Posts tagged ‘kaappimallinnus’

09/05/2018

Review: Bluetone Load Box

Finnish boutique amp company Bluetone has released a Swiss Army Knife-style lifesaver for valve amp users on stage and in the studio.

The Bluetone Load Box (370 €; incl. 1.5 metre speaker cable) is a professional quality dummy load (100 W/8 Ω) in a very compact format (only slightly larger than a big paperback) that doubles as a DI-box for guitar amps.

As any valve amp user should know, using an amplifier with a valve-driven power amp without a speaker (cabinet) connected – unless expressly allowed by the manufacturer – is a surefire path to disaster. The results of driving an amp without a speaker load can range from the output transformer catching fire to larger-scale component meltdown inside the amp, depending on the volume levels the amplifier is played at, and how quickly the fuses react.

This is where load boxes – also called dummy loads – come in. A load box allows you to run a valve amp safely without any speaker connected, while usually also offering signal attenuation and/or line level outputs. As a result, you are able to direct inject any amp into a PA system or recording equipment, as well as running the amp at full tilt without blasting everybody off the stage.

Doing away with the speaker (cabinet) isn’t as straightforward as you might think, because the impedance stated on a speaker is only nominal. The speaker, being an electromechanical transducer, behaves in a frequency- and signal level-dependent way, which results in dynamically shifting impedance values.

This means that a dummy load is a much more involved design than just a few resistors thrown together. Dummy coils, and a heap of capacitors and resistors are needed to simulate realistically the behaviour of a speaker, to attenuate the speaker signal (by dissipating part of it as heat), and to produce a quality DI-signal.

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Bluetone’s Load Box has a very clear and logical layout:

The left side carries all speaker-related connectors, offering an input, as well as both an attenuated output (Speaker Out) and a straight speaker output (Speaker Through). Why would anyone need two speaker outputs? The answer is simple: If you want to run an isolated cabinet backstage at full speaker output for the FOH engineer, and an attenuated speaker signal for the backline to keep onstage volume levels manageable.

The right side sports two output jacks – one is carrying a headphone signal, while the other one is the balanced output for connection to a mixing console or a soundcard.

The controls and switches are self-explanatory:

Top left is a four-way rotary switch for speaker attenuation, with ”Off” muting the Speaker Out signal completely. I should also mention that you can use the Bluetone Load Box without any speakers connected, regardless of the selector setting.

The middle knob is the headphone level control. Because the Load Box is a completely passive design – meaning there’s no need for any sort of power supply – the output level of the headphone output is directly dependent on the signal level (and wattage) of the connected amplifier. On the early production model used for this review the headphone signal can be a tiny bit on the quiet side, when using a low-wattage amp and power hungry headphones. This is a known issue, and Bluetone will increase the signal level in future.

The line level output offers a healthy output levels. If you need an XLR connector for the Load Box’ balanced output, Bluetone offers a handy adapter for 20 €.

A three-way mini toggle gives you two different types of cabinet simulation – 1 x 12″ and 4 x 12″ – while its two-way counterpart makes it possible to bypass speaker simulation for the Line Out signal.

The Bluetone Load Box’ dummy load and attenuator work really well in dropping volume levels while keeping virtually all of your amp’s tone intact. Now you can run your non-master volume valve amp at pub-friendly levels, without sacrificing your sound.

Bluetone’s DI-output captures your amp’s tone without the need for a speaker cabinet and microphones, which is great news for home recordists and small project studios. The Load Box’ analogue speaker modelling offers a fine solution for capturing your sound with the least amount of fuss.

Here’s what my Fender Strat sounds like played through a Bluetone Shadows Jr. combo on clean settings, and recorded with a Shure SM57:

Here’s the same clean example direct recorded with the Load Box set to 1 x 12″:

Here’s a distorted clip with the sound of the Shadows Jr. recorded with the SM57:

And the same clip recorded through the Load Box:

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In my opinion the Bluetone Load Box offers great value for money. Bluetone’s compact Load Box is a product every owner of a valve amp that doesn’t come with output attenuation built in should at least consider adding to his/her equipment.

The clever bit is how Bluetone has managed to fit the different functions into a lightweight, easy-to-carry, handcrafted piece of equipment. The Load Box is a sturdy device that will get the job done with the minimum amount of fuss, and it comes at a fair price.

