High gain pedal + clean amp. Will it sound better with an amp which is meant to do high gain stuff?

Enusire

Member
Messages
1,089
Hey guys. Thanks in advance for your answers.

Okay, let´s presume that we have a top-notch high gain pedal - for example the Wampler Pinnacle and a few amps (which are really different and) which are dialed in totally clean, for example:

Mesa
Vox
Marshall
Fender
Orange

So the Pinnacle is meant to produce all the dirt with these amps.

Two questions:

1. What would you say? Will there be huge differences? Or will they sound mostly the same?
2. With a high gain distortion pedal and a clean amp - are the amps which are absolutely not meant for high gain stuff able to sound as good as the other amps which are meant for high gain stuff?

Lets hear what you think mates. I first leave my opinion & experiences out at this point.
 

thekaiser

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
465
There will be differences because the clean character of all of those amps is different. The drive pedal is going to react differently to the mid hump in the Marshall than it will to the mid scoop in the Fender. Also, if the clean headroom is different is all of the amps then they will compress in different ways when being driven by a lot of pedal gain.

I'm confused by the second part of your question because an amp designed for high gain is almost always a channel switching amp. Why not just use the dirty channel for the high gain tone?
 

Blues Lyne

Member
Messages
3,465
I'd say the answer to question 1 is yes. If the amps sound different, they will sound different with the pedal as well. Pedals can mask the characteristics of the guitar, but the amps EQ curve and compression will affect the pedals sound and how it reacts.

As to question 2, I guess to some extent you'd have to define what you mean by an amp meant for high gain. I usually think of channel switchers for high gain. If that's the case and you are playing through the clean channel, it's not really meant for high gain.

I'm not sure most single channel amps, even MV amps, were made for high gain. We often associate distortion with Marshall amps, but I don't think that was a design goal of the early Marshahas. I think they just sounded really good cranked. And, I wouldn't really describe that sound as high gain. We usually associated Fender with cleans, but tweed Fenders sound great distorted. Nugent got great dirt tones from Fender amps. But again, I wouldn't consider most of those high gain and they certainly were designed to be played clean.

I think certain high gain pedals may sound better with certain amps, but I doubt it has to do with whether the amp was meant to be high gain or not. The intentions of the pedal designer and what amps he dialed the pedal in for probably make a bigger difference. It wouldn't surprise me if most of the earlier high gain pedals were designed more towards Marshall type amps, because many high gain players were using similar amps. Today there are more guys using a clean platform and pedals, so maybe more high gain pedals are dialed in for amps that have more of a reputation for their cleans.
 

Jason Calieri

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,929
I've actually been wondering if my Reeves, which is very clean and loud, would be able to do metal if I was using a good high gain pedal. As in, good enough to play live.
 

analogsystem

Member
Messages
1,092
A lot of modern metal bands are using Fractal units or other similar type gear with tube power amps. Not all that different really. If you have 2 pedals which were basically preamps, set one clean and one dirty, and used a great, all tube power amp, you might get pretty close to "best of both worlds."

Also, while a high gain amp will sound different, it is up to you and your application as to which sounds better. I have a glorious JCM800 but I still sometimes run pedals into the "low" input (which is pretty darn clean) and get great sounds.
 

DaveKS

Member
Messages
16,705
To add to what's already been posted, picking the right speakers for your intended use, usually even more important. If the speakers ain't right your not gonna get the tone you want.
 

dave999z

Member
Messages
239
It's an interesting question.

By "dialed totally clean" I know you mean they produce zero preamp clipping, but do you also mean the master volume is not turned up past like 6 where you start to get power tube compression? If power tube clipping is part of the equation (i.e., you turn the MV up to 10), the power sections will really affect the tone -- especially the EL34s in the Marshall will add that great harmonic overdrive.

But assuming you dial the amp for no preamp or power amp clipping and stick an OD in front of them, and the OD is dialed to internally clip and not to boost the amp, then I would think the main aspects of the amp that are still going to affect the tone are the amp's EQ and the character of the speaker. High gain leads I think get a bit lost with a scooped amp, so I think the Marshall EQ would work better. Similarly, I don't know what it is about the Celestions used in Marshalls but they tend to produce gainy sounds that cut but aren't as harsh. But maybe that's just because they are fed mid boostd signals from the amp, so the piercing highs are rounded off. But the speakers seem to deliver creamy overdrive with less fizz, while the speakers in a lot of fenders feel like they have a faster response and can have a bit of a crispy sharp attack.

Just my opinion!

I agree with the earlier post that if you have an amp that's designed for great high gain, use the amp not a pedal!
 

stevel

Member
Messages
14,662
Hey guys. Thanks in advance for your answers.

Okay, let´s presume that we have a top-notch high gain pedal - for example the Wampler Pinnacle and a few amps (which are really different and) which are dialed in totally clean, for example:

Mesa
Vox
Marshall
Fender
Orange

So the Pinnacle is meant to produce all the dirt with these amps.

Two questions:

1. What would you say? Will there be huge differences? Or will they sound mostly the same?
2. With a high gain distortion pedal and a clean amp - are the amps which are absolutely not meant for high gain stuff able to sound as good as the other amps which are meant for high gain stuff?

Lets hear what you think mates. I first leave my opinion & experiences out at this point.
The EQ characteristics of each amp will come through. I've used the same exact pedal settings into a Fender Twin and a Marshall 212 combo set clean, and the "throatiness" of the Marshall and the bass oomph of the Twin were both present equally with and without the drive pedal on.

Think about it on just a single amp - if you dial in your gain, and then you move the Bass knob on the amp (assuming it's in the middle to begin with) it's going to raise and lower the bass of the signal. The only way it wouldn't would be if you were able to filter out the bass frequencies such that nothing was actually hitting the amp - but that's highly unlikely with the way most pedals (probably all actually) are designed.

So the amp's base tone does impact the characteristics of the tone coming from the drive pedal - IOW, the drive pedal doesn't "counteract" the tone of the amp.

In fact, high gain drive pedals tend to neutralize what comes in, rather than what comes out - for example, while your pickups may sound noticeably different tonally speaking from neck to bridge or out of phase, etc., a higher gain pedal will virtually neutralize the differences (especially closer to a fuzz-like square wave distortion).

An EQ placed after a high gain drive pedal will have a much more noticeable affect than placed before it. So the amp's own EQ, as well as the types of speakers (which operate basically as filters) and so on are going to affect the tone - the more different the clean amps sound from each other, the more different they'll sound with the drive pedal.

For your 2nd question, it depends - I mean really, it sounds like it sounds. My Twin sounds great to me. I don't think it sounds as good through a higher gain amp set clean, unless that amp has a great sounding clean channel (which is not designed to be the gain channel!).

What I will say is, a clean amp that's not meant to do high gain (or any gain for that matter) is more revealing.

I don't know the Pinnacle, but almost all pedals manufactured today are designed for the hippie set who want to push a tube amp to nastiness. Those pedals are more about volume increase (slamming the front of the amp) and not higher gain (like your TS variety). The mentality is so pervasive that I think even anything "high gain" (that's not a Boss Metalzone style pedal) is still going to at least include that ability, and may still rely heavily on it.

What this means is even if that kind of pedal can give you a huge amount of saturation, the *style* of saturation is still one meant to blend with the existing drive produced by an amp. In a sense, the amp makes some "crackles" that are "drive", and the pedal makes some "crackles" that are "drive", but when the two "crackles" meet up together, they each fill in the crackle-less gaps the other has, and make a more complete saturation like "distortion".

Also, those "crackles" tend to be very "crackly" - staticy, hissy, buzzy, fizzy, etc. Into an amp that saturating itself, those can become quite "smooth".

But into a clean amp, the "spikiness" of the gain is revealed.

An article I read once described a Twin as "unforgiving" for drive pedals. It is. Because most drive pedals are designed to take advantage of the fact that the amp will be "helping it". Something really clean doesn't offer any help to the pedal - it reveals it for exactly what it sounds like.

For this reason, IMHO, it's more difficult to find a drive that works with a crystal clean amp, unless you like that buzzy, scratchy, fizzy, spiky, hissy sort of gain.
 

Blues Lyne

Member
Messages
3,465
It's an interesting question.

By "dialed totally clean" I know you mean they produce zero preamp clipping, but do you also mean the master volume is not turned up past like 6 where you start to get power tube compression? If power tube clipping is part of the equation (i.e., you turn the MV up to 10), the power sections will really affect the tone -- especially the EL34s in the Marshall will add that great harmonic overdrive.

But assuming you dial the amp for no preamp or power amp clipping and stick an OD in front of them, and the OD is dialed to internally clip and not to boost the amp, then I would think the main aspects of the amp that are still going to affect the tone are the amp's EQ and the character of the speaker. High gain leads I think get a bit lost with a scooped amp, so I think the Marshall EQ would work better. Similarly, I don't know what it is about the Celestions used in Marshalls but they tend to produce gainy sounds that cut but aren't as harsh. But maybe that's just because they are fed mid boostd signals from the amp, so the piercing highs are rounded off. But the speakers seem to deliver creamy overdrive with less fizz, while the speakers in a lot of fenders feel like they have a faster response and can have a bit of a crispy sharp attack.

