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Effects Loop or Signal Chain?


Tenstrum

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Is there any advantage to using the effects loop on my amp for my effects versus running them through the bass signal chain?

 

Or to put it simpler:

Why use the effects loop?

Tenstrum

 

"Paranoid? Probably. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face."

Harry Dresden, Storm Front

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Ten:

 

My rule of thumb...if you have a rack-mount effects processor, use the effects loop. Otherwise, use the amp input. I think I can safely say that most pedals, etc., are more-or-less designed to go between the bass and the amp. Most (but not all) rack-mount processors have a very wide range of level compared to pedals, and tend to work much better in the effects loop.

 

That said, there's a few things wouldn't make any sense to put into the effects loop...say, a compressor. If you add a compressed signal back to your uncompressed signal, you probably won't notice any difference. If you amp has a mix knob, you could of course set the mix to 100% wet (meaning route all the signal through the effects processor). But still, you'd normally put a compressor at or near the front of the signal chain, and this would still put it somewhere in the middle.

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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I now have 3 pedals:

Boss Chorus, Boss Distortion, and Morley Wah :thu: ).

 

I've been running through my effects loop, but I think I'm going to switch to the amp input.

 

Dave,

I have 2 built in compressors on my amp, a high and a low. I guess those are applied as the signal goes out to the cabs.

 

Unfortunately, I don't have an option to blend my effects loop. It's 100%.

Tenstrum

 

"Paranoid? Probably. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face."

Harry Dresden, Storm Front

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Hey man:

 

Actually, circuit-wise, the compressors are probably at the front of the signal chain somewhere, like in right after the input stage of the preamp. If they are called "limiters" rather than "compressors" though, I could see them perhaps being between the preamp section and power-amp section (thus functioning as signal limiting do-dads to prevent speaker damage). They definitely would not be AFTER the power-amp section though...they're before it, the question is just where.

 

If you crank the compressors to max squash, does the signal going to your pedals change? If so, then you know they are somewhere before the effects send...if not, they are somewhere after the effects send.

 

In a nutshell, it doesn't really matter where they are, as long as it sounds good. :thu:

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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I prefer to run my effects as part of the signal chain. It works much better for me. I've worked pretty hard on getting all of my settings dialed in, and they tend to work pretty well for live applications. That being said, I tend to split my signal when I record so that I always have a clean track as well as a dirty one.

 

I can't say that I'm much of a fan of effects loops, since invariably you're at the mercy of the designers of the amp. The extent to which your signal is blended is dependent on the design of the amp. You may be able to control the ammount of clean signal compared with the dirty, but again, it depends on whether or not that kind of option was built in to your amp's effects loop.

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I've said this a thousand times one way or another, but I'll say it again: 99% of bassists should not be using their FX loop for their effects. In fact, I think manufacturers would be doing everyone a service to REMOVE these confusing things from their amps. Or at least demand that you pass some test regarding understanding signal levels and gain structuring before the effects loop is enabled.

 

So I'll say it again: Effects loops are for rackmount processors. The signal levels are too high for pedals and they will sound worse in the loop. PUT YOUR EFFECTS PEDALS IN FRONT OF YOUR AMP!

 

Alex

 

P.S. Thanny XIII - unlucky for some if they listened to your advice. Stop talking, start listening man!

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well....signal levels, gain, and matching these parameters are not exactly rocket science. With that said, if a musician does not have the capacity to understand these simple attributes of sound, they should just stick to the old addage.

 

Pedals on floor.....Rack in loop

I seek knowledge from the winds of destiny , Wisdom from the seas of time, and honor from within myself. Lost in a land where bass and time collide.
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