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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:28 pm 
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Mark II

Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:51 am
Posts: 115
Hi,

I run minimum length cables in the Mark V EFX loop (3’ each direction) and on the front end I usually have a 12-20’ going from guitar to wah, then a 6’ or 12’ going from wah to amp (depends on the stage size etc.)

One thing I’ve run into is that on bigger stages and areas I cannot keep the head so close to me sometimes, so the short run EFX pedals are back by the amp, and the footswitch and wah are up front by the mic. So, I think one solution is to run longer cables in the EFX loop so those pedals are up front and can be tweaked as needed (or independently controlled). MIDI isn’t an option yet.

So, the question is what maximum cable length have you guys found to work well with no signal degradation for both front of amp and EFX loop? I’ve been running max 32’ in front of amp and 6’ in the EFX loop and haven’t noticed any real degradation. How long can I go before the signal starts to suffer? Can one go 40’ front and 40’ in EFX loop without issues? I’m just curious before I buy some new cables.

Was line level used in the EFX loop so that longer cables could be used with less degradation (stronger signal)? Or, does that even matter?

What has your experience been? Thanks for the help.

Mace


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 9:42 am 
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Dual Recto

Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 7:31 am
Posts: 2646
Location: North Carolina
I will take a wild guess stab at why the line level (or close to line level ). It was intended for use with high end rack mount gear and most of that runs on line level signals. Since most guitar pedals (but not all) are instrument level, their intent was to be used in front of the amp and not in the FX loop, also if your amp did not have an FX loop the product could still be sold and used with any amp (front end only). Effects like delay or reverb generally sound better in the loop and with the case of the Mark V you may be better off with product that have plenty of overhead capabilities just a bit more than +4dB. I do not believe the Mark V is running that high as it may be closer to +2dB range. That is something I am planning on finding out sometime this weekend as I had borrowed some equipment from work so I can analyze the signals in the loop of all of my amps (probably more so on my curiosity than trying to optimize the Mark V loop).

Mesa did release a while back a product that can be used for long runs on loops or front end. It converts the unbalanced inputs and outputs and makes use of a low impedance XLR cable. Not only do you get a benefit of lower noise and AC hum immunity, you also get signal strength enhancements for long cable runs. What is actually necessary for the FX loop is uncertain as you may need to pairs of enhancement pedals. Clearlink product may do the trick and there may be others out there. Then again, there is wireless equipment that may even do the same thing (that has its own problems too depending on RF signals present in the environment and how many decrypted channels you can use). At least the wireless route will keep tripping at a minimum. I had used a wireless system long ago (back in the 90's when I was in a band) and I would assume that systems have come along way since then. I may still have it somewhere packed in a box that never got unpacked since I moved from PA to NC 7 years ago.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 3:30 am 
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Mark III

Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:48 am
Posts: 238
Cable type/quality/length is the heart and soul of every guitar rig. For me, I try to keep the fx loop cables as short as possible, maybe 25cm with the fx like the flashback (it can be put in non-instrument level loops and works fine there) sitting on top of the amp. In front of the amp, I played cable length from 5m to 10m (depends on the stage size and if I use a wah/OD in front of the amp or not).

It took me a while to find MY best cable, which is the 'Sommer The Spirit XXL' - sounds amazing!


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:31 am 
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Mark II

Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:51 am
Posts: 115
Thanks for the replies.

Yeah, that is the idea, keep everything as short as possible. I never really thought about using a patch cable and putting the Flashback and Chorus (in the EFX loop) right on the amp. That is because that is where the phone, beer, tuner, earplug box, glasses etc are sitting. haha I’ll probably stick with just keeping the EFX pedals close to the amp and going back there as needed when at a gig, since I need to use the foot buttons for a couple of songs.

I reread my original post and realized that my original question got muddied up. Just a simple question (which apeman answered): How long is your typical total cable length in front of the amp and in the EFX loop?

Mace


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:04 am 
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Donating Member
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Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 6:52 am
Posts: 3070
Location: New Haven, CT U.S.A.
I have 50’ total between head and rack (two 25’ cables), no issues. I’m wireless out front, but there’s a 25’ cable from rack to amp input. Before I got the wireless, there was an additional 25’ cable out front.

I use good quality cables that I assemble myself (Canare wire / Neutrik connectors) & pedals that can handle the FX loop level. My Boss DD6 clips in the loop of my MK V & Roadster, but my Strymon ElCapistan sounds incredible.

The trick is to hold unity gain all throughout the signal path. Buffers can be your friend, so make sure there is a buffered pedal in there for long cable runs. My G-Major is always active in the FX loop, and maintains signal integrity there. Out front I use a compressor (Xotic SP) for cleans, and boost with a Precision Drive for rhythm tones, and a Grid Slammer for lead sounds, all of which have quality buffers.

Dom

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:21 am 
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Mark II
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Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:55 pm
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Location: East Coast, New Jersey
For EFX loop, I run 10ft, 15ft and 20ft lengths depending on the size/setup of the stage. I haven't noticed any difference in sound although I tweak the amp for the venue. I have a Boss Chorus as the first pedal into the EFX loop so the buffer might be helping.

From guitar to amp I run usually the same as the loop lengths so I can reach the controls if I need to adjust them.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:48 pm 
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Mark II

Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:51 am
Posts: 115
Thanks for the info. It sounds like I’ve been on the conservatively short side of things in the EFX loop. In the EFX loop I have recently changed the Flashback to ‘buffered’ so that the wet tails ring on after the effect is turned off. I suppose the ‘buffer on’ setting will also help if the cable runs are on on the longer side (10-15’ each way).

Up in front of the amp is just a wah (not hard bypass) and a little mini TS-808 dirt pedal. So I’ll probably keep front end to a minumum, according to stage size.


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