Originally Posted by ryrysweetiepie
now my understanding is that the pedals in an amps effects loop shouldn't suck tone, because effects loops have a lower amount of signal required than the guitar intput on the amp (or something like that?). is this true? i have also heard of having a buffered effects loop on your amp. is that something that every effects loop should have?
as suggested, read up on buffering and true bypass. Once you're at line level, driven by the amps preamp no tone sucking should occur from mismatched impedances and such.
I don't see how you could have a non buffered fx loop on an amp, perhaps we're talking about serial v parellel loops? Alternatively some amps are advertised as "tube-buffered fx loop", meaning they use tube for buffering, but that doesn't mean the other amps don't have buffered loops, just that they're solid state.
and also, i think the theory of an effects loop is good sometimes, but completely contradicts itself other times. the whole idea is to put the modulation and timebased effects after the gain from the amp. so they put a send and return jack between the preamp and the power amp because in theory the gain and tone comes from the preamp tubes, and the volume comes from the power amp tubes and therefore the mod and time based effects have been put after the gain and tone in the amp.
well for me and many other people, the power amp plays a huge role in the tone and gain of my amp. i have a marshall 1987x reissue, and really the only way to get gain is from the power amp. therefore, the mod and timebased effects are not put after the gain stage of my amp. so is me putting these effects in the amps effects loop even serving a purpose? the whole theory just seems wrong
you have a point and guitarist have tried to address this in several ways,
for example running the power amp pre effects:
overdriven power amp out-> attenuator->fx-> dedicated clean power amp
or using a three-way stereo set-up:
preamp -> overdriven mono power (center)
preamp fx out -> fx-> stereo clean power amp (left&right)
or miking the poweramp and using mixing board effects (both studio and live)
IIRC Vai has used the last option. Mustaine the first set-up and Satriani the second, Extremist-era.
The question is do you need this, perhaps if you're used to running the 1987 at volume 7-10. Those who do not run their poweramps at such volume won't really need it and even if you do, the type of poweramp distortion (sag and compression) will not interfere as much with time based effects as preamp cascaded gain would. Which is why loops make sense for a lot of people.