Tube pre in the fx loop

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by Great Satan, Oct 30, 2016.

  1. Great Satan

    Great Satan Hell-o

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    Feb 25, 2014
    Los Angeles
    (I don't know whether this should be here or faq/beginner section, but just wanted to share some experiences)

    So i spent all day today downsizing my rig a bit, seeing what pedals i didn't really want etc. and moving the pod hd out of my fx loop.
    I since came to the conclusion that i much prefer the 'feel' of the amp without a digital modeller in the loop; as the more fx blocks you build the more the tiny micro-second latency inherent in each effect builds up and you find yourself fighting with the strings as opposed to just playing them (the immediacy without the fx loop engaged is very noticeable after playing the same rig for a while).

    Anyway, so i spent some long hours yesterday and today trying to dial in my tone without the use of any eq in the fx loop.
    I use a joyo mjolnir as the main amp, mainly because i can't afford a mesa boogie but also because its a pretty amazing pedal platform, but i remembered why i put the pod hd in the loop in the first place; a graphic eq just wasn't enough controls-wise and the amp sounds harsh and a little cold/sterile without dialing some extra low end for warmth (without the booming low end in the amp's bass control on full).

    So i had this spare AmT Ss-20 preamp that i've had laying around which is a tube preamp (despite the misleading 'ss' in the title). I like the overdrive/dist channel but its nothing that my blackstar tube preamp and amt R1 don't do already, so i kinda took it off my board.

    It however has a super-clean that you can dial in to very slight tube breakup on channel one, the sort of sound you look for in a vintage amp if you want to hit it with some pedals (& have them sound good).

    So i dialed it in for that, ran with the vol almost all the way up, the gain on full and the mids only slightly on (its one of those 'no sound with the tone controls all the way off' type eq sections) and stuck it in the mjolnir's fx loop.

    I played through it and immediately all the previous problems had gone away; the slight harshness in the high end (which i had attributed mainly to the vintage 30/microphone combo i was using) gave way to sweet singing highs and the coldness or sterility in the mids had been smoothed out and transformed into a nice warmed mids with a crunchy lowend. Basically exactly what i was looking for without having to even touch an eq pedal or modeller.

    Now this is only a subtle change, but it makes all the difference between constant ear fatigue and something sounding somewhat more 'musical'. If you have any equipment lying around the place that previously sounded harsh or sterile to you, be it a pedal a digital modeller, an amp or even perhaps a microphone, get hold of a super clean guitar (or maybe mic) tube preamp and set it on the verge of breakup.

    It might make the difference between something just plain not working for you and something you wouldn't want to do without :cool:
    matisq likes this.
  2. matisq

    matisq Regular

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    Jan 13, 2011
    Good tips here.
    An you tell me sir, how do you like Mjolinr? I read that it have only line level fix loop. Is this true?
  3. lewis

    lewis Regular

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    Aug 16, 2011
    Norfolk, UK
    so If I say have a high gain rhythm/solo sound but It seems abit harsh, I can put my Laney pulse tube preamp pedal (2 preamp pedals), in the effects loop with a clean sound set on that, and the harshness in my high gain tone is gone?

    I need to try this
  4. wakjob

    wakjob Regular

    Likes Received:
    Oct 4, 2011
    So, someone needs to invent the tube-driven graphic EQ pedal to "warm up" and color mediocre sounding amps.
    lewis likes this.

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