Thinking About Using Drive Pedals Exclusively (no more OD channel)

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Guitar Josh, Feb 5, 2008.


  1. Guitar Josh

    Guitar Josh Resident Curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a Rivera Chubster 55. I really do dig the drive channels, but I keep thinking about going exclusively to drive pedals. For several reasons:

    1) I love having multiple flavors of drive. I have found that I am more prolific of a writer when using certain pedals over the drive channel. I find a setting or a color I like and run with it. I also like the variety of tones. We are a one guitar band and it adds quite a bit to our sound.

    2) I find myself using my drive pedals more and more with the originals we write (maybe 1a)

    3) I feel like I get a more consistent tone out of my amp this way, and it feels a little more powerful, but not as natural.

    4) I feel like I get a bit better recorded sound with the pedals

    5) I feel like I don't have to push my amp as hard with pedals as I do with the drive channel to get the tubes cooking to where I want the tone.

    6) I've acquired so many great drive pedals and want to give them a good home.

    Anyone else been in this position before?
     
  2. JVania

    JVania Member

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    I actually keep my amp at that sweet breaking up point (using the low input jack instead of the high input I used to use) and use my screwdriver and fuzz pedals to make it either crushingly heavy or classicy rock. and then take that loop out if I want a slightly dirty clean sound.
     
  3. SFW

    SFW Member

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    I ran pedals for all of my dirt for about a year. I kept all of the pedals when I got rid of the amp as a "just in case" thing. I love the tone of my amp, but I agree that my tone with the pedals was much more consistent.
     
  4. hbentley

    hbentley Member

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    Yeah, I've never been a big fan of channel switchers. Give me a good base tone and a couple nice boosts/drives and I'm good to go.
     
  5. Guitar Josh

    Guitar Josh Resident Curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    In some ways, I wish I could control the Riv with just a single stomp Marshall for changing the channel w/o boosts (like in a Mesa) and I'd keep it on my board.
     
  6. semi-hollowbody

    semi-hollowbody Member

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    If I found one od tone I liked enough to for-go all otheres I would not need pedals...but as of now a couple tube amps with sweet clean tone and a pedaltrain pro FULL of od, distortion, and fuzz is how semi rolls ;)
     
  7. pgissi

    pgissi Member

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    So I am assuming your going to reduce how high your running the pre-amp on channel 1 and then use pedals from there?

    Or are you saying your just going to use channel 2 "the clean channel" as some call it and rely more on pedals for your OD tones?

    Or do you/will you use both channels?

    When you say "Drive Channels" do you mean the boost for each channel?

    I know you did not say it but its strange that some think that Channel 2 is only for clean tones and I have heard others say they are going to use pedals into the "Rivera Clean Channel" and I thought that they are missing a whole range of tones from the amp. It took some doing but I got channel 2 getting some Bassman & Blackface Bandmaster like tones using the Mid Pull on that channel which changes the center freq of the mids from 500hz (tweed) to 250hz (blackface) and of course channel one is creamy marshall.

    In fact channel 2 in OD or extreme OD is downright happening with more overall clarity when hit hard with pedals.

    I also get cleaner jazzy tones and blues tones on Chan 2 by setting the master on 10 and the pre-amp down. Its in there. The key for me in making this happen was different speakers, cab, imp mismatch, tubes etc.

    After I made several intentional changes, the amp took to pedals like never before and channel 2 came alive, channel 1 took on a more creamy character, less buzzy, overall the amp went from Ok to truly happening.

    Just am curious of how other rivera users in this class of amp think of their channels

    I have been playing and R30 since about 99. Its the little bro to the chubby and is of similar design with channel 1 british voiced and channel 2 american... marshal and fender of course.

    I used to think of chan 2 as the clean channel but not so in the last 4 years. It was around that time that I realized that I really prefered pedals with both channels for my OD tones, giving me Marshall rooted tones bolstered by a pedal or not and Fender Blackface rooted tones and bolstered by a pedal or not in addition to each channels boost function.

