A Question concerning electric guitars, church soundsystems and multi-effects

Hey all. I was hoping to find some recommendations from more experienced electric guitarists on this one.

 I'm a long-time acoustic player who has been playing more electric (an Epiphone Sheraton) of late when leading on Sundays (with the guitar plugged directly into our church sound system). While the guitar sounds great, I have to crank the channel on the soundboard and my guitar to 11 just so it's moderately loud. Rather than my buying a pre-amp, or a good amp that can act as one, I was wondering if most multi-effects processors act as pre-amps, thus giving me the desired signal boost along with adding a little dirt to my guitar's sound? I'm unfamiliar with effects pedals/processors, and have seen many that boast "pre-amp modellers"...but I'm not sure what that means. Can anybody help?


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Check out the Digitech products. I have used it for 10 years and it's extremely good, very easy to use, very easy to customize tone to get the right sound for the right song.
I just bought a 2nd hand BOSS GT-8, and I can tell you that it's a pretty nice machine.
If you don't mind used, one can be had via ebay for 200-300 depending.

Lots of folks can't wait for the upgrade(GT-10 in this case), and so will let the old go cheap.
All of these type boxes are going to act mostly the same, 1/4" out into the snake: with perhaps the right
1/4" going into an amp for a monitor.

It's possible that you only need a box with a few patches, as you mention you're leading: so maybe you would only need one of the small boxes, like the Digitech RP55(http://www.digitech.com/products/Multi-Effects/RP55.php) etc

So many choices: unless you have someone advising you in person who knows their stuff, you can just read extensively online, read reviews..get a feel for what folks are happy with.

All the best,
I just recently got the POD X3 Live to play my T5 thru & love it! And I found out this is the same pedal Lincoln Brewster plays thru & FURTHERMORE he has his exact tone settings on his site that you can load directly into the pedal--& it sounds amazing.:)
I have to be the one contrariness here and suggest that you get a good tube amp with a couple of basic effects pedals and mic the amp. The touch of the amp will far out shine any modeling unit you can buy. A used Fender Hot Rod or Blues Deluxe can be had for $400. Just my two cents...
Kudos for playing a Sheraton! My favorite guitar by far.

I'll assume that you have a specific reason for plugging directly into the system so I won't talk about snooty things like tube amps ;)

I'll echo what others have told you (especially Ricky C. - because you can't go wrong there!), invest in whatever option you choose because you will regret buying cheap gear. Whether you're a tone snob playing through an amp or you're playing through a POD you'll never regret a quality piece of gear!

Remember: You get what you paid for!
the sound system and your guitar operate at 2 diffrent inpedance Hz ratings are you using a direct box (a converter) or pluging directly in to the sound system. you will need a converter $5.00 to $360.00 depending on the quality Heres a link to Musitions friend the one for $24.00 will do just fine. hope it helps. http://www.musiciansfriend.com/navigation?q=direct+box
While the Boss Me-70 and anything by Line 6 is going to be good, I would recommend that you not go too big too fast. Start off with something a bit smaller and less expensive...say a digitech RP 90. You do this so you can establish yourself as an electric player, and find some sounds that you are comfortable with. Getting a huge pedal with a ton of features right off the bat is more than a little bit daunting, and could easily frustrate you to the point of giving up on the whole idea...nobody wants THAT to happen. As Charles suggested...run that thing to a DI, and THEN to the board. Never, ever plug any instrument straight into the board.

Thanks for all the responses… To answer some of your questions…

My Epiphone is indeed plugged into a DI box (passive I believe) which in turn is fed to the sound system with XLR. That said, I still need to really crank the knobs on the guitar and board. I noticed that the DI box the church uses has a switch to turn the ground lift on or off. What should this be set to?

Largely the reason for my not investing in a sweet amp at this time is money. Because I wanted to add some effects to my playing, I figured that the cheapest solution would be to get something with amp modelling- that way my little boy doesn’t have to eat Mac and Cheese. Judging by many of your responses, a multifx unit can indeed act as a pre-amp or amp through modelling, giving me the volume boost I need.

Regarding the different multi-effects units out there, I suppose I want something that doesn’t break the bank (preferably not much more than $300) while still getting something that’ll last me for years. The Digitech RP55 that was recommended seems like a bargain for what you get, but would this really hold up over time and use? And does it really compare to something from BOSS or Line 6 or even with some of Digitech’s more costly units? I know that getting something on the complex side might be initially daunting, but it could also be something I could grow into rather than something I would outgrow. The Boss ME-70 looks good- easy to use and a good bunch of customizable effects, but hey, I’m just in the research stage- again, any recommendations are quite helpful.
About the best advice I could give is if you have a music super store (Samash, The guitar center or any outer you may know of) go in most will let you take you guitar, and paly with everything you can get your hands on, If your like me I buy all my gear, on a low bugeet. find what sounds the best. then go and find it on ebay craigs list or just google it. This is not the fastest way by you find more of what works for you. because I may use a 123 widget that works grate for me doesn't mean it's for you. good luck.
The ground lift won't make any difference in the level of your signal. Just set it to the position that eliminates the most noise (hum).
Whenever I look for a new piece of equipment, I go to all the music store sites and read the reviews. Musician's Friend, Guitar Center, Sam Ash (even Amazon) etc. all have user reviews and I read A LOT of them. Then I google my choices and look for magazine reviews. By the time you've done this, you get a pretty good idea of what you're gettting. Then go to the store and try it WITH YOUR GUITAR. Most places will let you do this.

For your current situation, it sounds like the DI box isn't suitable for the job. It could be that the particular model is for taking unbalanced line level to mic level. One with pad controls usually give the flexibility to take a mic level unbalanced (What you are getting out of your guitar) and turn it into a balanced signal for the board. Of course if you get a multiprocessor then that is academic. Worth mentioning that if not running through an amp, the amp modelling quality will definitely depend on how much you spend on it. Many of the units mentioned should be fine. Another advantage of that route rather than an amp of course is controlling the on stage volume.
Hi Ben!
BTW, I have a Sheraton, play it mostly for Jazz.
On most boards, the input level is adjustable; I assume that is where you started. Don't go to the output levels until you have the input levels adjusted. Also, make sure that that input line does not have a pad enabled (boards often have a -20db pad button. Make sure it's disabled. With the Sharaton, you might have them eq out some of the bass while you're at it, as they are kinda-like-totally boomy.)
If you sometimes stay with an acoustic, you might consider getting a looper (RC-20) or the like. It will allow you to control output levels to the board, and as you get to know it, will make you a better player. IMHO, loopers are the best training tool you can get. Fun and really good for perfecting your rhythm as well as allowing you to explore leads without torturing your friends.
If you are going to be using the electric only and don't want to invest in a large number of pedals, a multi-effects processor board is a great place to start. Even the low end multi-effects processors have input and output level controls.

Have fun!
-- Dave.
If you're moving to an electric,


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