Philosophical question: "takes pedals well"?

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

  1. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    Its like shimmer but a little different,you know?:D
     
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  2. Seamus

    Seamus Synchromatic

    740
    Feb 25, 2011
    New England
    One of the truly great mysteries! I do know this much: it is different from sparkle...
     
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  3. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    No one can be wrong in these subjective areas imo ....

    But Vox AC amps are famous for NOT taking overdrive pedals well. Most of them sound weird thru AC amps. The AC voicing and chime does not seem to agree with most OD pedals and if you look on other forums you'll see many threads with AC owners trying to find an OD pedal that sounds good paired with their amp.

    It's the main reason I never wanted to own an AC - plus the weight :)
    And it's only an issue if you use overdrive and distortion pedals - most members here do not.

    Other amps also suffer from this issue for various reasons often hard to ID.

    Another important factor is whether the amp has a series loop or not. All time based effects sound much better thru a series loop imo and most people agree. So if you use pedal delay, reverb, chorus, tremolo, phaser, EQ, etc then any amp that does not have a good series loop cannot be "pedal friendly" or "take pedals well" imo.

    So past 15 yrs I won't even consider an amp without a loop or does not pair well with OD pedals. Both are an instant deal breaker for me.

    Besides for unusual voiced amps (like Vox AC) the main issue on how good any amp will sound paired with pedals depends on the quality of the clean amp base tone. I always run OD pedals thru the clean channel. Results get muddy if you mix amp and pedal OD imo. In general the better your clean base amp tone the better overdrive and distortion pedals sound.

    After years of trial and error I've selected amps that do everything fantastic and have all options covered.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
  4. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Sorry Vista
    Admin Post
    I’ve always wondered just how meaningful this phrase really was.

    I’ve read that “overdrive pedals” are designed to overdrive the front end of a tube amp, pushing to amp into distortion, while “distortion pedals” supposedly did the distorting of their own and passed that distorted signal to the amp. I’m not endorsing that explanation, because it’s probably only partially accurate, but I would suspect that an elaborate preamp which tried to push the front end of a solid state amp into overdrive might end up with a nasty, raspy sound. OTOH, a tune amp ingesting a heavily distorted signal from a “distortion pedal” might end up a bit mushy and unresponsive.

    But that’s just one opinion, from one guy.
     
  5. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    Well I thinks it's more complicated Syncho :)
    Take a look at these articles from OD and distortion experts.

    https://theproaudiofiles.com/amp-overdrive-vs-pedal-overdrive/

    https://www.vein-tap.com/overdrive-pedal-vs-amp-distortion/

    https://mesaboogie.zendesk.com/hc/e...fference-in-a-6L6-and-EL-34-?mobile_site=true

    http://lifestyle.jimdunlop.com/the-dunlop-distortion-guide/

    https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/vintage-vs-modern-amp-tone-definition.1736502/

    https://www.gearank.com/articles/overdrive-v-distortion

    https://distortionpedalpro.com/the-great-distortion-pedal-vs-amp-debate/

    This is a good summary imo :)
    "Depending on the shade of distortion you’re looking for, you’ll find amps and pedals using various methods to throw your signal into dirt mode."
     
  6. Seamus

    Seamus Synchromatic

    740
    Feb 25, 2011
    New England
    Interesting! My main gigging amp until recently was my AC30, and in the years before I discovered attenuators, I could only play it at low volume settings with the only OD pedal I then had, a Boss OD-1. Sounded really great, if not as good as the amp's overdrive (but I only ever was able to use the amp overdrive at one gig ever, thanks to its insane volume). Only later did I discover that I had a sought-after pedal, so I guess I was just lucky!

    And now that you say it, I remember trying other people's overdrive pedals with my amp and never liking any of them. Maybe it was the amp, not the pedal.
     
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  7. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    Yes well back in the day there were very few pedal options around. Boss OD-1 was one of the first decent one's and became real popular.

    Moving to 2019 there's literally 1000s of OD and distortion pedals for sale and so the designs, tone quality and features of these have left Boss in the dust more than a decade ago. Boss have not attempted to advance and just sit on their old solid reputation for sales.

    I still have an OD-1 in a box. But these days I would not recommend anyone buy any Boss OD/distortion pedal cos there's 100s competitors much better now imo :)
     
  8. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Sorry Vista
    Admin Post
    In at least one sense, it’s always both. From the pickup coils to the first semi-conducting element is one circuit. If you are plugging directly into an amp, your pickup coils are part of the same circuit as the grid of the first preamp stage tube. Put an effects pedal inline, and the guitar’s pickup coils become part of the same circuit as the first IC in the pedal, while the last output stage of the pedal becomes part of the same circuit as the grid of the first tube in the amp’s signal path.

    But these sorts of circuits are resilient and can tolerate relatively great mismatches in levels and impedances. I would go so far as to say that impedance mismatches are probably the first place I’d look if an amp was “not taking pedals well”. True bypass is all the rage, these days, but a true bypass pedal can deliver a serious impedance mismatch which will make everything wonky. If you are going to use true bypass pedals, it’s probably a good idea to make certain to have a buffer. I have a buffer at both ends of both my pedalboards.

    Overdrive/distortion pedals can act as boosts. For an extreme example, my Topanga has a built in clean boost and if I crank that up, it will overdrive the front end of my amp. It’s probably not much good as an overdrive pedal if you want something specific, however. Bespoke overdrive/distortion pedals have all sorts of different approaches. The Boss SD-1, for example, makes the signal somewhat asymmetric. There all sorts of schemes to accentuate harmonics or, possibly, change the balance to boost certain frequencies more than others.

    This makes for all sorts of possibilities, but there are still two fundamental approaches, boosting signal level and altering the signal in some way. Some distortion pedals clip the signal peaks, which emulates the distortion of the input signal that happens when an amp is driven past it’s clean range. For my money, however, natural is the way to go. The more a signal is manipulated, especially the signal level itself, the less natural the response will be.

    I’ll also chime in with my opinion, regarding Boss pedals. I will gladly concede that Boss does not necessarily make up the avant-garde of pedal design, but they make some very good, very solid products. They tend to have good buffers and are solid performing devices. There are some great boutique pedals out there, but not all boutique pedals are well designed. I have personally played through boutique pedals that were an impedance nightmare. It’s a complicated situation.
     
  9. Seamus

    Seamus Synchromatic

    740
    Feb 25, 2011
    New England
    I'm gonna admit I had to read that twice!
     
  10. Lizardkinged

    Lizardkinged Friend of Fred

    Age:
    32
    Oct 5, 2009
    Michigan
    Buy a metal zone.... no amp takes that pedal "well."
     
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  11. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia

    haha yeah its a real dog that one - like a can full of bees :)