Philosophical question: "takes pedals well"?

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by Seamus, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. Seamus

    Seamus Synchromatic

    740
    Feb 25, 2011
    New England
    Done a fair bit of reading about amps lately. Every amp review ever written, it seems, claims that Amp X "takes pedals well." So I've been wondering -- what would it sound like if an amp didn't "take pedals well"? I ask you, tone aficionados, is that a meaningful or meaningless statement?

    Seems to me like it all depends on what pedal you put in front of something. The only major difference (key word "major") I've ever heard between the amps I've played and used is that some deal with overdrive/distortion pedals a little differently, depending on how they complement (or don't) the amp's own overdrive. Beyond that, I swear I've never noticed a difference worth concerning myself over. But then again, I've never cared if I had an effects loop or not, so maybe I'm nuts. Open to that idea, too!

    How wrong am I? :)
     
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  2. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    I can't remember what pedal I tried or even which amp I tried it on but it was not good, it did something to the tone but it was choked and constrained, into my triple xxx it was open airy and sounded very musical. Damn, I'm going to go nuts until I remember what pedal it was.

    I think it was the Micro Qtron still can't remember the amp.
     
  3. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    I always took that to mean the amp had a pretty flat EQ.
     
  4. swivel

    swivel Gretschie

    399
    May 13, 2018
    PNW
    Well, a stock Princeton Reverb doesn't take pedals that well. Meaning OD or Distortion pedals. For some reason it seems to be too much "pre amp" for the PR circuit. makes it nastier than it should be etc. It can be fine but only up to a point.
    I think this is the main problem when some people say the "XXX amp" doesn't take pedals well. Think of it this way, if you take a small amplifier and go from it into another amplifier... essentially ganging the two together you get "nasty nasty". I guess Neil Young does this some (?) You are basically pre amping (and more!) twice and it's garbled static like nasty. An OD pedal is a bit like an extra pre amp also. IF you have gain very low it works fine, if you crank the gain it may too much for the amp.
    That's my best, likely inadequate, explanation.
     
  5. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    53
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    As I see it there are big differences in the layout of the effects loop in some amps.
    Some of them seem to work with every make of (timebased) effect and some only seem to work with high quality pedals. It may depend on the fact that some are stricktly parallel or serial.
    As for putting effects in front of an amp there are preamps that do not work all too nice with some fuzz or distortion effects. I never heard a difference when putting timebased effects in front of different amps.
    Generally I would assume that cleaner amps with bigger headroom will take all kinds of effects easier.
     
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  6. Seamus

    Seamus Synchromatic

    740
    Feb 25, 2011
    New England
    Interesting insights! I have noticed for certain that as I get more years of playing/listening experience under my belt, my ears are far more able to discern such finer points. I bet if I pay more attention now, I'll hear it more clearly. I swear my AC30 sounds better than it ever has! :)

    The pre-amp to pre-amp idea makes a lot of sense, and particularly with the one scenario where I've heard a major difference-- overdrive. And I agree, loudnlousy, that I've heard pretty much no difference with time-based effects.
     
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  7. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    For sure about distortion, or od, or preamp, into the XXX crunch or ultra which are already high gain is just garbage, they sound best on their own. The XXX has a great clean channel and I use my pedals to push it in different ways to get the edge of break up bluesy and other tones I can not get out of the high gain channels. So many variables, even now I question my reply above but that is how I remember it, the question is am I remembering correctly. It is a fussy pedal to start with so it could just as easily been me doing something it didn't like and not the amp so much or a case of what works for one set up needs tweaked for another. For pedals, the sad truth is you never know until you can try it and spend time trying to learn to tweak it to your set up,
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
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  8. G5422T

    G5422T Gretschie

    491
    May 24, 2012
    usa
    Guess that term doesn't mean much to me, as I read very few amp reviews, and use even fewer pedals.

    I've always chased the "just right" amount of amp breakup, at a reasonable to lower volume, playing wise.

    I'm sure that many may find pedal friendly, as a must have in an amp, but I guess that I haven't.

    Sound clips, for me, tell me more. That said, sounds clips through most devices just plum, well, suck. But again, so do a good many reviews.

    I was looking for a Vox amp again, and knew it would have to be a lower wattage amp. The AC10C1 sound clips were very promising, and only then did I start reading a few reviews.

    Yes, I heard the "it takes pedals well" in a few reviews, but again, and for me, that didn't have any affect on wanting to go with this amp.

    Marketing uses all sorts of good phrases, reviews and soundclips can vary, so for me, I just know that the pedal friendly phrase doesn't apply.
     
  9. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    By my experience, I'd say that an amp which can offer a deep clean tone usually takes pedals well, whether it's a 5W or 100W amp - depending on the loudness you play, of course.

    But it's me, OK ? :D

    A+!
     
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  10. Seamus

    Seamus Synchromatic

    740
    Feb 25, 2011
    New England
    Same here. I just got my hands on an AC10 myself, and wow is that an incredible little machine. It's got a really wide area for that just-right breakup, at least to my ears. I have stripped down my pedalboard to just Dyno Brain, a couple of delays, and a reverb (don't love the reverb in the amp). It seems to "take them all well!"
     
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  11. markeebee

    markeebee Country Gent

    Some amps develop most of their distortion overtones in the preamp, and have a clean sounding power amp. Others are the other way around, and most are a balance of pre and power amp distortion.

    I've always felt that "takes pedals well" refers to amps with less drive in the preamp because the nuances of the timbre developed by a pedal aren't so swamped by the harmonics of the pre amp distortion. Or something.
     
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  12. larryb

    larryb Gretschified

    Age:
    49
    Oct 29, 2012
    Greenville, SC
    This already bad @ss amp that sounds even badder with pedals...

    That is my Og and Grog explanation....do we really need to know why?
     
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  13. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    69
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    I'm trying to figure out the "philosophical" aspect.
     
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  14. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    Isn’t that sitar music and a few ohms?
     
  15. Seamus

    Seamus Synchromatic

    740
    Feb 25, 2011
    New England
    Maybe it's more epistemological? How do we know we know it's taking pedals well?
     
  16. G5422T

    G5422T Gretschie

    491
    May 24, 2012
    usa
    Honestly, I think that the amps speaker(s) play a big roll on how well the amp takes pedals.
     
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  17. Sid Nitzerglobin

    Sid Nitzerglobin Country Gent

    Jun 8, 2015
    fROMOHIO
    I think it's like most thing in that it means different things to different people. For some it might mean it imparts no character of it's own and will accept a wide range of input levels w/o complaining. For others it might mean its natural character can be enhanced by a wide (or some times narrow) range of pedals they tried through it.

    I've found Voxes I've had to be among the pickier about what you plug into them, but the usefulness of that statement to anyone else relies on the specific amps I've had or played through, the range of instruments and pedals I've plugged into them, and the sounds I like being common between us.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
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  18. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    I don't know how much they affect pedals but I know that I started building different cabs with different speakers for the simple reason a different speaker can change the whole character of the amp. I thought it was a good way to add different flavors to what I had. Now though I am on a pedal kick. I think I have purchased more pedals in the last two years then I have in the last ten. And amps, don't get me started. I would have so many if I was independently wealthy.


    Isn't it the truth!
     
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  19. Robbie

    Robbie Country Gent

    Age:
    65
    Jun 17, 2013
    Sarnia Ontario Canada
    Wish I could tell you but I don’t even know what “chime” means.
     
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  20. pmac11

    pmac11 Synchromatic

    Age:
    54
    968
    Mar 4, 2018
    Toronto, Ontario
    Phew! I thought I was the only one!

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