Overdrive interfering with separate preamp pedal?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by arepa_funk, Nov 2, 2020.

  1. arepa_funk

    arepa_funk Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2020
    Hi everyone, first time opening a thread here and longtime reader. First off wanted to say thank you for this awesome community. It's been a great help in many a gear search!

    So the issue I've been having is that the Pork Loin is interfering with my separate preamp pedal (Ampeg Classic.) I've tried disabling the PL preamp by diming the Drive Mix internal trimpot, but the issue persists. There's also weird volume bumps or drops when both are engaged. It's led to tons of headscratching and tests to figure it out. Does anybody have any experience with this? (Using Lakland Skyline Decade and Fender J, both passive.)

    The goal here--and I avoided naming the thread "low-gain overdrive--the thread that will not die"-- is to have a low-gain overdrive that DOESN'T crossover into preamp/compressor territory (I think the Beta does this?), since my rig has the Ampeg preamp and the Keeley Bassist as always-on pedals.

    I considered:
    - Fairfield Barbershop
    - SolidGoldFX Beta mki
    - EQD Westwood
    - Catalinbread SFT
    - TC MojoMojo

    Ultimately, I settled on the PL because of its tonal possibilities with the external and internal trimpots. Since I'm already getting low end thump from my preamp, I need something that can give me grit without interfering with preamp/compressor.

    Please let me know if anyone has ideas on how to setup the PL, or recs (from above or others), I'm psyched to figure this out. Thanks!
  2. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    I probably can't answer your question, but if you at least let us know the order of your signal chain - whether the Pork loin is before or after the Ampeg, etc., I'm sure it'll help the problem get diagnosed.
    halech54 likes this.
  3. arepa_funk

    arepa_funk Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2020
    Great point, here goes:
    oc-2 >
    pork loin >
    mastotron >
    discumbobulator >
    keeley compressor >
    phaser >
    delay >
    ampeg preamp

    Pork Loin is second in chain after octave, and before fuzz so that gain staging is appropriate.
  4. Nunovsky


    Sep 4, 2004
    Every overdrive pedal is basically a preamp since it's based on a tube preamp section pushed to breakup, IMO.
    But it seems that you want a more transparent sounding overdrive, one that doesn't colour too much the tone and therefore doesn't conflict with th preamp that you're using.
    The Pork Loin isn't a very transparent overdrive and the breakup characteristic is more velvety than some due to the compression it applies to the tone. It has it's own flavour and it will colour eventually the tone which is good if that's what you're aiming for. If not, maybe you can get better results with other OD's. Nevertheless, you could try running it at 18v since it gives more headroom to the pedal and may help to work better with the rest of the pedals.
    From the ones that you mention in your list, I would go with the Barbershop for low drive. The Westwood is also a great transparent OD and can get you more edge if you set it to higher gain.
    arepa_funk and Reedt2000 like this.
  5. Reedt2000

    Reedt2000 Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Central New Jersey
    I must admit I don't have a huge amount of experience in this area, but what you send a preamp pedal will definitely affect what it does to your sound. Sticking OD before it will likely give you a very different outcome from the preamp pedal when the OD pedal is engaged. Seems to me the simple option is to move it after the preamp pedal, that way the drive is not affecting how the preamp reacts. If your amp has an effects loop you could stick the drive there, but that sounds like a PIA.
    arepa_funk likes this.
  6. arepa_funk

    arepa_funk Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2020
    Great points re OD resembling preamp section of a tube amp, I hadn't thought of it that way, but it makes perfect sense.

    Right, I thought the Pork Loin would be pretty transparent, but it seems that its separate preamp circuit definitely colors the drive regardless of how it's engaged. Thank for the Barbershop and Westwood recommendations! I'm definitely after low drive with minimal to no tonal coloration.

    Definitely, I considered that but it messed with stacking options that I tend to go for (octave > OD > +/- filter). I think I'll end up looking for an OD that doesn't affect tone as much. It's a bummer because the Pork Loin definitely has a unique sound.

    At worst, I can disengage the Ampeg when using the OD, but doing that may throw off how other pedals are set up. Alas.
    Reedt2000 and Nunovsky like this.
  7. halech54


    Jul 15, 2015
    Richmond VA,
    I answered on your other thread, but some other folks made some valid points here too; the PL before the Ampeg could be part of the problem, I still think it has to do with hitting that Compressor; if you're slamming the front end of the compressor it could cause some volume drops. I'd recommend moving the compressor first in your chain and seeing how they interact then.

  8. arepa_funk

    arepa_funk Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2020
    Thanks, those are great points. I'll definitely try moving the compressor first in chain and see how it reacts. I'll reply to the other thread as well.

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