On board effects loop question

On board effects loop question

Postby Mosfed » Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:20 pm

Ok guys - I am going to ask an idiotic question and I am sorry if all of you will think less of me going forward but enough is enough

I can not wrap my head around how an OBEL works - practically speaking that is. The concept is perfectly clear to me, but what you plug in where is where I get totally lost.

Unless of course using the OBEL necessitates the use of a Volume pedal. If the feed goes back to the guitar as a loop and you control volume on the guitar, I am totally lost. Would someone be so kind as to walk a bonehead through something that I am sure is very simple?

I have a Wolf replica with an OBEL. It has two jacks. And I have a Y cable. I am clear as to which switch on the guitar turns it on or off.

What should I be doing? What am I missing? The simpler the better. Sorry for being so thick. 10 years on the road with the boyz clearly has had an impact....
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Re: On board effects loop question

Postby WildEye » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:01 pm

It's simple (after you understand it...) - the point is to have the full output of the pick-ups go to the FX loop (so your pedals always see the same volume). One jack is the fx loop and the other is like any other output jack on an electric guitar. The fx loop jack is stereo (so it can feed the the pedals and also take the returning signal) - then the signal hits your volume pot then out the mono jack (standard) to go direct to your amp.

Many of us use AO's the wheel or Godfrey's hub bub instead of a y cable but either will do. A volume pedal isn't needed anymore (your volume pot on the guitar would take it's place) Make sense?

a stereo tip to two mono tip cable for the fx loop - and a mono cable for the guitar to the amp.

Others on this board are much more knowledgeable than I but feel free to pm me and I don't mind walking you through it.
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Re: On board effects loop question

Postby redeyedjim » Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:50 pm

Mosfed, the typical Garcia OBEL signal goes like this:

Pickups > Unity Gain Buffer > OBEL jack SEND (TRS tip) > > OBEL TRS Cable Send channel > Guitar effects > OBEL TRS Cable Return channel > OBEL jack RETURN (TRS ring) > Master volume pot > Guitar output jack > Mono output cable > Amplifier

Red = physically on the guitar
Blue = cable

OBEL Send and Receive signals share the TRS cable; typically Tip = Send and Ring = Return. Typically, the signal to the effects is sent full strength and post buffer, so it can travel long lengths of cable without significant loss. Usually there's no volume pedal in the effects loop, but some people do add a 25k pot for greater control with some effects. For example, I have several distortion effects that respond strongly to input signal strength, so I keep those in their own loop and have a 25k volume pot* at the beginning of that loop.

The signal is controlled by your guitar's volume pot once it leaves your guitar for the final time, and you can treat it like a typical guitar signal and control it with a 25k volume pedal* if you want to, or run it into another effect. For example, I find my reverb effects respond better and sound more natural when they are in this leg of the signal chain, so that's where I run them: between the guitar's final output and the amp's input. Your mileage may vary.

And that's OBEL. Sorry if that was too long winded an explanation, but maybe that helps?

*25k volume pot/pedal, assuming you are using a unity gain buffer prior to that to covert to a low impedance signal.
Last edited by redeyedjim on Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: On board effects loop question

Postby Mosfed » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:06 am

OK - I think I am getting it.

Where I was going wrong (duh) was plugging both ends of the stereo to mono cable into the guitar.

Last question - my stereo to mono cable has two colors - one is blue and one is red. The red is labeled "Tip" and the blue is labeled "Ring". Which one is send and which one is receive?

I have to sadly admit that I am all excited that is making sense.
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Re: On board effects loop question

Postby redeyedjim » Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:17 am

From my above explanation:

"OBEL Send and Receive signals share the TRS cable; typically Tip = Send and Ring = Return."

That's typically how these are setup, so start there and see if that works. OBEL is pretty awesome once you wrap your head around the signal path.
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Re: On board effects loop question

Postby Mosfed » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:43 am

I don't know how I missed that. I think I was focused on your colorful schematic.

Thanks so much
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Re: On board effects loop question

Postby Mosfed » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:58 pm

Let this be a lesson to anyone...

The only thing greater than how stupid you feel when you ask a question that you feel you should have been able to figure out on your own, is how amazing you feel when you actually hear your effects ringing out as they should have from the start and you start to see the genius in something that had escaped you previously.

I have never heard by rig through effects sound better. Thanks to you all for putting up with my thickness
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Re: On board effects loop question

Postby postguitars » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:44 am

Also make sure to unplug the guitar when not in use or the 9volt battery will drain pretty fast.
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Re: On board effects loop question

Postby Jon S. » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:51 am

redeyedjim wrote:Mosfed, the typical Garcia OBEL signal goes like this:

Pickups > Unity Gain Buffer > OBEL Send jack > > OBEL TRS Cable Send channel > Guitar effects > OBEL TRS Cable Return channel > OBEL return jack > Master volume pot > Guitar output jack > Mono output cable > Amplifier

Red = physically on the guitar
Blue = cable

OBEL Send and Receive signals share the TRS cable; typically Tip = Send and Ring = Return. Typically, the signal to the effects is sent full strength and post buffer, so it can travel long lengths of cable without significant loss. Usually there's no volume pedal in the effects loop, but some people do add a 25k pot for greater control with some effects. For example, I have several distortion effects that respond strongly to input signal strength, so I keep those in their own loop and have a 25k volume pot* at the beginning of that loop.

