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loading guitar amps in studio

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Pre Amp, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. Pre Amp

    Pre Amp Guest

    Does anybody out there use a Marshall PowerBrake or a THD Hotplate on their guitar cabinets in the studio?
    I understand that they both allow for the user to get better (more) gain without all that volume (typical of a 125W amp).
    But are they good for recording per say?
    Or is it better to mic a guitar cabinet without using these? And why?
  2. CombatWombat

    CombatWombat Active Member

    Howdy there. I'm drunk as a skunk at the moment, but i'l try to answer your question.

    I just recently spent a few long nights trying to figure out how to wire a hot plate into my combo AC30. I haven't recorded it yet, but I can't imagine it will sound much different when I do, using a 57. As for tone, it's definitely nice to be able to crank that amp up wihtout all the ear splitting volume, but compared to an un-attenuated signal, I'd say there's still probably a bit to be desired. I've only been able to really crank my amp without a hot plate a few times and I'll say I think it sounded a bit better. I don't really know how to describe it. It's certainly a nice tool though. I'll try to respond in a bit more of a coherant manner tomorrow after the hangover dies off.

    Night night,


    EDIT: Changed "can" to "can't."
  3. AltheGatman

    AltheGatman Active Member

    It is all subjective really, I am definitely a fan of anything that can save my ears (which a power soak will, to a degree).But what it really comes down to is the tone you are hearing out of the speakers.

    Admittedly in general, valve amps tend to sound more musical when they are driven hard, not so much by adding gain but rather by pushing the power valves close to, or past their 'clean' limit, and producing harmonics & compression. If it's a big amp, the volume that this starts kicking in is pretty horribly loud, which is where a power soak becomes useful.

    It tends to be a different sort of sound than preamp's driven hard, and it's beauty (or lack thereof) is totally in the eye of the beholder.

    In my own case, I quite like the sound of a poweramp driven hard, but tend to drive my preamp less than most, giving more of that Rage/ACDC type grit, rather than the metalica/slayer type distortion.
    I bought a 25w amp which I drive a 4x12 cab with, it's always running hot, but is not so loud to be unbearable in an average club round here - and I admit I get some pretty good comments about my sound.

    I do own a powersoak, which does get used from time to time in my studio, but I have found it tends to only be on those amps (and bands) that are just insanely loud (mesa triple rec comes to mind) I try to get the guitarists I record to spend a bit of time thinking about their tone, rather than their volume before they come and track. which, I have found, tends to be a bit more effective than tools like the powersoak.

    I generally work on a tone in front of the amp before I even get my mic kit out, and if it's too loud, your ears just won't function properly to get good tone, and apart from that will be doing permanent damage to my most valuable asset. So if a guitarist just has to have his amp cranked to 11, then the powersoak is a must!! (or he puts up with a soundguy doing damage control from a distance, rather than putting the effort into capturing his sound.)

    So Anyway, Ranting aside.

    I own and use a powersoak. but only if it contributes to an improvement in the overall sound achieved. which in my case is about 20% of the time....

    Hope this helps you a bit :)
  4. Pre Amp

    Pre Amp Guest

    That's perfect.
    I just odered a new Hughes and Kettner 125W tube head. And I know it's gonna be pretty darn LOUD.
    I was gonna buy a THD Hot plate next week to use with the head.
    I'm using the amp head primarily for recording purposes, and a gig here and there.
    Keep the comments coming 8)
  5. CombatWombat

    CombatWombat Active Member

    I record in my 1 bedroom apartment with neighbors all around...so the hot plate proves useful to me about 100% of the time. :)
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Why not just purchase a "POD" and then you won't have anything to worry about?

    That will probably help you get your sound more in the POD-ket.

    I'm PODering a change in my life?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    The few times I have been involved with a powersoak or something similar, I found that not only did it 'soak' up the output as far as dbs, but it seemed to soak up the tone somewhat too. And the amp felt a bit more compressed than it would have had it been left open. Dont know if this helps...... I would think for live this would be a good thing but for the studio not so much.
  8. Pre Amp

    Pre Amp Guest

    I just sold my POD Remy. It did the job for a few years, but now I need something heavier. I need some real phat warm saturation.
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Ooooooo baby...... I know what you mean.... Phhhhat Saahhhturation......

    Rehhhmy Ahhhhnn Dahhhvid
    just a few "dig it all glitches" here
  10. AltheGatman

    AltheGatman Active Member

    mmm warm saturated phat, i loooooove phat, 8)

    The pod's are cool & versatile, but give me some stonkin hot valves any day.
    I'd agree with Davedog tho, the soak prob does soak more than your volume. just experiment, and believe your ears over your eyes, nobody can see how you got your sound when they buy the CD lol.

    nice choice on the Hughes & Kettner, had a Duotone Combo I borrowed for a long time off a friend when he went on his OE, very very juicy. I almost cried when he wanted it back :cry:

    curious to know what you actually think of it (and powersoak) when you get to play with it.

    :cool: Al
  11. Reggie

    Reggie Well-Known Member

    The thing with those attenuators is that they only affect the amp. The speakers ripping apart can be a big part of a ripping guitar sound. Anyone know of a good speaker attenuator? :?
  12. JBsound

    JBsound Guest

    Give the Groove Tubes Speaker Emulator a try. Blows the pants off a Hot Plate, in my humble opinion.
  13. Pre Amp

    Pre Amp Guest

    Wow! That GT your talking about is almost $700, so it's worth it hugh?
    I will have to reconcider now. Cause, I want the best one.
    Thanks for putting that suggestion up. I didn't even know GT made a speaker emulator
  14. ggunn

    ggunn Guest

    A speaker is a dynamic reactive load, meaning it is always changing with the position and velocity of the voice coil and has an inductive as well as resistive component. A power soak is a static resistive load, meaning that it is constant over time and has no inductive component. They are different.
  15. Pre Amp

    Pre Amp Guest

    Can anybody tell me where to go to get a great price on that GT speaker emulator?
    I got to get one, but I'm having a hard time getting a better price than $700ish
  16. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I have a better idea for speaker loading.

    Just build a decent size, plywood built box that is airtight and includes connections for the guitar cable, power cable, microphone cable. As long as the box is mostly airtight the noise made from within will mostly stay within, eliminating the bulk of the projected noise. Just like those boxes made to put your computer into while it's in the control room. Like a vocal booth, a guitar booth where comfort is not an option.

    Let me out of here!
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  17. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Axe Trak : $399.00 . Basically a speaker in a box with a mic pointed at it. just hook up your head to the input and record directly. You can crank it up as loud as the speaker can handle. There are some qualms about low frequency loss. Not sure but I think you can switch mics if you like or adjust axis/mic position.

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