Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Amp in a box pedals

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by strat89, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. strat89

    strat89 Tele-Meister

    Jan 3, 2012
    How do these work? I'm looking at the Wampler Tweed 57 because those tones just simply do something for me. But the principle applies to any of those types of pedals. If I'm running it through my Vox, won't the amp just cover up what the pedal's doing and retain the Vox-y-ness?

  2. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    Yeah, I think you are correct in that assumption. What I did was find the cleanest amp (to me a Fender 6L6) and leave it on the clean channel and then use OD pedals to alter the flavor. I have an old Vox Valvetone B210, that nails the Vox AC30 up to very early crunch. I give it a boost for more.

    With my success, I too, am looking for that tweed tone, so maybe the Wampler or Lovepedal, but considering the Machinehead more , but I'm considering building the Peppermill first.

    Good luck and I'll be very interested with what other people think about this.

  3. YoGeorge

    YoGeorge Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 16, 2003
    I have never liked amp emulator pedals running thru a guitar amp that has its own tone, but a classic approach is to use a really clean amp like a Roland JC 120 (or the clean channel in a Roland Cube like my 80X--which emulates a JC 120). Or even use an acoustic guitar amp (which is cleanly voiced like a little PA system.) Usually, the full amp emulator pedals are used for recording directly into a console or a computer.

    All that said, I do have a Cube 80X which has a lot of amp models in it; I dislike a lot of them, but have used the Fender BF, Fender Deluxe, and Fender (tweed) Bassman modes and enjoyed them. Another amp with a lot of modeling in it is the Tech 21 Trademark 60--a friend of mine who is a great player has one of these and does well with it, but has said that you can also make it sound really bad pretty easily.


  4. strat89

    strat89 Tele-Meister

    Jan 3, 2012
    I would love for someone from Wampler to chime in here.

  5. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 31, 2004
    Hackettstown, NJ
    IDK about the Tweed one, but the Paisley is like a Trainwreck/Z-Wreck in a box, even tho it's not advertised as such. Brad himself even said the Paisley Drive's gain is like that of his Trainwreck amps. The Plexi-Drive also sounds like a Marshall Plexi... Brian did a great job on that one.

  6. whiteop

    whiteop Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 11, 2010
    Your natural amp's tone will always shine through and the overdrive pedals will just enhance its tone to emulate breakup for crunch and more sustain. Some overdrive pedals work well with some amps while others do not. Brian likes Fenderish type amps with a very clean tone (Fender, Dr Z, Trainwreck, do I and probably most of the TDPRI forum items) so he designs pedals that sound good with them generally with the good ole JRC4588D's or variants and clipper diodes like the 1N4002 and 1N34a's which give you some of the best sustain IME. Brian is a tone hound and really tweaks his pedals for optimal tone. I don't see how you could go wrong with one of his pedals plus they have a return policy if you buy it direct from them and a higher resale value than a lot of other pedals on the market. BTW - been playing 38 years now if it matters... quite a bit of it as a live player onstage..:D

  7. JesterR

    JesterR Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 8, 2009
    Russia, St.-Petersburg
    I think, that people take this thing too seriously. For me it's only means, that overdrive character is somewhere closer to particular amp overdrive. It does not mean, that it makes my amp's sound just like other amp's sound. But, for example, my Catalinbread FN5 is definitely sounds more like overdriven fender, then my TS, fuzz face, Barber SS or Menatone KoTB. And, of course, like any other pedal, it's overall sound depends on guitar, amp, other pedals etc.

  8. Vladimir

    Vladimir Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Mar 17, 2003
    Zagreb, Croatia
    I was also looking for the same thing, a pedal which can give my VOX a Fender clean character at the switch of button. So far, I gathered that the Wampler Black '65 does it cleaner than the Tweed '57, or am I mistaken.

  9. ruger9

    ruger9 Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 31, 2004
    Hackettstown, NJ
    That sounds right to me, since Vox is more in the "blackface camp" than the "tweed camp" (obviously, it's in neither- but it is closer to BF.)

  10. artdecade

    artdecade Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 6, 2010
    Brian isn't going to pop on the forum to tell you definitively that his pedal will make your amp sound like a different amp. It doesn't serve him to do so... and it opens up a can of worms for his detractors. Although, he might say that his pedal is a good choice for those that don't have a Tweed on hand.

    That said, no pedal will make your amp sound like another amp. There are tone stack issues, tubes, attack, etc. Plus, some amps have too much character to easily allow a pedal to override them (unless you are running a dead flat response solidstate amp or a characterless tube amp). If you really want a Tweed, get one or get a clone. If you want something that will get you in the ballpark, try a pedal. There are a ton of pedals that will get you some Tweedy characteristics.

  11. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    IMO, this is probably going to yield the best amp emulations, because the whole amp is built around the emulations.

    I have a Vox Valvetronix that I love the BF, AC30, and clean Dumble settings on. And it can be set to have two different emulations available with a footswitch.

