How to capture an amp head without cab/mic

Hi guys,

I have been capturing a few of my pedals since I got the QC and while I’m still perfecting that process, I am beginning to think about how I shall best approach the task of capturing my various amp heads separately, i.e. without cab and mic etc, so that I can freely combine with IRs or other captures afterwards.

Not to start a theoretical discussion on the interaction between the observer and the observed or even quoting Niels Bohr, I guess it is pretty obvious that an amp is hard to capture at working conditions without it being connected to some kind of load with which it inevitably interacts and which impacts the sound. Accordingly, my question is; how can this be done as neutral as possible in practice?

The manual proposes two ways of capturing amps, i.e. to mic it up in the traditional way using a normal cab and a mic or to use the direct/recording out of the amp. I guess both will work fine per se, but neither method seem ideal if you ultimately want to capture the “pure” amp sound for the purpose of combining it with another cab/mic/IR. Obviously, I could use one of my external attenuators too, which all sound great, but are also not particularly neutral sounding by default at least.

I am sure, I’m not the first to think about this, but I didn’t find the info I was looking for, so I thought I’d throw the question into the round here so we can share best practice on the matter.

Anyone who would care to share how they do it?

I use a Behringer Ultra-G 100. Speaker cable in>Speaker cable out to cab>XLR out (cab sim off) into the Capture port on the QC. Very pleased with the results. Add a Cab or IR and you have the magic sauce.

I uploaded a few D50 (Dumble 183 clone) captures using this. Try them out. I use the Zilla H75 (16) cab with a 57 and 421.

I’m using the Fryette PS2, any similar reactive load box with a silent line out should work. Check out the capture of my Soldano SLO 30 on the Cloud and the preset I did for it… I prefer capturing with no cab or boosts so I can mix and match in the box. Really happy with the whole process so far.

There are lost of good reactive load products out there these days that should be able to provide a direct line out from the power amp: Fryette PS series, Two Notes Captor devices, Boss Waza, Suhr RL…

Thanks both, I will.

I do have a few loads including i.a. a Weber Mass, a THD Hotplate as well as a Two Notes Torpedo live. It suddenly strikes me that at least the latter should be able to output a fairly “unbiased” signal.

Your Mass, Hotplate and Torpedo Live should produce great results to use with the QC’s cab sims, the Torpedo should also produce great results of your amps with the Torpedo’s speaker simulation.

I’ve been using an UAD OX for direct Captures and amp + cab sim Captures and the results are outstanding.

I used the Mass 200 for bunch of “Profiles” in the past. I no longer have it, but had no issues using it.