Volume boost for amp without an FX loop

MichaelAndrew3435

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What do you guys use for a good volume boost if you have an amp with no FX loop? Yes, I know you can put a boost in front of an amp, but I’ve had mixed results by doing this. I want more of a volume boost without thickening the tone. I can do this by putting a boost pedal in an effects loop very well. But what about an amp with no FX loop? Is there a particular pedal or method to achieve what I’m after?
 

DaveR

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I fought this issue for years and I wound up selling an amp that had no effects loop, because I wanted to have a volume boost for solos. My old Mesa Dual Rectifier had this as a built in feature and I got spoiled by it.

Unfortunately, I don't know of any way to get a significant volume boost without having it in the loop (on a tube amp). Digital amps get around this easily enough, I've done it on a POD HD500, an old Rocktron Voodoo Valve and an AxeFXII.

You can do things with a volume pedal that has a minimum volume setting in front of a tube amp, but that tends to clean up your signal significantly as well.

Good luck!
 
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rxbandit

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You could do the "underdrive" trick - use a drive pedal/EQ that has volume that you can cut below unity. Your rhythm tone would be when that pedal is on and you when you turn it off you get a volume boost (untethered amp volume).

I also use amps with FX loops for that very reason, getting a significant volume boost for solos without one can be tricky.
 

Pappy58

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Never found and FX loop I really ever cared for. Take everything through the front. I have a EB volume pedal I use and "underdrive" trick per @rxbandit , sometines, but playing out it's my pinky on guitar controls. I!

Then you always have the amp modded and add the loop. Good luck!
:beer:
 

rxbandit

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Never found and FX loop I really ever cared for. Take everything through the front. I have a EB volume pedal I use and "underdrive" trick per @rxbandit , sometines, but playing out it's my pinky on guitar controls. I!

Then you always have the amp modded and add the loop. Good luck!
:beer:
I use my volume controls on my guitars constantly live but I've never found it to be enough of a volume boost for solos in a two guitar band (especially during heavier songs). Clean boost in the loop fixed all my frustrations, pretty much is a "must" for me for any amp I'm considering using live.
 

ErictheRed

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"Underdrive" works very well, and is how some of my favorite players got their tones in the old days, and I used to copy them: J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr, for one. Otherwise there's really nothing else that you can do, you either have an amp set clean with a lot of headroom and a boost in front (David Gilmour style), or you have a way to boost the power section without the preamp section (effects loop or built-in boost). There's no magical solution.

This is probably the main one reason that my Mesa Triple Crown has become my #1 amp for playing with the band, I can't even go back to single channel amps without Solo boost features or effects loops anymore, after years of playing with a Hiwatt (or Hiwatt clone). Are the cleans nearly as good as the Hiwatt? No way! Does everything else just work basically perfectly, including the exact volume balance I want between clean, mild overdrive, classic crunch, brutal metal, and solos? Yes! And that makes it hard to go back to anything else, especially in a cover band when you have to get a lot of different sounds quickly.
 
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Pappy58

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"Underdrive" works very well, and is how some of my favorite players got their tones in the old days, and I used to copy them: J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr, for one. Otherwise there's really nothing else that you can do, you either have an amp set clean with a lot of headroom jand a boost in front (David Gilmour style), or you have a way to boost the power section without the preamp section (effects loop or built-in boost). There's no magical solution.

This is probably the main one reason that my Mesa Triple Crown has become my #1 amp for playing with the band, I can't even go back to single channel amps without Solo boost features or effects loops anymore, after years of playing with a Hiwatt (or Hiwatt clone). Are the cleans nearly as good as the Hiwatt? No way! Does everything else just work basically perfectly, including the exact volume balance I want between clean, mild overdrive, classic crunch, brutal metal, and solos? Yes! And that makes it hard to go back to anything else, especially in a cover band when you have to get a lot of different sounds quickly.
Yeah I'm totally lost in the dark age of configs. Blended two channel amp (Tweed, JMP etc) with just few pedals. Right now I have FT2, TC verb, rotosim and a crybaby. Volume controls and rate of attack are controlled at the guitar.

I've had a couple Mesa's with loops, tried a boss modeler, Never really got to what I like and way more complicated than what i got.

OP, the only advise I think is before you start spending money, experiment widely with what you already have.

:cheers2:
 

MichaelAndrew3435

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You could do the "underdrive" trick - use a drive pedal/EQ that has volume that you can cut below unity. Your rhythm tone would be when that pedal is on and you when you turn it off you get a volume boost (untethered amp volume).

I also use amps with FX loops for that very reason, getting a significant volume boost for solos without one can be tricky.
Hmm, I don't know if this would work if I was using only one OD pedal in the front of a single channel amp. Perhaps I might be able to get by with a small volume increase since I'm the only guitar player in my band.
 