    More choice and shades of OD than ever

    I think your at where I was, thinking you can pull more out of the amp and your right. Pedals are gonna kick the teeth of the amps Pre-amp and give you a range of additional tones your not getting now by not using pedals, just set the each channel slightly dirty or more to taste.

    There is this purest mindset out there and some spend their days defying the pedal mentality to a fault. I sympathize and the only time that works for me is if I can play with the volume dimed and not all amps, in fact many just dont give it up when dimed, they shudder and cough or fart out.

    The thing is with the Rivera, is it sounds good without pedals and only gets better and the biggest challenge is getting the frequency response to complement your tastse meaning, you need the right speaker/cab etc

    Pedals will have your amp giving it up and all the points you made are dead on
     
  8. screamingduck

    screamingduck Gold Supporting Member

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    I have a Boogie Mark IIc that I used the OD channel on for leads for years until I got a Rat pedal. Later as I started getting more OD pedals I got a '65 Super and now only use that and the clean channel of my Boogie as starting points. Now I can go from the most incredibly sparkling clean tones to all points of OD,Distortion, and Fuzz from very slight to full out plus of course the beauty of stacking pedals together.
    I am much happier with this setup than I have ever been in many years of playing. I guess that makes me a fan of non-master volume amps.
     
  9. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Gold Supporting Member

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    The only channel switching amp i ever owned was a Fender Roc Pro 1000. Eww. I fully agree with the "good amp, good pedals" approach as well. Of course, some amps might have great onboard drive channels, so that's just icing.
     
  10. pgissi

    pgissi Member

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    Why is it that these amps (Rivera R and Cub/Ckub Series) are so understood? I dont think this is rooted in the marketing is it?

    How many people out there who own Blackface or Tweed Fenders regard their amps as the equivalent of only the "clean channel"?

    Not many I will bet

    But this sort of mindset shortcircuits the brains independent thought process when your thinking what you can accomplish with it and you walk away thinking this is a 2 channel amp with a clean and dirty channel...WRONG

    I look at as a 12 channel amp with graduations of OD
    Channel 1-
    no boost no pedals
    on board boost
    pedals only
    on board boost and pedals

    Channel 2-
    no boost no pedals
    on board boost
    pedals only
    on board boost and pedals

    Channel 2- Master Up/Pre Amp Down
    no boost no pedals
    on board boost
    pedals only
    on board boost and pedals

    Yeah I know its not a 12 channel amp but it has 12 flavors of OD from jazzy cool to nuk-u-lar!


    from the review-
    The clean channel sounded equally good with the other guitars. For example, the Stratocaster and the Custom-24 produced an impressive variety of tight and punchy rhythm tones, from dark to sparkly, and the Les Paul sounded characteristically round and fat.
    http://www.guitarplayer.com/article/rivera-chubster-55/Jun-05/10208



    Clean channel, what clean channel, its a JCM800+ and a Blackface in a box!

    Both channels do clean, one does it better than the other

    Dont get stuck in this mindset and when integrating pedals, you have more options than you may realize if your stuck in the "clean/dirty" channel way of thinking
     
  11. pgissi

    pgissi Member

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    Correction...

    Why is it that these amps (Rivera R and Cub/Ckub Series) are so MIS-understood? I dont think this is rooted in the marketing is it?

    Please excuse, am the worlds worst typist
     
  12. Jack Spillane

    Jack Spillane Member

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    Interesting thread. I have a Boogie MKIIB that I bought in 1980. While I love the clean channel, I could never quite get the drive channel dialed in. The graphic EQ helped some, but still not what I was looking for. Then I found the Rat.............. I almost felt guilty using a dirt box when I had this amp that was magic for so many of my favorite players. But, my ears said the Rat was needed to find "my" tone and that combination has been pretty consistent for over 20 years. I have since added a few more pedals to the line up, but it is a combination that has endured. The lesson for me was to listen, not look!

