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#1
This is a fairly noob-esque question, but I have heard alot about bands putting overdrive pedals before their amps gain channel to achieve a heavier sound, but in every case I've heard of it being done it was with a tube amp of some kind. I have a solid-state Randall and the distortion tone I get is pretty good, but I'm just trying to experiment with anything I can to make it better. I was just wondering if running an overdrive pedal through the drive channel of a solid state would beef up the distortion or just make it sound crappy, as their are no tubes to push to a more distorted level.
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#3
Its all bull****. An overdrive works fine in a SS amp.
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#4
Quote by joining_heads
Its all bull****. An overdrive works fine in a SS amp.


Yeah it might work fine on the clean channel but its gonna get screwed up if you have some overdrive modelling on at the same time.
#5
Any overdrive/distortion pedal on the drive channel of a solid state amp just results in a crapload of unwanted noise and uncontrollable feedback...it's really not pretty.
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#6
^ agreed. i put a behringer x v-amp through my peavey blazer (hybrid amp i think) distortion channel and it hurt my ears like heck
#7
I use the Tube screamer with my Roland and I can tell you that it doesnt work too well with the modeling distortion mainly because the modeling distortion isn't very good to start with.

You should use it on the clean channel and even then it will only be as good as your amp, but you can say that about any OD/Dist pedal.

My personal experience is go for the tube screamer, I have the TS9 and I never turn it off it really makes the amp sounds SO much better.
#8
Yeah, if you put an OD in front of a SS amp, it's just going to clip sooner and sound TERRIBLE. Granted, the OD will be performing the same function of overdriving the amp, but a solid-state clips nastily.. whereas, a tube will overdrive smoothly. You're better off going for distortion on a SS, and getting a bit of power behind it, so you can boost the gain up without it clipping. This is where headroom comes in.
#9
I put an overdrive in front of my Peavey Bandit and it works great. I never turn it off. I suggest you try it, if it doesn't suit you, then don't do it again.
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#10
Back in my SS days, i used a BD-2 over the clean channel all the time, but when i put it over the amp's OD, it got pretty noisy.
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#11
Quote by IncubusMan999
I put an overdrive in front of my Peavey Bandit and it works great. I never turn it off. I suggest you try it, if it doesn't suit you, then don't do it again.

I've done the same and it sounds pissing awful...here's the science behind it

pedals+SS distortion channel=bad

pedals+SS clean channel=great success!
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#12
I have a Roland JC-77 that I've experimented with a little bit.

When I put my TS-808 is front of it, all I can say is that it's disappointing. Not bad, not noisy, just rather empty and bland.

When I run my Fuzz Factory in front of it, however, it's sounds awesome! Maybe better than in front of some of my tube amps (as stated by a tube snob). So I guess I'd definitely suggest a fuzz/distortion pedal over an OD.
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#13
I find it ironic that this debate goes on when an overdrive pedal in itself is a little Solid State Preamp attempting to Emulate the distorting power section of a tube amp. Makes me wonder.
#14
Quote by Ngawtfizjuice
I find it ironic that this debate goes on when an overdrive pedal in itself is a little Solid State Preamp attempting to Emulate the distorting power section of a tube amp. Makes me wonder.


An overdrive pedal is a SS preamp used to increase the input level, and push the poweramp section of a valve amp into overdrive.
#15
Quote by -MintSauce-
An overdrive pedal is a SS preamp used to increase the input level, and push the poweramp section of a valve amp into overdrive.

I hope you know that it "pushes" the Pre-amp of an amp and that it actually doesn't physically do anything to the Pre-amp at all and it's just a stupid term that people throw out; Much less the poweramp.
#16
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Actally, you're both right!

And OD pedal in it's truest sense is really a simulator of an overdriven tube amp. But in reality, it's generally used to increase the signal and actually overdrive the amp, too. Like a clean boost with a little bit of flavor.

And while it is a simulation, it just simply sounds A LOT better with a real tube amp than with a SS amp. Sure, you can warm up your SS amp a little bit with one, but you're not going to get a true reproduction of a tube amp with any pedal.
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#17
Quote by slatsmania
It's a floorwax! It's a dessert topping!

Actally, you're both right!

