The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is a modern Fender amplifier that uses tubes for both the preamp and the power amp. Unlike vintage Fender tube amplifiers, the Hot Rod Deluxe uses a solid state rectifier, giving it a more modern sound. As a modern amp, it offers higher reliability than a vintage amp, with the advantages of the unique sounds of both preamp tube and power amp tube clipping and compression. Like many modern tube amplifiers, the Hot Rod Deluxe offers an effects loop for digital or analog signal processing.
Location of the Effects Loop
The effects loop in the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is located between the preamp and the power amp. In modern amplifiers, most of the distortion is created in the preamp tubes. If you use time-based effects, like delay, phasers, or flangers, placing them before the preamp will result in distortion of the processed signal. But placing those effects in between the preamp and power amp will help create a cleaner signal.
What Should Go in the Loop?
Although there is no hard and fast rule, placing time-based effects in the loop will create a cleaner sound. This is not necessarily a better sound, but it is technically not as distorted. Effects that often go in an effects loop include digital delays, analog delays, phasers and flangers. In some cases, placing a compressor in the effects loop will create a different sound than placing it before the preamp input. Because there are no hard and fast rules, experiment. Put different effects in different positions and listen to the differences in sound.
Unlike many other amplifiers that label the effects loop with "Effects Send" and "Effects Receive," the Hot Rod Deluxe labels them with with their position in the amplification chain. The "Effects Send" is labeled "Preamp Out" on the Hot Rod Deluxe. The "Effects Receive" is labeled "Power Amp In."
Plugging in the Effects
To use effects in the effects loop, plug a patch cable from the Preamp Out jack into the input of your first effect. If you are only using a single effect in the loop, plug the output into the Power Amp In jack. If you are using more than one effect in the loop, chain these effects together by connecting the output from one to the input on the next effect. Plug the output from the last effect into the Power Amp In jack.
The effects loop can also serve other purposes. If you are playing a large venue and don't wish to use a microphone in front of the speaker, you can run the Preamp Out to a larger Public Address (PA) system. In some cases, a line from the PA channel can be routed back to the power amp to allow for stage sound volumes. More complex sound reinforcement setups will send the preamp signal to a mixer on one channel, then back to the amplifier. The sound technician can them add a microphone to the speaker of the amp and mix the two signals to create a better house sound, while giving you the natural sound of the amplifier on stage.
- vacuum tube image by Alexander Maksimov from Fotolia.com