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I'm curious, is it possible to use a preamp head in the effects loop of my combo amp?

The chain would be: guitar -> combo amp in -> effects send to preamp -> preamp out to combo amp return -> power amp

Would it damage either the preamp or combo amp in such a combination?

Specifics: Can I use a Behringer Ultragain Pro Mic2200 preamp in the effects loop of a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe? (There are probably loads of tone related opinions about whether it should be done, but I'm just curious whether it can be done)

  • As long as the preamp in the loop has matching wattage and impendance you should be fine (I'm no pro, though). But why would you not just leave the combo's preamp out like this: guitar -> head preamp -> combo amp return -> cab. That way you'd only use the combo's cab, ignoring the comob's preamp. – Godzillarissa Dec 2 '14 at 9:21
  • Could you be more specific - what are the two units in question? Do you actually want to cascade the two preamps (internal and external)? What is a "preamp head" - is it a rack-mount preamp? – jonrsharpe Dec 2 '14 at 10:26
  • @jonrsharpe yes it is a rack-mount preamp and I do want to cascade them – naudec Dec 2 '14 at 14:35
  • What make/model of combo amp and preamp? – jonrsharpe Dec 2 '14 at 14:36
  • @jonrsharpe Fender combo, Behringer preamp, but does this really matter? Like I said, I'm just curious... – naudec Dec 2 '14 at 14:37
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Yes, you can use that preamp in your combo's effects loop. The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe has a series (vs. parallel, so no blending for you), line-level FX loop over unbalanced connectors, which the Behringer UltraGain MIC2200 can certainly handle. You will have to set the UltraGain to LINE (vs. MIC) mode to use the jack input.

I would start with the UltraGain's OUTPUT control in the middle position (0dB, on a range of +/-20dB), and increase slowly at first. It can provide a significant boost, but note that this is in-line with other boost pedals (e.g. MXR Micro Amp provides +26dB). You will be driving the power amp tubes harder, which will provide a different tone to overdriving the preamp (as you would with a boost before the amp's input).

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