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Two Notes Engineering Torpedo Live

Analog/Digital/Hybrid: 
Digital
Pedal/Rackmount: 
Rackmount
Price Paid: 
8000 SEK / $1118
Condition: 
New
Features: 

 

For those that don't know what this is - it's a device that takes the speaker output from your amp and adds microphone and loudspeaker emulation to it, allowing you to record silently. 

 

 

  • Analogue, Reactive 100watt RMS loadbox
  • 32-bit DSP featuring: 
  • Speaker emulation via Impulse Responses
  • Microphone emulation via Impulse Responses 
  • Power amp emulation
  • EQ 
  • PC/Mac software editor
  • Additional cab models available for download/purchase 

 

Ease of Use: 
5 (easy)
Pros: 

Incredibly easy to use. Plug the speaker cable from your amplifier into the Torpedo Live and then connect the Line Out into your DAW, recording device or PA.

Very realistic and impressive sound. This really delivers!

Aside from choosing different cabs and mic's (which makes a HUGE difference), the EQ section is incredibly useful. The 5 band eq frequencies are very well chosen, allowing you to re-shape the tone very well.

Very low latency. The device has a verifiable latency of only 2.85ms.

Excellent build quality - the unit is robust and solid - the whole thing gives a feeling of quality.

For those of us wanting a home recording solution that allows us to use our existing valve amp(s), the Two Notes Torpedo Live may well be the answer.

I've been using impulse responses for home recording for years now, combining the use of a load box (attenuator) to reduce/negate the amp's signal to the speaker and provide a line signal to my DAW, which is then processed by a plugin, which can load speaker and mic impulse responses. The results are very impressive and unless you are a skilled engineer with a sound-proofed studio, will usually be much better (and above all consistent) than if you tried to mic your cab yourself.

Now - to do this and monitor the results in real time without interference from your cranked valve amp, you would need a good load box (such as a Weber Mass, TAD silencer, Palmer, THD Hotplate) and most importantly a VERY good sound interface, a DAW and a good computer. For it to work well, your sound interface and computer need to be able to process the analogue DI from the load box, apply the impulse response for microphone and cabinet and then spit it back out to your monitors - and it needs to do it quickly enough for there to be no discernible latency. Human beings have different abilities to detect latency, but anything upwards of 10ms and you are looking for trouble. You need some quite impressive hardware to achieve that - and the more tracks you have in your DAW project, the more stress you put on your system - meaning less processing power to monitor your guitar in real time.

So what the Two Notes Torpedo Live does is to take care of this procedure in one unit. It provides the load box, plus the impulse response processing for different cabs, mic's (and even power amps if you want to record with just a preamp or an overdrive pedal), and eq. And it does it all with 2.85ms of latency, which is very impressive.

The downloadable software editor is very easy to use and allows easy modification and adjustments of the setup. In addition to being able to select different cabs and microphones, there is also the ability to adjust microphone position - both the distance away from the cab and the distance from the centre. You can also select a mic position behind the cab if you desire.

The array of microphones is a list of the usual suspects - dynamic mic's such as the Sure SM57, Sennheiser MD421, ribbon mic's such as the Royer 121, Beyer 160 (damn nice mic!) and condensers such as the Neumann U87 and Blue Dragonfly.

The cabinets available are numerous - 4x12s, 4x10s, 2x12s, 1x12s from the typical sources - Marshall, Fender, Engl, Roland etc.

I got VERY impressive results from the Torpedo Live and depending on your circumstances and what gear you already have, I would strongly recommend it - OR strongly recommend one of two alternatives...

A) If you DON'T have a top-notch, studio-quality sound interface that can process and monitor very low-latency signals, and you DON'T already have a good load box that can handle your amp's output, then get the Two Notes Torpedo Live.

B) If you DON'T have a top-notch, studio-quality sound interface that can process and monitor very low-latency signals, but you DO have a good load box for your amp, then buy the Two Notes Torpedo C.A.B. instead. It does everything the Live does, but doesn't have the load box (and is thus much cheaper).

C) If you DO have a top-notch sound interface and computer and you DO have a good load box, then you are in luck - buy the Two Notes Wall of Sound III software plugin, which does everything that the flagship VB101 unit (about twice the price of the Torpedo Live) can do, but does it all in software.

IMPORTANT:
Something to bear in mind when evaluating gear like this - you have to be familiar with the sound of a mic'd amp. It won't sound like an "amp in the room" - if that's what you're expecting, you'll probably be disappointed. In addition - please use your ears rather than your ego when listening and detach yourself from any voodoo/dogma spewed by fanboys on their manufacturer's forums, as they try to justify and reassure one another about their purchases. As I said - use your ears, not your ego. Load boxes do not all suck tone (despite the protestations of fanboys of other digital gear) - Eddie Van Halen, Steve Stevens, Doug Aldrich and anybody who used a Bob Bradshaw rack in the 80s (pretty much everybody) use load boxes with their rigs.

More and more people are turning to using this method for recording - both at home and in professional studios. Even if you use a low wattage amp (even 1 watt), you'll know that if you crank it, it's blisteringly loud. You can get that cranked tone recorded by using the Two Notes.

For those that may be interested - I ended up NOT buying the Torpedo Live, as I fall into category C) above, and I was able to get the same results by using the Wall of Sound software plugin, and I'm not doing any live work.

