The Best Low Volume Solution I've Ever Used

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Dave_C, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

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    Pedalboard_Of_Choice -> Tube_Amp_Of_Choice -> Grendel_Dead_Room (iso cab with
    RWB and e906) -> ART_Tube_Mic_Preamp -> TC_Nova_Reverb -> Yamaha_MSR400 (powered
    monitor)

    I have tried the Marshall PowerBrake, THD Hot-Plate, Z Air Brake, Ultimate
    Attenuator, Weber Mass, Suhr Power Scaling in the Badger, OD pedals and master
    volumes and nothing has worked at capturing the tone and feel of a cranked tube
    amp at low volumes as well as the configuration above! With attenuators, power
    scaling and master volumes, I always find the tone gets too ratty and bright at
    low volumes, ostensibly because the speaker (and OT?) isn't working hard enough
    and, therefore, isn't smoothing out the tone enough. Being able to run the
    speaker hard (in addition to the whole amp, front to back) seems to be the
    missing piece of the puzzle!

    In that regard, the Dead Room is a pretty significant advance, IMO, and I think
    all of our bright minds should be spending their time on iso cab advances
    instead of attenuators! With the iso cab approach, you get the full preamp,
    power amp, OT, speaker and cab response. You get your choice in speaker, mic(s)
    and reamplification medium. I know people have complained about traditional iso
    cabs sounding boxy and constricted and/or emphasizing some frequencies too much
    over others, but I haven't found that to be the case with the Dead Room. It
    sounds a helluva' lot like running a traditional cab in a really well insulated
    studio while hearing it played back through monitors in the control room. Cool!

    Some would argue that mic'ing and reamp'ing is a compromise, but in A/B
    comparisons between Power Scaling into a traditional speaker/cab (my previous
    "best" solution) versus running at full power into the Dead Room rig described
    above, I found that you gain more than you lose with the iso cab. Yes, as
    alluded to above, it does sound a little bit like a great recording of a great
    amp versus the great amp live, but we listen to and love recordings of great
    amps all the time and use them as benchmarks for our live tone. At professional
    level gigs, we hear the mic'ed cab into a full range PA anyways, so there's no
    difference here. It's just all being done at a lower volume, much like what we
    listen to and love on our home and car stereos.

    Another advantage of the iso cab approach over the traditional unmic'ed cab
    approach is the ability to precisely choose which part of the speaker dispersion
    pattern you want the audience to hear (i.e. your ideal "sweet spot") versus
    getting the traditional on-axis "hot spot" and varying degrees of roll-off as
    you move off-axis. With full range, high dispersion re-amping, everybody gets to
    hear your ideal tone. No need for Beam Blockers here!

    Yet another advantage is being able to get OT, power tube and speaker harmonics
    and then place your time domain effects (reverb, delay, chorus, etc.) after
    that, where they belong, just like what we're accustomed to hearing on
    recordings.

    Another advantage is being able to use ANY guitar amp you desire without fear of
    being too loud or not having an FX loop. This system solves both issues!

    I'll do my final eval on this system at rehearsal this weekend, but so far I am
    extremely impressed with this approach and had to share it with y'all!
     
  2. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

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    Good thinking.
     
  3. bard2dbone

    bard2dbone Member

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    I'm a great believer in iso cabs for home recording. Again, I'm mainly a bass player. A few years back I got to try out a product called a Rumbleseat. It was a 1x10 bass cab with some SERIOUS soundproofing. It had a lid you could open to access the mic pointed at the speaker. And the lid had a big cushion you could sit on.

    So it looked like a big square stool with a wire coming out of the side, but it was the best bass iso cab I've ever heard.

    It would be awesome if I could get one of them AND something like this Dead Room or Silent Sister. Three in the morning recording sessions at home! WooHoo!
     
  4. archtopjazz

    archtopjazz Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Are these just for recording or could you use one for live situations?
     
  5. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

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    Looks interesting, similar to the Grendel. But, the Grendel claims all of the same advantages and is available now and unloaded.
     
  6. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

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    Re-read my initial post. Live band work is my main usage. I'm running the Dead Room mic output into a tube mic preamp into a Nova reverb into a powered monitor. I get full cranked amp and speaker tone at any volume.
     
  7. JimH

    JimH Member

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    Something in my brain won't let me take a cab to a gig and then put it in a box that I also brought to the gig so's I can't hear the cab any more. I'm sure it works great and all that - it's just against my innate senses of efficiency, sanity and laziness.
     
  8. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    Should sound pretty cool. FWIW, you should be able to drop more time based FX like chorus, flange and delay next to the Nova and have great results. That way all your effects are after the first speaker and should sound fabulous.
     
  9. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Any clips? The problem I've heard (on clips - Never personally tried one) with the iso cabs is that they have a mid-hump that works good for distorted leads but not so good for pristine (open-back) clean tones.
     
  10. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

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    You don't take your regular cab to the gig. You leave it home and take the Grendel instead. The only extra piece of gear is the powered monitor to re-amp at the lower volume.
     
  11. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

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    Yes, indeed! But, I'm only using a little 'verb at the moment, which occasional wah and vibe way out front.
     
  12. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

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    No clips yet. I haven't done a huge amount of comparison with the cleans yet. It does seem the RWB is better-suited to lead stuff than crunchy chord stuff, but I'm still tweaking. In the little bit I've done though, I didn't notice any mid hump or nasal quality with the cleans. As for true open-back tones, well, you need an open-back for that, which defeats the purpose of the Dead Room. However, I am going to experiment tonight with the cab switching feature on my Engl SE 6L6! The two rhythm channels (clean/crunch) will go into a Port City Wave 2x12 Heritage G12-65s (best all-around cab I've ever used) and the two lead channels will go into the Grendel into the powered monitor! Stay tuned!
     
