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HUGE NOOB QUESTION: Can you plug a mic into a guitar effects pedal?
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LaythT
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#1
18th November 2008
Old 18th November 2008
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HUGE NOOB QUESTION: Can you plug a mic into a guitar effects pedal?

Hello

I'm on a budget and a serious noob. I wanted to know if you can put a microphone through a guitar effects pedal so that you get the chorus and reverb etc. I can't afford a vocal effects unit, not till the band goes pro anyway

Thanks

Layth
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18th November 2008
Old 18th November 2008
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you can use guitar effect pedals like you'd use any rack effects units.

hook them up via an insert point or just run in and out of them in your chain.
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18th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaythT View Post
I can't afford a vocal effects unit, not till the band goes pro anyway
...and when you go pro, you'll really be unable to afford it!
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18th November 2008
Old 18th November 2008
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Red face

Thanks guys

remember i'm a huge noob so i didn't really understand what you said!

i would just try it but i can't go home til the weekend and wanna know if i need to buy anything on my way home.

If i plug a normal microphone xlr to 1/4" jack into a guitar effects pedal... say... a boss pedal.... then into a PA or a desk and speakers... that'd work... all i really want is some chorus, reverb, that sort of stuff?

I thought the mic was a low something and guitar pedals are designed for high something.... ?

L
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18th November 2008
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you'll want to run the mic into a preamp first. so run mic to the mixing console, then from the console to the pedal and back to the console before it finally goes out to the speakers.
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18th November 2008
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It works

It's not the best way to do it, but it works. People do it all the time. What you're referring to as problematic is called "impedance matching." Microphones output a "low impedance signal" whereas guitars output a "high impedance signal." This subject can get very complicated, but suffice to say that low impedance is microphones, and high impedance is line level outputs (synthesizers, guitars, amplified signals). Mismatching results in a very distinct tonal shift, or heavy distortion depending on the level of mismatch.
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18th November 2008
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Iv done this for a heavy grainy sound.
I thought ministry did this on stage?

I also use Waves GTR on vocals and map my midi sliders to the knobs for some serious tweaky sounds.

Also dont be afraid to completely break the rules!!!!
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18th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaythT View Post
If i plug a normal microphone xlr to 1/4" jack into a guitar effects pedal... say... a boss pedal.... then into a PA or a desk and speakers... that'd work... all i really want is some chorus, reverb, that sort of stuff?
Honestly, if you don't know how to set this up (using a mixing console by the way), I don't think you're ready to record.

Crawl before you walk.
Walk before you run.

Spend some time on the basics and fundamentals of recording--gain structure, signal flow, mixing consoles, routing, inserts, and so on. A little bit of study now will save you years of bad recordings, wasted effort and so forth.
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18th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
Honestly, if you don't know how to set this up (using a mixing console by the way), I don't think you're ready to record.

Crawl before you walk.
Walk before you run.

Spend some time on the basics and fundamentals of recording--gain structure, signal flow, mixing consoles, routing, inserts, and so on. A little bit of study now will save you years of bad recordings, wasted effort and so forth.
To be fair to the OP, he never actually said anything about wanting to record.

Secondly, they are learning. Give them a break. There was a day when we all were a little fuzzy on inserts /line level / mic level / routing / etc, whether it was when you were 5 years old or just last week.

A little encouragement goes a long way in helping people learn and figure out new things for themselves.

