Boost pedal interact with tube amp

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Edael, Sep 25, 2020.

  1. Edael

    Edael TDPRI Member

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    Hi everyone!

    One million dollar question.
    We all know that if we push the volume of a tube amp like a Princeton or Deluxe Reverb the sound becomes distorted from the preamp + speaker breakup, my question is if I keep the volume at 4 and then click a clean boost, like the TCE Spark for example, will I still push the amp into overdrive - same as if I raised the volume on the amp - or will I have a clean sound at a higher volume...?
     
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  2. CalebAaron666

    CalebAaron666 Tele-Holic

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    Depends on how high the volume is set on the boost.
    If it’s cranked you will definitely push the amp into breakup territory.
     
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  3. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    A cheap way to try this is to get a used Boss or other EQ pedal which has a lot of boost dB as well as frequency cut and boost. I’ve used the Boss one for years to push the front end of tube amps. It’s different to the power tube break up effect but a classic way to add drive.
     
  4. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, but you're boosting a differing part of the circuit. It'll probably sound pretty good, but different to just cranking the amp.
     
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  5. Edael

    Edael TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the answers so far. Thing is I DON'T want to crank the amp into overdrive. I use pedals for dirt and like to have the option of a clean sound with the od off. I'm not sure if I need a bigger amp like a Twin or if I can still manage the need for a slightly louder clean sound with the Deluxe and a clean boost.
     
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  6. Roman4405

    Roman4405 Tele-Meister

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    I have a ‘68 Custom DR and I use an EP Booster and the ZVex Box of Rock boost into it and they’ll each push it to break up very nicely.

    They’re both voiced differently, the BoR boost side seems to color my tone less. It’s a great sound and depending on what you’re playing it’ll push it differently. My humbucker Tele definitely gets it dirtier than my single coil Tele.
     
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  7. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    Minor correction: pushing an amp is also distorting the power tubes.
    Adding a boost will mostly increase preamp distortion.

    A clean boost (or maybe a compressor) might slightly increase the clean volume or thicken the sound, but it could just as easily push it into more distortion.
     
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  8. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Tele-Holic

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    One way to get a variety of cool sounds, is to go ahead and crank your amp to 5-6, to where it is breaking up. Turn down your guitar volume for clean, then turn it up a bit for grind. You can then use your boost/OD to get different levels of dirt. Works great.
     
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  9. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Any pedal that increases the strength of the guitar’s signal s in effect a gain stage that one is adding to the amp’s circuit. This is exactly what Randall Smith did in his first amps. He added another gain stage in between the input and the AB763 (BF) Fender circuit in order to accomplish the Lead mode of operation. Anytime gain is increased, one Is moving closer to causing a tube amp’s circuit to enter into distortion..at some point.
    If one wants the sound of that Deluxe Reverb as a clean amp but at a higher volume, then one would 2ant to look at a bigger amp that uses a similar circuit....and the Twin Reverb would be the top of that mountain. Or...one could acquire one of the better attenuators that not only can cut the power of the signal but also can re-amp that signal with an internal power amp in the attenuator to amplify the signal and find more volume. There are several attenuators that do that...Fryette Power Station, Two Notes, and others.. or...build a simple line out from the DR and reamplify the output with a decent solid state power amp or run it to the board to increase the amp’s output.
     
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  10. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Afflicted

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    In exactly that situation (PRRI on 4) I use an Exotic EP boost and it does not push the preamp into overdrive, just louder and fuller, perfect for punching in a lead. Granted, I only set the EP to 9:00 or so (the thing has a crazy amount headroom).

    However, if I use a Euphoria to get the same amount of boost (on "open" setting, supposedly no clipping diodes) by upping the gain, I do get that perfect on the edge of breakup juice. Haven't tried it with the gain down and volume up on the pedal
     
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  11. Lynxtrap

    Lynxtrap Tele-Holic

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    IMO there is an easy answer and a not so easy answer...

    The easy answer is: Try it. Only you know how much you want/need to raise the volume in any given situation. Will there be overdrive? The definitive answer is "maybe".

    The more complex answer is that it's hard to tell what part of the amp circuit is going into overdrive first. I'm sure this has been investigated with regards to BF-type amps, but I haven't seen any results of such investigations or calculations myself. I would put my money on the phase inverter or the output tubes though.

    Actually, the parts least likely to distort in those amps just by turning up the volume knob are the ones you mention: the preamp and the speakers.

    Boosting the input signal is not much different from turning up the volume. The "weakest link" will enter overdrive first, and other parts of the circuit will follow as the signal is increased further.

