Some modern high-gain amps are designed specifically to create extreme yet controllable preamp tube distortion by cascading multiple gain stages, with gain and master volume controls between each stage to control their individual drive levels. Used in this way, preamp tubes can produce a scorching, harmonically saturated lead tone that sustains all day—what we usually hear as a classic shred or contemporary rock tone—in an amp that relies on its output tubes to amplify the sound rather than add further distortion to it. When driven into distortion in a simpler, more basic amp with fewer gain stages (a category that might nevertheless include some very high-end, “boutique” tube amps), preamp tube distortion becomes just a part of the amp’s overall distortion character and is blended with clipping at the phase inverter and output stages (and often at the speaker, too).


The number of TUBE STAGES provides a straightforward yet effective way to instantly manage the overall gain amount. The more tube stages, the more cascading gain stages and the more gain.


The distortion knob is an extra control that adjusts the amount of distortion in the selected tube stages. It provides greater resolution to fine-tune the distortion—the break-up point—to match various amp designs.

The Preamp section is adjusted using the “TUBE STAGES” and “DISTORTION” dials. 

Select how many “TUBE STAGES” you would like:

  • 1 will give you a Glassy sound
  • 5 will give you an Overdriven High Gain sound.



Then adjust the “DISTORTION” knob, to dial in how much you want to drive the preamp section.


The BRIGHT | NORMAL switch allows you to add more top end frequencies to the preamp section before it goes to the Poweramp. This is really helpful in designing your amp and can help shape the sound of your tone in a very subtle way.


Was this article helpful?
6 out of 7 found this helpful
Need More Help? Contact Us