Clipping indicator blinking when using FX pedals

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by dubelyuchris, Sep 23, 2020.

  1. dubelyuchris


    Sep 23, 2020
    Music techies, need help. So I play bass and I've began experimenting with different FX pedals as well as trying to experiment with sounds by turning on two or more pedals simultaneously. I have a Blackstar 500 bass amp and the clip indicator begins blinking anytime I use all three FX pedals. Is there a way to avoid clipping/possibly damaging my amp but still have all three pedals on? Having done a bit of research, it's my understanding that turning down the gain might help avoid clipping in general but haven't been able to track down any suggestions in using two or more pedals together on a bass amp. But if someone has any ideas or valid suggestions, I'd appreciate it.
  2. On some amps the clip indicator is only good for indicating it is working.

    If it sounds bad it shows it indicates too much gain has been applied to the input. Turn down the gain on the pedals until it sounds good. It may still be lit occasionally.

    You would have to really over do the input by plugging in something really amplified to cause any damage. It would sound terrible first.
    Haroldo and juledude like this.
  3. Probably better to head to fx forum.
  4. JKos

    JKos Supporting Member

    Oct 26, 2010
    Surprise, AZ
    Sure, just turn down the level knob a bit on the last pedal.
    BasturdBlaster and Haroldo like this.
  5. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa Boogie, Development Engineer-Genzler (pedals), Product Support-Genz Benz
    If you are adding gain/level with each pedal then you will eventually overload the input of the amp.

    turning down the output on each pedal a bit will help.
  6. Unless you are specifically going for a volume boost with a pedal, generally you do not want your bass sound to be louder with the pedal on vs off. Pedals are to MODIFY the sound, not to make things louder. Hook everything up, and start playing your bass with all 3 pedals off. Engage the first one... did you bass sound just get louder or softer? Work with the volume on that pedal to try to get the volume at or near the same, whether the pedal is on or off. Once you have that set, move to the 2nd, then 3rd pedals, doing the same thing.

    The principle here is to affect the tone/sound with the pedals, not have a cascading boost effect. While sometimes that is wanted in the guitar world, it is much more rare in the bass world. The goal is to end up with a somewhat consistent volume no matter what combination of pedals you have engaged as you play. Think about a live setting... you don't want to have to run and adjust the amp volume every time you turn a pedal on or off. :)

    Also note that if you are using some heavy EQ in a pedal (or an EQ pedal!) that significantly boosting the lows will effectively increase the signal/voltage at your amp's input and could also lead to clipping before you would expect.

    Have fun and experiment!
  7. Foz


    Jul 26, 2008
    Jax FL USA
    Put a piece of tape over the clip light - use your ears.
  8. lug

    lug Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    FYI, clipping at the input will not damage your amp. Also, are you using the -10dB input pad whilst this is happening?
    Rabidhamster likes this.
  9. Bassdirty


    Jul 23, 2010
    Or, if that doesn't work, all of them. :thumbsup:

    Seriously?. I thought that was only for check engine light in cars..?..
    Well, I'll be. The more ya know.. :roflmao:
    wcriley likes this.
  10. juledude

    juledude The Monique and Simone Preamplifer guy. Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 10, 2006
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Owner and creator of Jule Amps: Monique and Simone and Bass Amps
    Made the mistake, years ago, of using Red lights for Clip indicators on a few amps. Everybody, including the audience, would freak out because of the flashing Red light. For some players/friends it was Red half the time with no degradation of sound.

    Changed all Clip lights to Blue. Now, I like to think Bob Weir would approve.

    Seriously, it entirely depends on where the amplifier module designer, usually some non-bass player in his not-to-clean sweatpants, working late at night, want the Clip light to turn on. You would think there was a Clip standard. Alas, there is none. I agree with some of the other good folks here who suggested listening is often better than the light.
    Haroldo, Al Kraft, Tim Skaggs and 4 others like this.
  11. telecopy


    Dec 6, 2009
    The way I understand it, the light is to indicate your signal is getting distorted. Not that you're melting anything. Adjust volume and tone to taste. The more volume and tone controls the more adjusting you'll have to cope with.
  12. PullThePlug


    Jan 8, 2014
    Take a picture of your pedalboard and the settings you use, that will really help us out. Plus we get to see some gear!
  13. I suggest taking this to the fx forum. We don't want to have another compression suppression dogfight here.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    If it sounds good to your ears, it's fine.
    Haroldo, Al Kraft and juledude like this.
  15. SemiDriven

    SemiDriven Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2012
    Milwaukee, WI
    Well there's your problem. You're not using enough pedals! ;):woot::bassist:
    telecopy and juledude like this.
  16. Tim Skaggs

    Tim Skaggs

    Sep 28, 2002
    As several have said, if every amp died due to the clip light flashing occasionally, we would have an ocean-sized pile of dead amps, or amps in need of repair.
  17. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    The light blinking means you start sounding good.
  18. JeezyMcNuggles

    JeezyMcNuggles Suspended Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2018
    Santa Maria, CA
    I suck, but nobody really notices
    Clupping just means your signal is hotter than you need it to be. Its fine. If you don't like the tone you're getting, turn the gain down on the last pedal in your chain before the input of your amp.
  19. PullThePlug


    Jan 8, 2014
    Sorry I can't help you OP, the same clowns have ruined it for us =(

    Good luck!
  20. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I think you'll find the magic combination of settings for your bass, effects, and amp to meet your tone/voicing goals within this answer. I would also say you are unlikely to damage anything taking this approach.
    AEVAREX and musicman556 like this.
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