3rd Most Popular FAQ – Amplifier Isolation Boxes

In a continuation of DRIVE 08 recap (or decompression…), I’m going to attempt to give some detailed answers to the – by far – 3 most popular series of questions I received at DRIVE during our breakouts, Q&A’s and Round Table discussions.

So here’s a stab at the 3rd most popular:

“What do you do about guitarists and their amplifiers?”

Well – there’s 2 answers to that question.

The first is the POD X3 Live. You’ve heard me rave about this thing before, and – in the right hands – it IS amazing. I must emphasize, however, that using any previous POD product is not the same as the X3 Live. The older stuff is not as good. The X3 Live, however, has a TON more features, more horsepower, and 2 distinct processors which allow the ability to LAYER sounds. Like a Vox AC30 and a Fender Bassman – together!

I’m gonna have some of the X3 Live “converts” write some articles about their experience…

Second, for those using an amplifier (combo amp or head and cabinet), we built really nice ISOLATION BOXES (common terminology is “Iso Box“).

They’re off stage, yet still conveniently accessed.

They’re quite sound absorbent (nothing is truly sound proof) using heavy duty sonic paneling and acoustic foam.

They’re sturdy, being constructed out of Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF).

They’re ventilated using a small electric fan (VERY important!!), blowing the hot air OUT.

They’re wired for microphones OUT, guitar signal IN, and power.

They’re lit with a small light.

They’re less than 4′ cubed.

***IMPORANT*** They use 2 important signal Transmit and Receive boxes that allow the signal to travel long distances of cable without losing integrity.

200805081512.jpg 200805081512.jpg

The guitarist takes the signal coming out of his on-stage pedal board or amp head, and plugs it into the TRANSMIT box. It’s converted to an XLR connection, allowing it to be connected into any snake or floor box (as is common in many churches and stages).

That signal is then routed to the ISO BOX, either directly or through a patch bay (common in bigger sound systems). Inside the ISO BOX, the XLR signal is then converted back to a 1/4″ connection via the RECEIVE box, which is then plugged into the guitarist’s cabinet or combo amp.

Also, they’ve got a cool “Drag Control” feature:

To ensure the natural tone of the instrument is transferred correctly, our unique Drag Control™ load correction circuit is provided that allows the guitarist to introduce a load on the pickup to emulate the direct connection of his guitar to the amplifier.”

Here’s Dave Stagl, our Audio Director, explaining one of our Iso Boxes….

There you go!

Don’t forget the FAN!!!

8 thoughts on “3rd Most Popular FAQ – Amplifier Isolation Boxes

  1. I’m curious as to what you do about the fan noise. My Traynor gets hot as crap and I’m worried that I’d need a pretty stout fan. Do you have a noise gate on the channel or anything?

  2. There is a bit of a gate on that channel, but for the amp hiss. The electric fan is actually very quiet – not as loud as the hum of the amp.

    Besides, because the amp (in the iso box) is usually run loud, the gain on the mic channel is low, so that also helps eliminate the amp hum or the fan from bleeding.

    It’s also a good idea to open the iso box doors between services, or even during the preaching. You can even take that time to put the amp in “standby”…

  3. What kind of fan is it? I’m in the process of building my box right now.
    Lucky me, we have MDF and Tray Slides all over the place in our shop.
    I work for a custom cabinet company, so I can have this built in about 2 hours.
    Then I’ve got to get the sound proofing. What did you all use there?
    And last but not least, your patching? I don’t have an SGI, and I probably wont
    for a while, do you suggest something like a locking 1/4″ Balanced TRS jack
    and a wall plate for mic inserts? I’m using this for my home studio, nothing
    super nice but… all these things I’m trying to take into consideration.
    – Aaron

  4. Thanks for the helpful post. I was just wondering if you could put a number on teh distance of cable where these boxes become necessary. For example, any cable run over 50’…

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