Alright, what I want to do is something like this:

Guitar Amp (ENGL Savage) > (via guitar amp's speaker output) Load Box > Some form of loudspeaker/monitor/guitar cab


Guitar Amp (ENGL Savage 120W) > (via guitar amp's speaker output) Load Box > Some kind of recording interface (Digidesign MBox 2 as an example) > headphones/computer

2 setups depending on whether playing/practicing or recording.

For the load box I was thinking of going for KOCH AMPS LB120-II (here). An alternative was the Palmer PDI-03 (here) but that is rack based and provides no power attenuator.

As for the speakers/monitors I am not sure exactly what to get. I have an ENGL 2x12" cabinet already so I would just use that but I have moved house and need something smaller (and quieter, hence the load box with attenuator). Ideally it would sound good for playing and also allow me to record (i.e. I could hook it up to the recording interface).

I am not sure whether loudspeakers or studio monitors are the way to go although I'm leaning towards PA loudspeakers. Any advice?

Finally, recording interface. I gave the Digidesign MBox 2 as an example. That is just an example, I would prefer a USB 2.0 or firewire interface if possible. What I want to be able to do is basically take the signal from the load box and connect to my computer so I can use some software to record with. Some other examples I found are the PreSonus Inspire 1394 and the Tascam FireOne DAW Controller with Audio/MIDI Interface (looks particularly good). Are any of these devices just mentioned suitable given my intended usage? If possible I would also like to be able to use Linux rather than Windows but this is not essential.

As far as budget goes, lets say about £300 (~ US $600) on each product required.

Whew, quite a long post but thanks for any advice you post.
Re: Speakers
If it was me, I would use powered studio monitors, which would get their signal from the line out of the loadbox. This way you'll be hearing the same sound which goes to the recording. Attenuators also wouldn't matter in this case, as the volume would be set on the speakers themselves (or the separate power amp, if you'd prefer passive monitors).

Guitar speakers also colour the tone more than some proper monitors, so personally I'd want what is coming out of the speakers to be as much like what is being recorded as possible, that is natural sounding and with the same speaker simulator applied as the recorded tone. Also, if you'll be applying some effects on the computer, you'd probably want these also to be in the sound coming out of the monitors.

Re: Audio interface
From my experience, there is very little difference between different models when it comes to recording. When it comes to both sending to the computer, let the computer do something (e.g. run through some VST plugins), and send the sound back and to monitors in realtime, there can sometimes be more lag with some slower ones.

Re: Linux
Here's a page to see what soundcards work under Linux: http://www.alsa-project.org/main/index.php/Matrix:Main EDIT: Actually, these are not all of the cards working under Linux, these are most of the cards working using Alsa drivers, which are preferred.

Hope I didn't forget too much.
Last edited by whoismilan at Mar 16, 2008,
Would monitors sound good when playing as well as when recording though? I'd ideally like to get some speakers that can do both.
Yes, using a setup like the one I described above, there is no difference in the recorded sound and the sound when you play normally.
I'm considering getting a smaller guitar cabinet (e.g. these), rather than PA speakers or monitors. Are there any small cabs out there (say 1x10" or 8" speaker and easy to move about)?

EDIT: I'm a bit more confused now after looking at some active monitors and some floor monitors. Are these both suitable as a replacement to a guitar cab?
Last edited by toptone78 at Mar 22, 2008,
Quick question:

Using a load box that can handle the 120W of the amp, is it then possible to use a speaker that is less than 120W?