Connecting iphone to fx loop in guitar amp

Hello all

I am a recent user of both tonestack and bias. I have a full valve amp head set up with "bootique" pedals, but recently bought a cheap hybrid amp with effects loop and cab out to just plug and play with these 2 modellers. I have changed the preamp valve to a lower gain valve (5751) in order to squeeze as much tube goodness in the crunch channel (the clean channel on this amp does not use the preamp valve) whilst keeping gain down (I have gathered that a clean tone is essential for these 2 apps). However I recently heard that the best way to play my iphone with bias/tonestack (with a sonic port, with 1/4 guitar in and 1/4 out) is to go into the effects return directly. this will bypass the single valve preamp entirely of course. I would like to utilise the valve to get the best the best tone (I appreciate this is a topic of debate, some say valve preamps are a gimmick). Can I go:

Guitar to front of amp
Effects loop out > sonic port (connected to iphone)
Sonic port out> effects loop in

Thereby keeping the valve (yes, arguably) goodness of the single valve preamp (5751 - a lower gain 12AX7)?

Or do I have to not use the effects loop out, but go straight into the return, straight to the solid state power amp? it is a laney LV200 BTW

This amp will going into a 2x12 with celestion G65s so would disable the cab sims entirely.

As a pedal user I generally do follow the distortion/overdrive pedals in front, time based effects in the loop rule with my valve amp. Or should i just go in front with this practrice amp set up, bypassing the fx loop altogether? I have tried tried straight in front with my valve amp and was impressed. I will be using a wide variety of tones, from sparkly country to overdriven sounds.

Any further advice welcome, even though this thread covered a lot of what I was seeking

Thanks for reading

Comments

  • 9 Comments sorted by Date Votes
  • You get the best tones from this sort of hybrid setup if you use your amps for tube distortion(or with physical pedals in front if amp), send sound from fx loop to ipad, then turn off the preamp on ipad modeler, use only clean or slight crunch from modeler. For silent setup: use power amp(and possible pedals, excluding distortion) of the modeler, turn off amp simulation and load an impulse response to fiddlicator, load fiddlicator as iaa instrument to bias fx or tonestack. For setup where you want to play through guitar amps speaker: turn everything off(preamp, power amp, speaker sim, and keep only fx pedals on.

    Also you should have a good quality audio interface with low latency for this. I tried also with irig2 and it sounds completely horrible(as does everything else going through that piece of crap). Use measurement mode on ipad if possible and record guitars with lowest possible buffer size you can use without clicks and pops(turn everything else off if needed as its quite tasking for cpu).

  • Thanks ToMess

    I use a Line 6 Sonic Port Audio Interface, which connects to my iphone 6 lightning port.

    You say "send sound from fx loop to ipad, then turn off the preamp on ipad modeler, use only clean or slight crunch from modeler." so is that to say I have a lead from my effect loop send jack to the sonic port input (where i would usually plug in the guitar if playing with headphones) and have my guitar plugged in front of the amp? Ie nothing plugged into the effects return? Or do I also plug the output from the sonic port into the effects return jack?

  • @bpdarragh said:
    Thanks ToMess

    I use a Line 6 Sonic Port Audio Interface, which connects to my iphone 6 lightning port.

    You say "send sound from fx loop to ipad, then turn off the preamp on ipad modeler, use only clean or slight crunch from modeler." so is that to say I have a lead from my effect loop send jack to the sonic port input (where i would usually plug in the guitar if playing with headphones) and have my guitar plugged in front of the amp? Ie nothing plugged into the effects return? Or do I also plug the output from the sonic port into the effects return jack?

    If you dont plug the cable to return(only send), then you get no sound from guitar speaker(some fx loops do have balance knob that lets you send sound from speaker, even with no cable connected to return). When you send from fx loop, you get the preamp sound only to ipad(in which case you should turn preamp sim off), this is desirable if you want to use virtual power amp and cab and dont want your amp to make noise. If you want to play through your amps speaker, the disable preamp, power amp, speaker sim and connect the out of interface to fx loop return.

    Guitar amps have preamp before fx loop, and power amp(and ofc speaker) after the preamp. And you dont want to have any of the 3 components twice in the chain. Or well, two preamps can work, but if you can get enough overdrive from your amp, then there is no need for virtual preamp. But you could try using some clean or very slight crunch preamp on the sim program with your hardware preamp. It might be worth trying out, and ofc you can play with two of the other components as well, but its most likely not worth it.

  • Good man, thanks ever so much. Will let you know how it worked out if you are interested?

  • Actually thinking about it I do want to use the amps (inc the distortion of these amps) in BIAS FX and not the distortion of the amp. I had changed the preamp valve so that it does not overdrive as soon with the gain up. I will disable the speaker modulation, and the preamp in BIAS on the amp, and see how it works using the FX loop method you kindly described.

  • edited June 2017 Vote Up0

    @bpdarragh said:
    Actually thinking about it I do want to use the amps (inc the distortion of these amps) in BIAS FX and not the distortion of the amp. I had changed the preamp valve so that it does not overdrive as soon with the gain up. I will disable the speaker modulation, and the preamp in BIAS on the amp, and see how it works using the FX loop method you kindly described.

    @bpdarragh said:
    Good man, thanks ever so much. Will let you know how it worked out if you are interested?

    Well i use my amp like this everytime i hook guitar to ipad(unless i hook mic to it to record amp as is), so i have tried how it works out :)

    Basically digital distortion is not on the same level as analog. Distortion is one of the hardest to simulate of all effects. Digital distortion can sound good, dont get me wrong, but it suits better for synths than to guitars imo, as its not as natural sounding distortion(or as naturally reacting to lighter or stronger touch) than what you get from real tubes. Even something like a tube screamer in front of clean sim sounds a lot better than using distortion from bias or other amp sims.

  • Cheers. I will try various permutations (iPhone in fx loop both send and return. iPhone in fx loop, return only. iPhone in fx loop, send only - even though this is unlikely to work. Will turn off and on post and pre in bias and see how this works. Then All of the above, but with low/no distortion on iPhone with the amp distortion only -actual amp that is. Finally just the guitar into iPhone which then goes in front). I hope I can work a way to use the bias fx amp models as they are huge and with the amp matching as well it would be a shame to not make use of it. Will send you my findings. Thanks for your time in letting me know your experiences in this. Bryan

  • Came across this excellent video:

    Even though Tonestack, sure the same applies to a lot of apps

  • Hi Tomess

    Ended up going into front of amp in the end. With the new lower gain valve I can run into the gain channel which is quite clean and plenty loud, and sounds nice. The delays, verbs etc all sound good (I dont play massively distorted stuff). Going into recive only didnt seem to work, and when in send and recieve in fx loop, just sounded awful, as you suggested it would. For some reason I cannot seem to decide if I like keeping cab sims on or not. But that is just in the laney 1x12 combo. I am going to hook up the combo to my 2x12 cab and see how it sounds then. Thought you might be interested. Thanks again. Regards Bryan

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