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Old 12-03-2012, 11:22 AM   #1
dale1985
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Overdrive pedals with tube amps technical question

Hi Guys,

A question that's been bugging me for a while. If anyone could enlighten me I would be appreciative.

I have a 2 channel tube amp and use 2 overdrives, one for each channel. So I have clean, clean with a bit of dirt, distortion channel, and lead.

Now I set up my distortion channel overdrive with level max, gain 0. This pushes the preamp tubes giving me a bit more volume but lots more gain, all good, understood.

Here's the bit I don't understand. The overdrive I use on my clean channel is set to level 3, gain 0. This is not any louder than off but has a bit of grit to it which I like. Does this mean I'm using 'fake' distortion from the overdrive that's just been added with solid state circuitery? If so does this mean that when people have a single channel amp, set it clean and use pedals for dirt, they are using artificial distortion? What's the point of that because then your never driving the tubes to get that smooth gain...? Are you? Help!

Thanks,

Dale
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:26 AM   #2
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To put it very simply, an overdrive into a Fender Frontman does not sound the same as an overdrive into a Fender Twin Reverb. Think about it.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:44 AM   #3
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Very few overdrives, if any, produce no distortion themselves when the drive/gain knob is turned down. That's why I use a dead clean boost from my GP-8 with the overdrive effect turned off. No added distortion there, just pure clean boost.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:50 AM   #4
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There's no such thing as artificial distortion, and there's nothing wrong with getting it from a pedal rather than your amp.

It's easy to get concerned about adding solid state distortion if you're used to hearing about all these cheap, crappy SS amps, but pedals are a good example of how SS components can be used effectively. Tube distortion isn't the immortal be-all end-all sound.

Side note: boosting a clean amp with a SS pedal doesn't necessarily mean that you're getting your distortion from the pedal. A big signal into the preamp will overdrive it, so even if the pedal and amp are clean individually, when you hit the front end with a bigger signal it will start to distort. So you might have tube distortion after all.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:52 AM   #5
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Yeah, but Colin, he says there's no increase in volume => it's not being boosted.
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Old 12-03-2012, 11:55 AM   #6
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You Heretic Bastard. That Ss Distortion You Created Is Raping Our Churches And Burning Our Women!!!!!!!
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Offworld92
To put it very simply, an overdrive into a Fender Frontman does not sound the same as an overdrive into a Fender Twin Reverb. Think about it.

+1

The amp is always adding it's own tonal qualities to the sound, regardless of what pedals you're using.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathbard
Yeah, but Colin, he says there's no increase in volume => it's not being boosted.

Good catch, didn't read that closely enough. Plus like you said most pedals introduce some distortion even at zero.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:17 PM   #9
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what cathbard said.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dale1985
Hi Guys,

A question that's been bugging me for a while. If anyone could enlighten me I would be appreciative.

I have a 2 channel tube amp and use 2 overdrives, one for each channel. So I have clean, clean with a bit of dirt, distortion channel, and lead.

Now I set up my distortion channel overdrive with level max, gain 0. This pushes the preamp tubes giving me a bit more volume but lots more gain, all good, understood.

Here's the bit I don't understand. The overdrive I use on my clean channel is set to level 3, gain 0. This is not any louder than off but has a bit of grit to it which I like. Does this mean I'm using 'fake' distortion from the overdrive that's just been added with solid state circuitery? If so does this mean that when people have a single channel amp, set it clean and use pedals for dirt, they are using artificial distortion? What's the point of that because then your never driving the tubes to get that smooth gain...? Are you? Help!

Thanks,

Dale

If you like it, why is that a problem?
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:15 PM   #11
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He heard on the internet that it's inferior to something else that has magic mojo and costs 10 times as much. It's called TGP syndrome.
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:50 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Roc8995
He heard on the internet that it's inferior to something else that has magic mojo and costs 10 times as much. It's called TGP syndrome.


The history of the present illness certainly supports this diagnosis.
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Old 12-03-2012, 03:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tas38
You Heretic Bastard. That Ss Distortion You Created Is Raping Our Churches And Burning Our Women!!!!!!!

cAPTAIN cAPITAL. sO wE mEET aGAIN aT lAST.

...iT'S bEEN a lONG tIME....


OT: There's nothing wrong with boosting your amp with an OD.

If you like it, go for it.
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Old 12-03-2012, 05:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc8995
He heard on the internet that it's inferior to something else that has magic mojo and costs 10 times as much. It's called TGP syndrome.


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Old 12-03-2012, 09:00 PM   #15
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well you can boost the preamp and saturate it, in which its not going to add volume.

ie - if i boost the clean channel on my amp i get a LARGE volume boost, whereas the same boost on the dirty channel with the gain up a lot = not that much volume increase, but a definite gain increase.

good example of headroom.
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to answer you question, yes and no. it all depends on the player, gear, and how they run the OD.

if they have super high headroom, low output pups, and are maxing the OD, sure, a lot is coming from the solid state pedal. the amp will still impart some of its tone.

if your are running a low wattage / headroom amp, a guitar with buckers, and using the pedal as a boost, you are driving the amp more and hearing more of the natural overdrive, and the pedal is imparting some of the tone.
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