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Don't laugh, but is this how you use an effects loop?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by phxlbrmpf, Sep 2, 2005.

  1. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    My old amp had two effects loop jacks at the back, my new one has them at the front, which makes messing around with them them appear even more tempting.

    I googled a bit and honestly couldn't find any information on how to use the effects loop, so here's how I imagine it could be done. I'm guessing what you have to do is ready two guitar cables, plug one into the "send" jack (which sort of acts like your bass's input jack) and connect it to the first effects pedal in your chain, hook up all the other effects you want to use and connect the last stomp box's output jack with the "return" jack of your effects loop.

    Is this how it is done? If yes, I'm definitely going to try this, as it would mean I wouldn't have to worry about losing signal strength/gaining noise by plugging my bass straight into three stomp boxes daisy-chained to each other any more. Am I right, and if yes, does this method have any drawbacks? Lots of thanks in advance.
  2. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    You've got the concept down, now give it a try. :cool:

    The potential drawbacks vary depending on whether you have a series or parallel EFX loop, where the loop is placed in the signal chain of the amps circuitry, which exact effects you are using, and a few other things. In brief, you sometimes lose the ability to tweak the effects with the amplifier's tone controls, you sometimes lose headroom or encounter distortion if the effects are meant for instrument rather than line level or if you use extreme tone control settings (this varies from amp to amp as well, not all EFX loops are created equal), and overdrive based effects, many wah effects, and some compressors tend to sound better placed before the amp input rather than in the loop in many cases. Time based effects usually benefit the most from placement in the loop, in my experience.
  3. You got it right. This puts the effects after the gain stage. I'm no expert in this area but it is my understanding that time based effects (delay, chorus.....) work better in the loop and tone effects (distortion, wah....) work better between the bass and amp.

    You'll get better info at the effects forum.
  4. seanm

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

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Generally, you run rack mount effects in the effects loop, and pedals before the amp input. Most effects pedals are not designed to handle the high input from an effects loop. Most pedal effects run off 9v and don't have much headroom.

    But if it works, no worries!
  5. phxlbrmpf


    Dec 27, 2002
    I see, thanks guys. The effects I'd like to use are an EBS Multi Comp, the Digitech BSW and my DOD overdrive pedal, so I guess they're probably not excellent candidates for the effects loop. :meh:
  6. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    There's a difference between instrument level and line level. Don't put pedals in your effects loop, put them between the instrument and the input. Rack mount effects are line level, and usually work best in the loop.
  7. I've been experimenting with a Digitech Bp200 and my fx loop. The Bp had been collecting dust for quite awhile because in front it's kind of a noisy tone sucking hunk of #@&t! :spit: but I put it in my fx loop,which is blendable, and suddenly it aint bad :hyper:
  8. tomethum


    Oct 22, 2005
    Related to "don't laugh", I have a Peavey 112 Basic. Does the bass plug into the FX loop or still into "input"?
  9. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    The effects loop is simply a place where you can plug something in between the pre-amp and power amp, and that means line-level only (rack), no pedals. And no basses.
  10. SubMonkey


    May 3, 2004
    Denver, CO
    +1, sometimes you can put some stuff in there that'll surprise you... I use a RealTube II (pretty much a guitar preamp) in a blendable parallel effects loop.. using it as a straight preamp makes for a nice sparkly overdrive.... with almost no low end.....

    but in the effect loop and blended with the dry signal is pretty dang tasty IMHO.