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Thread: Direct Recording - Guitar pedalboard to Zoom H6

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    Direct Recording - Guitar pedalboard to Zoom H6

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    Hello everyone, this is my first post here!

    I am a guitar player and I play ambient, drone, noisescape.
    I do soundtracks for video, art installations and also just for me.
    So my aim is to remove my amps/microphones (the sound of the room) from my recordings and be able to work silently so as not to be a disturbance to anyone else in the building. I want to record onto my Zoom H6.... So normally I would come out stereo from my looper at the end of my pedal chain to two amps with SM57's....

    So my question is, what equipment do I need between my looper outputs and the Zoom H6 inputs which are combi/TRS type....I have tried going straight in to the Zoom but the results were disappointing. Should I buy a desk and stereo DI? What are my options? Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by EarthNavigator View Post
    Hello everyone, this is my first post here!

    I am a guitar player and I play ambient, drone, noisescape.
    I do soundtracks for video, art installations and also just for me.
    So my aim is to remove my amps/microphones (the sound of the room) from my recordings and be able to work silently so as not to be a disturbance to anyone else in the building. I want to record onto my Zoom H6.... So normally I would come out stereo from my looper at the end of my pedal chain to two amps with SM57's....

    So my question is, what equipment do I need between my looper outputs and the Zoom H6 inputs which are combi/TRS type....I have tried going straight in to the Zoom but the results were disappointing. Should I buy a desk and stereo DI? What are my options? Thanks!
    Normally I would suggest an Audio Interface but you already have a quite decent one in the H6 (gets a good rep in sound on sound) so, IMO you need a small mixer.
    This will take the unbalanced looper feeds and allow you to optimize their level, EQ them a bit if wanted and feed a balanced signal to the Zoom.

    You would also get true, zero latency monitoring from the mixer's headphone jack but also you would be able to feed the H6 return signal back into other track inputs or the CD/Tape RCAs.

    Mixers start below $50 and go on to the SSl Six!

    Dave.

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    Not sure what was "disappointing" about the recording. Maybe a little more info on that?

    If you are going to copy the tracks into a DAW and mix there, I'd pick up a pair of passive DIs. Then, try some amp sim VSTs and do the EQ/compression stuff in the DAW.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    Hey thanks for the suggestion!
    Would I need a DI box before the mixer?
    And would you mind expanding on your suggestion of feeding back in to the mixer from the Zoom?

    Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by keith.rogers View Post
    Not sure what was "disappointing" about the recording. Maybe a little more info on that?

    If you are going to copy the tracks into a DAW and mix there, I'd pick up a pair of passive DIs. Then, try some amp sim VSTs and do the EQ/compression stuff in the DAW.

    the issue with going straight to the Zoom is the drive/distortion tones....the clean modulated signals are not to bad but overdriven tones sound very inauthentic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EarthNavigator View Post
    Hey thanks for the suggestion!
    Would I need a DI box before the mixer?
    And would you mind expanding on your suggestion of feeding back in to the mixer from the Zoom?

    Scott
    There is a danger here Scott of us confusing you! Keith and I see the solution two different ways I think?

    No DI in my scenario because the looper will be the high impedance buffer and will have reasonably low impedance feeds to the mixer, easily capable of driving a mixers line inputs which should be 10K Ohms or higher.

    The mixer can then sort out suitable levels to drive the Zoom's line inputs. Regarding compression you can get mixers with it on the Main Outs or even on every channel.
    Mixers also have AUX and FX sends and returns where you can slot in any FX pedals you might have.

    I suggest you look at a few from (in no particular order) Behringer, Yamaha, Allen&Heath, Soundcraft, Mackie,Tascam and others. Try to download their 'Signal Block Diagrams' gives much insight about what they do.

    Note, you don't need the USB recording facility but SO many mixers bolt it on these days you might have to have it. Don't have to use it and it doesn't really add to the price.

    Dave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by keith.rogers View Post
    Not sure what was "disappointing" about the recording. Maybe a little more info on that?

    If you are going to copy the tracks into a DAW and mix there, I'd pick up a pair of passive DIs. Then, try some amp sim VSTs and do the EQ/compression stuff in the DAW.

    the issue with going straight to the Zoom is the drive/distortion tones....the clean modulated signals are not to bad but overdrives tones sound very inauthentic. I am a bit confused about the DI question...the pickups on all of my guitars are passive so does that mean that active DI's would better suit me?

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    Quote Originally Posted by EarthNavigator View Post
    the issue with going straight to the Zoom is the drive/distortion tones....the clean modulated signals are not to bad but overdrives tones sound very inauthentic. I am a bit confused about the DI question...the pickups on all of my guitars are passive so does that mean that active DI's would better suit me?
    If I may? The only need for a DI as a rule is to present a high impedance to the passive guitar and deliver a low impedance, balanced output at microphone level.

    The looper does the former and in normal circumstances deliver a useful signal to a recording device, be it a hand-held or AI. This situation does not seem to obtain in this case, you are unhappy with the results. That is why I suggested a mixer. That can take the looper's outputs and adjust them, hotter or colder as the case may be, to feed the Zoom.

    Keith is suggesting I think that you feed the two looper outputs to the MIC inputs of the Zoom via DIs?
    The high Z function is not then needed but the balanced, mic level shift is.

    Personally, if the Zoom does not give the sounds you want fed with line signals I cannot see why the mic inputs would change that? (you would almost certainly be going through the same mic amps)
    The mixer scenario gives you control of the level INTO the Zoom plus some EQ and possibly other FX.

    Dave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecc83 View Post
    There is a danger here Scott of us confusing you! Keith and I see the solution two different ways I think?

    No DI in my scenario because the looper will be the high impedance buffer and will have reasonably low impedance feeds to the mixer, easily capable of driving a mixers line inputs which should be 10K Ohms or higher.

    The mixer can then sort out suitable levels to drive the Zoom's line inputs. Regarding compression you can get mixers with it on the Main Outs or even on every channel.
    Mixers also have AUX and FX sends and returns where you can slot in any FX pedals you might have.

    I suggest you look at a few from (in no particular order) Behringer, Yamaha, Allen&Heath, Soundcraft, Mackie,Tascam and others. Try to download their 'Signal Block Diagrams' gives much insight about what they do.

    Note, you don't need the USB recording facility but SO many mixers bolt it on these days you might have to have it. Don't have to use it and it doesn't really add to the price.

    Dave.

    ....thankyou, yes I have been looking at mixers the last few days. So far I think that what I need is:
    Direct outs and inserts on each channel
    As many Aux sends as possible

    Candidates so far are the Soundcraft FX16II and the Allen & Heath Wz3....out of these two which do you think might suit me better? The EQ on Allen & Heath looks to be superior to the Soundcraft

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    Quote Originally Posted by EarthNavigator View Post
    ....thankyou, yes I have been looking at mixers the last few days. So far I think that what I need is:
    Direct outs and inserts on each channel
    As many Aux sends as possible

    Candidates so far are the Soundcraft FX16II and the Allen & Heath Wz3....out of these two which do you think might suit me better? The EQ on Allen & Heath looks to be superior to the Soundcraft
    Unless you have other grand plans for a mixer you don't IMHO need to shop in that price range (but don't let me stop you buying top notch gear!)

    For your immediate, posted problem I don't see the need for direct outs? These are really designed to feed a multitrack recording system. You just need two main outputs AFAICS?

    I am NOT going to get into the relative merits of those two mixers! Both will have an audio path easily good enough for your purposes and you should base your choice on the facilities on offer.

    Dave.

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