So after a ton of testing I have found that capturing amps at edge of breakup results in less gain and dynamics than are actually found in the amp. This is especially true when the amp signal is taken directly before the speaker so that it can be used as an amp model and paired with any speaker/mic block. My detailed testing has been with a Victory Sheriff 44 into a Suhr Reactive Load IR in which case I’ve taken about 30 captures at varying levels on INST LEVEL AND IN 1 LEVEL (but I have used other amps in similar cases with similar results e.g. friedman small box, suhr PT15).
I have the amp Gain set on Channel 1 at about 1 o’clock, Bass at 10 o’clock, Treble all the way up, Presence at noon. When plugging directly into the amp there is a great ability to get clean sounds when playing lightly yet gain saturation increases significantly as pick attack is increased. With the Quad Cortex captures the sound is pretty similar in tone (a bit more bright and slightly scooped), but loses about 70% of the gain saturation with increased picking force.
Adjusting the INST LEVEL does make a difference when testing the reference sound, but seems to make no difference in the capture sound. Adjusting the IN 1 LEVEL only seems to adjust the overall volume of the final capture but not the gain or ability to respond dynamically as the amp does. The only way to get close to the way the amp sounds is to either A. Add gain after the capture (although this makes the capture much less dynamic than it actually sounds when using the real amp), or B. to increase the gain on the amp (e.g. from 1 o’clock to 3 o’clock), which does get closer to the dynamic response and gain, but has a bit of a different sound signature because the amp is set differently. What
I am guessing is happening here is that the Quad Cortex is not pushing its test frequencies through at a high enough volume to actually capture the way the amp actually responds to the guitar. This is true of both single coil and humbucker pickups. I’m wondering if I need to run a level booster between the Quad Cortex an the amp in in order to get the appropriate input gain for the capture. Do you have any advice or ideas on how I can approach this? I really do love the unit so far, but this has taken hours and hours of testing and I cannot find a reasonable solution thus far.
Anyone having similar issues? Anyone not having this issue? Any suggestions?