When effect pedals are needed in a musical arsenal, there are important things to be considered. A distortion pedal gives a bit of dirt to a guitar, creating a higher dimension. It also brings that little crunch to the sound. Trying out different guitar tones is an exciting activity. But with the numerous amplifiers entering the market, it is not easy to choose a guitar amp that works well with distortion pedals.
It is important to get the right pair in order to dial as desired. There are no binding rules when it comes to this and sometimes all that’s needed is to allow the ears to do the selection. However, there are the best general principles that govern the relationship between guitar amps and distortion pedals.
Here are our recommendations of guitar amps that work best with distortion pedals:
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Our Amp Recommendations
Understanding the Various Types of Distortion
Before buying a guitar amp, it is good to have an idea of the type of distortion that is needed. There are different kinds of distortions for different music genres and styles. Some pedal models that were designed in the 60s and 70s can drive big tube stacks into distortion. They produce horrible sounds on mids scooped amps or bedroom amps. But they are very smooth on mids boosted Marshall and compressed amps. Understanding how distortion work ultimately helps in choosing a guitar amp that works well with distortion pedals.
Compressors, preamps, wah-wah, and distortion pedals increase the gain but do not change the sound. Since distortion units create harmony to the signal, any extra effect tends to increase the intensity pf the sound. The wah-wah pedal is an active EQ circuit featuring a variable range that can produce a lot of effects. So, it works well if placed before or after gain-boosting amps like distortion units and preamplifiers.
Size of the Venue
Depending on the venue, a head and cabinet or a combo amp may be used. A head and cabinet are separate and heavier units but a combo is set of all-in-one. Combos are well suited for small halls and club dates since they are designed to give the power that is just needed to be heard even at the back. For an open area or a huge auditorium that requires sufficient sonic firepower, a high-powered stack of about 100W head and 4 x 12-inch cabinet is ideal. A small amp can still work to add a specific tone but should be connected to the PA system via a mic amplifier circuit. Of course, the PA should handle it.
They offer the most desirable attributes regardless of the requirements. From a high-end amp, tube-powered combo, to a basic unit, they deliver just any tone when combined with a distortion pedals. They also double as great studio amps. The stronghold for modelling amps lies in the ability to produce everything from full overdrive to clean rhythms along with other fundamental effects like flange, chorus, delay, reverb, and phase. Moreover, they eliminate the constraints of adding a makeshift for a certain tone range.
The size of the speakers determines the type of sound that is produced. The frequencies of small speakers are higher than those of large speakers. For instance, a 10-inch speaker generates a better top end compared to a 15-inch counterpart. In fact, a 4 x 10″ open-backed cabinet sounds different than a 2 x 12″ closed cabinet because of the discrepancies in sizes. Yet, these two can have different sound characteristics for blues players such as smooth and searing tones. For a big rock sound, a 100-W head with two 4 x 12″ cabinets would be great.
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Distortion pedals differ from overdrive pedals in the sense that they are more aggressive. An overdrive solely drives the amp or imitates the cranked sound but a distortion brings a totally different effect to transform the sound system. It doesn’t matter how soft or hard the guitar plays- most distortion pedals give the same sound effect. Simply put, they do their job really well, that is, distorting the sound. Because they are common with heavy rock, they darken the output and boost signals with regards to the sound set up. By compressing the signal, distortion pedals allow people to enjoy more the sustain sound that eventually breaks into feedback. Throwing a solid state amp with high-gain sound is a great idea for heavy metal music.