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Using Riverside as a Preamp

Our Riverside multistage drive is a versatile pedal that provides a wide range of sound and is a great addition as an overdrive/distortion on any pedal board.  But did you know that you can also utilize Riverside’s flexible tonal options as 2-channel preamp direct into your amplifier’s power amp or into the front end of a clean amplifier?

Riverside In Front of AmpUse Riverside as a preamp in front of your amplifier.

Use Riverside as a preamp into the Effects Return of your amplifier.

Use Riverside as a preamp into the Effects Return of your amplifier.


1 Pedal, 2 Channels

To use Riverside as an always on, 2 channel preamp, you can set 2 different tone settings on the pedal for the manual and Favorite preset.  First, dial in the sound you would like to use as Favorite preset (such as a crunchy or distorted sound) and store that by pressing and holding down the Favorite footswitch for a few seconds.

Riverside Multistage Drive
1. Dial in your Favorite setting on Riverside. 2. Press and hold the Favorite footswitch. 3. Release footswitch after a few seconds.

Once your Favorite preset has been saved, dial in a completely different sound with the knobs and switches of the pedal (such as a clean tone) to use as  your manual setting.  Now you can toggle between the 2 channels on your Riverside by pressing the FAVORITE footswitch.

Riverside Multistage Drive
LEFT: Saved knob and switch settings for Favorite preset. RIGHT: Actual knob and switch settings for the non-Favorite setting.

Using other pedals with Riverside as Preamp

Riverside can be used to be your primary tone sculpting tool using its analog JFET and ‘DSP tube’ gain stages to be your ‘always on’ preamp on your pedal board, enhancing any clean amplifier with harmonically rich and tonally complex sounds.  This allows you to treat Riverside as the front end of your amplifier running any effect pedals you typically use in front of your amp such as compressors, additional overdrives, and modulation effects directly into Riverside.  These effects will sound and operate just like they would when placed in front of an amplifier.


The signal chain after Riverside’s output section on its way to your amplifier can also be used as your ‘effects loop’ to place additional effects like delays and reverbs you would normally use within the effects loop of an amplifier.  With this setup, you would no longer have to route long cables back and forth to and from your amplifier’s effects loop jacks.


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7 Responses

  1. Hey, thanks for the post Hugo. I have been using the riverside as my preamp into the Iconoclast, with decent results. This is mainly used for headphone practice!

  2. I purchased a Strymon Riverside through previously owned from a different party. Can I register the pedal if I needed any repair work or if anything malfunctions? I understand my two year limited warranty may have expired.
    Todd Snider

    1. @Todd – Unfortunately, warranties are non-transferable, so you pedal is no longer covered. Also, for future reference, we don’t do any kind of registration for warranties; just keep your original sales receipt from an authorized dealer.

  3. I’m sure this is a YMMV question, but what are your thoughts about placing the Riverside first in the pedal chain?

    Few benefits I thought of:
    1. EQ and boost to your guitar’s raw signal
    2. Noise Reduction happens before gain staging, making your entire rig noiseless! Whereas the threshold would vary if you placed the Riverside after your gain stages.

    1. @Justin – This will work just fine as many players use it this way. Riverside has a powerful EQ which really helps to shape the tone of your guitar’s signal. One thing to note is that the Noise Reduction is active only when the effect is active. Works great as an ‘always-on’ tone shaping tool.

  4. Hi Hugo. I need a banda! I bought the Strymon Riverside pedal and I don’t know if I accidentally did any programming on it. The issue is that when I turn on the Riverside both channels LEDs are off. When I press the Switch “on” both LEDs light up, Favorite also lights up with the switch On. And when I press Favorite it turns The switch On to off. How can I reverse this?

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