The whole crawl before you walk thing.... he's not looking to do some elaborate crazy thing, he just wants to put some effects on the mic signal. Again, cut him some slack and give constructive encouragement if you have it, if not, why post just to give the guy a hard time???
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18th November 2008
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Plug your mike into a low-to-high impedance adapter like this one and then into the pedal and it should work okay. Or better than if you if didn't use an adapter.
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18th November 2008
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Hey LaythT,

Yup, it works. For our live shows, I use a 1/4" adapter on my xlr then into a Digitech DigiDelay. I don't actually use it for the usual delay effect, but rather I set the delay time very low (around 30 to 40 ms) and it has a doubling effect that makes my voice sound much more full and helps it cut through on live shows without having to boost the volume as much.
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18th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skiltrip View Post
Secondly, they are learning. Give them a break. There was a day when we all were a little fuzzy on inserts /line level / mic level / routing / etc, whether it was when you were 5 years old or just last week.
I'm just saying that it wouldn't kill anyone to learn the fundamentals.
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19th November 2008
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Yeah buddy, go for it. As long as the mic doesn't require phantom power to operate, it'll work. You should even try running the output of the effects into a guitar amp, and then mic the amp to go into your recording unit.
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19th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erosconpollo View Post
Plug your mike into a low-to-high impedance adapter like this one and then into the pedal and it should work okay. Or better than if you if didn't use an adapter.
Yes... this is exactly what you will need. Brand does not matter a whole pile... I have even used cheap Realistic ones, and they worked just fine (for live anyway).

You will need to plug the TS 1/4" line out from your pedal into the line-level input on your board/pre/interface. Expect things to be a bit noisier than with XLR.
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19th November 2008
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
Honestly, if you don't know how to set this up (using a mixing console by the way), I don't think you're ready to record.
While this may possibly be true, James, I wouldn't call it gospel stike . No matter what you say after such a statement in hopes of salvaging some semblance of listenability on the part of the learner, connection lost.

To the first guy: dude, plug n play. twist and turn knobs. heck, you can try anything you dream up (and the perk of running such cheap gear is that you don't have to worry about jacking something up permanently!). Press buttons. Turn it up loud. The best artists are the innovators not the engineers
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20th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewickham View Post
While this may possibly be true, James, I wouldn't call it gospel stike . No matter what you say after such a statement in hopes of salvaging some semblance of listenability on the part of the learner, connection lost.
Maybe. But I'm not the guy asking for help, so I guess they gotta take the good with the bad.
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20th November 2008
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if your using a p.a. then run it as an insert and be done with it.
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20th November 2008
Old 20th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
I'm just saying that it wouldn't kill anyone to learn the fundamentals.
exactly - if the original poster learnt the fundamentals, they'd know they could try the pedal as an insert, or they could put a preamp before the pedal. By spoonfeeding odd bits of "how-to" info, the OP will be straight back the next time they've got a basic connection question - without having any idea of how to puzzle it out for themselves.

The other option of course, is to just try it and see. It's not like there's anything to worry about safety wise, keep volumes low so you don't blow cones or ears, and experiment.
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20th November 2008
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If you're going to tell someone to learn the fundamentals, you should probably also give them some sort of direction on where to go, short of telling them to go to Full Sail and spend 30k.

Telling someone that they should get educated on a subject is easy, but actually gaining that education is a little more difficult. The world of AE seems to me to be a very trial-and-error, word-of-mouth, and any and every sort of non-traditional and informal learning environment. It's not like every community has a community college class entitled "Signal routing for the rookie".

I'd provide a direction of where to go, but everything I've learned about AE and recording has come from trial-and-error, word-of-mouth, and paying attention when I was at recording studios when I wasn't laying down tracks in the umpteenth bands I've been in.

Not trying to gang up on you Mr. Meeker. You usually have constructive things to say and I generally enjoy your posts, but when a person wanders into a forum stating that he is a complete a noob and asks a question that involves the fundamentals, isn't he or she striving to learn those fundamentals? Why kick them in the ass for taking the time to register on the forum to ask a question?

I must be super bored. I don't normally get involved in online arguments. They're even less constructive than arguing with my wife.
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20th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaythT View Post
If i plug a normal microphone xlr to 1/4" jack into a guitar effects pedal... say... a boss pedal.... then into a PA or a desk and speakers... that'd work... all i really want is some chorus, reverb, that sort of stuff?

