Hi folks, I know the standard answer is 'whatever works for you'. Well, yeah, perhaps, but I just returned to electric after years away and will still appreciate suggestions from more experienced folks. Main problem is where to place my three new boxes, all aimed at tone, drive and boost. My amp for now is a Blackstar HT5R Head and cab, replaced tubes, sounds pretty good at least in gain channel. Clean headroom is an issue. Has effects loop which I use. This is a two channel amp with footswitch. I started out with a couple mod effects - TC Electronics Chorus and Delay. No brainer, those are end of loop. And my Boss tuner is first from guitar. Then I picked up a Fulltone OCDs, v4. OK, so that goes pre-amp, after tuner. Took me a while to figure out why turning up the "volume" was a big deal in the HT5 clean channel, but only altered gain/tone when I was already pushing the tubes in the dirty channel. Understand that now. But it left me without a "clean boost" for soloing while in the dirty channel. So... I picked up an Xotic EP Booster. I put it first in the effects loop. DIPed it to unity gain at default ('cuz the +3 dB was more noticeable than ya'd think) and now I have a nice adjustable clean (volume) boost. However... when used as a lead boost in the effects loop, I notice the EP Booster robs me of gain/distortion! It is not a subtle difference. So... I thought about switching the two effects - put the OCD in the loop as a lead boost and the EP Booster at front of chain, leave on for tone. Then I read "Thou shalt not place a gain pedal in the effects loop" in a few places. Grrrr. (So people don't put their Blues Drivers or OCDs in effects loops, after the pre-amp?) OK, so next idea. Buy an Xotic SP Compressor. Wasn't really to solve the above problem, heh, but sounded like a cool pedal. But where to put it? Everyone seems to say head of chain (after tuner). OK, let's try that. Hmm. Sounds good, real good, but I love that sound and wish it could be my lead boost instead of front-of-chain (so it adds volume not just compression). And I am still stuck with the distortion-swallowing EP Booster in my effects loop. So... I tried switching the Xotic effects. EP Booster head of chain, feeding the OCD, and the SP Compressor at start of effects loop. The SP does not swallow distortion of course, it sweetens it nicely. The SP does generate some noise but it isn't any worse in loop than it is at head of chain, far as I can tell. And the EP at head of chain - ooooooo. What I haven't tried yet is EP->SP->OCD.... Thanks for listening so far. To sum up my questions: 1. How can I use this setup to get a nice lead boost with same or more dirt but also more volume? Cant do that pre-amp when already pushing tubes, right? 2. Am I nuts to think about trying the OCD in the front of effects loop for that? (I have read that some folks have two, but again I see the votes against gain pedals in the loop) 3. Am I nuts for using the SP Compressor as lead boost in the loop (ahead of mods)? Seems to work very well tone-wise and I cant really hear a noise difference. I could get a noise gate later I guess and I keep the SP on "Lo" anyway. 4. Is it tone overkill to think EP->SP->OCD? EP would be on always, SP a lot, and OCD when needed for crunch. Doesn't solve my volume boost problem but maybe I'll figure that out based on other responses. Thought about getting an EQ but scared of adding noise. I was surprised the EP Booster sucked out gain/distortion when in the loop, really hoped that was going to be the lead boost I needed. Thanks for any and all observations/suggestions.