    Emulators thru a variety of clean amps will produce mixed results, because they cannot be designed WRT things that are not dictated by a clean sound. I think speakers are perhaps the biggest hurdle of all, as none have flat response. If you have an "accurate" emulator that has a characteristic emphasis at a frequency that makes your speaker(s) sound harsh/flubby/"wrong," it doesn't matter if the amp is clean or not.

    I oftentimes hear it claimed that if someone uses a BF/SF Fender amp set clean that things will usually be fine. But these amps have scooped mids and lots of global negative feedback that is not adjustable (it's the presence control in amps where it is). The gain of the vibrato channel can also sometimes be a little problematic, so some users will then try to kick things over to the normal channel. Then you lose the reverb and trem. You could go with pedals for those effects too, but part of the reason that many users choose the BF/SF amps IMO is for the built in reverb and trem.

    So IMO, to this day, the best emulators for certain amp characteristics are still "just regular drive boxes," IF you are using pedals into a tube amp with its own core characteristics. For instance, I still think that the Rat is the absolute king of the hill if you want Marshall characteristics with a BF/SF Fender amp. And I think that if you want a clean Vox AC30 to sound like a cranked AC30, the Hotcake is still at the top of the list. So you could apply this to AC30'ish amps like Matchless/Dr. Z/etc. And I think there are great "non emulator choices" for other types of amps as well.

    I also look at what many of the pros tend to use, and they are still typically things are fairly basic op amp w/diode clipper designs, and usually not amp emulators. Look at the popularity of the Honey Bee, Zendrive, OCD, and Timmy as proof. And lots of pros still use either a TS, a BD-2, or something derived from those designs to this day. Lots of the signature OD's are still based off op amp/diode clipper designs. I can't even think of an "amp in a box" sig pedal off the top of my head other than the JD-10, and that isn't really a pedal - it's more a preamp/D.I. box. I'm sure they exist, but they aren't so common that they jump out at me.

    This will always be the issue with the amp in the box - the relationship between it and the amp being used will determine how usable it is for any given individual. Due to real constraints with the setup, it's impossible to "nail the tones" IMO. They will always be approximations. This doesn't mean that they can't sound good - just that it needs to be seen more in the context of sounding good or usable as opposed to "sounding accurate."

    And - lots of guitarists don't know what the "real thing" actually sounds like, so it's really a moot point IMO.

    Someone said that we tend to over-analyze this issue, and I tend to agree. If you must "nail the tone," pick the amp that does it, if possible (this would include amps that are designed to completely emulate something). If it's a "close enough" thing, just experiment with some different emulators, or go with a more trad design that gives enough of the characteristics thru your given favorite amp.


  12. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Mar 4, 2009

    Lots of guys do what you do... buy a clean amp and then color to taste with pedals. Judging the size of the "post your pedalboard pic" thread, I'd say a whole lotta guys do it that way.

    My problem with this, after years and years of trying, is that no clean amp, with any pedal in front, gets the arse-kicking deep stomp of my old Marshall800. A few things can get close, but, no dice.

    That doesnt mean I dont use the clean amp-pedals thing, I do that all the time too, depends on the gig. If its a rock gig, and I feel like lifting it, I'll use the Marshall.

  13. artdecade

    artdecade Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 6, 2010
    Another thing to consider... The Wampler is 200 bucks for a pedal that emulates a Tweed. The Fender Mustang II amp is the same price and has its own Tweed setting (and a bunch of other emulations) that sounds pretty damn good. I think Fender has a good handle on what a Tweed should sound like! Ha!

  14. AirBagTester

    AirBagTester Friend of Leo's

    Nov 7, 2010
    The sound will definitely be "Vox amp + pedal sound." It's a whole new beast. I agree with what others are saying that you want to use a plain, clean amp sound to start with and then add the pedal. Try it; you might like it!

  15. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    I've still got a 2204. Even with a pair of ("real") 5881's in it and a few volume lowering tricks, it still is daggone loud.

    I can get super close with a Rat into my Super Reverb. Part of what makes it possible is putting a pair of G10M's or clones of them in the amp. Eminence makes the Ramrod, which is a great speaker, IMO. Celestion also has a "non-top shelf" 10" that is basically the same as the G10M, but it costs the same as "comparable 10's" at a somewhat typical price of ~$70.

    I'd actually opt for the Celestions over the Ramrods, because they are way less efficient, and the name of the game here is lower volumes, right? And if "Marshall cab tones" are really what someone wants as their sort of baseline for air pushing, I'd choose a pair of 10's to go with the G10M's that are even less efficient - I have a pair of Weber Sig 10's. I think that some of the Jensen Mod's are also less efficient. The idea is that this "other pair" of speakers is mainly just to add more character and not more volume.

    ...The Rat is then essentially the icing on the cake, so to speak. It's got the "Marshall voicing AND grind" - that kind of partway between tightness and sag thing. The trick is to obviously dial in no more distortion than necessary.

