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I've just purchased an Orange Rocker 15 combo valve guitar amp and one of its features is a

valve driven effects loop

also referred to as a buffered effects loop.

What does this actually mean? I'm familiar with the "send/return" nature of effects loops but I've not come across the term "valve driven/buffered effects loop" before.

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The short answer is that it is for stomp boxes. Stomp boxes are normally designed to be put between the instrument and the amplifier so they have different levels than the (usually rack mount) effects that normally go into an effects loop. In order to allow the lower output from a stomp box to be used in an effects loop it needs special treatment. I would imagine by "valve driven" they just mean the make up output is supplied by valves, giving you a warmer sound to your stomp box effect loop in theory. If they wanted to be clearer they should have named it "stomp box effects loop". You can find a somewhat more detailed explanation at FX Loops Explained.

  • As I said, I'm familiar with effects loops, having used them before, but it was the "valve buffered" bit that was new to me. But I'd never thought about the output level of the pedals within the effects loop, so this has been very useful. That's a really helpful link too :) – Matt Jones Apr 4 '17 at 8:05

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