The signal is controlled by your guitar's volume pot once it leaves your guitar for the final time, and you can treat it like a typical guitar signal and control it with a 25k volume pedal* if you want to, or run it into another effect. For example, I find my reverb effects respond better and sound more natural when they are in this leg of the signal chain, so that's where I run them: between the guitar's final output and the amp's input. Your mileage may vary.

And that's OBEL. Sorry if that was too long winded an explanation, but maybe that helps?

*25k volume pot/pedal, assuming you are using a unity gain buffer prior to that to covert to a low impedance signal.

jim, your response should be archived. Best OBEL explanation I've seen! :smile:
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Re: On board effects loop question

Postby jester536 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:38 am

I agree...the explanation is very thorough. I just fear there might be confusion with the concept of an "OBEL send jack" and an "OBEL return jack"...that is just one jack. I realize that's obvious to many...but that's not who the post is for.
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Re: On board effects loop question

Postby redeyedjim » Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:49 pm

Thanks, guys.

Jester, I agree that the OBEL jack text in my original comment could have been clearer, so I added a little more text for clarity:

The typical Garcia OBEL signal goes like this:

Pickups > Unity Gain Buffer > OBEL jack SEND (TRS tip) > > OBEL TRS cable SEND channel > Guitar effects > OBEL TRS cable RETURN channel > OBEL jack RETURN (TRS ring) > Master volume pot > Guitar output jack (TS) > Mono output cable > Amplifier

Red = physically on the guitar
Blue = cable

OBEL Send and Receive signals share the TRS cable; typically Tip = Send and Ring = Return. Typically, the signal to the effects is sent full strength and post buffer, so it can travel long lengths of cable without significant loss. Usually there's no volume pedal in the effects loop, but some people add a 25k pot for greater control with some effects. For example, I have several distortion effects that respond strongly to input signal strength, so I keep those in their own loop and have a 25k volume pot* at the beginning of that loop.

The signal is controlled by your guitar's volume pot once it leaves your guitar for the final time, and you can treat it like a typical guitar signal and control it with a 25k volume pedal* if you want to, or run it into another effect. For example, I find my reverb effect responds better and sounds more natural when it is in this leg of the signal chain, so that's where I run it: between the guitar's final output and the amp's input. Your mileage may vary.

*25k volume pot/pedal, assuming you are using a unity gain buffer prior to that to covert to a low impedance signal.


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Re: On board effects loop question

Postby Mosfed » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:29 pm

Once I was clear that the stereo end of the cable got plugged into the second jack and that the Y was for the effect - Jim's explanation was pretty clear. I am truly grateful.

I spent the day playing around with it and I see what you mean about certain pedals reacting better after the loop - like a loop pedal that I have - it by nature has to be after. My reverb is in the amp head so that's not an issue. What I was amazed at was how much better my MXR distortion + and my Mutron III acted. Also the Tube screamer and any other overdrive that I put in seem much happier.

Thanks again to all.
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Re: On board effects loop question

Postby mrMix » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:31 pm

Wanted to raise this topic again as I'm planning to put in the OBEL - however - my rig is currently digital (using a Line 6 HD 500). Any thoughts on how this would work in a digital scenario where bot the amp model and the effects are within the same unit? The HD 500 does have a main and aux input and I'm trying to grasp how I would do this when going straight from the unit to the soundboard without a physical amp.
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Re: On board effects loop question

Postby Mosfed » Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:56 pm

I am clearly not an expert but Well I guess it's all about how you think about it - amp modelers are really no more than any normal effect - they apply a sound to a signal. So in theory provided you can play the balancing act of the right amount of gain to get your tone and then not compromise that tone with your guitars volume it should be able to work.

On the other hand you might be happier if you could separate them and use the OBEL for your traditional effects, then go to a separate digital unit for your amp etc.

I would see option b as being easier but option a should be possible with the right amount of tinkering and compromise
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Re: On board effects loop question

Postby butchpilgrim » Thu Aug 16, 2012 3:50 pm

Sorry if someone said this already, but the OBEL is simply an insert, as on a mixing console. A single TRS jack per mixer channel that can go out to outside world, into something mono (like a compressor), out of it mono, returning to channel strip over same TRS connection.

(from a website) Insert
The "insert" jack is actually an IN and OUT in one jack. This is for adding an effect such as a compressor / limiter to only that channel. You will need a special "Y" cable for using this jack.
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