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Unread 05-17-2016, 04:00 AM   #1
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Amp gain vs pedal gain

I know the trend this past decade has been towards using pedals to get all your gain, but I just can't do it.. I like power tube crunch too much and I just don't enjoy gain from pedals (except fuzz). So what I do is use a marshall class 5, set it to 7 and use my guitar volume to get my cleans. At 5 it's clean, 8 it's crunch, and 10 it's guitar solo.. but you need a treble bleed cap in your guitar to make this work, otherwise it's too dark and quiet on anything but 10.

I use a triple flashback delay and it lets me split it to two class5's for stereo. I can get long, stacked delays with clean guitar just like you can when using pedals for gain or using an FX loop on an amp. I've done those two things for years and when I realized I could be doing this instead, it was a no brainer.

Then the only issue is that you need to use an attenuator so you can still control the stage volume. The class5 has a very inexpensive option (about $5) that lets you dial the volume down to nothing and still preserve tone.. Check out the orpheus attenuator if you want to try it, but anyway because I attenuate then I can still achieve that.. and IMHO it just sounds better than pedal gain. I've built a lot of dirt pedals and tweaked a lot more so I know what's possible with them, and unfortunately it's just not for me. So if it's not for you either then there is another option! You can grab a class5 for $350, install the orpheus attenuator for a few bucks and a burnt finger or two, and then mic the amp. It's ridiculous how good a mic'd and attenuated amp still sounds even when it's as quiet as your pick on the strings.. the difference you hear without it being mic'd is just your ears. Watch this vid:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NbDVCa5YQE

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Unread 05-17-2016, 10:19 AM   #2
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I tend to err on the side of power tube distortion when I can. It's so much richer than anything else I can get. However, I like to run my amp with very little preamp gain and push the power section hard. When I need more preamp gain, I either Echoplex it or add a drive pedal from my M13. I'm almost never completely clean, as I find I get a more complex midrange when there's just a hint of breakup.
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Unread 05-17-2016, 11:28 AM   #3
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Yep, that's the goods. Same with the class 5.. they rigged it so the power amp breaks up way before the preamp.
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Unread 05-17-2016, 12:39 PM   #4
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I really don't get why people who play with dirty tones in smaller venues don't get smaller amps. Maybe it's just a personal thing, but I've got my HT-5R, and the other guitarists at my church play a Valve Jr., a Tweaker, and a Classic 30. Quite consistently, those of us with the smaller amps sound better. That might be something else entirely, but I can kind of crank my amp and so can the guy with the Valve Jr.
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Unread 05-17-2016, 03:03 PM   #5
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I favour amp gain as well, but I enjoy preamp gain as well as power amp gain from time to time. I run a 50W channel switcher and a 5W tweed princeton clone at the same time. The 5W amp is always a bit dirty, the 50W amp adds clarity and bass that the smaller amp simply can't provide, but can also go into higher gain territory when I want.

I have a single drive pedal on my board, but I only really use it for direct recording. At church, I pretty much exclusively use amp gain.
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Unread 05-17-2016, 08:10 PM   #6
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If you ever get a chance, try a hermida audio nu-valve. Very interesting pedal that I could swear wasn't a pedal.

I tend to prefer high gain preamp distortion, and most pedals fail miserably at that.
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Unread 05-18-2016, 05:29 AM   #7
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^Yeah I agree. I haven't found a pedal that does amp gain well, so I tend to forego dirt pedals other than boosts entirely.


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Originally Posted by to_be_released View Post
I favour amp gain as well, but I enjoy preamp gain as well as power amp gain from time to time. I run a 50W channel switcher and a 5W tweed princeton clone at the same time. The 5W amp is always a bit dirty, the 50W amp adds clarity and bass that the smaller amp simply can't provide, but can also go into higher gain territory when I want.

I have a single drive pedal on my board, but I only really use it for direct recording. At church, I pretty much exclusively use amp gain.
I love preamp gain too, I have a dual rectifier that and a jcm900 that cover that territory well when I'm recording or just hammering out some metal. I just find that in church, power tube crunch works better. It just doesn't come off as harsh and thick so IMHO it suits the setting a little better, but for years I used preamp gain out of my 900 and was quite happy with it.
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Unread 06-07-2016, 04:19 PM   #8
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I like amp gain no matter where it comes from (preamp or power amp).
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Unread 06-08-2016, 06:35 PM   #9
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Hey, I did a vid how I run my class 5.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta-F...ature=youtu.be
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Unread 12-04-2016, 08:34 AM   #10
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it depends. most ss amp use op amp for their distortion. I am not a big fan of op amp distriotion. for pedals you can get jfet/mosfet preamp pedals that distort like tubes. op amp use diodes for their clipping. the power amp is ab or b class amp usually. if tube amp is ab amp going through a transformer so get cross over distrotion. I never going to play load enough to push the power section. Plus I like hard clipping and soft clip but not cross over distortion. it sound thin. So I like pedal gain because I can what I want at a reasonable volume.
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