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Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by forgivenman, Jul 5, 2019.
This confuses me too.
Some swishy stuff like uni-vibe works good in front of dirt because that's the way a lot of us have always heard it with Hendrix, Trower, and Gilmour. Some like a lush chorus sounds better after pre-amp dirt IMO - which is how a lot of it was done from the mid to late 70s on.
This is an excellent post. My question is what reverb in front sounds and reacts as good as a reverb in a loop because I still can't find one that works as well with my bassman head
Short answer: it compromises the circuit
The only reason I can think of for a loop is if you get all of your gain from preamp tubes. Otherwise, what's the point?
Like a LOT of people do with a Marshall, Boogie, Friedman, Bogner, and on and on???
I understand this doesn't help the OP necessarily... But I have an amp with a great effects loop and amazing gain sounds on tap. I never use the loop. Never. I'm so used to running pedals in front of my amp, I don't want to mess with the extra cables to place the time based effects in the loop. I've got some amazing clean amps and have refined my pedal board to perfection and I'm just used to running clean amps with pedals. With my gain staging amp, if I need a delay or reverb with distortion I just go clean channel with my normal pedals. Problem solved... for me anyway.
Above, I'm speaking for gigs of course. I'll be honest, when I record I just use effects plug ins after recording my tube amps. In a song mix they work just fine for me.
Yep, a LOT of people do and a LOT of people don't. Certainly doesn't mean every amp should have an effects loop. I'm just answering the OP's question to the best of my ability.
There are many different ways to design an FX loop. Some are great and some aren’t, and for many it depends on what’s in the loop (some work well only with line level devices, for example).
It depends on what you want from the reverb.
Every 1960's Fender amp with onboard reverb had the "reverb before dirt" if you cranked up the amp to the point it distorted. And that's perfectly fine for some sounds.
There are those who want the reverb added to their amp's signal to sound like a recording (where the amp was recorded with a mic, and reverb added at the console). That's a perfectly fine goal if it's the sound you want.
As long as you know in advance what you're trying to achieve, and how the order of circuit elements & effects will alter the performance of each, then you can select the approach that makes the most sense for achieving your goal.
I understand folks wanting/needing an effects loop; I do not need an effects loop, and it doesn't matter to me one bit if the amp distorts after delay/modulation/reverb is applied to the signal (before it gets to the amp input). I just have different sonic goals than others.
In addition though... you have to start with amps from the early days. The classic amps like the fender bassman and Marshall, at the time there were no pedals, in the beginning at all, then later there really weren’t much in the way of time based pedals so no one thought to go to the trouble of adding an effects loop. They came after when musicians wanted the flexibility, because pedals were available.
Also what you say. My Soldano SLO-100 has for me perfect tone. It isn’t like it becomes crap when I use the effects loop, but to me it does lose too much if that fantastic tone whenever I try to use it.
So, when I do gig with it (when we play larger places) since I always take a backup amp anyway, I use the backup amp for the wet output, which leaves my main guitar sound as good as it gets for me.
Other amps did better on effects loops. I don’t know too if some types of amp circuits maybe are more affected (not in a good way) by the added inserted circuitry between preamp and power. It might be that an old Bassman because of the minimal circuitry would be very difficult to install effects loop AND keep wha makes the amp sound the way it does. Other amps maybe have more “hi-fi” like power amp sections that lend themselves better to the inserted pedals. I’m just guessing, or wondering on that last point. I do know that fuzz pedals, the really basic ones, have so little components that each component affects the sound more. Other pedals like OD have much more circuitry so they often sound the same even though component values may vary some. It might be that type of thing with amps too..
Reverb and delay in front sucks if you use plenty gain from the amp, simple as that. A loop is a must for hi-gain amps IMO.
My problem is with these front end units in order to get the reverb effect I want it sounds like I'm slamming it into the amp. When I try to dial that out the reverb effect becomes weak. I'm trying to get close to a bf reverb amp with my bassman head.
I have a loop in one amp (a Hayseed 30) and never use it, mainly because of the extra setup time. Also, if I'm out in front and want the amp at the back of the stage, I now need 3 long cables instead of 1. I love delay and modulation after preamp tubes, but it's not worth the hassle most times.
Eh I just have a makeshift cable snake. takes me an extra 10-15 seconds to plug everything in to where it goes. It's worth it to me when I want to use an analog pedal board. These days if I am using a modeler or mfx unit I just go mono out into the amps return and use my amp as a power amp.
Quite different from a lot of amps today that have most of their voice (gain) in the pre-amp. You don't have to push them to get dirt.
In most cases time based effects sound horrible before a modern pre-amp like Friedman or Bogner.
Sidebar: I've been getting into older Boogies over the last few years, Mark I through all the Mark IIs and a couple of Mark IIIs and later DC and rectos... and it took them years and many product cycles to refine the relays and levels for their fx loops. Lots of weird feedback noise and popping with early relays. By the time the Mark III came around in the mid-'80s it seemed they had a workable fx loop that was silent when you switched it on and off, and didn't affect tone either way. If you open one of those amps up, there's a lot going on in there. Not something your typical hobby builder or even a lot of boutique builders are going to tackle.
For me there is very little “extra setup time”, as you say, three cables. You still have to take them from your pedalboard to the amp and plug them in. One or three...same difference. I have the send/return cable (still not sure why nobody is filling this gap by making this dual cable from the factory) which is just two instrument cables where I have marked the send with red cable ties on each end, and taped them together. Have another set I just cable tied the cables every couple feet, cable tie works better as tape tends to make it less flexible.
I only have a reverb pedal, a delay/echo, and a boost in the loop, but it really makes a huge difference to me in the sound that results.
I often play back to back gigs during one day. Minimal cabling is essential for me to start on time.And I am a supporter of efx loops.But rarely use them.
My Mesa Mark V has a hard-bypassable loop and Master. That's stock. And it does make a difference. I have that hard bypassed almost all of the time. Every tube gain stage affects the sound and is a possible point for clipping/distortion and failure. To an extent, tube gain stages are desirable in a guitar amp. Unnecessary tube gain stages add unwanted noise and distortion and they degrade the signal.
What does Randall Smith have to say about the Hard Bypass in his amp?