Tell Me About Reactive Loads...

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment' started by MatrixClaw, Jan 21, 2021.

  1. MatrixClaw

    MatrixClaw Whoaaa No Way!!!

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    Hey guys,

    So, I've been trying to downsize to a smaller rig lately and settling on the perfect cab setup for my two amps has made me keep going back and forth on what I want and if I'd just be limiting myself if I go too small. I had looked into the Captor X before so I could record silently if I wanted to, but also use it as an attenuator through my cab, which would probably be how it'd get used most of the time... however, I started researching more on how this technology could be used and I'm curious if I could use it to replace the my cabs entirely but still play through them live without hooking up to a recording interface.

    I already have a Line 6 PowerCab Plus for my FM3 that I really like... I'd like to keep two of my tube amps (a Mesa TA-15 and Mark IV), but have more control over their volume when I can't play loud. Both amps sound great, but need some good volume to really get the goods and that's not always something I can do. Can I use a Captor X or Suhr Reactive Load as a loadbox, crank up the amp and then output directly to the PowerCab and use it as my "cab"? This sounds like a pretty interesting setup and one that would be a LOT more flexible, as I wouldn't even have to worry about what cab and speakers I get, as I'd have thousands of IRs at my disposal with every speaker imaginable. I also gain the recording features when I need them, which is cool as well.

    The only thing I'm kinda scared of is damaging an amp with one. I've heard some horror stories of people using these and blowing transformers, though not many specifically with these two units.

    How are you guys using yours and would you recommend them in my situation if I mostly want it for playing at home through the PC+ and not necessarily as a recording tool?

    Thanks!
     
  2. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

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    This should workd fine. Just make sure the ohms on the reactive load and the power amp line up and then use the line out of the reative load to the PowerCab. Also make sure the load box can handle the amps wattage. Should work fine possibly even better than some most attenuators as most attentuators will suck the tone a bit. The main difference is one is a modeller type tone and one isn't because of the introduction of IR's. At low volume it will probably sound better than most attenuators but it is a different thing altogether.
     
  3. steinmetzify

    steinmetzify CHUG & SLUDGE

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    Been using a Suhr RLIR for the past month into my PC, works great. Was a little sketched out at first but it does what it says it does. Use it with my Herbert just fine and that’s a 180w amp.

    There are some pics on here somewhere that show a graph on what a speaker output looks like; the Suhr is much closer than the Two Notes stuff as far as what you’re used to hearing out of a cab. I’ll see if I can find the pics.

    EDIT:

    34C47071-9E8D-4E13-9F2F-FEA66834162A.jpg 4F93D358-D9FE-4867-8641-0473A9692FDD.jpg 2F537378-B073-44E1-917E-9B3582A7FBE0.jpg
     
  4. sakeido

    sakeido Contributor

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    I ran my setup like that a long time ago, it works great. I had an Invader and ran that into a THD Hotplate, then ran the output from that into an Axe FX and just used that for effects and cab modeling. Sounded really good, I would direct record like that and used it for a show before the ol' band broke up and got good tone.

    You can do the same running into your FM3 or save one box by getting the Captor X instead of the normal Captor, so it'll handle the cab emulation.
     
  5. MatrixClaw

    MatrixClaw Whoaaa No Way!!!

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    I'm just mostly worried about it not sounding the same, but I know lots of people are swearing by these things lately and if I can just get rid of my cabs all together and use my FM3 rig, that'd be even better.

    Interesting. That explains why people say the Suhr sounds much better. I wasn't really even considering one before because I wanted to use it more as an attenuator with the option of silent recording, which the Captor can do and the Suhr can't... but if I can use my PowerCab to play live, this honestly seems even better than having an attenuator, because then I can save room on having big cabs and I don't have to worry about the attenuator steps not being fine enough to control the volume optimally.

    I have the PowerCab Plus, which can load IRs into it. I use my FM3 this way and run it with no IR all the time, that way I can plug it into my power amp and a real cab or the PowerCab and pick an IR and not have to remember to keep changing things. It works really well this way. I'm curious if I got the regular Suh Reactive Load if it sounds the same as the IR version. A friend of mine just sold his Torpedo Live and said he was going to go with the Captor (non-X) instead, but he said that the Wall of Sound plugin doesn't sound the same to him as using the X with an IR loaded in it. I just don't really want to pay $600 for an IR loader since I don't really need it, the $350 unit without IR seems more attractive, but the IR version has more features other than just IR loading - like a headphone output and the signal boost/high cut switch. Looks like the non-IR version is passive as well, so I'm wondering if the IR version has more in it to make it sound more realistic if you aren't using the IR loader...
     
