Building rig from ground up, suggestions needed.

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by The Bunker, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. The Bunker

    The Bunker SS.org Regular

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    Nah, if I was gonna do that, I would just use the dual rec then and then we'd be back to square one regarding hum with FX in the loop. The idea of lugging a head AND a seperate rack with an axe fx in it just doesn't really sit right with me...
     
  2. Dineley

    Dineley SS.org Regular

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    Yeah totally understand. Good luck finding your power amp!!
     
  3. The Bunker

    The Bunker SS.org Regular

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    Cheers man, thanks for your input.
     
  4. op1e

    op1e Blood_Lust:Unlimited

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    For close to 10 years now I've been using my gsp1101 and ns2 with Peavey Ultra, 5153, SLX, rm100, another couple amps I'm forgetting. Always solid state quiet. I can't see how an Axe FX would be any worse. You must be doing something wrong. I don't even use expensive cables.
     
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  5. The Bunker

    The Bunker SS.org Regular

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    This is exactly the kinda info I asked for. Maybe that FX unit is built better? I have only used TC stuff in past with tube heads and they all caused ground loops. I even took my rig to a tech once, who just basically said the TC electronic unit was the culprit and that it was shit.
     
  6. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Doc McStuffins Contributor

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    This thread hurts my head... every suggestion is met with, "oh I had that and it has hum I dont want it".

    All combinations of amps and effects are known not to have this problem. There is no stock, "oh if you combine A + B, you'll have ground loop hum" combinations of products. if you follow the directions of whatever product you are buying you will not have ground loop hum.

    You keep mentioning ground loop hum, but if you're using one multi-effect unit and an amp that's not going to happen anyways. Not if they are plugged into the same power supply. If all else fails, they make ground loop hum eliminators... Musicians Friend has one for $25.

    TC Electronics products don't come stock with ground loop hum.

    You keep saying every amp you bought had ground loop hum. Since 99% of the people that own the same products don't have this issue, it's you. Either your guitar, your configuration, your wiring, your dirty power, your environment... but it's clearly not inherent to every amp and effect unit you've owned.
     
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  7. op1e

    op1e Blood_Lust:Unlimited

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    I've only run into the problem when I try to run two amps thru the same rack with my loop switcher and power conditioner. From what I understand an Ebtech cures this.
     
  8. vick1000

    vick1000 SS.org Regular

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    Hmmm...maybe we should clarify our terminology so that we know we are on the same page.

    Ground hum, or more specifically 60 cycle noise, is generated from a poor ground connection. This can be caused by several things, including a poor ground at the power outlet, or just a bad cable. It is of course a low pitched 60hz constant noise, that will sometimes lessen when you put your hands on the strings or other parts of the guitar. With a high voltage tube amp, it is dangerous to play a guitar with grounded bridge, since you yourself may end up being the shortest path to ground.

    Then there is standard signal noise generated by various components of the signal, such as tubes, pedals, and other electronic devices. This can vary in pitch and level, from the white noise of high gain tube amps, to pink noise and feedback from boost pedals, etc...This can be mistaken for 60 cycle in certain cases, but is not caused by a ground issue, more from bad circuit design or high gain analog devices.

    While 60 cycle noise can be caused by a ground loop, unless you are using multiple units with a grounded power supply, it should not occur. It is more common in rack setups than typical pedals/head/cab setups, since in those rigs only the tube amp is grounded. This is where ground lift switches come in, a good piece of gear that has a grounded power supply should have a ground lift for just such problems. This allows the ground to pass through the signal cables to another grounded device in the case of ground loop noise.

    One other cause of 60 cycle noise is a bad phase inverter in a tube amp, this will mimic 60 cycle, and is indistinguishable, but generally starts at lower level, and increases as the tube worsens.

    Even the best and highest quality analog systems have some sort of noise, and in high gain situations we use gates/suppression to control or mask it.
     
  9. The Bunker

    The Bunker SS.org Regular

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    Ok so I'm an audio engineering student, I appreciate the info people are sharing but I DO know the difference between amp noise and ground loop hums. The fact that my rigs suffered from Ground loop hums have been confirmed because I WAS able to fix them by using the aforementioned ebtech units (these do not reduce amp noise only disconnect ground connections in the signal chain) I just CHOOSE not to use these units because they are the worst things for tone. I also took my rig to an amp tech who confirmed it was a ground loop and that he said other than doing some serious modifications to the units there was not much he could do. The opinion that some units are just bad in this regard was his initially not mine and I consider him to be more qualified than me to make that judgement... As far as other things are concerned I have taken all precautions I reasonably can when building rigs in the past, mainly making sure all my units share the same power outlets.

