The amp in question is the Vox Night Train (I don't have it yet, but it's my current option). It doesn't have an effects loop, can anyone tell me what I won't be able to do with this amp in terms of effects pedals?

I think pedals like OD, distortion, fuzz etc sit between guitar and amp, so will be fine. I'm thinking I can't use delay, reverb, tremelo, flanger pedals though, as they have to be in a loop to sound good?

Can anyone correct me or add a little detail?

Many thanks

You can run the other pedals from you guitar to your amp just like you would OD, distortion and fuzz.
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you can stil use those effects it wont harm them or anything
they are usually used in the effects loop casue they sound better not saying you shouldnt experiment i you vcan
Amps existed before without effects loops and people got by fine.
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I'm going to explain this in terms developed through my own experiences that have little to no actual technical backing. lol

For me, the reason I like delay/reverb in the loop is because they come out "cleaner". The signal gets less muddy while using distortion/anything other than totally clean.

To me it seems like if you are running a delay in front of the amp and using distortion, your amp plays the note, then it runs it back through the whole signal again before repeating it. like it's taking a note full of distortion and pushing it back through the front end of your amp and distorting it again. When in the effects loops, it seems like it plays your note, then repeats in that exact some tone.

So to make it nice and short, using the effects loop makes the delay/reverb trails less muddy and distorted.

If you are running the amp clean, the difference isn't really there.

Also, there are tons of bands that run all their effects in front of the amp and sound perfectly fine.
Originally posted by primusfan
When you crank up the gain to 10 and switch to the lead channel, it actually sounds like you are unjustifiably bombing an innocent foreign land.

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it depends how you use your amp. If you use you amp as monitor (=clean) and use only the pedals for distortion than there won't be much of a difference.

if you use you amp for distortion, then there will be quite a huge difference in behavior of those pedals. This can create some really interesting things, but you won't get the typical delay sound
I will answer as an owner of a Vox Night Train.
Since it's a sigle channel amp, it doesn't have an effects loop. You can still use your effects on the signal path between your guitar and the amp, connecting the last-in-line output to the amp's input, the amp set on "Clean". In fact, it's the best way to use the amp, because the "Thick" function is not footswitchable, so it's quite awkward to use it while gigging, in order to alter your tone.
As for altering the cleans, I'd say it depends on your pedals! Bad pedals always alter the sound of an amp, even in "effects loop" (though considerably less).
I must also confess that I started to forget about my pedals ever since I bought the Night Train. You can get a GREAT overdriven sound out of its clean channel, if you crank up the gain and the volume knobs. I do it, and subsequently get clean tones by dialing the volume pot of my guitar toward its lower range (somewhere between level 1 and 2), then use the volume switch to control the distortion. It's simple and effective. Truth is you need a guitar with good electronics, cheap Asian products don't have effective volume pots.
None of my pedals, however, has a bad relationship with amp's cleans. The Pickup Booster (by Seymour Duncan) is perfectly silent and overdrives the amp without actually mudding the signal. The only tone-affecting effect is the chorus, but that's what a chorus is supposed to do.
I run everything through the front of my amp (Vox AC30CCH).
I think I used the effects loop once.
I ran out of cable so no effects loop for me until I get more cable.
Effects like delay, reverb, and tremolo are more of final processing effects of your signal.
It especially will not work if you're running them into an amp with distortion up, as the effect will not achieve the effect it was meant to do. This doesn't mean you absolutely can't do that, but it just sounds like shit.

Imagine running a delay into a distorted amp.
Each echo is weaker than the last, and distortion works by boosting the volume to the point of clipping. Instead of having a sequence of echos that sound alike with each next one having smaller volume, It will sound like if you'd plug the same note, except each time quieter and quieter, resulting in each next echo to be less distorted sounding.

This is why you need a loop, so you can process things in a correct order, but as someone stated, you could get by without one if you can.
In my experience, if you use amp overdrive with delay in front of the amp it sounds terrible. If you use overdrive/distortion pedals with delay it sounds a lot better and more definable.
thanks everyone, that's a wealth of information. I think I have got the general idea of how it can work. I like to sometimes use a delay when using a clean sound, so I reckon I should be fine with this.

As for some of the fancier stuff, I might have to use a clean amp and an OD pedal of some sort.

CodeMonk - nice avatar!

Rv_Phoenix - I take it you like the NT quite a lot? Did you get the 112NT cab?
Gotta' say, I typically don't care for delays or reverbs before an amp's pre... they just sound... weird, but that's not to say our tastes are the same. Loops work like this:

*You have your preamp. Everything before it and after your guitar is frontloaded, meaning the algorythm of the effect will take place before your signal reaches your pre.
*You have your loop. Everything that goes here is inbetween your preamp and poweramp. Essentially, it's as if your pre and poweramps were two seperate pieces, and you were able to insert fx after your pre's tonestack.

This means that if you were to loop (for example) a delay, the tone you'd get from your amp without the delay on is virtually identical to the tone that will be repeated/decayed by your delay (not accounting for mod delays, some analogs, etc.).

On the other hand, if you were to frontload the same delay, the signal fed to your amp would be progressively weaker with each of the delay's repititions. So, if you're using an overdriven tone, and your amp needs a strong signal to clip, each of your delay's repititions are less likely to provide the neccessary signal for a consistent tone... but plenty of guitarists use this to their advantage, as well.

If it's that big of a deal-breaker for you, consider running a compressor after the delay (that is, if you're not using a gained out distortion/od before the delay, as that can cause... unexpected results).
+1 to grisky.

Tom morello uses his amp full blast with delay infront of it. I think welcome to the jungle was done with the delay in front of the loop as well. Nowadays his rig might be different, since he moved to JVM's and rack units.

You definitely have more options with a loop, but people have used delays before the amp for a long time. Just depends on what kind of sound you want.
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thanks everyone, that's a wealth of information. I think I have got the general idea of how it can work. I like to sometimes use a delay when using a clean sound, so I reckon I should be fine with this.

As for some of the fancier stuff, I might have to use a clean amp and an OD pedal of some sort.

CodeMonk - nice avatar!

Rv_Phoenix - I take it you like the NT quite a lot? Did you get the 112NT cab?

Yes, I did. And I'm glad I did.
I run a octave>od>boost>distortion+od>flanger>uni-vibe>analog delay>sonic stomp into an ampeg v50 (an amp with out a volume control) metal and I have no issues what so ever. It would be fine.
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A quick thanks to folks who gave me new amp advice over the last few months. In the end I purchased a Vox Night Train (15W) from Digital Village in Cambridge.

I've only had the amp a few days but so far I'm loving it. The sound has so much more texture and clarity compared to the Valvetronix I had (but then it was 3x the price).