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direct out from tube amp head to DAW?

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  • direct out from tube amp head to DAW?

    Is there a way (ie a device) to use the speaker jack of your tube amp head and go direct in to the DAW, in case you need to record silently, but still want to use your tube amp tone?
    For example, Joe Satriani recorded 'Strange Beautiful Music' with a real
    drummer and bass player, and thru real effects into real amps (Marshall,
    Mesa, Wells) but no speaker cabs - he had direct outs that connected his
    tube amp heads to the mixing board (probably ADAT). I was under the
    impression that a line out from the speaker jack of an amp requires pretty
    hefty power disappation.
    I'd like to access the great tube tones of my old non-master volume 70s era
    Traynor amps (BIG transformers, etc) if possible, without waking the
    neighborhood. thanks

  • #2
    Yep, the device exists and is called "dummy load" or attenuator. They might be quite expensive, like THD hot plate or Koch LB 120.

    Do not just plug out the speaker cable.
    Most people wouldn't know good music if it came up and bit them in the ass
    - Frank Zappa

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    • #3
      There are speaker simulator units for the purpose of going directly into a recorder or mixer. As I understand it, Gerry wants to use the signal post-power amp to get the tone from cranked power tubes. There are more than one simulator units availeable. Palmer has a unit that has gotten some good reviews. It is fairly expensive though. Did Satriani use a Palmer ?

      Your amp must always be plugged into either a speaker or a device with a dummy load, as referred to by verakeef. If not, you can burn out the amp. Be careful when looking for speaker simulator units, and make sure you get one with a dummy load if you are not going to plug your amp into a speaker.

      "Yep, the device exists and is called "dummy load" or attenuator. They might be quite expensive, like THD hot plate or Koch LB 120."

      Verakeef: Is it ok to plug a power attenuator, such as a THD hot plate or Koch (or even, on the lower end, a Sholtz Power Soak) directly into a mixer ? I've got a Power Soak, and use it to be able to crank my tube amps (the signal goes from the speaker out, into the attenuator, which then sends the attenuated signal to the amp speaker). However, I've never used it to connect directly to a mixer ????? Also, don't the speaker simulators add some type of eq to simulate the tone of a speaker ? Do the power attenuators do this too ?

      Finally, gerry, there is going to be a sonic difference between miking a speaker with a decent mic and slamming the mic with the air and energy from a pumping speaker, and the direct sound post power tube, into your recorder. Whether you like the latter sound as well as a real miked cabinet will be a matter of personal preference.

      Another possibility, is to 1) use a power attenuator on your amp so that you can crank it, and 2) send the speaker signal (with at least enough power to move the speaker) into a small speaker cabinet contained in an amplifier isolation box, and mic the speaker in the box.

      Good luck !

      Gutter Pup

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Gutter Pup
        Is it ok to plug a power attenuator, such as a THD hot plate or Koch (or even, on the lower end, a Sholtz Power Soak) directly into a mixer ?


        No--you can't plug the speaker output directly into a mixer. Some attenuators (including the Hot Plate) offer line level outputs for recording.

        Whether they sound anything like a miced amp is another story altogether.

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        • #5
          This is supposedly one of the best, I have heard recordings done with these and they sounded very good. If you're in need of the best possible tone and are able to spend $500, you should check one of these out:




          Palmer PGA-04




          Jay
          Current Gear List:
          Cornford MK50HII Head
          Splawn Pro Mod 100W Head
          VHT Fatbottom 4x12 with Eminence P50e's (angled)
          Marshall JCM800 4x12 with G12T-75's (angled)
          Gibson Les Paul Standard

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          • #6
            The Palmer is very good indeed. Not exactly like a mic'd speaker, but closer than anything else out there.
            -Chris Graff

            Russ Long's Guide to Nashville Recording

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