Solo (volume) boost in fx loop: COMPRESSOR?

ruger9

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I have tried in the past using clean boosts in the fx loop of amps, as volume boosts for solos. They DO work, but...

1) everything gets brighter, which is a common thing when boosting tubes... it's turning the MV up- that also makes it brighter.

2) if feels kind of "hard", as if I'm actually loosing some compression or something, it doesn't feel as "smooth" as it does without the boost (and I'm not talking gain/grit, it's a feel thing).

So I was thinking, what about a compressor? People use them as clean boosts in front of amps all the time, why not in the fx loop? It should give me back some compression/smoothness, and because of the way a compressor works, could also reign in the high transients maybe? I no longer own a compressor (owned several, but gave up on them in from of the amp, just never did anything I wanted), so I can't test it.... but was wondering if anyone has tried this?
 

Finck

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I see no problem in use a compressor, if it brings the result you're looking for and if the model of your choice is able to handle with the (probably) large signals that will come from preamp without flattening everything.

Personally, I don't care about compressors in general, so my choice would be an equalizer. Better tone shaping, I guess.
 

rburd2

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I've never tried a compressor for that use, but I could see it working. I have had success with an EQ in the loop for that purpose.
 

ruger9

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I've tried an EQ. I get the same result as a clean boost. while the EQ may allow a little more tone shaping, somehow the feel changes, it's very hard to explain, but when I got from straight amp, which feels very nice under the fingers, and kick on a clean boost or EQ in the loop, it gets... hard feeling. Like a loss of the preamp compression somehow? Very hard to explain. It's louder, but it's also brighter, and harder to play, feel-wise.
 

bluesholyman

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Depending on the amount of compression your using, I could see it feeling less smooth. At the point the compressor is working, its reducing the highs and lows (dynamics) of the signal and then the level is used to make up the difference. You would have a louder, less dynamic signal. I think the loss of feel comes from the transient volume spikes at certain frequencies are getting reduced/compressed/limited and every part of the signal begins sounding like every other part of the signal as compression increases.

You can try using a very low compression ratio with a soft attack and some level boost (for the volume increase) and see if that does the trick.

I would also suggest trying an EQ instead and you can boost the level, without altering dynamics and if you have some wonky frequencies, you can reduce/increase them with the EQ.
 

ruger9

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Thanks, but I've tried an EQ (I said above) and it's not giving me what I'm looking for. I can reduced the highs a bit, yes, but still makes things "harsher". Starting to think ANY kind of boosting in an fx loop = harsher. Which is why I was thinking maybe a compressor to re-smooth things out a bit...
 

Obsessed

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Try a volume pedal in the FX loop. I've seen it done, but have never tried it out on my own rig.
 

BWNadeau

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I've used compressors for that a lot, but I prefer optic comps for that...Diamond & Barefoot Pale Green are my favorites.
 

Knowcaster

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I have used a compressor as a boost, but not in the effects loop. It worked OK for that purpose, but I ended up with a volume pedal as a way to not only boost solos but also to tweak my volume depending on what I needed for a particular song. I use it either in the effects loop, or at the end of my pedal chain if using an amp that does not have a loop.
 

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Found a good explanation for the volume pedal in the f/x loop. You can avoid McKnight's rabbling and goto about 3:00 to get an idea:
 

bluesholyman

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Thanks, but I've tried an EQ (I said above) and it's not giving me what I'm looking for. I can reduced the highs a bit, yes, but still makes things "harsher". Starting to think ANY kind of boosting in an fx loop = harsher. Which is why I was thinking maybe a compressor to re-smooth things out a bit...

Sorry, I may have missed your post about EQ.

What amp is this happening with?
 

MitchMiami

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I have an old fender pedal that’s a volume pedal when operated normally but is also also a tone (similar in sound to a tbx) control when you pivot the top of the pedal side to side instead of up and down.


