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Tube saturation or natural compression still there with an attenuated load box ?
Old 7th April 2016
  #1
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Tube saturation or natural compression still there with an attenuated load box ?

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So.. I jack a tube amp up to 10 with a load box attenuating the volume down to around -30db, then put a mic in front of the speaker cabinet and press record.

Am I still getting the same tube saturation or 'natural compression' within the recording as I would if I wasn't using a load box in this manner?

Your thoughts..

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Last edited by jp22; 7th April 2016 at 03:37 AM.. Reason: left something out
Old 7th April 2016
  #2
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I imagine you would get the same response from the amp but of course you wouldn't get the same compression effect from the speaker as you would otherwise.

Have you tried recording the amp with and without the load box so that you can compare them?
Old 7th April 2016
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Black View Post
I imagine you would get the same response from the amp but of course you wouldn't get the same compression effect from the speaker as you would otherwise.

Have you tried recording the amp with and without the load box so that you can compare them?
Nope, haven't tried it loud.. but probably because my studio isn't all that big, so if I were to crank the amp up, it would be too close to my work area and would be almost impossible for me to work that way. Right now I just have a small iso box in front of a speaker cabinet with attenuation on a load box, which kills most of the noise. Actually, it brings it down to almost a whisper. Then after the mic/preamp, I go into High Gain in conversion and blammo.. yuuuge.

Thing is though, even if the gain/pre on the amp is jacked up to 10, I'm still not sure if I'm getting the same type of natural compression or saturation.

I'm guessing it's probably because the speakers aren't pushing enough air ?
Old 8th April 2016
  #4
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The power amp section of the amp behaves identically on both situations. Speaker will obviously sound bit different since it is given a quieter signal. Also I've read from the web those loads tend darken the amps sound a bit especially on more aggressive attenuation settings. I haven't used those load boxes so I haven't confirmed it.
Old 8th April 2016
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spede View Post
The power amp section of the amp behaves identically on both situations. Speaker will obviously sound bit different since it is given a quieter signal. Also I've read from the web those loads tend darken the amps sound a bit especially on more aggressive attenuation settings. I haven't used those load boxes so I haven't confirmed it.
What about 'tube sound' or compression? Do you think it gets lost ? I've only had the opportunity to try using the current load box I have right now with a Peavey 5150 and a Peavey VTM120, so I guess I'm not really sure.

Any suggestions on what to use with a VTM120 would also be welcome because I really don't know wtf to do with the thing ! I've heard it was modeled after a Marshall JCM, so I'm thinking maybe a tube screamer ?
Old 8th April 2016
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jp22 View Post
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Am I still getting the same tube saturation or 'natural compression' within the recording as I would if I wasn't using a load box in this manner?

Your thoughts..

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yes and no, you may be getting not just the same compression from the tube/transformer combo but you are also getting some artifacts from the 'limiting' effect of the attenuated output. So you are not getting the same 'natural compression' you could possibly be getting more.

However keep in mind the louder you drive an amp, a typical dynamic mic will compress more as well. So an attenuator may affect this aspect of not cranking an amp. in the end, if it sounds good, it's good. Volume doesn't necessarily equate to good guitar tone and neither does compression for that matter.

what I have done in the past is just turn my amp down really low in an isolation booth and then drive the input of my pres all the way up and then attenuate the output of the pre. This can also give you a saturated tone that is pretty cool. Not good for all applications but for many.
Old 8th April 2016
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevefreak View Post
what I have done in the past is just turn my amp down really low in an isolation booth and then drive the input of my pres all the way up and then attenuate the output of the pre. This can also give you a saturated tone that is pretty cool. Not good for all applications but for many.
What do you use to attenuate your output? I have an in-line Sontronics ST-Pad/Phase like this available. I also have a three-button tube DI box with -20db pad and -20db attenuation on it. The third is just ground lift. The Sontronics has dual -10db attenuate and a 180 degree phase option. Both are XLR based. Which one of those would you use first ?
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