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Tube pedals with Tube amps

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by michinho, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. michinho


    Oct 11, 2013
    London, UK
    Hi all,

    What are people's experience with pedals that contain tubes, running into an amp with a tube pre amp or all tube pre and power amp?

    are they best used with solid state?

    Or do they sound equally as good/better with tube amps?

    grateful for any feedback!

  2. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    It depends on the specific pedal and specific amp. However in general a tube pedal is "the same thing" as the tube preamp in a hybrid or all-tube amp. So you have to ask whether you want "more of the same".

    That said, you might like setting your amp's preamp for fairly clean tone, and then using a pedal for higher-gain tones.
  3. michinho


    Oct 11, 2013
    London, UK
    I guess i'm mainly refering to Tube overdrive pedals. I'm on the look out for a new amp so I just want to take everything into consideration. I'd genrally like a clean punchy tone from my amp. The overdrive from the pedal will give me the "dirty" option.
  4. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    somebody at guitar center told me that your amp would explode if you ran a tube pedal into a tube amp, it's not true:) i'm still alive after running my blue tube 903 into my d180, i ordered a rat tail from fuzzrocious to do this very thing, but it's tubeless od/distortion
  5. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    I use an EHX black finger or a retrospec squeezer into various tube amps and recorders all the time. Nothing wrong with it if you like the sound you are getting. Tube vs. Solid State is not something you can blanket compare across all situations and expect to glean any recommendations. You need to use your ears in your particular situation.
  6. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    Good question. I have used an EBS Valve-Drive pedal in front of a SVT-CL and an Ashdown Little Bastard, both all tube amps. I find it tends to fatten the tone and make my bass sound better. I use the Valve-Drive as a mild overdrive more than pushing it into distortion however. I'll test this over the week-end and report to you.

    I have not heard "too much of a good thing" so far while testing the point you are inquiring about.
  7. michinho


    Oct 11, 2013
    London, UK
    Thanks mate,

    This would be great if you could let me know what you discover.
  8. Tell ya what, I put solid state mild drive in front of my tube amp also in mild drive, so all basically clean but and when I dig in on the bass the overdrive is wonderful. Sfx RedDragon always on version into Mesa d180.
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I use SS dirt pedals but only because that's what I have and because the form factor of tube pedals is a bit large. I'd have zero problem with using a tube pedal with a tube amp otherwise. The more, the merrier.
  10. mikeswals

    mikeswals Supporting Member

    Nov 18, 2002
    Seattle / Tacoma
    Sounds and works fine. I have a Mesa V1 (dual 12AX7) ahead of a Mesa Bass400. Use mine for just a slight more thicker grunt or wool when needed.
  11. Laurent

    Laurent Supporting Member

    May 21, 2008
    Napa, California
    Well, after more testing with your specific question in mind, I did not hear that a tube pedal add much in front of a tube amp. It did fatten the tone and added some dirt but that did not work well. The tone lost its focus. It made a big difference in front of a SS amp however, that sounded great.

    In my experience dirt pedals sound better in front of solid state amps than in front of tube amps.
    For tube amps, clean boosts seem to yield the best tones. I also get good results with pedals providing some boost and some for of EQ like the Barber Linden. Some form tube screamer sound OK too (Fulltone Bass Drive).
  12. Crystalman85


    Nov 30, 2008
    Chicago, Il.
    a friend of mine who plays in a punk rock band uses a sansamp bass driver through his ampeg svt and it gives him a fat slightly overdriven bass sound with solid lows. that lead me to a conclusion that using a tube-emulated pedal to a tube amp can thicken the bass tone with more lows and some overdrive. if you wanted an overdriven bass sound by using a tube-emulation pedal to a tube bass amp, give it a try and see if you like to sound you get from doing that.
  13. Lavrans


    Jun 16, 2011
    Cambridge MA
    I recently got myself an EBS Valve Drive tube preamp, and I am delighted! It truly does expand and add depth to your tone. It has an overdrive or vintage setting, gain and volume knobs for OD, 3 EQ pots, and a very clean bypass. Be sure you get the EBS 12V adaptor- the wrong one won't work. I got mine on eBay for $200, so shop around- it can go for as much as $500.

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