Gain versus Volume versus Pedal Boost

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by cc50fralin, Sep 19, 2018.

  1. cc50fralin

    cc50fralin Tele-Holic

    Sep 5, 2018
    Queens, NY
    Thank you, PBO Blues!

    Very good article.

    I learned a few things I didn't know.

    Mike ;)
    PBO Blues likes this.
  2. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

    Jan 15, 2013
    meridianam altum centralis
    While we are all sharing opinion and personal imagery, I think of gain as the input level for the pre-amp, and volume as one of two things: input to the power amp, or power amp output (master volume). Peavey, and some other makers have a pre and a post gain. These control the preamp input level, and the preamp output level. Some amps have both, AND a master volume. And I have an amp that has both, a master volume, and a "power level" that acts like an attenuator. As a result, this amp has four level controls. And then there's the volume knob on your guitar, so with this amp, I have FIVE level controls to manage. Its a lot to manage, but very versatile to get different kinds of clean, clean breakup, crunch, overdrive and all out saturation. I'd say the most powerful combination is the pre and post gain. A lot can be done with these, and the master volume and/or power level just scales that tone linearly.

    On another amp, it has one volume knob that controls the amp level. I use the guitar volume knob and the amp volume level together to either get a loud clean, or I reverse them to get a not-too-loud saturation.

    But it doesn't stop there, because you may have eq, bass, mid and treble controls. They apply selective level control. On my amp with four level controls, I essentially have another set of levels with the eq knobs. And there's another one on the guitar, the tone knob. You can go from clean to crunch by adjusting these eq or tone knobs. So you can have quite a few volume/gain/level controls in your setup.

    I really haven't seen a better convention for labelling than the Peavey method, with a pre and post gain, and a master volume. Or the Marshall convention, which is also straight forward. These helped me understand what each can do, and how they need to be adjusted to get a target sound. I was able to transfer that to most other amps.
  3. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 26, 2003
    Augusta, Maine
    With that rig, I'd just fool around with what's already there. It sounds like you've got a world of possibilities. A few ideas:

    - You can use the pedal for either boost or crunch. Or both.

    - Turning your tone knobs toward bass will give you some smooth, bluesy sustain.

    - When in doubt, turn all your knobs straight up to noon. Then fiddle with them.

    - With guitar gear, gain = crunch/clipping/distortion and volume = volume. (With audio gear, gain = volume.)
    cc50fralin likes this.
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