    Luckily I seem to have found a combination with the axe fx and a tube power amp that is both great sounding and devoid of ground issues so that is gonna be the heart of my next rig.
     
  10. vick1000

    vick1000 SS.org Regular

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    Yes, I have found the fewer pieces involved, the less chance of a loop. Which is logical since there are fewer paths to ground. I have gone with the same setup essentially, due the noise problems inherent in large multiunit rigs. For live tone and simplicity, I don't think you can beat a digital multiFX preamp into a tube power amp and guitar cab, as long as you are not after a wide variety of wildly different tones.

    Again, for future searches of this forum, ground loops can also be caused by bad power cables or low gauge power cables, due to the weaker path to ground from one unit to the next. Even poor ground connection within a device, can cause the path of least resistance to be through a cable to another device.
     
  11. The Bunker

    The Bunker SS.org Regular

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    Ok, I am just gonna leave this up here for anyone who cares or who might stumble upon this in search of an answer for their own problems in the future:

    So I bit the bullet and went ahead and bought a high gain head thinking to myself "I am gonna build a high gain rig this time with all the things I want in it and build it piece by piece and do whatever it takes to eliminate hum issues". Now for all you guys saying your rigs never hum and they are great blah blah, well this isn't for you. You are very very lucky or wise or both.

    So after trying everything including humbuster cables, playing with gain structures, using isolated power supplies for all pedals, using isolated power strip in the rack and everything else you can think of, nothing helped. As soon as I had anything with a 4 cable method I got a hum. Then I but the bullet again and went and ordered a paid of Jensen isolation transformers. And it turned out the connection from the first channel out of my ISP decimator going into my TS pedal before the map was where the hum was entering the signal chain. I put the isolation transformers there and that did the trick. Hum COMPLETELY gone. Now the only other time in the past that I had managed to get rid of hum in a rig was by using the Ebtech hum eliminators in my signal chain but they DESTROYED my tone and feel. The Jensens easily preserve about 99% of your tone and I wouldn't call the effect that they do have detrimental at all. It is more like they add their own flavour but they are not BAD for your tone.

    It is the first time I have been truly happy with a high gain head used with lots of pedals and fx in front and in the loop of the amp.

    So anyone else out there struggling with ground loop hums in their rig do yourself a favour and don't compromise your tone. Whatever you do DO NOT use the crappy ebtech transformers. Get some nice Jensens and you'll be very happy with the results.

    Anyone wanting to know my signal chain post and I will happily provide the deets...
     
  12. Nicki

    Nicki SS.org Regular

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    I'm unsure as to why you put the ISP Decimator in any position other than the last position in your FX chain going to the Return on the FX Loop.

    It sounds like you've solved your problem, albeit in a seemingly inconvenient manner. Personally, my recommendation would have been an ISP Decimator G-String since it's pretty much built to be an FX Loop gate and kills all hum coming from anything in the FX Loop. The signal chain would have looked like this:

    Guitar -> ISP Guitar In
    ISP Guitar Out -> Amp
    FX Loop Send -> Other pedals -> ISP Dec In
    ISP Dec Out -> FX Loop return.

    In theory, any gate placed in the last position of the signal chain before the power amp would kill all hum as well, but the nice thing about the G-String is that it tracks your guitar seperately from the gating circuit so that threshold breaches and signal decay is more accurately responded to.

    To me, this doesn't sound like a hum produced by a ground loop, but hum produced from the TS pedal as a result of boosting the signal or not being true bypass and the position in your chain in which your gate sits.
     
  13. The Bunker

    The Bunker SS.org Regular

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    Not sure we on the same page on that one... noise gate as last in chain before fx loop return would be the worst position in most conventional setups as it would kill the tail of any delays or reverbs you might have before it.

    Any how the Pro rack G has two channels. On which tracks the guitar the other sits in the loop. I now have my rig wired exactly the way I want it, with a tone that is exactly what I want and zero noise issues and have solved the ONLY way I have been able to.

