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power tube compression sound/feel in a pedal?


i'm currently using an "amp-less" setup as follows:

guitar > OD/distortion/fuzz pedals > AMT F1 (Fender Twin style preamp pedal, using FX send out) > ADA GCS-2 (cabinet simulator pedal) > delay+reverb pedals > PA+in-ear monitors

while my current set up works pretty well, it has always left me yearning for a bit of the warmth/feel of a cranked tube amp when i'm playing anything but clean.

i'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions for a pedal that i could put between the F1 and GCS-2, preferably left "always-on" to give a bit of "power tube" type of compression and maybe even a bit of overdrive when hit by a hot signal.

i was thinking mostly of compressor/limiter pedals, (tube or not) but am open to ideas/suggestions.
some that have been on my radar:

EHX LPB-2ube preamp (@DaveKS i've seen you mention this one, so would love your feedback)
EHX Black Finger compressor
Kingsley Page DS
Empress Compressor
MXR Studio Compressor pedal
Effectrode PC-2A

and, yes i'm very aware that nothing will give the actual warmth and feel of an actual tube amp, but that's out of budget right now, and i'm also looking to keep rig "amp-less" for portability/size. in other words, i'm just looking for something that gets closer to that power tube type of compression/OD/warmth.

it looks like the Torpedo C.A.B. checks all the boxes for what i'm looking for (if i were to replace the ADA GCS-2 with it), but i'm hoping to find a cheaper solution to integrate with my current set up.


My #1 that I'd give you to try for this is a VFE White Horse, it's the way you can blend mosfet preamp/od with optical sustain then blend that with dry through that makes it work for this. Of course like 2ube, it's out of production as well.

Page is superb for a very light tube compression as is 2ube, but 2ube you need the old rca cleartop 12au7 or some old Sylvania 12ay7/6072 to really bring out that real tube compression.

I'd also point you at Keeley GC-2 as well.


Xotic EP Boost? Sounds warm and fat to me, not sure about a compression feel, though (I don't have one but like what it does to a signal)


Platinum Supporting Member
I have a Torpedo CAB, and I like it a lot for IRs and tone shaping. However, I find its power amp sim to be horrible. I won't rule out some type of user error there, because others speak highly of it, but I never could get that part to sound decent.

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