The effects loop (SEND & RETURN) terminals are indispensable for those who want to use spatial effects, those who use preamp pedals, those who use amp simulators and such, those who are focusing on sound creation in any way. These terminals are usually included on full-scale amplifiers in studios and clubs, but I also want to practice at home with the same connections as the actual ones I use live. I think there are quite a few people who say, "That's why I want a cheap, small home amp with an effects loop!"
This time, you can buy these for less than 50,000 yen (excluding tax). * I would like to introduce amp heads with effect loops. There are quite a lot of target head models, so I will narrow it down to the recommended models at my own discretion! * As of January 2021
■ Before that, what is an effects loop?
There are various names such as "effects loop", "FX loop", and "send/return", but they all refer to these terminals. The "SEND" and "RETURN" terminals are paired to form an effects loop. Simply put, it looks like this.
- SEND = Terminal that outputs the signal immediately after passing through the preamplifier circuit in the guitar amplifier
- RETURN = Input terminal to the power amplifier circuit in the guitar amplifier
I don't usually concern myself too much about it, but inside the guitar amplifier, the signal is transmitted in the order of input → preamplifier circuit → power amplifier circuit → speaker. It is enough to understand that the preamplifier circuit is a circuit that adjusts the sound quality of the guitar, and the power amplifier circuit is a circuit that amplifies the volume.
Therefore, the signal that is originally input to the power amplifier circuit through the preamplifier circuit can be taken out from the SEND terminal once before being input to the power amplifier circuit, and then returned to the power amplifier circuit from the RETURN terminal, so to speak, like a detour. By using these terminals, you can insert your favorite effector between the preamp and power amp on the signal path. Also, the signal input to the RETURN pin does not have to come from the SEND pin, but by connecting the output from another preamplifier to RETURN, it is also possible to use the preamplifier circuit of the amplifier is not used, using only the power amplifier circuit. This connection is useful when using a multi-effects unit that can be used with a modeling amp or an independent pedal-type preamp.
The introduction is lengthy, but from here begins the introduction of the title. I’ll list them in order of ascending price! Only representative models are introduced for models in the same series.
A palm-sized ultra-compact 5W head. It is equipped with an FX loop. This series has a rich lineup of variations targeting the sound of famous tube amps, and it's nice to be able to choose a character according to your tastes.
A popular pedal type head is now available from the ORANGE TERROR series, which is a pioneer of small heads! The basic functions are the same as the MICRO TERROR. It has a cabinet-emulated output for headphones and an FX loop, yet it is a convenient and cost-effective amplifier for less than 20,000 yen.
The MICRO TERROR doesn't have an FX loop, but MICRO DARK does! A cute little British high gain amp.
A small modeling amplifier. If you look at the amp model list, you can see that it is quite fulfilling despite the low price. And it’s playful because it can be used as a wireless speaker when connected to an audio device via Bluetooth connection. Even so, the fact that there is a display on the protruding section of the top plate is quite an original design.
A pedal type head that is popular these days. QUILTER was the first to catch the trend. Although it is compact, it has a 45W output and is also equipped with an emulated output. A convenient, multifunctional head.
A compact, low-output version of the standard studio standard MARSHALL / JCM2000 amplifier. Even though it is small, the edgy tone peculiar to MARSHALL and the sticky distortion unique to a full tube amp are overwhelming. I often use the standard JCM2000, and it is recommended most for those who want to make a sound at home similar to the one in the studio.
6W tube amp with unique controls. With the Texture Switch, it is possible to set three different high frequencies. The rich sound with 6V6 mounted power tube is attractive.
A boutique-style full-tube amp head from LANEY, the long-established British amp maker. With a switch between 15W and 1W, it’s ideal for playing at home as well as at small-scale live venues. I personally like the simple controls of the 1ch specs.
This is also a LANEY amp head. A modern high gain model. The British high gain sound with the box-sound feeling is attractive. It’s a little big, but it can be switched to 1W and that seems to be usable at home. Equipped with a lineout with emulation, it can be used in earnest for recording at home.
State-of-the-art solid-state amplifier from BOSS, which is familiar for its stomp boxes. This model features a unique tone preamp and a full range of built-in effects unique to BOSS. Apart from the FX loop, it is also equipped with LINE OUT and POWER AMP IN terminals, and it is recommended to combine it with a simulator pedal.
This series of amp heads makes the most of the advantages of solid-state power amps, "small size and light weight". It fits in the palm of your hand and boasts a 50W output. The distortion is a crushed sound peculiar to solid state. If you want to stick to your amp while minimizing the equipment you carry, this is for you.
RANDALL has a strong image of building solid-state high-gain amps, but their tube amps are also quite popular. The RD1H allows you to enjoy the dry, villainous high gain sound unique to RANDALL with a small output. The manly spec of 1EQ is also good!
CODE is a digital amplifier that could only be made by MARSHALL, and it is specialized only for modeling MARSHALL amplifiers. I think that Marshall enthusiasts should have one amp, and this head model is the only one that has an FX loop.
That's it. What did you think!? Since I started writing, I noticed that there are quite a lot of models with FX loops for heads. It seemed to be long, so I carefully selected and introduced only the recommended models.
If you find a model that is not available at Sound House or a model that is missing from the introduction, please feel free to contact us!