3

I have a guitar, two amps, a pedal and a pair of headphones.

My target is to somehow set these devices up in a way that would allow me to play the guitar along with a backing track coming from a laptop. The output doesn't need to be the amps speaker, I'll happily use just the headphones as I practice at night times. In fact, I prefer using headphones.

My first amp is a Stagg that came with my first guitar as a bundle. One input and a jack for the phones.

Stagg 10 GA P

The second amp is a Crate CA30. It's for acoustic which will work, but there's more jacks.

Crate CA30

Finally, the pedal I have is the Behringer LX1-1 with the below plugs.

Behringer LX1-1

What I've tried so far is the below using the Crate amp.

  1. Hooked up the guitar to the INPUT jack of the pedal
  2. Hooked up the pedal from the MONO (AMP) jack to the Input 1 jack of the amp
  3. Hooked up the laptop to the Input 2 jack of the amp
  4. Hooked up the headphones to the Line Out jack of the amp.

From 1 to 3, all worked fine and all sounds came out of the amp but number 4 didn't work. No sound was coming out of the headphones when I connected them to Line Out. After a few web searches, I read that Line Out, although not a headphone jack, should still work but it would be less audible. I can't hear anything though and the headphones work.

Ideally, I'd solve the headphones issue, or alternatively another setup combination if possible. I can't think of anything else I can do with these specific devices.

The easiest thing to do would be to buy another amp with an AUX input but I'm having difficulty selling or even giving away the two amps I have so I don't want a third amp in the house without being sure that I have absolutely no solution with the two I already have.

Any ideas on how I can setup these devices are welcome as well as any other suggestions for a minimal approach to this.

4
  • 1
    So you are saying that up to step 3 everything works, and you hear guitar and backing coming out of the amp? So the sole problem is headphones not giving you sound when plugged into Line Out on the amp?
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Feb 18 at 8:17
  • Yes, exactly. Another possibility may be that the Line Out isn't working, but before I get it checked (apparently they charge an arm and a leg round my ends to check this), I'd like to make sure that my approach is correct.
    – Nikos
    Feb 18 at 8:26
  • 4
    Easy enough to check line out works: plug from it into the other amp, plug guitar into 1st amp. Turn up each vol. control. Sound should come out from at least the 2nd amp.
    – Tim
    Feb 18 at 9:00
  • That's brilliant, thanks. Will try the soonest.
    – Nikos
    Feb 18 at 9:18

2 Answers 2

2

It might be because the laptop is converting the audio signal from stereo/mono to the opposite then back again?

Make sure the male heads all have 2 lines near the tip (TS vs TRS vs TRRS) 1 Line = Mono, 2 Lines = Stereo, 3 Lines = Stereo + Microphone

A lot of times guitar players use A TS Cable (1 Line) which will only send audio out of the left headphone, in that case you use the mono out of the pedal rather than stereo.

TRS (2 Lines) will send audio to left and right headphones. I don't know if there's any cons to using TRS vs TS as your guitar cable. As far as I know it just duplicates the signal to the right side. (Also for future reference, XLR is mono)

If you go back and forth between Mono/Stereo it might get mixed up and not know where to send the signal. Experiment with TS/TRS cable types and the mono/stereo output of the pedal.

Guitar -> Input of Pedal

Pedal Stereo Out -> Input 1 on Amp

Laptop Audio Out (1/8" to 1/4" male to male) TRS -> Input 2 on Amp

I'm not sure exactly how the Insert input works on the amp, according to the manual: Insert - Use this jack to add external effects to the signal. The ring = send (line out), tip =return (line in), sleeve = ground. This jack can also be used to "chain" multiple ampli-fiers together, since connecting to this jack does not interrupt the signal going to

From my understanding you use it for effects which means you can try plugging the pedal into insert, for example -

Guitar -> Input 1 Amp

Laptop Audio Out (1/8" to 1/4" male to male) - > Input 2 Amp

Pedal Stereo/Mono (try both) Out -> Insert Amp

Headphones -> Line Out

Another alternative and IMO the easiest solution would be to get an audio interface, preferably with 2 inputs, quality entry level ones are about $100-$200. This offers an external audio card to your PC which will allow you to record from your amp into your computer directly with high quality and low latency (immediate sound monitoring, no delay) I have the Focusrite 2i4 but right now I really want the Motu 2, which has super low latency and a high quality digital to audio converter. In your DAW set audio output hardware to be your audio interface (it should be ASIO audio driver to minimize latency) - 44100 or 48000 sample rate with 128 or 256 buffer size - then adjust latency compensation. Also in your DAW you can create a separate audio track for each input of the interface. (Channel 1, input 1 - Channel 2, input 2). Headphones out from the audio interface. Then you can either monitor the sound through the DAW (introduces computer processing) or if your interface has a direct monitor (Focusrite does) then you can listen to it straight to the headphones without going through your computer. Using an interface also allows you to add even more effects in your DAW with audio effect plugins.

Another sound solution would be to get a mixer like Behringer or Mackie, send the laptop and amp into different inputs on the mixer then headphones out of the mixer. This would be a direct analog signal with no computer processing. Mixers tend to be a bit cheaper and you can scale up with a lot of inputs at a much more reasonable price.

Sorry if you know all of this, I figured I'd explain as much as possible just in case

2
  • 1
    If you read the description of insert, it says that it uses a special cable that has send and return on the tip and ring of the TRS plug. You'd need an Y cable that splits it to two TS plugs to connect it to a normal effects box.
    – ojs
    Feb 18 at 12:54
  • 1
    Answer voted for because of the audio interface suggestion. Turns out the Line Out probably doesn't work on the Crate so I bought an audio interface as you suggested which was by far the best option with minimal equipment. So glad I did that instead.
    – Nikos
    Feb 18 at 18:41
1

Why not just use the Stagg as a headphone amp? Steps 1-3 are fine, although you might try “insert” on the crate instead of input 2 for the computer input, it might be TRS which would give you both stereo channels instead of just one (in mono of course but you won’t lose any audio).

Step 4 would be Crate line out to Stagg input

Step 5 is headphones to Stagg headphone jack

If you don’t care about using the Behringer for your guitar tone you can go guitar and computer straight to the Crate and use the Behringer as your headphone amp in the same manner as the Stagg.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.