Ime this works great for what you’re trying to accomplish. I use it to make a few of my amps more useable at low volume especially my fender blues Deville 410
 

ruger9

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Found a good explanation for the volume pedal in the f/x loop. You can avoid McKnight's rabbling and goto about 3:00 to get an idea:


THIS is very interesting.... it's the REVERSE of what I was looking for... but in theory, works much the same. I have a "volume box" (it's a passive device, it's just a potentiometer in a box)... I could try this using that (and of course could try the same thing with an EQ or clean boost that has EQ on it).... the beauty is, I could set-it-and-forget it... leave it back at the amp. Because the fx loop on this amp it footswitchable.

It's a Supersonic 22.
 

ruger9

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Alright.... I don't have a compressor, but I've been doing some testing.... ALL done in the fx loop.

Radial Power Boost PB-1 :
>using to BOOST (not cut- it's not capable of cut)
this is just a clean boost pedal, nothing special about it. I actually own it because I used it's buffer for a few years, I love it's "Drag" feature.

BBE Boosta Grande:
>using to BOOST (not cut- it's not capable of cut)
worst of the bunch, for whatever reason. More harsh than all.

Cheap volume box:
>used to CUT, like in video above.
Crap. Doesn't work at all like the volume pedal in the video above, but that's likely amp-dependent (see below). And frankly, I find the whole thing of setting "your sound" at a lower volume level kind of a PITA. Because when you open it up, it DOES change. Again, amp-dependent... altho even in the video above, his tone changed pretty drastically.

Amp-dependent:
Some amps sound great cranked (a Plexi comes to mind). But this amp does not. I find most MV amps don't (at least not the ones with the standard MV circuit.... not power-scaling or other magic some of the builders use.) With the Supersonic 22, 4-5 on the MV is it's sweet spot. Above 5 the brightness increases considerably, to an unusable level for me.

Ok... onward....

Dano Fish & Chips EQ:
>used to BOOST
Actually, surprisingly usable. I remember trying this before and not liking it much, but maybe I was asking too much of it at the time. It's not perfect, but it DOES boost and CAN control the high frequencies. And feels fine- feels just like the amp.

SURPRISE OF THE BUNCH:
Fulldrive-1 in Comp-Cut mode
>used to BOOST
Tried this on a lark... OD pedals don't sound great in FX loopps, but in comp-cut mode the FD is really a clean boost. I was shocked at how good it sounded. Plenty of control over the highs on the FD1, as it's tone control gets darker than the FD2. Very very interesting....

Maybe I'll try my Blue Note on "low gain" mode next (I suspect it also removes the clipping from the circuit, and becomes more of a clean boost, just like the FD series)...
 

ruger9

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Well, at least there's alot of info here if someone searches in the future...

The Blue Note was a bust. It couldn't boost volume at all.
the Klone was AWFUL, even with gain at 0, which is supposed to make it a clean boost.

And, FAILURE: NONE of this works if I add an OD pedal for a little more dirt in front of the amp.

bottom line: if I have to run the MV at 5 for the band I'm in, that's it. That's all the amp's got, no matter what. So a compressor would likely fair no better. If I want to get louder with THIS amp (and have good tone), I need a louder amp (for example, the Supersonic 60, Twin, or one of the 50W Hot Rod amps).

My only option is the "reverse" option - like the video above- and this amp is just hard to work with like that.

Caveat:
This amp's clean channel CAN get much louder than the burn channel can... IF I can find an OD pedal that works well with is as a "dirty channel", then simply putting a clean boost at the end of the pedalboard might do it.
 

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Nice review of options. After reading them, an idea struck. I used a Boss LS-2 for years when I wanted my lead different than my rhythm parts of songs. It is intended for having different effects on two loops, such that all I had to do was hit that one paddle switch during the heat of a song. At one point, I had an EQ pedal for each loop. What happened was that the volume output could change way too much, such that (I assume) Boss put individual level controls for each loop. The level can add up to+20db on each loop. Leave one at unity and raise the other to taste. This could also allow you to throw something else into the mix on one of the loops too. Eh, just a thought.

One caveat: buffered pedals act differently on f/x loops of different amps.
 




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