Written by resident Tone Wizard, Simon Frazer-Clark 


When it comes to getting a great tone out of a valve amplifier there is one thing every player can do, regardless of the tone you are trying to achieve, and that’s to make sure you present the amplifier with a good, strong signal.

If a guitar sounds good going directly into an amp, it’s going to sound even better if the amp is driven a little harder.

Hitting the front of the amp as hard as you can is important and the first point at which the signal is amplified determines a lot of the signal’s subsequent characteristics.

The best way to achieve this is to “boost” the input signal using some form of clean boost pedal (Like the Black Country Customs Steelpark), or even better buy an amp with a clean Pre-Boost built into it – such as the Laney Ironheart range.

The Ironheart range was designed to give players the best tone possible from the outset.

The onboard boost function delivers the exact amount of gain you are looking for to create the tone you are after.  Whether that’s a dynamic clean tone or a full-on singing lead tone – hitting the front end of the amp harder helps.



A word of caution – Ironhearts pack a huge amount of gain and since the output of guitar pickups can vary dramatically between makes and models, it is important that you listen to the signal you are dialing in. Adding too much gain into the front end can cause the signal to become oversaturated and end up in the first preamp valve being pushed beyond its optimum operating environment.  The result, the signal compounds!  As a player, you hear this as the guitar note briefly collapses in on itself before expanding or blooming in level. 

If you hear this then simply back the gain on the Pre-Boost control down a little and the compounding should vanish.

It does not matter which channel on the Ironheart you are on: – clean, rhythm or lead you can switch the Pre-Boost function in at any point.

Happy playing and remember ‘boost responsibly’!