Volume Pedal Specs for effects loop?

Reidster

Member
Messages
88
Hello Gear Pagers!

Well, I've gone years without the need or want for a volume pedal - but I'm finding that I might need one soon. To give a little background, I play in a cover band and we cover everything from very clean funk to some pretty dirty classic rock. When we play the dirty stuff, I'm a big fan of natural amp distortion - not pedals. But I'm finding that my solos just aren't cutting through no matter which boost pedal I use - because I'm just compressing an already compressed signal. So...

I'm going to try a boost pedal through the effects loop of my amp - but just playing around with that at home - I really didn't like it. Again, it just seems to compress compression, dirty the signal, and not really boost volume. At least not in a way I was expecting. So...

I'm guessing I'm going to have to get one of them there volume pedals. In anticipation of that, here's the question...

I wouldn't mind just getting a passive volume pedal. (Something that just sits there without having to be plugged in would be great. As long as it's not a huge tone-sucker). I read recently (on Mission Engineering's site, I believe) that if you're going to run a volume pedal through the loop, it's best to just get a 25k-50k ohm pedal as that's the signal that most loops are used to seeing. (Not 500k, for example). If that's the case, then easy-peasy. I'll just find a passive 25k ohm pedal. But I'm just not sure if that's the best route?

Some key details:

  • I'll be using the pedal as a master volume through my effects loop. No swells or fancy stuff. Just a volume booster during face-melting time.
  • I have passive pickups on all guitars.
  • The loop in the amp I'm thinking of is a series effects loop.

This is all new to me so forgive me if I'm not using the correct wording on things. I'm just trying to avoid buying way too much pedal (e.g. super-bitchin active pedal with all the bells and whistles) if all I need is a passive 25-50k pedal. Know what I mean?

Let me know what you think!

Thanks,
Reid
 

DaveKS

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16,705
Well if you've tried a boost in loop and all that got you was more compression that means that your amps power section is already breaking up and out of headroom.

What amp and how loud and what settings are you running it?
 

Reidster

Member
Messages
88
@DaveKS

Hey Dave, I don't think that's the issue as it was at bedroom volumes when I was trying that strategy. (But maybe that's the problem - volume was too low so the amp was too compressed?) The amp is a Victory Sheriff 44 (which, as the name suggests, is about 45 watts) and I've tried a few boosters like TC Electronic Spark Mini, EP Booster, Prince of Tone (Analogman). It just really dirtied the signal rather than boost it. Maybe the loop in this amp just doesn't like that strategy?

As any good guitar player does - I have way too many pedals I don't need. :) So I'm going to take 4 or 5 different ones to practice in a couple of weeks and try them all through the loop at gig-volume. But I just wasn't getting anything close to what I was expecting or hoping for at home. Maybe I will at louder volumes.

I honestly don't even want a volume pedal. It just sounds like something I may have to use.
 

De Batz

Member
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3,184
I got hold of a Morley Little Alligator for this job. It was good, but then I changed my setup and unwisely let it go...

Whilst I wouldn't say it had no effect of the sound, all you needed to do was fiddle about at the amp a little bit and it was possible to get back where you started. I think that had more to do with the loop than the pedal. Needed a battery but seemed to have a very low current draw.
 

DaveKS

Member
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16,705
@DaveKS

Hey Dave, I don't think that's the issue as it was at bedroom volumes when I was trying that strategy. (But maybe that's the problem - volume was too low so the amp was too compressed?) The amp is a Victory Sheriff 44 (which, as the name suggests, is about 45 watts) and I've tried a few boosters like TC Electronic Spark Mini, EP Booster, Prince of Tone (Analogman). It just really dirtied the signal rather than boost it. Maybe the loop in this amp just doesn't like that strategy?

As any good guitar player does - I have way too many pedals I don't need. :) So I'm going to take 4 or 5 different ones to practice in a couple of weeks and try them all through the loop at gig-volume. But I just wasn't getting anything close to what I was expecting or hoping for at home. Maybe I will at louder volumes.

I honestly don't even want a volume pedal. It just sounds like something I may have to use.


Well compression happens as you turn the preamp knobs up for overdriving the preamp tubes. At a certain point on the master vol power tube compression will start to kick in, doubt very seriously that you were reaching power tube compression at bedroom volumes. Any compression your hearing at that vol is pure preamp tube overdrive.

At that vol it almost sounds like effects loop on that amp is to hot for the boost/ pedals you tried, it's clipping their inputs. Maybe other users of that amp can share their experiences with that amps loop, I have no experience with it. Not all pedals play nicely in effects loops and all loops are not created equal. Could also be effects return that's clipping after the boost, if that's case well that's wack and not much you can do about it.

Really for what your wanting a EQD Tone Job, run at 18v for high headroom in loop may be perfect match. Best lead boost in loop are usually eq to me, you cut some bass which keeps comp/mush at bay, push mids up, adjust treble to taste and then use master level to set final boost level. Your basically refocusing/highlighting a certain spectrum of your sound as much as your actually boosting it. Repositioning your guitar in the mix just as much as actually boosting. A full range fatter boost like EP certainly won't do that properly, you'll just get flubby mush because of all the bass vol it's also pushing.
 

