Last night, I had the opportunity to hang with my dear friend Ronnie Douglas and his peeps on the occasion of his birthday, and I got into a little discussion with my pal and monster player, Ian Ross. Naturally, we were talking about gear – guys talk about gear, ladies talk about the family – we did a little of both! But then, my lovely wife was present to ensure the latter.
Anyway, I just sold yet another great amp yesterday – my wonderful 1966 Fender Princeton Reverb – one of the best Fender amps I have ever played (don’t worry, be happy, Brent B.!). And I am kind of getting down to a single, solitary setup for da band. In fact, given that I play in a “3 piece”, and having pretty much given up on Strats as being “too thin sounding”, I’m now back into Strats in a big way due to this latest rig! I had tried the Axe FX in it’s most up-to-date incarnation, and while it was amazing, and while it covers so much sonic ground, it was just too complex for a 3 knob guy like me. Plus, you really need to spend a lot of time tweaking and thinking about it – not my “thing”. Two of the huge byproducts of the Axe, are the ability to play with any tone at any volume, and the ability to simply use the P.A. for one’s signal path. What I have found, that solves quite a few issues, as well as these two, is the Two Notes Torpedo Live. This one rack space box (the other box in the rack is a Furman Power Conditioner to plug everything into) emulates a speaker cab, specific speakers, and a carefully placed mic or mics. You use a simple one screen piece of computer software to set up the cab in a room while you play. As you move the mic around with the mouse, the sound changes as you play your guitar. When you’re happy, you save the setting. Although it does come with lots of factory presets. I have created a very nice Marshall style 2 X 12 that is mic-ed with a virtual ribbon mic, off axis, to give a nice big, but smooth, tone. You can save lots of different cab setups and easily switch between them with one knob on the Torpedo. The second knob on the Torpedo allows me to run my Friedman Smallbox 50 at any level, while controlling the output level – and thus solving problem #2 – any tone at any volume. The attenuated output then goes to my powered QSC K10 monitor, and from there, on to the P.A.
I did some A/B-ing and I found that the best tone, for me, comes out of that QSC K10. Heck, I even prefer the emulated cabinet/K10 to using a real cabinet, in terms of what I am hearing. I had an Atomic powered wedge monitor – and they are great – and probably the best thing with an Axe FX, but I honestly preferred the tone of the QSC K10 and K12 monitors with my rig. I chose the K10 because it was a little smaller than the K12, and while ever so slightly less “open” sounding, there was very, very little difference in tone. The K10 also had the advantage of being slightly “tighter” sounding. Another thing is that I can still run my pedals with this rig – and they sound great! Running my pedals with the Axe FX was a bit “glitchy”, plus it added yet another layer of complexity to an already complex situation. So now I’m back into pedals!!!
The end result, as I sit and play “Third Stone From The Sun” on my Stratocaster, is that the dogs don’t even flinch! The tone is so “right” and I’m a happy camper. You can buy the Two Notes Torpedo Live for under $1500. I got one from my pal Andy Cherna at Diffusion Audio. I don’t work for Andy, but I’m sure hoping that “the cheque’s in the mail!” 🙂 Not!!!