Loop or Direct In?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by tplyons, Aug 14, 2003.

  1. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Do you guys use the effects loop on your head or do you run your bass into your effects straight into your head? What are the advantages to each? The only reason I can forsee for using the loop is a rackmount wireless unit. Thoughts?
  2. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    I wish I could run my effects through the loop but the XLR out on my amp is pre everything. I wouldn't be sending effects out to the PA. I wish it was switchable. If it was I would run it through the loop. I guess I am stuck running effects before the amp. My set up is (bass)-(rackmount wireless)-(Behringer BassV-AMP Pro)-(SWR amp).
  3. alexclaber

    alexclaber Commercial User

    Jun 19, 2001
    Brighton, UK
    Director - Barefaced Ltd
    It's a signal level issue. Most stompboxes operate at instrument level (or thereabouts). Most FX loops work at line level which is a lot higher. If you use rackmount FX then the FX loop may be useful, otherwise you'll almost always get a better sound by having the pedals between your bass and the head.

  4. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I dont use effects loop. I run my bass into my effects, right to amp.
  5. redneck2wild


    Nov 27, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    Effects that adjust gain or act based on sensitivity should be placed before tone controls.

    Effects that react based on sensitivity include Compressors and Envelope Filters.
    Effects that adjust gain include Compression (again), Distortion and Overdrive devices.

    Effects that are time based should usually be last in a signal chain after tone controls.

    Time based devices would include Chorus, Flange, Delay and Reverb effects.

    Typically an effects loop is located after the tone controls in an amp or preamp. Tone controls would be EQ, "Low, Mid, High knobs" or even Preamp Tubes.

    Take a look at the recommendation for Pedal placement order that the manufacturer of the effect suggests.

    Some manufaturers even give examples of multiple pedals in order. Substitute your Preamp effects loop for the place of an EQ or Tone box in these.

    Example (from Digitech) for a Guitar chain:
    Guitar-> Compressor-> Distortion-> Modulation-> Delay-> Chorus-> Reverb

    Example (from Boss) for a Guitar chain:
    Guitar-> Octave-> AutoWah-> Compressor-> Distortion-> Wah-> EQ-> Modulation-> Volume-> Delay-> Chorus-> Reverb
  6. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Interesting, so I should run compression,overdrive,distortion, into the head, and chorus, flange, and reverb in the effects loop? Is that right? I have a digitech 50, there are some letters before the 50 BP I think, the entry level multi effects pedal they make, when I run in it an effects loop it sounds crappy and muddy, but running into into the head it sounds good, and the phazer adjustment on it gives me crazy feedback, does this have something to do with what was just explained above?
  7. cjgallen


    Oct 19, 2001
    Well, my Big Muff sounds like crap in the effects loop, so I just run it into the input.
  8. Britick


    Aug 16, 2003
    San Diego
    I always hate when my big muff sounds like crap.:bassist:
  9. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
    Ric, the signal from the BP50 is instrument level, it's not "hot" enough to use in the effects loop, and should be used between the bass and the amplifier. Same with the Big Muff cjgallen.
  10. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    With my solid state combo I put all pedals between the bass and the amp just because it was convenient, there was no difference in sound by doing anything else.

    With my new head with tube preamp the bass sounds *much* better if I let the amp input be the first the bass is connected too, so the pedals go in the effects loop.

    Try all combinations and use whatever sounds best.
  11. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Exactly, I think some things sound better before the head and some things do better in the effects loop. It all depends on the head you have and the pedal, different combinations will do better on different euipment, I noticed that too when using a solid state versus a tube head a lot of things had to be set up diffenrent.
  12. streaky bacon

    streaky bacon

    Mar 2, 2002
    i used to use an effects loop on my trace eliott and it always sounded like it was half dry signal and half wet even with the pedals turned to full. so my advice is to put i them between you guitar and amp!
  13. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Well, it depends on the effects loop, maybe your amp has a parallell loop with a fixed blend of dry signal and effects. In that case you may want to connect the effects to the amp input.

    Other amps may have a choice of serial loop (all the signal goes through the effects) or an adjustable mix of dry and effects, so your advice is most likely not good for all amps... ;)
  14. RevGroove

    RevGroove Commercial User

    Jul 21, 2002
    Burlington ON Canada
    Manager, Account Services: Long & McQuade Ltd. (Burlington); MTD Kingston Basses International Emerging Artist; Bartolini Electronics Emerging Artist
  15. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    Most multi fx units are designed to go between bass and amp. Even tbe mighty GT6B, unlike it brethen the GT3, 5 & 6 which have a built in fx loop which allows you, with some 4 cable jiggery pokery, to place some fx before the amp, and some after the amps fx loop. I was quite pissed off at this oversight, but it was the only unit that done everything else i wanted in that price bracket.

    cheaper units, like the BP50, BP200, and basicallt all zoom stuff are definitely designed to go before the amp.
  16. D.A.R.K.


    Aug 20, 2003
    i have to use an fx loop, my bass has an 18 volt pre amp onboard, and it makes my fx freak in a bad way....i like a clean/dirty mix as well, not completely effected...it's all preference...
    try both, and use them ears....
  17. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Ditto. But I didn't realise this for years. Then one day I heard a "desk recording" and everything I did was completely dry - no effects at all.

    So I changed and put my pedals between the guitar and the head. Holy Moley what's all that noise? I got rid of it all eventually but it took some effort. The end result is much better now.