Author Topic: Multi effect vs stomboxes + preamp pedal  (Read 637 times)


Multi effect vs stomboxes + preamp pedal
« on: May 18, 2022, 02:48:32 AM »
Hi, so im really interested in getting pedals, but i live in a small aparment and i can only play with headphones, i have a laney cub12 that is juts sitting there cause is too laud even in the 1w input.

So my question is, would it be worth it if i get single pedals and a preamp (i was thinking in the joyo american sound) and the preamp to headphones, or it won't make much if i get a multi effects like the zoom g3x?

I lean more towards single pedals, because i like the hobby and i feel more in control, but it would be a longer journey getting all the pedals i may want, and much more expensive (even tho it would be a very pleasing journey :) ), but if it won't make much difference sound wise, it would be cheaper and faster to get the zoom g3x.

Im not sure how the preamps pedals sound with headphones.

Also, a good clean sound is want i want the most.

I hope i made myself clear, and feel free to correct my english, as im trying to get better in the language.

Thank you!


Re: Multi effect vs stomboxes + preamp pedal
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2022, 04:01:57 AM »
Hello and welcome to the forum!
First of all I'd like to point out that these options are not mutually exclusive! You can use your own pedals along with digital multieffects so you can benefit from the advantages of both: complete control over the sound (in pedals, like you said) and massive flexibility plus access to effects that are difficult to DIY like cabsims, complex modulation, pitch shifting, delays and reverb (in multieffects). Higher-end units like the G11 have one or two loops that allow you to insert said pedals wherever you want in the virtual pedalboard.
I understand it's a matter of cost, but keep in mind that components are cheap, it's the enclosures and footswitches that make up most of the expense. So if you only use your rig at home and it doesn't need to survive touring you can be creative in avoiding those costs. Here's my broke college kid board from when I was starting out, in 2008:

On a second note, while the JOYO American Sound (and the others in the series) has a primitive form of cabinet simulation, its output can't drive headphones directly so you'd need a headphone amp (easy enough to DIY).

A third option would be to use DSP on your desktop/laptop or even smartphone, with dedicated apps like BIAS, Guitar Rig, AmpliTube, POD Farm, Guitarix etc. or roll your own set of effects from VST plugins. Lots of freeware options nowadays.
Does the circuit sound better when oriented to magnetic north under a pyramid?


Re: Multi effect vs stomboxes + preamp pedal
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2022, 06:34:12 AM »
Hi & Welcome, also.. :icon_wink:

You can build a realy cheap and plain headphone amp, like the one below, for your purpose..

The above proposed just to get an idea - there are better designs and better ICs for that use.. :icon_wink:
"I'm getting older while being taught all the time" Solon the Athenian..
"I don't mind  being taught all the time but I do mind a lot getting old" Antonis the Thessalonian..

Toy Sun

  • Great Contributor!
  • ***
  • Posts: 103
  • Total likes: 77
  • ::: John S ::: Seattle, WA :::
Re: Multi effect vs stomboxes + preamp pedal
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2022, 01:07:39 PM »
Here's my broke college kid board from when I was starting out, in 2008:

FiveseveN, you gotta walk us through that board! What - is that Tupperware box holding? Inquiring minds want to know.


Re: Multi effect vs stomboxes + preamp pedal
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2022, 02:56:44 PM »
Hi and welcome

I use a preamp followed by a cab sim/head phone amp.

I built Deadastronaut's Astrosim as it has a built in headphone amp. I built mine on veroboard, but you can also buy a pcb from Deadastronaut. Here's the thread: Brew some coffee first, it's a long thread....

There's also simpler cabinet simulators you can combine with a headphone amp. Check out this thread: There's a few simple ones. I built the most simple one as my first cab sim.

BTW, your English is excellent!

"Rick, your work is almost disgusting, it's so beautiful.  Meaning: it's so darned pretty that when I look at my own stuff, it makes me want to puke my guts out."


Re: Multi effect vs stomboxes + preamp pedal
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2022, 03:10:04 PM »
Iíll second the Astrosim. There are 2 versions and Iíve built both. The small one without the XLR connection gets most use as itís permanently wired into my workbench
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein


Re: Multi effect vs stomboxes + preamp pedal
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2022, 03:21:44 PM »
I like my Astrosim too; it packs a lot in a small package! Welcome Phil.
MXR Dist +, TS9/808, Easyvibe, Big Muff Pi, Blues Breaker, Guv'nor.  MOSFace, MOS Boost,  BJT boosts - LPB-2, buffers, Phuncgnosis, FF, Orange Sunshine & others, Bazz Fuss, Tonemender, Little Gem, Orange Squeezer, Ruby Tuby, filters, octaves, trems...


Re: Multi effect vs stomboxes + preamp pedal
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2022, 03:48:01 PM »
As mentioned by some of the others, there are alot of options and you're not stuck to just one or the other. Having said that I think it really worth thinking about immediate vs long term needs/goals, cost, flexibility and your expectation regarding tone...but also where you plan to use your gear. Like just at home for personal use, jamming with friends, playing gigs, at church, etc.

One option if the immediate goal is to be able to use heaphones is to simply get a small amp that has headphones. I have the Positive Grid spark amp at home that has built in fx, amp model for acoustic, electric and bass and has headphone's also a bluetooth speaker. There are also many different amp/cab simulator pedals that have headphone outs, like the strymon iridium, Walrus ACS1 and a number or others, or as other have mentioned there are a variety of modelers out in the market like the line 6 stuff....but you kind of need to figure out what you need via your signal chain. For example although some amps, modelers, cab sim pedal have an FX loop, many do not, so you need to decided if an fx loop is importation to you. If you're running your amp clean and doing everything with your pedals, it's probaly not as important, but if you're wanting to crank up the preamp to get the overdrive through the amp, or use pedal in front to push the amp harder, but you need time based or modulation fx after the preamps stage, than an fx loop might be more important...

I just got an Walrus ACS1 for when I play at church, so that I can go direct into the board, but I place my time based FX (delays and reverbs) after the ACS1, so if I use the headphone out on the ACS1, I won't hear anything after it, since there's no fx loop. I also used to use Line 6 POD HD 300 in the past, but it didn't have an FX loop, and I found that the signal chain was too limiting. I like to stack overdrives, and sometime stack 2 delay pedals, but this wasn't possible with the HD 300.... That's why I say take the time to figure out first what your need and expectation are first.

Also if you go with something like the JOYO american, keep in mind that this is only the preamp section of the amp and that you don't really get the speaker cabinet emulation part of the amp...just something to think about.

Almost forgot to mention, some of the amp/cab sim pedals while they produce great amp like tones when plugged in direct, have many users that say the that headphone output aren't as clean and can tend to be noisy.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2022, 04:30:32 PM by jrbilodeau »


Re: Multi effect vs stomboxes + preamp pedal
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2022, 04:00:31 AM »
I'll vote for the AstroSim too (let's keep it in the family!).  And I'd also go with the coffee suggestion.  Rob doesn't do short threads...  :icon_wink:
Ohm's Law - much like Coles Law, but with less cabbage...