I thought the mic was a low something and guitar pedals are designed for high something.... ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by erosconpollo View Post
Plug your mike into a low-to-high impedance adapter like this one and then into the pedal and it should work okay. Or better than if you if didn't use an adapter.
I think this is probably an interesting solution as an effect. Since the OP is looking for chorus, delay, that kind of thing, I have to think that for $12, this might be a cost-effective way of getting some interesting vocals down. It wouldn't be hi-fi, for sure, but I don't think that's what the OP is after, and is worth experimenting with.

Also, didn't Feist record almost all of vocals on The Reminder through a Vox AC30? It's an interesting sound, so check it out.
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20th November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
By spoonfeeding odd bits of "how-to" info, the OP will be straight back the next time they've got a basic connection question - without having any idea of how to puzzle it out for themselves.
That seems a bit presumptuous. We're not responsible for raising the OP, teaching him table manners, or how to tie his shoes in the first grade. He's seeking basic advice. Either give it or don't.

I think it's easy for us to forget that we were all in the OP's shoes once too. Now it's our privilege to dish out "odd bits of how-to info" to those who come calling. However, in return for his inquisitive vulnerability, the fledgling audiophile receives a sharp backhanded comment instead. Welcome to the circle of life baby
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21st November 2008
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I must be super bored. I don't normally get involved in online arguments. They're even less constructive than arguing with my wife[/quote].[/quote]

nothing is less constructive than arguing with your wife.
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22nd November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavern View Post
nothing is less constructive than arguing with your wife.
Depends how good the make-up sex is!
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22nd November 2008
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I've run my vocals through the digitech whammy for years, with Sonar's external inserts i can track a vocal and not commit the settings to disk and play with it, from chipmunks to demons and everything in between. Drive the input hard and you get an interesting grit on top of the effect.
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22nd November 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewickham View Post
That seems a bit presumptuous. We're not responsible for raising the OP, teaching him table manners, or how to tie his shoes in the first grade. He's seeking basic advice. Either give it or don't.

I think it's easy for us to forget that we were all in the OP's shoes once too. Now it's our privilege to dish out "odd bits of how-to info" to those who come calling. However, in return for his inquisitive vulnerability, the fledgling audiophile receives a sharp backhanded comment instead. Welcome to the circle of life baby
you think? I'm sure I've asked (and will continue to ask) the odd stupid question. However, I also remember thinking the exact same thing as the OP. I then tried it for myself.

I didn't have the internet to ask then, fair enough, but hopefully even if I had I'd have tried it for myself first. What's the worst that could happen?

By not spoon-feeding, you're actually doing someone a favour in the long run. If you ever read any of my posts, you'll notice that I try to be very helpful with the more intelligent questions if I can, and even some of the more basic ones too. But something that can be found out in 5 minutes? come on!
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3rd December 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay- View Post
I thought ministry did this on stage?
Ministry uses Eventide 3000s to get all their distortion and Fx for Al's vocal onstage. This has always been his sound he has always used it live and in the studio.
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3rd December 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaythT View Post
Hello

I'm on a budget and a serious noob. I wanted to know if you can put a microphone through a guitar effects pedal so that you get the chorus and reverb etc. I can't afford a vocal effects unit, not till the band goes pro anyway

Thanks

Layth
Some mics can be plugged directly into pedals and then to Guitar amps like the Shure 520 dx. this is because this mic has a high impedance. Most other mics which have a low impedance you most likely run into problems doing this.
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3rd December 2008
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Do what ever comes to your mind
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4th December 2008
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Depends how good the make-up sex is!
touche..

a great example of thinking outside the box.
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19th April 2009
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Thumbs up Thanks!

Thanks guys, I didn't ask the question but this is exactly what I was looking for! I didn't know that a Lo Z to Hi Z Impedance transformer existed. You guys rock. :D

One more question, would this set up work for a condenser that doesn't require phantom power? The reason I ask is because I have a mic that has its own phantom power (via an internal AA battery). I've got a dynamic mic too, but just wondering what my options were.

Thanks
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