Volume Pedal Placement...


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knight_1974
08-28-2008, 08:14 PM
Greetings all. I hope everyone's doing well. OK folks...here's the deal. The more I research this the more confusing it gets. :confused: Some people say VP's are best right in the front of the signal chain right after guitar. Others say it's best right at the end. Still others say in the effects chain...after distortion and modulation but before delay and reverb. Then there's the whole active versus passive deal, and impedance and blah blah blah. :rolleyes:

Can someone with experience and insight into this matter please set the record straight. That is, explain the uses, pros and cons of whatever location you have your VP in, and whether or not an active or passive model is required for that purpose. Many thanks!

forsaknazrael
08-28-2008, 08:25 PM
What are you using your volume pedal for? If you put it in front of your amp, it will work like your guitar's volume control, and clean up the signal until it fades out the signal. This is if you have a good tube amp, and are running no distortion pedals.

If you run it in the effects loop, it will work like a master volume.

knight_1974
08-28-2008, 08:38 PM
I read that it works as the guitar's volume control if you put it right after the guitar? What I'd be using it for is violin type swells. Perhaps with some delay or chorus added...primarily for ambient effect at the intro and/or end of slow/quiet songs. Or maybe also adding texture to rhythm parts during a song.

forsaknazrael
08-28-2008, 08:42 PM
Yes, that is what I said. ;)

I'm not familiar with how to make it sound like a violin, I've been trying to do that with just my guitar's volume control, since I've seen it done, but I don't think I use enough gain. The guy i saw do it live had a bunch of gain/distortion on.

knight_1974
08-28-2008, 08:46 PM
So..."right after the guitar" and "in front of the amp" are the same thing??? Hmmm...I guess having the effects between the VP and the amp confused me. :)

Also...the violin part is optional I guess. I'm just referring to ambient, atmospheric volume swells in general.

forsaknazrael
08-28-2008, 08:56 PM
Well, I mean, if it's in front of the amp, and there are no other effects on, isn't that essentially right in front of the amp? ;)

Well, like I said, be aware, using it in front changes how your signal is distorted. You should try using your guitar's volume knob as you play - that's essentially how it'll sound. This will give you an idea if that's what you want.

knight_1974
08-28-2008, 09:14 PM
I shall bear that in mind, thank you. I'd also like to hear player's various philosophies and reasons for placing their VP's in different locations...what works best for them and why.

knight_1974
08-28-2008, 10:50 PM
Bumpity Bump... Calling all volumers.

JimPlaysGuitar
08-29-2008, 06:30 AM
After preamp, before delay/reverb effects works best for me. Used for the "pinky on volume, swell" effects. Because it's just easier than the pinky thing and sounds better after the preamp, to me. Before the preamp will alter the gain. After will just alter volume.

knight_1974
08-29-2008, 01:02 PM
Thanks for the comment Jim. To clarify, when you say after the preamp, are you talking about using it in the effects loop of your amp?

I've read that if you're not using the effects loop and going straight from guitar to effects to amp, that placing the VP after distortion type effects, but before delay and reverb, does what you're talking about. That way you only affect overall volume, and not the gain, and your delay trails aren't impacted by the volume changes. Does that make sense and sound right?

And any other thoughts from anyone else?

forsaknazrael
08-29-2008, 01:41 PM
^Right, like I said, it will work like a master volume.

I don't know about delay trails, I've never used delay.

JimPlaysGuitar
08-29-2008, 02:18 PM
Thanks for the comment Jim. To clarify, when you say after the preamp, are you talking about using it in the effects loop of your amp?

I've read that if you're not using the effects loop and going straight from guitar to effects to amp, that placing the VP after distortion type effects, but before delay and reverb, does what you're talking about. That way you only affect overall volume, and not the gain, and your delay trails aren't impacted by the volume changes. Does that make sense and sound right?

And any other thoughts from anyone else?Yep, OD/Distortion --> Volume --> Delay/Reverb

I don't think modulation (chorus/flange/tremolo) placement matters too much.

And yeah, After preamp is in the loop.

knight_1974
09-01-2008, 05:49 PM
Alright, so tell me if this logic is sound: If placing a VP after the gain effects doesn't affect the gain levels, could this be used as a technique to get overdriven tube tones at bedroom level volumes (by using overdrive/distortion pedals...without having to crank the amp to the point my ears bleed and walls crack.)? And I assume this would be the same as using the VP without effects in the effects loop of the amp?

forsaknazrael
09-01-2008, 06:04 PM
Using it in the loop makes it work like a master volume, not an attenuator.

knight_1974
09-01-2008, 06:06 PM
OK...but unless I'm mistaken, isn't that what a master volume on a tube amp allows you to do...get good overdriven tube sounds at lower volumes?

forsaknazrael
09-01-2008, 06:19 PM
Nope. You can work the preamp harder that way...but the real "secret ingredient" of tube tone is working the power section harder.

knight_1974
09-01-2008, 06:41 PM
By the way...I wasn't talking about using it the effects loop. So, here's the setup I have in mind:

Guitar ---> Gain Effects ---> VP ---> Delay/Reberb ---> Amp

In the above situation, could I use the gain pedals to drive the amp into overdrive'ville, without having to have the amp on a volume loud enough to do so?

