More about signal splitting

Hello ! Thanks for checking in again – this blog follows on from previous blogs re the Rich Split and Rich Switch signal routing pedals, with more suggestions especially for home-recording guitarists.

While the primary intention of the Rich Switch pedal is to switch between and/or combine a pair of amplifiers in either a stage or studio situation, the Rich Split pedal has potentially many applications. The guitarist can run FX processors in parallel with the primary guitar signal (which may be, for example, a mic’d up amp or a direct preamp), route the guitar signal to a pair (or more) of amps for tonal complexity, and keep a tuner on-line, yet out of the audio path, as running your guitar through a tuner is a sure-fire recipe for lifeless tone. No more unplugging your guitar between takes to tune up, and you’ll be forever spoiled when you experience the no compromise tone achieved by having the tuner out of your signal path.

Once you’ve experienced the lush sounds of layered processing, it will be difficult to remain satisfied with the standard effects-in-series approach ! Some real world examples of how parallel processing can work in a home studio situation, as well as on-stage for live performance:

* plug your guitar into the Rich Split pedal; connect one of the outputs to your choice of valve (tube) amplifier that powers a remote, mic’d up 1×10 or 1×12 speaker cab tucked away in a closet, etc; connect another output to your tuner; connect outputs (as required) to your choice of FX processors; connect a mono out from each processor to its own mixer channel input; including the mic’d up speaker, this provides multiple channels complete with EQ, to blend and pan;

* such a multi-signal scenario offers several choices – in one pass you could record an amp track plus an FX track, buss all the signals to one composite track, or pan them into a stereo submix; whichever routing you choose, however, the resulting sound is huge; you get the full-on guitar timbre plus layered FX – a noticeably richer sound than passing one signal through a series of stompboxes !

* for those of you experimenting with the latest guitar amplifier, guitar speaker and microphone emulation software, the Rich Split is one device you cannot live without; simultaneously record your favourite amp’s DI’d output, its mic’d speaker, and your guitar’s pickup only output; through your software, you can then easily manipulate any or all of these; this means that you have a purely analogue sound back-up, and are no longer bound by recording one option only;

* if you have an old-school 2-channel amp, you can run a direct signal to one channel and FX to the other channel, and mix the two at the front panel; the volume control of the second channel works as a parallel FX return (with EQ); the results will be dramatic – more lush and dynamic than what you’d get going through the processor into a single channel;

Important Notes !

* when you try parallel processing, remember to set your FX processors to 100% wet

* always ensure your amplifiers are reliably earthed (grounded) via the 3-pin plug to the 240V AC mains earth (Australia); have this checked at regular intervals by a fully qualified electrician or service technician;

* whenever you run multiple amps, check for earth (ground) loops and also hazardous electrical conditions; for example, some persons have been known to disable the earth pins on all but one of the amp’s 240V AC plugs to prevent multi-amp earth loops; however, it is highly dangerous, massively stupid and also illegal to disconnect the earth wire either at the 3-pin plug or within the amplifier; if you injure yourself or someone else whilst doing this, you may be legally liable; think about the consequences ! the preferred solution is to resolve earth loops by inserting high-quality isolation transformers between switcher or splitter and amplifiers; this is what is achieved by using the Rich Switch or Rich Split;

* when using more than one guitar amp there is a reasonable possibility of any two models of amp being out of phase with each other, rather than in-phase; when you add the second amp, the overall volume should increase slightly, and have a much fuller tonality; if there is an immediate reduction in level, or especially a loss of low frequencies upon connecting the second amp, then it is reasonable to assume the two units are out-of-phase relative to each other; please consult your service tech, your supplier and/or Ivan Richards Audio for recommended solutions.

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