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Electro Harmonix English Muff'n as a valve pre-amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by boristhespider7, Nov 6, 2010.


  1. boristhespider7

    boristhespider7

    Jan 27, 2008
    UK
    Anyone use the Electro Harmonix English Muff'n as a valve pre-amp? I'm just wondering if it would be any good giving me a valve pre-amp stage to my solid state amp (Ashdown 300 MAG) so i'd have a valve hybrid on the cheap?

    Most of the hybrids i've looked at (eg. Orange Tiny Terror or Ashdown ABM) have 1 or 2x12AX7 in and the Muff'n has 2x12AY7 or sometimes 1x12AX7 and 1x12AY7). I've heard good things about the overdrive of the pedal but wondering if it would give me a nice warm valve tone without breaking up? The tubes can be swapped out for more options (eg. 12AY7 swapped for 12AX7).

    Muff'n's are only £120 vs £400-500 for a valve hybrid head so would kind of make sense if it worked.
     
  2. animal52

    animal52

    Jul 1, 2006
    DC area
    English muff'n + phil jones head = hybrid bliss. I'e also run it straight into a QSC power amp and it had a good sound. Neither was a totally clean sound though. I don't know if it would work as nicely with the ashdown. Basically, the pedal is a tube-preamp based on a Marshall tone-stack, and it's high gain regardless of what tubes you use. With two 12AX7's, its a buzzsaw, and with two 12AU7's, it's a mellow overdrive, but still not a clean sound. Any other combination of tubes will get you somewhere between those extremes. If you want a clean but warm tube sound, I would look elsewhere.
     
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    agreed. look for an actual preamp, not an overdrive pedal.
     
  4. Mark Olson

    Mark Olson Banned

    Mar 19, 2008
    Michigan
    Yes, plus the English Muff'n gets really buzzy into a solid state power section. I didn't like it well enough with what was already a hybrid amp.
     
  5. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    I've tried the Muff'N. It's decent as a tube overdrive, but there are much better choices for an affordable tube bass preamp. The Muff'Ns eq points aren't perfect for bass & it can be a little noisy and buzzy.

    The best two inexpensive pedal-format units I've tried are the EBS ValveDrive (capable of great warm clean tones as well overdriven tones) and the DHA VT1.

    ART makes some surprisingly good small-format tube preamps with instrument level 1/4" connections. No eq control, but they sound ok and are very inexpensive.
     
  6. boristhespider7

    boristhespider7

    Jan 27, 2008
    UK
    Which did you prefer out of the EBS ValveDrive and the DHA VT1?
     
  7. Tronographic

    Tronographic Commercial User

    Nov 2, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    Owner, Tronographic
    The English Muff'n IS a preamp. It's a copy of an old Marshall JTM preamp (which is in fact a copy of an original Bassman). If you start with the master pegged and turn the gain all the way down an bring it up to taste you can get some nice sounds for bass out of if.

    I was an employee at EHX at the time this pedal was developed and helped a tiny bit with the R&D and was even the one that suggested the title "Muff'n" over "Muffin"... Oh and it originally had the working title "Brittany's Box" in-house. ;)

    All that being said... a really nice "preamp" for bass is to use their LPB 2ube into a Tube EQ into a power amp.
     
  8. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    For me, it's the ValveDrive. Indispensable in my rig!

    I don't really use it as an overdrive "effect" exactly. I have mine set as an almost always-on preamp. The eq is really musical & it definitely imparts it's own character to your tone. Switching preamp tubes also has a notable affect. (I settled on a Tung Sol 12ax7a reissue which i love!) I have mine dialed in for a touch of 'sheen' and a little bit of hair on my tone if I dig in with strong right hand technique.
     
  9. boristhespider7

    boristhespider7

    Jan 27, 2008
    UK
    How is the overdrive on the EBS, can you get a decent tube growl out of it if need be? Although i'm after a pre-amp it would be nice if i could launch into some nice OD if needed.

    How's the overdrive compare to the Dave Hall unit?
     
  10. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    lol! brittany's box! should have left it!

    anyway, yeah, i guess you're right, but the english muff'n probably wouldn't be my first choice for a standalone pre into a power amp unless i liked at least slightly dirty sounds.
     

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