View Full Version : Effects Loops Suck Tone?
08-16-2011, 02:09 PM
Just how and why do effects loops suck tone?
I finally have a simple but effective pedal board (reverb, delay, trem, chorus and clean boost with TC Electronics tuner and Line 6 wireless).
I'd really like to use it with the R, D, T and Ch in a loop.
Why are so many players put off by effects loops?
Ordering a custom amp this week and really want to make sure I do the right thing and have the best amp (for me at least) that I can afford.
08-16-2011, 02:15 PM
I think if it's a good buffered loop it won't suck tone. It depends on the devices you put in the loop and the cables though :)
08-16-2011, 02:17 PM
passive loops suck tone b/c of long cable lengths and mismatches between pedal input and output levels. If you want a good FX loop it needs to be buffered with the ability to control the send and return levels according to what you have in the loop. For instance, sending too hot a signal to some pedals will cause overload and ugly clipping...
I don't need or use a loop b/c I run my amp only slightly dirty and get my lead gain from pedals and so I have no issues running delay into the front of the amp. You really need a loop if you are getting your gain/drive/dirt from the preamp, in which case delay & modulation sounds pretty bad going into the front end. But if you use your amp as a clean base tone for pedals you don't really need one.
More than anything to me it just seems like an extra hassle, and seems best for people using big racks of FX...
08-16-2011, 02:21 PM
It's not usually the loop itself that does, it's the devices and/or the in and out levels and impedance not matching well. A builder can only insure that the levels are good by adding send and return level controls, or at least send because thats where the real level issue happens. If a loop adds no coloration on it's own, then the builder has done his job. You need to find effects that are transparent and who's levels and impedance match the amp. So it's not as simple as it seems. The builder doesn't know what you are going to use in it so he can only do so much.
08-16-2011, 02:24 PM
I'm planning on ordering a 36 watt EF86 from Nik at Ceriatone.
This is good info.
Thanks a lot!
08-16-2011, 02:46 PM
Some tone purist will say there are extra connections/switches the signal has to pass through (or around if not using).....thus making the tone not as "pure". I can see that to an extent, but not enough to change my mind if I plan on using the FX loop or of that's the only way the amp comes. Just like some people say red wires are better than black ones?
Most of the time the FX themselves are the culprit of degraded tone and as mentioned above, a good buffer in the loop will fix most of that.
08-16-2011, 03:32 PM
I installed SDM's "Zero Loss" FX loop in my Mojave Peacemaker, and it's the first loop I've tried that I thought was transparent enough to live with. If there's any signal degradation, my ears aren't good enough to hear it.
08-16-2011, 04:30 PM
My Boogie Studio Preamp has a very good effects loop that doesn't suck tone at all. I guess Boogie got it right on it.
But, I've tried other amps, like Orange, where I noticed a big drop in tone when I tried the loop.
On all of the amps I've had with a good tube buffered loop there has been minimal loss more or less.
I've learned a few things to lessen any negative affects of them over the years:
1.) Short cable path, I keep all my pedals behind my amp that go in my FX Loop.
2.) I keep them out of my signal path and control them with this http://www.thegigrig.com/acatalog/AFXL_Remote_Loopy-2.html
3.) I use low capacitance cables, Lava ELC's http://www.lavacable.com/lava.html
4.) I buffer back to my amp with an Axess Electronics Buffer.
5.) I use a Voodoo Labs PP2+ to reduce any possible added noise issues, each output on the PP2+ is isolated (huge help).
But there's no silver bullet, there IS a difference and it can be extremely minimal if done right. Unfortunately the hardcore purist cats are right though, it changes the sound of the amp. To what degree is determined by how well it's implemented into the amp by the builder and how you utilize it.
08-16-2011, 08:13 PM
I don't need one myself as I never put anything through it. If I use effects they go into the front of the amp.
vBulletin® v3.8.5, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.