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Tube Preamp before Pedals?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Guitars, Basses, Amps & FX  
Author Tube Preamp before Pedals?
I have a presonus Tubepre, and i just recently plugged my guitar into it for the first time. The amp has a drive knob, which gives you a really nice overdriven sound when cranked up. Now my question is, do i have to worry putting the much louder output from the tubepre into my pedals? (Echo degrader, big muff) Can i somehow damage the pedals if the input is too hot? Also does the input level change how the effects behave?
Miley Cyrus
Perhaps someone more technical than me can correct me if I'm wrong but I don't believe you can damage a pedal with the input being too high. It might sound bad if it's too hot but it shouldn't damage them.

And input level can and will affect how effects behave. At least with analog fuzzes, dirt and drive pedals, (perhaps many more effect types too but I can't comment on that as I usually have a pretty tame input level and never notice the effects on modulation) - you can saturate them far more with a boosted input signal. Meaning the fuzz sounds thicker and fuller. When I'm in a heavy mood, I use a clean boost at the start of my signal chain, before all my dirt pedals for that exact reason.
you should be able to turn the gain of the tube pre-amp down to null and gradually raise the gain (and drive-level) until you find a range that you like.

if the signal sounds like it's getting too hot for your pedals (e.g. you hear additional not-nice distortion that you normally don't hear when you engage a digital-delay pedal), try inserting/patching an attenuator (or another pre-amp channel) between the pre-amp and the pedals with maximum attenuation (or minimum gain, if using another preamp channel), and then slowly raise the output level using the attenuator until it sounds nice with your pedals.

I played really loud rock and roll live for a number f years and the setup that I saw a lot of older very intelligent metal heads doing was:

1) a very powerful amp that can go really loud without breaking up / distorting. That way whatever mix of effects you use to craft your sound will simply be amplified and not compromised by the compression in the amp.

2) a smaller amp that breaks up at higher volumes in a good way. You just daisy chain that amp through a big amp (power amp) like the one in example 1 above that won’t distort at higher volumes.

These basic ideas work at scale. And even with software amps. It’s suoer simple.

After a lot of playing live and messing with peddles etc I eventually got rid of all pedals and played straight into a 100 watt amp with no preamp. Just turned it up to 7 or 8 and it stars to scream. Amazing tone.
Jason Brock
You won't damage any pedals, but experiment with the order. That's basically what tube amps do. They have a separate tube preamp section (the part with EQ), then they run into a tube power amp section. Some have I/O in between those sections for an FX loop. But distortion pedals usually go in front of the amp, before any tube section. Your Big Muff will likely sound best first in the chain, then run into the tube pre.

Fuzz first --> other distortion pedals --> PREAMP --> other pedals (delay, modulation)
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