Stupid question here on Preamp pedals?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by jimw427, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. jimw427

    jimw427 Supporting Member

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    Sounds like a newbie question but I see some drives lised as overdrives / distortions ect.. and others listed as preamp pedals. I have also beel looking at pedalboard amps like the Ethos, and AMT Tube Cake pedals and they state to use a pramp pedal, will any overdrive pedal work? Whats the difference? Why are some called preamps? Sorry for the stupid question... Jim
     
  2. DaveKS

    DaveKS Member

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    Most the time it's just marketing. Some pedals are made to simulate the sound that you would get using a certain amps preamp.

    Like say a Lumpy Lemon drop, it's made to emulate the sound of a old Vox amp, but I wouldn't use it going into the effects return of a amp, bypassing completely that amps preamp. It sounds a little sterile going that way.

    This I would use that way.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. NewDr.P

    NewDr.P Member

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    ^ the companies that market their tubescreamers that way are wrong and shouldnt.

    some pedals are voiced/ have the volume matched to be run to a poweramp not an amplifiers preamp. these are preamps, not just distortion pedals.

    most preamp pedals dont sounds as good used as distortion pedals- like the amt line.
     
  4. Stratburst70

    Stratburst70 Member

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    Preamp pedals are generally designed to make your Fender amp sound like a Vox, and vice versa. They're mostly designed to be relatively low gain affairs - the Bogner Ecstasy Red being a notable exception.

    There are others - like the Tone Concepts The Distillery - which are boost pedals with complex EQ settings to either make your less-than-stellar rented backline sound great, or allow you to easily shift between single coil and humbucker-equipped guitars on the fly. Again, fairly low gain affairs.

    If the pedal has more than two EQ controls, it's usually a preamp pedal.
     
  5. jimw427

    jimw427 Supporting Member

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    That helps.... thanks..
     
  6. jimw427

    jimw427 Supporting Member

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    So is the Exotics BB-Preamp a real preamp pedal or just an overdrive pedal?
     
  7. RockDebris

    RockDebris Member

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    The layman technical difference between a preamp and a distortion pedal is the nominal output level and, perhaps, impedance of the device. A preamp's output favors running to the input sensitivity of a guitar power amp. A distortion pedal favors running into another clean preamp.

    Number of EQ controls, or whether the pedal is marketed like an "amp-in-box" has no bearing, though the "preamp" designation is sometimes misused in marketing (ie: BB Preamp). A preamp is not something you will usually turn on and off unless you are switching it out for another preamp (as in your typical channel switching amp head).

    Look at how the AMT L2 line has the marketed preamp in the on position, but if you turn it "off", there is a clean fender style preamp signal in its place. Note that if you want to use these pedals like distortion boxes, there is a second output just for that (which doesn't use the clean preamp if you turn the pedal off, its just a bypass). The L1 line didn't do that, the L2 line is an improvement in this regard. There are the V1 and F1 pedals from the L1 line though, that have a "channel" behavior for swapping out with other preamps (the idea was that you'd choose your clean preamp in the V1 or F1 and then add a distorted preamp of your choice and switch between the two).

    Bottom line, if you intend to run your pedal direct to a power amp, it should technically be a preamp to have the most efficient signal transfer.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  8. lux_interior

    lux_interior Member

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    That's the definition of a preamp: http://www.ovnilab.com/articles/preamp.shtml

    Dirt pedals are designed to interact with the complete amp, and are placed before the input (before the preamp and poweramp sections). Guitar preamp pedals, racks etc. usually provide both the clean sound and the dirt (something that the others don't do), and only need a power amp + speakers to make them louder, which can be completely clean like a big solid state one or provide a bit of colour and sweeten it up like a tube poweramp (although they usually also have the secondary option to be connected on the amp's instrument input). Plus, preamps very often have cab sims in order for the user to record them directly without miking or to send them to the PA, while simple dirt pedals don't.

    So the BB Preamp in terms of gain increase (signal level increase), based on what we commonly refer to as a preamp (raising the signal level to a degree that it can work with a power amp, with extra features like cab sim outputs, XLR etc), it is not. It's a simple drive pedal, and so is the Bogner that was mentioned before since it wasn't built to drive a power amp but to be placed in front of a normal amp's input.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  9. DaveKS

    DaveKS Member

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    It's modeled after a BluesBreaker type of amp tone, what you want to classify it as is totally up to you.

    Me and my marketing team have decided its a preamp type pedal. :anon
     
  10. bgh

    bgh Supporting Member

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    One major difference between the two is the output level.

    Typically, a preamp pedal has enough output level to go directly into the effects return of a power amp. In effect, it can replace the preamp section of the amp. Some have a line out that can be used directly into either a mixer or a recorder.

    Non-preamp pedals usually have la lower output level and don't sound very good going directly into a mixer. They can be used in an effects loop, but only it they are driven by either the amp's preamp or a preamp pedal.

    Hope this helps.

    Edit: I just now saw where a couple of other people had already posted the same thing I posted. Sorry.
     
  11. aaronmcoleman

    aaronmcoleman Member

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    MARKETING!

    preamp
    boost
    overdrive
    distortion

    really a company can pick any of those terms and apply it to any pedal that can boost volume, create drive, has some sort of eq/tone control (which pretty much covers 90% of pedals out there). marketing isn't a bad thing at all, it just confuses the matter.

    in practice, most people mean:

    BOOST: clean volume
    OVERDRIVE: light to medium gain
    DISTORTION: higher gain

    preamp is the odd man out with no solid definition. I think of a preamp pedal as one that can shape the tone of the next stages, set the amount of gain or boost, or provide a different flavor from the amp's preamp stage. but it's not a term that can be defined as easily as the others.
     
  12. lux_interior

    lux_interior Member

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    Of course it can, and you also acknowledge the definitions above by including it in your sentence ("...a different flavour from the amp's preamp stage"). It's a stage that provides all necessary signal handling and processing (filtering, buffering, voltage gain, EQ, overdrive etc.) in order to deliver it to the power amp section for the final amplification.
     
  13. RockDebris

    RockDebris Member

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    A preamp is still a preamp regardless of the sound it makes. It takes the nominal level and impedance of a guitar and effectively changes it to the nominal level and impedance needed by a poweramp.

    Everything else packaged on the preamp as a unit (gain stage, tone stack, filter, etc) is there to add color and flavor. It's these things that OD/Distortion pedals are doing without the ability to function effectively as a preamp (ie: they are meant to be placed before a preamp). Forget preamp as being a "type" of distortion pedal, even if it is in that form factor.

    Understand this, and you can more easily cut through the confusion regardless of words the marketing department chose to use. All that you really need to know is, are you looking for something before a power amp or before a preamp and how is the device in question meant to be used.

    If you are going with something like the Tube Cake, EHX 44 Magnum, or anything that is a power amp in a pedalboard friendly format, you are probably in the market for a preamp in a pedal form factor. You can then put OD and distortion pedals in front of whatever preamp you choose. So, a complete signal chain in a pedal form factor might look something be like this:

    Guitar -> EHX SoulFood -> BB+ -> OCD -> [AMT F1 -> EHX 44 Magnum -> Speakers]

    The stuff between [] are the parts that would make up a typical combo guitar amp.

    If you put an effect between the F1 and the 44 Magnum, you've basically placed that effect in a simplistic FX LOOP. (you probably wouldn't do that because the F1 has a built in FX LOOP for this purpose which, again, has nominal levels for driving typical fx like delay units and reverb, but you can get away with it. Amps have different kinds of fx loops and some have level control for the FX Send and/or FX Return)
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015

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