#1
Hi,

My amp doesn't have an fx loop. It's a Vox ac4tv.
Would pedals sound much better run in front of amp than the Nova System run in front of the amp? And if so, why?

I'm particularly thinking about modulation, delay, and reverb effects - which I gather sound better run thru the amp's fx loop - but this isn't an option for me (unless I spend much more money on an expensive amp with fx loop). People have mentioned that TC NS's mod,delay, and reverb fx sound much better thru amp's fx loop.

If pedals also suffer from a loss of fidelity in this case, why would pros like Johnny Greenwood run all his effects thru the front of his Vox AC30 and Fender solid state? I presume his Vox ac30 has an fx loop. Prince ran all his effects directly into front of Mesa Boogie amp too, I think.

The reason I ask is because I'm contemplating whether to buy a used NS or collect pedals.

Chez,
#2
it's up to you, really. it really depends on the specific pedals and the specific multi-fx (i haven't tried the nova system)

with a low gain amp like that it's debatable how much use an fx loop will be, since a lot of the amp's distortion will come after the loop anyway. assuming you crank the amp up. if you use pedals for dirt and run the amp pretty clean then i don't think you need a loop at all.
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#3
Standalone delay, reverb, etc. pedals will react very similarly to how the Nova System reacts. However, I think you should avoid some things with however you run your setup.

If you're running the AC4 heavily distorted, the delays and reverbs and whatnot could easily sound bad directly into the amp. They will overdrive the amp and will likely give you a muddy, congested sound. Although you might like it. If you're running the AC4 clean, then the effects will sound "proper". Another confounding variable is if you are running overdrive/distortion boxes before the delay and reverb effects. Some multi-effects like the Nova System may not react kindly to being hit with an overdrive/distortion signal. I have not tried it either but I have worked with multi-effects before. Given the price of the Nova System I would say it is okay. Also to be clear, I would not recommend using a multi-effect's built-in overdrive/distortion effects unless you are spending some real $. YMMV.

However, with all that said, I do not think it will matter too much with the AC4. It is purposely designed to be small and low-headroom, at least in comparison to an AC30. The AC30 can take much more in the input and stay clean. I would say get the Nova System as it could probably do a lot more than standalone pedals in the same pricing. And maybe shoot for an AC30 in the near future... you can find AC30C2's and AC30CC2's used for great prices.
Last edited by Will Lane at Aug 29, 2016,
#4
Thanks for answering my question. I've seen photos of pedalboards with overdrive and envelope pedals preceding the nova system, so it should be sweet. I gather nova system overdrive and distortion are a bit average.