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So how important is an effects loop anyway?


surferbeto

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How important is an effects loop anyway? I think I want one, but it's be easier with out it.

 

My main amp (Fender Super-Sonic combo) has an effects loop. My other amps (old Nomad tube amp, Roland MicroCube practice amp), and other smaller tube amps I am GASsing for (various 5-15W Fender tube amps, VibroChamp, Champion, Blues Junior, etc) do not have effects loops.

 

I've currently got my delay (Echo Park) in the effects loop. I'm thinking it might be "most correct" to put my reverb (Carl Martin Surf Trem) in there too. But

it's a PITA every time I want to plug my pedal board into an amp with no effects loop, when it's wired up for an amp with effects loop.

 

So what to do? I could try to add an effects loop to the amps that do not have it. Or I could just wash my hands of effects loops entirely and wire up board to not use an effects loop (just put those pedals from the loop at the end of the regular chain), but that effects loop on the Super-Sonic must be good for something.

 

I'd love to find a great-sounding 5-15W tube amp with an effects loop, but Fender at least seems not to make any (unless I go $1000+ for a Princeton Recording amp). Would it be a big deal to add an effects loop to, say, a Fender Champion? Is there some other great brand of amp that I'm overlooking? Am I worrying too much about a difference that will only make a very tiny improvement in my sound?

 

Advice? Opinions? Brilliant analysis of the situation? This is buggin' me.

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It depends on the amp, and how you're using it. If you're mainly running the amp clean (or getting distortion from cranking your 15w tube amp up to 10, clipping the output tubes), it's not really that important. But if you're using the amp's distortion channel, it can really help.

 

The big divide is the distortion - as you distort, you're also compressing the signal. This brings out the softer parts, which means that delay etc tends to get much louder when you switch to the drive channel. So, keeping the delay/reverb after distortion, you'll get more consistent results.

 

If you're using pedals for your distortion (running the amp more or less clean), simply place the delay somewhere after the dirt pedals, and you're set. If you're using the amp's distortion channel, you have to move the delay to the fx loop to get it post distortion. If you're cranking the whole amp for distortion, you simply can't get the delay after distortion (unless you mike the amp and add it in the mixer).

 

/Andreas

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