After the tone has left the guitar through the cable, the pre amp it the thing, that influences your tone the most. The pre amp add it`s destinct color to the tone. That`s a certain amount of distortion (ranging from nearly clean to heavy distortion) and some kind of equalizing/filtering (even whn the bass, mid and treble knob are adjusted to a mid position).
The best position in the device chain for effectls like reverb, chorus etc. is between the pre amp and the power amp. It doens´t make much sense to get an expensive high end effect and distort it, if it`s wired befor the distortion device (the pre amp). Thus many guitar amps have an effect loop. Unfortunately on some of them the fx-out signal is too hot for most effects - that might not necessarily destroy the effect, but it leads to another distrotion in the input stage of the effect unit. And that`s the least suitable place to generate distortion.
Even if you don`t have a separate pre amp, there`s one built in every guitar amp.There different sorts of pre amp, transitor or solid state pre amps and tube pre amps.
I absolutely favor tube pre amps, since tubes have a warmer sound and a smoother distortion, which you just can`t get from transistors.
There are a couple of pre amps available and most of them aren`t bad. What pre amp you like best is actually a matter of your personal taste. I have tried out different makes and personaly prefer the Hughes&Kettner ones.
I have two older models that are discontinued. The Tubeman, which is an AC adaptor powered kind of pedal and the Tubeman Plus, wich is the 19" rack mount unit on top of this page. The tone adjustment works slightly different from that of the (plain) Tubeman and it is midi controllable.
Both have the same patented one tube preamp circuit, which provides a variety of sounds from clean tube to heavy distrotion. A nice feature is the biult in speaker/cabinet emulation. That makes a nice recording amp out of both Tubemen.
Actually the GSP-2101 is a pre amp too, the reason, I have not listeted it here is, that it is so much more than just a pre amp.
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Last modified on Friday, 2. January 2009