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Is it safe to run from main out to the front of an amp?


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Through my experimenting with various setups, I've found my optimum so far is running from the main out (left) into the front of my amp (a tube amp:  H&K Tubemeister18).

Running the amp out signal into the front of the amp produced very poor quality weak sound, with the effects muddled and terrible volume.

Running main out to the amp (front) produced great sounding effects at good volume. Great sound: similar to what I was hearing through phones, but with "live" sound through my speakers.

The question has arisen whether it is safe to run the "main out" signal into the front of an amp (tube or otherwise)?

It also works for me, with no noticeable difference in volume or tonal quality, to run the main out signal into the return side of the effects loop on my amp (nothing plugged into the front of the amp).

I wasn't sure how safe this actually was. I opted for using the front input jack on the amp.

Anybody out there with knowledge of tube amps and/or the difference between the "amp out" and "main out" signals on the FX100?


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Further update:

I have continued to experiment with running the main out signal versus the amp out signal.

So far, using 3 different amps (H&K Tubemeister18, Marshall MG100DFX, and ZT Lunchbox 200) the only way that works anywhere close to acceptable is running the main out (Left side/mono) into the front of the amps (on the Tubemiester, it also works the same running into the effects return jack on the back).

If I run the signal from "amp out", all 3 amps have to be turned up very loud just to get a sound, and the tonal quality of the effects is horrible.

Running the main out into the front jack of all three amps produces good sound from all three amps.

The effects sound great, and the volume is as loud (or louder) than if I run the guitar directly to the amp.

I have found that I get better sound if I turn the tone controls (especially treble) on the amps down very low.

One thing I am not having great results with is the wah pedal.

It seems to always be way too trebly, no matter what effect I am using.

I understand that a wah pedal is designed to take the treble from high to low: this is why it sounds like it does.

But compared to other wah pedals I've used, the high end is way to shrill and not pleasant to listen to.

I'll keep playing around with it.

My new question is: what is the "amp out" for?

I have yet to find a use for it that works.

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There will be different opinions on whether are not it is "safe" to run the main outs into the front of the amp.


But you may get a better sound out of the wah's (in case you don't know, there is more than one wah to choose from) if you run the main outs to your amps effect loop return.


The amp out I think is best suited for amps that have no effects loop. It is similar to selecting "combo amp" from the xt/X3 series in the "what are you connected to" options. Also, plunging a cable into the amp out disables all guitar sounds going to the headphones and main outs, but allows music streamed from the player.

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  • 6 months later...

I am having a very similar issue with an amplifi fx100 to a crate stereo combo amp. I was running from the amp out directly to the stereo-in the back of my combo amp so there's no effects on the amp running. It was working fine for 3 months until a few days ago the signal got a lot less "hot" and the effects just suck. I tried swapping guitars, swapping cables, moving the amp and pedal to different areas of the house (to mitigate electric interference since I just set up a lot of electronics near where I usually play) to no avail. The only way to get the good sound now is to use the Mono(left) output, although I'm still plugging it into the stereo-input on the back of the amp. It's not the amp, the cable, or the guitar. Is the amp-out jack failing? Like I said it used to be a good connection and now it's weak. 

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musicmaing: that is very interesting to say the least. It makes me wonder if there is something to your question: Is the amp-out jack failing? Perhaps the issue in my case (and possibly others having trouble finding a use for "amp out") is that it never worked like it was supposed to in the first place! (like yours did for 3 months). Line 6 has never really come up with a good explanation as to what the difference is between "amp out" and "main out". I honestly haven't played much with the FX100 lately, as I've been occupied with other projects (and pedals). I also became a bit disenchanted with it because I couldn't find, or achieve, some of the sounds I was hoping to find (always looking for that mind-blowing tone/effect!). I'm coming close with a new Blackstar amp I recently bought (HT-5R tube combo amp). It has one of the best sounding overdrives I have ever found in an amp. Combined with other effects, it is amazing. I love that amp. It's super compact, but sounds (and looks) amazing. It's a British amp, supposedly made in China. But the quality of the components and way it's put together are very solid and high-end. Mine's a "limited edition" white model with chrome corners and a real leather handle. Looks great as well as sounds fabulous through the on board 12" speaker. Plenty of punch, too. It's my new go-to amp. I have not tried running the FX100 through it yet. Maybe I should give it a shot. I'll report back.

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