Effects unit output direct to front of combo amp using "line" output (not combo)

Craig Williams

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 16, 2016
Posts
429
Age
59
Location
Thailand
Got an old Roland JC-60 that I just love. Great clean platform, loves pedals. No effects loop only a high and low jack on the front.
I play a Strat and I am using an old Boss GT-3 pedal board. I am old school so I really like the tone of a good amp and a nice guitar. I find the newer modelling effects units color my tone way too much when all I really want is to add some effects (aka adding stomp pedals). The newer modelling amps are superb, no doubt but from my experience they are more for recording or going straight into a PA, not so much as a pedal board for live work etc. Just my opinion and why I am using the gear I am.

Now I am probably going to contradict myself saying I don't like modelling here as on the GT-3 I am using a CLEAN TWIN amp / preamp..... (if you can call it that with 80's technology). I am even using the speaker sim which I didn't even realize was turned on. No ill effects at all. To make things even more unconventional I am using the LINE / Headphones output setting as opposed to selecting Combo front. And yes....... straight into the front of my Roland JC! And it sounds awesome. I play clean and I like a really glassy compressed Strat tone and that's exactly what I am getting. If I turn the TWIN pre amp off it just is no where near as good.

Further to the story my Strat is a deluxe with the noiseless vintage pick ups. Normally through an amp a bit dull and lifeless. When I first got it wasn't that fussed about the tone as it seemed to lose a lot of the quack, dynamics and brightness of traditional single coils. I live in Thailand and we have really noisy dirty power here so I certainly appreciated the noiseless aspect. Anyway like I said wasn't that impressed with the tone of the noiseless until I plugged it into this rig with my current set up and the pick ups / guitar just came to life. So much so that I have practically sold all my other guitars and have 2 deluxe Strats now.

So my question really is am I going to hurt anything in my amp by using the LINE / headphone output setting? I have used newer Efx boards (Podgo, Nux MG30) into this amp and I know my Roland is very sensitive to a "too hot" signal as I had to have the output on the newer Efx units turned right down. With the set up on the GT3 tone from my amp super clear and crisp. Doesn't sound like I am overloading or clipping the pre amp. And to be fair I am only using the Twin pre amp. I am guessing if I chose a high gain type pre amp could be another story. I know in theory I am doing most things the way they weren't designed but the combination of the efx, amp and noiseless pick ups are the best tone I have ever had...and I have had Super Reverbs, deluxes etc. Obvious answer if it sounds good to you do it....but....

Just want to make sure not going to blow anything up or doing any harm. Any advice appreciated.
 

Blrfl

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May 3, 2018
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Northern Virginia
Just keep the output level dialed down and it'll be fine.

To be sure, it might be worth plugging your highest-output guitar into the amp, connecting a 'scope at the input, measuring the level and then setting the effects unit to match. There's going to be some headroom between that and where you'd damage the input and, generally, if you're not driving the input past saturation, you're not going to hurt it.
 
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Craig Williams

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 16, 2016
Posts
429
Age
59
Location
Thailand
Just keep the output level dialed down and it'll be fine.

To be sure, it might be worth plugging your highest-output guitar into the amp, connecting a 'scope at the input, measuring the level and then setting the effects unit to match. There's going to be some headroom between that and where you'd damage the input and, generally, if you're not driving the input past saturation, you're not going to hurt it.
Yeah I think it should be ok. Like I said this JC, and I believe others don't like high gain inputs. I couldn't run my Pod go output past 25% without the amp popping and hissing and peaking out. Haven't had anything like that from the GT-3 and I thinks it's out put level is nearly maxed, though I have preset levels down to 60-80%
 




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