Hi !

I was wondering if it would hurt my tube amp in any way if I the looper is in my effects loop, but instead of plugging it in the FX loop return, I plug it in my soundcard.

This would allow me to record silently without a cabinet, but I just want to be certain.

To show how unsure I'm about this issue, I made an awesome picture in paint.

Dude, need a better soundcard!!

At MINIMUM get the Alesis iO2, which is a USB external sound card. Sound quality is very high, but there is latency.

Latency you can deal with in your software. You WILL NOT get good sound plugging anything into any standard computer soundcard. Ever!

Eventually you will want an actual audio interface, and they start in the $300-$500 range on up to $1200 or so for 8 ins/outs (MOTU, I believe, is in this range - the Cadillac of interfaces...)

But as a poor kid with no million-dollar bank account? Get yourself a USB external. They start at ~$80 to $100. Totally affordable - MOW SOME LAWNS!!
You can't run your head without a cab, it could blow the transformer
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If the master volume on the head is wired after the effects loop, you can record with the master all the way down so that no sound comes from the cab. Or, if it's a series loop, you can just not plug anything into the return so the power amp isn't receiving any signal.

You absolutely have to have a cab plugged in any time the head is turned on, though. Basically you can mess around with the loop all you want, and probably get the result you're looking for, but don't ever unplug the cab.
You can do it. However I believe the power amp will still get a signal and you will still hear it out the speaker. You would need to plug a jack into the FX return to kill the signal. A jack with no cable might be better as a cable might inject noise. Try it and see.

Also you need to realize that you will have no cab emulation and the sound may be harsh.
you can just not plug anything into the return so the power amp isn't receiving any signal.
Quote by tomser
you can just not plug anything into the return so the power amp isn't receiving any signal.
On some amps plugging into the fx send does not break the circuit to the return. You must plug something into the return in order to not hear anything.
It's possible, but it will sound like crap. The FX loop is usually placed in after the preamp stage of the amp. The power amp and cab have a massive effect on how the signal sounds (mostly due to the frequency response of the speakers themselves). You will need to use a cab simulator plug-in or something on your computer for it to sound realistic.

And yes, I'm talking from experience. Recording directly out of the lineout or FX loop on my Engl E530 rack preamp sounds like crap.