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Bluetone Load Box

370 € (including a 1.5 metre speaker cable)

Contact: Bluetone Amps

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Pros:

+ handcrafted in Finland

+ lightweight and compact

+ features

+ sound

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07/05/2018

Now on SoundCloud: Bluetone Load Box

Bluetone Load Box

• 100 W/8 Ohm passive, reactive load box
• Four-stage speaker attenuation
• Line level out with analogue speaker emulation
• Headphone output

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Audio clips recorded with a Bluetone Shadows Jr. combo (1 x 10″ WGS Green Beret speaker), and the Bluetone Load Box set to 1 x 12″ speaker emulation.

12/02/2018

Bluetone introduces the Load Box

Bluetone’s brand-new Load Box is a 8 ohm/100 watts multi-purpose reactive and passive attenuator for live use and recording.

It comes with the following features:

  • Scalable 100 W dummy load with -12 dB, -15 dB and -20 dB and Off  steps for output level attenuation, even up to total silence.
  • Speaker Through jack, which is parallel with the Speaker In jack. This also works with a 4 ohm speaker output from the amplifier.
  • Speaker Out jack carrying the attenuated guitar signal.
  • Analogue cabinet simulator with 1×12″, 4×12″, and off (bypass) settings.
  • Balanced adjustable Line Out with a jack connector.
  • Dry–PA/Rec switch for the line level signal.
  • Adjustable Headphones Out for use with headphones.

The Load Box is completely passive, which means it doesn’t require a power supply to function.

Find out more on Bluetone’s website.

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11/11/2016

Thomas Blug ja BluGuitar Amp1 @ DLX Musiikki Helsinki

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DLX Musiikissa kävi eilen aito kuninkaalinen:

Saksalainen Thomas Blug, joka on saanut Fenderiltä vuonna 2004 tittelin ”Strat King of Europe”, tuli esittelemään omat, mullistavat BluGuitar-tuotteensa.

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BluGuitar-malliston keskiössä on Amp1-niminen satawattinen kitaravahvistin, joka näyttää lattiaefektiltä.

Amp1 ei perustu digitaaliseen mallinnukseen, vaan sen etuaste toimi täysin analogisesti. BluGuitarin omalla Nanotube-teknologialla varustettu pääteaste toimii D-luokan periaatteella.

BluGuitar-vahvistin tarjoaa neljä ohjelmoitavaa kanavaa, sekä boostin ja laadukkaan mallinnetun jousikaiun. Amp1 toimii sekä kitarakaapin kanssa (esim. BluGuitarin oma FatCab tai NanoCab) että suoraan miksauspöytään tai äänikorttiin kytkettynä.

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Thomas Blugilla oli mukana myös uusin BluGuitar-tuote – BluBox Speaker Emulator.

BluBox (tule myyntiin joulun tienoilla) on digitaalinen kaappimallinnin, joka tarjoaa 16 eri kaappimallia, sekä Position-säätimen virtuaalimikrofonin asennolle.

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BluGuitar-tuotteiden maahantuoja on EM Nordic.

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26/11/2014

Review: Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5

Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – opener

Hughes & Kettner’s Red Box has been a runaway success, ever since the first version was introduced in the late Eighties.

The Red Box is a specialised DI-box for your guitar amp. Traditionally, DI-boxes are meant to transform the high impedance signal of an electric guitar (or bass) into a low impedance signal fit for direct connection to a recording (or PA) console.

The Red Box, on the other hand, is inserted between the amp’s speaker output and the speaker (cabinet). Hughes & Kettner’s analogue cabinet modelling then makes it possible to send the sound of a miked up guitar speaker to the mixing desk (or sound card) without having to actually put a microphone in front of the amp’s speaker.

Hughes & Kettner haven’t been resting on their laurels, though. They have updated and improved the Red Box every once in a while, with the most recent version being the Red Box 5 tested here.

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Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – full

The Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 (current price in Finland: 89,90 €) feels like a sturdy little blighter in its very compact cast-metal casing.

The Red Box’ switch panel has been sunk into the unit’s face, keeping the switches secure from mechanical damage or accidental changes to the settings.

Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – bottom view

Guitarists and guitar techs will rejoice in the fact that this little helper isn’t finicky when it comes to its power supply:

The Hughes & Kettner works just as well running on an internal 9 volts block, as it does powered by phantom power off the mixer, an external PSU. The Red Box will work with voltages from 9 to 12 V DC (centre negative) or even AC. So, finding a wall wart for this device should be a piece of cake!

Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – speaker jacks

The speaker connectors have been placed at the Hughes & Kettner’s bottom end:

The amp’s speaker output is connected to the Red Box’ In-jack, while the Thru-jack will send an unadulterated signal to your speaker (cabinet).

