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X-Amp 500™ Using & Applications

The X-Amp 500 series module is 100% compatible with older API Lunchbox™ modules and racks while being 'wired' to work with all of the extra features built into the advanced Workhorse 500 sereis rack and mixer. This short guide is written for those who are experienced with 500 series modules. Complete details on using the X-Amp 500 and making connections to and from your 500 series rack can be found in the manual (PDF download).

The X-Amp is a unique 500 series amplifier interface designed to allow you to re-amplify a pre-recorded guitar track and send it to one or two amplifiers. This ‘old trick’ has been used for years and is part of the magic that made some of the most memorable recordings of all time. Features like the front panel Hi-Z jacks, active output level controls, polarity reverse and transformer isolation make it easy to Reamp® tracks with the best possible sound.


Basic Connections

Guitar and amp connections to and from the X-Amp are made on the front panel while connections to the recording system are done on the rear panel of your 500 series rack. We recommend starting with one amp as this will make trouble shooting easiest. You can add pedals and a second amp later, once you have confirmed everything is running properly. Start with your amp set up for a clean tone. This will enable you to adjust the X-Amp's output level to match your guitar's output level and the point where the amp's input stage goes into overdrive.

  1. Connect the output from your recorder to the XLR input on the rear panel of your 500 series rack.
  2. Turn the two X-Amp level controls fully counter-clockwise to minimum.
  3. Connect OUT-1 from the X-Amp to your first guitar amp.



We will assume that you have a pre-recorded clean track ready to Re-amp. Hit play on your recording system. Turn OUTPUT-1 on by depressing the switch, the LED indicator will illuminate. Slowly increase the level control. You should be hearing plenty of volume from your amp. If not, check your amp and connections and ensure things are set up correctly. If everything is working, you can now begin changing the amp tones or add effects pedals. Repeat if you want to add a second amp. You should be good to go.


Ground Loops and Noise

Both of the front panel amp outputs on the X-Amp are transformer isolated to help eliminate hum and buzz caused by ground loops. If you encounter hum and buzz try depressing the ground lift switch. It disconnects the ground at the ¼” output jack to reduce noise from ground loops.


Adding a Second Amp

If all is good, mute output-1 by setting the on switch to the outward position, connect amp number 2 and repeat the test process. If all is good, turn both amps on. The volume controls on the X-Amp are designed to let you adjust the signal going to each amp from the comfort of your control room chair. In fact, the X-Amp’s buffered front panel outputs can easily drive a 15 meter (50 ft) cable without signal loss.




Checking Phase and Adjusting Polarity

When using two amps at the same time, you will want to check to make sure they are both working in phase whereby both loudspeakers are pushing in the same direction. The easiest way to tell if you are in proper phase is to place both amps together and play bass notes. If the notes sound thin or hollow your amps are likely out of phase. The OUTPUT-2 is equipped with a 180º polarity reverse switch to fix the problem. Simply toggle the switch between NORMAL and INVERT positions and select the one that sounds best.


Omniport™ - Instrument Input Feature

As described earlier, Reamping™ is a two stage process whereby you must first record a clean track that will be used to Reamp. This is normally done using a direct box like the Radial J48, JDV or JDI. If your X-Amp is installed in a Workhorse 500 sereis rack, both recording and Reamping can be performed using the X-Amp 500 series module alone.


To make this work, we turned the Workhorse Omniport into an Hi-Z buffered instrument input. This way, you connect your guitar to the Omniport and the X-Amp will route the signal to the XLR output on the rear panel and to the Workhorse mixer outputs. You can use either output to record the clean track althought the Workhorse mixer output offers the benefit of warm sounding Jensen transformers. In addition the X-amp will drive your amp via the 1/4" front panel outputs allowing you to audition an overdriven guitar tone while actualy recording a clean signal.


Omniport™ - Guitar Distro

You can also use the X-Amp's Omniport instrument input to feed two amps simultaneously to create a scaled down version of our popular Radial JD7 Injector. You can of course still capture the clean track as detailed above. The cool thing here is that when you isolate and buffer the guitar signal going to the amps and pedals, you will find that in almost all cases, you will end up with a quieter setup to record with.