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Old 01-31-2013, 03:52 PM   #1
krm27
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Does it make sense to buy an amp to use for multiple instruments? Recommendations?

I'm looking for some advice / recommendations. I have the following things that need to be periodically amped:

1 - Electric guitars (of course)
2 - Bass guitar
3 - Korg synthesizer / keyboard
4 - Alesis drum machine
5 - Microphone (for vocals or amping acoustic guitar)
6 - Music files I want to use as backing / accompaniment (via computer, mp3 player or CD player)

Right now, I have a smorgasbord of cheap amps, and I think it may make sense to sell these and get one or two higher quality amps that can serve multiple purposes. But I'm also trying to not spend to much, like $100 - 500 total (I don't mind scouring Ebay or Craiglist for used amps and being patient till I find something decent to save money).

I currently have the keyboard going through a small, 20 year old Crate guitar amp that is somewhat broken (overdrive broken, but it will play synthesizer clean if knobs are tweaked just right). It's ghetto, but it's working.

I have the drum machine going through a very new Behringer Ultra-Acoustic amp that I stupidly bought not realizing what "ultra-acoustic" meant, and it does not fit my style of guitar. But it seems to translate the drum machine well. But I've read drum machines should not go through guitar amp, but through keyboard amp, so my present set up for this may just be a temporary stop-gap solution. Maybe it makes sense to get one keyboard amp that has two line-ins, so I can plug both keyboard and drum machine into it and ditch the ghetto Crate and sell the Behringer Ultra-Acoustic.

I have a bass amp for the bass guitar. I think this needs a dedicated bass amp, so I think I'm set here. I'm not sure I can get a multi-purpose amp that would handle both bass guitar and other instruments. But if that does exist, and can come in under $500, I'm all ears.

I plug my electric guitars into a $50 practice amp that gives really crappy tones. I bought the Behringer thinking it would be better but, as noted above, that ultra-acoustic tone just does not do it for me. It is really my dissatisfaction with my guitar tones that has me wanting to upgrade. And if I'm upgrading, I'm thinking about trying to fix my whole amp set up in one fell swoop, with maybe some kind of multi-purpose, multi-line-in amp. Or even consolidate my guitar/drum machine into one amp while also getting a better guitar amp that has multiple line ins (if I want to jam on guitar with another guitarist, for example).

For guitar tones, I like the idea of a modeling amp like the Line 6 or Fender Mustang. But do those have multiple line ins? If I have a choice between a modeling amp with 1-2 line ins that I cannot use with different instruments, versus a non-modeling amp with more line-ins that can be used for guitar, drum machine, synthesizer, etc., I may very well opt for the latter. And if it can handle bass guitar too, even better (can sell my bass amp and various other amps to help raise money for better all-in-one amp).

Oh, I guess I have some idea the mic does not need a 1/4 inch input and amps may come with 1/8 mic inputs (?). So maybe I don't need to worry about an extra line-in for that (?). And, of course, most amps these days should have input for digital player (CD, mp3, etc.), so I know that's not another 1/4 inch line-in requirement.

So, sorry if this is too much to throw out there to get a decent / pointed response, but we'll see.

I'm thinking I might need some general advice on amps in general, like maybe I"m just off base thinking there are multi-instrument amps, and maybe there are solid reasons to have a separate amp for each instrument or type of instrument (?). I know, for example, putting more than one instrument through one amp may limit my ability to adjust volume levels and such. Maybe this is a fatal flaw...Hmm...maybe I'm answering my own question a bit... Or maybe there are amps that have separate controls for separate line-ins? I've never heard of that, though... Well, I guess I'll just post this and see how stupid my questions really are.

Thanks,

~Ken
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:55 PM   #2
souperman08
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POD/Zoom G3/other guitar modeler for guitar+Keyboard amp or small PA/powered monitor

(Disclaimer: I didn't read all of your post).
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:24 PM   #3
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I agree with souperman08.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:30 PM   #4
krm27
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Thanks, see below comment for additional questions...

~Ken

Last edited by krm27 : 01-31-2013 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:39 PM   #5
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Personally I'd go for a bass amp if you want to cover all of those. The bass amp will have the best low end response, obviously because it's a bass amp. that'll work well for the drum machine and synthesizer. everything else will do fine with it, except you'll probably need to buy a pedal if you want distortion for your guitar and the amp doesn't have a distortion channel.
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:45 PM   #6
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With JAHellraiser here - thats more or less what I use for practice at home when I'm away from my band's jam space
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:52 PM   #7
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Thanks! I know my post got too long, tried to cover too much.

So, to make sure I am grasping this, the PA / powered monitor provides clean amplification of volume (magnitude?) of whatever signal goes through it, and so can be used for synthesizer, drum machine or guitar? The only thing I'd get with "guitar" amp is certain effects, gain, tone controls, and I can get those from an effects pedal like the one you recommend? And one of these PA / powered monitors will have mutiple line ins?

