Effects Loop vs. Front End

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by jakins, Feb 16, 2006.

  1. jakins

    jakins Member

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    Okay, ive been playing for over 15 years, so this may seem like a dumb question, but...ive always played my pedal chain (3 or 4 pedals) thru the front of my shiva...is that bad, or should i use the effects loop? What are the pro's / con's of either way?
     
  2. wsaraceni

    wsaraceni Member

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    i dont know of any pro's or cons. what effects are you using. most people put time based effects in the loop. i only use a delay and i put it up front. just seem to like it better that way. although the tte might be different than other delays
     
  3. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    If there are effects that you would prefer to not be distorted, then they'll fare better in the loop. That doesn't mean your pedals will work better in the loop. Loops and pedals don't always get along. But you can't tell w/o trying. I seem to recall that the Shiva requires the use of an odd cable in its loop. You may want to read the manual on that.
     
  4. jakins

    jakins Member

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    im using a fulldrive 2, a fulltone fatboost, fulltone supa-trem, and a line 6 delay.
     
  5. voodoogreg

    voodoogreg Member

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    I depend's on the amp setting's (gain sensitivity) the effects, (eg certain model's of delay's will work better in front then others) and effect order.
    Also how much "effect" your adding to your rig.

    I seem to see three distinct setup's: old school, modified old school and post pre-amp integration.

    Simply put OS is all in front, and here is were layout of the effect's is critical. delay's and boost's/distortion
    become more tricky here. If you listen to cut's from 60's -70's album's
    player's had a tape unit on top of the amp or near by, boost and wah's on the floor. many like myself, find this setup preferable for a more pure tone
    produced by the guitar/amp. The effect of the amp set to a light overdrive and boost for solos before the analog/tape delay gives a very light kind of compression that keep's delay's from "runaway" (slopping up the signal with long tail repeat's) and the bonus of raising the delay level just right during soloing with the boost on. I have came opon a few modern delay's and boost's that work very well in this, the boss DD-3,
    T-rex, and many "vintage setting" on the line 6 DL-4. Tweek and you will find "tone".

    Modified OS is pretty much the above but with the delay in the loop maybe the chorus effect too. a good choice for channel switcher's and real hi gain player's.

    Integerated PP is running all effects in a rack in the loop or preferably a audio switcher that add's only the effect's needed at the time while switching out those not in use.(this prevent's major tone loss, since rack effect's rarely switch to in/out true bypass, and all those little trace's in the PCB circuit board of a typical rack effect is like running several dozen feet of cable) This setup Is great for studio like tones live and the particular delay you get in a loop PP. It can be altered to panned and wet/dry mix's, though I feel both are useless live except for the player.
    Anyhoo, my 2 cents as a session and live player. VDG

     
  6. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    No experience with the Shiva. Typically, ambient time-based effects (particularly delay) sound quite horrible into the front of gained-out amps. Conversely, time-based effects as placed within a loop have always sounded sterile and superimposed, to me. For similar reasons, I always print ambience with tracks, but that goes very much against conventional recording logic over the past 25 or so years. It depends upon what you're going for. I dig the greasy way in which ambient effects (with ample headroom) interact into the front end of an amp, but then, the dirt I'm talking about here is no more than say, an AC30 or brown Deluxe on '6'. I always record analog delays straight into a slightly crunchy amp, as I don't dig the sound of high end digital rack gear added at mixdown... it just usually bugs me. Live is a bit more forgiving, but I follow a similar path. If you call on high octane power tube distortion from the amp, choose the loop for the time-based stuff. Most gainer pedals prefer to play into the front end of amps, but if you need a pure volume boost for a high gainer amp, a dedicated boost or EQ as placed within the loop is key. If your amp is slightly crunchy, the trick to placing time-based stomps into the front end is mostly about said stomps' headroom, and in the case of delays, high end rolloff for the repeats.
     
  7. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Since it isn't gone into the reasons why (just that it sounds "bad") I thought I'd mention.

    If you get a nice gainy OD going on your amp, with the guitar vol. pot set at say 10, just for starters. Play a riff. Now lower the guitar vol pot to 9. Play the same riff. Now lower it to 8 (AND at the same time lower the tone control from 10 to 9), now keep doing this lowering the guitar vol AND tone and play the same riff.