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  6. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

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    - It's all going to be subjective whether you're happy with it or not, but it will sound different no matter the setup because of low volume. Using IR's and modelling into the mix is different too vs real cabs. The real qustion is not if you're happy with it but if you actually like it. There's gonna be compromise in some area because of the low volume.

    - This is one of those things where you can't know until you try. Even though I haven't got far into the the modelling rigs yet I'd say if you're already happy with the Powercab's sound and already know the sound of your real cabs too, then you know what general type of sound to expect. They're all gonna feel different than normal, to a degree.

    - Maybe the question is which is better at low volumes:
    1. An attenated tube amp setup using real cabs
    2. A loaded tube amp setup using a PowerCab and IR's
    3. A modeller into a PowerCab

    - I think the answer is it depends on what specific gear you buy, but since you have an FM3 and PowerCab already just try it and see if you're happy with it or not. If not, re-evaluate. You just gotta try out the combinations of the gear you have.
     
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  7. Deadpool_25

    Deadpool_25 SS.org Regular

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    Personally, after a decent bit of research a while back, if I was going to get a loadbox I’d get the Suhr.

    but as @c7spheres said it’s going to sound different regardless. Sound comes from sound waves and those are governed by physics. No way around it.
     
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  8. MrWulf

    MrWulf SS.org Regular

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    The thing is, Suhr used the greenback as a basis to model the impedence curve of their loadbox while Torpedo Captor X used a more general curve because they do considered the fact that they are aiming for people to use different IRs from different speakers. It is very subjective to which approaches work better and why.
     
  9. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    If you want to just use your FM3 and sell your cabs, sell your cabs. Out of sight out of mind.
     
  10. MatrixClaw

    MatrixClaw Whoaaa No Way!!!

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    I'm happy with the FM3 + PowerCab Plus, I just want to be able to use my tube amps, as well. Mostly, my idea behind keeping the two real amps in addition to the FM3 is so I have a second setup for jamming with others so they don't have to bring their own gear and just in general purpose a backup. I also still kinda like the sound of tubes more on the lower gain settings. Basically, I just don't want to have to choose one or the other, but keeping my 4x12, (2) 1x12s and a 2x12 for me to play at home is kinda dumb. I was going to downgrade to two 1x12s for each amp, but I feel like that might be too limiting for me and maybe a 2x12 for the Mark IV and a 1x12 for the TA-15 might be a better idea, but then this isn't really much smaller than just going down a single 4x12 and using it in stereo operation. I was already planning to keep the PowerCab Plus, so if I could buy a Reactive Load and plug it into that and have an infinite amount of guitar cabs at my disposal for less money and space, that seems like a great "compromise." I'd probably keep a single compact 1x12 in this scenario so I could plug two guitarists in at once.

    Yeah, I'm guessing it will sound different, but different doesn't necessarily mean worse. Mostly, it'd just be nice to be able to swap speakers without actually having to physically swap speakers, but still play through a "cab" instead of my studio monitors.

    Interesting. It definitely sounds like it has more presence to me, almost like the Captor X has a blanket over it in the comparisons I've heard, but I'm not sure how that actually translates if I don't have both right in front of me to A/B. It sounds significant on recordings, but I imagine it's not so pronounced in the room.

    This doesn't really have anything to do with my FM3. I intend to use both separately. I just want my "real" setup to be smaller without compromising on the amount and type of speaker in my cab.
     
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  11. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Given the knowledge on this board, I'm sure the right solution will come up :yesway:.
     
  12. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

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  13. steinmetzify

    steinmetzify CHUG & SLUDGE

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    I’ll say this; I wouldn’t wanna gig with the RL, at least the IR version, feels like it’s about 12 lbs. If you’re gonna gig this maybe grab the Captor pedal.
     
  14. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

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    I use a Suhr Reactive Load for recording and it's great :yesway: the only difference in "feel" that I ever notice is just due to the volume coming out of my studio monitors rather than my real cabs.

