Preamp pedals are a waste of time and money

Bluego1

Member
Messages
44
Like others have mentioned, many pedals can act as “preamps” if you put them before power amps. I have many preamp pedals and the whole line of Hotone nano amps. I frequently run them into my Mooer Tube Engine (using effects send on the nanos) with great results. Check the video at 1:55, where dude uses a TS 9 as a preamp. It sounds like crap but you can use it. The Scuzz sounds pretty good.
 
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Whizzinby

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,326
I’ve used a handful of preamp pedals, and have a Synergy rig, and the most important factor when using preamp setups is the power amp.

Solid state or Fryette PS’s power amps (I own both) are designed to be flat, which is great for powering modelers where the power amp modeling is already baked in, or for its attenuation purposes, but it’s not effective for adding any of the power amp coloration that is one third of the signal path. (Preamp-PowerAmp-Cab) If using the FX loop of an amp that is matched appropriately to the style of the preamp pedal you’re using, you’ll get the best results. Or using a power amp that adds some mojo. (2/90/2, E840 etc)

Throwing a preamp pedal in front of a power section that was designed to be flat (SS, PS2/100) is probably not going to be the best solution, though it can be ok. YMMV
 

DRS

Member
Messages
13,320
Tubesteader Beekeeper/Lightkeeper are high quality preamps for sure. It's not very realistic to expect them replicate exactly the complex behavior/interaction of the preamp tubes/power tubes/rectifier/transformer/loudspeaker of, say, Dumble ODS combo. But they can really make good things soundwise when stacked into a mixer/audio interface/tranny power amp. Just use them properly and you'll be rewarded.
Add the Sunkeeper to that list.
 

67 goat

Member
Messages
521
The point I was trying to make is many times the guy with the Gorilla amp owns over $1000 in pedals these days. That is sort of back-assward in terms of tone. Does not really matter what you plug into the front of the Gorilla, you have a limitation. Not talking talent, but simple tone. There is way too much emphasis in pedals these days. There are so many pedals and gadgets out there that sell the dream of replacing an amp, and the reality is they simply do not. You may be able to pull off something that sounds similar recorded, but in never "feels" the same as hot tubes, transformers, and speakers.
My point is that the vast majority of people that own higher quality stuff still don't sound good because they have no idea how to shape tone properly. Equipment is never a replacement for skill and knowledge.
 

Tabor

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,776
Ah, I didn't know that pedal, but I looked at it and it was billed as an Overdrive/Boost ... I should have taken my own advice and not judged by the label.

After looking at the manual, they are one the pedals like I mentioned that try to have it both ways, so the EQ section must be very flexible.

It is described by Tubesteader as an overdrive, boost, and preamp. The opening mention of its preamp capabilities in the manual says:

“The Lightkeeper operates as a pure analog, Class A audio pre-amp offering high fidelity sound without semi-conductor or DSP in the signal path. It features a genuine ECC83/12AX7 vacuum tube operating at 250VDC high voltage and delivers a warm, rich tone with gentle and natural compression.”

The manual further details the various connectivity possibilities:

“1. As a pedal plugged into the input of a guitar amp.
2. Run directly into a power amp or powered speaker.
3. Lightkeeper Output to an Amp FX-return Input.
Since the FX-return circuits differ between amp models, your overall levels and sound results may vary.
4. Straight into a mixing console or recording interface.
We suggest to combine the Lightkeeper with an IR/Cabinet sim for recording.”


So Tubesteader has built a preamp here. The pedal has a massive amount of dB output available and a very wide ranging EQ with plenty of high end available between the tone stack and the EQ switches. I’ve compared it to a Kingsley Maiden D, Squire BF, and Page TS, all of which are legitimate tube preamps (that can also be used as boosts and/or ODs in front of an amp) and the Lightkeeper compared so favorably that I don’t have any of those Kingsleys anymore.
 
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RockDebris

Member
Messages
4,247
I’ve used a handful of preamp pedals, and have a Synergy rig, and the most important factor when using preamp setups is the power amp.

Solid state or Fryette PS’s power amps (I own both) are designed to be flat, which is great for powering modelers where the power amp modeling is already baked in, or for its attenuation purposes, but it’s not effective for adding any of the power amp coloration that is one third of the signal path. (Preamp-PowerAmp-Cab) If using the FX loop of an amp that is matched appropriately to the style of the preamp pedal you’re using, you’ll get the best results. Or using a power amp that adds some mojo. (2/90/2, E840 etc)

Throwing a preamp pedal in front of a power section that was designed to be flat (SS, PS2/100) is probably not going to be the best solution, though it can be ok. YMMV
Yes. If I have a choice between a Valve Preamp with a SS Power amp, or a SS Preamp with a Valve Power amp (and I have had that choice in my collection of gear), I'll take the SS Preamp and the Valve Power Amp every time.

