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At one point, these were the best way to get high-level tone with low-level volume in the studio. But I pretty much stopped using them when amp sims came out, and now that amp sims have gotten so good, I don't ever use them and sold the one I had a long time ago. I can see using load boxes live, for sure. I'm just curious whether people still see them as relevant in the studio.

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I've actually been loving my Strymon Iridium for recording guitar. Between that and an Eventide H9 Max, I can get some pretty great tones.

dB

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I can't speak to it myself, being such a rookie guitar player, but I know several people who've gone in on either a UA OX or similar recently.


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I've long since given up on amps that only sound great when they are turned up too loud. I do love the tone of some tube amps but have not found tubes themselves to be reliable enough to gig with safely - unless it's worth it to bring a backup amp to a minor league small town hole in the wall dive bar gig (it isn't).

I'll go direct and add stuff to it later, I'll plug into a Tech 21 Tri-AC and go direct - or the Sansamp Para Drive V2 that I am still getting used to using. Sometimes I mic up one of my 2 Peavey Vypyr VIP amps, I have the VIP 1 with a Scorpion 10" speaker and the VIP 3, completely stock. Either of them can deliver a great "amp up loud" tone at a very moderate volume if you know how to dial the amp in.

So no, I don't use a load box and what's more, I don't miss them even slightly. I am grateful we have so many fun options!
And I am over the idea that only tubes or amps that sound just like tubes can create great guitar tones. That is more nostalgia than reality as far as I'm concerned.

I don't tell anybody that their guitar tone doesn't sound good unless they ask me and it does. Since I don't ask anybody and I'm happy, I'll just leave things be as they are. I love hearing a great player with a great tone but that can be surprising sometimes. I went to see a friend's band and he sounded fantastic. Place was crowded so I sort of slithered up closer to see what he was using. An old Line 6 Flextone amp, plugged straight in. He had the pedal board with the wah but that plugs into the amp, not the guitar. They covered Sweet Child of Mine by Guns and Roses and he nailed the solo, scary!

I hated the Flextone amp I tried, I guess you just have to spend some time tweaking.


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Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
I've actually been loving my Strymon Iridium for recording guitar. Between that and an Eventide H9 Max, I can get some pretty great tones.

dB

Really popular pedal on the Chase Bliss Users FB group.

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When I was seriously expanding my studio fifteen years ago, software emulators weren't that good so I invested in tube/modeling amps, cabinets, and speaker emulators. Software emulators are much better now, but I have no compelling reason to replace my hardware as I am happy with the sound.

Nostalgia has nothing to do with it. With actual amps, I don't have to worry about software obsolescence due to OS being obsolete. Yes tubes caps and transformers wear out, but I can always get replacements long after older OS computers crap out. Old amps still command big bucks for a reason (mine were lucky bargains).

I have no argument that there is value to modelers and software emulators. If it sounds good use it - I'm no snob. Sure they'll get sounds I don't have, and I have amps that I have yet to hear a simulation of.

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I'm an odd duck in the context of my age-peers, all of whom vastly prefer big old amps and some of them still aren't even very comfortable with pedals. We're talking some serious curmudgeons smile But great players! But I came to the electric guitar in my 50s, after amp sims were already a thing. So I can easily play and record without moving air, as they all say.

So for practice, my buds do keep trying and buying load boxes, attenuators, all those gizmos - and those products are clearly improving over time, just like software has improved over time. They can do a whole lot more now than just keep the db levels down - getting quite sophisticated and intruiging.

I've almost sprung for an Ox a number of times...I really like the idea of buying amp heads and having a choice of cab emulations to play with.

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Originally Posted by Nowarezman
I've almost sprung for an Ox a number of times...I really like the idea of buying amp heads and having a choice of cab emulations to play with.

I'm sold on the concept of mixing amp heads with different cabinets with different speakers. Big variety of tones.

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Originally Posted by GovernorSilver
Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
I've actually been loving my Strymon Iridium for recording guitar. Between that and an Eventide H9 Max, I can get some pretty great tones.

dB

Really popular pedal on the Chase Bliss Users FB group.

The guitar audio in this video is running through an Iridium.



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Originally Posted by The Real MC
Originally Posted by Nowarezman
I've almost sprung for an Ox a number of times...I really like the idea of buying amp heads and having a choice of cab emulations to play with.

I'm sold on the concept of mixing amp heads with different cabinets with different speakers. Big variety of tones.

I bet it does sound great. Part of my reasoning has to do with my unavoidable circumstances. I record in a condo in a 33 unit complex and "loud is not allowed". Sometimes inspiration hits at 10pm and I want to lay down some tracks.
Not happening with a tube amp cracked open to the good tones. Headphones and plugged straight in, nobody even knows.

