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Dummy loads when recording?
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jk93
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#1
30th January 2013
Old 30th January 2013
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Dummy loads when recording?

Hi guys,

I use an epiphone les paul custom and a blackstar ht-5r and I'm interested in recording. Someone mentioned using a dummy load such as the THD Hot Plate when recording, but others have said they may not be essential with some amplifiers.

I'm really confused, so taking into my account my amplifier, do you think I need one? And if so, is the setup guitar ==> amp ==> dummy load ==> m-audio fast track ultra ==> speakers, suitable?

Thanks in advance guys
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30th January 2013
Old 30th January 2013
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Do you have a need for the dummy load or know what it's going to do?

That's a better place to start.

Basically it allows you to crank up your amp really high so you can drive the tubes, but keep the volume at a reasonable level. If you feel you need to do this with your amp, it's totally doable with the THD Hotplate. Otherwise, you may not find having the Hotplate necessary.

There are a couple ways to connect the THD hotplate in your setup. It's best to refer to the manual to achieve what you want to do: THD Electronics

All that being said, tube amps sound awesome cranked.
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30th January 2013
Old 30th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jk93 View Post
les paul custom and a blackstar ht-5r
setup guitar ==> amp ==> dummy load ==> m-audio fast track ultra ==> speakers
If you (and the neighbours) don't mind the noise, then you may not need a dummy load. Just put a mic in front of the speakers. But if you need to push your amp over the edge AND keep the volume in check, a thing like the THD hotplate is useful. You could even use the hotplate to eliminate the need for a cab, let is swallow the whole output of the amp - but that's going to cost the tone a bit. The hotplate is very good and doesn't change the tone too much if you just shave off, like, 8dB.
IF you need to keep the volume low I'd try it like this: guitar ==> amp (speaker output) ==> dummy load (hotplate switched to 'load')/ line out ==> m-audio fast track ultra.
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jk93
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30th January 2013
Old 30th January 2013
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Thanks disinfor for the reply. The reason I was asking is because I read in a few places that not using the dummy load could break my amplifier or speakers.

Is this true?
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30th January 2013
Old 30th January 2013
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Running a tube amp without a speaker kills the amp, as a rule of thumb. There are some designs that don't get damaged but you rather find them in hifi then guitar amps. So: make sure your cab and speaker cable are okay. The THD hotplate will (within it's power rating) enable you to crank your amp without a speaker. Or with less volume. Check the hotplate manual for further info.
THD Electronics
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30th January 2013
Old 30th January 2013
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Oh ok, I see. My amplifier is a combo amp (blackstar ht-5r) so I'm not sure if a dummy load is necessary with my amp. Any ideas? Sorry for the noobish questions by the way, I just want to make sure I don't waste any money
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30th January 2013
Old 30th January 2013
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No problem, even I haven't been born with all this information, somebody told me ;-)
In case of a combo sometimes the speaker cable is with a plug so you could use a hotplate, some combos have just a cable soldered, which you would need somebody with a soldering iron and some knowledge to change that. If in doubt: just leave it as it is. It's working, so don't mess with it.
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30th January 2013
Old 30th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jk93 View Post
Oh ok, I see. My amplifier is a combo amp (blackstar ht-5r) so I'm not sure if a dummy load is necessary with my amp. Any ideas? Sorry for the noobish questions by the way, I just want to make sure I don't waste any money
Crash course in attenuators/dummy loads:

An attenuator goes between the amp and speaker, and allows you to crank the amp up while keeping the volume coming out of the speaker at a reasonable level. Think of it as a master volume control that comes after the power tubes.

A dummy load/load box is meant to replace the speaker entirely, so that you can run a line-level signal into your interface for totally silent recording (or for re-amping, but that's another subject that doesn't apply here). Many attenuators have a setting that turns them into a load box.

In your case, if you are miking the speaker in your amp and don't have any problems with volume levels, then you really don't need an attenuator and definitely don't need a load box/dummy load. However, if you are running a line out from your amp into your interface, the load box/dummy load would allow you to do this completely silently.
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30th January 2013
Old 30th January 2013
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Ok, seeing as I am going to run a line out to the interface, I might be needing one then. I see that with the THD hot plate, they require specific ohm speakers and amps. I know that my amp can run 8 ohm or 16 ohm, but with my m-audio AV40s, I can't seem to find that little detail.

http://www.m-audio.com/images/global...20Guide_EN.pdf

Page 5 on the manual gives a table which states under dynamic power: 15 watts continuous, per channel into 4 ohm. I don't know if that's 4 ohm straight or 8 ohm, ie one for each speaker. Sorry to be so helpless, but could you specify whether it's 4 or 8 please?
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30th January 2013
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The Hot Plates are indeed impedance (ohm) specific, you just need to match the correct model for your tube amplifier. Your M-Audios don't factor into this at all.

If your amp is selectable for eight or sixteen ohms, you can use either the eight ohm or sixteen ohm Hot Plate.
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3rd February 2013
Old 3rd February 2013
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Thanks. One last question, some people say this is only for tube amps while others say only for valve amps. For the sake of clarifying my confusion, is it ok to use a valve amp (blackstar ht-5r) with the THD hot plate? Sorry if my questions are getting repetitive.
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3rd February 2013
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Valve is an english name for tube. So a tube amp is a valve amp. If that may seem a trifle question, rest assured that the clarification of words and their meaning is paramount to understanding and learning. Even if they don't drive home that point in school strong enough.
And there even is a bavarian saying that goes like this: "Better asking twice than staying stupid." Kinda misleading because not knowing is something completely different from being stupid. Don't hesitate to ask until you understand.
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4th February 2013
Old 4th February 2013
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If you read the manual, it tells you there is a stereo speaker emulated output for recording. Plug a stereo to mono, or Trs to 2 TS cable into line inputs on an interface and you're set.

The amp was designed for recording.
There is a "silent" mode built in to turn the speaker off while recording if desired. Hate to say it but RTFM
No dummy load needed.

There's also a selection for emulating 1-12 speaker or 412 cab.
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jk93
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7th February 2013
Old 7th February 2013
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Thank you both of you for your information and encouragement! You've all helped me a lot, I should be ok for now
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