    Usually, the great sound turns to terrible mush. This is what is happening when you use a delay (at least the volume part) before OD. When you use an echo before OD, because echos often change EQ on the echo parts, it is like turning down the vol AND tone with each iteration.

    That's why if you have an effects loop, a lot of folks put the echo/delay in there. They want the echo to echo the true sound.

    That's also why (even though it is a sort of delay) phase and chorus can just be a matter of taste since the delay times are relatively short and the "delayed" signal is about the same volume usually as the orginal signal.

    That said, digital delays, even bucket brigade I think, can have problems if the effect loop is to "hot" a signal. I use delay in the effects loop of all my amps that have one. Except, on my Prosonic it is a line-level effects loop, and it hits the ceiling on my H2O echo, so it kills the signal...sounds terrible. I have had to buy a small "loop-preamp" box that lets me attenuate the signal before the echo and then raise it again back into the amp. But on most amps it is designed for stompboxes and compatible. Most of my amps anyway.

    So basically, if you LOVE the sound of the OD channel or setting on your amp AND it has an effects loop that is guitar level, you want to put your delay in the loop there. IF you don't love the OD, or don't use delay/echo that much, and have a great OD pedal, you can use the OD->delay->clean channel or setting on amp. On the input.

    Another candidate for the effects loop can be a graphics EQ pedal. This would be your last chance point to adjust the overall sound of your preamp into the power amp. Can really make a difference.

    Also, if you use a reverb pedal, same thing, you want it in the loop if you are using distortion at all.
     
  8. voodoogreg

    voodoogreg Member

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    Hey tim Nice to see you! in response to the boost>dly / dly>boost or putting DL in a loop, it does often like I said depend on the gain the amp is set at and ultimately personal preference. tim and I tend to run similar amp drive, and boost levels. Here we have tim's pref of DL before boost
    and mine of boost then DL.
    SBB makes some good point's on tonal difference, esp if a large amount of "pedal" OD is added instead of amore light/moderate boost.
    As I said also, effects are all different. I know in my live rock setup
    running a boost then delay into a driven amp I haven't noticed any loss of tone regardless of vol setting's (and I use the vol knob enough to need a new one about every couple of yr's!) working with dave @ rack system's
    yr's ago, I have learned good effect's placement while using either buffered of TBP boxes and buffer's that my PB signal running 45 ft of cable is tonally identical nearly to a 20ft cord straight in.

    I think a player has to find his way, this is were tweaking your setup is the trick to see what you as a player find pleasing. There is no "wrong" way! VDG
     
  9. Urkoman

    Urkoman Member

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    I like every effect on the input except the time/echo effects i use when playing with gain, so: compressor, OD, equalizer, fuzz, wah, etc...in the input and delay, chorus, reverb etc... on the loop
     
  10. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Thanks, and you made an excellent point I should have mentioned also.

    When talking about effects, order, and loops etc, it also is REALLY important to think about how YOU use effects. For a good example, I find almost all of the time that when I use an echo or delay, I set the repeats to very FEW...like one or two only...and usually set the delay level to close or sometimes a little lower than the straight signal.

    So it really affects me less than say someone that is going to do U2, or hav etheir guitar go on a long echo/delay out there with few other instruments.

    Also, effects in a live show are way different (and often, much less critical) than effects used in recording. I mean, most of the echo in a live band (again depending on the music, band, arrangement) even set aggressively (high) are going to get buried, and hardly noticed, maybe more of an echo suggestion than hearing a real echo...

    So it really does make a difference.
     
  11. jakins

    jakins Member

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    all great points...thanks for the input. My chain goes in this order (all pedals are true-bypass)...volume pedal, fat boost, supa trem, FD2, line 6 delay, amp. I'll try the delay thru the loop and see how that does...
     
  12. zadiqof

    zadiqof Member

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    Whatever works for you. Generally you throw line level (most rack units) in the effect loop. As I've experienced, most pedals dont sound so hot in the effect loop.
     
  13. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    Cheers brother, nice to hear from you as well! As usual, your logic defies debate!
     

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