boost + attenuater = cancelled out?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by slowburn, Aug 18, 2005.


  1. slowburn

    slowburn Supporting Member

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    I may be oversimplifying things but it occurs to me that if you engage a clean boost to increase your db and then simultanteously use an attenuator to decrease your db, then what's the point?
     
  2. AL30

    AL30 Member

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    Interesting? I've never used an attenuator but I would think that as long as your amp wasn't maxed you're still going to have some headroom.

    AL
     
  3. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Because most people don't use a clean boost to increase volume, they use it to increase distortion.
     
  4. slowburn

    slowburn Supporting Member

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    now that's a conundrum. shouldn't be named "clean boost" if it ultimately increases distortion.
     
  5. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    It's called a 'clean boost' because all it's supposed to do is make your guitar signal louder in front of the amp. The additional distortion comes from overdriving your preamp section with the hotter signal. You can do the same thing with, say, an EQ pedal that has a level control - leave the EQ part flat and run the level up to +5 and you've got a 'clean boost'.

    --chiba
     
  6. trinitysun

    trinitysun Member

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    The boost itself does not add any distortion, it simply boosts the signal without any breakup, hence the term "clean." However, a side-effect of having a boosted, more powerful signal flowing is that your amp will break up more and the sound coming through your speakers sounds more distorted.

    The setup you're asking about would be:
    Clean boost ~> amp ~> attenuator ~> cabinet

    The clean boost pumps up your tone and signal through the amp, which gives you more headroom and breakup, then the attenuator keeps that over-powered, sweet-sounding signal and just drops the volume a bit before it comes through your speakers.
     
  7. AL30

    AL30 Member

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    Maybe it would help a bit... exactly what are you trying to do with the clean boost? Or are you just curious? Either way it's a good question.

    To get a "clean" boost out of the pedal you're going to need a lot of clean headroom - i.e. an amp that doesn't distort much at higher volumes (a twin reverb or similar).

    The boost itself hits your inputs pretty hard and if you don't have a lot of clean headroom (lower wattage fenders, ampegs etc) will push the amp to break-up. Exactly where in the break up depends on a pile of things (amp settings, guitar pick-ups, how much beer you've had, etc).

    And I realize this has already been covered - I just like "hearing" myself type :D

    AL
     
  8. slowburn

    slowburn Supporting Member

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    no this was more of a theoretical question.
     
  9. raz

    raz Member

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    Well, speaking theoretically, then...if you had a super-high headroom amp, an attenuator on the back end, and a super-clean boost in the front, you could theoretically end up having a cancelling effect.

    In reality, clean boosts are rarely, if ever, completely transparent so you'd likely get some color even in this little scenario.

    But when we're talking about most guitar amps...it's what Chiba says. The boost slams the preamp tubes harder. More gain. The attenuator knocks the output signal down by converting it to heat. Less volume.

    R
    A
    Z
     
  10. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Not really.

    The pedal itself is providing clean but louder signal.

    The amp is providing the distortion.

    It's called a clean boost to differentiate it it from an O/D pedal that is adding distortion to the signal before it gets to the amp.
     
  11. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    I was under the impression that a clean boost boosts your mids the most, and highs and lows minimally (for a graphic eq, something like an inverted V shape). Not everything on a flat level

    At least that's what my super chile picoso does
     
  12. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    They could certainly be set up to do that. I use a clean boost that more or less is even across the board (analogman).

    --chiba
     
  13. sysexguy

    sysexguy Member

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    SOT: to paraphrase Steven Wright :D

    "if one eats anti-pasto and pasta in the same meal, is one still hungry?"

    Andy
     
  14. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Depends on the pedal, some of them add mids, like the Fat Boost and your super chile picoso, some seem to goose up the highs and lows, and so slightly scoops the mids, like the ZVex SHO and some have a flat frequency curve.
     
  15. monstermike

    monstermike Member

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    Well, the other part of it is that most people attenuate to allow for distortion at lower volumes. A clean boost will beat the crap out of a distorting amp...

    But if you're attenuating a clean sound with a lot of headroom, then a clean boost will give you more volume than you would have without it. The attenuator, in a perfect world, just takes dBs off of what you're putting into it - for example, if you feed it a 90 dB signal and you're attenuating -4, it's an 86 dB signal coming out - but it doesn't limit or compress the signal, so if you increase the signal by one dB, it's taking 4 dBs off of THAT, rather than trying to squish everything down to a preset level.
     

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