Is using effects send and return worth the hassle?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by mcblahflooper94, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. mcblahflooper94


    Aug 31, 2011
    So I've been doing research about how to order my pedals (this is not what the thread is about) and I see that some people have all effects in one chain through the amplifier input, like this:


    while others suggest having modulation/time based effects in effects send/return, like this:


    To me having a whole separate chain=a whole bunch of cords/fuss. Is it worth it? Is there some sort of significant advantage to it? Thanks
  2. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    I don't think it's worth the hassle. Effects loops are designed with rack mount effects in mind, so the signal level is higher. This can cause problems with some stomp boxes. And all the extra cable running back and forth to your board can cause loss of high frequencies.
  3. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    This is one of those things that some people like one way and some like another. You really just need to try it and see if it sounds better to you.

    Basically it just means that your amplifier processes your signal before it hits those pedals, rather than after. Many feel that time/modulation effects should be applied only once the rest of the signal processing has been done. My guitar player does it this way. I do not. I personally only use one such pedal, a chorus, which I simply put at the end of the signal chain on my pedal board.

    I noticed your diagram has octaver in the fx loop. I personally like my octaver first in the chain, because it seems to track better with a clean signal. YMMV.
  4. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    It's more of an issue with guitarists since they tend to use their amp's pre as an overdrive/distortion effect. I can see why they would want some pedals in the loop after the preamp.

    Most bassists run their amp's pre clean, so the tonal difference between having pedals before or after is negligible.
  5. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    Thanks for reminding me of that! My guitarist DID say that was the reason; I had forgotten.
  6. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Never did care for loops either on bass or guitar.
  7. gregmon79

    gregmon79 I did it for the muff... Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Chicago IL
    Ive tried this a couple times, running my board into the effects send/return. I didnt like it much. I like the fact that I have another option to EQ after the fact that I have a preamp on my board already. It leaves a lot of room for tonal possibilities. If I plug into the effects send/return, my tone seems to get a little cold. And, as mentioned, the effects return/send was designed with rackmounts more in mind I believe. As stated, the level of the signal is higher. If I'm correct, someone point it out if Im ot, most pedals are designed to go into the preamp section of an amp. They are already designed to have that certain amount of output and such. Im obviously no expert on the subject but Ive read a little about it and thats mainly what I get from it.
  8. My advice is get an a boss ls2 or two or a similar pedal. Run your effects in the loop of the line selector. They will cut down on the amount of units your going through when your not using them, which will help your "clean" signal be stronger and also allow you to use pedals for "multi effects" without tap dancing
  9. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    The proof is in the sound really, try both and listen which you like better. It may depend on what bass and what amp you have, maybe it's better with some effects before the amp and some others in the effects loop.

    I've gone back and forth several times, but currently go bass->effects->amp. There may be a slight difference when using the effects loop but I can for sure not hear it in a live mix.
  10. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike

    May 27, 2011
    The only real difference I noted is that I like having my cord coming from behind me (i.e. plugged directly into the amp either without effects or with effects in the send/return loop). Having my cord going from the guitar to a pedalboard near the mic stand seems to get in my way more.
    Of course wireless solves that.
  11. ddhm


    Mar 18, 2011
    Memphis Tn USA
  12. warwick.hoy


    Aug 20, 2006
    Spokane, WA.
    Beta Tester: Source Audio.
    The effects loop on your amp is designed for line level impedance; which is to say, rackmount gear.

    Pedals operate at lower Instrument level impedance and are designed to work with your amp's input.

    This is conventional wisdom and by no means a hard and fast rule.

    Is it worth the hassle? Well that depends on how much time you want to spend quasi-engineering and how much time you wanna spend being musical.

    I say experiment and trust your ears.

  13. adamsmatthewj


    May 4, 2013
    On any amp I ever owned before my Eden, plugging anything into the effects send/return would immediately weaken the sound of my amp. I have NO idea why that was. Maybe because the added cables thinned the sound out? Idk.
    With my Eden it is no longer an issue, I've gone both ways with no change in sound. I just ended up getting so used to putting my pedalboard right into the front of the amp that I still do it that way.

    I suppose in many cases sending your effects into the front of the amp and through your preamp is a good idea. (although I always just leave my eq flat) If someone was really eq'ing their bass's tone I suppose they'd definitely want certain effects (like octaver, delay, or looper) being eq'd accordingly along with the clean tone. I can def see why guitarists don't always desire this though, preamp OD is another thread altogether

    Personally, I'll skip the effects loop. I like it simple. The less that can go wrong the better!
  14. ChopperDave

    ChopperDave Hai-ohhhhhhh!

    Nov 14, 2012
    Boston, MA
    Noobness showing here: If I'm running Bass -> Effects -> Amp (no effects loop), what happens to my effects when running a DI live, then?

    In my case, I have a 700RB-II that I can DI pre- or post-EQ. If it's set to post-EQ, will the DI signal include the effects that are between my bass and the amp input? Or do I have to have them in the effects loop?

    And why the heck don't they keep it simple and just mic us, anyway?
  15. If your running your effects before the amp no matter how your xlr is set on the amp the pedals will be there.
  16. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    In the user manual for the 700RB there's a block diagram, it shows that the effects loop is included with the DI switch set to post, and not included with the switch set to pre.
  17. Meddle


    Jul 27, 2009
    It makes sense for some effects. For example, delays and reverbs might not sound stellar hitting an overdriven preamp. I caveat that by saying that 1) the post-rock crowd seem to love gritty delays and reverbs and 2) bassists don't commonly use these effects. Phasers, flangers and choruses all sound 'clearer' through an effects loop. The shifting 'q' of a phaser or flanger can sometimes cause accentuated 'needles' of frequencies, or pull out weird harmonic content, if placed before a distortion or overdrive source.

    However effects loops also mean more cabling, more power supply issues (and risk of hum) and generally more hassle if you wish to keep two sets of effects for before and after the preamp section of your amp.