Plugging synths into guitar pedals

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Moogite
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Plugging synths into guitar pedals

Post by Moogite » Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:23 am

I was thinking of running my Minitaur through a Boss DS-1 distortion pedal but, since that would mean plugging a line level connection into something intended for a guitar, I'm concerned about damaging either the pedal or the synth.

Would there be any real harm in trying this out, or is there something I should use to lower the input for the pedal? If anybody else is doing this, what tips and advice can you give?

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stiiiiiiive
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Re: Plugging synths into guitar pedals

Post by stiiiiiiive » Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:43 am

Hi Moogite!!

I use synths with stompboxes al the time, no problem for me :)

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thealien666
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Re: Plugging synths into guitar pedals

Post by thealien666 » Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:03 am

Yeah, me too... I've been using Boss stompboxes for decades with synths without any problems. Just keep the output level in the mid range (especially with a distortion pedal) otherwise you'll get a square waveform no matter what setting you choose ! :lol:
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modoc_333
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Re: Plugging synths into guitar pedals

Post by modoc_333 » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:14 am

I have done it and it works great. Cranking the output will give distortion for better or worse. Enjoy!
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Kenneth
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Re: Plugging synths into guitar pedals

Post by Kenneth » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:33 am

Do it! Using pedals with synths is the best! :D
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Kevin Lightner
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Re: Plugging synths into guitar pedals

Post by Kevin Lightner » Thu Jan 30, 2014 5:32 pm

Do it!
I've never hurt a pedal or been asked to repair a pedal that blew from a synth plugged in.
Some pedals have an AGC circuit too. AGC means automatic gain control.
Those designs will adapt to a hotter signal being used.

My hammond (L-102) had a built in "pedal" MXR flanger and Roland CE-1 chorus box set to overload.
Never a problem.
It was my favorite combo and totally changed the hammond from a home organ to a mean machine.

And for those into stereo stuff, a dry mix on one channel and the processed signal on the other channel can sometimes make for a really big sound.

I agree with all the others: treat it as a synth module.
Just don't forget some have batteries that drain when a plug is inserted.
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Voltor07
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Re: Plugging synths into guitar pedals

Post by Voltor07 » Fri Feb 07, 2014 3:06 am

I use a #1 Echo by EHX on my synths. :)
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BrianK
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Re: Plugging synths into guitar pedals

Post by BrianK » Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:40 pm

You MAY notice a serious loss of bass - this happens on a lot of distortion pedals. Some do it on purpose by design, others where it just happens. If low end is a needed thing, search the bass guitar forums for what they use. Bass players always have issues with pedals!

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MC
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Re: Plugging synths into guitar pedals

Post by MC » Mon Feb 10, 2014 7:10 pm

BrianK wrote:You MAY notice a serious loss of bass - this happens on a lot of distortion pedals. Some do it on purpose by design, others where it just happens. If low end is a needed thing, search the bass guitar forums for what they use. Bass players always have issues with pedals!


That's a consequence of pedal design. They are designed to work off unipolar 9V batteries whereas bigger devices operate off bipolar +/-15VDC power rails.

One, pedal design limits the opamps you can use as not all opamps can operate from unipolar power rails. And you have to avoid opamps that draw too much current from the battery or you will prematurely drain the battery (5532s and 5534s are notorious for current draw). Using an external pedal power supply doesn't change the argument or make it better, the pedal still is designed to work from a battery.

Two, unipolar design severely limits your headroom - opamps don't operate as efficiently as they can with bipolar supplies.

Three, these things were designed for microvolt signals from guitar pickups and will easily clip from a much hotter signal from a synth, analog or digital.

Four, unipolar design requires AC coupling caps because there is an internal DC bias to maintain signal integrity without clipping - you lose bass end with these caps.

Five, full frequency bandwidth requires POWER. Battery devices don't have enough. A common design tradeoff is to limit bass frequencies at the benefit of long battery life. It's a case of pick your poison.

You won't damage anything running a synth through a guitar pedal, but don't expect stellar fidelity.
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stiiiiiiive
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Re: Plugging synths into guitar pedals

Post by stiiiiiiive » Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:29 pm

MC, thanks a lot for this insight. I myself started soldering kits, painting enclosures etc, and I'm willing to achieve my own desgins at one point. This kind of information is golds for the beginner I am :)

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