Don't MOST Pedals Qualify As Pre-Amps?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by SurferJoe46, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. I tend to believe that almost all powered pedals can qualify as a pre-amp since they are pushing the sound out with more than goes into them. N'est-ce pas?

    Is this a poorly formed concept?

    I also believe that my MXR M80 DI+ qualifies as a pre-amp.

    Signed: Willing To Be Educated
  2. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    Westchester, NY
    To me, a preamp needs to have some sort of EQ or tone shaping. A chorus pedal (just one of many examples) wouldn't be a preamp at all in my mind. They also don't necessarily push the sound out with more than goes into them
  3. I hear you answer, especially the second part.

    I hesitated (for just a moment) when I posted that statement - but let it ride anyway to see if I was moving into a fantasy or not.

    Thanks for your insightful response.
  4. Most pedals are NOT pre-amps as they do NOT bring the instrument level signal up to line level.
  5. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    My ears tell me otherwise. What do your ears tell you?
  6. To WHOM are you otherwising?
  7. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    To you, Willing To Be Educated.
    When you compare the sound of your effects pedal vs. a preamp, what differences do you hear (or are they the same)?
  8. will33


    May 22, 2006
    It's about voltage. Most poweramps need somewhere between 1 - 1.5 volts, consistently, on the input to "feed" them properly and drive them to their designed output. A lot of pedals can't do this, some can. Some newer poweramps have settings where they can get there off 775 millivolts. These can be more easily driven off a pedal.
  9. Ya got me here. All I have that is touted as a pre-amp is my A.R.T Studio unit, and it works very well (there'll be a lot of yadda-yadda about THAT, I'm sure!).

    I also have the MXR M80 and a few other powered pedals that not only have some sort of EQ, but a way of upping or lowering the effect.

    So that's somewhat confusing to me at least. especially so if onboard EQ is a requirement for a pre-amp.

    My thoughts are that the A.R.T unit truly qualifies as a pre-amp and I use it to drive my harmonicas into a few different guitar combo amps - but that's just mostly for the effect of splattering and distortion of the sound, not as a pre-amp, so much.

    I've yet to move to actually needing a pre-amp, but that day is coming soon I feel and I wanted some info as to what-when-where I go in that direction.

    Currently I am also moving to rack gear. I know - I know --- that's totally backwards with the influence on pocket sized amps and 6" drivers or just running FOH with no real amplifier. But I'm really enjoying the newness of going old school.

    Since bass to me does not need a lot of killer distortion nor does it actually need to be moved into guitar-land, I wonder if I should just stick to what I have now and be happy.

    On second thought - I want to try the pre-final-amp-in-a-rack idea for nostalgia.

    PS: I play a lot of blues, some non-progressive jazz (ALL music needs a hook and Prog-Jazz has none that I can find) and a heap of Motown and pre-Beatles stuff.

    I play low'n-in-da-groove and tend to NOT play solos unless it's a signature part EG: "My Girl" and that Thump-thump-thump --- thump-thump-thump intro.

    Next on my almost-a-solo playlist: In A Gadda Da Vida. See what I mean?
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I tried to power an amp with my phase shifter and got nothing. So no ;)
  11. Toastfuzz


    Jul 20, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I'm gonna say YES!

    And to OP's quoted question, "Don't MOST pedals qualify as a pre-amp?"

    I'd think that any pedal with a volume control can be considered a pre-amp. Maybe not to drive a power amp, but to drive something. I used to use my Ibanez PD7 in clean mode to drive and EQ the input going to my PC system. In that case it was DEFINITELY a pre-amp. Then theres pedals such as the VT Bass, that some people use as a pre directly into a power amp, and others (like myself) bring the volume down to unity or slightly above and feed it into the pre of the amp.

    Then you have all the Boss pedals with the buffered whatsitcalled that re-amp your signal to send onwards (unlike true bypass pedals.) So they're pre-amping your signal on to the next pedal/amp/pre/etc.

    So maybe its more in the dirt/gain world of pedals, but I'd consider anything that has the ability to output more than you input to be a pre-amp. Technically they're all amplifiers in gradual stages, right?
  12. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Tone controls aren't needed to be a preamp. That's just where it makes sense to put them. All amps are voltage multipliers. The preamp takes the little signal from your pickup or microphone and multiplies it until it's big enough to drive the poweramp. The poweramp takes that signal and multiplies it some more so it's big enough to drive the speaker.

    Example: the ART TubeMP (nothing but gain knobs) is a preamp. A 31-band EQ (lots of tone shaping) is not.
  13. Tristan


    Jan 28, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    A lot of them come pretty close, but even the Sansamp BDDI needed a mod to properly drive a poweramp IIRC.
  14. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    Try a simple, high-quality preamp. You will be pleasantly surprised.
  15. I have alway kind of thought of pedals as pre-amps. In the same way that basses with on-board EQs have pre-amps.
  16. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    I would use a pre-amp even though the bass has a pre-amp on board. I have not had good luck with "active bass directly into power amp."
  17. A preamplifier is a low-noise amplifier designed to take a low-level signal and bring it up to normal line level.
  18. will33


    May 22, 2006
    Technically, I guess you could call anything a "pre amp" the comes before the amp (pre) and makes the signal the slightest bit hotter coming out than it was going in (to amplify). But to me, it's only a preamp if it has sufficient output to be plugged directly into a poweramp and drive it properly. Anything less I'd call an effect/gain boost/tone shaper/whatever. Something other than a real preamp. The term does get used rather loosely sometimes. If I bought something labelled "pre amp", I'd expect it to drive a poweramp.....that's what preamps do.
  19. Yes, in the technical sense any amplifier that is stuck in front of another amplifier is a "pre" amplifier.
  20. Makes sense to me.

    If I had eleven stomps on a board, then I'd have a pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-amp.


    'Arcane-ity' is my password. I just made that up. :ninja: