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Unfortunately, the design engineers decided to dual purpose an output without understanding the consequences. The PHONES/DIRECT OUT provides a stereo signal to the tip and the ring of a 1/4 Jack when inserted into the connector on the back panel. This is fine for listening with headphones but absolutely WORTHLESS when connecting to any mixing console  input. 

 

Almost all mixer inputs accept BALANCED audio signals and when you send a STEREO signal to such an input you will only hear the audio that is not common to either channel. Mostly it will be a really crappy, low level signal that is impossible to use to anything.  The easy fix is to lift one of the conductors on the cable (tip or ring) and leave it unconnected to anything. A more complex fix is to combine the leaft and right channels to make a mono signal and put it on the tip of a cable sent to the mixer and leave the ring unconnected. 

 

WHY?

 

Because BALANCED audio format is one of the coolest tricks around. A balanced output has the guitar (audio) signal AND the inverse of the guitar (audio)  signal both on the one cable. Signal on the tip (or pin 2 in XLR) and inverse of the signal on the ring (pin 3 of the XLR) . When these signals are sent to a BALANCED INPUT, the signals are SUBTRACTED from each other to produce a signal with twice the gain. This is all done to eliminate the noise which will be a positive signal on both conductors. 

 

Say the signal is 2 volts and the noise is .5 volts.    You get 2 - (-2) = 4 for the signal and  .5 -.5 = 0 for the noise. brilliant stuff because it is so simple. 

 

So when you plug your DIRECT OUT into a balanced input (almost all mixers have balanced inputs) you get LEFT SIGNAL - RIGHT SIGNAL = almost all the good stuff gone! 

 

I was shocked that a great company like LINE6 would pass this off and even tell you tpo use the DIRECT OUT to record.  Really a remedial design issue that should have been caught before they made the amps. 

 

peace

 

 

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Very simple solution (which I have used):  stereo splitter cable that takes the stereo TRS and splits it off to 2 mono TS plugs.  this way you can plug both into separate inputs and get the stereo effects of the Spider amp, not just a mono signal - which you could get by using a TRS-TS adapter. 

Obviously a balanced XLR (or 2 for stereo) would be better for DI purposes.

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Good idea for getting the stereo signal out of the amp! But of course  stereo effects are not possible with the amp alone since it only has one speaker....lol And since the Spider amp  doesn't provide a balanced output on either (headphone) channel, balanced XLR's are not possible unless you add electronics that produce an inverted signal in addition to the normal one.

 

I guess my real issue is the fact that the manual just indicates to plug the "direct out' signal into a mixer, failing to explain any of the stuff we are discussing here. 

 

Be well

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No, you won't get a balanced signal, because the amp does not have a balanced output.  There are 1/4" TS female to XLR male adapters, if the mixer does not have 1/4" inputs, or you can run cables to a DI box, which will solve the balanced signal issue.

 

The lack of details in the Line 6 manuals is long-standing issue!

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10 hours ago, fflbrgst said:

 

Exactly , however using the DI box will turn your signal into a low impedance , balanced , mic level signal which wont drive headphones or work well as stomp box inputs .....but hey you can always put the stomp boxes ahead of the DI box and get your headphone feed from the mixer or mix monitoring system headphone feed. 

 

Dual purposing outputs is rarely a good idea! 

 

Hey fflbrgst, I see you are a major contributor here. I'm new to the Line 6 world and would love some tips and tricks you must have gleaned from your time here. Im a touring musician with a EE background. Designed and built large format mixing consoles with Euphonix for years so don't hold back. However anything you think is cool , im sure I will too. 

 

Best,

Tod 

 

My name here at gmail if u want to take it off- forum. 

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No, you are correct - DI box would be for plugging into a board, not for headphone use.  Two different uses.  My Spider amp use is strictly in my home studio now and I much prefer miking the amp rather than DIing it - the other problem with Spider amps is plugging into the headphone/DI jack cuts off the speaker, too.  My usual recording setup is to Y the guitar output:  Guitar>stompboxes>Radial PZ Pre>amp-out to Spider and Pre-EQ out to audio interface.  I mike the amp using usual methods (Shure SM57) and record both that and the direct signal to separate tracks.  I typically don't care to use a stereo output for the stereo FX, as I just don't need it in my final mixes, but on the rare occasion I do, I will split the stereo (headphone) output to two inputs on the interface.

My loud band gigging days, hauling amps around, are long done, but I still gig acoustically - guitars and PA system, and very occasionally a pedal board and bass/amp set up.

 

If you are a touring musician, you already know the basics:

1) Have a backup for everything - guitar, cables, controllers, amps.  It sucks to haul extra everything, but it sucks worse to not have a backup when needed!

2) When (not if!) something fails 2 minutes before the show - or DURING the show - you have to have a plan on what to do.

 

The weak point of Line 6 FBV controllers (and the amps that use them) are the CAT5 cables and connectors.  These are not designed or made for the constant wear-and-tear of touring.  Cables are easy to replace, but the connectors in the amps are finicky, too - if any of those pins get bent - and break off - you're sunk.

I've never seen any professional touring guitarists use Spider amps.  Steve Howe of Yes has used 2 DT series Line 6 amps for years - I assume one is strictly backup, but can't be sure of that.  He seems to use an off-stage tech to change sounds and guitars and FX so he doesn't have to mess around with many pedals (except wah) - most touring guitarists are not so lucky and have to do it themselves.

 

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Roland Orzabal of Tears For Fears also has a pair of DT50-212's and has them both on stage with hims when he plays.

Roland and Steve's DT50 amps,.... had the honor and pleasure of servicing all four amps.

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