This $100 pedal saved me from buying a new audio interface.



Back in the 2019, I have started my adventure with analog pedals and tube amps. And aside from songwriting, I do a lot of mixing and mastering. Bands are sending me their tracks for mixing, but often their recorded guitars are not sounding the way they should. That's why I am always asking for the DI tracks too.


There are at least 2 reasons why you should record DI tracks for your guitars. The first one is simply the backup - you can always re-amp your guitars to get different tone that fits the song better than the original one. The second reason is that any audio editing of distorted guitars is really painful and frustrating - but if you have the DI track where you can easily see the transients of the signal, then audio editing is as simple as it is with drums or bass for example.


So I also wanted to re-amp the DI guitars through that beautiful analog and tube gear to get the better guitar tones for my mixes.

But! When I have done all the routing and comparisons between the re-recorded track with actual guitar and the re-amped one, the re-amped one was really weak. Not only when it comes to amount of gain, but it felt weird, thin, weak, liveless.

I was scared.


But later I realized that my old audio interface has quite low output impedance so I should try to boost the signal more to make the tone more alive and to compensate the gain loss.

Or the second option could be buying a new audio interface with greater out impedance.

But I didn't want to spend

Fortunately, I have found a second-hand MXR CAE Line Booster for $100.

Purchased.

The pedal can be powered by up to 18V for better headroom - so I have powered it that way, of course.


When I plugged the pedal in, turned it ON with Gain at 0%, the tone improved immediatelly, even with Gain at 0%!

Wow!

Magic!


Then I have adjusted the Gain to approx. +12dB and the tone was the same as when played on the guitar.

That's how this little $100 guitar pedal saved me from the $1.000 audio interface purchase.


OK, hope this little blog brings some value for someone.


May the muse be with You!