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Reactive Load IR unit preferences-Suhr or others?

itguy61

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
508
I have been reading about these in the other forum and it seems as if there are three mainline choices for these now. The Suhr, the Captor X and a couple of Mesa units.

I want to be able to play silently, possibly record in the future and have a good sound. Will be using a Mesa Mark V Head.

Which one of these is simple to use and sounds good? I have read the instructions on two of them, the other one seems to be having a problem with their website.

Another factor is it is starting to look like this Suhr unit is a unicorn and going to be impossible to get for the near future, the other two are available now.

Any feedback is appreciated.
 
Messages
10
I follow 3d, I’m very interested about these machines, expecially the Captor X, that I restrain from only because the weak attenuation system.
 

itguy61

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
508
I follow 3d, I’m very interested about these machines, expecially the Captor X, that I restrain from only because the weak attenuation system.

I don't really need attenuation as my two amps are a master volume on one and and built in attenuator on the other. I want something easy to use, I work in IT and I put up with Tech problems all day at work, don't want to techy at home.
 

108

Member
Messages
2,104
I have the Suhr RL (not IR), Mesa Cab Clone IR, and UA OX. I have the Two Notes WoS plugin and have paid for some of their expansion packs. I also have IR packs from ML, OwnHammer, RedWirez, York, and various others.

The simple answer is that they all sound great as load boxes, and feature set compared to personal should be the deciding factor. I do not like the Two Notes software, I think it’s the worst sounding cabinet simulation I have available, so I’ve never invested in a Two Notes hardware unit. The Captor X features look fantastic, but I would end up bypassing it’s cabinets and loading IRS anyway.

For simplicity, I like the Suhr RL, but don’t have any interest in the IR version. I have the Celestion Suhr impulses and don’t think they’re that great. Some guys like the Celestion offerings though, it’s a matter of personal taste. I prefer to run the analog output from the Suhr to my interface and applying IRs there, rather than having an unnecessary ADDA conversion stage from the RL IR to the interface. The original Suhr RL does have a major flaw in required a high-z input or direct box before the mic preamp on an interface.

The Mesa CC IR sounds great. The stock IRS are garbage though. Comparing the load itself through the same IR with the Suhr, it has a little less presence in the high-end. The presence knob on the Mesa is a perfect addition though and makes up for that difference in the impedance curves with distorted guitar amps. I can’t speak for cleans, my “cleans” are just over the edge of breakup.

A problem with these loads is that it can lead you down a path of constantly chasing the best IR files. You can quickly get t hundreds or thousands of IRs and suffer option paralysis, in addition to spending too much money for files that don’t get used. Most players inevitable end up finding a small handful they gravitate to, the rest of the IRs sitting unused. This is where the OX has an edge, being a somewhat locked system with fantastic cabinet/mic modeling compared to Two Notes. You can get lost in tweaking but there are no additional purchases needed. It’s a very ‘all inclusive’ load box and software package for guys who want everything they need right in the box, and not get the itch for additional IRs. I find that the OX compared to many IRs can sound quite a bit more mid-forward, which ends up being an easier fit while tracking, but sometimes played through alone not the best tone. The OX makes recording a breeze. The load itself sits somewhere between the Mesa and Suhr when using the same IR. It has more low-end and less presence than the Suhr, but more than the Mesa. I find a slight EQ tweak can get it close to either. The onboard EQ, compression, reverb and delay are extremely intuitive. If you want a box that will put out record-quality sounds and basic ambient effects, the OX is the perfect fit. If you simply need a method to DI your amp into a recording interface, then Suhr might be best. I do want to add that the OX might be the only unit with a digital output to go into an interface without additional AD/DA. You can also use a “direct box” mic sim and use IRs in the recording DAW. You can’t load IRs directly onto the OX though.

They all sound great. It’s most important to consider your needs and workflow. Are you simply wanting to load an amp and do everything in the box? Do you want a live load to DI into a PA? Do you need onboard effects or are you fine running dry/using pedals? You decide how you’d use a load box, then shop accordingly. There’s endless conversations comparing these devices on here with people in every camp declaring theirs is the best, but they all have strengths and weaknesses that can only be determined according to a players individual needs and method of use.

If I had to pair down to one load box, for me it would be the UA OX. It’s not the “best”, but offers a lot of versatility and quality. It comes at a steeper price though. If money was a concern, then the Suhr would get the nod.

Also, my comments are from a dude who’s mostly concerned with recording. I don’t use any of these on stage, and features like attenuation mean nothing to me. If you aren’t interested in recording and just want to play silently, or if you’re wanting to go DI live, then your needs and opinions will vary from mine, so take everything with a grain of salt.
 

itguy61

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
508
Thanks for the detailed reply. This would be for silent playing and to start dabbling with recording. I think the OX is way out my price range.

