Quality of line out in load boxes (iron man mini 2 & suhr reactive load)

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Quality of line out in load boxes (iron man mini 2 & suhr reactive load)

Post by Guitarking »

Hi everyone,

Bought a Tone King Iron Man 2 mini. The attenuation is really fantastic! But not sure about the line out. Sounds dull to me. Anyone has the same experience?

So I'm using the line out of my trusty THD hotplate, which I think is much better (and adjustable). I have the speaker out of the hotplate into the iron man, and then the iron man on load. This also does something with the line out of the hotplate. Is this normal?

So what happens? What if one wants a full load (no speaker) but a great line out (without the load coloring the line out). How to do? Is this where the Suhr Reactive Load really shines (because all it does is being a load)?
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Re: Quality of line out in load boxes (iron man mini 2 & suhr reactive load)

Post by ef37a »

The whole area of guitar amp load boxes/power soaks etc is a minefield of subjective opinion. Heck! Peeps can't even agree on a good amplifier sound, complicate that with a 'not a loudspeaker' load and throw in various capacitors, resistors and maybe a few Henries and all opinionated hell breaks loose.

I do not have much direct experience of load boxes, have dabbled with some DIY devices a few years ago but since the combinations of amp make, model, power, bias type vary who does? One chap that knows more than most is ICBM over at the <thefretboard.co.uk> forum. He has tried several (but by no means all!) power soaks and loads on various amplifiers and has some conclusions. IIRC he favours partly 'inductive' loads on Marshall amps and totally resistive ones on others. Fenders perhaps?

The line outputs can be of two broad type. Flat where no fixed EQ is applied and 'speaker emulating' where an attempt is made to mimic the response of a guitar speaker. One of the properties of such speakers is that they have a very limited HF response, some start to dive as low as 5kHz and most are good 10dB down ref 1kHz at 10kHz. An A/B test with such a load's line out compared to a DI signal say from the guitar will sound dull. So, yer pays yer money and ....

Couple of thi9ngs to be wary of. The power rating of such loads should be viewed with the greatest suspicion. Something rated at 50W should not IMO be used with a '50W' valve amplifier since most of them can put out well over the book rating, some over twice that and you do NOT want a load to burn out and go O/C on a valve amp at full chat!

Do not use such loads on transistorized amplifiers. There is no point anyway because they almost all sound total **** if overdriven and there is a very good chance of the amp being destroyed, especially if an early design.

There will no doubt be come back on my opinions and I bow to anyone who has done some SYSTEMATIC testing but the combinations of load and amplifier types is so vast all one can really do is suck it and see.

Dave.
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Re: Quality of line out in load boxes (iron man mini 2 & suhr reactive load)

Post by Wonks »

You'll get the sound that's built into the load box, not your amps speaker sound and as ef37a says, that sound can vary a lot depending on what the designer sees as an amp sound.

The Tone King has one basic sound which you can tweak with the presence control.

The Hot Plate is quite similar in that you get one basic sound with hi and lo eq switches.

But something like the Two Notes Torpedo Captor X is a load box (up to 100W input) with downloadable cab and mic impulse responses, so it can sound like almost any speaker/mic combo you can think of.

https://www.two-notes.com/en/torpedo-se ... -captor-x/

Max (Studio Support Gnome) has one and loves it. And if Max says it's good, then it will be! Of course your opinion may vary, but he uses it for his Facebook live noodling sessions and it does sound very good indeed, as Hugh Robjohns and Martin Walker should be able to testify.

Certainly one to check out if you are looking for a pure load box. The other Torpedo products are also highly rated.

The UAD OX is another highly rated load box with cabinet emulations, and used by a lot of pros. https://www.uaudio.com/hardware/ox.html

If you want attenuation of a full load box with great DI sounds, then you will probably be best with this sort of product, part hardware, part software, that lets you get exactly the sound you want, rather than the limited choice you get for hardware-only units.

But you do pay a lot more for them.
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Re: Quality of line out in load boxes (iron man mini 2 & suhr reactive load)

Post by Guitarking »

Thanks!

Just to give some more info. I need a clean di signal to use with IRs in my Daw.
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Re: Quality of line out in load boxes (iron man mini 2 & suhr reactive load)

Post by Wonks »

Clean at what stage of the guitar signal? What IRs? Loads of different types of IR, so a bit more explanation of just what you want to do would be helpful.
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Re: Quality of line out in load boxes (iron man mini 2 & suhr reactive load)

Post by Guitarking »

I need the di signal from after the amp's output (so it encompasses all stages from the amp). In my daw i will use my own ir (impulse response) to fake a speaker.

