Two-Notes Au­dio Engineering Torpedo Captor

TWO-NOTES AIMS TO TAKE THE FEAR OF BE­ING KICKED OUT OF HOME FOR EX­CES­SIVE VOL­UME OUT OF HOME RECORD­ING.

Australian Guitar - - Contents - BY PETER HODG­SON

It’s been re­ally great to see the rise of Two‑Notes Au­dio Engineering over the past few years. Their prod­ucts are de­signed to help you get a great tone on record­ings or through a PA sys­tem in a con­trol­lable, re­peat­able, eas­ily trans­portable, low‑weight for­mat, whether it’s with their ped­als like the Le Lead, or their ac­tive dig­i­tal load boxes with cab­i­net im­pulse re­sponses like the Torpedo Stu­dio rack unit.

The Torpedo Captor falls into its own lit­tle mi­cro‑cat­e­gory, func­tion­ing as a re­ac­tive load box like the Torpedo Stu­dio, but with­out all the on­board dig­i­tal stuff. It’s more like a lit­tle brother to the award‑win­ning Torpedo Reload, which is a power at­ten­u­a­tor, a multi‑im­ped­ance load­box, a DI and a re‑amp­ing box.

SPEAKER DELU­SIONS (IN A GOOD WAY)

The idea is sim­ple: plug your favourite tube amp into this bad boy in­stead of a speaker cab­i­net, and you’ll get a nice, clear sig­nal to send into your mix­ing desk with­out hav­ing to deal with high speaker vol­ume or mic place­ment. The Captor will make your amp think it’s plugged into a real speaker, giv­ing you just the right kind of push‑pull from the power amp.

The unit is avail­able in four, eight and 16 Ohm ver­sions, so what­ever kind of juice your amp is push­ing out, there’s a Captor to match it. The unit it­self is also pretty small and unob­tru­sive, so it’s easy to take on the road or just plop on top of your amp or desk in a home stu­dio.

The con­trol lay­out is su­per sim­ple. There’s an Out Level knob for the fi­nal vol­ume, a Phase switch to make sure ev­ery­thing sits prop­erly in the mix with­out any weird phas­ing is­sues, a Ground Lift for elim­i­nat­ing and ground­ing loop hums you may en­counter in your sig­nal chain, a Gui­tar/Bass/Off switch for the speaker sim­u­la­tion (so yes, it does work on bass too), and bal­anced line out­put (dry sig­nal) and ac­tive DI out­puts. There’s one Speaker In and the two Speaker Out jacks (Thru and At­ten­u­ated). The unit runs on 48 volts of phan­tom power or a 9‑to‑24‑volt DC wall adap­tor.

Now, that Gui­tar/Bass/Off switch is cru­cial to get­ting the most out of the unit . The speaker sim­u­la­tion it­self is based on that of the Le Preamp se­ries – which in­cludes the afore­men­tioned Le Lead as well as the Le Bass preamp – and the voic­ings are very use­ful. But if you would pre­fer finer con­trol over the speaker‑em­u­lated sound, flip the switch to Off and use an­other unit like the Torpedo C.A.B. pedal, which is a high‑end cab­i­net sim­u­la­tor in a stomp­box for­mat that lets you load im­pulse re­sponses from wher­ever you happen to get yours from.

So while the built‑in speaker sim of the Captor seems to be based off a 4‑by‑12 cab, Torpedo C.A.B. will let you send your amp sig­nal through all sorts of crazy cab com­bi­na­tions and room en­vi­ron­ments. Or, if you’re work­ing in the dig­i­tal realm, you can send the non‑em­u­lated sig­nal to the Torpedo WoS (Wall of Sound) soft­ware for com­pre­hen­sive speaker and mic sim­u­la­tion within your DAW.

I also messed around with IK Mul­ti­me­dia’s Am­pliTube 4 with the amp model turned of f so I could just use its speaker and mic room sec­tion, and this worked very well.

KEEP IT DOWN!

Then again, if you just need a qui­eter sig­nal from your real amp, you can use the -20-deci­bel At­ten­u­a­tion speaker out­put. This qui­etens down your amp’s sig­nal quite a lot, but still lets you ben­e­fit from the en­hanced punch, grind and har­mon­ics of power tube dis­tor­tion.

I’ve been us­ing a Mesa Cab Clone for my re­ac­tive load­box and DI needs at home and on­stage, and the Captor per­forms sim­i­larly – al­beit with­out the three-po­si­tion cab­i­net voic­ing switch of the Mesa. But the Mesa doesn’t of­fer at­ten­u­a­tion, so the Captor def­i­nitely comes out on top there. The Captor also feels more sturdy on top of an amp, whereas I al­ways feel like my Cab Clone is go­ing to top­ple and be­come un­plugged on an es­pe­cially rau­cous stage.

An­other great thing about the Captor is that its cab sim sounds fan­tas­tic, nei­ther colour­ing the sound too much nor be­ing too trans­par­ent. If you want to re­ally push things to the limit in terms of tone-shap­ing, though, you can jump into Torpedo WoS or C.A.B. and cus­tomise things un­til you’re blue in the face.

THE BOT­TOM LINE

The Torpedo Captor is a great ‘around the house’ tool for low­er­ing the vol­ume of your tube amp with­out killing your tone, a great home stu­dio tool for get­ting your amp sound into your DAW with­out fuss, and a valu­able live tool for tak­ing the chaos el­e­ment out of mic­ing up an amp (the chaos usu­ally cour­tesy of a hy­per­ac­tive vo­cal­ist who humps your amp mid-gui­tar-solo to draw at­ten­tion back to him­self, send­ing your cab mic flying).‰

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