And I do have a couple of "hacker heads" and cabs, a box or two full of vintage tubes and a Hickok tube tester. It's not like I don't know what I'm saying when I speak tube amps. I'm no EE by any stretch but pretty familiar with what I'm dealing with:

A converted Hammond organ amp, drilled out to take 6V6 instead of EL84 and rewired as a hot-rodded Fender 5D4 Deluxe with internally jumpered channels and different caps on each channel so one is brighter than the other. The builder went with the 12AY7 for V1 so popping a Sylvania 7025 in there makes the preamp much more evil. It's fun but Hella Loud when you get it to the sweet spot. Rectifier tube can be changed from a 5U4 all the way down to a 5Y3 and I have at least 2 variations in between, that makes a difference as well.

And, a converted mono hi fi amp rewired as a 1958 Vox AC 15 Top Cut channel with an EF86 for V1. I've never owned an amp that sounds quite like it, in that circuit the EF86 is probably about 160 to 180% more gain than an E83CC.
Has a piss ant little rectifier tube - I want to say a 6x4 or 6x5 from memory. Again, when it's at it's sweet spot it's too loud to use here.

2 Mesa combo cabs with the head opening on the front filled with pieces of hard floor mat foam. A 1-10" cab with a Weber NeoMag (designed to sound like a JBL D110 but with a paper dust cap to mellow it out a bit) and a 1-12" cab with a JBL G125-8. Serious firepower for little open back cabs and 12-15 watt amps. I wish they were about a quarter of a watt to be honest.


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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Part of my reasoning has to do with my unavoidable circumstances. I record in a condo in a 33 unit complex and "loud is not allowed". Sometimes inspiration hits at 10pm and I want to lay down some tracks.
Not happening with a tube amp cracked open to the good tones. Headphones and plugged straight in, nobody even knows.

Sounds to me like you're the target market for a load box - cranked amp, low levels.

Not sure how I'd feel if I was playing live. I've played live in the past with amp sims and a laptop, and it worked out fine. But that was done more for convenience than Holy Tone. These days, realistically, the nuanced things I do with amp sims in the studio would get lost live (especially the stereo stuff). Also, I'm bummed that for whatever reason, VST3 sims don't seem to accept program changes properly.

So I could see where taking my Line 6 DT25 or Peavey Windsor with a load box would do what I needed live. Besides, I play the same no matter what I'm going through smile

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Originally Posted by MAJUSCULE
Originally Posted by GovernorSilver
Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
I've actually been loving my Strymon Iridium for recording guitar. Between that and an Eventide H9 Max, I can get some pretty great tones.

dB

Really popular pedal on the Chase Bliss Users FB group.

The guitar audio in this video is running through an Iridium.


Oh yeah, that was one of the many Iridium owners on the Chase Bliss group.

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I got a THD Hotplate for use with my Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. I had the Omega mod done on it, which sounded great to me. However, the mod made the amp more susceptible to malfunction. I had it repaired at least 3 times. I consistently heard from the amp repair techs that whoever worked on the HRD jacked it up pretty good - would cost me more than the amp is worth to fix all the various issues. I guess I could try selling the THD to a tube amp enthusiast.

My current favorite guitar amp is a QES Roadtripper MCM that I found used at Guitar Center. It's also my favorite electric violin amp. By default, also my fave electric mandolin amp. I bet even my Moog Matriarch would sound good through it for recording. I realized I just wanted a good sounding clean amp and am fine with whatever dirt I can get from overdrive/distortion pedals - just don't care anymore about convincing tube sag, power tube saturation or any of that stuff. This Roadtripper brings out the individual character of each instrument better than any of my other amps. It's also the only amp I've had that has a spring reverb that sounds good with electric violin. Other spring reverbs I've tried introduce ringing tones that I don't like w/ electric violin.

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I haven't owned one since the Rocktron Juice Extractor. The Suhr reactive load seems the best in my experience, but that's probably because the impedance curve is steered towards a greenback loaded 4x12, which I prefer.


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Originally Posted by GovernorSilver
Oh yeah, that was one of the many Iridium owners on the Chase Bliss group.

And a good friend of mine. smile


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I’m running the Iridium in the live room now. It can be fed by either the guitar line or the Hammond’s 1/4” out.

dB

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Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
I’m running the Iridium in the live room now. It can be fed by either the guitar line or the Hammond’s 1/4” out.

dB

Not familiar with Hammond guitars. Are they solid-body? What kind of pickups?

