Software Speaker Sim or Palmer PDI-03

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by TheJudge, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. TheJudge

    TheJudge Member

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    Like many others, I find myself in a living situation where I am unable to realistically mic a guitar speaker. So, I need a speakerless recording situation. I use clean tones, blues tones (tubes just beginning to break up) through 80's style, big-hair rock. There are many posts here already covering this topic, but what is the current take on this issue?

    I am lucky in that one of my amps (Aiken Invader MkI) has an XLR direct out with speaker simulation built in. According to the documentation, it is supposed to model the frequency response of an SM57 and a Celestion Greenback speaker. It sounds pretty good, but I am wondering if I might be missing out on something better or more versatile.

    It seems that there are two options, which are either hardware speaker sims or software speaker sims. With hardware, it appears that the Palmer PDI-03 is the one to use. So I suppose I could take a cord from the speaker out on my Invader and run it into the Palmer, which provides a load and speaker sim, and be good to go. My question is...would it really provide me with anything substantially better than what I am getting using the Invader's built-in XLR out with speaker emulation? I know I could just buy a unity and try it out, but I am curious to hear some opinions first, since the Palmer is not inexpensive.

    The software option would require running a cord from the speaker line out into my DAW and then using something like Guitar Rig or Revalver or other software speaker simulator.

    There are many threads on this topic floating around here, but I am curious what the current status is for speaker sims.

    What do some of you think is the best sounding solution?

    Thanks for your thoughts.
     
  2. elambo

    elambo Member

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    I've tried all of them (harware and software) except for the new SPL Transducer, and the best without question has been the PDI-03. It's friendly to any type of amp. Don't bother with the 04 - it's nice, and reminiscent of the 03, but breaks up easily and just doesn't sound quite as legit.

    Digital sims sound... digital. Indeed they're getting better as technology advances, but they're still not there. Even the Axe-FX, which I think is the best digital has to offer at the moment, can't touch a great tube amp with a PDI-03.
     
  3. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    You can download Boogex VST and play around with it. It's free and very tweakable so you might find something useful in there. I've never had much luck with any amp sim, hardware or software. http://www.voxengo.com/product/boogex/
     
  4. Audioholic

    Audioholic Member

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    I really like the 03, use it all the time, I like to use it in conjunction with a mic'd cab, though it works better for somethings, and just ok for others. The SPL looks like it has more options then the Palmer, and I was going to get it instead, but the price tag, and great customer service from the palmer crew made me stick with the 003.

    The nice thing about using amp sims is that you will get more options as far as sound, but if you get one, use something that will allow custom IR's, such as revalver.
     
  5. TheJudge

    TheJudge Member

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    Thanks for the replies so far.

    As far as the amp sims go, it would be used merely for the speaker emulation. I would send the direct signal from my amp into my DAW and use the software based speaker emulation.

    Would some of you still go with the hardware, Palmer PDI-03 solution for speaker emulation?

    Thanks.
     
  6. elambo

    elambo Member

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    If there's no load with the output from your amp (i.e. if it's line-level), then what you want is the Palmer PDI-09. It's just cabinet emulation without the load box. And in fact, the 03 won't even accept a line-level input, so you'd HAVE to use the speaker output with that one. And the 09 is MUCH less expensive.

    BUT, I believe that part of the magic of the 03 is entire circuit, so having another box act as a power soak might not give you the best sound. For a while I had a Hot Plate acting as the power soak, then sending its line-level output to a Palmer 09, and while it sounded good it still didn't compare to the 03 acting as an all-in-one.
     
  7. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    For the 80's rock thing, check out the ADA microcab II. I had one for a while and it nailed the 80's hairband stuff. You could push in multiple buttons too, as I discovered one day, for different sounds. For a short time, my recording chain was a Hafler tube preamp, Ibanez UE400 and the ADA Microcab II. Talk about an 80's flashback. :roll
     
  8. cochese

    cochese Supporting Member

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    I did a couple of clips a few years ago for Guytron where I ran the line out of the amp into my Boss GT5 and "only" used the speaker simulation circuit. It worked better than the H&K Red Box, the Digital Music box as well as the Groove Tubes Speaker emulation circuit. I have not tried the Palmer stuff though Satriani and countless others use them.
    http://www.guytron.com/images/mp3/thrilltron.mp3
    http://www.guytron.com/images/mp3/longtron.mp3

    I'm not sure how the circuit on the Aiken works. You would still need to run the amp into a loud (which the Guytron has built in) so you can push the output satge of your amp. You can use a THD Hotplate set to load for this.

    The clips I've heard of the Axe-FX sound great but it's going to be cheaper using what you have as opposed to buying that unit.
     