Just my opinion!

I agree with the earlier post that if you have an amp that's designed for great high gain, use the amp not a pedal!
Having the master volume on 10 doesn't mean that the power amp will be compressing or distorting. That will depend on where the volume is set. If having the master on 10 meant the power amp was clipping, you'd never get a clean tone out of a non-master amp.
 

Bentayuk

Senior Member
Messages
4,564
There are a lot of excellent distortion / overdrive pedals on the market these days. Many of them into a good clean amp sound amazing.

But this does not mean they will replace a 100w Mesa or Marshall.
It's all down to your ears and taste.

If you want top of the line pedals that will sound as good as it gets (for pedals), then take your pick!
Amptweaker, Wampler, Bogner, MI Audio, Carl Martin, ISP, Mesa.....among others.

For some, they honestly replace the need for the real thing. But that's different for everyone. Try some out and see where you land.
 
Messages
3,849
I've actually been wondering if my Reeves, which is very clean and loud, would be able to do metal if I was using a good high gain pedal. As in, good enough to play live.
Almost certainly.

A quick search will turn up some recommendations. Depending on the model, there may also be hiwatt recommendations that apply.
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
27,902
Modern, channel switching amps (the "high gain amps" the OP refers to) have to have basically ultra clean power amp sections, so that the clean and drive sections can do their thing at any volume. So, diming a triple-rec or a TH100 isn't going to add a lot of power tube distortion or compression. The tone is shaped in the preamp. You can basically replace the preamp of the drive section by shaping your tone in a pedal and feeding it to the clean section, sure. The result will be a combination of the sound of the pedal and the underlying sound of the amp. As an example, the Mesa will tend a little more to reduced mids than the Orange, so the high gain sounds will still sound like a Mesa or an Orange.

Most "high gain" amps seem to be set up so that the gain channel is pretty high/lead gain. Which means for most of us that we have clean and lead sounds on the amp, and it's the middle ground, the crunch, that the amp doesn't do well. For that, rather than for the high gain, we need a pedal. Changing the sound of the gain from Mesa to Orange can be done, sorta, but it's never going to be exact. The closest I've ever gotten to the "do everything amp" is the Randall/Egnator modular series, which do a pretty creditable job by having a modeled amp in the preamp and a pretty clean/flat power section...
 

Mr.Woody

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,513
This video opened my eyes a little bit on this subject. Especially towards the beginning where he uses the fuzz into the marshal, then the fender. BIG difference. It helped me know i'll probably never be able to get the sound of my cranked Reinhardt out of my Princeton+Pedals:

 

bluenova

Member
Messages
410
Here's my 2 cents of experience.

1. The same Amptweaker tight metal and same settings into several different Torpedo CAB emulations of different amps sound MASSIVELY different from each other.

2. I prefer the sound of that Amptweaker through a Mesa patch on the Torpedo to my own 6505+ head through Rectifier cab.

3. YMMV
 

Sloppyfingers

Member
Messages
984
Great thread...I'm following some of these responses closely myself, because the timing of it is perfect.

In a few months Friedman will be releasing it's BEOD (Brown Eye Over drive pedal)..Now it's supposed to replicate the Brown Eye channel of his famous amp.
The demos from NAAM sounded really good through a clean channel, and Dave Friedman responded to a message I sent him suggesting that this pedal would sound great through a Torpedo CAB unit as well as straight into a power amp. Some real good dirt boxes really can take over as pre-amps.

IMO, even if your amp has two channels, by adding in a pedal you can add in a third channel with a different OD voicing then the one that your amp already has built in.
Clean, amp distortion, and pedal through clean channel as a third option.
 
Messages
6,911
IMO, even if your amp has two channels, by adding in a pedal you can add in a third channel with a different OD voicing then the one that your amp already has built in.
Clean, amp distortion, and pedal through clean channel as a third option.
And pedal through distortion channel gives four options. I gigged for many years with OD tones from just my Boogie Mk II & Tubescreamer.
 

Cgkindler

Member
Messages
6,248
I picked up a Two Rock Studio Pro 22 because it was small, portable, and took the pedals I had VERY well in the store....and after I got home I knew my decision was the right one.....

With the Pull For Bright Treble knob, I can absolutely get gainy, stinging, intense high gain with the right pedal.....or I can get some really good singing leads with the Guitar's Tone knob rolled back and hitting my Candy Apple Red Fuzz Ge pedal
 

Enusire

Member
Messages
1,089
thanks everyone for your answers. Didn´t expect that much and detailed replies! :)

I will come back to this thread in the next days when I have time to read all your comments.
 




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