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Thread: Gain pedals in the loop?

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    Professional Scapegoat BloodRose's Avatar
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    Default Gain pedals in the loop?

    Im sorry if this is a silly, newbie question, but I have to ask. It seems to me, that when I was researching to build my pedal boards, I heard that you should not run distortion pedals thru the effects loop of your amp. ?? However, I recently watched a video of Ola testing a Revv G3 pedal (OMG!!! AWESOME PEDAL!!!) and he was running thru his effects loop. If they can go thru the loop, that would be awesome as I have my boards set that when I hook em up, I run the distortion pedals into the front and effects to the loop. It makes things much more convoluted. Id love to be able to run em all in one direct chain into the loop.

    Thank you!!
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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    To my ears, distortion pedals and fuzzes sound best into the front of my amp. This way the preamp tubes kinda soften some of the harshness that you would otherwise get . . . and it makes volume jumps less intense. When I put them in the loop I find the volume jumps kicking them on, and they are usually very harsh sounding. There may be some pedals designed for function in the loop (after the preamp tubes though) so it's always worth trying both to see.
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    of the Forum PFDarkside's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    If you go in the loop you are either bypassing the amp’s preamp or you are feeding the preamp into a gain pedal. Nearly all gain pedals are designed to go into the front of the amp, the designer is tweaking it into a Fender, Marshall, Vox, etc. Some pedals are designed to go into an amp or to replace a preamp, the Revv may be one of them. Usually it’ll need more presence and tone tweaking than just a tone control. Ola also did this with a Metal Zone, and that pedal has an ultra powerful parametric EQ to help with the tone tweaking.

    That being said, as usual you should experiment. One thing to watch out for, keep you master low on the gain pedal and roll it up after you engage it. Sometimes your amp’s master is pre-loop so you can get a huge volume blast if you aren’t careful.
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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    Is that the secret to not making a Metal Zone suck? Run it in the loop???
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

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    Mojo's Minions LLL's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    There's two ways to do this (gain pedals in the loop):

    1. Run a dist/od/preamp stomp into the amp's FX loop return
    2. Place a dist/od/preamp stomp in the amp's FX loop (send & return)

    In the case of #1, you are essentially using the amp as a tube power amp (bypassing the amp's preamp/tone stack), with the pedal as the preamp.

    In the case of #2, that'd be a questionable strategy. More likely than not it would sound like arse. But there's always the chance a particular stomp set to a particular setting would work great.
    Last edited by LLL; 10-15-2019 at 10:19 AM.
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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    Effects loops were intended for line level rack effects. While some loops have level controls most stomp boxes are intended for use between your guitar and amp.

    You want a boost to drive your ampís preamp. And then the preamp can shape the tone.

    This fad of everyone running stop boxes through the loop is not what loops where designed for, and thereís no benefit in doing it.


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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRavenMoon View Post
    Effects loops were intended for line level rack effects. While some loops have level controls most stomp boxes are intended for use between your guitar and amp.

    You want a boost to drive your amp’s preamp. And then the preamp can shape the tone.

    This fad of everyone running stop boxes through the loop is not what loops where designed for, and there’s no benefit in doing it.


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    If my pedals only consisted of wah/fuzz/OD/'vibe/phaser/envelope filter type effects then I'd agree with you.

    The purpose of an effects loop is to allow someone to run pedals after the pre-amp. I prefer stuff like reverb, delay, chorus, and tremolo after pre-amp gain so they're not distorting. The only way you can get them to sound clean in front of the amp is if you don't get any distortion from your pre-amp . . . but I like the sound of the gain I get from my pre-amp section personally, so there's an awful lot of benefit in using the effects loop for me for those effects.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas Adams
    This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

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    of the Forum PFDarkside's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarStv View Post
    Is that the secret to not making a Metal Zone suck? Run it in the loop???
    The funny thing is I used to run my Metal Zone into the AUX input of my Peavey Rage when I was 16. It thought it sounded better way back then. Of course my ultimate tonal goal was duplicating Sad But True.
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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    I run my Wampler Euphoria through the loop of my Blackstar. I find that it smooths out the gain which is what I was looking for.