If I'm grasping it right, that sounds like ideal solution. Three follow up questions:

(1) can this PA / powered monitor serve for bass guitar, or should I keep bass guitar going through its bass monitor? (I think the latter, but would like to hear more knowledgeable thoughts);

(2) it occurs to me I also want to try my hand at looping. The Pod / Zoom 3 says it allows for up to 40 seconds of looping. Is that pretty good for looping? Seems kind of short to me. Is it better to get separate, dedicated looping pedal or look for modeling effects pedal board that includes good looping set up? Any recommendations apart from the Pod / Zoom 3 for this?

(3) If I'm running multiple instruments through amp, do I need to go to higher wattage? I use this mainly in my home, have been happy with volume from 10-15 watt amps (more than I need) but should I be looking at 30+ amps if I'm running drum machine, keyboard and guitar all through same amp? Maybe that's dumb question...

(4) As for the possibility of using bass amp for all this, that might work, too. But I don't think my current bass amp has multiple line ins (maybe it has 2, but not more than that). Is there a box where I can plug in multiple line-ins and then run them all through one line-in to the bass amp?

Thanks,

~Ken
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:06 PM   #8
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There's really no difference between amp types (bass/guitar/keyboard/powered speaker) other than the speaker and some features. For example Fender Bassman is originally a bass amp but it's used more often as a guitar amp.

The speaker on a guitar amp might not handle the bass frequencies so playing bass through guitar amp is not recommended. I think guitar amps color your sound the most (guitar sound needs to be colored - try plugging a guitar straight into a mixer, it will sound like crap). And I think keyboard amps and powered speakers try not to color the sound. Of course there are different features like distortion channels on guitar amps and on powered speakers there are really no knobs to tweak other than the volume.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:14 PM   #9
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You might want to check out the new Peavey Vypyr coming out this year. It handles electric guitar, bass, acousic, etc...
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdr_salamander
You might want to check out the new Peavey Vypyr coming out this year. It handles electric guitar, bass, acousic, etc...



Yep, sounds like exactly what the OP needs.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/ampl...eling-combo-amp
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:41 PM   #11
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The G3 has 40 secs and the G5 has 60 sec. The good thing about the Zoom is the built in rhythm machine that syncs to the looper. An ext drum machine will not do this. If you want to use an ext drum machine, then you need a dedicated looper with storage so you can record the drums into the looper. Syncing an ext drum machine to a looper by hitting the switch at the right time is a fruitless task.

A PA will handle all your inputs. You can even pick up a mixer and buy an old school stereo system with decent speakers an use it like a PA. That's what I do.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:07 PM   #12
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Great info, thanks! I feel my brain filling up with knowledge (and more questions).

I'm now also thinking about tossing my "lust" for true tube warmth into mix, maybe look into set up like this:

- Line 6 or other effects pedalboard, for effects and modeling, etc.
- Looper pedal
- B-52 AT-100 amp head
- Speaker(s)

Regarding use of external drum machine with looper pedal (addressed by last person), I am understanding you to say that timing to start of your external drum machine to start of looping is exercise in futility. But then I wondered if this matters so long as i get my external drum track looped, why do I care if it technically starts in sync with loop? Then I started thinking there may be reasons I should worry about this, and this may very well be big deal if loop chops off end of drum track, or maybe the drum track won't be perfectly synced as far as bpms and this can cause problems? I think I look at music from an analogue perspective and may miss (at first) digital issues.... I think of looping as analogue process, just record yourself for a while, then play over yourself, and so on. If my looper is not trying to impose a certain bpm / timing, and I just "feel" when to start / stop loop, where is issue? Or is that not how loopers work?

~Ken
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:18 PM   #13
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Get a nice guitar amp (or Pod) and a PA for everything else.
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:55 AM   #14
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oh, if you're running multiple instruments through it at the same time definitely go for a PA. I don't know how they'll react with the low end but it'll definitely be better for an "all at the same time" kinda thing.
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:58 AM   #15
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It's pretty common to DI a bass straight into the PA desk and use the bass guitar amp just for foldback monitoring. It works fine.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:53 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krm27
Regarding use of external drum machine with looper pedal (addressed by last person), I am understanding you to say that timing to start of your external drum machine to start of looping is exercise in futility. But then I wondered if this matters so long as i get my external drum track looped, why do I care if it technically starts in sync with loop? Then I started thinking there may be reasons I should worry about this, and this may very well be big deal if loop chops off end of drum track, or maybe the drum track won't be perfectly synced as far as bpms and this can cause problems? I think I look at music from an analogue perspective and may miss (at first) digital issues.... I think of looping as analogue process, just record yourself for a while, then play over yourself, and so on. If my looper is not trying to impose a certain bpm / timing, and I just "feel" when to start / stop loop, where is issue? Or is that not how loopers work?

~Ken
You can create the loop by recording the drums instead of your guitar. It shouldn't be that hard to make the loop seamless. However, if the looper has storage like the Jamman, then you can take the drum loops off the computer from any source and put them on the Jamman as a loop.

The problem with having the drum machine playing along with the looper is that no matter how close you get to an exact loop the drum machine will drift from sync each time around the loop. So if you are off 10msec, then you will be off 100msec after 10 loops.
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