Sometimes you just need more volume and a stereo feel from your guitar’s sound, which necessitates the use of amplifiers. Some amplifiers, however, produce low volume, which is less suitable for live performances. If you have one of these amps and want more volume, try daisy-chaining to connect multiple amps to your guitar.
Here are three easy options for you to consider when daisy-chaining multiple guitar amplifiers for louder, richer, and better-quality sound:
- Direct connection through amplifier inputs.
- Wet and dry effects pedal outputs.
- Buffered AB/Y splitters.
Each option enables you to amplify a single guitar’s sound through multiple amplifiers, thus producing louder volume and stereo. They also have their pros and cons, which you should consider before making an informed decision on the option to try. Keep reading this article for more information.
What is daisy chaining amplifiers?
Simply put, it’s a way to connect multiple guitar amplifiers together to get more volume, power, and hopefully a better sound from your playing. You can either use this technique while rehearsing (depending on the open space), at home when practicing, or in your next live performance. Either way, it is a valuable tool for you to have (know).
1. Direct Connection Through Amplifier Inputs
Using direct connection inputs remains the simplest method for daisy-chaining your amplifiers. The procedure involves simple steps and does not require many tools.
Here’s what you need for a direct connection through amplifier inputs:
- Two amplifiers
- A guitar
- Two standard instrument jack cables
If you want to purchase the instrument jack cables, I recommend trying GLS Audio Instrument Cable (available on Amazon.com). This cable is made of high-quality oxygen-free copper and thus durable. The guitar chord is also designed to coil neatly; you won’t have to worry about the chord twisting and tangling.
The Direct Connection Process and Requirements
For direct connection through amplifier inputs to work, at least one of the amplifiers must have two or more inputs and outputs. If you do not have one meeting these specifications, consider using another daisy-chaining option.
These steps outline the direct connection process:
- Assess the inputs and outputs of each amp. The next step in this procedure depends on how many inputs and outputs each guitar amplifier has. If both amplifiers have multiple inputs and outputs, you are free to follow any order in the setup.
- If one of the amps only has a single input, connect the guitar to the amplifier with a secondary output. If this describes your setup, it is likely that one guitar amplifier has multiple inputs and outputs while the other has a single input. However, if both amps have multiple inputs and outputs, feel free to move on to the next step.
- Connect one standard guitar jack cable to the first amplifier’s input with the other end in the guitar’s output. Connect the second jack cable to the first amplifier’s second input with the other end connected to the second amplifier. This connection links the two guitar amplifiers, forming the daisy chain. The guitar should play with amplification from both amplifiers.
Phasing: The Downside to the Direct Connection Method
This process is easy, quick, and needs no major equipment. So, what is the downside?
One common defect of connecting amplifiers directly via inputs you should expect is phasing. This occurs when the sound waves emitted from the two amplifiers’ outputs seem ‘out of phase’ with one another, making the amplifiers sound incomplete.
Waveforms from the amplifiers cancel each other out and subdue certain frequencies, thus distorting the sound quality.
Fortunately, phasing is an easy problem to detect and fix. If you hear the amplifiers’ sound outputs sounding out of phase, reverse the cable connection between the amplifiers. Reversing the cables synchronizes sounds from the outputs, thus rectifying the phasing problem.
2. Wet and Dry Effects Pedal Outputs
The next daisy-chaining technique you should try is connecting amplifiers with wet and dry effects pedal outputs. This method is ideal if you lack a guitar amplifier with multiple inputs and outputs.
In this technique, you use an effects pedal with stereo outputs to connect the sound output from the guitar to the amplifiers. One effects pedal I recommend is the Electro-Harmonix Micro POG Polyphonic Octave (available on Amazon.com). It is designed to make your 6-string guitar sound like a 12-string one and provides users with dry, sub-octave, and octave-up controls.
The effects pedal is specially designed to send separate outputs from the pedal to the amplifiers after facilitating signal splitting. Hence the name ‘wet and dry’ effects because this daisy-chaining technique separates dry and wet signals before sending them to the amplifier.
How To Daisy-Chain With the Wet and Dry Effects Pedal
Follow these steps to connect your amps using the wet and dry effects pedal:
- Use a standard guitar jack cable to connect your guitar to the pedal’s output. Connect the guitar as you normally would.
- Connect a second instrument jack cable to the first amplifier’s input. Plug the other end into the ‘effects out’ on the pedal.
- Use a third instrument jack cable to connect the second amplifier’s input and the ‘dry out’ input on the pedal. Doing this connects both amplifiers with the effects pedal acting as the intermediary. The signal passes through the effects pedal before it is sent to both guitar amplifiers.
Wet and Dry Pedal Daisy-Chaining in Action
This technique allows you more control over the sound signals and amplification because you can do more, including using a stereo delay to create the effect of sound traveling between two amplifiers back and forth. This effect is often difficult to isolate when using a single amplifier. Therefore, try using two amplifiers and an effects pedal for a dynamic sound.
Wet and Dry Effects Pedal Outputs offer the user more control over the effects, have low noise, and are reliable. The only downside of this technique is it requires a pedal with multiple inputs and outputs.
Fortunately, there are numerous brands of pedals in the market from which to select. Purchase pedals that suit your guitar amps and are specific to your desired output.
3. Buffered AB/Y Splitters
The third easy daisy-chaining technique you should try involves using buffered AB/Y Splitters.
Understanding How AB/Y Splitters Work
AB/Y splitters are switchers that are primarily used to feed a sound signal from one guitar to two guitar amplifiers. The AB indicates that the device can switch between two amplifiers, while the Y indicates that both amplifiers can be turned on at the same time.
Using any splitter will likely yield disappointing results because its performance and signal clarity vary significantly. That is why you should always use a buffered ABY splitter instead of a regular splitter. Buffered ABY splitters are specifically made to minimize interruption and maintain signal strength as you play.
Additionally, buffered ABY splitters enhance performance by maintaining the signal strength reaching the pedals connected to the guitar. Usually, they also have useful features like impedance matching, phase switching, and ground loops that allow you more control over the settings to use and the results.
You can duplicate the sound produced by both amplifiers or send the signal to one amplifier using a button on the AB/Y splitter. This is useful to artists and live bands when testing their sound systems to determine which amplifier best suits a specific song.
How To Use an AB/Y Splitter for Daisy-Chaining
Using a splitter is one of the simplest techniques for daisy-chaining guitar amps:
- Look for two to four outputs on the AB/Y splitter and plug in your instrument jack cables.
- Plug the other ends of the cables into your amplifiers to complete the daisy chain.
This is an easy and reliable daisy-chaining technique that eradicates all noise and addresses all possible issues. The only downside is its cost. You must also use a buffered splitter if you wish to prevent noise and signal strength loss.
Successfully daisy-chaining your guitar amplifiers depends on the quality of equipment and the correctness of the technique used. Fortunately, each of these daisy-chaining techniques is easy to use and requires few readily available tools.
Always ensure you have tools of the right quality that match your preferred daisy-chaining technique.