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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    Thanks for the input (no pun intended) everyone! Ill try it as long as it wont hurt anything and thanks for the tip PFDarkside on bringing the volume down or else Id have prolly been blasted!!!!
    I just wanted to make sure it wouldnt hurt anything. As I said, for years and especially when I was posting threads about building my pedal boards, I had been advised NOT to run dirt pedals into the loop. So again, I was pretty miffed when I saw Ola doing it. I mean the dude is a pro, so Im sure he knows a bit more than I do.
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    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarStv View Post
    If my pedals only consisted of wah/fuzz/OD/'vibe/phaser/envelope filter type effects then I'd agree with you.

    The purpose of an effects loop is to allow someone to run pedals after the pre-amp. I prefer stuff like reverb, delay, chorus, and tremolo after pre-amp gain so they're not distorting. The only way you can get them to sound clean in front of the amp is if you don't get any distortion from your pre-amp . . . but I like the sound of the gain I get from my pre-amp section personally, so there's an awful lot of benefit in using the effects loop for me for those effects.
    Right, but think about a reverb or delay effect. They used to all be rack mount devices like a Lexicon etc. Those are made for the FX loop. Stomp box pedal reverb isnít.

    My amp has effects, so reverb and delay are after my pedals. But I still use a delay in front for certain effects, but I could just as easily use a rack unit. But then I need a rack.

    And itís very hard to hear a difference.
    Look at people that used an Echoplex or Space echo back in the day. They went in front of the amp, and it sounded just fine.

    My point about pedals in the loop isnít the effect type, and where that should go in the signal path, itís about the expected input and output levels, impedance, etc.

    Getting back to the original post, the loop would be too hot a signal for a boost or dirt pedal, and youíd probably get a crap load of noise.


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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    Reverb into high gain tends to terrible. Lower gain, or with almost entirely pedal gain in front of the reverb tends to work fine. Also depends on whether you want lo-fi or hi-fi reverb. I very strongly prefer most time domain effects in the loop or even better in post effects. Exceptions abound, of course. Univibe in front of amp sounds far smoother and more Hendrixy than applied in post...

    A lot of modern amps have instrument level effects loops or switchable loop levels, which is perfect for experimenting with pedals. And there's some strange (and poorly documented by their makers in many cases) dirt boxes whose best tones are straight into the effects loop or power amp. MT-2 Metal Zone is a prime example. In front of amp, tends to sound muffled and be very hard to avoid the can of bees. Straight into power amp, it's massively easier to get useful sounds out of, as Ola Englund demonstrated, not that he's anywhere near the first to point that use out, it's been known on guitar forums for ages before youtubers started talking about it.

    Most clean channel circuits in particular chop a lot of mids out, so unless the pedal is built to correct for a Fendery circuit, it's no surprise some pedals, especially ones designed to work as a preamp replacement or even some amp-in-a-box designs work better bypassing the preamp.

    Non-preamp pedals do tend to work best in front of a preamp. And it's very rare for any gain source to work better in the loop (as opposed to instead of the preamp) than before the amp, unless it's being used to correct for poor output level of the loop, or for a loop/effect level mismatch.

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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarStv View Post
    Is that the secret to not making a Metal Zone suck? Run it in the loop???
    Unfortunately, no. I tried it recently with a Waza-vsn Metal Zone and a normal series Metal Zone. They both still sucked. Although, in my case i was bypassing the preamp when i had them in the loop. However, i also tried each one before the preamp and i still thought each one was subpar. At least, compared to my mainstay distortion pedal, which is a Biyang Metal End - that is more of preamp replacement pedal than just a gain pedal - that i run through the effects loop (bypassing the preamp) and followed by a 7 band eq pedal for further tone refinement.
    Last edited by kingswebe; 10-16-2019 at 11:34 AM.

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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    No ...

