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JimDiGritz

Pre-amps - any tips?

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I've spent the last few years using Helix, but have never played a real amp (unless you count a few minutes at a Guitar Center).

 

Whilst I conceptually understand the various physical stages in an amp (signal, pre amp and power amp) I'm not sure what a Pre-amp as a separate block in Helix can actually do. 

 

I've used them as an alternative to a drive pedal in front of the Amp block with mixed results - am I missing some interesting?

 

Cheers

 

 

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Preamp is mostly used in 4 cable method with real amp. Otherwise just run a preamp as a pedal, before your main modeled amp.

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The pre-amp models are exactly what the name says, they are pre (before) the amp (power amp).  Originally and even today with mic level signals they are meant to amplify the low level instrument input to a level that the power amp can use to amplify the signal. They were originally meant to be clean and just amplify the low level instrument or microphone signal. Some people found that if they "over drove" them that they could have a desired coloration (or distortion) of the sound.  For guitarists this meant the pre-amp became a part of the character of the whole amplifier by including EQ controls (also known as tone stacks) as well as intentionally distorting the input signal.

 

Many of today's drive or distortion pedals are really emulating or inventing their own specific guitar pre-amp. Personal I use them when I go into the return of my guitar amp's effects loop. This lets me have the pre-amp color or sound of many amps I don't own but still have the amp in the room sound from my amp's power sections and speaker.

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Cheers guys, since I'm only using studio monitors and headphones I'll continue to experiment with pre-amps as essentially just another selection of drives!

 

 

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