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Preamps?

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Postby punkin » December 29th, 2006, 7:37 am

I get that some people opt to go the preamp then to dedicated power amp set up but, I was wondering if ever one might use a preamp in front of a tube head amp? I've got an open ended, all tube amp with only the input and driver then a final (3 tubes). It sounds sweet for jazz/blues and early rock-n-roll but it certainly doesn't have a lot of gain to speak of. I was wondering if one could use say a Gainiac 2 or a Voodoo valve preamp in front of a regular amp head to add a few stages of gain on the front...sorta like using an over drive pedal I suppose. The additional nice in this is that many preamps have an effects loop to boot.

Anyways, just wondering.


Thanks!
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Postby Ricochet » December 29th, 2006, 8:39 am

Yeah, that's what an overdrive pedal is.
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Postby punkin » December 29th, 2006, 8:51 am

Thanks for the reply...I guess I need to look at my pedal specs a little more but I thought that pedals generally give up an instrument level where as a preamp would give up a line level. I've been trying to get more info on the amp input tolerances but the response has been a little slow so far. I just don't want to toast the input on my Univalve amp head.
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Postby DemoEtc » December 29th, 2006, 9:12 am

From what I've read online, line level is higher - I hope that's right - so if you don't tweak it right you'll be getting real fuzzy distortion at the point where the preamp's output meets the amp's input. Your amp head is a THD Univalve? What sort of sound are you trying to get?

I know you want an effects loop too, but for a more high gain sound you might want to just get an OD pedal or maybe a Metal Zone, as those sorts of stomp boxes love all tube amps. The tubes sorta warm the sound up nicely.
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Postby punkin » December 29th, 2006, 9:28 am

Good points...I do have a TS-7 pedal which does push the amp nicely but it still lacks the mid-scoup and bass response that some of the modern high-gain amps give up. I know it won't ever get spot on but I was thinking that in the case of the preamp, the effects loop lets me also add time based effects with out getting all the weird stuff that happens whey you put them in the chain with the distortion path.

Here's what I was thinking.

Guitar -> Preamp -> Effects Loop ->T.C. G-Sharp -> Preamp -> Univalve Lowgain Channel

The Uni is real nice in that it lets me put just about any tube combo I want in it. I thought of using a real low gain combo of tubes on the Input and Driver stages then the 6L6 in the final. This way I'd build up all the gain sound in the preamp and effectively use the Uni as a power amp. But yea, you hit on my concern exactly. The input impedance and level needs of the Uni versus the output of the preamp.

Thanks again!
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Postby DemoEtc » December 29th, 2006, 9:59 am

When I try to put a signal chain together, I consider all the OD/Distortion/Fuzz effects as 'part of the amp' and put them last in line to the amp's input. Everything else, especially the time mod stuff (chorus, phase, flange wahwah - except for maybe volume pedal and delay unit) go before everything else - just as if it was just the amp and a wah. I mostly use the simplified Hendrix model, guitar > wah > fuzz > amp because with distortion before time mod, the sound gets rather nasty and nasally.

You still might try the MetalZone though; it has some pretty active mid level and frequency controls that allow a real scooped sound if you need it. I don't use mine much now, but for awhile there I considered it my 'Boogie in a Box' and it went last in the chain, right before the amp and after the rest of my pedalboard. With the MZ (or other high gain type distortion device) you effectively wind up with two different sounding amps, more or less.
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Postby punkin » December 29th, 2006, 10:56 am

Exactly the concept I was hoping for...the best of both worlds. Thanks much!
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