And OD pedal in it's truest sense is really a simulator of an overdriven tube amp. But in reality, it's generally used to increase the signal and actually overdrive the amp, too. Like a clean boost with a little bit of flavor.

And while it is a simulation, it just simply sounds A LOT better with a real tube amp than with a SS amp. Sure, you can warm up your SS amp a little bit with one, but you're not going to get a true reproduction of a tube amp with any pedal.

Nothing will overdrive the poweramp except VOLUME.
#18
increased signal = increased volume

Whether it's active pickups, a clean boost, an OD, or any other pedal with a volume/level control.
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#19
Not to be argumentative but you're mistaken. It's just not possible to saturate the power section of an amp that way. If a stomp box was the answer, we wouldn't have so many attenuators on the market.
#20
If you have the master low, no, the power amp will not be pushed into OD.

If, however, the master is on the brink of overdrive, or already overdriving, a boosted signal will in fact overdrive the power amp further. Just as increasing the gain knob would.
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#22
No, my amp has gain knobs for both pre and power amps. Driving the preamp harder increases the signal going into the power amp pushing it into clipping sooner.
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#23
Quote by tubab0y
No, my amp has gain knobs for both pre and power amps. Driving the preamp harder increases the signal going into the power amp pushing it into clipping sooner.

Impossible. You do know that preamps are only like 1watt right? And even less in smaller amps.
#24
Quote by Ngawtfizjuice
The gain knob works from PRE-AMP tubes.


Try to get your power amp to overdrive with the gain turned down and get back to me, okay?
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#25
Still, assuming they're a watt, and you turn it up from 5 to 10, it means that there's twice the signal running into the power amp.
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#26
Quote by slatsmania
Try to get your power amp to overdrive with the gain turned down and get back to me, okay?

Well, I don't try to overdrive my power amp to overdrive with the gain turned down. I turn the VOLUME up. Overloading the pre-amp section and power-amp section are two totally different things. Not to be rude, but I think you need to read up on how they interact.
#27
Quote by tubab0y
Still, assuming they're a watt, and you turn it up from 5 to 10, it means that there's twice the signal running into the power amp.

Sorry for double posting but I was too lazy to drag this back into an edit.
The power amp doesn't drive the pre-amp, it's just meant to bring the signal up to a level where it's acceptable enough to be powered by the Power Amp. Not to mention by your logic, I could use something like a Boss Ds-1 to overdrive my poweramp. See the flaw?
#28
You can actually turn your amp up?

You can gig with like 1 watt solid state provided the PA is powerful enough. I myself use a 100 watter and a 300 watter(Yeah, 300, tube.)
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#29
Quote by tubab0y
You can actually turn your amp up?

It's not as loud as one would imagine. I've actually got it most of the way up outdoors. And anyway, it's meant to stay clean all of the way up and the tones come from a modeler. Also, I fail to see its relevance in this discussion.
#30
One of us does.

If you've got an amp with a volume and a master volume, and you turn the master up, and keep the volume (a.k.a.: gain) low, your amp will not overdrive.

Increasing the preamp signal with the volume/gain knob pushes the power amp into overdrive.

If the volume/gain knob is at a point where it's almost overdriving the poweramp, using a pedal like an OD with it's volume/gain knob up will push the amp's power section into overdrive.

Or, if you have an amp with just a single volume knob, and you get the amp to the point where it's on the cusp of overdriving, any pedal with a gain/level/volume control can push that amp into overdrive.

Not to be argumentative.
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#31
It will push the amp into overdrive, not by virtue of causing the power tubes to saturate, just by "adding" more saturation to the preamp. There is a difference, once again.
#32
No, it will push the power amp into saturation- if it's already close to clipping and the input signal is increased, it will start clipping.
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#33
Quote by tubab0y
No, it will push the power amp into saturation- if it's already close to clipping and the input signal is increased, it will start clipping.

So when I'm using my Pod into the power amp and the amp is just starting to break up, using that virtual tubescreamer to get some distortion is distorting my power amp?
#34
If it increases the output, then yes.
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#35
Quote by Ngawtfizjuice
It will push the amp into overdrive, not by virtue of causing the power tubes to saturate, just by "adding" more saturation to the preamp. There is a difference, once again.