    Also your signal chain doesn't allow for pedals before the amp... but that's another story.
     
  14. The Bunker

    The Bunker SS.org Regular

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    Also using a noise gate to deal with hum is just bad bad bad! Its still all there just being muted when you are not playing. The Jensen actually get RID of the hum! Not just mask it.
     
  15. op1e

    op1e Blood_Lust:Unlimited

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    Pedals get wonky connections sometimes. Took my buddys NS2 to our tech twice and he cleaned it and checked the jacks and everything. Sweared there was nothing wrong. Brought it back and still bad buzzing and had to mess with the connection.
     
  16. Deadpool_25

    Deadpool_25 SS.org Regular

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    This thread has been interesting. And fun. @The Bunker I am interested in your signal chain. Please post it up.

    I would have suggested a high gain amp of your choice and, depending on your needs, either a Fractal FX8 or maybe a couple of Line6 M9s. I haven’t had hum with my FX8 and TC-50 but I use short cables as I’m just at home. I do have some Humbuster cables (2 from Fractal, 2 I made myself) but don’t really need them.

    The interesting thing about the dual M9 (or similar) is that you should be able to just put one pre and one post and not have to worry about ground loops. And the M pedals are actually pretty damn good.

    It’s also interesting that you hated the ebtech hum eliminator. I have one just in case. I’m building a stereo setup with a Peavey Invective and the TC-50 and thought I might have a ground loop hum issue. We will see, but it’s definitely got my attention that the ebtech might have some significant tone-suck.
     
  17. The Bunker

    The Bunker SS.org Regular

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    Sure thing.

    So I ended buying a Bogner Uberschall for a great price locally. Its not an amp that I had had much experience with in the past but I had played other Bogners and also were aware of their existence. I wanted so badly to get a dual rec but the other player in my band has one so I wanted to get something different. These two amps actually compliment each other really well. Its as if the dual rec just punches you in the face with its smooth creamy distortion while the Bogner fills in the gaps in the frequency with its insane amount of saturation.

    Anyway back on topic... After having bought the head I didn't really want to spend much on rack FX, I wanted to get either a G-force or G major II or something similar. Ended up getting a G major II for FX loop. 99% of the time I am just using that for EQ and that is it as I mainly play chugga chugga rhythm and not much else. Axe FX would have been awesome but too expensive and probably totally overkill.

    I also had an ISP decimator pro rack G kicking around which I planned to use as well as it is still IMO the best noise gate out there for guitar.

    And to finish it all off I just bough a Diamond compressor which is the first thing my guitar goes into. And a TS style pedal (the One Control green Persian screamer).

    Now this was my signal chain:

    Guitar > Comp pedal > ISP ch1 > TS pedal > Amp input

    then...

    Amp FX send > ISP CH 2 > G major II > amp FX Return

    Now when I connected all this up as per my expectations there was a ground loop hum almost as loud as my signal. Other things to note here is that the ISP decimator and all the pedals were being powered with Voodoo Labs Pedal Power supplies so the power was going in as clean as possible. Everything was also plugged into a fairly cheap power conditioner, which is more of a surge protector and HF filter and probably not doing much....

    So then I got my Jensen transformers and tried them in the FX loop between the Amp's send and the ISP ch2 input and the G major 2 output and the amp's return. I was disappointed to hear the hum did not go away so started experimenting and soon realised that when the chi 1 output of the decimator was being connected to the TS pedal before the amp it was creating a hum regardless of whether I had anything in the FX loop or not. Now I know in the past hum has entered my rig from different points in the signal chain but I think that is the nature of it, depending on what you have plugged in hum will get in based on what the easiest path is. So maybe (almost certainly) if I didn't have the TS pedal there I still would have had hum it just would have come in from another point in the chain.

    So anyway then I put the Jensen transformer between the ISP CH.1 output and the TS and not only did it get rid of the hum, the hum did not also return anywhere in the signal chain within the FX loop which was very surprising.

    So my final chain looked like this:

    Guitar > Comp Pedal > ISP CH.1 > Jensen ISO Transformer > TS Pedal > Amp input >
    Amp FX SND > ISP CH.2 > G major II > AMP FX RTRN
     
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  18. Deadpool_25

    Deadpool_25 SS.org Regular

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    Great. Thanks for the info. My new amp should be here next week; hopefully my stereo rig will be hum-free.
     

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