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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by Dave Bryce
I’m running the Iridium in the live room now. It can be fed by either the guitar line or the Hammond’s 1/4” out.

dB

Not familiar with Hammond guitars. Are they solid-body? What kind of pickups?


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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Part of my reasoning has to do with my unavoidable circumstances. I record in a condo in a 33 unit complex and "loud is not allowed". Sometimes inspiration hits at 10pm and I want to lay down some tracks.
Not happening with a tube amp cracked open to the good tones. Headphones and plugged straight in, nobody even knows.

Sounds to me like you're the target market for a load box - cranked amp, low levels.

Not sure how I'd feel if I was playing live. I've played live in the past with amp sims and a laptop, and it worked out fine. But that was done more for convenience than Holy Tone. These days, realistically, the nuanced things I do with amp sims in the studio would get lost live (especially the stereo stuff). Also, I'm bummed that for whatever reason, VST3 sims don't seem to accept program changes properly.

So I could see where taking my Line 6 DT25 or Peavey Windsor with a load box would do what I needed live. Besides, I play the same no matter what I'm going through smile

I might be the target market if I'd kept my tube amps. Tube failure led to not using tubes for gigging and space/$$$ concerns led to tube amps finding new homes where they will be used.
I've not tried the Strymon Iriidium that is being praised on this thread, looks like a goodie box and I'll probably give one a spin at some point. The same is true with the load boxes but some of them have very high prices (OX anyone?).
I've gotten good tones with Tech 21 Sansamp pedals of various sorts. Peavey's current iteration of Transtube is very good as well and can be run at lower volumes without a load box. While I've not been paying attention or spending time with the latest load boxes and other options. others may not be paying attention or trying out the current offerings in solid state and digital amp simulation, both hardware and soft. And that is fine with me, if we all sounded the same it would be pretty boring!!!!

I'm open and willing to try just about any signal chain but we have one small Guitar Center in Bellingham and the time and expense of driving to Seattle and convincing music store owners to set up what would be a "real world" situation just for me to tinker with is likely not happening since I probably won't buy anything unless I am profoundly impressed.

If everybody is happy with their tones, I am happy for them, truly. I do see a tendency among musicians to share what they love and have a go at "selling" their way of doing things. Since very few people say the same exact thing I figure it is like food, eat what you love - just like everybody else does...


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Originally Posted by Anderton
What kind of pickups?

Why, Roll-or-Kari of course. idea

lolol

dB

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I have a Jackson AmpWorks Iso-Cab with a Celestion Gold inside for recording guitars. There are two arms to mount microphones that go to jacks on the side of the cabinet. It offers about 30dB reduction, which is enough to take a screaming loud amp and drop it so that it is easy to have a conversation. It is definitely possible to record drums, bass (direct) and e-gtr in the same room with no bleed. Its even better than a speaker load - it's a real speaker in a real cab. I have an SM-57 mounted in there permanently. I wish to add a Royer...

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Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
I have a Jackson AmpWorks Iso-Cab with a Celestion Gold inside for recording guitars. There are two arms to mount microphones that go to jacks on the side of the cabinet. It offers about 30dB reduction, which is enough to take a screaming loud amp and drop it so that it is easy to have a conversation. It is definitely possible to record drums, bass (direct) and e-gtr in the same room with no bleed. Its even better than a speaker load - it's a real speaker in a real cab. I have an SM-57 mounted in there permanently. I wish to add a Royer...

I think this can be done. I used one, once so I have limited experience with them. The one I used (long since forgot what it was) "felt" like it was too small for the speaker to breathe. Bear in mind I've been using open back amps forever and while they have their shortcomings, with the right speaker I like the openness and reaction speed that a lower physical impedance provides. If the box was larger - both front and back - this could be overcome.
At another place I hung out, they put the guitar amp out in the hallway late at night - industrial area. Run a mic cable under the door and close it. That felt and sounded really good but not convenient in populated areas or daytime.

There is no reason you could not use a 10" or 8" speaker to reduce physical impedance as well. The box a 12" sounds "tight" in might be just the thing for an 8" or even a 10".


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Originally Posted by Nathanael_I
I have a Jackson AmpWorks Iso-Cab with a Celestion Gold inside for recording guitars. There are two arms to mount microphones that go to jacks on the side of the cabinet.

I remember one made by James Demeter (famous for his spring reverbs) that I seem to have thought of one made by someone else when I started to reply. Here's a link to the Demeter Iso-Box, that uses a 12 or 15 inch speaker and has an adjustable mic arm inside. The one that I was thinking of used a small speaker that might have been an Auratone and had a crank to adjust the spacing between the mic and the speaker.

And at the late, lamented NAMM show in 2019, Transaudio Group was showing AirHush inflatable sound isolation/absorption panels and had a speaker isolation box constructed from those "pillows" - mostly to demonstrate that you could get 30 dB of isolation with them.

These are all pretty expensive solutions, though. But probably beats getting an eviction notice for too much noise.

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Further thoughts on speakers. Physically, a moving coil dynamic microphone and a speaker (as used in a guitar amplifier), share very similar construction. In use, they are different. A microphone converts the physical movement of air into a electrical signal. A speaker is fed an electrical signal and converts it to physical movement but also behaves like a microphone in that the movement of the cone drives the coil to create an electrical signal. There are opposing forces happening constantly, this is very different than microphone behavior.

https://assets.peavey.com/literature/additional/116535_37325.pdf - Page 7 "The Damping Factor" discusses this clearly - for non-EE guys like me.

That is part of the sound of an electric guitar amplifier, the speaker fighting itself. It can be mimicked, the question is whether or not various individual load boxes rise to that challenge and succeed.

Last week, I was playing around with my Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 - it has a Scorpion 10" speaker in it that sounds great for guitar. I used the Peavey Classic amp emulation (all analog) and set it in the Orange range - Green is Clean, Orange is medium gain and Red is high gain. I turned the Pre-Gain knob all the way down. I turned the Post-Gain knob all the way up (this emulates the tones of the output section, it's not a master volume control). Tone knobs to suit the instrument.
Then I nudged up the Output knob (this is the master volume) to bedroom levels and played for a while. With just pick control I was able to go from a mildly dirty clean to a snarling, singing tone, very touch sensitive. It FELT like playing a tube amp but I've never owned a tube amp that could do that at such a low volume (and I've owned MANY tube amps from tiny to huge). Turning the active mid boost on the guitar down just a bit gave me a great tone for backing up the vocalist. I could gig with this rig and not need a foot switch.

I'm going to try recording it, from how I felt playing it could become my new electric guitar tone. The feel matters!
I've not tried any of the latest creations in direct guitar recording technology so I can't compare it to anything. I know there are amazing rigs out there, I am not disputing it.
Just pointing out that maybe some things get overlooked that could be very useful and are within reach of any budget.


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You can make a useful (though special purpose) microphone out of a loudspeaker. A 4 to 6 inch speaker makes a pretty good kick drum mic. Put it in a close box with an XLR connector on it, put it in front of the head, plug it into your favorite preamp (no phantom power required) and kick away. I think Scott Dorsey published an article in Recording Magazine using a 3" speaker mounted in a 4" electrical box.

In fact, Yamaha will even sell you one that looks like a miniature drum complete with hardware, with their name on it. Or, no, I guess they won't, as it seems to have been discontinued. Probably too many people rolling their own, or too many people who think the sound is useless. But it sure looks cool.


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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
With just pick control I was able to go from a mildly dirty clean to a snarling, singing tone, very touch sensitive. It FELT like playing a tube amp but I've never owned a tube amp that could do that at such a low volume (and I've owned MANY tube amps from tiny to huge). Turning the active mid boost on the guitar down just a bit gave me a great tone for backing up the vocalist. I could gig with this rig and not need a foot switch.

When I bought my Marshal 1987 50w non-MV head it had been modified by a previous owner in that it was converted from a two input amp to a single input amp with cascaded preamp tubes, and MV was added. While not a Mesa/Boogie high gain tone, with the right gain setting the Marshall has an AMAZING touch sensitive response. With just pick control I could go anywhere between Fender mild dirty clean to balls-to-the-walls Marshall bark and the relative level was the same. None of my other amps can do that, not even the modelers. The 2204 and JCM800 amps didn't do that. When I owned a M/B MkIIa it didn't do that either. Like you, I could gig without a foot switch. I LOVE that kind of control! If there's any amp I'll never sell, it's that one.

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Originally Posted by The Real MC
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
With just pick control I was able to go from a mildly dirty clean to a snarling, singing tone, very touch sensitive. It FELT like playing a tube amp but I've never owned a tube amp that could do that at such a low volume (and I've owned MANY tube amps from tiny to huge). Turning the active mid boost on the guitar down just a bit gave me a great tone for backing up the vocalist. I could gig with this rig and not need a foot switch.

