - you might be on to something here!! I had turned the volume all the way down on the amp and monitored via the computer and headphones.
What you are saying makes a lot of sense; however, now I can’t record with headphones anymore!?!? Oh, well, too bad for my wife :grin:


that’s an amp. a thing for real men. it makes some noise. :grin:


True, Laurent! But she might get tired after take 218 of my recording, which still wasn’t good enough :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


her problem, not yours.


(just kidding of course)


I don’t pretend to know anything on this topic, but I’d like to share this link I got in my email today. Hope it helps.


Actually now that I look closely,this article doesn’t actually address the question. Sowwy


No problem :smile:

Thanks for the share - that knowledge might come in handy later!


not at all the same topic but still interesting, maybe worth a share on the pedal thread ?


Yes, thanks @PamPurrs, I just had a read, and, being that I am experimenting with pedalboard set up, and power supplies, it’s a great reference. I actually returned the first power supply I bought, and just got a new one. I bought the first one based on price and number of ports, w/o taking into consideration the amps e@ch 9v supplied. The one I ended up with has only 300 ma per 9v port with selectable 9/12/15 500ma and 9/12/12/18 300ma ports… I had trouble turning on my B1four with the old power supply because of the amps, and had only one 9v port with 300ma and one 9v port with 500ma
Anyway, I think that’s what the deal with the Zoom pedal was, cuz I somewhat blindly changed the port ant it went on. But I started looking at options further and decided I needed an upgrade in power supplies, and made the switch.

Anyway, that link is very helpful​:+1:t2::facepunch:


I’m with you @Jazzbass19,
I have NFI what they are talking about?
I don’t even own any effects or pedals or amps with built in effect etc.
I would love to delv into that area but I wouldn’t even know where to start.
Maybe the good people on the forum can offer up some examples and what they do, this could help or lead to further addiction?
I have a drum machine I bought about 10 years ago or more and it’s sitting in a box :thinking::thinking: