#1
Hi Guys

Maybe its a stupid question but The reason I am asking this is because people say the many pedals are called preamps because they go before the amp, which is obvious. However, many internet sites seem to make a distinction between Preamps, distortion pedals, effects pedals, etc. But wouldnt distortion pedals and effects pedals such as the wah wah, phasers, delays, etc, wouldnt they be also preamps, because they go before an amp?

Thank you!
#3
Quote by BobDetroit
No.


that.

A preamp is simply a device that amplifies your signal from instrument to line level, there are pedals that are preamps, but most are not.
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#4
well im curious about this too. can you put like a Tube screamer as a pre amp into a power amp?
#5
in theory... a tubescreamer could drive a power amp I guess

in reality... it's gonna sounds crap
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#6
yeah the tube screamer thing isnt a matter of "can it happen?" but a matter of "what will it sound like?"
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#7
Quote by Seanthesheep
well im curious about this too. can you put like a Tube screamer as a pre amp into a power amp?



I think thats the right thing to do, you make the tube screamer, work with the amp together. The other option is tube screamer, then, distortion pedal, then clean amp.


So just to sum up my question, a preamp just boosts the signal, is that it? So tipacally, overdrives are preamps, but not other sorts of pedals?
#8
pretty much all pedals boost the signal because they are buffered circuits, with transistor amps for opamps where the signal enters and before it leaves.

A preamp is specifically designed to amplify the signal, preamps are generally designed to add tone to the signal. Depending on the type of preamp and how hard you run a signal through it (and other things such as biasing) you will get soft clipping (overdrive), hard clipping (distortion), harmonic distortion, harmonics overtones etc. etc. none of which you would get with a pedal.

Something like a tubescreamer amplifies the signal yes, but it's designed to drive a higher signal through your preamp circuit to get better tones out of it (especially tube amps, hence the name)

you could use overdrives etc. straight into a power amp... but you might as well record yourself taking a dump because the end result will be just as sonically attractive
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#9
all pedals will have some sort of signal boost.

whether or not that signal boost is large enough to drive the power amp is a completely different tory.

you can usually expect about 20 times the input signal from a simple tube preamp at the very least.

a dedicated clean boost usually gives maybe 20db of boost at the most.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#10
Quote by GABarrie
pretty much all pedals boost the signal because they are buffered circuits, with transistor amps for opamps where the signal enters and before it leaves.

A preamp is specifically designed to amplify the signal, preamps are generally designed to add tone to the signal. Depending on the type of preamp and how hard you run a signal through it (and other things such as biasing) you will get soft clipping (overdrive), hard clipping (distortion), harmonic distortion, harmonics overtones etc. etc. none of which you would get with a pedal.

Something like a tubescreamer amplifies the signal yes, but it's designed to drive a higher signal through your preamp circuit to get better tones out of it (especially tube amps, hence the name)

you could use overdrives etc. straight into a power amp... but you might as well record yourself taking a dump because the end result will be just as sonically attractive


Thanks for the answer, thats exactly where i was going, you say here that it depends on the type of preamp, what sorts of preamps are there?? isnt the function of a preamp is the same at all times i.e. adding tone to the signal?? Thats why i got confused cause i thought that when someone mentioned the different varieties of preamps they were referring to different sorts of pedals!
#11
Quote by AcousticMirror
all pedals will have some sort of signal boost.

whether or not that signal boost is large enough to drive the power amp is a completely different tory.

you can usually expect about 20 times the input signal from a simple tube preamp at the very least.

a dedicated clean boost usually gives maybe 20db of boost at the most.


so you are saying then that you would use a preamp for making your signal much more stronger?

If that is the case, theres some people who dont use preamps, what is the aim when using one, then? getting a stronger signal as you model your tone? is that it?
#12
very very basic: two types, solid state and tube

solid state is somehting like this http://www.ehx.com/products/lpb-1 and is all silicon inside... transistors, chips etc.

tube is something like this http://www.ehx.com/products/lpb-2ube uses vacuum tubes for (generally accepted) better tone

you can get load of different pedal pre-amps, although I prefer the EHX tube ones :p and quite a few of the amp manufacturers do stand-alone pre-amps too
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#13
Quote by GABarrie
very very basic: two types, solid state and tube

solid state is somehting like this http://www.ehx.com/products/lpb-1 and is all silicon inside... transistors, chips etc.

tube is something like this http://www.ehx.com/products/lpb-2ube uses vacuum tubes for (generally accepted) better tone

you can get load of different pedal pre-amps, although I prefer the EHX tube ones :p and quite a few of the amp manufacturers do stand-alone pre-amps too


Alright, cool thats great to know! So just to sum up in other words, the idea of using a preamp would be to get a stronger signal as you model your tone? is that it?

And usually wouldnt you use them with a distortion pedal? I mean, first the preamp, then the distortion pedal and then a clean amp?
#14
a preamp is part of an amp.

pedals come before the preamp.

there's no pedal unless it's specially designed as a preamp pedal that can get as much gain as the preamp of an amplifier.

what do you mean by model your tone?
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#15
if you have a whole amp, it will include a preamp, general rule of thumb is you run all time based effects (chorus, delay, reverb, flange, phase etc.) between pre amp and power amp if possible (requires and FX loop on complete amps) and pretty much everything else in front of the amp.
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#17
you've got me thinking now...

now what is the Mesa V-Twin fall under? it can be used into a preamp (of the actual amp it is hooked up to) and what does that do?

or do people buy those just for plug into power amp and go? because i haven't seen that before with anybody who plays one into a poweramp locally or on here for that matter.

or is it just a glorified OD/dist pedal?
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#18
dude you are so doing it wrong. you put your pedals after your amp between your amp and speakers, tahts where the toanz is
#19
Quote by AcousticMirror
a preamp is part of an amp.

pedals come before the preamp.

there's no pedal unless it's specially designed as a preamp pedal that can get as much gain as the preamp of an amplifier.

what do you mean by model your tone?



Quote by GABarrie
if you have a whole amp, it will include a preamp, general rule of thumb is you run all time based effects (chorus, delay, reverb, flange, phase etc.) between pre amp and power amp if possible (requires and FX loop on complete amps) and pretty much everything else in front of the amp.



Yeah, i've been actually referring to pedals that are designed as preamps, and not to the the preamp in an amp itself.

By modeling the tone i was referring to addind tone to the signal.

Are you guys saying then that all amps have a preamp that is part of them? why are there pedals that are preamps if that is the case?
#20
Quote by damienro0
Yeah, i've been actually referring to pedals that are designed as preamps, and not to the the preamp in an amp itself.

By modeling the tone i was referring to addind tone to the signal.

Are you guys saying then that all amps have a preamp that is part of them? why are there pedals that are preamps if that is the case?


basically all amps have preamps and poweramps, a head or combo have both within.

but... for example the Engl E350, is just a preamp. it has all of the functions of a 'typical' amps other than the fact that it has no power amp.

the preamp (if we are talking the engl) would then be hooked into a poweramp, which there are tons of out there. Crown, Carvin, Mesa, etc.
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#21
Quote by lbj273
dude you are so doing it wrong. you put your pedals after your amp between your amp and speakers, tahts where the toanz is


i am not going to start a pissing match, but i think that was unnecessary.

simply due to one thing.

who is to say that he knows so little about the amp world and he doesn't realize you are joking, plug his pedals inbetween the power amp and speakers, and fry a bunch of shit.
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#22
Well anything that provides a boost is technically a preamp. The first things that come to mind are a BBE clean boost and an MXR 10 band EQ.
All amps apart from power amps have a preamp. You need one to raise the signal from guitar levels to something that the power amp can deal with. You can add another preamp in front if you want to overdrive the preamp in the amp - that's why we use boosts.
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#23
Quote by trashedlostfdup
basically all amps have preamps and poweramps, a head or combo have both within.

but... for example the Engl E350, is just a preamp. it has all of the functions of a 'typical' amps other than the fact that it has no power amp.

the preamp (if we are talking the engl) would then be hooked into a poweramp, which there are tons of out there. Crown, Carvin, Mesa, etc.


Ok, so when it comes to an amp itself,( no pedals involved for now) the preamp is where you would plug your guitar into, and then where you would add tone to the signal, with trebles, mids, and bass. I think i get this...

but when it comes to pedals that like preamps, basically the idea is adding even more tone to the signal? is that it?
#24
You're starting to get it. Adding another preamp can be for two reasons;
1. to add extra "colour", ie tone controls like a graphic EQ, etc.
2. to increase the voltage of the signal to overdrive the amp's preamp, thus getting more distortion.
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#25
Quote by Cathbard
Well anything that provides a boost is technically a preamp. The first things that come to mind are a BBE clean boost and an MXR 10 band EQ.
All amps apart from power amps have a preamp. You need one to raise the signal from guitar levels to something that the power amp can deal with. You can add another preamp in front if you want to overdrive the preamp in the amp - that's why we use boosts.


but, i think i distortion pedal provides a boost, and someone said, a distortion pedal wouldnt be considered a preamp pedal.

By power amp, do you mean a cabinet?
Because if that is the case, wouldnt the preamp of the head of the cabit boost the signal to the level that the power amp deals with it? Or are you saying that if you had a preamp pedal? you could just plug your guitar into a power amp directly? ( provided that by power amp you actually mean a cabinet)
#26
If I had meant cab I would have said cab :p an amplifier is actually in 2 parts, a pre amp, and a power amp, in solid states the pre amps tend to be
dual op amps like the 4558 chip, and the power amp is something more powerful, like an LM3886 chip. In tube amps you tend to have dual triodes in the pre amp, like a 12AX7, and the power amp uses power tubes like EL84s which drive an output transformer.

The output transformer and the power amp chip both provide a balanced powerful signal at a level your speakers can handle. If you plug a ts9 into a cab, at best you'll get some very faint noise, at worse it could damage your speakers due to impedance mismatches
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#27
Guitar > Guitar Amp (Includes Pre Amp AND PowerAmp) > Speakers.

You CAN buy separate Pre Amp and Power Amp units, but the majority of people buy an amp that has BOTH included. Then that signal goes to the speakers either via a separate speaker cabinet or is included with the amp IF it's a COMBO.

READ THIS:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitar_amplifier
Last edited by CodeMonk at Jul 15, 2011,
#28
Quote by GABarrie
If I had meant cab I would have said cab :p an amplifier is actually in 2 parts, a pre amp, and a power amp, in solid states the pre amps tend to be
dual op amps like the 4558 chip, and the power amp is something more powerful, like an LM3886 chip. In tube amps you tend to have dual triodes in the pre amp, like a 12AX7, and the power amp uses power tubes like EL84s which drive an output transformer.

The output transformer and the power amp chip both provide a balanced powerful signal at a level your speakers can handle. If you plug a ts9 into a cab, at best you'll get some very faint noise, at worse it could damage your speakers due to impedance mismatches


Ok so a cab is definetly not a power amp,
Are you saying then that in an amp, the preamp and the power amp are built in together? are the power amp can actually be separate from the preamp, you could actually plug a ts9 into a power amp?
#29
you can certainly use a distortion pedal as a preamp pedal.

you're just getting confused over names right now.

a distortion pedal will boost your signal.

however, when something is called a "preamp" it usually means that that part is capable of producing much more boost.

Just of the top of my head...a pedal standard pedal produces about 10-25db of signal boost.

a typical tube preamp...like the one in the mesa dual rec has about 100-200db of signal boost.


Quote by damienro0
Ok so a cab is definetly not a power amp,
Are you saying then that in an amp, the preamp and the power amp are built in together? are the power amp can actually be separate from the preamp, you could actually plug a ts9 into a power amp?


yes you can plug a pedal into an fx loop. that's about as close as you can get to plugging directly into the power amp of a tube head.

however, in most amplifiers the fx loop has another gain stage that boosts the pedal signal significantly or else it would be really quite.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
Last edited by AcousticMirror at Jul 15, 2011,
#30
Quote by CodeMonk
Guitar > Guitar Amp (Includes Pre Amp AND PowerAmp) > Speakers.

You CAN buy separate Pre Amp and Power Amp units, but the majority of people buy an amp that has BOTH included. Then that signal goes to the speakers either via a separate speaker cabinet or is included with the amp IF it's a COMBO.

READ THIS:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitar_amplifier


So wot you are saying is that in a combo type of amp you would have this three parts together, the preamp, the power amp and the speakers!?

In that case when you use a pedal that functions as a preamp before a distortion pedal for example, and you are using a combo as an amp. The idea would be adding even more tone, and making the signal stronger to also have an effect over the amp, and thats the bottom line of a preamp pedal, is that correct?
#31
Quote by damienro0
Ok so a cab is definetly not a power amp,
Are you saying then that in an amp, the preamp and the power amp are built in together? are the power amp can actually be separate from the preamp, you could actually plug a ts9 into a power amp?


https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=278232

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guitar_amplifier
#32
Quote by damienro0
So wot you are saying is that in a combo type of amp you would have this three parts together, the preamp, the power amp and the speakers!?

In that case when you use a pedal that functions as a preamp before a distortion pedal for example, and you are using a combo as an amp. The idea would be adding even more tone, and making the signal stronger to also have an effect over the amp, and thats the bottom line of a preamp pedal, is that correct?


well the distortion pedal would come before the preamp pedal.

pedals are designed to take guitar signal levels and pedal output signal levels.

a real "preamp" pedal would put out a much bigger signal then either.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#33
Quote by AcousticMirror
you can certainly use a distortion pedal as a preamp pedal.

you're just getting confused over names right now.

a distortion pedal will boost your signal.

however, when something is called a "preamp" it usually means that that part is capable of producing much more boost.

Just of the top of my head...a pedal standard pedal produces about 10-25db of signal boost.

a typical tube preamp...like the one in the mesa dual rec has about 100-200db of signal boost.


yes you can plug a pedal into an fx loop. that's about as close as you can get to plugging directly into the power amp of a tube head.

however, in most amplifiers the fx loop has another gain stage that boosts the pedal signal significantly or else it would be really quite.



Ok i think I am getting this, but then all this makes me think of another question? If you decide to use a preamp pedal I understand that you want to get a different tone and stuff? but wot is the reason for wanting to boost the signal? getting more volume? getting more distortion from the amp?

Wot I am getting from this is that if you decide to include in your pedals chain a preamp pedal, you would do it only you are using a clean amp, but if you are using a tube amp, you wouldnt use a distortion pedal, but you might use a preamp pedal, to add some tone, to the tube amp. Please if i am making wrong conclusions let me know.
#36
Quote by AcousticMirror
why wouldn't you use a distortion pedal?

you can use 10 distortion pedals.



I thought because they are high gain amps, that would create just too much overdrive and feedback??

thats why i was asking that If you decide to use a preamp pedal I understand that you want to get a different tone and stuff? but wot is the reason for wanting to boost the signal? getting more volume? getting more distortion from the amp?
#38
more distortion from the amp/changing the tone/maybe you wanna switch over to the clean channel and have a light distortion pedal.

i dunno.

it generally doesn't sound great to put too much boost in front of a high gain amp.

usually just a tube screamer or a small boost.

don't see too many people putting a lot of distortion pedals in front of their diezels.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#39
Quote by damienro0
but, i think i distortion pedal provides a boost, and someone said, a distortion pedal wouldnt be considered a preamp pedal.

By power amp, do you mean a cabinet?
Because if that is the case, wouldnt the preamp of the head of the cabit boost the signal to the level that the power amp deals with it? Or are you saying that if you had a preamp pedal? you could just plug your guitar into a power amp directly? ( provided that by power amp you actually mean a cabinet)

The word preamp means pre~before the amplifier - before the power amp that is. So anything that amplifies the signal before the power amp is technically a preamp. That statement stands on its own merit. It's all a question of definition. Normally if it's capable of driving a the power amp on its own we'd call it a preamp. If not, we just call it a boost.
If the pedal provides a high enough output to drive a power amp (and quite a few do) then yes, you could use it instead of the preamp in the amp - as long as there is a power amp insert point (like an FX return). Except for things like Pods though you wouldn't want to do it though because it would sound like shite.
The power amp is the part of the circuit that drives the speakers. That includes the output valves (or transistors), it's buffer and the output transformer when there is one.

An amplifier (excluding standalone power amps) consists of three major components;
the power supply, the preamp and the power amp. That is discounting the speakers of course.
The Volume knob changes the volume by limiting the signal being fed into the power amp
The Gain knob controls how much the signal is amplified by the preamp.
The power supply is self-explanatory.
On guitar amps we try to purposely get distortion by overdriving the valves. That can be achieved by setting the preamp gain really high so the signal voltage tries to swing higher than is physically possible because the limits of the circuit/voltage of the valve.
Or we could be supplying a higher signal voltage for the next valve to handle at it's input. Either way, the top is chopped off the signal thus distorting it. I'm simplifying all this. Preamp distortion is independent of what is going on in the power amp (more or less). We could also achieve this effect by simply pushing a bigger signal into the front of the preamp from the get go. That's where a boost comes in.

Clear, now?
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Last edited by Cathbard at Jul 15, 2011,
#40
Quote by Cathbard
The word preamp means pre~before the amplifier - before the power amp that is. So anything that amplifies the signal before the power amp is technically a preamp. That statement stands on its own merit. It's all a question of definition. Normally if it's capable of driving a the power amp on its own we'd call it a preamp. If not, we just call it a boost.
If the pedal provides a high enough output to drive a power amp (and quite a few do) then yes, you could use it instead of the preamp in the amp - as long as there is a power amp insert point (like an FX return). Except for things like Pods though you wouldn't want to do it though because it would sound like shite.
The power amp is the part of the circuit that drives the speakers. That includes the output valves (or transistors), it's buffer and the output transformer when there is one.

An amplifier (excluding standalone power amps) consists of three major components;
the power supply, the preamp and the power amp. That is discounting the speakers of course.
The Volume knob changes the volume by limiting the signal being fed into the power amp
The Gain knob controls how much the signal is amplified by the preamp.
The power supply is self-explanatory.
On guitar amps we try to purposely get distortion by overdriving the valves. That can be achieved by setting the preamp gain really high so the signal voltage tries to swing higher than is physically possible because the limits of the circuit/voltage of the valve.
Or we could be supplying a higher signal voltage for the next valve to handle at it's input. Either way, the top is chopped off the signal thus distorting it. I'm simplifying all this. Preamp distortion is independent of what is going on in the power amp (more or less). We could also achieve this effect by simply pushing a bigger signal into the front of the preamp from the get go. That's where a boost comes in.

Clear, now?


thanks very much that helped a lot! its just all this technical stuff is so confusing sometimes!!