When I bought my Marshal 1987 50w non-MV head it had been modified by a previous owner in that it was converted from a two input amp to a single input amp with cascaded preamp tubes, and MV was added. While not a Mesa/Boogie high gain tone, with the right gain setting the Marshall has an AMAZING touch sensitive response. With just pick control I could go anywhere between Fender mild dirty clean to balls-to-the-walls Marshall bark and the relative level was the same. None of my other amps can do that, not even the modelers. The 2204 and JCM800 amps didn't do that. When I owned a M/B MkIIa it didn't do that either. Like you, I could gig without a foot switch. I LOVE that kind of control! If there's any amp I'll never sell, it's that one.

I had an old Fender Harvard - tweed - 1-10" that more or less did that but it was pretty loud. How loud is your Marshall when it gets that sweet spot?
I ask because I was not much louder than an acoustic guitar in the post above.

I can't get away with being slightly loud, at least not very often. Which is OK with me, after what I've done to my own ears I am long since over playing loud and modern PA systems make it possible to play at reasonable volume and still give the audience some volume. It's a better mix that way too.


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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Originally Posted by The Real MC
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
With just pick control I was able to go from a mildly dirty clean to a snarling, singing tone, very touch sensitive. It FELT like playing a tube amp but I've never owned a tube amp that could do that at such a low volume (and I've owned MANY tube amps from tiny to huge). Turning the active mid boost on the guitar down just a bit gave me a great tone for backing up the vocalist. I could gig with this rig and not need a foot switch.

When I bought my Marshal 1987 50w non-MV head it had been modified by a previous owner in that it was converted from a two input amp to a single input amp with cascaded preamp tubes, and MV was added. While not a Mesa/Boogie high gain tone, with the right gain setting the Marshall has an AMAZING touch sensitive response. With just pick control I could go anywhere between Fender mild dirty clean to balls-to-the-walls Marshall bark and the relative level was the same. None of my other amps can do that, not even the modelers. The 2204 and JCM800 amps didn't do that. When I owned a M/B MkIIa it didn't do that either. Like you, I could gig without a foot switch. I LOVE that kind of control! If there's any amp I'll never sell, it's that one.

I had an old Fender Harvard - tweed - 1-10" that more or less did that but it was pretty loud. How loud is your Marshall when it gets that sweet spot?
I ask because I was not much louder than an acoustic guitar in the post above.

I can't get away with being slightly loud, at least not very often. Which is OK with me, after what I've done to my own ears I am long since over playing loud and modern PA systems make it possible to play at reasonable volume and still give the audience some volume. It's a better mix that way too.

It wouldn't be apartment friendly so a load box would be necessary. A lot of that Marshall 'bark' is cranking the output tubes.

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Originally Posted by The Real MC
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Originally Posted by The Real MC
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
With just pick control I was able to go from a mildly dirty clean to a snarling, singing tone, very touch sensitive. It FELT like playing a tube amp but I've never owned a tube amp that could do that at such a low volume (and I've owned MANY tube amps from tiny to huge). Turning the active mid boost on the guitar down just a bit gave me a great tone for backing up the vocalist. I could gig with this rig and not need a foot switch.

When I bought my Marshal 1987 50w non-MV head it had been modified by a previous owner in that it was converted from a two input amp to a single input amp with cascaded preamp tubes, and MV was added. While not a Mesa/Boogie high gain tone, with the right gain setting the Marshall has an AMAZING touch sensitive response. With just pick control I could go anywhere between Fender mild dirty clean to balls-to-the-walls Marshall bark and the relative level was the same. None of my other amps can do that, not even the modelers. The 2204 and JCM800 amps didn't do that. When I owned a M/B MkIIa it didn't do that either. Like you, I could gig without a foot switch. I LOVE that kind of control! If there's any amp I'll never sell, it's that one.

I had an old Fender Harvard - tweed - 1-10" that more or less did that but it was pretty loud. How loud is your Marshall when it gets that sweet spot?
I ask because I was not much louder than an acoustic guitar in the post above.

I can't get away with being slightly loud, at least not very often. Which is OK with me, after what I've done to my own ears I am long since over playing loud and modern PA systems make it possible to play at reasonable volume and still give the audience some volume. It's a better mix that way too.

It wouldn't be apartment friendly so a load box would be necessary. A lot of that Marshall 'bark' is cranking the output tubes.

I understand perfectly, have gotten the back end cooking many times. That is why I am noting the Vypyr, it felt and sang like that roaring output section glory but was not at all loud. I need that or I might as well go direct. I go direct too, sometimes it is late at night and I share a wall/ceiling with 2 other units. They are quiet almost always, I need to show the same courtesy.


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I have an amp that is switchable between 14W and 28W. That's my "load" box. Works great.


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