Bob’s Rich Split pedal returns to HQ for 18V MOD

This blog continues directly from the previous post where we discussed the Rich Switch (Active) A/B/Y pedal. The Rich Split is another of our functional, problem-solving pedals, which are intended to be as transparent as possible, rather than creating a specific sound. Not very glamorous or exciting, but in fact very important to the modern musician. This pedal doesn’t even have a fancy label (yet), but instead relies on good old Dymo tape lettering.

Bob Spencer is one of my long-time customers, and a loyal and trusted friend. Actually, quite a few of my customers end up becoming friends of mine, which is something I treasure. Bob probably bought the very first Rich Split, which actually had a fancy label, but it’s been redesigned since then. The Rich Split is custom-built to each order, but generally is built with 2, 3 or 5 splits and with 1 or 2 line transformers. The Harbuch broadcast/studio quality line transformer is quite bulky, and this dictates the size and weight of the pedal. However, the superior performance of this transformer justifies the extra size, weight and cost. See the previous post photos for a look at this transformer.

Originally the Rich Split and Rich Switch pedals were optimised for +9V DC operation, but now regulated power supplies of alternative voltages are commonly available. From June 2011, both pedals are shipped optimised for operation from a +18V DC regulated power supply (which we can supply you at cost). This provides greater headroom for the professional user. All pedals are still shipped loaded with a fresh 9V battery, for immediate use. All pedals are play-tested and functionality-tested by the builder before shipping.

So, therefore, Bob has sent his 3-way (with 2 x transformers) splitter back for the +18V DC mod and a power supply. I believe Bob has been using the splitter to facilitate live recordings of gigs of the Melbourne-based band (with singer Mick Pealing) – Raw Brit.

Well – here is the product description of the 3-way splitter shown in the photos. The Rich Split pedal is a 1-in/3-out active, buffered splitter, featuring a high input impedance and a low output impedance, which allows you to split your guitar signal, and run long cables, without sonic degradation ! The intention of this pedal is to facilitate the trend among guitarists to record and/or perform live with multiple amplifiers and/or effects chains – without impedance loading, ie sonic degradation – and resolve the problem of earth (ground) loops safely and professionally by incorporating broadcast/studio quality line transformers on outputs #2 and #3.

The Rich Split runs dead quiet and features low-current-draw circuitry with individual buffers for each of the 3 outputs. The non-signal-inverting design ensures against phase problems. Therefore, all signals routed to your chosen destination (amps, pedals, FX processors, recording desk, etc) will be perfectly in-phase, and when combined will not result in a ‘smaller’ out-of-phase sound. The pedal can be powered from either the internal 9V battery or via the external +18V DC adapter jack. For recording purposes, obviously battery operation will achieve 100% hum-free operation, but at the expense of headroom.

The transformer-isolated outputs #2 and #3 make it possible to use two or three amps simultaneously, without having to lift the earth (ground) on any of the amps. This potentially lethal ‘earth-lifting’ was the usual solution (in the bad old days) for eliminating hum introduced by earth (ground) loops when connecting two or three amps in parallel – definitely NOT recommended, plus its illegal. With the isolation provided by outputs #2 and #3, all earth (ground) loop problems are eliminated.

Thank you, Bob, for providing us with the subject for the 2nd of this week’s blogs. In another blog to follow, we might consider some of the issues that arise when hooking up multiple amps.

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