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Using Effects PRE or POST?
by TomR00 on 2013-03-17 12:26:31

Just ordered a HD500 from Sweetwater to go with my JTV69S-Gold-Korean.

I've had a XT-Live since mid 200X and decided to go up to the HD500 to see if the output is better. While I've been around effects and amps a long time, I have a question about effects PRE and POST.

What's the reason placing effects either PRE or POST, I understand that POST mean adding effects to the dry signal after the amp has shaped the tone. But what's the purpose.

Thanks in advance for any info on this.


Re: Using Effects PRE or POST?
by StephenSLR on 2013-03-17 16:48:26

There's variations in tone.

You don't put the effects post amp but some effects are placed post pre-amp by using your amps effects loop.

Usually effects like distortion will 'flavour' your amps pre-amp then you can add effects like reverb after the pre-amp through the feedback loop.  This combined signal then goes to your power amp for amplification.

It's also perfectly fine to place reverb before your pre-amp if you want, you'll just have a different tone and you may even prefer it that way.

Have a read through this:

Ithink the section on POD set up covers it but the rest is also very interesting.

There are so many possibilities, you have to find what sounds best to you.


Re: Using Effects PRE or POST?
by phil_m on 2013-03-17 17:00:44

The general rule of thumb is that you want modulation and time-based effects after distortion. So if you're getting your distortion from you amp (or amp model in the case of the HD500), you'd probably be better off putting things like choruses, delays, and reverbs in the post position. When you put those sort of things before a saturated amp, things tend to get muddy and gunked up sounding.

Of course, with almost all rules of thumb, there are exceptions. But for starting out, I think I'd stick with the conventional wisdom, find things that work, and then start experimenting.

Re: Using Effects PRE or POST?
by partytrain on 2013-03-17 19:06:40

If it sounds good, you're doing it right.  That's the only rule.

Re: Using Effects PRE or POST?
by hollis1003 on 2013-03-19 05:51:06

Post or Pre really is in relation to where you are getting the distortion in your chain.  That distortion can be from a pedal, the amps pre-amp, or a combination of both.  Some people use stuff between the distortion pedal and a slightly distorted amp (Paul Gilbert for example).

You have to think about the signal chain and how each piece effects the sound.  If you use a delay before distortion you will have your original clean guitar signal and the delayed sound hitting the distortion at the same time which makes it sound muddy.  In that scenario you are sending a lot of signal in to the distortion.  It's kind of like having two guitars plugged into the same distorted amp.  

Here is the best way I've found to describe it.  Using a distorted signal play two notes at the same time on your guitar, basically a two note chord.  The notes distort together.  If you have a harmonizer (which normally goes after the distortion) and you play a note, the harmonizer is playing the other note.  In this scenario you hear the two notes clearly, they don't sound like a big distorted chord.  If you listen to a Steve Vai song or Brian May you hear clear harmony because each note is distinct.  If you were to play all those notes together on a distorted guitar it would not sound like harmony, it would sound like a big fat distorted chord.  Hopefully that makes sense.

Here some examples of professional musicians and how they have things set up.

Tom Morello uses all of his effect in the fx loop of his JCM 800 and no distortion pedal.  It does not always sound like this however.  He has a wah, whammy, phaser, and other pedals all in that loop.

Paul Gilbert uses only pedals and they are all before his amp.  He uses a slightly distorted amp (Marshall Vintage Moderns mostly) and gets most of his distortion from a pedal (the fuzz universe).

Eddie Van Halen uses mostly pedals all in front of his amp, no overdrives or distortion, and uses a line out from the amp to go to his rack delays that he then runs into a power amp.  Only the delayed signal is going to two stereo cabs on the left and right of his mono guitar signal.  This is known as a wet/dry/wet rig.  He mainly runs it this way because if anything happens to his effects he will still have that mono signal in the middle cabinet.  This is very old school and has a lot to do with problems he's encountered in his many years of touring and gigging before being famous.

There are many other examples and infinte ways to set things up.  I would first look at the guitarists you admire and understand their signal paths to help with the sounds you want to replicate. 

Here are a couple of videos that are very interesting.  I also reccomend watching all the Premier Guitar Rig Rundowns.">

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