Always on 'Clean boost' pedal/buffer VS turning the amp up! Myth? Pointless?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by robojim4000, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. robojim4000

    robojim4000 Member

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    But surely for those of us that play in a band and have limitations on the audible volume of the amp, wouldn't this just mean volume down has to be turned down on the amp as a result (particularly non- master volume maps)

    So whats the point? Not being able to crank the amp as much is a BAD thing right?

    In other words, for example, isn't....

    Clean boost+amp at '4' = no clean boost+amp at '5' = pointless?

    Not to mention $200 pedals that 'bring back the highs' after signal loss??? just turn the treble up!?!
     
  2. sdd17

    sdd17 Member

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    I would say a buffer pedal to bring the signal as close to straight in is the best deal if there is degradation.
    I think the boost verses amp volume can be pointless yes.
     
  3. shredtrash

    shredtrash Supporting Member

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    Not pointless. Balancing preamp and poweramp gain with some type of booster is one of the biggest pro tricks in the book. Just cranking an amp usually doesn't work the way you would think.
     
  4. robojim4000

    robojim4000 Member

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    maybe, but I struggle to get either the pre-amp OR the power amp cooking on my 15 watt amp at lowish volumes. In theory on a master volume amp a boost pedal would drive the preamp harder (and overall volume would be controlled with the master volume), but on a non-MV amp a boost pedal just makes things louder - that doesn't help me at all in terms on getting a better tone at controllable volumes
     
  5. scr@tchy

    scr@tchy Member

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    Unless I am not understanding the question, where this works for me is when I can get the amp to be just at break up with my guitar's volume at full. Then it it with the boost and the volume increase isn't so dramatic.
     
  6. L_Totti

    L_Totti Member

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    This.
     
  7. teleclem

    teleclem Member

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    Fwiw, to my ears, amp w/treble up & amp w/ buffer sound pretty different.
     
  8. sdd17

    sdd17 Member

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    to the OP
    are you referring to a non-master amp?
     
  9. shredtrash

    shredtrash Supporting Member

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    A booster works the same way whether the amp is a MV or non-MV amp. However, a non-MV amp will have less "volume control" capability. You either need to get an attenuator or get another amp that fits your application better.
     
  10. FenderBigot

    FenderBigot Supporting Member

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    I dunno... while I hear what you're saying in the OP, I'm not sure I can support it. My EP Booster does something special to the sound of the amp clean. I also think my two primary OD pedals (Amp11 and DLS) both sound better with their volume up, so to get the same volume clean as I do dirty, I use the EP Booster.
     
  11. Blues Lyne

    Blues Lyne Member

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    In most, probably all, tube guitar amps there are tube gain stages before the volume control. Those tube stages will react different depending on the amount of signal feeding them. Using a boost to push those stages, even if the volume is then turned down to compensate, will change the how the amp sounds and/or reacts to your playing. Depending on the amp and the amount of boost, this will result in fattening the tone, and/or some compressions, and/or pushing the tubes into saturation (breakup). I have a '61 Tweed Gibson Falcon. It loves some boost before it, even if I'm going for clean tones. It just sounds fatter and more solid and punchy. While a boost can be used to overdrive an amp, it can also be used to maximize the signal levels and get proper gain staging from the amp.
     
  12. mmolteratx

    mmolteratx Member

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    Regardless of settings, if you're getting the same volume, you're power tubes are getting the same signal at the grid.
     
  13. schwa

    schwa Member

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    You're using the boost wrong. It doesn't work at low volumes. For your application, you want an OD pedal. Set the volume at unity (or a small boost), and use the drive knob to add the grit you aren't getting with the amp volume low.

    On a NMV amp they only get louder above 5 or so. After that they just add more distortion. Even so with the volume cranked, it's not super gainy. Add a boost to a cranked amp, and it puts things over the top - adding gain and potentially some cool transistor/eq magic as well.
     
  14. jtaylor996

    jtaylor996 Member

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    That blanket statement is way to simplistic for a huge variety of amps out there. There's post phase inverter master volumes, output transformer sagging, VVR power scaling, attenuators, etc, etc, etc... A lot of this stuff happens in the best amps out there, too.
     
  15. Cirrus

    Cirrus Member

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    No, I am not power tubes!
     
  16. the ruckus

    the ruckus Member

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    For me volume on a tube amp provides more than just "loudness", it's about soft compression, EQ difference, push back, break up & a dozen other little things. With lots of pedals between my guitar & amp some of this lost. A good buffer or responsive boost helps restore many of these factors & bring back the feel. I think most newer players have little to no experience plugging a quality guitar straight into a quality amp & really playing thru it to learn how it feels. Buffers aren't about making you louder but helping restore the feel of straight in.
     
  17. sdd17

    sdd17 Member

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    Put your amp at a level that is right before breakup and hit a chord or 2 and listen.
    Now plug in a quality clean boost pedal like a creation audio 4.23 in and set the level of the pedal at about 10 o'clock. dial your amp back to match the volume you had when you plugged straight in.

    Should sound pretty close.

    That being said the perhaps it is a better option to just run the amp hotter.

    I think this may reflect the original OP's question.
     
  18. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody Member

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    If I run a barber launch pad LAST in my chain (as a clean boost) I can get my amp (drri) right on the verge of breakup without cranking the amp...

    My drri by itself starts to break up with humbuckers at 4 1/2-5 on the volume...WAY too loud for home play...but with the barber launch pad, I turn the amp to between 1 and 2, volume-wise it is closer to 2 1/3-3, and its right on the edge of break up
     
  19. freaksho

    freaksho Supporting Member

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    i think these two posts get to the core of what the OP is asking, and i think Blues Lyne's reponse is closer to my understaning. that is, some gain stage(s) in nmv amps occur before volume control so if you hit those harder (a clean boost) then you'll get saturation/compression/etc from the preamp and that will remain if you turn down the amp's volume.

    in light of this i think i might disagree with sdd17's description as the effect of the boost will still be heard even when you turn down the amp's volume. the one unknown is that 10:00 setting you talk about, which might still be unity gain (or less) and therefore you may be right and there will be little effect (and this may be what the OP is asking about).
     
  20. mds

    mds Member

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    I run a CAE Boost/Buffer at the beginning of my pedal board and just barely push the level up. It doesn't really change the gain on the amp, it just keep my signal strong through my pedalboard and the long run back to the amp. It makes a big difference in my tone.
     

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