Reidster

Member
Messages
88
@DaveKS Yeah, I loves me my preamp distortion. I'm a weirdo that way. Can't really get loud enough for power amp distortion so that's just the way it goes! That EQD Tone Job looks really interesting to me. I love EQD pedals - but had never really heard of this one. If that plays well with my loop, that could be just the ticket. But I'm going to try a couple of more boost pedals in the loop first before I shell out for that. It could just be the loop not playing well with anyone. I guess I could try it outside of the loop too - just on my board. I just feel like that doesn't do quite enough with my set up.

Thanks for the advice and suggestions!
 

Reidster

Member
Messages
88
I got hold of a Morley Little Alligator for this job. It was good, but then I changed my setup and unwisely let it go...

Whilst I wouldn't say it had no effect of the sound, all you needed to do was fiddle about at the amp a little bit and it was possible to get back where you started. I think that had more to do with the loop than the pedal. Needed a battery but seemed to have a very low current draw.

Hey De Batz, thanks for that advice as well. I'm going to try the EQ/Boost pedal through the loop at gig volume first...then off to volume pedal land if I need it. I'm beginning to wonder if Dave is right that my loop just may be too "hot" for boost pedals. (Does fine with modulation - but I could see it not playing with boosts well).

If I do got the volume pedal route, I'm back to my original question of the "output" of said pedal. I'm trying to figure out if I can just get away with a 25-50k passive pedal through a loop. What was that Morley? Do you know? Must have been active if it needed power...
 

stinkfoot

Member
Messages
6,138
Most effects loops are buffered (in the sense that they have sufficiently low output impedance and high input impedance), so a regular 25K (Boss "L") model should work fine. That is, if you go amp send -> volume pedal -> any other pedals in the loop. If you have pedals in the loop before the volume pedal, it depends on those pedals.
 

Reidster

Member
Messages
88
@stinkfoot

Thanks man. So this makes me think I should just get a nice active volume pedal with all the bells and whistles so I just have more options later if I don't even like the pedal through the loop. Or want to order things differently later. The "L" would just work for the one scenario I'm describing, where an active pedal would do everything in between as well, right?

Basically, I'm looking at the Mission Engineering MVP Pro. It's $189. No real problem there - but for what I'm trying to achieve, I could just buy an $89 Ernie Ball (or similar) pedal. But if I don't like the scenario I'm going for (volume pedal through the loop), then I'm just stuck with an $89 pedal.
 

stinkfoot

Member
Messages
6,138
A fully active volume pedal (powered, like the Ernie Ball MVP) would work in any situation, since it has its own buffers (so the volume pot always has the same working conditions). A low impedance volume pedal will need a buffer before it to work, but once you make sure that condition is met, you can run it where you want in the chain.
 

Reidster

Member
Messages
88
@stinkfoot

yes, mixed the two up. VM-Pro is the Mission Engineering pedal I was looking at. MVP is Ernie Ball. Anyway, doesn't matter - I get what you're saying and I'm thinking I need to go active if I go that route. Thanks!
 

De Batz

Member
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3,184
Hey De Batz, thanks for that advice as well. I'm going to try the EQ/Boost pedal through the loop at gig volume first...then off to volume pedal land if I need it. I'm beginning to wonder if Dave is right that my loop just may be too "hot" for boost pedals. (Does fine with modulation - but I could see it not playing with boosts well).

If I do got the volume pedal route, I'm back to my original question of the "output" of said pedal. I'm trying to figure out if I can just get away with a 25-50k passive pedal through a loop. What was that Morley? Do you know? Must have been active if it needed power...

Well, look at it from a different perspective: set your flat out loudest solo tone at the amp, then use the volume pedal to bring the actual volume down from that. You're looking to set rhythm volume at the (pre)amp, then boost in the loop. Volume pedals work by attenuating, so this is the way to go about it.

I think the issue with volume pedals is that too high a pot value puts all the travel at one end of the sweep, not that it doesn't work at all. The Morley seemed to work well in the effects loop of my heartbreaker, which is series and a bit finicky, although I never went too far with it. I did have a look on the website for specs earlier today, but couldn't find anything. It's not active in the sense of buffered (I don't think it is), but it needs power because of the way it works.

Incidentally, I've tried the MXR CAE boost thing in my effects loop at fairly high signal levels, and it seemed to have enough headroom for that job.
 

taco-man

Member
Messages
3,314
I'm beginning to wonder if Dave is right that my loop just may be too "hot" for boost pedals. (Does fine with modulation - but I could see it not playing with boosts well).
If that's an issue, then you might consider an EQ pedal that can adjust the input gain.
The MXR 10-band, for example, has a gain slider (which blinks if it is close to clipping), as well as an output volume.
 

Reidster

Member
Messages
88
@De Batz Thanks man. That's kind of how I understand it. Honestly, sweep on a volume pedal doesn't matter much to me for my use. I want to do exactly what you're describing - and the faster the sweep the better, probably. I just want a quick boost for solos. But I'm going to try the EQ in the Loop trick first before I get into a volume pedal. Thanks again for the info.

@taco-man Thank you too. I've got the MXR 10-band up on my browser in case one of the 6 pedals I've got for the job don't work! I'm going to try that Tone Job that @DaveKS recommended first. If that doesn't work, it's on to the next one...or on to a volume pedal.

Thanks guys.
 




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