  9. Steven_K

    Steven_K Member

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    Sorry to resurrect this old thread, but I am interested in these same issues. With the Palmer PDI-09 - could you run your amp straight into it and then the "thru "output into a hot plate on the dummy load mode with nothing connected to the hot plate? Then the hot plate wouldn't be at all affecting the tone coming out of the PDI-09?

    So in this diagram:

    [​IMG]

    The hot plate replaces the speaker, rather than running the line out of the hot plate into the PDI-09? Would that get closer to the PDI-03 at a fraction of the cost?
     
  10. funkycam

    funkycam Member

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  11. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    A full-power load box like the Palmer will almost certainly sound better than software, imho. That being said, a high quality direct box will do wonders for the sound of your amp sims. I think part of the reason the amp sims don't sound good to people is that many people have crappy direct in sounds. Would you run through a $49 Behringer mixer to your amp and expect great results? If not, why do you think your amp sim software would be any happier with it? Drop a couple hundred bucks on a nice Radial box or Groove Tubes Brick or something, and you'll hear the difference. Buying a FMR RNP preamp was the best thing I ever did for my direct sound.
     
  12. Bussman

    Bussman Member

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    The "problem" is that the amp's output section is very sensitive to the type of load. It doesn't matter where the PDI-09 is in the chain (the impedance of those type of devices is so high as to be negligible), the output section of the tube amp is still reacting to the main load (in your case: the Hotplate). The other way you describe (Hotplate line out -> PDI-09) would not be very good as the PDI-09 is heavily padded (attenuated).

    FWIW, the sound of an amp recorded silently thru this kind of set-up is totally different from listening to the amp thru speakers "live" in the room. Recording an amp thru a mic and listening to it in the room are two different things anyway, so the set-up you describe may just serve your silent recording needs perfectly (or at least adequately). Just give it a try and let your ears be the judge.
     
  13. Steven_K

    Steven_K Member

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    Sure, but I can't see the difference between using the hot plate as a load before the PDI-09 then running the line out into the PDI-09, or using the through line of the PDI-09 and then into the hot plate on a load. I'd want to try both ways, and want to make sure neither will damage the output transformer on my amp. I can't see a reason it would, though.

    Of course, I'm not at all expecting the same sound, but a good sound with nice characteristics. I often like the dryer DI guitar sound. My main use will be for practicing with headphones at night, and this looks perfect.
     
  14. Bussman

    Bussman Member

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    I edited my post above (as you were typing I guess) to address this.

    I use an H&K Redbox to do just that. Keeps the wife and kids happy. Have fun.
     
  15. Bussman

    Bussman Member

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    Just checked the specs from Palmer. The PDI-09's pad can be bypassed and it will work with line level signals, something the Redbox won't do. Cool, now I have to get one. Hahaha.
     
  16. btg

    btg Member

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    I use the PDI-09 in conjunction with a 5E3 Deluxe and a Weber Micro Mass. I place the PDI-09 between the amp and the mass and run an XLR cable to my mixer seems to work better this way. I have tried using the line out on the Mass into the PDI-09 and was not as pleased with the sound. I have also used a Universal Audio Solo 610 and a preamp going into the PDI-09 and did not get that great of a sound.

    If someone else has some audio clips of recordings done with a PDI-09 or PDI-03 I would like to hear them to compare what I am getting. My sounds for practice but in no way sound like a real amp. To my ears the PDI-09 sound artificial on the high end. Any thoughts or suggestions.
     
  17. elambo

    elambo Member

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    Yes, this does work. It doesn't sound quite as good as an 03, but it will do the trick nicely.

    Even so, it's still not a big savings (PDI-09 $175 + HotPlate $330 = $505 -- vs. -- PDI-03 $630).
     
  18. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Silver Supporting Member

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    I use a Groove Tubes speaker emulator rack unit, and it's great....you plug your amp stait in, and it also acts, [and reacts] as a dummy load...
     
  19. Steven_K

    Steven_K Member

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    Ok good, that is what I thought- also I doubt the hotplate's line out sounds very good on its own as its heavily attenuated tones suck.
    EDIT: Although you can turn off the attenuation on the PDI-09 for use with a line out. Still don't think it would sound as good.

    If I wasn't already using a hotplate I would just buy the PDI-03, but as it is the cheaper route is the PDI-09. Also, even if the sound isn't quite as good, the set up is more flexible.

    Anyways, thanks everyone for your help. I've put the PDI-09 on my X-Mas wishlist and will be using it in a couple of weeks.
     
  20. elambo

    elambo Member

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    I guess I missed that part. Easy then. $175 and you're done. Let us know what you think.
     

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