Using an Amp as a "Pedalboard"?

I’ve been browsing gear, as you do… particularly as I’m looking to get some new pedals and a new amp. I’ve been looking at the Rocket Bass Combos mainly, but then I watched a review of the Darkglass Microtubes 500 v2 and had a completely different thought process.

The DG MT 500 v2 is effectively a lot of pedals rolled into one. It has:

VMT Pedal
B3K Pedal
Hyper Luminal Compression Pedal

It has EQ, Cab Sim, Aux-In, Footswitch Control, Headphone Out, Speaker Out, DI XLR Out, Effects Loop…

It has SO much stuff built into it.

So then I was wondering about actually bringing this around with me to jams and such and using it as a “pedalboard”. Yeah, I know you don’t have quite as much instant physical control as a physical pedal, but I’m not stressed about that. In the software, you can change things like the compressor settings, which cab-sims are loaded, etc.

So, would it work to carry this thing around with me everywhere? Just want to make sure I’m not doing something dumb. :slight_smile:

Here are some pics of the front and back:


I think this is also something for the Darkglass Electronics thread. :slight_smile:

This head is really nice and checks all the boxes. The biggest thing for me is that it even can do firmware upgrades. So they can just change/add functionality like the DG Element.


It’s pretty much what I plan to do!

I will use the compressor in the amp, the possibility to add some fuzz/OD and otherwise bring one modulation pedal. The amp I am looking at also has a tuner built in.

These modern amp heads fit into a little bag and are easy to carry along. Of course, you’d need a cab as well for some playing/gigging situations…

One question for you is, of course, whether you like the effects that are built into the amp!


I’m also trying to figure out if this can go into another Amp or Combo. I do plan on using it with a cabinet, but was just curious as sometimes it may be convenient if I can do this. What I was wondering is if I use the Effects Send to go into another Amp/Combo? It says the volume doesn’t control the effects loop, which is fine (I think), but I’m not seeing the effects loop on the block diagram, so can’t tell if it is before or after the other parts in the chain. Or would there be a smarter way to do this if that’s what I wanted to do?


Hm, I only know that the effects loop is between the pre-amp and the power stage. I am NOT an electronics expert, but my guess would be that where it says “pre out” and “power in” is where the effects loop would be added!?!

As for connecting to another amp… I will let more knowledgable people chime in :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


I personally don’t see why you want to use an other amp if you can use the DG PA. But you can read a lot of info about slaving in that thread.


Yeah, I’m also guessing it is where it says “pre out”, which would mean it gets all the goodness added. I did just notice though that it looks like you only get to hear the Aux Input through the headphones (based on the diagram). That’s kind of a bummer. Even more of a reason to send the signal to another amp that takes Aux In through to the speaker.

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I think this diagram is a bit more complicated because there is a lot of digital stuff happening as well. I really can’t imagine that the aux input will only go through the headphones.

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I think the caveat I would have here is the same as I have with combo amps. Basically, if this amp head is your effects, then you’re out of luck if you want to change amps.

Now, upgrading this amp seems unlikely - it’s a great amp - but you never know.

The really useful thing I see here is (either of) the pair of microtubes effects and the compressor can be used to give this amp a really nice tube-like tone, even without the distortion kicking in.

So it looks like a killer amp to me, but I wouldn’t think of it as replacing pedals, but instead sort of enhancing them by having great drive and tone on the amp.

Same - It sounds like slaving will work for him over there but it seems categorically worse to me in all ways to just using this 500W amp to drive a couple cabs. Is there a reason you want to do this?

One reason I could guess is if you had a dedicated space with an amp and cab already there and didn’t want to lose your effects - and that’s exactly the issue I was describing above, where discrete pedals are a more flexible and attractive option to me.


So, the reason I’m asking about this is because I play at rehearsal studios a lot with others. I don’t bring anything except my bass and pedals with me most of the time. As to what they have there to plug into, it’s a bit of pot luck, but is usually a head/cab or a combo. I’ve not encountered a PA yet.

So, that is why I’m asking these questions. I’m not worried about home use as that’s all sorted with a cabinet. It’s just when I play elsewhere and don’t want to bring a cabinet. Effectively, I’m asking to use the MT500 as a pre-amp I guess. If they have a head/cabinet, then obviously that’s easy as I just plug into their cabinet (unless that’s a risk). But even easier would be to use TRS out from the MT500 and treat it like a guitar signal.


While I think this is an awesome amp and I could see myself buying it, there’s lots of awesome amps in that price range, and in your use case I would rather have discrete pedals and an amp at home that just had a tone I liked. Then you just take the pedals with you.

But YMMV, and it’s not like the Microtubes 500 is heavy.


Okay I see what you are getting at. Afaik your FX loop doesn’t does include your preamp or your loop has some pre/post switch. Someone shared a video how FX loops work but I can’t find it now. Typical!

I would actually ask DG about this. I mean it’s cool if you can use the compressor and VMT/B3K in your send signal. That diagram should contain where the FX loop is at and I still think the aux input at the headphone amp is weird too.


FX loop should be post (between the preamp and power stage, so after the preamp), unless switchable pre/post.

Aux In going only to the headphone out totally makes sense to me. It works that way on other stuff sometimes; Ampeg SCR-DI, etc.


I’ve asked Darkglass about all of this. I’ll let you know what they come back with, assuming they reply.


From the manual:

“AUX IN: Use this connector to provide to the
Headphone output music from your laptop, cellphone,
mp3 player, etc.”

so yep, headphone only.

Looks like they put the master volume after the effects loop, yay. No idea what Fender and Ampeg are doing there on their combos, but it makes no sense to have the master before the effects loop.

Looking at the block diagram, pretty sure the fx loop is POST (pre out/power in) and looks parallel to me.


Does that mean if I use Effects Out into another Amp that it will effectively function as a Pre-Amp/Pedals. I understand it won’t have Aux Input mixed in.


I think this should work like you think. Probably best to run it in to the effects return of the other amp like described in the thread @Paul linked.

I’d still go with discrete pedals instead myself, but there’s no doubt this is a killer amp head.


Well, it’s actually quite a bit cheaper this way then buying all the individual pedals, but I understand I lose some flexibility.


On my (non DG) amp the send is also POST preamp. So like Howard said it should work like you think.


Regardless of whether or not you use it as effects out into another amp, that would be a fantastic bass amp to own. A few people here have them or have owned them, you could ask them.