    Jack
     
  13. 89strat

    89strat Member

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    I've had a couple of two channel amps, which I loved, but was never crazy about all the cables I had to use to stick some pedals in front, some in the fx loop, then if I used the amps in the rehearsal studio, the sound would be all off, and I would have use a distortion pedal anyway, and rewire everything to go in front of the amp......

    I then switched to all pedals. But realized, the amps I had weren't great. I got a single channel amp, deluxe reverb, with a great base clean and use an OCD for dirt with some delay, chorus, and whatever else in front of the amp and I've never been happier and more consistent. My other guitarist is now switching to a similar setup also. Coincidently, my first favorite was Rat also. Still use it sometimes. Makes a great "second channel".
     
  14. Lolaviola

    Lolaviola Supporting Member

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    It seems strange to not use the footswitching on that amp (which seems really cool to me) especially if you are now switching to pedals. The footswitchable amps are to be used instead of pedals. I can see if you write a song at home and want to play it in practice sometimes the sound changes. It can seem like you have more control with pedals.
    I think after you buy a multi-channel amp (with a boost,) and you realize you have the ultimate control of your drive sound without pedals, then you get let down when you realize that you have ultimate control of just the sound of that one amp. No amp can "do it all."
    From here you can go in two different directions--a. you buy a great single-channel amp and use pedals, or b. you fine tune the sound of that one amp with carefully-selected speakers and cabinet (as mentioned above.)
    When you play soft at home and loud at practice, all those footswitchable controls need to be re-set.
     
  15. aaland_brian

    aaland_brian Member

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    I own a mesa roadking which can cover a ton of ground in different overdrive tones, but I still love using a KOT on channel 2 for a medium overdriven tone. Overdrive pedals are great because you don't have to give up a channel of your amp. I don't think I could be completely happy with a clean amp and a bunch of od's but I also am not completely happy with just amp OD all the time. Pedals are also great for playing at lower volumes.
     
  16. Joses

    Joses Member

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    personally, my dream amp has to be single-chanelled and have a beautiful clean chimey sound - all of my colouring-in is done via pedals...keeps life simple :BEER
     
  17. pgissi

    pgissi Member

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    Use footswitching and pedals and have more grades of OD to ratchet up your tone with and in more increments. Different OD's and boosters do this well either alone, or stacked together. And beyond that you have the amps boost function if equipped

    Not necessarily true. Find the settings that are the best at gig volume and leave them that way or change the pedals for low volume practice but maybe document what works for gigs, set them up before the show if you must change them.

    I dont change my pedal settings since I dont see the need to for low volume practice, I have the pedals set up to achieve a tone, boost etc. that hits the amps pre-amp when engaged in the same way and since I dont want that altered anyway I just turn the amp down and deal with it or play a low watt amp turned up.

    With a club worthy non master volume amp this is a showstopper, you do have to alter your level, this is where a 5 watt amp is needed for practice

    What I was saying earlier is the 2 channel mindset is limiting if you think of it that way, especially for the original post where the Rivera Chubster was the issue. Those amps have 2 very different but useful channels. Putting pedals in front of it just expands the tonal range and pallette.

    I know that there are other 2 channel or more amps that are the same and its just typical to think of them as clean and dirty. I found that does not work for me because there were tones that I was missing that I eventually found in the other channel, first on its own, then with either the built or pedal boost or both combined. Why it took some time was because "it was the clean channel".

    This is not the case with the Rivera

    The key point with using pedals is to affect the tone, timbre, time domain or gain of the signal to hit the pre-amp in a specifc way that should be consistent at low or high volume (non master amp is the exception here), there are additional tones that way and the best part is using some true bypass and the option to buffer or not returns you to the straight in mode with no pedals.