  13. MBreinin

    MBreinin Supporting Member

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    This would be an interesting setup to have in the living room. LOL.

    Still, I would love something like this. Then I could run all of those non-MV, non-loop/reverb amps and add wet effects and crank them to the hilt. How much is that ISO cab?

    Mike
     
  14. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

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    Mike,

    Yeah, I never would have bothered if it weren't for this new band I'm putting together. They all have a pretty strong jazz background (except me!) and they play so damn quiet! LOL. So, this setup is primarily for rehearsals in my family room and any low volume gigs we happen to get.

    As for the price, here's the source: http://www.grendelsound.com/deadroomproduct.htm

    Dave
     
  15. D 2 Z

    D 2 Z Member

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    what exactly does an isolation cab do?
     
  16. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    by the way, I'm really knocked out with the ultimate attenuator as the best low vol solution. First attenuator that sounds great clean and dirty to my ears.
     
  17. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

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    It completely encloses your speaker so that very little sound escapes, provides a mount for a mic and an XLR connector to route the mic signal to a recording device or to a PA. It allows you to drive your amp and speaker hard at very, very low volumes.
     
  18. Ulysses

    Ulysses Member

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    Has anybody ever heard what happens to high pressure sound levels compressed inside of a small box and the waves have nowhere to go? I bought the Demeter isolation cab several years ago. The HUGE problem with isolation cabs is you can't take advantge of the air space in a great studio "live room" to give your tone size and depth of field. I've been there. Yes, you can pile on some reverb but it's not EVEN the same thing. On a given day, I also track using quite a few different cabs depending on the tone I want for that track. If I want my pre-Rolas I've got them, if I want my Celestion Blues or golds, open back tone, closed back tone, etc. I challenge anyone to make a natural ambient recording with an iso box. I've NEVER been able to get any type of natural sounding track from a mic jammed in with a speaker in a closed box. I've been doing this over 30 years for a living and there is no substitute for capturing the natural ambience of air and space. I also don't want to sit there with a screw driver, wrenches and speaker frames changing speaker for each amp head I use to try and find the right combination for the track. I left the iso boxes behind way back in my quest. Too many restrictions, no natural ambient tone, too much sound pressure for a mic to react in a natural fashion, plus it sounds just like what it is.... a speaker in a sealed room the size of a small box with nowhere for the sound waves to go but implode on themselves. If you have some good clips showing wide versitilty of tones and depth of field I'd like to hear them. I'm always open to being proved wrong.
     
  19. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

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    Jay,

    I don't know if they changed the design or not since I owned a UA, but I had one side-by-side with a THD Hot-Plate, Dr. Z Airbrake, Marshall Power Brake and Weber MASS and thought the UA colored the tone more than all the other units. It did have a very smooth, pleasing, musical tone, but it was most unlike the original amp tone to my ears - sucked a LOT of highs and emphasized mids. Honestly can't remember much about the cleans. My unit also made some strange noises that sounded like it was getting ready to self destruct. I ultimately (pardon the pun) returned it in favor of the Air Brake, which I thought was the most transparent of the bunch. I later discovered the Air Brake wasn't equally transparent with all amps and I got frustrated with the limited attenuation available before having to resort to the inferior "Bedroom" mode. Plus, I also discovered that all means of attenuation and power manipulation (like Power Scaling and the Maven Peal approach) failed to address one of the most important aspects of cranked amp tone - the speaker!

    That's why I have always been interested in iso cabs, but never got too interested until people started raving about the Grendel version as having addressed all the shortcomings of previous units. So, I took a chance and could not be more pleased with the results!

    I spent a good amount of time tonight, with fresh ears and brain, before my normal practice "window" comparing the cleans and crunch channel of the Engl going through the Grendel/PA system to simply going through my Port City. I honestly liked the Grendel/PA system better! Not sure if it was the difference between the RWB (in the Grendel) and G12-65s (in the Port City) that made the difference or just driving the speaker harder in the Grendel. Or, maybe I liked what the Sennheiser e906 did to the tone. I haven't tried the "trusty" SM57 yet, but have always hated what they did to my tone, so I haven't yet bothered. I dunno'. I had to adjust the amp EQ slightly differently for each speaker/cab, but after tweaking for the best tone in each, I preferred the Grendel/PA rig for both cleans and crunch. (I had already tested the lead tones in all my amps the night before and preferred the Grendel/PA rig in all cases.)

    So, geez, I think I just obseleted my beloved, incredible Port City for all but the loudest gigs! This Grendel thing is just blowin' me away!

    As for clips, I'm not sure they'd be of much use in this case, since I am comparing the room sound of a mic'ed, re-amp'ed system to an unmic'ed system. I think adding another "mic transform" in there would mess with the results. But, for $339 unloaded, I can't imagine it not be worth trying for anybody interested in authentic cranked amp tone at low volumes.
     
  20. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

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    I don't have an easy way to make clips, but gotta' tell ya, this Grendel iso box is different. I've been chasing great low volume tone since 1971, when I first started playing, and this is, by far, the best solution I have ever some across. Keep in mind though that I am A/B'ing the low volume room sound of the Grendel/PA rig to a straight amp/cab rig, both with added reverb. So, I am getting room ambience with both rigs and very greatly prefer the Grendel/PA rig at all volumes right up to, and including, my usual club volume.

    As for clips, here's one I ran across that sounds prett darn good.

    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=383753&highlight=grendel
     

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