Two Notes makes great cabinet replacement products, but they don’t want everyone to chuck out their four-by-12s just yet. Words by Peter Hodgson.
Note: This piece first appeared in Australian Guitar #132. Subscribe to our print edition here!
So much of modern technological innovation is devoted not to pushing sound to bold new frontiers, but to using technology to make it easier and more affordable to get classic sounds. Like the Two Notes Torpedo Studio unit we’ve reviewed in the past, the new C.A.B. M doesn’t deny that some of the best sounds come from a tube amp cranking through a cabinet. But it also acknowledges that home studios don’t have the space and necessary soundproofing to for that kind of setup, and bands don’t have the kind of budget required to bring a dozed four-by-12s on the road for their Wall Of Doom now that the arse has fallen out of the record industry.
SO LONG, MIC
The Torpedo C.A.B. M is built on the premise that you have an amp that you love the sound of, and that stage volume can be an important part of the live experience for a performer – yet it also takes the hassle out of micing and allows you to shape the sonic environment the listener hears. It’s a stompbox-style unit that occupies less space than the Torpedo C.A.B. that preceded it, and it comes loaded with 32 virtual cabinets, eight virtual microphones and eight virtual rooms.
There are minimal controls on the unit: a pair of rotary knobs and a small screen. Instead, most of the control takes place on your mobile device or computer, including loading and saving presets, loading new Impulse Responses (IRs), and overall control of parameters.
Two-Notes has borrowed the idea of Arcade vs. Simulation modes from computer games: Arcade Mode gives you easy access to the most common and easy-to-handle parameters, but when you switch over to Simulation Mode, you’ll find you get a full suite of controls including microphone blending, power amp tone stack, and frequency selection.
The computer version of the Torpedo Remote software gives you access to a library of more than 250 virtual cabinets including official Celestion and Mesa Boogie models, plus you can load impulses from third-party vendors.
MAKING A CONNECTION
Connecting the C.A.B. M is easy: plug your amp’s speaker output into the Torpedo’s input, then plug its output into your speaker cabinet. It then takes the place of a microphone, with an XLR output and a Line Out to send your sound to the mixing desk. Unlike some other Two-Notes units it’s not a load box, so you can’t use it in place of a speaker, but that doesn’t mean you can only use it with an actual speaker cabinet.
It’s also capable of tube power amp modelling, so you can plug a preamp or multi effects unit directly into the C.A.B. and then let the PA system take care of everything else. There’s an Input Level control switch (flat, -24dB or +12dB), a Ground Lift switch for the XLR out, and a 1/8-inch headphone jack.
I used the Torpedo Studio with my Marshall DSL50, an amp I’m very familiar with after over a decade of use. I play it through various cabinets and a Mesa Cab Clone, a passive load box with tone shaping which I guess you could consider a competitor to the Torpedo C.A.B. M.
But while the Cab Clone is restricted to one voice and three cabinet types, the Torpedo C.A.B. M gives you infinitely more control over your sound, letting you switch mics, cabinets and rooms to generate the best sonic situation for whatever guitar tone you’re going for. And as great as the cabinet impulses themselves are in their own right, it’s extra handy to be given such control over the virtual room. It really adds to the lifelike feel of the unit.
I also ran an MI Audio Megalith Beta preamp pedal into the unit and tried various power amp configurations; the pedal really thrived on a 6L6 preamp and close micing in a studio-style room, and it’s a great option for those who use processors or pedals and who maybe aren’t thrilled with the onboard power amp and cabinet simulation in their current rig.
THE BOTTOM LINE
You can have a great tone dialled in at your amp but if the microphone is knocked off-axis during a gig or if there’s unfortunate spill from a thrashy cymbal or boomy bass amp, your precious sound is lost.
The Torpedo C.A.B. M lets you take total control of the sound that reaches the PA system or recording interface, but it still lets you use your regular cabinet at stage volume. It’ll not only improve your stage sound but also the mood of your sound engineer
• 32 cab impulses
• Eight mic types
• Eight power amp types
• Torpedo Studio editing software
• OLED screen
• Small pedalboard footprint
• Great sounds
• Roadworthy construction
• Limited onboard control
• No MIDI
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