#1
Could somebody explain this to a gear newb?

It seems strange to me that a $100 pedal is going to make a $1000, $2000, etc. high-gain amp sound better. I'm sure I'm wrong. Seems like most people that play metal use one.
#2
It's mainly an eq issue.
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#3
Hitting the V1 tube in an amp with a hotter signal seems to usually bring out some great tone that just increasing the amp gain can't.
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#4
The tubecreamer/sd1 type tighten the low end, by rolling off the bass frequencies, and allow you to turn the gain on your amp down a hair and boost the front end for a tight sounding high gain tone.

They also have a mid hump in the eq, which for guitar, alows you to sit better in a band mix, even with scooped mids. As long as they aren't scooped to the extreme.
#5
From what I understand, the saturation characteristics between diode clipping and tube clipping contribute together to make a "better" sound. Dunno how it all works exactly or how true that statement is.
#6
Quote by Will Lane
From what I understand, the saturation characteristics between diode clipping and tube clipping contribute together to make a "better" sound. Dunno how it all works exactly or how true that statement is.
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#7
try it and you'll understand. i thought like you as well until i tried it.

Quote by Will Lane
From what I understand, the saturation characteristics between diode clipping and tube clipping contribute together to make a "better" sound. Dunno how it all works exactly or how true that statement is.


eh, maybe a little, but you're normally using very little diode clipping and just boosting the crap out of the amp. it's mainly the tone, the boost to the input, and a bit more compression from the pedal.
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#8
Most of the time, a typical OD pedal will not really change the "color" of your tone that much. Rather, it pulls back some of the bass from your guitar/pickups which can sound muddy and loose when it then goes into the amp and gets distorted. In my experience (mostly with a 6505, but other amps have the same effect), I can then turn the bass up higher on the amp's EQ without it getting muddy or loose. I can still play fast, intricate riffs that have a massive low-end punch, but it all stays tight and faithful to what I'm playing. There's also the added benefit of getting pinch harmonics to scream easier and sustain longer.
#9
^ nailed it.

All the tight metal sounds you hear on a lot of death metal, metalcore, prog metal etc. from the last 10 years is a Tubescreamer boosting the front end of a high gain amp.

You don't have to do it, I prefer a lot of amps without one, but if you want that tight percussive sound, it's the way to go
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#10
Another added benefit of using an OD in front of an already overdriven high gain amp is that it negates the effect of putting lower gain preamp tubes (like 5751's, which reduce the gain of the lead channel depending on where you put them) without compromising the improvement in headroom running lower gain preamp tubes provides to the clean channel of the amp.
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#11
^ good point, and even on the distortion/lead channels too (if you don't mind some tap-dancing) it can be useful, because you can dial in less gain on them which will hopefully clean up a bit better on the guitar volume control- or even without the guitar's volume control it's a bit lower gain so you have more tones available on the fly.

Quote by KailM
There's also the added benefit of getting pinch harmonics to scream easier and sustain longer.


that's what's really important
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Sep 26, 2016,
#12
Nothing strange about an OD pedal through a high gain amp at all. It's been a pretty standard practice for getting awesome metal tones for decades (Whether as a boost to tighten the low end on a modern amp, or to get more gain out of a medium gain amp, like an old Marshall).

IMO, only a few select amps don't really benefit from a boost in front. My Fireball is already ferociously tight and aggressive without one (If anything, it actually sounds a bit looser w/an OD in front). But to me, they're pretty much mandatory with amps that have a "saggy" low end, like a Mesa Dual Recto (if you're going for a tight, responsive tone).
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#13
Like most people stated above a low gain overdrive in front of an amp is used to slightly Eq and boost the signal of the guitar, some people even use an EQ pedal instead of an OD. And in those cases people crank the level/volume of the pedal and keep its gain as low as possible, so it doesn't really add gain but actually allows to lower the gain on the amp itself and get more clarity and tightness.
Although some people do use an overdrive to add gain but that's mostly on lower gain settings, and it acts more like another channel on the amp.
At the end of the day it all comes down to preference, what you like and type of sound are you looking for.
#14
I really like them in front of bassy amps like my Orange more than amps like XXXs or 5150s. My sd-1 will tighten the flub, but the massive amounts of low end are still there but controlled, punchy and tight. Normally fairly tight amps become too tight for my taste. But chunky bass and thick mids are where it's at for me.
#15
On some pickups you don't even need an overdrive to do that, I have an Ibanez with a X2N in it that does that sound without an overdrive because that pickup is tuned to be very hot and bright so it naturally pummels your front end. Don't ask me how it sounds on the clean channel