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Can I use a preamp as an "effect?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by pgurns, Sep 23, 2005.


  1. pgurns

    pgurns

    Dec 26, 2003
    Northern, IL
    I have a BBE solid state unit and was looking around for a real tube type overdrive effect/pedal. Can I also use a real tube preamp as an effect in line with my BBE? Do I have to just use the 2 preamps seperate from each other? Never really went the pre/power route before so I apologize if this question has an obvious answer. I know sound is objective and the best way to judge is to experiment, but I just don't want to blow anything up. I keep reading about line level, instrument level etc. I'm not sure of the different levels and what they mean. Just wanna make sure. Also if this belongs in the effects section feel free to move it :)
     
  2. an overdrive pedal isn't a preamp...i might be reading your post backwards but it sounds to me that you have a BBE preamp, and you want a tube overdrive pedal too.
    my answer is yes you can. you won't break anything
     
  3. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    If I am reading this right, you want it the other way around.

    Use the SS preamp to drive the Tube preamp into distortion. If they are both real preamps (as opposed to say a DOD250) just be careful about the levels on the first preamp.
     
  4. The Clap

    The Clap

    Jan 5, 2004
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Instrument level refers to the very small current that your pickups create, and it's essentially the strength of the signal that comes out of your bass. This is simple to understand with Passive designs, but some basses have active components that make this signal stronger (but not strong enough to drive a power amp).

    For your needs, line level would refer to your signal after a preamp, which has boosted the signal to an appropriate voltage for your power amp's input. So you use a preamp to boost an instrument level signal to an appropriate line level for whatever amplification you're plugging into.
     
  5. pgurns

    pgurns

    Dec 26, 2003
    Northern, IL
    Well my sistuation is that I have a BBE solid stae preamp already and was looking for a tube overdrive. But I came across a few used tube preamps that I found for a real good price. I was going to try and use them instead of a tube overdrive pedal. Thanks for the clarification on the levels Clap. I am using a Lakland 44-02 deluxe which does have an active preamp onboard.
     
  6. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Are they tube mic preamps? Must tube preamps are not designed to distort, so they would not make good ODs.
     
  7. pgurns

    pgurns

    Dec 26, 2003
    Northern, IL
    actually the one I saw was a Marshall guitar preamp. I thought you could push any tube into distortion. Thanks for all the info. I'll just stick to a pedal. Sounds like the easiest way. Thanks again
     
  8. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    What you're asking seems to be if you can use a tube preamp for distortion, right? Like, footswitchable (or just manually switchable) in and out?

    It's possible. I do it; my ART preamp runs into my Blue Tube, and I use the ART for distortion (it's bypassable) into my Blue Tube (always on; the main pream).

    While the footswitch situation is a little off, the upshot is, an "effects" preamp before your "main" preamp is that the effects preamp could be a number of things. Mine has 25 effects and 5 preamp modes, so I have a ton of sounds, instead of the one or two from a pedal; however.

    Just use an instrument level out of the effects preamp into the main preamp (either into the main preamp's input, or into it's effects loop). If you just want a single overdrive sound, or dirty sound, then maybe you'd be better off with a pedal, but if you're into many options, it wouldn't be a terrible idea.
     
  9. pgurns

    pgurns

    Dec 26, 2003
    Northern, IL
    Exactly what I wanted to do. Thanks for the setup info that is exactly how I was thinking of doing mine. I guess I did not word it that well originally.
     
  10. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Is it the Marshall MP1?

    If it has builtin OD (probably called a dirty channel) then you are good to go!

    To get real distortion from a tube amp you have to crank it up. The OD in preamps and tube OD pedals tend to cheat and basically build in a distortion stage so they can get the sound at a lower volume.
     
  11. pgurns

    pgurns

    Dec 26, 2003
    Northern, IL
    I think it is 9100