ErictheRed

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Hmm, I don't know if this would work if I was using only one OD pedal in the front of a single channel amp. Perhaps I might be able to get by with a small volume increase since I'm the only guitar player in my band.
You can use a very transparent overdrive or boost, and set it to have a volume dip instead of a boost. Don't use a Tubescreamer, but something transparent (I used a Colorsound Power Boost clone by Buffalo FX, used to use an original but sold it because they got to be so valuable). So yes it's an extra pedal, but it shouldn't color your tone at all. I'm sure that there are a lot of pedals that can be used this way.

You just set the Level/Volume knob below unity volume and that's your normal volume, then turn off the pedal and that's your boosted volume. Not complicated, you just need to find a pedal that doesn't color your tone.
 
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freak

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One of my amps is a fender dual reverb. No effects loop. I have a two channel pedal, specifically, the Friedman be od deluxe.
One channel for rhythm, one for leads. Set volume and gain to taste (one channel has les gain then the other).
I found this to be the perfect solution.
 

pedecamp

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What do you guys use for a good volume boost if you have an amp with no FX loop? Yes, I know you can put a boost in front of an amp, but I’ve had mixed results by doing this. I want more of a volume boost without thickening the tone. I can do this by putting a boost pedal in an effects loop very well. But what about an amp with no FX loop? Is there a particular pedal or method to achieve what I’m after?
Look at the Mad Professor Evolution Orange Underdrive ( wow I never realized how long its name is) I use one with my Marshall 2204. If you have a smaller budget look at the EHX Signal Pad. If you have a bigger budget look at the Bad Cat Unleash. :yesway:

The Mad Professor has a TMB EQ, this is the best pedal in my opinion, the EHX has a single knob, the Bad Cat is an attenuator with 2 footswitchabe volumes and effects loop built into it. Choose what ever budget you have. :yesway:
 
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MichaelAndrew3435

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You can use a very transparent overdrive or boost, and set it to have a volume dip instead of a boost. Don't use a Tubescreamer, but something transparent (I used a Colorsound Power Boost clone by Buffalo FX, used to use an original but sold it because they got to be so valuable). So yes it's an extra pedal, but it shouldn't color your tone at all. I'm sure that there are a lot of pedals that can be used this way.

You just set the Level/Volume knob below unity volume and that's your normal volume, then turn off the pedal and that's your boosted volume. Not complicated, you just need to find a pedal that doesn't color your tone.
I see now. I do have a the little EX boost pedal and it doesn’t color the tone. I could give it a try with my Boss OD pedal.

Off topic, but how well does your TC-50 take OD/distortion pedals? You ever try to use it for direct recording? Not really interested in using it to record direct, but it would be cool if it could do it well. From my experience, amps with onboard load boxes don’t sound very good for direct recording, but I’ve never tried it with a Mesa.
 

ErictheRed

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Off topic, but how well does your TC-50 take OD/distortion pedals? You ever try to use it for direct recording? Not really interested in using it to record direct, but it would be cool if it could do it well. From my experience, amps with onboard load boxes don’t sound very good for direct recording, but I’ve never tried it with a Mesa.
I think that it takes them very well in the clean channel. I use things like a Wampler Plexi Drive or Marshall Bluesbreaker style pedal for lighter overdrive, and use the other channels for higher gain, so I don't know how well it takes higher gain distortions. It handles my Big Muff just fine (TWSS). It's no Hiwatt, but it has Bass, Middle, Treble, and Presence controls as well as Gain and Master volumes, so you really should be able to dial in or out whatever frequencies you need to be able to mesh with a pedal.

On the other hand I've never used the direct out. People at TGP complain about it though (what don't they complain about?), so it may not be the best amp for direct recording. If I was doing a lot of direct recording, personally, I would pick up a dedicated unit that I could use with all of my amps, something like a Suhr Reactive Load, but I can't personally recommend anything.

I just know that for live playing, the Triple Crown has been a revelation to me, so much so that I've been using it over a vintage Hiwatt (which I recently sold), Suhr Badger, Blackface Fender Vibrolux (also sold), and Blackface Pro Reverb (which I would use if I didn't need as many different sounds, like in a straight Americana style band). It's really hard to go back to the old days of using pedals and a single channel amp, even though I did that for 20+ years prior. It's taken some getting used to (my first Mesa product), but it's now very easy to use and is practically a 6-channel amp (each channel has a toggle switch for a Vintage or Modern voicing which really changes things a lot). It's a perfect amp for me, and I play anything from harder classic rock like Zeppelin to pogressive stuff like Pink Floyd to The Pixies and Dinosaur Jr and REM to Alice in Chains and The Foo Fighters to harder blues based rock like The Black Keys and Royal Blood to metal like Pantera, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, and Katatonia. It handles all of this really well. It's hard to imagine another amp that is as versatile to me, at least versatile within the rock genre.

