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To use the effects loop or not?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by trackskinz, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. trackskinz


    Nov 1, 2011
    I have been in the habit of going intrument-pedal board-amp input rather than running my pedals through the effects loop. Does it make a difference?
    I am pretty new to effects, so type slow....
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    It can make an audible difference if you're using the pre-amp section of the amp for distortion. If you're using a very clean amp setting it doesn't matter much.

    The general rule is to put level based effects (boost, eq, drive, etc) in front and time based effects (delay, reverb, tremolo, etc) in the loop.
    Some effects will sound different depending on where they are. Compression and volume pedals for example.

    Try everything in both places. See which you like better.
    Spidey2112, Stumbo and trackskinz like this.
  3. The loop is meant for rack mount or line level effects. If you are using pedals, don't use the loop.

    I use all sorts of effects - drives, modulations, you name it - and I use 100% of them as pedals and into the main input. I've used them with clean amps and dirty amps. The only time I ever used an effects loop was in the early 90s when I had a Yamaha FX500B that was rack mounted in my SWR Redhead. That was also the only time when I ever had an effects loop sound any good.
    Zooberwerx and zapped777 like this.
  4. Some pedals are designed to operate at both instrument and line level, but you'd have to check the manufacturer's specs.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
  5. selowitch


    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    Can't you use the effects loop for a tuner pedal? I've been doing that for a while and it seems to work fine.
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  6. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Sure. But why? It's two more cables for no payoff.
    blindrabbit likes this.
  7. selowitch


    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    The only reason I do it is to get the tuner pedal out of the way a bit so I don't trip over it.
  8. Johnny Mac

    Johnny Mac Riff-finder General Supporting Member

    Sep 28, 2005
    Springfield, MA
    You generally want the tuner pedal to be as close to the bass in the signal chain as possible for a more accurate reading. The preamp (and any effects before it) can affect the tuner's ability to read the note correctly.
  9. selowitch


    Aug 6, 2005
    Rockville MD
    Therefore ... what? Yes, use the tuner pedal in the effects loop or no, do not use the tuner pedal in the effects loop?
  10. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    I have a Preamp on my board and mainly use the head's FX return as input, thus making the master vol the only working knob on the amp. I run my dirt pedals into the preamp and the preamp into the reverb and that into the FX return.

    IMO a guitar amp has a much bigger use for the FX loop. If you have a delay with a long trail it can sound poopy if it is mounted in front of the distorted amp - the repeats will get less distortion because they have less signal strength.
    Also, if you want a clean boost with an amp that is already in saturation, you will only get more saturation and compression in front of the amp, and a louder signal in the loop.
    blindrabbit likes this.
  11. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    That is one way to use the Tuner.
    I use mine last in chain to be able to mute the entire board.
    blindrabbit and selowitch like this.
  12. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    It doesn't matter. The FX loop is going to send a hot signal into the tuner, so it'll be more than accurate either way. You'd notice the tuner tracking poorly if there was an issue.

    If you're using it to get the tuner off the floor and like it that way, continue doing it.

    Me? I'd skip the loop and put the tuner on top of the amp.
    selowitch likes this.
  13. waveman


    Sep 25, 2008
    If you are using amp distortion/drive, then I use modulation and delay effects and possibly a comp/limiter in the effects loop. I generally do something like that when playing guitar.

    With the bass, my distortion and drive comes from pedals, so I just run bass -> FX/tuner -> amp

    However, if I was really dependent on amp drive, then yeah I would use FX loop for those if it was a part of what I needed to do for a band/ set of songs
  14. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Banned

    Feb 23, 2011
    Personally I never use the effect loop on my amp.

    I would probably use an EQ in it if I was in need of additional tone shaping on my amp, otherwise I see no use for it.

    Supossingly putting certain effects after the preamp and it's EQ will reduce eventual noise that could potentially be amplified by your amps EQ setting, and as some mentioned some effects will benefit from being put after the preamp as well if you use it for overdrive/distortion.
  15. Sunset Shalom

    Sunset Shalom

    May 9, 2016
    I ran all my pedals through my guitar amps loop before I started playing bass. Then to be lazy I started plugging them into the amps so it is easier to switch. Actually my last pedal in the chain is a boss me50 and I use the stereo outs to run all my FX into my bass and guitar amp.

    Super convenient but I do miss being able to switch the loop on and off. Now I am just careful about using only pedals that I can turn off without messing my tone up.

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