Or how about this...having the VP after the gain pedals means it doesn't alter the gain levels, but yet the VP is still before the preamp (if you're not using the effects loop). Does that mean that even if the gain levels from the pedals aren't altered, that the gain from the amp itself still would be?

bartdevil_metal
09-01-2008, 07:09 PM
Ok, I think I can clarify:

If you have the Volume in the FX loop, you're basically placing it after the preamp and before the power amp of the amplifier. Just in case you don't know (apologies if you do) here's what the preamp andpower amp actually do:

Preamp: - Processes your signal, adds distortion, eq, any built in effects.
Power amp: - Amplifies the processed signal to drive the speakers.

So if you put the Volume in between the two (in the FX loop) you're only altering how much signal is sent to the power amp, not altering the gain or processing in any way. (If you want to do that, it goes in front of the amp)

If you have other pedals in the FX loop that you do not want to affect the output of then you put them BEFORE the volume pedal. For example, if you have an O.D pedal that you want the same amount of gain coming out of all the time you need to place it before the Volume, like this:

Fx Send-->O.D-->Volume-->FX Return

If you have FX that you want to be applied to the signal which change as you change the volume (such as delay) they need to be placed AFTER the volume pedal. This means that as you decrease the volume on the pedal, the delay pedal is getting less signal to work with and the delays will decay faster. Your setup (in this case) will now look like this:

Fx Send-->OD-->Volume-->Delay-->FX Return

Expanded to the whole amplifier setup, that is:

Guitar-->Pedals-->Preamp-->Fx Send-->O.D-->Volume-->Delay-->FX Return-->Power Amp

-----

If you're having it before the loop you're altering the amount of signal the preamp has to process, and so with a valve amp you are decreasing the amount of gain and cleaning up the sound. Having the O.D pedal before or after the pedal is pretty moot, although I would stil prefer the O.D before the Volume because it will let the amp clean up more - Having the pedal after the Volume will amplify the weaker signal and possibly comprimise your tone a bit. Plus if it's a clean boost it will be undoing what you are trying to achieve with your volume! In this case I have to wonder wtf the delay/reverb is doing in front of the amp, but the points I made about it being in the FX loop still stand; the delay trails will decay faster if placed after the volume pedal (as it is rocked back and the signal is weakened).

So that's a pretty comprehensive analysis of volume pedals (feel free to point out anything I left out) :cheers:

tl;dr

Guitar ---> Gain Effects ---> VP ---> Delay/Reberb ---> Amp

Is pretty much correct for your application of the pedal.

knight_1974
09-01-2008, 07:29 PM
I did have a vague understanding of the preamp and power amp functions, but that clears it up nicely, thank you.

In this case I have to wonder wtf the delay/reverb is doing in front of the amp, but the points I made about it being in the FX loop still stand; the delay trails will decay faster if placed after the volume pedal (as it is rocked back and the signal is weakened).

So, based on the above comment, are you a strong advocate for always using delay and reverb in the effects loop...after the preamp? If so, what's the reasoning behind that?

Also, is it accurate to say that when we're talking about positioning effects before or after the preamp, that this is primarily relevant to gain levels?

I appreciate the input.

bartdevil_metal
09-02-2008, 09:21 AM
Well, the reason I like the delay/reverb in the FX loop is because Then the distortion and processing isn't applied to the dry signal AND all its trails.

Here's what I mean: If you have the delay in front of the amp, your dry signal goes into it, and the delay effect is then added. You then go into the preamp where the distortion is added, and it is added to the whole signal, including trails. I (as do the majority of others) prefer the trails to added after the distortion because it creates a much cleaner effect (the trails are added to the dry distorted sound, rather than the other way around).

As to reverb, I hate the way that the preamp distorts the reverb effect if placed in front of the amp. It sounds muddy and harsh at the same time to me, but both are personal preference really.

Also, to your last comment, all the gain when the volume pedal is at full will be present whatever order or position your effects go in. The only way I can think that any pedal would affect gain levels is if you had some poor, non-true bypass buffered pedals in front of your amp (Dano series, I'm looking in your direction :p: ) which would degrade the tone a bit and produce a less gainy sound.

Generally the rule is O.Ds, Distortions, Wah Wahs and Boosters in front of the amp, EQ, modulation and reverb/delay effects in the loop.

knight_1974
09-02-2008, 01:54 PM
Here's what I mean: If you have the delay in front of the amp, your dry signal goes into it, and the delay effect is then added. You then go into the preamp where the distortion is added, and it is added to the whole signal, including trails.

OK...I think I'm tracking with you. The only other thing that comes to mind (at the risk of flogging the issue to death) is: What if I'm only using the clean channel on the amp, and getting my distorted sound from pedals in front of the amp? In that case, would having delay and reverb in front of the amp, but after distortion, still hold true to the advantages you mention above? (seeing as the distorted signal isn't coming from the preamp) Assuming that gain in this scenario is only added at the distortion pedal stage, and not also at the preamp stage.

bartdevil_metal
09-02-2008, 02:34 PM
Yes, if the distortion is before the delay in the FX chain, then it will be very similar to the sound you would get if the preamp was adding distortion while the delay is in the FX loop.

knight_1974
09-02-2008, 02:42 PM
That's as I suspected. Thank you for taking the time to "chat" about this. I used to live over the pond for a while a few years back, in London.

bartdevil_metal
09-02-2008, 03:45 PM
Really? That's where I originally come from :cheers:

And it was no problem, it's nice to see someone actually taking an interest in the order and placement of pedals.

knight_1974
09-02-2008, 05:16 PM
Yep...I'm actually originally from South Africa...been in the US 5 years now. I lived in London during 1999 through 2001. Putney, Wimbledon, New Malden...good times and a great city! :cheers: