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Old 11-06-2012, 05:11 PM   #1
Ian_the_fox
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Silent recording with a tube amp...

Now before I start, I want to say this: DO NOT, and I repeat DO NOT tell me to just buy a digital modeler or modeling software. I'll have you know I have played and heard almost all of the well known ones (Pod HD's, Eleven Rack, Revalver, Guitar Rig, Poulin, etc.), and I don't care what you think, but they DO NOT sound like tube amps to my ears.

I don't care what high dollar "AXE FX PRO POD" thing you wanna say is so amazing, they're STILL NOT TUBE AMPS. I want tube sound, and nothing gives tube sound like a tube amp.

They sound close, sure, but they still don't act or feel like tube amps. There's still something lacking with them in a mix that only tube amps have. They're not organic, and they don't react as well to your playing or pickups.

I already have the sound I want with my current rig, and I don't want to downgrade to digital quality.



That said, I'm still looking for a solution to record without bothering people, while still using a tube amp. It's not needed right now, but I know the time is coming that I'm going to be living in an apartment with paper thin walls and a night shift-working neighbor who sleeps all day and hates all music that isn't Jingle Bells.


Recording a live tube amp in that situation is impossible. Why? Even at the lowest volume settings, tube amps slice through walls like bitches. I don't know what the science behind it is, but I just know from experience it works that way. Probably the same reason why they sound so organic in a mix while SS and digital amps don't.


That doesn't mean I can't still capture the sound of my amp, though. Here are several options I've been looking at:

-Either getting a GOOD isolation cab or building an isolation box that'll fit at least a 2x12 with some breathing room. The second would obviously be space consuming, but worth it if it works and I can still get perfect sound. My only question is how would I carry it out?

- Investing in this: http://www.two-notes.com/boutique/l...0673800040.html

How to get one in the US? I don't know yet. It's supposed to be a professional load box AND cab simulator, which is exactly what I need. Only problem is that they're astronomically expensive.

There's also just getting a run of the mill loadbox (Hotplate) and using impulses in a VST, but those are most likely not as good of quality.



Oh and before answering with anything, read the first four paragraphs again, if you would. Thanks.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:16 PM   #2
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Isolation cab is your best bet.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:21 PM   #3
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Some loadboxes will have a line out, but I can't say how good the quality would be.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:23 PM   #4
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Impulse responses will be better quality the a cabinet sim and offer a buttload more of versatility. The cab sims are more useful for live use.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:28 PM   #5
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http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Engineering_Acoustics

Start with Part 2, Section 2, Chapter 1, Part 5.

Or get a Kemper Profiling Amp. (Yes, I read ALL of what you posted, don't even pretend you could tell the difference in a blind test...)
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:30 PM   #6
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Tube amp plus a loadbox doesn't sound nearly as good as an Axe-FX. To be honest I think the Axe-Fx should be the first choice in this situation. An iso box is bulky, and it is NOT silent. Even a really good loadbox and speaker sim doesn't sound as good as the Axe. Neither of them even come close to the versatility of the Axe, either.

Plus, with either of those systems you're running at least through a board and more likely through some sort of DAW anyway. Basically, if you want any flexibility out of a silent rig at all, you need to run it through a DAW, and at that point you might as well go for the all-in-one solution that is the Axe-Fx. There's a reason they're so popular, most tellingly among the traditionally snobby TGP and studio engineer set. They really do work.

Like Arby said, I think you're fooling yourself if you think you could tell the difference in a blind test. If you're telling us that you can hear the difference between an 11 Rack into some midrange AKG headphones and your 6505+ at full tilt into an Orange 4x12, yeah, no crap. That's a feeling, not a sound.
I've done reamping through a hotplate, had a few MASS units, had a Palmer PDI which is generally considered the best analog loadbox out there, basically anything you could name, and I think the Axe II is by far the best tool out there for silent recording. Discounting it because it's digital is preposterous to anyone who's actually used one. There are quite a few legitimate reasons not to get one but none of the ones listed in the first post apply.