I guess I will wait and see if the Suhr becomes available. No idea when that will be.
 

eoengineer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,064
I prefer to run the analog output from the Suhr to my interface and applying IRs there, rather than having an unnecessary ADDA conversion stage from the RL IR to the interface. The original Suhr RL does have a major flaw in required a high-z input or direct box before the mic preamp on an interface.
This has been a concern for me as well since starting to shop for a reactive load since I often blend multiple IRs on separate tracks to get the sounds I want. I will have to check out the specs to confirm, but I would expect the Suhr RL IR's dry output to bypass that extra conversion stage.

Something else worth mentioning is the MIDI capabilities of the Mesa Cab Clone IR. I use a L6 HXFX as the command and switching center for my rig. I can use the HXFX MIDI to switch impulse responses per patch, which is not something I see supported on the Suhr. I think the Captor X supports this also.

This has been a really tough decision. I'm trying to satisfy 2 use cases, using the RL between my head and cab for FOH, and then home headphone practice/recording. The Captor X is the one that I like most on paper, but have heard so much negativity about their software that I'm hesitant to go that direction. If the Suhr RL IR had even a switchable 50% attenuator I would have already pulled the trigger.
 

7thString

Member
Messages
1,340
I have the Suhr RL (not IR), Mesa Cab Clone IR, and UA OX. I have the Two Notes WoS plugin and have paid for some of their expansion packs. I also have IR packs from ML, OwnHammer, RedWirez, York, and various others.

The simple answer is that they all sound great as load boxes, and feature set compared to personal should be the deciding factor. I do not like the Two Notes software, I think it’s the worst sounding cabinet simulation I have available, so I’ve never invested in a Two Notes hardware unit. The Captor X features look fantastic, but I would end up bypassing it’s cabinets and loading IRS anyway.

For simplicity, I like the Suhr RL, but don’t have any interest in the IR version. I have the Celestion Suhr impulses and don’t think they’re that great. Some guys like the Celestion offerings though, it’s a matter of personal taste. I prefer to run the analog output from the Suhr to my interface and applying IRs there, rather than having an unnecessary ADDA conversion stage from the RL IR to the interface. The original Suhr RL does have a major flaw in required a high-z input or direct box before the mic preamp on an interface.

The Mesa CC IR sounds great. The stock IRS are garbage though. Comparing the load itself through the same IR with the Suhr, it has a little less presence in the high-end. The presence knob on the Mesa is a perfect addition though and makes up for that difference in the impedance curves with distorted guitar amps. I can’t speak for cleans, my “cleans” are just over the edge of breakup.

A problem with these loads is that it can lead you down a path of constantly chasing the best IR files. You can quickly get t hundreds or thousands of IRs and suffer option paralysis, in addition to spending too much money for files that don’t get used. Most players inevitable end up finding a small handful they gravitate to, the rest of the IRs sitting unused. This is where the OX has an edge, being a somewhat locked system with fantastic cabinet/mic modeling compared to Two Notes. You can get lost in tweaking but there are no additional purchases needed. It’s a very ‘all inclusive’ load box and software package for guys who want everything they need right in the box, and not get the itch for additional IRs. I find that the OX compared to many IRs can sound quite a bit more mid-forward, which ends up being an easier fit while tracking, but sometimes played through alone not the best tone. The OX makes recording a breeze. The load itself sits somewhere between the Mesa and Suhr when using the same IR. It has more low-end and less presence than the Suhr, but more than the Mesa. I find a slight EQ tweak can get it close to either. The onboard EQ, compression, reverb and delay are extremely intuitive. If you want a box that will put out record-quality sounds and basic ambient effects, the OX is the perfect fit. If you simply need a method to DI your amp into a recording interface, then Suhr might be best. I do want to add that the OX might be the only unit with a digital output to go into an interface without additional AD/DA. You can also use a “direct box” mic sim and use IRs in the recording DAW. You can’t load IRs directly onto the OX though.

They all sound great. It’s most important to consider your needs and workflow. Are you simply wanting to load an amp and do everything in the box? Do you want a live load to DI into a PA? Do you need onboard effects or are you fine running dry/using pedals? You decide how you’d use a load box, then shop accordingly. There’s endless conversations comparing these devices on here with people in every camp declaring theirs is the best, but they all have strengths and weaknesses that can only be determined according to a players individual needs and method of use.

If I had to pair down to one load box, for me it would be the UA OX. It’s not the “best”, but offers a lot of versatility and quality. It comes at a steeper price though. If money was a concern, then the Suhr would get the nod.

Also, my comments are from a dude who’s mostly concerned with recording. I don’t use any of these on stage, and features like attenuation mean nothing to me. If you aren’t interested in recording and just want to play silently, or if you’re wanting to go DI live, then your needs and opinions will vary from mine, so take everything with a grain of salt.
Great post. Haven't tried the OX but seems like a great option for simplicity and sounds nice in videos I have seen. Agree about the kinda crappy Celestion IRs. You'd think a speaker company could be making some of the best...

