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A while ago I got a speaker cab simulator pedal, a Mooer Radar, and now I'm looking for a feasible distortion solution. Usually, what I've seen is, is that the signal chain looks like this: Guitar -> Amp -> Mooer Radar -> Audio Interface.

I wanted to get a simple distortion pedal, so my signal chain would look like this: Guitar (active pickups) -> Distortion Pedal -> Mooer Radar / Speaker Cab Sim Pedal -> Audio Interface.

I'm inexperienced when it comes to guitar gear - so would that setup work?

Edit: I use my setup mainly for playing along or playing random stuff, so post-processing (e.g. VSTs) aren't really helping here (due to the delay they impose).

Edit2: Personally I'm inclined of getting something along the lines of: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0179ZQW0K/?tag=dnulgn-20 (MXR EVH 5150) - although the EQ is overkill, since the speaker sim pedal already has a very good (graphical even) EQ.

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Yes, you probably do need something ahead of the Mooer and you probably have several options, including:

  • Clean boost pedal
  • Compressor pedal
  • Distortion/overdrive pedal
  • Other amp/boost/drive pedals

I can think of two options that would likely be very powerful. First, a distortion pedal that has two modes, or even better, two different distortions in one pedal. Fulltone makes a few different models like this, for example. This way you could set up a lower gain distortion for your "clean" sound and then kick on the other one set for more gain to have a sort of two-channel setup. Another way to do this would be to have a regular distortion pedal going into a clean boost pedal. I've used a compressor as a preamp before and I don't recommend it, but it could do in a pinch.

Another way to go would be to get an amp sim pedal of one kind or another. The Tech 21 Character series are great analog pedals that do reasonable recreations of famous amps and you can record right from them. They do include speaker simulation but you can turn that off and use the Mooer. Basically, any "amp in a pedal" solution that doesn't have speaker sim or has speaker sim that can be turned off would be a good option.

Note that the bass/mid/treble in a distortion pedal and the graphic EQ in the Mooer do different things. The Mooer EQ is like a final tone shaping step. The bass/mid/treble on distortion and amp pedals actually changes the character of the distortion because they are almost always before the distortion stage.

Mooer makes a ton of different preamp pedals that certainly will work well with their own speaker sim pedal.

  • They do include speaker simulation - That's the problem I have right now: I've got a Tech21 SansAmp GT2 which has speaker simulation built in, and no (obvious) way of turning that off). But basically, if I understood you correctly, you're saying that the panel I posted in my second edit would do? – Johannes Feb 27 '18 at 16:08
  • @Johannes By "panel" do you mean "pedal"? – Todd Wilcox Feb 27 '18 at 16:12
  • Sorry, yes I ment pedal. – Johannes Feb 27 '18 at 16:13
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If you're doing this for the purposes of recording, ie, not for live performance, then you likely don't need a pedal. You can apply the distortion within the computer. Doing so allows you more freedom to manipulate the sound you're getting. When you use a pedal on the way into the system, you are stuck with that sound (unless you do another take). When you add the effects in the software, you can change all the settings and add or remove effects as you wish. So typically the only time that you'll see people using effects on the way into the system is when they have a really good or really specific sound they're going for and don't intend to make changes in the software.

Other than that, your signal chain looks like what I would recommend. You usually place those types of effects before the amp (or amp simulator in this situation).

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    The asker wants to use a cab sim pedal instead of doing cabinet simulation in the software, and it would sound unusual to apply distortion after the cabinet simulation. So really your first paragraph is tantamount to recommended the asker get rid of the cab sim pedal and buy some amp sim software instead. I personally prefer analog amp and cabinet simulation (a la Tech 21) outside of the computer over amp sim plugins by a wide margin. – Todd Wilcox Feb 27 '18 at 15:58
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    Hm that's what I was thinking. I'm not only using my setup for recording though, but also for "playing along" songs. My experience with VSTs is, that the delay hit is way too hard to have the post processing running while playing. – Johannes Feb 27 '18 at 15:58
  • @ToddWilcox - A very good point you make! I guess that slipped through on me. – Basstickler Feb 27 '18 at 16:01
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    @Johannes - The latency can certainly be an issue to deal with. If you're not able to get better gear, then a pedal is definitely a good idea. Ultimately it sounds like a pedal is the right choice, now that Todd reminded me of your intentions. – Basstickler Feb 27 '18 at 16:02

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