It is very important that you don not confuse the Red Box – which is a DI-box – with a dummy load! If you’re using a valve amplifier (or a hybrid with a tube power amp) you really have to make sure to have the correct speaker load (in ohms) connected, whenever you use the amp. Using the Red Box without a speaker or dummy load will fry your amp’s power section or audio transformer!

Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – XLR + DC

The Red Box’ top end holds the balanced XLR DI-output, as well as the power supply (not included) connector.

Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – switches

The Hughes & Kettner unit offers you five switches to tailor the DI-box’ output to your specific requirements:

There’s a ground lift switch (to cut any humming ground loops), a bass response switch, modern or vintage pre-EQ, a switch for the size of the virtual cabinet, as well as a 26 dB pad to prevent the DI-signal from overloading the console’s input.

Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – baggie

A black velvet bag is also thrown in with the Red Box.

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Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – angle left

A ”great guitar sound” is probably one of our universe’s most subjective matters. Any guitar signal chain offers plenty of different variables. When you throw in the chosen cabinet, as well as the microphone and its placement relative to the speaker, the options available are virtually infinite. Nobody in their right mind can demand that a small DI-box, such as the Red Box 5, can actually offer any and all of the tonal options theoretically possible.

The Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 raison d’être is to offer a handful of ”Best of” miked cabinet sounds, straight off of the amp’s speaker output to the mixing console (or sound card), without the hassle of having to set up a physical microphone, or having to account for the different sound characteristics of different rooms (for example on a tour). And in this the Red Box 5 truly excels.

To give you an idea of how well the Red Box 5’s sound stands up to a physical microphone, I have recorded a few clips simultaneously using a Shure SM57 and the Red Box. I used a Blackstar HT-1R running into an Änäkäinen Rumble speaker. The Red Box 5 was set to ”loose”, ”vintage” and ”large”.

Here’s a clean example, close-miked with the Shure:

And here’s the same example recorded direct with the Red Box:

Next I went for a crunchy amp sound; here’s the close-miked version:

And this is the same example DI’d through the Hughes & Kettner:

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Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – angle right

Hughes & Kettner’s Red Box 5 is a fabulous tool, especially for onstage use. No need to put up a mic anymore, which means no more feedback and bleed problems. The Red Box 5 will give you consistently excellent DI’d guitar amp tones with the least amount of hassle.

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Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5

Current price in Finland: 89,90 €

Finnish distribution: F-Musiikki

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Pros:

+ very compact size

+ multiple means of power supply

+ different tonal options

+ pro-quality cabinet modelling

10/11/2014

Testipenkissä: Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5

Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – opener

Ensimmäinen versio Hughes & Kettnerin Red Boxista ilmestyi jo 1980-luvun loppupuolella, ja nerokkaasta laitteesta tuli nopeasti menestystuote.

Red Box on kitaravahvistimelle tarkoitettu erikois-DI-boksi. Perinteisen DI-boksin leipätyö on muunnella soittimesta lähtöistä korkeaimpendanssista signaalia mikserille sopivaksi matalaimpendanssi-signaaliksi.

Red Box taas kytketään kitaravahvistimen kaiutinlähdön ja kaiuttimen väliin, ja sen ansiosta saadaan kaiutinmallinnuksella höystettyä signaalia suoraan mikseriin, täysin ilman kaiuttimen eteen laitettavia mikrofoneja.

Hughes & Kettnerin tuotekehitys on edennyt vuosikymmenien mittaan jo Red Box -vitosversioon – oli siis korkea aikaa tutkiskella päivitetyn laitteen toimintaa ja soundia.

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Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – full

Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 (89,90 €) tuntuu hyvin kestävänoloiselta, sen kompaktin, valumetallisen kotelonsa ansiosta.

Red Boxin koteloon upotettu kytkinpaneeli suojaa kytkimiä tehokkaasti mekaaniselta rasitukselta, sekä tahattomilta asetusmuutoksilta.

Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – bottom view

Kitaristin ja teknikon iloksi uusille Red Boxeille voi syöttää monenlaista sähköä:

Tämä Hughes & Kettner toimii sekä 9 voltin paristolla, mikserin phantomsyötöllä tai ulkoisen virtalähteen sähköllä, jolloin Red Boxiin voi syöttää 9-12 volttia joko tasavirtana (miinus keskellä) tai vaihtovirtana. Sopivan verkkolaitteen löytäminen ei siis pitäisi olla tässä tapauksessa ongelma!

Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – speaker jacks

Hughes & Kettnerin alareunasta löytyy boksin kaiutinliittimet:

Vahvistimesta tuleva kaiutinjohto kytketään In-tuloon, kun taas Thru-lähdön signaali menee eteenpäin kaiuttimelle.

On erittäin tärkeä korostaa, että Red Box 5 ei ole keinokuorma, vaan ainoastaan DI-boksi! Jos käytössä on putkivahvistin (tai putkipäätteellä varustettu hybridi), vahvistinta saa ainoastaan käyttää sopivalla (= oikea ohmiarvo) kaiuttimella/kaiutinkaapilla tai keinokuormalla, riippumatta siitä käytetäänkö Red Boxia vai ei. Putkivahvistimen käyttäminen ilman asianmukaista kuormaa rikkoo (käytännössä väistämättä) laitteen audiomuuntajan!

Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – XLR + DC

Red Boxin yläreunaan on asennettu laitteen balansoitu XLR-lähtö mikserille, sekä liitin virtalähteelle.

Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – switches

Hughes & Kettnerin viidellä kytkimellä voi hienosäätää DI-boksin toimintaa ja soundia:

Tarjolla on maalenkin katkaisin, bassokarakteerikytkin, modern/vintage-valitsin, kaappikokokytkin (small: kombo; large: 4 x 12 -kaappi), sekä 26:n desibelin padi DI-signaalille.

Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – baggie

Pakkauksesta löytyy myös musta samettipussi kuljetusta varten.

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Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – angle left

”Hyvä kitarasoundi” on ehkä yksi maailmankaikkeuden subjektiivisimmista asioista. Signaaliketjussa sinänsä on tavallisesti jo suuri määrä muuttuvia tekijöitä. Kun soppaan lisätään vielä kaapin mikitykseen käytetty mikrofoni, sen asento kaiuttimeen nähden ja mikin etäisyys, soundien kirjosta tulee miltei ääretön. Olisi täysin kohtuutonta vaatia tämänkaltaisesta DI-boksista samankaltaiset laajat muokkausmahdollisuudet.

Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5:n idea onkin tarjota käyttäjälle mahdollisimman luonnollisen kuuloisia Best of -vaihtoehtoja tyypillisistä kitarakaappisoundeista, suoraan vahvistimesta mikseriin, täysin ilman mikkiasetuksesta tai huoneakustiikasta johtuvia häiriötekijöitä. Ja juuri siinä Red Box 5 onnistuu mielestäni loistavasti.

Seuraavissa klipeissä on samat pätkät vertailun vuoksi äänitetty sekä ”akustisesti” Shure SM57 -mikrofonilla että suoraan Red Boxilla. Käytin Blackstar HT-1R -vahvistinta ja Änäkäinen Rumble -kaappia. Hughes & Kettnerin kytkimillä oli valittu asetukset ”loose”, ”vintage” ja ”large”.

Tässä on lähimikitetty puhdas pätkä:

Tällaiselta sama pätkä kuulostaa Red Box 5:llä äänitettynä:

Shurella poimittu särösoundi oli tällainen:

Sama pätkä suoraan Hughes & Kettnerin kautta äänitettynä:

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Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – angle right

Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 on mainio työkalu etenkin lavalla. Red Box 5:llä pääsee viimein mikrofonin kanssa häsläämisestä, ja se poistaa näin myös tehokkaasti mikrofonin feedback- ja vuoto-ongelmat. Jäljellä jää erittäin laadukas kitarasoundi päivästä toiseen.

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Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5

89,90 €

Maahantuoja: F-Musiikki

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Plussat:

+ kompakti koko

+ toimii paristolla, verkkolaitteella (AC + DC) tai phantomsyötöllä

+ eri soundivaihtoehdot

+ laadukas kaiutinmallinnus

05/11/2014

Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5 – the Kitarablogi-video

Lisätiedot: F-Musiikki

30/10/2014

Tulossa marraskuussa >>>> Coming in November: Hughes & Kettner Red Box 5

Lisätiedot: F-Musiikki

06/02/2014

Namm 2014 – Tech 21 Fly Rig 5

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Tech 21 NYC:n upouusi Fly Rig 5 on minikokoinen multiefekti ja vahvistinmallintaja. Legendaarisen puhtaan SansAmp-soundiin on lisätty kaiku, boosteri (Hot), viive-efekti tap tempolla, sekä Marshall-tyylinen särökanava (Plexi).

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Maahantuoja: Musamaailma