I have had the Suhr RL in the past and now have the Captor. Not much difference besides the Suhr feeling a bit more trustworthy if you're punching it with a 100w head. (I use the Captor for my SV20 so its pretty safe but even that makes the fan spin when its cranked).

I think the Captor X is overkill if not playing out / live - it is fairly easy to make your own impulses and use them on you computer rather than essentially buying an additional computer within the Captor X.

Start of this clip is Marshall 1959 straight into the Suhr RL + my own IRs, recorded 'silently'.
 

gtrnstuff

Member
Messages
2,481
Before I got the MESA CCIR, I used a Weber MASS or an old Marshall SE-100 for load feeding a Helix with some of my own IRs, some RedWires or even the internal cab/mic sims.
The MESA is working fine, and simplifies the hardware heap.
I loaded my favorite IRs and kept one of theirs.
 

rustolium

Member
Messages
589
I just don't get the negative comments on Two-Notes. It's interesting how different people's experiences can be. The UI is weird, but if you know what you are doing it's the most powerful and flexible. Two-Notes has improved the UI and have been doing this for a long time. I run 2 Live units and while I have created my own IRs of my prized cabs, I am able to get what I want with theirs as well. They have never let me down with 100 watt heads. In fact, I've run my 150watt SSS being careful on volume with no issue.

The truth is they are all so close you should buy based on features in your budget. That is my opinion. They all have their quirks you can figure out how to live with and all have great quality at least in my experience. Armed with this info, maybe it's best to find a place with a return policy and try them.

I did a test here:
https://www.thegearpage.net/board/i...active-loads-suhrrl-two-notes-uad-ox.2185354/

I currently own OX, Suhr, Two-notes. They get used in different scenarios.
 
Messages
10
I just don't get the negative comments on Two-Notes. It's interesting how different people's experiences can be. The UI is weird, but if you know what you are doing it's the most powerful and flexible. Two-Notes has improved the UI and have been doing this for a long time. I run 2 Live units and while I have created my own IRs of my prized cabs, I am able to get what I want with theirs as well. They have never let me down with 100 watt heads. In fact, I've run my 150watt SSS being careful on volume with no issue.

The truth is they are all so close you should buy based on features in your budget. That is my opinion. They all have their quirks you can figure out how to live with and all have great quality at least in my experience. Armed with this info, maybe it's best to find a place with a return policy and try them.

I did a test here:
https://www.thegearpage.net/board/i...active-loads-suhrrl-two-notes-uad-ox.2185354/

I currently own OX, Suhr, Two-notes. They get used in different scenarios.
Which is in your opinion the most suitable for a live/rehearsal context, to be used as an attenuator/DI I mean?
 

rustolium

Member
Messages
589
The OX is perfect for that. It's the only one I have experience with that covers this scenario in one box. To do that with any of the other units I have I would use my Fryette PS2 as the volume control and the Two-notes Live for IR/DI. This combo is killer. Otherwise, I would look seriously at:

Boss TAE - Reamp via solid state amp. Not attenuation. I have not used this yet, but it looks promising and I prefer the re-amp style of control. More bulky and expensive, but very flexible. I would try this per your question.

Two-notes CaptorX - Lots of good features, small and not as expensive. Is an attenuator. The only concern I would have is if the attenuation is flexible enough. I have read the 3 selectable levels don't work for some folks. I would certainly give it a go though. It has some interesting extra features too.

Mesa CabClone - Looks very promising. Is attenuator with more selectable levels. Has all the needed features for your scenario.
 

Gasp100

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
21,340
I really liked the Suhr RL-IR for the best reactive load, simplicity of use for home playing. No fuss, no muss, fairly well curated IR's default in the unit, sounded and felt excellent direct into a PA monitor (no mixer in between so no tweaks). Cons - too large to want to bring to a gig and no attenuation. Although you can cable it a way to drop it by ~3dB?
The Torpedo Captor X brings a LOT to the table. Also very good reactive load, very close to the Suhr. Space, enhancer options on the front of the unit. Super stable and EASY bluetooth integration and good software when tethered to a PC. TONS of options for using their cabs/mics, but VERY easy to load in your own IR's... I mean, how simple do people need it to be? I'm not talking WoS, I'm talking about the Two Notes Captor X app. Much overlooked is the EQ, Enhancer and reverb options in the software that a little can go a long way and be saved to your preset in the unit. Multiple IO options, proper XLR out, stereo/split signals, etc... And VIP if you are planning on using it live, SMALL form factor. Easily can fit in a side pocket and setup quickly. Attenuation settings were extreme but useable. -20dB for light home use, -38dB for super late near silent but still wanting the tones from the actual speaker. Also attenuation does not require to be plugged in.
It's weird, while I actually liked the Suhr RL-IR slightly more from a no muss, no fuss feature set I can't see how anyone would not go for the Captor X. It fulfills so many requirements and offers so much, it's small/light, extremely versatile and readily available. What more do you want? Get some York Audio IR bundles if you can't find good stuff in the Torpedo X domain and you're done!
OX looks amazing but very expensive and supposedly the attenuation (although more clicks then Torpedo Captor X) still sucks.
Boss WAAZ TAE looks nice, but that is even more expensive and is an "all-in" on solid state power amp "reamping".

