This may seem like a crazy question... but is there a way to connect an audio interface into the effects loop of an amp without causing any damage?

I want to do this for 2 reason:
1. Use different VST amp sims as the preamp (bypassing the amps actual preamp)
2. Use time-based VST effects in the loop (but using the amps actual preamp)

I'm concerned about levels and outputs and whatnot.

I was thinking something along the lines of:
guitar > amp > effects send > interface line-in > interface line-out > effects return.

And then for using a amp sim as the actual preamp:
guitar > interface input > VST sim > interface line-out > effects return.

Sorry, I'm a nerd and I really like to tinker with things, but I don't want to do any damage so I'm asking you guys first.
Last edited by Ignite at Sep 19, 2010,
Can you go?

guitar > interface line-in > interface line-out > FX return -> amps power section -> Amps speakers.

And still do what you want?
Quote by BurstBucker Pro
Can you go?

guitar > interface line-in > interface line-out > FX return -> amps power section -> Amps speakers.

And still do what you want?

Yeah, that's what I meant. I just typed it weird.

This would allow me to bypass the amps preamp and use a software sim, right?
Last edited by Ignite at Sep 19, 2010,
Yes, I think you would be fine...

You just wouldn't want to send too strong of a signal into your FX return.
I doubt you would hurt anything, but if it has a volume control, keep it way down to start.

Can anybody else also confirm he is fine to give that a try...

To me it's the same a sending a CD player or FM radio into your FX return, which has been done numerous times by people breaking in speakers.
Last edited by BurstBucker Pro at Sep 19, 2010,
Its justs as the others say, it will be fine as long as you dont overload the power section with too hot a signal, keep things very low to start then creep it up if you feel the signal is to weak.

Thats what you have to do with stuff like the line6 pods as they are designed to provide signals for amps and studio gear.
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Easy as pie.

The biggest problem isn't actually overloading the power section, it's making sure your signal isn't clipping in the interface and cutting off frequencies - I actually have to up my master volume by about 2 points to get a similar volume level with the interface in the loop compared to normal. If you've got a good interface (I use an M Audio Fast Track Pro, but there are obviously better out there) and a good DAW (like Logic) you can get better quality effects than you'll find in a pedal. The only thing to be careful of I've found is a ground loop caused by the computer you're on being part of the signal chain. The other benefit is that you can MIDI control it for easy switching.
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