Boost before or after Overdrive?

pokett

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Probably asked before but I'll ask again. Just picked up a Spark Mini-Boost work better before or after an OD pedal.

Don't know about the Spark in particular (though I've GAS'ed for one for years) but the general behavior of boosts relative to OD should apply:

After OD = make the OD louder
Before OD = make the OD overdrive more (loosely like cranking the gain on the OD or like the opposite of playing the OD with your guitar volume rolled down).

Added wrinkles include if the boost at hand has the option of adding its own grit as opposed to being plain clean boost and whether the amp you're going into has any more headroom available, or if any kind of boosting is going to lead to more preamp overdrive as well.

The truth is the best bet is to try it out with your OD of choice to see, I have an Egnater Goldsmith which is two independent circuits (with their own input/outputs even) and I run the boost into the OD to make the OD higher gain, then I have a completely clean boost after the OD for when I need more volume but not more crunch.
 

Pajama

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I like it before. The Zvex S.H.O. was wonderful in this application.
 

adamlovesgin

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Before OD - Adds gain, volume boost is determined by the gain of the pedal it's going into. 'Melds' better with the other OD in that it won't change the tone too dramatically.
After OD - Much more dramatic volume increase, + more noticeable change in tone. Adds gain too if you have a gain control, but not as smoothly as before the OD.

The spark mini has a lot of output so you would easily get a decent clean boost after the OD, but as there's no gain control it's debatable whether you would get much more additional dirt.

If placed before the OD it all depends on how overdriven the OD is, if it's too much you'll run out of headroom and won't get a lot of volume increase, but you WILL get a gain increase.

I've found what works best for me is a boost AFTER the OD but with gain and EQ controls. Something like the full-size Spark Booster or the Dana Coolcat Transparent Drive.

This way you'll be able to get whatever volume, gain or EQ tweaks you need.

Placed before the OD, I've always felt a booster merely "augments" the tone, as opposed to giving you anything majorly different, and definitely not different enough for a pseudo lead channel.
 

Fiesta Red

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I personally like it after, but putting it before would yield some really punchy tones...try it both ways!
 

soulman969

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As others have posted. It all depends on what you want it to do in the signal chain and that's been laid out for you here. There are no hard fast rules.
 

-Hawk-

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Currently before. Just looking for a little more drive, since my overdrive pedal is kept relatively low gain and on much of the time. Will have to try the other way.
 

CapnCrunch

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Currently before. Just looking for a little more drive, since my overdrive pedal is kept relatively low gain and on much of the time. Will have to try the other way.

In my limited experience, the boost before the OD acts much like a boost in front of an amp. It pushes the OD into distortion earlier and may give you a slight increase in overall drive. A boost after the OD typically acts like a volume boost. Of course, if you are running into an amp that is near the edge of break up, either way may cause some OD from the amp itself. I agree with everyone above that you should try both and see what sounds best to your ear. Also, try different setting on your OD. I.e. run the level higher and the gain lower and then kick on the boost, and try it the other way around with the gain up and the level lower. I personally think OD's sound best with the level higher and the gain lower. They're more amp like set that way, at least to my ear.
 

-Hawk-

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In my limited experience, the boost before the OD acts much like a boost in front of an amp. It pushes the OD into distortion earlier and may give you a slight increase in overall drive. A boost after the OD typically acts like a volume boost. Of course, if you are running into an amp that is near the edge of break up, either way may cause some OD from the amp itself. I agree with everyone above that you should try both and see what sounds best to your ear. Also, try different setting on your OD. I.e. run the level higher and the gain lower and then kick on the boost, and try it the other way around with the gain up and the level lower. I personally think OD's sound best with the level higher and the gain lower. They're more amp like set that way, at least to my ear.

Regarding the last part, that's exactly what I do thanks to reading some threads here. Gain almost all the way down and level all the way up. Really nailed the sound I wanted perfectly.
 

teletimetx

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I'm currently using a Spark mini before either of a DOD 250, then Fat Sandwich. I've been pondering this question lately as well. It's been a sort of balancing act in a way and after reading some of the posts above, I'm going to switch the order to DOD 250>spark>Fat sandwich - just to see what different things might happen.

Like Hawk and Capn Crunch, tend to keep the gain as low as possible on either OD pedal to walk the line between not quite clean and just a little filthy. I think.
 

FenderLover

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That's why 3 dirt pedals are fun. Your favorite in the middle, a little boost with light OD (or as much as you want) before, and after.

I guess I just repeated teletimetx, but there you go.
 

lefty73

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Practicality comes into play, too.

If you're playing in a band with another guitarist, or keyboardist, or hyperactive bassist, boost after dirt will help your solos and other prominent breaks rise above the mix. Set it for volume boost, not gain boost. Although with the Spark Mini there's not really a lot to do other than crank the one knob. ;)

If you're the only guitarist, you might benefit from putting it before dirt, as it'll inject more gain into the dirt pedals, giving you the extra sustain you (might) need for solos as well as altering the tone somewhat, which helps differentiate from your rhythm tone.
 

11 Gauge

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4pickupguy

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About a month ago a made a YouTube vid playing with my Blue Note before and after my Klone set as a boost.. I learned I like the boost after my Blue Note. It made it more articulate and less compressed. I use my compressor as a boost sometimes too. Sounds great when you want a clean'ish blues tone like say after a Klone...
 

Redvers

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I played boost before od for years. More recently I play boost after od. There are good and bad ways of doing both. For me the main thing is I can play good solos and not be too loud or muddy.

Best thing I can recommend is have at least three very different gain based pedals on your board and experiment.
 

Charlie Bernstein

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Yeah, might as well try it both ways. My King of Tone's standard settings put the boost after the overdrive - but what does Analogman know?

I've put boost both before and after, and it seems fine either way to me.

I'm no tone connosieur (if that isn't already painfully obvious), but my only general rules are: wah first, overdrives second (including boost and distortion), effects last (e.g. reverb, trem, delay, chorus). Trem goes dead last for maximum effect.

I've never figured out where compressors should go. To me, they sounds terrible everywhere!

cb
www.thefullertons.net
( •)—:::

Sent on my talent pedal
 

Tony Done

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About a month ago a made a YouTube vid playing with my Blue Note before and after my Klone set as a boost.. I learned I like the boost after my Blue Note. It made it more articulate and less compressed. I use my compressor as a boost sometimes too. Sounds great when you want a clean'ish blues tone like say after a Klone...

I also use a compressor, and it is in front of the OD, so that when the OD is engaged it's effect is more uniform.
 

cntry666

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I went with before the OD, I don't think there's a wrong way. I feel the boost crunched more and that's what I need.
 




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