It's only an opinion based on my own experience, but I came to realize that it's the characteristic of the valve power amp is the most important thing for me, much more important than if the preamp is valve. The only benefit I've found in having a valve preamp was if you want to do a big boost into it.
 

Perry D.

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
509
I consider the idea of going direct as a compromise for the sake of convenience in certain situations such as making a portable rig that’s easy to plug into the PA or using in a recording setup so you don’t have to have amps on at volume but my ideal is still to use a tube amp.
Amen! & Amen!!
 

RockDebris

Member
Messages
4,247
My experience is that their are some great class D power amps as well which gets you for 95% in the the tube power amp ballpark. Advantage of Class D over tubes is efficiency, lower noise floor and less heat. But like you said a tube based preamp sounds best with other drive or boost pedals in front. The new UAFX amp pedals are the first digital amp modeling pedals I encountered that feel and respond in a similar fashion and are IMO legit amp pedals which I prefer over solid state (preamp) pedals. So tubes, solid state; Class A, AB, D or digital, all combinations could work, but they are not all made equally the same and can behave differently in feel and response within different setups.
Well yes, talking about anything "preamp/amp" in a pedal, you really want to know if someone is talking about apples, oranges, pancakes or bananas. This threads like:

"I tried a bunch of oranges and I didn't like any of them."
"Well, you must have done something wrong because I really liked the pancakes."
 

Reyybarra

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,146
Lol can’t polish a…
Comes to mind

Shin-ei B1G is amazing… I really like my old school katana as well.
 

medblues

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
74
Tubesteader Beekeeper, Damage Control Womanizer, Damage Control Demonizer...I pick one and plug into the "Power Amp In" of my Fender George Benson Hot Rod Deluxe. Then I have fun !
 
Messages
2,602
MGP-1A preamp into tube power is my favorite sounds.

Similar to Synergy take on analog circuit tube preamps but all in one box. Lots of preamp channels in one box (Marshalls, Orange, Mesa Boogie, Fenders, Vox, Splawn, Diezel, etc - a lot of different models)

I have others I really love too though.

Preamp replacement pedals I love (to run direct into power amp or fx return of an amp):
A.S. Tube preamps (I have JMP, JCM800, and Jubilee)
KSR Ceres three channel preamp
AMT SS-20 tube preamp
AMT Legend Series D2



AIAB pedals I like (to run into clean channel of an amp):
PedalPalFX 800 (I have the original silver version)
Revival Drive Hot Rod Edition
Joyo British (Marshall voicing)
Joyo Oxford (Orange voicing)
Master Effects Martyr (Marshall 8100 OD1 and OD2)
SnK VHD (Ampeg VH140c dirty channel)
Catalinbread Sabbra Cadabra (Laney Supergroup preamp plus treble boost)

I haven’t found any of these listed that I couldn’t get a great sound out of IMO.
 

owlexifry

Member
Messages
162
I’ve used a handful of preamp pedals, and have a Synergy rig, and the most important factor when using preamp setups is the power amp.

Solid state or Fryette PS’s power amps (I own both) are designed to be flat, which is great for powering modelers where the power amp modeling is already baked in, or for its attenuation purposes, but it’s not effective for adding any of the power amp coloration that is one third of the signal path. (Preamp-PowerAmp-Cab) If using the FX loop of an amp that is matched appropriately to the style of the preamp pedal you’re using, you’ll get the best results. Or using a power amp that adds some mojo. (2/90/2, E840 etc)

Throwing a preamp pedal in front of a power section that was designed to be flat (SS, PS2/100) is probably not going to be the best solution, though it can be ok. YMMV
absolutely.
FX return is the way
(i had similar experiences with the PS100, it's very flat vs an actual tube head power amp)

Try Kingsley for sure, the Harlot is killer as is a REVV G3!!! Chase Tone is amazing too!
REVV G3 gets a fair bit of hype. ola's youtube demo certainly sounded better than i thought could be possible for a SS preamp.
AUD$350-400, to me, is insane for a small solid state device, so i built a clone to try it out.

1) absolutely does not sound good at all in front of an amp (at least w/ a 2204 clone + peavey windsor), but i guess it's worked for some others with different amps.

2) FX return works best.

here's a demo running into FX return of peavey windsor (100W, EL34)


-> build thread
 

jj7642

Member
Messages
116
And wouldn't that just, like being his reason for posting it, man.
dude-youre-being-very-undude.gif
 




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