What is a “line out” ?

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by Bearitone, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. Bearitone

    Bearitone SS.org Regular

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    I never actually use a line out because I’m just a home jammer with a 412 cab but, what exactly is a “line out”?

    How does it differ from preamp-out/effects-send?
     
  2. HeHasTheJazzHands

    HeHasTheJazzHands greg rulz ok

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    Line outs a recording level out. Like you can go straight into a mixer or an interface with that.

    I BELIEVE a preamp out/FX send would be a similar signal. Talking out my ass though. :lol:
     
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  3. The906

    The906 lifetime novice Contributor

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    I might be mis remembering, but isn't Line Out 1V Peak to Peak? Or maybe that's another standard.
     
  4. StevenC

    StevenC SS.org Regular

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    Line outs are usually recording level, but vary a bunch after that. Some are before the poweramp and would therefore be a lot like the FX send sound, but others are after the power amp to give a more complete amp sound. Often they'll have some sort of speaker simulation, like the JVM.

    They usually still require a load in the power amp, because the master volume controls the line out volume.
     
  5. Bearitone

    Bearitone SS.org Regular

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    Oh, so they’re basically all over the fuckin place lol

    And what is “recording level”
    How much louder or quieter in dB is the signal compared to preamp out?
     
  6. Deadpool_25

    Deadpool_25 SS.org Regular

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    The line outs on the Mesa amps are usually straight off the speaker taps so you can run them into an interface and through an IR and still have the power amp included in the signal (as opposed to the tap coming off before the power amp and losing that in the signal).
     
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  7. tedtan

    tedtan SS.org Regular

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    Preamp out, FX send, line out, and recording out are all typically instrument (e.g., guitar) level outputs, though you may occasionally find a hotter +4 line level out in some cases. But there is no standard, so it will vary from one amp to the next.
     
  8. Bearitone

    Bearitone SS.org Regular

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    So, in this case with the Mesa, when you say it’s “straight off the speaker taps” does that mean it’s the same amplitude as a speaker out? In that case do you need an interface that also acts as a load box?

    I’m pretty lost.

    Maybe i’ll just phone up an amp repair guy.
     
  9. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    Line out has to be defined by the user manual. It is different for every company/piece of equipment. In general: consumer Line Level is -10dB @ 100-600 ohms, where pro Line Level is 0 to +4dB at a similar high impedance. You still need an output transformer (or output transistor in ss) to convert the low current, high impedance signal into a high current, low impedance (4-16 ohm) signal that a speaker load can handle.
     
  10. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    Depending on the actual level of the Line Out: it can vary from roughly 1-3.5v peak to peak.
     
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  11. mnemonic

    mnemonic Custom User Title

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    No, it’s though a large resistor so you only get a low level signal out of the slave out / line out of a Mesa. I just googled a dual rectifier schematic, and it shows that it’s off the 4 ohm tap, using a 6,800 ohm resistor and 10k pot.

    You still need a speaker load attached to the amp.

    But since it’s off the speaker tap, that means you get a line(ish) level signal of the full amp, including the impedence response of the speaker cab. Then you apply an impulse to that in your DAW. pretty useful, really.

    The actual level of the signal depends on the master volume and line out volume settings.
     
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  12. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    Great point. That’s an important part to understand too.

    By plucking a string, the pickup generates a very small current. The current is too small, and the impedance is too large, to move a speaker’s voice coil. It needs to be amplified; but a (power) amplifier needs a certain amount of current/impedance to work with as well. Enter the preamplifier. With a high impedance Input: it is expecting a very small incoming current, which gets amplified through the different stages of the circuit. The primary function of a preamp is simply to increase the current (which decreases the impedance) to a (line) level that an amplifier can receive at its Input. As guitar players, we’ve come to love the sound of clipping that signal, so the sine wave will reach the power amp in all different volumes and clipped wave forms.

    The process is very similar from the pickup signal to the Line Out: as from the Line Out to the Speaker Out. The signal gets amplified even greater and gets to the OT at a relatively low current (though much higher than the original signal at the pickup) high impedance signal that transforms into a low impedance, high current signal perfect for a speaker.
     
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  13. Deadpool_25

    Deadpool_25 SS.org Regular

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    What @mnemonic said :)
     
  14. LiveOVErdrive

    LiveOVErdrive CNC hack

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    Sort of. They have a volume knob iirc. AFAIK the line out ("slave out") is just a volume pot across the speaker output. But I'm just guessing.

    Edit: someone already answered better than me. Need to refresh the page before I reply :)
     
  15. Deadpool_25

    Deadpool_25 SS.org Regular

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    Really, I think the very basic thing to understand is that you use it to send your amp’s sound to something else. Typically that something else is an interface or mixer at FOH. It lets you use the amp’s sound without needing to mic up the cab. With that said, you usually still need to have a speaker connected to the speaker jacks.
     
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  16. efiltsohg

    efiltsohg SS.org Regular

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    some FX loops are line level but not all
     
  17. HeHasTheJazzHands

    HeHasTheJazzHands greg rulz ok

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    That I remember. Some Fortin stuff is instrument level. I think some other boutique amps are as well, mostly to work for pedals. Although I believe a lot of '80s and early '90s amps are line level to work with rack gear.
     
  18. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    Fx loops are all over the place on this. My Bogner Goldfinger 45 SL has an "instrument" level option that I consider pretty much useless as it is too low level for any pedal I've used. The line level setting with the fx send level turned down worked far better.

    For the record you can get pretty good results running an fx loop send into a poweramp sim plugin like Ignite Amps TPA-1 and that into a cab sim plugin. I tried this with my Bogner and honestly it wasn't far off from running through my Fryette Power Station 2's lineout with the amp's own poweramp in play.

    I feel lineouts on amps have for decades been one of those things that are not particularly useful as it's just as easy to mic the amp and as mentioned a lot of them don't necessarily work for silent amp situations. The non-defeatable rudimentary cab sim filters haven't been great either.
     
  19. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

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    This thread inspired me to play with the line out options on my Twin Jet and Ultra Lead. I ran the line out into my Axe FX II and used it as an impulse loader/EQ and the results were awesome. My favorite real cabs are my Mesa Traditional 4x12s and I used the Ownhammer Cali Duo pack, which has a ton of impulse options based on that model. I got a pretty similar sound to what I'm used to in my jam space with some EQ and a tiny touch of studio reverb.

    I actually ended up ordering a Suhr Reactive Load so I can do the same thing silently :D
     
  20. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    DudeManBrother explained best.

    to talk about line out is to be used to then plug into n interface and mixer is right, but its also wrong. Interfaces and mixers both can handle Line In levels, as well as Mic/Instrument levels, reason why some might have a "line/Mic" switch, or input, and other might jsut hav a "pad" button

    your guitar is a low signal instrument, same as a vocal microphone. "Line" levels, think about like a powered out, its the kind of level that lets say a Cd player/ipod would give you, a Keyboard would do this too.

    remember those big stereos people used to have at home? (maybe you did/have one), usually those have an "input" for external sources. You can plug your guitar there with a 1/4" to 1/8" jack adapter, or to RCA... but you wont be able to hear your guitar..... just like plugging your headphones straight into your guitar.... A "line out" would give you a stronger/powerfull/louder/hotter (donno the right term now) signal so you could be able to plug into your stereo.... but not hot enough that it would blow it
     

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