No. The preamp pushes the poweramp into saturation. It works the same whether you're boosting the signal with the volume knob on the preamp, or boosting the signal with a pedal.
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#36
Quote by Ngawtfizjuice
Sorry for double posting but I was too lazy to drag this back into an edit.
The power amp doesn't drive the pre-amp, it's just meant to bring the signal up to a level where it's acceptable enough to be powered by the Power Amp. Not to mention by your logic, I could use something like a Boss Ds-1 to overdrive my poweramp. See the flaw?


Actually, yes you can. I've tried it, albeit with sloppy and muddy results, but mostly because the DS-1 is not a very loud pedal.

The phase inverter is hit the hardest out o the preamp tubes, and the signal from that tube is what overdrives the powersection.

Yes, preamp sections are low wattage, but so are the INPUT stages of the power amp. After a certain amount of volume is surpassed, that power amp will begin to saturate and clip, much like when you have high output pickups that saturate the preamp, a preamp whose output is saturated will overdrive the poweramp.
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#37
Wow, I wish people would read more before they discuss things.
http://studentweb.eku.edu/justin_holton/tooloud.html
http://www.amptone.com/g179.htm
Understanding what each "amp" does is key in understanding the different types of distortion and how they interact. Once again, there IS a difference.
A preamplifier (preamp) is an electronic amplifier which precedes another amplifier to prepare an electronic signal for further amplification or processing.

Description

In general, the function of a preamp is to amplify a low level signal (possibly at high impedance) to line-level. A list of common sources would include a pickup, microphone, turntable or other transducer. Equalization and tone control may also be applied.

In a home audio system, the term 'preamplifier' may sometimes be used to describe equipment which merely switches between different line level sources and applies a volume control, so that no actual amplification may be involved. In an audio system the second amplifier is typically a power amplifier (power amp). The preamplifier provides voltage gain (about: 10millivolts to 1volt) but no significant current gain. The power amplifier provides the higher current necessary to drive loudspeakers.
#38
Not that you want to be argumentative.

You cannot overdrive a guitar amp without an input signal. You can crank it all the way, but nothing will come out. If you put a low level signal into a power amp that's wide open, the sound that comes out will be lower in volume and clean.

The power amp starts to overdrive when the input signal is increased to the point where it pushes the power amp to clip.

On an amp with a single volume knob, the pre and power amp are being increased simultaneously. On an amp with a master and a gain, you can turn the master up full but it won't start to overdrive until the preamp signal has been increased to the point where the power section is being overdriven.

The power section can also be overdriven in this way with the use of a pedal that increases the signal.

The little bit of text you quoted doesn't address anything related to what we're talking about here. I encourage you to keep reading, though.
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#39
I really wouldn't argue with somebody who'd probably been buying amplifiers longer than I'd been alive.
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#40
I'm pretty sure Slats is right on this. From my understanding of amps, you're dealing with a given power levels (voltage?) being generated from the string/pickup interaction. You can have a certain input voltage, and that voltage is increased through various gain stages in the preamp. These increases in voltage can step up to a point that pushes the power stage into clipping through preamp gain, but when the voltage at the input is already fairly high, each gain stage is still going to increase this voltage until one of the preamp gain stages clips and at that point, you've hit the ceiling on how much voltage the preamp can produce. But at any preamp stage, the voltage is not decreased to a certain level before being re-amplified (this is not true as most amps bleed a certain amount of voltage before the next gain stage). I believe the gain stages multiply the same way until the signal hits the power amp, but if you use a pedal that increases output (voltage) at all before the preamp, the preamp will still step up that voltage equally before hitting the power amp. So in situations where you would not overdrive the power amp, you could possibly drive the power amp into clipping with something that increases your level before the preamp (if you don't just drive the first preamp section into clipping first).

But I think I get what the other guy is trying to say. If the pot that controls how much signal the power amp actually sees is not turned up high enough, you will keep your pre-boosted signal from clipping the power tubes.

If I'm wrong in any of this, please correct me because I'm still learning about amplification.

Also, not to highjack, in my reading I see a clear difference between power tube clipping and saturation. Anyone care to expand on this if there is a difference? I understand both of those concepts to be very different.
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