Cons: 

Only 100 watts load box. Those people using a 100 watt valve amp will doubtless be producing way over 100 watts peak, which may overload the Torpedo Live. Bearing in mind how many 100 watt amps there are, I'm surprised they didn't opt for 150 watts (as they have in their flagship VB101 model). However, unless the "sweet spot" of your amp resides at ultra-high volume, this is not going to be a problem.

All-or-nothing attenuation. Unlike most standalone load boxes, you cannot *partially* attenuate the amp. You either get the full volume speaker signal, or you kill the speaker signal altogether. For studio recording, that's no problem, as you will probably want to monitor the pure signal from the Two Notes (and what you hear is what you get!), but for playing live, I can imagine that you might want to partially attenuate your screaming amp, yet still monitor yourself through your speaker, whilst sending the processed signal to the mixing guy, which is not possible - it's all or nothing.

Sound Quality: 
5 (excellent)
Reliability: 

Seems very well built.

Customer Support: 

Very good - I mailed their help desk with a couple of questions and they were very quick to respond and solved my problems.

Overall Rating: 
5

A / DA Flanger

Analog/Digital/Hybrid: 
Analog
Pedal/Rackmount: 
Pedal
Price Paid: 
$259.95 US
Condition: 
New
Features: 

 

 

Original signal path of the 2nd generation, (1978 - 1979) A / DA Flanger with the following changes:

The reissue is true bypass where the original was not.

The PC Board has a slightly different layout but retains the original signal path.

As of 2014 the A / DA Flanger still sports original NOS Panasonic bucket brigade chips but the supply is running down.

Ease of Use: 
3
Pros: 

It makes me feel young again. Although the A / DA Flanger wasn't released until 1976, (the reissue is of the 2nd generation '78 / '79 version), it remains the only flanger pedal that sounds like it was built to reproduce the studio flange effects used during the psychedelic '67-'69 era. The flanging effect of this era was more about a metallic shimmer or spacey mix match. Phasers sweeped or swooshed while flangers shimmered. Other flanging models released in the late '70s / early '80s, (maxon / Ibanez), used flanger tones but more phaser like controls. Their sweeping sound relates more to the '80s. I'm a "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" kinda guy. The A /DA is perfect for me.

Cons: 

The A /DA reissue may be on it's last legs. The NOS Panasonic chips are running out. I wouldn't order a new one without getting a guarentee on the chip being used.

If you were born after 1970 you may have a different take on what a flanger should do and the controls it should feature. Four knob Ibanez FL9s actually provide more direct control than the 5 knob + toggle switch of the A / DA. An Airplane or EVH swoosh type flanger, (that Eddie used more like a phaser), offers more direct control. The A / DA, (being a reissue and remaining true to the original), does not offer "next generation" control. It's true vintage quality may not work for '80s affectionados.

Sound Quality: 
5 (excellent)
Reliability: 

So far so good. I've been playing the hell out of it for a couple of months and it works as good as new.

Customer Support: 

I've had no need for customer support so far.

Overall Rating: 
5

Teese RMC5 (Wizard) Wah

Analog/Digital/Hybrid: 
Analog
Pedal/Rackmount: 
Pedal
Price Paid: 
$235 US
Condition: 
New
Features: 

 

True bypass with "fuzz friendly" technology. Karmaflux custom Inductor. RFI filtering. EFI filtering. Easily adjustable rocker tension. One switch, located beneath the rocker, that alters sweep speed and low end resonance.

Ease of Use: 
4
Pros: 

The Wizard Wah has a voice that's "one of a kind" among the wah wah pedals available for guitarists to choose from. The sweep is much shorter. High frequencies are reduced and bass frequencies are clearer. A poor but understandable comparison would be to say the vocal range of most wahs are a wide alto / 2nd soprano while the Wizard Wah is a solid tenor. I'd call the Wizard Wah the "Meatloaf" of wah wahs pedals. The shorter sweep keeps the Wizard solidly "vocal" as used in wah descriptions. No high end bite. No "Shaft". The "sweet spot" is at a lower frequency and is wider than you'd expect. The "Sweet Spot" in a wahs sweep is harmonically rich. The larger than average sweet spot of the Wizard offers up a multitude of harmonics the user can utilize to create interesting templates of vocal colorizations.  Another common descriptive used in describing a wah wahs voice is "quack". The Wizard doesn't quack like a duck. It caws like a crow. It's different. I like it.

Cons: 

The Wizard Wah does not provide what would be considered a normal wah voice. It would not be a good choice for the generic wah wah sounds a guitarist in a cover band would want available. Also, the use of output volume rather that bright high frequency at the toe down position to cut through the mix takes some getting used to. I gave the Wizard a 4 in the "ease of use" rating because of this added learning curve.

Sound Quality: 
5 (excellent)
Reliability: 

Considering the amount of time I've spent rocking Geoffreys Wah Wah pedals, as well as multiple rocker type pedals by Thomas, Dunlop, GigFX, Ernie Ball, etc., I believe RMC pedals to be the most reliable. I've only had one issue come up with an RMC product and that was a failed internal component from one of RMC's suppliers that Geoffrey immeadiatly made right at 0 cost to me. The usual Wah problems, (rocker issues, potentiometer failures, "scratchyness", etc. have never  occured with any of the RMC wahs I've owned.

Customer Support: 

Geoffrey Teese at Real McCoy Custom, RMC), provides excellent customer support. You can contact him with any questions or problem and he provides whatever you need. No one knows the Wah Wah pedal designs better than Geoffrey. Mike, over at Analogman, also swears that Geoffrey is The go to guy for anything Wah Wah related.

Overall Rating: 
5

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