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Effects before or after amp?
Old 23rd January 2009
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rackdude's Avatar
🎧 10 years
Effects before or after amp?

Do you usually put the effects on your guitar, like a flanger, reverb, eq and compression, before or after the amp? Why is this your preference?
Old 23rd January 2009
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JustinAiken's Avatar
🎧 10 years
Comp > EQ > Amp > Flanger > reverb
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
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🎧 15 years
It's totally a preference thing - they are totally different animals.

By "after the amp" I presume you mean studio effects or plugins at mix time? This can be useful if you want a stereo effect from a mono amp. Although that's often not a good idea - multi layered tracks might be a better approach for some things.

Anything before an amp tends to add to the noise level, so it has to be high quality and worth it for the effect. Also, anything before an amp shapes the distortion characteristics. Some effects are best placed in an effects loop, to at least avoid the guitar preamp, and insert it at the power amp where the noise will get less of a boost.

Reamping gives even more options as to where & when to add effects ...

Many guitar effects are designed to go before an amp, and sound best used that way. But by all means try them at line level, or using level shifting gear such as reamps and D.I's to use them at mix time.

A wah into an amp sounds very different from a wah after the amp - the former being more crunchy and organic, the latter being cleaner and more cheesy/fake(sometimes I like cheesy/fake). For many effects, similar logic applies.

Many effects are giving a psycoacoustic ambiance effect with delays etc ... some of these can sound pretty bad after a mic'd up amp because the space of the original track doesn't sit right with the space created by the effect. Or it might be perfect - who knows without trying it?

The sound of a chorused or flanged guitar through an amp in a room sounds very different from an amp in a room being flanged or chorused ...
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