My hotplate has a "clean"(=not dull) sound and works well with my ir when at 0dB attenuation (so i guess the signal from amp goes straight to speaker and hotplate only acts as a line out).
The Iron Man has a much duller sound at all settings wh
Both are advertised being line out signal. Also when i turn my hotplate to load the sound dulls too.

So im looking for why this happens (curious) and im looking for a load (100% attenuation) with the not dulled line out of the hotplate.
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Re: Quality of line out in load boxes (iron man mini 2 & suhr reactive load)

Post by Wonks »

OK, ‘line out’ only refers to the signal level of the provided output. It’s down to the load box maker to determine and describe what the line out signal’s function is.

Before software modelling and IRs came along, you wouldn't want a straight amp signal copy from a 100% load box. You'd want a signal that emulated a miked-up speaker signal, so you'd have a filter network that added quite a steep HF roll-off between 5kHz and 6kHz.

Even now, most load boxes provide a speaker-emulated signal. This will definitely sound 'dull' compared to the straight low level amp signal.

So you need a load box that can switch off the speaker emulation. I don't know the load boxes well enough to say which ones can do this and which ones can't, and I'm sure you're just as capable as looking up the specs as I am. But I'd have thought that the ones with software IR modelling built in would have 'none' options for the speaker, cab, and mic IR slots, so that you'd then get a full range amp out signal.

Also, most passive DI boxes have a -40dB switch allowing the DI box to be placed in line between an amp and speaker (or amp and loadbox), which will always give you the straight signal at a mic-level output. What I don't know is at what sort of amp power levels it's safe to do this at. It may be fine all the way up to around 100W of input power. Hopefully someone else will chip in on that.
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Re: Quality of line out in load boxes (iron man mini 2 & suhr reactive load)

Post by BigRedX »

I've always seen load boxes/power soaks as completely separate from DI and amp/speaker emulation.

The big problem with devices that do both is that while the speaker attenuation is always good at the very worst, the DI signal, even with speaker emulation, often bears no relationship to the sound of the speaker/cab that it is replacing. And unless you have a combo with DI speaker emulation built-in, the manufacturer of the DI has no way of knowing exactly what amp and cab sound you need to replicate.

While some of the better units will have multiple cab options that is still no guarantee that any of them will be the right one for you.
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Re: Quality of line out in load boxes (iron man mini 2 & suhr reactive load)

Post by ef37a »

I think Wonks has the best solution. Just put a load box on the amp and use a DI box that can handle speaker levels afore it. This Art unit seems ideal,
https://artproaudio.com/framework/uploa ... 6_V1.3.pdf Ok, it is a dual DI but it took me long enough to track THAT down!

The DI part can handle at least +18dBu and 'worse case' 100W into a 16R speaker is 40V rms* so a 40db attenuator is going to chop that to 0.4V rms (-8dBV) and so no problem.

* 56V peak and remembering what i said about valve amps when you really stick it to them? Could be a lot higher but ART gear has a very good rep and I doubt there would be a problem in practice. A lower speaker Z will of course give a lower voltage at 100W, only 20V at 4R.

And! IF you put a continuos 100W+ into any load that tin is going to get bloody hot!

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Re: Quality of line out in load boxes (iron man mini 2 & suhr reactive load)

Post by Guitarking »

Thanks!

Just a silly question: putting a di in between amp and load, will the amp still see the load? I figure i use the thru so its like the signal goes straight to load and im only tapping of the ljne out signal?

My loudest amp is 32 watts by the way
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Re: Quality of line out in load boxes (iron man mini 2 & suhr reactive load)

Post by Guitarking »

Whilr were at it: another silky question. Can an active di be used? I gave a bss ar133 di.
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Re: Quality of line out in load boxes (iron man mini 2 & suhr reactive load)

Post by Guitarking »

Tried the BSS AR133 active DI. Seems to work. But, even now, there's a difference in clarity when my Iron Man 2 mini is on load or when it's on 0 attenuation. In the latter, it sounds (with a home made IR of the exact same cab and mic) quite identical to the live miced up cab, whereas in the former the sound is somewhat dulled. So apparently, a load still changes the sound of the di?
The question also is: would a different load, say Suhr Reactive Load or a Torpedo Cap 8 ohm react differenty?
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