    But admittedly, even with that setup, it's still loud.

    Dropping down a few watts with either my Vibrolux Reverb or Deluxe Reverb, it gets farther and farther away from being indistinguishable from my 2204. The VR is close in a gig setting, but I doubt many people would consider it to be the best substitute in the studio.

    As for what bedroom players get to work, IMO anything is game, because so many considerations get eliminated. But in that situation, I would honestly go the Cube/Valvetronix/Mustang II/etc. route, but that's just me. You can get a lot of "emulator amp" for what a single amp emulator pedal will cost you.

  16. artdecade

    artdecade Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 6, 2010
    That what I just said! Ha. :lol:

  17. Wampler Pedals

    Wampler Pedals Tele-Meister Vendor Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    When I am doing the initial design on a breadboard, I'm plugging them through various amps in order to make sure they sound as consistent as possible from amp to amp simply by tweaking the controls... this is one reason why you'll see alot of controls and switches on our dirt pedals. The idea is to have an amp with a bit of headroom and use the pedal to get a tone and equally important response similar to that of various amps.

    Not our pedals. Definitely DON'T recommend them for direct in or through an acoustic amp. They are meant to be played through a guitar amp... I think you may be referring to the tech 21 pedals though which I do believe are meant to be used direct in.

    thanks man :)
    Actually though, I use a variety of different methods and parts for clipping. For example, the 4558 isn't the best opamp in every situation. I actually like a 4580 quite a bit, but it really just depends on what I'm trying to achieve. Also, I like jfet, npn, and mosfet clipping circuits too (as well as more opamp based or diode clamped circuits), there again just depends on what i'm trying to achieve with a certain tone.

    Yep, the black '65 can get a bit cleaner (though the '57 will clean up pretty damn good too). They are also voiced differently though, since the amps sound different.

  18. gtrguru

    gtrguru Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Apr 29, 2011
    Detroit Metro
    I can't speak for the Wampler Tweed pedal, however I do believe that using my Rockett Animal does make my Blues Jr sound close to an old Marshall. I absolutely believe that an A/B between the two would NOT provide the same tonal results.

    I have played an old Plexi at a local shop and it just has a creamy spirit / lively tone that I will never get out of my BJ + pedal. The amp is also more than $1000 and way too loud for my uses. In my case the emulator pedal is good enough. And I don't mean to imply that the pedal is inferior to the old Plexi, just different. I imagine you would find the same results using a Wampler Tweed into your Vox.

  19. Slickster

    Slickster Tele-Holic

    Nov 3, 2008
    Denver, Colorado
    I played the Tweed 57, Black 65, and Plexi through a Carr Rambler ... a buddy's rig.

    yes ... they sound like they are supposed to sound. tweed, blackface, and plexi. The Ramble is a drri type sound. pretty clean platform for pedals. All three pedals were great and did reflect the amp the are designed to sound like. The Black 65 and tweed 57 can be played pretty darn clean and still have that character. Go for it! I'd love a tweed 57 pedal!

  20. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    I mentioned my 2204 in a previous post. Same thing. I've also got enough bits and pieces left over from other amp projects and scavenging to build a 4X6L6/4XEL34/etc. monstrosity - I've got one of those huge power transformers that will put out 600VDC max B+ all day long...

    And I LOVE this store:

    ...I used to roll in there a lot more as time permitted, but you can see from their virtual tour (which usually has recent stock) that they have all kinds of goodies to try. So not only am I on the lookout for really old fuzzes and such (that are usually bought before they are even procured with their e-business end of things), but there will typically even be more than one old Marshall, or one old brownface, or some other wonderful gem...

    I remember a Saturday spent just plugging into all of the Super Reverbs they had in the store that day. Not only does it give someone an appreciation for a "good one," (however you choose to define it), you also really get a sense that no two SR's are the same, especially at this point with replacement speakers of all types, "bumped up" filter caps, and so many other things.

    While the old Marshalls are cool, there seems to be a ton of variation just with the output transformers alone. And while Eric and Luis will usually tolerate it, ambition is required to keep moving those old heads around to plug them into different cabinets. :twisted:

    So the entire context of "close to X amp" is absolutely a moving target, and this is if you've had a chance to try out the old gems. It becomes almost a completely abstract idea in your head if someone hasn't.

    So again, I think the best results are from looking at the complete rig, and not try to just isolate out any one component. They should all augment and complete the picture as opposed to being the primary source of anything, IMO. This assumes it's not some kind of over-the-top grind box or something, where I suppose the goal is to almost erase the core characteristics of the amp/guitar/pickups/etc. in question.

    I love stores like Atomic, and they're part of the reason why my wallet is lighter than I'd like. I remember being in there about a year ago and they had an original Fender Blender. Luis told me to stop getting excited, because it was already sold before they even took delivery of it!

    (Luis is a great guy BTW, as is the entire staff there).

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