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Re: mixing a looping rig
Use two stereo channel strips for your two stereo sources. As for the
Jamman and Vortex, here are some closely related questions you need to
answer to decide the best setup:
1) Do you want to go the Vortex and Jamman in series (one after the other)
or in parallel (both get the same stereo signal at the same time)? Series
is easier to do, parallel is harder.
2) Is it OK if your signal always passes through these effects, or do you
want also to be able to route your signal directly to tape or PA without
passing it through the V & J?
3) Do you need the signal(s) from the V & J to go back into the mixer
(maybe (1) because they are in parallel or (2) because you sometimes want
to be able to bypass them completely or perhaps because you want to eq them
or route them somewhere besides main outs).
4) Would it be acceptable if the inputs to the V & J were mono? (Remember,
the loop within the Jamman is mono anyway, although it does pass through
stereo signals. On the other hand, the Vortex has certain effects that are
designed to work with stereo or even with two mono signals.)
You should answer those questions as best you can, and then I (or someone
else) will give you a specific setup recommendation. However, here are some
(A) Go to the V & J in parallel and mono from AUX SEND 1 & 2 and return
from them either into AUX RETURNs 1 & 2 or give them their own stereo or
mono channel strips.
(B) Go to the V & J in series and stereo from ALT 3/4 or from MAIN OUTS or
from CTRL OUT. Then go straight from the V (or J, whichever is last in the
series) into your tape recorder or computer or amplifier or butthole.
(C) Some combination of (A) and (B).
(D) All of the above, plus a patchbay.
Merits and demerits of (A):
The primary disadvantage of setup (A) is that you are only sending a mono
signal to the V & J. This doesn't make much difference in the case of the
Jamman, since you can always hear your 'dry' signal in stereo without
having to pass it through the J, simply by turning up your channel faders
(actually, they are channel knobs, but whose counting?).
The second disadvantage of setup (A) is that whichever unit is on AUX SEND
2 is always getting a post-fader level. This means, for example, that you
can't turn the dry signal for a channel all the way down and still send
some of that signal to the unit. This is probably not at all what you want
for the Vortex, since you will often want to hear only the weird Vortex
sound with no dry signal. However, it may not be so bad in the case of the
Jamman, since you will usually want to hear what you are looping while you
play it. You could turn the Jamman MIX knob to full output (no input
signal), and then it would not 'double' your signal while you play it.
There are other workarounds for this problem, such as MUTE-ing a channel
with the MUTE button while keeping the fader (knob) turned up, but if you
have something else getting signal from ALT 3/4, then MUTE will send that
Further disadvantages include high possibilities of feedback if you twist
the wrong knob, extensive time spent 'debugging' when something isn't
working how you expect it to, and, if you give them each a channel strip,
you have used up a lot of channels already.
The big advantage of (A) is that you have more control over your signal
flow, especially if you give each unit its own channel strip, instead of
returning through AUX RETURNs. So, you can send signal first to the V and
then from the V to the J while also adding other signal to the J, then send
the loop from the J to the amp. Or you can create a loop on the J, then
send it to the V and then to the MAIN or STUDIO outs. Also, you can use the
V & J completely independently of each other.
Merits and demerits of (B):
The primary disadvantage of (B) is the total lack of flexibility. You are
either going from the V to the J or from the J to the V, and you have to
decide in advance. Moreover, you don't get to alter the wet/dry mix from
your board; either a given channel goes to the J&V or it doesn't. You have
different kinds of flexibility depending on which outputs you send to the
(I) ALT 3/4, flexibility to choose which channels go and how much of each
channel, but any channel going to the J&V doesn't go to the MAIN OUTs.
(II) CTRL RM outs, the only way to send a special mix to the CTRL RM outs
is using the solo buttons, which has the advantage of not affecting the
MAIN MIX and ALT 3/4 but the (big) disadvantage of not allowing you to set
relative levels. Otherwise you are better off using the MAIN OUTs.
(III) MAIN OUTs work well for scenario (B), since you want to send your
whole signal through the equipment, however, if for some reason you don't
want to do this, your 1/4" main outs are no longer available (although you
could still use the XLRs).
Another disadvantage of (B) is that the cheap electronics in the V&J go a
long way to degrading signals, especially quiet signals or delicate
signals, or timbrally complex signals. Considering that you are getting
your signals from a GR-30 and a pedal board, this may not make too much
difference, but your ears will hurt at the end of the night if you listen
to everything through the V&J (even if you choose bypass on the V and go
straight through the J). If you record what you do, and you want anything
dry, I would make sure not to pass it through the V&J.
The big advantage of (B) is that it is easy and quick and simple.
Merits and demerits of (C):
You might use the setup as in (B), going to the V&J from the ALT 3/4 outs,
but then go back from the V&J into a channel strip. Then you can send your
GR-30 and pedal board to the V&J series, bring the signal back to the board
where you can eq or even send it to effects on AUX SENDs, and then go from
MAIN OUTs to wherever you want. This is still pretty simple, but lets you
tweak the signal a bit more. (You can get rid of a lot of that hiss by
turning down the high eq.)
More complicated but more flexible, would be to put one unit on an AUX SEND
and one on the ALT 3/4. You can try to figure out what this will
accomplish, but I am sure it has some advantage over other setups.
Finally, what about (D):
The great advantage of (D) is that it will allow you to quickly use any of
the above setups without having to get out of your seat and climb behind
the rickety table your mixer is sitting on to move wires around. Patchbays
are relatively cheap, not usually very noisy, and, once you get your head
around them, easy to use. You should have a patchbay.
The disadvantage of (D) is that you have to get way more cables, design a
labeling system, and think hard about every change you make. Plus, you are
likely to become obsessive about making sure that every input and output is
hooked into your patchbay.
Wow, I didn't mean to write a dissertation. I hope this helps. You are
>I remember that there were some Mackie users on
>this list and I just got a 1202vlz. What i want to
>do is run stereo from a gr-30 and stereo from my
>guitar pedalboard into a Vortex and Jamman in the
>effects loop but I have never used such a
>sophisticated mixer! Any help on this would be
>appreciated. Also suggestions for a suitable power
>amp and speakers.
>thanks in advance,