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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    Quote Originally Posted by BloodRose View Post
    Thanks for the input (no pun intended) everyone! Ill try it as long as it wont hurt anything and thanks for the tip PFDarkside on bringing the volume down or else Id have prolly been blasted!!!!
    I just wanted to make sure it wouldnt hurt anything. As I said, for years and especially when I was posting threads about building my pedal boards, I had been advised NOT to run dirt pedals into the loop. So again, I was pretty miffed when I saw Ola doing it. I mean the dude is a pro, so Im sure he knows a bit more than I do.
    Ola was running his guitar into the Revv pedal, then the pedal into the return of the loop and bypassing the front end of the amp, so essentially the pedal became the preamp. He has done the same thing with a Metal Zone and some others, and some pedals work well that way. But just running a distortion or OD pedal in the loop between the preamp and power amp is not going to work very well. It won't hurt anything, but it probably won't sound that good either.

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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Despair View Post
    Reverb into high gain tends to terrible. Lower gain, or with almost entirely pedal gain in front of the reverb tends to work fine. Also depends on whether you want lo-fi or hi-fi reverb. I very strongly prefer most time domain effects in the loop or even better in post effects. Exceptions abound, of course. Univibe in front of amp sounds far smoother and more Hendrixy than applied in post...

    A lot of modern amps have instrument level effects loops or switchable loop levels, which is perfect for experimenting with pedals. And there's some strange (and poorly documented by their makers in many cases) dirt boxes whose best tones are straight into the effects loop or power amp. MT-2 Metal Zone is a prime example. In front of amp, tends to sound muffled and be very hard to avoid the can of bees. Straight into power amp, it's massively easier to get useful sounds out of, as Ola Englund demonstrated, not that he's anywhere near the first to point that use out, it's been known on guitar forums for ages before youtubers started talking about it.

    Most clean channel circuits in particular chop a lot of mids out, so unless the pedal is built to correct for a Fendery circuit, it's no surprise some pedals, especially ones designed to work as a preamp replacement or even some amp-in-a-box designs work better bypassing the preamp.

    Non-preamp pedals do tend to work best in front of a preamp. And it's very rare for any gain source to work better in the loop (as opposed to instead of the preamp) than before the amp, unless it's being used to correct for poor output level of the loop, or for a loop/effect level mismatch.
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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidRavenMoon View Post
    My point about pedals in the loop isn’t the effect type, and where that should go in the signal path, it’s about the expected input and output levels, impedance, etc.
    There are certainly many effects loops designed to work with rack gear . . . but that's not the purpose of a loop.

    The purpose of the effect loop is to allow the insertion of effects (rack or pedal) after an amp's pre-amp.
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    This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarStv View Post
    There are certainly many effects loops designed to work with rack gear . . . but that's not the purpose of a loop.

    The purpose of the effect loop is to allow the insertion of effects (rack or pedal) after an amp's pre-amp.
    Traditionally effects loops were always for line level devices. Thatís why they often have volume controls. Plus the types of effects you would insert there, like reverb, has until recently always been rack units.


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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    ďGet your levels right

    Another element that is sometimes overlooked is ensuring your effects can handle the line-level output that is typically sent from your amplifierís effects loop. Depending on the pedal, hitting your stompbox with a line-level signal can overload the circuit, resulting in less-than-desirable performance. Read your pedalís manual to find out if it can hang with that stronger signal.Ē

    https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/us...-effects-loop/


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    Mojo's Minions JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gain pedals in the loop?

    Look up Ola's Metal Zone video. Granted, me makes pretty much everything sound awesome, and the MT-2 is no exception.

    If I'm using my Super Reverb, obviously all pedals go in front (as there's no loop). The Super also has a ton of headroom, so all my dirt is coming from the pedals. When I use my Micro Dark, I alternate between putting my delay/reverb pedal in front or in the loop. If I'm getting drive from the Orange, I'll put it in the loop.

    Seeing how electric guitars weren't originally intended to make the sounds we tend to make with them, I'm not overly concerned about the original purpose of an effects loop. Most people would say two wah pedals on a board is dumb, but I like how it sounds so I'll do that, too

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