The signal chain would be

Guitar --> Tube Amp --> Loadbox+Cabsim-Line Out --> Delay Pedal --> Powered studio monitors

Normally if the amp had an effects loop everything would be the same except delay would go into effects loop.

Would having delay after cab-sim ruin it? Would it sound different if the delay was in effects loop?

2 Answers 2


Would having the delay after the cab sim ruin it? No

Would it sound different if the delay was in the effects loop? It depends.

It depends on what kind of delay you are using and how it is changing the audio besides the actual delay portion. The power amp and speaker (or cab sim) in a guitar amp are kinda like an effect, sort of like a fixed EQ and compressor. And the order of effects usually matters.

When you hear delay on a record, it usually has one of two overall kinds of sound quality. Sometimes, especially on recording from the 60s and 70s, the delay is part of the guitar signal chain and it usually sounds a bit grittier. The guitar sound was delayed before going through the amp and then that sound was recorded. Any panning or EQ or other processing done during mixing tends to make the delay sound like part of the guitar tone and less like there's a canyon behind the guitarist echoing what they play. The other sound became more prevalent through the 70s as multitrack recording and mixing became more powerful. This is delay added by the engineer after the microphone has picked up the amp sound either during the recording or mixing stage. This kind of delay usually sounds cleaner and clearer and the repeats can be panned, EQed and otherwise processed separately from the main guitar sound, creating more of a distinction between the delay and the guitar tone.

If you put the delay after the cab sim, it can sound more like a studio delay, which certainly can be a good thing depending on what you're going for.

Effect order tends to be personal and also part of each players style and sound. Do it the way that feels good to you and don't worry about what other people think.

  • 1
    What you're saying is right, but I think for different reasons. Putting a given delay before the cabinet does not in itself make the delay sound grittier, only 1. when multiple delay-voices mix before an all-tube amp's power stage, you get intermodulation. A bit of that usually sounds quite good (unlike preamp/distortion intermodulation, which makes full chords sound so muddy in distorted settings). 2. the tape machines of Hendrix' time were much more lo-fi than newer studio delays 3. when using FX sends, you can get delay with much broader stereo than anything before the amp. Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 16:11
  • I think gritty is not a well-defined term in this case. Regardless of exactly why or how, it will usually sound different. Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 17:24
  • I'm going for liquid power-tube saturated *cleanish*(high gain, without dirt) lead-sounds. Would it work well for that purpose?
    – JBeurer
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 19:50
  • Try it and see! Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 20:23
  • @JBeurer: definitely; this kind of sound works best with digital delay & reverb after all nonlinear stages. Chorus/flanger can go in FX loop if you want. Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 20:23

You can put a delay almost anywhere in the effects chain without difference. The one thing where it makes a difference is with time-dependent effects.

You will not notice much of a difference with automatically running time-dependent effects like a Wah-Wah. But of course you'll notice with any "effect" involving yourself: a volume pedal or other control, or a monitor output. Depending on the amount of delay, it will be very noticeable whether those are before or after the delay. For a musician, it's probably best to have the delay come after everything he gets to hear and/or control. Unless you are doing things like echo play intentionally.

  • 2
    This answer seems self-contradictory. Did you mean you can put effects almost anywhere except time dependent effects such as delay?
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 7:36

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