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A power-tube oriented repackaging of the Digitech 2112 or 2101

The "2222" should include not only power tubes, but *both* an inductive load *and* an optional, separate speaker isolation cabinet. You could use the inductive load for convenience, or the speaker isolation cabinet for a completely genuine cranked tube amp tone. The inductive load would generate no room noise, and the speaker isolation cabinet option would only generate a little room noise.

This setup enables easy switching between inductive load and speaker isolation cabinet. This provides two ways to get genuine cranked power tube saturation with little or no blasting room noise. The simpler option is to use the built-in inductive load. For full-fledged amp tone, you can route through a separate Digitech speaker isolation cabinet and microphone. Of you can put any traditional mic'd amp in the loop between the power tubes and digital effects.

Digitech should insert a power tube and inductive load in the middle of their 2112 multieffects processor, between the distortion effects and the digital effects. The load and low-pass filter would only be provided as a fall-back measure, for when convenience is all you care about. The preferred alternative would be to plug in a speaker cabinet and mic, bypassing the load and low-pass filter. The speaker cabinet could be a speaker isolation cabinet containing the speaker and mic. Digitech should package the power tube and inductive load inside the effects unit and make available a speaker isolation cabinet designed for portability and ease-of-use. The 2112 now has effects and a speaker simulator. This design adds the following components to the 2112:

o Programmable *power tube* saturation and bypassable inductive load
o An optional low-wattage guitar speaker to drive fully, and mic
o An optional speaker isolation cabinet to contain the loud guitar speaker
o Programmable eq before the power tubes and after the power tubes.

If Digitech offers this system, it will be very well recieved despite the price. It's more expensive because it's a complete, integrated studio in a box. Any thing less than this can't produce a truly finished cranked-amp tone. All the rock studios use this setup in the complete processing chain from guitar to tape. Using a speaker isolation cabinet and putting echo after amp might seem odd, but the isolation cabinet is like the isolation room of a studio, and echo after power tubes is like adding reverb at the board. This is an ususual setup compared to conventional current thinking about effects and amps, but it is completely equivalent to the traditional complete guitar processing chain in a recording studio.

More background ideas

At 11:54 AM 10/27/96 -0500, Tom Hespos wrote:

>Part of what initially attracted me to the 2101 was that one of my
>close friends described it as a "Swiss Army Knife box" and assured
>me that it would take care of all my needs.

>I'd like it if DigiTech were to produce an entire package - a box with [1] a preamp, digital effects, power amp and speakers. Think about it - not only could you get great sounds in the studio, but an integrated rig like this could produce the same sound, whether it be at performance level or bedroom level.

>Right now, my rig includes a Marshall tube power amp. It's really cool, but I wish that DigiTech would produce [2] a tube power amp that is designed for the 2101 and can get cranked amp sounds at low volume. I just got my Marshall on Friday and already I'm discovering how much people hate me when I have to turn the knobs up to 11 to get a stellar tone.

If you want both features [1] and [2], if the package is properly designed, you must have *two* amplifiers. Just like in a studio, first you have the guitar amplifier, then that signal is mic'd, eq'd, and level-adjusted, then amplified up to monitoring level. For a stage and PA setup, you have the mic'd guitar amp, then the mixer and PA amp and full-range monitors. The first amplifier is for developing the Basic Tone. The second amplifier is for monitoring the polished tone, after echo effects are added after the Basic Tone is established. And just like a studio rig when you consider all processing in the chain from guitar to tape, you actually have to have eq control both before the power tubes and after, like the tone knobs on an amp and the tone knobs in the mixing board. You also need decent eq control after the power tubes because neither the inductive load nor the speaker isolation cabinet sound as balanced as a traditional guitar speaker cabinet.

One of my newest concerns is speakers. If a speaker has to be driven hard to sound good, how can we "drive a speaker hard" without blasting it? Maybe a 6" speaker would sound great and bassy in the right cabinet. Look at the advances in bookshelf speakers and small studio monitors. Often at home, you don't *want* thundering low bass anyway.

The guitar gear industry is biased too much towards performing guitarists and large venues, guitarists who play with loud drums. I would like to see quiet, scaled down drum kits and electronic drums used for small get-togethers.

The conventional thinking is that small amps can't sound just like big amps, so we should not bother with them. But actually, small tube amps sound great in their own way. They give a touch sensitivity at a low volume; they produce a great dynamic response and roundness not otherwise available at low volumes. Whether or not they sound as good as a cranked large amp, they sound better than many other approaches for quiet saturation. I want to have access to a cranked tube amp tone around the house, whether it's a cranked 100 watt amp with an 8x12 cabinet or a 5 watt amp with 8" speaker.

Digitech should get involved in small tube amps and tube power stages. Don't let this brick wall remain between effects and amps. The two really need to be merged, to form a complete equivalent of the signal path in a traditional studio. The effects companies need to get over their allergy to power tubes and big amp gear, just like Hughest & Kettner did with their Blues Master -- a half-rack literal tube amp head with inductive load and simulator -- not just a speaker simulator (low-pass filter). The Ampulator is a great example of a bridge product poised exactly halfway between the "effects" paradigm and "amp" paradigm. It does have a tube power amp, but one made with a preamp tube.

You can't put the entire effects processing before a saturating tube amp and have first-class tone or full controllability of levels. Echo before power tube saturation is bad. When you bend a note slowly, there are beats that disrupt the clarity of the distortion, and each echo has weaker distortion than the previous. That's why echo-derived effects "muddy" the sound when placed before a cranked amp. In a recording studio, you can easily place echo after the entire tube amp has firmly established the Basic Tone. You also need level and eq control after the amp, just like in the studios. But programmable, so you could have a quiet cranked-amp tone and a louder clean tube amp tone. This would amount to level control independent of tube amp saturation, just like in the studios at the mixing board. The current paradigm of programmable effects placed before a tube amp leaves you with no programmable control over the sound level coming out of the speaker cabinet. Clean tones are always quieter than saturated amp tones. A speaker isolation cabinet followed by programmable level, eq, and digital effects solves these problems.

For 2112 fans there is also a DOD 2112 amp. Solid state, unfortunately.

Sent to the Digitech mailing list. I'll give this design to ART as well.

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