    I've never tried using the line out signal of the Reactive Load through a power amp and cab, so I can't really help there.
     
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  15. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    Having tried these setups, except not the Powercab but with studio monitors.

    1. This works great if these things are a factor:
    • Your amp sounds better when driven to powertube distortion. Many modern master volume amps do not. Old school Marshalls do.
    • Your amp has bright caps on volume or gain controls that make them harsh sounding at low volume.
    • Your amp has bad control over its volume (gets really loud on 1 etc)
    2. This works well, but does not behave markedly different from just using a top tier modeler.
    3. Works well.

    I have never tried the Powercab so can't tell how well it bridges the gap between cab sims of a miced cab sound vs hearing a cab in the room directly.

    If you can, get the loadbox from somewhere with a return policy so if you find out it just sounds similar to what you get from FM3 + PC then you can send it back. I use my Bluetone reactive attenuator/loadbox mainly for direct recording purposes or headphones use and prefer my Bogner and Victory with their own master volumes as neither significantly benefits from cranking them to powertube distortion.

    Ultimately volume itself will matter more with the amps OP has and even attenuated they are unlikely to sound much different from the modeler setup at low volume. Tube amps are fun when you can play them louder.
     
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  16. The Thing Upstairs

    The Thing Upstairs SS.org Regular

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    Have you considered buying a Boss TAE and using your amps?

    Its less faff and sounds really good (I prefer it to my AF3 for low volume playing)
     
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  17. MatrixClaw

    MatrixClaw Whoaaa No Way!!!

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    The TAE is the one I keep hearing horror stories about blowing amps with, so I'd definitely be hesitant to buy one, especially considering its price vs the Captor X and Suhr. I'm also not really sure that I'd use any more of the features it has vs the other two. The thing that had me excited to use one of these was mostly for the limitless possibilities of "speakers" I could pair with my amps and not have to be limited by the physical cabs and speakers I own. I'd love to have cabs at my disposal with a V30, EVM-12L, DV-77, Governor, C-90, FM-75, Alnico Cream, Greenbacks, Creambacks and a few others. That'd be a lot of physical cabs I'd need, as well as a lot of space. Simply plugging into one of these and changing the IR for those would be awesome but the concensus seems to be that it wouldn't sound much better than my FM3 through the PowerCab+, though it doesn't actually seem like someone's tried it for reference, so I don't know if it's just people's bias against IRs used live or the fact that I wouldn't be using a tube power section to amplify it? Either way, I'm not sure how the WAE would change this?
     
  18. The Thing Upstairs

    The Thing Upstairs SS.org Regular

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    I’ve not heard of any amps being blown using the TAE. Have you got any info? Wonder if it is user error. with any load, you don’t want to max out the amp, just get it to its sweet spot. I’ve run Diezel and Mesa amps into it and have had nothing but good results.
    You are right about the price but it’s not aimed at the suhr or captor - I went for it over the oxbox as it was the attenuation I was after with ability to record as an afterthought. I don’t use all of the features - it replaces a noisy loop on one amp I have and It was used it as a power amp for my AxeFX 3. Worked very well
     
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  19. MatrixClaw

    MatrixClaw Whoaaa No Way!!!

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    Multiple people on TGP and RT that have mentioned blowing the output tranny on their Wizard amps with it. Several reports of blowing Marshalls as well. Not sure if it's user error but it seems unlikely with so many reports that everyone is using it wrong. Conversely, I haven't heard many bad reports on the other units and the fact that they're half the price doesn't really make me want to spend more money and chance it. The TAE does have a ton of cool features, though. I think if I were going to go that route though I'd probably buy a Fryette PS-2 or PS-100.
     
  20. The Thing Upstairs

    The Thing Upstairs SS.org Regular

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    I’ve just read that thread - it’s quite possible he was adjusting the impedance curve at volume with the amp not on standby. They do warn against that in the manual. reading further on there is nothing there that worries me. Thanks for highlighting.
    be interested to see how you get on with the captor - I had the past model but returned it. Cant remember why - might have been fan noise and/or flexibility. Bear in mind my use case is home playing not gigging at volume so a fan would get on my tits quite quickly. (Could be another unit I’m thinking of, it was a long time ago).
     
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