For those that apply the IR's in the DAW doesn't the latency -- even very slight latency -- bother you?
I'm looking at something like a dedicated software IR loader (Mikko ML Labs, others) because my Synergy SYN-30 has DI out and the analog cab simulation can be defeated. But, there is definitely latency or a slightly different response when having to monitor OFF the hard disk to hear the cab. So you are tethered to your computer...

That is where the devices that include the IR loading win. You can use your prized tube amps silently and be completely separated from your computer. I work in IT as well (too much LOL) and it was really a breath of fresh air late a night to fire up the rig, plug phones directly into the Suhr RL-IR or Captor X and get solid tones. Still better then a digital modeler, plus you are using gear you love!
 
Messages
369
fwiw the Boss WAZA TAE allows you to dial in both the wattage and impedance of your source amp... it also has XLR out. It's more expensive but you get a lot of features for the money.
 

Tiger1016

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
193
For those that apply the IR's in the DAW doesn't the latency -- even very slight latency -- bother you?
I'm looking at something like a dedicated software IR loader (Mikko ML Labs, others) because my Synergy SYN-30 has DI out and the analog cab simulation can be defeated. But, there is definitely latency or a slightly different response when having to monitor OFF the hard disk to hear the cab. So you are tethered to your computer...
I have zero issues with latency when using my Axe Fx III and II to load IRs. However, when I did a demo of the Mikko from ML Sound Labs, where I was using amp modes in the Axe, routing the USB audio out in the middle of my signal chain to Mikko on my computer (using the Axe as the audio interface), then routing the audio post IR from Mikko back to the Axe via USB to monitor from its headphone out, latency was way too much for me.
 

Stone Driver

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,205
I'm a big fan of the Suhr RL IR as well. I've used it both for studio recording and rehearsal monitoring (via PA) and it's been great. For live use without a guitar cab, I just add a small amount of track reverb (preferably a "small room" style) with the Suhr RL IR and it sounds great for that application, pretty good ambiance even coming straight out of a PA.

My band's fourth album is in post-production, and I'm not embarrassed to say I used the RL IR on at least 50% of the guitar tracks instead of traditional mics & pres (R121 and a API 512c). It really sounded that good, particularly on the overdriven stuff.

I prefer an aftermarket EVM12L Thiele IR, however that's not a knock on Suhr's already great sounding presets, I just consistently prefer that type of speaker for the guitar tones I dig when playing "old school" with a cab :cool: . I guess on that note I could also say that the Suhr RL IR makes it easy to load and use aftermarket IRs if you are also so inclined.

Great piece of kit and I could have saved a sh@t-ton of money on mics and preamps if I had something like this when I first started recording. Cheers
 

7thString

Member
Messages
1,340
For those that apply the IR's in the DAW doesn't the latency -- even very slight latency -- bother you?
yes I normally keep the hardware buffer down to either 64 or 32 samples in a 48kHz session if I'm tracking guitar, my system handles it pretty well.
 
Messages
4,530
I love the Suhr RL IR. I've not used the Captor, but in the RL comparisons I've listened to, I preferred the sound of the Suhr. I also prefer it to the sound of the RL in my Fryette Power Station V2. The Suhr sounds very natural and doesn't yield any fizzy overtones or weird dynamics. It's great.

The factory IRs in the Suhr sound good. They're no fuss and you'll find a handful that you like. However, they are close mic sounds, so in most cases you're going to want some way to add ambience to them. I just use a Room IR plugin in my DAW and run it in the bus.

The other nice thing about the RL IR is that it has a dry out. You can record the IR filtered signal, or the unfiltered DI at the same time and choose your IR later. And, lastly you can run 3rd party IRs on it too. Ownhammer are the best IRs I've tried. Better than Celestion's own IRs, IMO. I have Two Notes Wall of Sound and I always found their IRs to sound weird. It has caused me to look passed their hardware.
 

sickboy79

Member
Messages
12,903
I have a Suhr Reactive Load IR. Complete game changer for me for what I do (just basement playing these days). I primarily use it as my silent playing and jam along to albums too. Absolutely amazing for that. Sounds fantastic with headphones and I love the IRs. I need to try recording with it. Highly recommended in my book though. (my wife loves it too!)
 




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