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Running FX loop in ableton live 10 to guitar pedal board. Impedance issues.
Old 16th January 2019
Here for the gear

Running FX loop in ableton live 10 to guitar pedal board. Impedance issues.

Hi, I am trying to find some help with an impedance issue with running an FX loop in ableton live 10. The problem is when I send a signal from ableton into my guitar pedal loop, some of the pedals will have a distorted sound, or almost like an 8 bit crushed sound. I have found that this is probably caused by the signal from my interface ( I am using a Motu Ultralite MK3 running via Firewire on a PC.) is a line level signal and is too hot for the pedal board.

Now on to the solution...
I have tried many things and none have worked yet, maybe due to my interface only having 1/4 outputs instead of XLR? I notice that most DI boxes take a 1/4" signal and convert it to balanced XLR. Since my interface only outputs 1/4" lines, is there a DI Box that takes 1/4" input and outputs? Would that potentially solve the impedance mismatch?

-I have tried Motu MK3> Whirlwind imp2 HI Z input> Low Z XLR output> XLR to 1/4 converter> Pedal Board> Back to Ableton.
This produces a loud buzz noise and the ground lift switch has no effect. I assume this is because the IMP2 converts the unbalanced signal to a balanced signal?

Another way I have tried is to turn down the line from the MK3 > Pedal Board by about -30db and boosting this line back into the MK3. This helps with the distortion a little bit, but then causes a loud noise floor.

Obviously I am aiming for the cleanest sounding FX loop through ableton, any tho9ughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Old 17th January 2019
Lives for gear
charlieclouser's Avatar

What you want is called a "re-amp" box or pedal, like these:

Reamp Box | Saturnworks Pedals | Handcrafted in the USA

Reamp Archives - Radial Engineering

The saturnworks box is cheap-n-cheerful, but I've never used one or seen it in person - and it's only half of the circuit, taking the output of your MOTU and knocking it down to guitar level. For the output of your pedals you'd have to either go right into the MOTU (which probably works just fine, try it) or use a separate D.I. box.

The Radial Engineering boxes are more $$$ but they are tried and true. The EXTC-SA has all the bells and whistles you need for a full loop - takes a line-level signal on XLR or 1/4" TRS, drops it down to guitar level and sends it out on 1/4" TS, then takes the guitar-level output of your pedals on 1/4" TS and D.I.'s it back up to line-level on XLR or 1/4" TRS. So it's a re-amp box AND a D.I. all in one unit. Since your MOTU audio interface has 1/4" line-level ins and outs on TRS jacks, just get a pair of 1/4" TRS > 1/4" TRS cables, or correctly wired 1/4" TRS>XLR cables and you are good to go. You could also use just their X-Amp to knock your line-level output down to guitar level, then come out of the pedals right into the MOTU which would probably work fine - but the EXTC-SA is really the awesome choice.

EDIT - I know you probably don't want to buy a new interface, but IK Multimedia just announced a USB2 interface which has re-amp i/o built-in for around $349 - called the AXE I/O. It's 2-in, 5-out (that fifth output is the re-amp output). It looks like it's set up for people using in-the-box amp sims and re-amping. Kind of cool. Here's the announcement thread:

IK Multimedia unveils AXE I/O premium audio interface

Last edited by charlieclouser; 17th January 2019 at 12:00 PM..
Old 18th January 2019
Here for the gear

Thanks Charlie,

That was exactly what I was looking for. I ordered the radial EXTC-SA which seems to have the most capabilities for the price.

I'll let you know how it works out when I get the pedal next week.

Thanks again for the help and quick response!
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