Last rant: It really seems like you're complaining that a bunch of things "aren't tube amps" while in a situation that basically demands that you take your tube amp and plug it into a whole bunch of stuff that's going to make it not sound like a tube amp anyway, while discounting a bunch of technology that actually does what you want, and not for legitimate reasons.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:37 PM   #7
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the isolation cab will allow for the 'whole tube amp experience'. it'll run the amp's preamp through the power section and have the power section run through the output transformer (OT) and the OT will interact with speakers.

if you use a line out on a tube amp that bypasses the output then you may need some kinda load box, DI box, amp sim, etc to get the sound you want. removing the output transformer from the signal chain and losing the OT and speaker interaction does much to hurt 'the tube experience'.

other options include using a tube preamp made for recording guitars. plenty of companies offer all tube preamps. or you can use a high quality microphone tube preamp, many artists have been known to plug right into the board.

a fancy load box (or simpler ones like a THD hotplate) will work as well, but what fascinates me with that choice is your wholehearted unwillingness to go with any kinda tube amp simulator but you are willing to use a loadbox simulator. many amp gurus say that most of that 'tube amp sound' is from the interaction of the power section and the speakers using the output transformer as a go between.

many would say using a simulator instead of a speaker cab kinda defeats the purpose of keeping it 'all tube' cuz you wouldn't be fully utilizing one of the most 'tube sounding' aspects of the tube amp.
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:09 PM   #8
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I played the 1 watt Marshall JCM800 at Guitar Center the other day, and with everything cranked, it was the perfect volume with amazing tube overdrive.
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:45 PM   #9
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I have to disagree there. First post mentioned he can basically make no noise at all, so even that 1 watter isn't going to work out. Second I thought the 1W 800 sounded pretty bad regardless of the volume and especially at the price.
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:51 PM   #10
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Yeah, you're hardly working the power amp at low volumes so you won't get a lot of the warmth and sag and sizzle that comes with the high volumes...

I think an Axe or a Kemper or on the cheaper side, a Vypyr or a used Vetta would work better for what you want while sounding quite decent.
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc8995
Tube amp plus a loadbox doesn't sound nearly as good as an Axe-FX. To be honest I think the Axe-Fx should be the first choice in this situation. A load box is bulky and won't completely isolate, and even a really good loadbox doesn't sound as good as the Axe. Neither of them even come close to the versatility of the Axe, either.
I've heard plenty of recordings of Axe FX models, and again, they aren't tube amps. They still have that underlying digital-ness to them. Like in the pick attack, you don't hear the "life" in each hit. And you don't hear different qualities in wood/pickups when you use different guitars.

Granted, even a good load box w/cab sim probably would have the same qualities as well.

I think you meant to say "isocab" instead of loadbox in the third sentence, correct?

I don't really mind how bulky it is, as long as it's enough to keep neighbors from throwing enormous hissy fits while giving true tube sound, then I'm fine.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Arby911
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Engineering_Acoustics

Start with Part 2, Section 2, Chapter 1, Part 5.

Or get a Kemper Profiling Amp. (Yes, I read ALL of what you posted, don't even pretend you could tell the difference in a blind test...)
That link is actually helpful. Very informative when it comes to sound isolation.

Kemper is pretty much a no go, as it costs about as both my main amps combined. Way too much $$ for something only for studio use.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gumbilicious
the isolation cab will allow for the 'whole tube amp experience'. it'll run the amp's preamp through the power section and have the power section run through the output transformer (OT) and the OT will interact with speakers.

...*snip*
In this case it sounds like Isolation might be the only true solution.

Though I'm not sure if it would be more worth it to get isocabs, or build a box to isolate a 2x12. Randall's sounds pretty good (based on this, even better considering it's of what my amp is a clone of), but V30's are only 60w. I would probably need to get 2 of them, which wouldn't be a problem. Micing multiple speakers gives a bigger sound if done right.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jakub421
I played the 1 watt Marshall JCM800 at Guitar Center the other day, and with everything cranked, it was the perfect volume with amazing tube overdrive.
lol nope
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian_the_fox
Micing multiple speakers gives a bigger sound if done right


So do room mics
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:07 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Ian_the_fox

In this case it sounds like Isolation might be the only true solution.

