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Guitar levels? [message #86431] Sun, 30 October 2016 10:05 Go to next message
mountainstorm is currently offline  mountainstorm
Messages: 5
Registered: October 2016
Junior Member
I'm trying to use my ULN-2 (not expanded) with a guitar and having some issues.

I've got my guitar plugged straight into the back of the ULN-2, the trouble I've got is choosing the right input gain. Essentially I've got an dynamic range problem and am wondering if this is a common problem or I'm doing something wrong.

If I adjust the gain, such that when playing loud chords it doesn't clip, I get unpleasant cutoff when the input level falls too low - so I don't capture the "background" noises e.g. moving your hand on the guitar neck.

Is this to be expected, am I using the wrong settings or do I need some magical bit of equipment? I've previously run my guitar through a GSP1101 and thus not been effected by this; but I'm trying to downsize.
Re: Guitar levels? [message #86432 is a reply to message #86431] Sun, 30 October 2016 16:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
tomg is currently offline  tomg
Messages: 33
Registered: June 2012
Location: denver, co
Member
Hi,

While I've had good success plugging an active bass directly to the ULN-2, with a passive guitar you're going to need a DI box. You could use either a passive or an active one (passive is usually cheaper) like one of the workhorse models by Radial Engineering (check out the Radial ProDI). You'd plug your instrument cable into the DI input and then patch an XLR cable between the DI and your ULN-2 preamp. With a good quality DI between your guitar and the pre, you'll get a great direct guitar sound.

Tom
Re: Guitar levels? [message #86433 is a reply to message #86432] Sun, 30 October 2016 17:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mountainstorm is currently offline  mountainstorm
Messages: 5
Registered: October 2016
Junior Member
What does a DI box do - I thought all it did was convert the signal from unbalanced to balanced? I assume it also does something else related to line level/resistance etc?
Re: Guitar levels? [message #86434 is a reply to message #86433] Sun, 30 October 2016 17:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
tomg is currently offline  tomg
Messages: 33
Registered: June 2012
Location: denver, co
Member
Yes, a DI converts an unbalanced, high-impedance signal, to a balanced low-impedance one.
Re: Guitar levels? [message #86435 is a reply to message #86434] Tue, 01 November 2016 17:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mountainstorm is currently offline  mountainstorm
Messages: 5
Registered: October 2016
Junior Member
So I borrowed a couple of DI boxes from a friend and did some more testing. Turns out it's not the ULN-2 which is the problem at all, it's Apples annoying guitar presets using a Noise Gate which keeps cutting out/in - turn that off and it's all fine.

If I loopback the input to output in MIO I can easily get a good gain setting which doesn't clip on loud chords but still allows me to hear hand movements. All three of my electric guitars [with passive pickups] work a treat and sounds great. Add in either a passive or active DI and I get the same results; all be it with a subtle change in tone and more noise. The tonal changes are interesting, I'd describe them as providing a more balanced tremble/middle/bass sound; the active DI being clearer and more balanced than the passive DI. That said, on balance I think I actually prefer the sound of my guitar direct into the ULN-2.

Need to do some more testing with my electro acoustic and might get a good DI anyway; but for my electric it doesn't seem to solve my problem.
Re: Guitar levels? [message #86436 is a reply to message #86435] Tue, 01 November 2016 19:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
tomg is currently offline  tomg
Messages: 33
Registered: June 2012
Location: denver, co
Member
Now I understand. You've been monitoring through plug ins. I thought it was just a level/impedance issue. The ULN pres are really quiet, so I'm not surprised you get satisfying results that way. Still, whenever I was recording a passive guitar like a Strat, the Radial JDI (which I owned at the time), or even a console-based DI, would win out.

In your second paragraph you mentioned "more noise": that must be direct, without the DI, right? A good DI should impart less noise, for sure.

Good luck recording! The ULN-2 is a great interface.

Tom
Re: Guitar levels? [message #86437 is a reply to message #86436] Wed, 02 November 2016 04:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mountainstorm is currently offline  mountainstorm
Messages: 5
Registered: October 2016
Junior Member
My main guitar is a mid 90s Patrick Eggle Berlin Pro; seems to work a treat, although direct into the interface it does sound a little bass heavy/rich - not an unpleasant sound.

As for noise and DIs, no. Direct into the interface there is barely any noise - with both DIs I get noticeable more noise, a lot more with the passive one than active (unsurprisingly). I suspect both DIs are pretty cheap as my friend mostly uses them for live work.

Coops
Re: Guitar levels? [message #86438 is a reply to message #86437] Wed, 02 November 2016 08:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
tomg is currently offline  tomg
Messages: 33
Registered: June 2012
Location: denver, co
Member
Sounds like a nice guitar! If you get the chance, try out one of the Radial DIs sometime. I think you'll notice a difference (they're very quiet, too).
Re: Guitar levels? [message #86638 is a reply to message #86438] Wed, 17 January 2018 20:09 Go to previous message
sammymic is currently offline  sammymic
Messages: 3
Registered: January 2018
Junior Member
All the DI boxes I have come across do not solve this problem
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