Home  |   FAQ  |   CAE News  |   Contact Us

The Custom Shop

« Return to Custom Shop main


I pioneered the wet/dry system configuration for modern guitar systems back in the 80's. This configuration consisted of a "dry" (or mono) amplifier connected to its own speaker cabinet. Typically, there may also be effects pedals connected between the instrument and this amp's input. Of course, this effected sound would also come out the "dry" cabinet. In addition a portion of the signal would be tapped off of this amp's speaker output (to capture the whole sound of the amp including the power stage) via what I call a "Line Out Box".** This box resistively lowered the speaker level signal to a more managable line level, and at this point it would also be transformer isolated to prevent ground loop hum.

The Line level signal would then be fed to effects (typically time based effects such as reverb/chorus/delay) often mixed together via my line mixers in stereo, then onto a power amp connected to the "wet" speakers. Hence the term "wet/dry" or better still "wet/dry/wet" denoting a stereo "wet" setup. Often, the power amps used to drive the wet cabs could be solid state as their purpose was to accurately replicate the dry amp's tone along with the effected signal. Coloration was not necessarily needed here. Over time, tube "guitar" power amps became available and were used here and their added coloration was adopted into the overall rig's sound.

An early user of this approach was Ed Van Halen.

Later rig designs utilised another CAE innovation, the multi amp selector, which allowed up to 4 amps to be switched
into a common "dry" speaker cabinet. Built in line outputs with individual level controls allowed for easy integration of
effects and power amps for "wet" cabs. What this type of system did was keep dry and effected signals separated, and allowed better control over the guitar sound, especially for the sound man in live situations. Dry and wet signals were effectlvely "mixed" acoustically, rather than electronically, and made for a punchier, less cluttered sound, as the "dry cabinet" had no time based effects to muddy up its signal. This is a similar approach to what would normally be done in the recording studio, by mic'ing a dry amp and adding the effects later. To this end, an alternative to the Line Out Box is to use a mic (and mic preamp) on the dry cabinet to drive the effects. Another great benefit to this configuration is ANY amp can be used, as no effects loop is required.

The system shown in the videos was commissioned by a guitarist named "Johnny" via his "tech" (seen and heard briefly in the videos). Nice guy, but I don't recall ever getting his last name...The videos offer a good description of a typical CAE wet/dry/wet configuration, utilizing a Bogner Ecstacy as the dry amp. These videos are system specific, but provide great insight into the wet /dry approach, especially as they relate to CAE products, but should be helpful to anyone interested in this type of system, no matter what gear they use. As the person I was explaining the system to in the video was new to all this, and somewhat "technically challenged," I had to be very clear in my explanations! So this should be helpful to beginners as well as more seasoned veterans of the wet/dry idea.

As a bonus, included here are 3 videos describing the RS-10 Midi Foot Controller as it relates to this system. They show basic operational features of the device, so they should be helpful to both beginners and more experienced users as well.

These videos offer an intensive look at this particular rig. If you only have time for one, choose the "overview".








**The copycats have glommed onto this approach, so there are many examples of my line out box out there today. But you can still get the original here at CAE.

« Return to Custom Shop main

NOTE: Any products, gear, manufacturers or arists mentioned in these articles neither endorse nor are endorsed by CAE.
CAE Products The Custom Shop The Rig Show CAE News The Bradshaw Legacy CAE Legends I/O Input Output On The Road FAQ Contact Us BANK DOWN BANK UP PS-1 PS-2 PS-3 PS-4