Input clipping / distortion

Hey all,

Firstly, I’m new and still figuring out the pedal, so I wanted to get some input into the best practices, or how others are using it in a signal chain. Thanks for your patience!

Right now I’m using the dwarf primarily for AIDA / NAM, and direct monitoring on my interface. I’ve got a bunch of dirt pedals in front of it… my thinking was that using an amp sim would be similar to other one - by pushing the input I could saturate the amp etc…

I’m finding the input is easily going into the red though resulting in a lot of distortion.

I’ve dropped the input gain volume as low as it go and can now play hard but I’ve found I need to compensate this with tinygain in the sim itself, and my headphone volume up super loud. This isn’t ideal.

Is this normal behavior?

I’m not putting anything super heavy in front of the pedal, I’ve tried it with a notaklon, pure sky and a KOT knockoff… all at low gain. I know any fuzz pedal I use is really going to hit that input hard and isn’t going to sound good.

Any guidance appreciated!


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in the Dwarf (I’m assuming you’re using a Dwarf), you can adjust your input gain settings. One of the big learning curves with the Dwarf is gain staging, and there are lots of ways to do it, and lots of places to adjust things. It takes some getting used to!

He already wrote that ge dropped the input gain drastically. So, how’s your answer supposed to help? :thinking:

@jimmymc23 you can’t drive the input of a digital device like that of an analog one. The AD converters will basically cut the high signal values of resulting in nasty distortion. If you have different experience from other devices, they probably use a more sophisticated input section, where - I guess - the max gain “0dB” is below the limit of the converter and properly considering this in the levels in the software…

Long story short, I think it doesn’t make sense to try driving an amp sim with a hardware drive pedal. Better use one inside the dwarf


this is my setup when boosting with a tube screamer.
I have the input set to -6dB. The amp reacts exactly like I’m used to with the real amp.

You have to be selective with the NAM/AIDA-X profiles from other sources. Some tend to behave different.


Read it twice and still missed it! You’re right. I guess I parsed that as lowering the gain from the device before the dwarf.

Thanks all.

I’ve found that reducing the input gain is sounding great with various drives into a clean or crunchy amp profile, with tinygain at the input and before output to boost as necessary. There’s a little extra work on setting the pedal volume, but I’m very happy with how it’s sounding.

I’m mostly planning on using the dwarf for practice, I love how easy it is to quickly load a pedal board and just play.

So far I’m having a great experience with AIDA-X and NAM, using the portal plugins, and with my modulation pedals between the AMP and the Cab, effectively using input 2 / output 2 as an FX loop.

Very happy with how it’s sounding and excited about doing some experimenting!



I do exactly this! It’s a great way to incorporate physical modulation effects post-amp.

Glad you got it all sorted :slight_smile:


Now see! I am glad you wrote how you use input/output 2 for your FX loop. I hadn’t thought of that. Do you have a stereo split going into 1 and 2 and then put 1 and 2 out into different input jacks on an amp or PA? I have been looking for tutorials that explain these types of setups, but haven’t really seen any yet. I’ve played guitar for 40 years, but have always used analog distortion, compression, chorus and delay into my super reverb. So setting up pedalboards on my duo x has remained pretty linear due to the lack of education on anything else. Some of you who are “power users” should consider setting up your own youtube channel to share how to videos with us less aware types.

I’m setup with all my dirt pedals going into the input 1. After input 1 (depending on what I’m doing) in the mod, I’ll have either an amp or more effects, then put a portal, and output that into output 2. Out 2 goes into a chain of a few modulation effects, then into input 2, which then goes into more modulation effects, reverb or a cab, and then to output 1.

This goes into an active DI to my interface, and I use the ‘thru’ output to my amp.

Works great, and sound great.

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That’s even more interesting than I was imagining. When I purchased my duo x I gave all my for pedals to my son figuring I’d find everything I need inside the mod. I wasn’t wrong really. Now I’m thinking maybe it would be easier to come out of the duo and into my physical boss looper. Also, I just assumed you’d want a dry signal going into the mod device. That seems unnecessary now as well. Time to reinvent my sound apparently😃

I can’t live without some of my pedals, this setup gives me a huge amount of flexibility.

Have fun!