    If you boost the signal enough you will have distortion in the input stage. That in itself can probably be avoided by using input jack 2, but my guess is that other parts of the circuit will already be overdriven at that point unless you turn down the volume.
     
  12. Paul G.

    Paul G. Friend of Leo's

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    The drag racers say "There's no replacement for displacement". If you want more clean volume, you need more power. Or a mic.
     
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  13. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Well, maybe a turbo.

    Have you tried a compressor/limiter? By reducing the dynamic range of your signal you can increase the volume of the amp before it audibly distorts. Or there is changing out the speaker to a more efficient one.
     
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  14. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Basically yes... you will get into OD. Tone/breakup depends a lot on the pedal. I do it 100% of the time with my BFDR. The amp is on 3. I like the "clean with a bit of grit" sound. If I want more I switch to another OD.
    The Princeton Reverb, OTOH, does not take the pedals as well. It can get pretty nasty fast with the wrong pedal.
    Is it the same as just cranking the amp? Not really, but if you choose the right pedals it can be very close.
    My basic mode is a TS9DX on Turbo with the gain at about 1 for a cleanish boost with plenty of lows and not all middy.

    Try this:
    -Set the amp volume on 3
    -Turn the OD gain to 1 or 2
    -set your guitar volume where you often have it... maybe on 8
    -Turn the OD volume up until overall volume is where you like it.

    -If not enough grit, adjust the gain up a bit on the pedal and volume down a bit.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
  15. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    `
    As others pointed out, a booster increases GAIN, which can either have a mild or intense effect on the amp's circuit - depending on how much is used. Either way, it can "shift" the amp's "voice" or "sweetspot" depending on how it's used (something each amp design will react differently to).

    Higher levels of boost can obviously push the amp into overdrive or all-out distortion, while lower levels can just add a touch of "hair" to your sound without overtaking it.

    I also have an Xotic EP Booster, which I originally got to push my already high gain channel just a little more - as described in this review I did awhile back:

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/mesa-boogie-ta-15-transatlantic-tone-evaluation.550430/

    *Here's the highlighted excerpt:

    TA15.JPG



    So that's one way to use it.


    But I also like to use it as a more subtle boost on a relatively clean amp to give my tone a certain "texture". It's kind of difficult to explain, but if you listen to Jerry Garcia's solo on The Grateful Dead song "Touch of Grey", it sort of has that texture I'm talking about (@ 2:18 on this version):






    Anyway, I do like having a booster to help dial in my sound when needed...



    `
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
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  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Looks like plenty of fine answers.
    My only addition is that that question aint worth a million!

    After the TDPRI negotiated with Big Science hoping to get dbs of gain and dbs of spl separated, I'm sorry to say Science doesn't care about our pedantics!
     
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  17. Singles Forever

    Singles Forever TDPRI Member

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    Amp overdrive happens in 3 ways: preamp tube breakup, power tube breakup, and speaker distortion.

    In a master volume amp you can get breakup from only the preamp section, by keeping the master low and preamp high. you can do this by raising the preamp volume or by raising the input volume from a clean boost.

    Any volume will push the power tubes, but if the master volume is low they won't break up. If you have both the preamp tubes and the power tubes running on very high volume, this will create a very loud situation and obviously you will get double overdrive from both sections, and possibly even speaker overdrive if it is a lower wattage speaker. This triple breakup situation creates the densest and most complex tones.

    The difference between raising the input volume from a pedal or from the actual preamp volume is negligible in many amps because amp inputs are very hardy things.

    Just think "how high is the volume on each of the two sections, and how much respective drive does that create" rather than whether its being done from a pedal or amp knob. Listen also for slight tone differences and trust your ears.

    Louder sounds better, partially because of a 4th distortion stage....your ears.
     
  18. fasteddie42

    fasteddie42 Tele-Afflicted

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    it's more like an amp has a certain threshold at which it will start to break up with any added gain/signal.
     
  19. noname_dragon

    noname_dragon Tele-Meister

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    In my country band, I play a clean amp for rhythm... a PR or VR. For a clean solo boost I use a GE-7 or a Durham SexDrive. Neither add distortion, it's just louder and fatter without overdriving the front end of the amp.
    Adding distortion, to a small degree or large, is accomplished with a pedal meant to do just that... for me, Barber Gain Changer, Mason OD-9, Marshall Bluesbreaker clone, or RAT.
    Hope that helps some.
     
  20. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Holic

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    ;)
     
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