Though I'm not sure if it would be more worth it to get isocabs, or build a box to isolate a 2x12. Randall's sounds pretty good (based on this, even better considering it's of what my amp is a clone of), but V30's are only 60w. I would probably need to get 2 of them, which wouldn't be a problem. Micing multiple speakers gives a bigger sound if done right.


do you have the option of sound proofing a closet? i didn't even think about it earlier.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:11 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Raijouta
Yeah, you're hardly working the power amp at low volumes so you won't get a lot of the warmth and sag and sizzle that comes with the high volumes...
I've made recordings with my amp at practically loud TV volumes that still sounded more organic than digital anything. Maybe on cheap laptop soundcards and speakers there's no difference, but on a decent system, it's there.

And I'm not after sag, I'm relying mostly on preamp drive, and even without the power section fully saturating there's still warmth to it.


I've said it once, and I'll say it again: I am NOT resorting to digital. IT DOESN'T SOUND AS GOOD.

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do you have the option of sound proofing a closet? i didn't even think about it earlier.
Depends on where I move in. But that isn't a bad idea.

Last edited by Ian_the_fox : 11-06-2012 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:13 PM   #15
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I suggest it about 3-5 times a day to musicians looking for exactly what you are.

Check out the Hughes and Kettner Tubemeister series. I have the 5W now its quiet enough you can play it on a cab cranked if you want, and you wont piss your neighbours off too much. But it also has the famed H&K red box DI built into the amp. Plug a XLR into the output on the back, turn the power soak on, plug into your computer interface and bam cranked tube tones direct into your DAW with absolutely no cab required. Comes in 5, 18 and 36 watt flavors. I know the 36 watt was just released but I think when they released the 18W it wont best amp of the year in its class, if I am not mistaken the 5 did the same the year it was released and well maybe the 36 watt will win to.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:25 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by ne14t
I suggest it about 3-5 times a day to musicians looking for exactly what you are.

Check out the Hughes and Kettner Tubemeister series. I have the 5W now its quiet enough you can play it on a cab cranked if you want, and you wont piss your neighbours off too much. But it also has the famed H&K red box DI built into the amp. Plug a XLR into the output on the back, turn the power soak on, plug into your computer interface and bam cranked tube tones direct into your DAW with absolutely no cab required. Comes in 5, 18 and 36 watt flavors. I know the 36 watt was just released but I think when they released the 18W it wont best amp of the year in its class, if I am not mistaken the 5 did the same the year it was released and well maybe the 36 watt will win to.
I've played one of those before. Not my type of sound, and low wattage like that gives far too harsh and compressed of a sound for my tastes. I prefer the clear and open sound of higher wattage amps; there's much more definition in each note.


I should also mention I'm not looking to replace my amp, unless it's a Soldano Hot Rod (which is what mine is a clone of). I'm looking for a way I can capture almost the exact sound I'm currently getting from my rig without causing WWIII in future living situations.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:44 PM   #17
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What you feel in the room =/= what you hear on the recording so your point is null.

The Kemper and Axe do exactly what you want, they do low gain tones as well, so you shouldnt discount them because they allow you to do what you want without needing volume.

Ok you wont "feel" the volume, but the finial result is so similar, you cannot really tell the difference.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:46 PM   #18
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But it's not "real!" Don't insult him with that suggestion.

Seriously though, you're going to want to go Axe or Kemper. Unless you really want to bother with that isolation cab.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:50 PM   #19
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But it's not "real!" Don't insult him with that suggestion.

Seriously though, you're going to want to go Axe or Kemper. Unless you really want to bother with that isolation cab.





Its still real to me, dammit!
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:53 PM   #20
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Its still real to me, dammit!


i love that guy's passion.
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