Edit: I know that I sound like a sales rep or something, and I don't mean to. I'm sure that there are other amps out there that would also work for my application, I'm just saying that after chasing vintage gear forever, trying to nail the David Gilmour sound and Paul Kossof sound for two decades, I don't see myself going back. This amp just works in a way that vintage stuff often wouldn't, and I'm not struggling to find the sweet spot or dealing with big volume jumps or drops because I didn't set my pedals up just exactly right or because a knob on my board got turned slightly (the Big Muff was famous for doing a disappearing act), etc. Sure, vintage gear sounds better when the moons align and everything is perfect (or when you can play mostly clean), but this amp just works night after night with no hassle.
 
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MichaelAndrew3435

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I think that it takes them very well in the clean channel. I use things like a Wampler Plexi Drive or Marshall Bluesbreaker style pedal for lighter overdrive, and use the other channels for higher gain, so I don't know how well it takes higher gain distortions. It handles my Big Muff just fine (TWSS). It's no Hiwatt, but it has Bass, Middle, Treble, and Presence controls as well as Gain and Master volumes, so you really should be able to dial in or out whatever frequencies you need to be able to mesh with a pedal.

On the other hand I've never used the direct out. People at TGP complain about it though (what don't they complain about?), so it may not be the best amp for direct recording. If I was doing a lot of direct recording, personally, I would pick up a dedicated unit that I could use with all of my amps, something like a Suhr Reactive Load, but I can't personally recommend anything.

I just know that for live playing, the Triple Crown has been a revelation to me, so much so that I've been using it over a vintage Hiwatt (which I recently sold), Suhr Badger, Blackface Fender Vibrolux (also sold), and Blackface Pro Reverb (which I would use if I didn't need as many different sounds, like in a straight Americana style band). It's really hard to go back to the old days of using pedals and a single channel amp, even though I did that for 20+ years prior. It's taken some getting used to (my first Mesa product), but it's now very easy to use and is practically a 6-channel amp (each channel has a toggle switch for a Vintage or Modern voicing which really changes things a lot). It's a perfect amp for me, and I play anything from harder classic rock like Zeppelin to pogressive stuff like Pink Floyd to The Pixies and Dinosaur Jr and REM to Alice in Chains and The Foo Fighters to harder blues based rock like The Black Keys and Royal Blood to metal like Pantera, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, and Katatonia. It handles all of this really well. It's hard to imagine another amp that is as versatile to me, at least versatile within the rock genre.

Edit: I know that I sound like a sales rep or something, and I don't mean to. I'm sure that there are other amps out there that would also work for my application, I'm just saying that after chasing vintage gear forever, trying to nail the David Gilmour sound and Paul Kossof sound for two decades, I don't see myself going back. This amp just works in a way that vintage stuff often wouldn't, and I'm not struggling to find the sweet spot or dealing with big volume jumps or drops because I didn't set my pedals up just exactly right or because a knob on my board got turned slightly (the Big Muff was famous for doing a disappearing act), etc. Sure, vintage gear sounds better when the moons align and everything is perfect (or when you can play mostly clean), but this amp just works night after night with no hassle.
100% with you on direct recording. I prefer to use my own load box. The built-in boxes from my experience always feel like their missing something. And don't worry about sounding like a sales rep LOL. I've asked you about this amp numerous times because I've been intrigued for quite some time. I'm just weighing a few other more affordable options at the moment.

I'm kind of building an at-home studio and I wanted to get a new amp to use that I can setup for playing loud. I have a couple amps right now I could use, but they're like my "bedroom" amps because I have them all setup to sound good at lower volumes. Some people will probably laugh, but I don't feel like spending several minutes tweaking all the settings for rehearsal play and bedroom play. Once I get the settings to my liking, I try not to touch a single knob. I also just want a Mesa and an excuse to buy a new amp lol.
 

LPMarshall Hack

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My other guitar player uses an EQ up front. Just slides the volume slider up a few. Works perfect.
 

ErictheRed

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My other guitar player uses an EQ up front. Just slides the volume slider up a few. Works perfect.
But you're still hitting the front end of your amp harder that way. It works great if you have headroom, but if you're out of headroom you just compress and overdrive, not get louder. And depending on the amp, the low end can get really mushy and flabby (like a lot of old Fenders).
 

Big John

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I borrowed a stock JMP one time for a live gig; ie. no loop. Had the preamp dimed so no headroom left for solo volume boosting. The monitor guy to the rescue. He had a homebrew passive A/B footswitch that had one XLR in and two XLR's out. So the speaker's mic signal got split to two channels on both the monitor and FOH mixers, with the solo channels set a smidge higher for both monitors and mains. So when I needed to solo, I just step on the button and the louder channel on both mixers clicked on. Easy peesy.
 
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rxbandit

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I borrowed a stock JMP one time for a live gig; ie. no loop. Had the preamp dimed so no headroom left for solo volume boosting. The monitor guy to the rescue. He had a homebrew passive A/B footswitch that had one XLR in and two XLR's out. So the speaker's mic signal got split to two channels on both the monitor and FOH mixers, with the solo channels set a smidge higher for both monitors and mains. So when I needed to solo, I just step on the button and the louder channel on both mixers clicked on. Easy peesy.
That is actually genius, I love it
 


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