    But specificaly in this thread the Rivera R and Chubster series are a great value because they are rooted in marshall and fender and the archetype tones of blackface fender and master volume marshall are in there.

    Forget clean and dirty its much more than that, more like that and everything in between.
     
  18. amc

    amc Member

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    I have owned and used Rivera M60's since 1990 and have used the 2nd channel almost exclusively. It has different degrees of OD available with the
    Ninjaboost and Slavemaster, and also takes pedals well.

    I have always thought that the 2nd channel alone is worth the price of admission as I never warmed-up to channel 1.

    I also have a similar situation with a Boogie Mark 2B that I only use the
    clean channel.

    YMMV

    amc
     
  19. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    I had a rivera r-30. Great little amp. Probably the best channel switcher I've used and I definitely prefer the Rivera stuff to Boogie amps. I gotta tell ya tho the 12 channel thing just wouldn't work for me and I understand the Rivera as well as anyone.

    The onboard boost is useless for 2 reasons IMO. Its too loud to use as a solo boost and the amp flat out sounds better with the boost always on. Boosting the drive channel from the front of the amps with pedals is hit or miss (mostly miss for me) and does not raise the volume enough for solos - it only adds gain. So I would put a boost in the FX loop which worked like a charm but its 2 extra cables which is a PITA to me. One good solution for mutiple tones is to use a low gain OD on the clean channel and then switch to the OD channel for leads (I did this with my Fuchs too). This gives you 3 flavors but it doesn't sound good when using a medium to heavy OD for crunch rhythm.

    Anyway after being frustrated by the limitations of channels switchers I am back to a great sounding clean amp (heritage victory) and pedals. I feel this is a much more versatile rig with a better base clean tone than any channel switcher I've ever heard. With the hoards of quality OD pedals out there and the quality getting better every year i feel this is the best compromise for live gigs. For studio recording I think I heavily favor distorted amps over OD pedals unless there is a certain tone (big muff, Fuzzface, etc) that an amp could not deliver.
     
  20. pgissi

    pgissi Member

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    Praise be to Paul...Rivera that is!

    Dude makes a great amp and for the money, imo best in class. Boutique tone, features and build quality. Versatility unrivaled.

    I am ready for my endorsement deal!

    I will have a Fandango or other in the near future, want what I have now, just louder.


    Sometimes the channels are voiced so differently its difficult to get what you want out of both channels without making some drastic changes to your setup. Chan 1 is marshall rooted that falls between jcm 800 and 900 when using the boost only more cream and less fizz but not without the proper speaker.

    I have noticed a trend though, with some speakers like the Celest V30, where the higher mid spike is obvious and the top is somewhat icepicky, channel 1 on the rivera can be buzzy, its already got gobs of gain in the mids and highs, why do you need that in the speaker to the degree its there today. Factor in the higher efficiency speakers today means amps are not being pushed as hard and not revealing their true tone

    I realized this and reasoned I needed a slightly darker overall, slightly mid scooped speaker with less cone breakup and the payoff was I can now push my tone stack controls higher, getting more of the eq/pre-amp and master itself.

    For me, the R30's American Channel was not happening at 8ohms and I was banging my head against the wall and reasoned, that sjust the way it is. Accidentaly I found that a 100% impedance mismatch into different speakers changed that, I unknowingly happened to plug into a 16ohm series wired cab and was tweaking the amp for it and ended up finding this amps tone like I never had, on the american channel more so but generally both channels improved.

    This along with multiple tube changes along with finding the best in a batch, bias adjustment, all along using my ears at gig levels, I was able to appreciate the amp. Before this it was somewhat better than average for me but not 100% there and that is where its subjective since these amps have tone out of the box for sure. I was looking for something beyond and it took some doing to get there.

    Needless to say, I went from using the 1 channel to using both in so many ways and using pedals expands the tones available in addition to the ones that are in the amp itself.

    These things can be applied to any channel switching master volume amp
     

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