Connecting the RP to other gear, like your amp and your mic, is really pretty simple. You don’t need a preamp between the mic and the RP; the RP is a preamp. You don’t need a direct box between your RP and the amp or mixer you connect it to, unless the cable run is more than 50 feet (20 meters), in which case you’d need a direct box whether an RP was involved or not.
Just plug your hi-z mic (or lo-z mic with lo-to-hi-z inline transformer on the cable) into your RP, then plug the RP outputs into your amp or mixer. If you use the XLR outputs on the RP350, 355, 500, or 1000, you need to use both.
WE REPEAT: IF YOU’RE GOING TO USE THE XLR OUTPUTS ON YOUR RP, YOU MUST USE BOTH! There is NO mono XLR output! Your RP will sound like hell if you try to use either of the XLR outputs by itself.
The stereo outs, either XLR or 1/4″, are very nice if you have a stereo PA and you really want to hear that rotary speaker turn, or hear the stereo chorus or flanging, or the ping pong delays flipping between speakers. If your PA or amp is mono (meaning you can’t pan the inputs to one side or another of the speakers), don’t bother with the stereo outputs on the RP. Just use the RP’s 1/4″ mono output (the one that’s labeled “Left/mono”).
Note: if your mixer, powered speaker, or PA system doesn’t accept 1/4″ inputs, you can provide a mono feed to it from the RP by running a 1/4″ mono output from the RP to a direct box, then running an XLR cable from the direct box to the mixer or PA.
HEY! READ THIS IF YOUR RP ISN’T MAKING A SOUND THROUGH THE PA!
The outputs you use on the RP MUST match the inputs you use on the amp/mixer/PA! If you use ONE 1/4″ output on the RP, IT MUST BE THE LEFT (MONO) OUTPUT! And if you plug that 1/4″ cable into a PA channel with two 1/4″ inputs, PLUG IT INTO THE ONE LABELED MONO (usually the LEFT input)!
In other words, MAKE SURE that, if you’re going mono, you’re plugging a mono output from the RP into a mono input on the PA. IF YOU GET THAT WRONG, YOU’RE GOING TO GET A VERY WEAK SOUND FROM THE RP WHEN YOU PLUG IT INTO THE PA! Don’t blame the RP for that if it happens–just make sure to read the labels on the PA inputs BEFORE you plug the RP in.
And since you’re here, check out the sounds we made with our Digitech RP500 and an Audix Fireball V mic on our new 21st century rock harp record “The Lucky One!”