Home (amp tone and effects placement)

Additional preamps or multiFX claiming amp or speaker simulation

See also Peavey, Rocktron, ADA preamp/processors support eq before distortion.

Misc. Products

Tube Coolers, heat sinks for longer power-tube life. 3 sizes, fit all popular tubes. Musictech Electronics Ltd. 1991 address: (800) 487-0668 Canada. Product of the month, GP Sep 1991 page 141 (ad in same issue). $12.99 / pair, $22.99/pair. Optional ring clamps provided.

Stedman Corporation. GA12. Direct box with speaker-reactor circuit that emulates a 12" guitar speaker. Internal isolation transformer to eliminate ground-loop hum. $119.

Charlie Stringer Industries - Rich Excellente - they make distortion boxes to emulate various power tubes. [investigate]

Media Concepts - Easy-Interface Effects Loop Kit. Active fx loop for tube amps. $68. Includes ckt board, preamp tue, ceramic socket with shield, wire, jacks, hardware, and instructiosn. Sonically transparent, whether loop used or not.

Rising Force (in Bulgaria) - PreDriver Series. Onboard overdrive-style preamps for solidbody guitars. 9v. Options: toggle bypass, push/pull knob, external controls, internal presets. $19.

Additional preamps that claim amp or speaker simulation

All preamps and multifx will soon fit in this category, as the marketers and designers catch on to the real goal, so I just list a few of the first products that at least mention amp or speaker simulation.

Ensoniq DP4

ADA MP-2 programmable preamp with speaker emulator. The MP-1 was the first unit to have both a vacuum tube and MIDI. I did my senior project for electrical engineering along these foolish lines. If I could do it again, I would have used a 6V6 or El84, and made *that* MIDI-controlled. While using a programmable 12AX7 is good, it also mislead the entire industry: a preamp tube is of no significance compared to a power tube. MP-2 reviewed Fall 1994 Guitar Shop, which I have.page 64, Buck Dharma. Cab emulator with 2 variations similar to ADA MicroCAB, "It's easy to get a convincing amp sound direct into a mixing board, the sound of these stereo DI outputs is very close to the tone coming out of an amp or speakers" [How close is "very close"?]

Rolls - RFX 950 Shockwave. $129 Floor unit. Guitar preamp pedal. 10, 12, 15" spk simulator switch. Drive, edge, presence ctrls. rollsfx at rolls.com Rolls Effects

Frudua Guitar Works - The Valve - guitar preamp. All-tube 3-channel guitar preamp with speaker cabinet emulator. MIDI. FX loop. 2 rackspace. 6 12AX7's. Frudua

DOD FX100 Grind, FX101 IT -- these have direct outs. [what are they?]

Mesa/Boogie - Formula. $699. 1 rackspace. All tube preamp with stereo "Real Feel" recording outs. 3 ch. 4 footsw'ble sounds. 5-band graphic eq. parallel fx loop w/ mix ctrl. Stereo outs. $699. Mesa/Boogie

Mesa/Boogie - Triaxis preamp with recording outs. $1499. MIDI. 5 12AX7's. No scrolling needed. Stereo fx loop, stereo main outs. 90 presets. Mesa/Boogie

Mesa/Boogie - V-Twin. 3 modes w/ 4 tube stages of preamp. Pedal configuration. Out's for amps, power amps, recording consoles, and headphones. Rackmount version $499. Mesa/Boogie

Tube Works. RT-904 Blue Tube. $325. Single-space, rackmount, tube preamp. Bias and contour ctrols. Can be used for direct to board recording. twinfo at tubewrks.com Tube Works

C-Tech Sonny Boy. Blues pedal w/ 8 amp tones: Texas Flood, Roadhouse, Double Trouble, Manish Boy, Moneymaker, Electric Mud, Stone Crazy, Back Scratcher, Red Rooster, Boogie Chillun. 50's/60's switch. Gain, presence, output controls. $200. PocketRocket

Yamaha GW50 multifx (1994 mention) 4 types of dist/od, wah and eq, amp sim and eq. Might have eq before dist ability? Floor unit with auto-jamming accompaniment.

Engl Tube Toner - tube preamp.

Thorough review in the English magazine "The Guitar Magazine" from October 1998, Volume 9, No 1. Page 70-72.
Engl Amplifiers USA
Dealer Inquires To:
ENGL Gertatebau GmbH
84529 Kay
Phone: +49-8683-592
FAX: +49-8683-488

Additional MultiFX processors that claim amp or speaker simulation

Toneworks - AX300G guitar multifx processor $275. 28 fx, and amp simulators. Korg. The Korg Toneworks Pandora - a pocket-sized processor/headphone amp, claims "cabinet resonator"

Zoom 4040 Player Pro - multifx pedalboard with amp simulation. $500
sales at samsontech.com

Zoom 1010 - Multifx pedalboard, 16 dist types, amp simulator. $200

Zoom 3030 multifx pedalboard. 3 amp simulators. $300

Digitech RP20 tube preamp/fx in a foot unit. Guitar Player Jan 1998. $800 [I assume this model claims cabinet simulation, like the 2101 and 2120.]

Peavey Rockmaster $420, multifx, voicing controls (may have to do with alternating eq and dist stages)
Peavey TubeFex $900. MIDI multifx, 24-bit DSP, 2 12AX7, fx loop, 4 tube modes. Pro Fex has a speaker emulator that mimics the response curve of various types of speaker cabinets.

Peavey Transtube FEX. MIDI. guitar preamp. 24-bit stereo digital fx. 37 fx. $700 [not sure if this one supports eq-before-dist, or claims amp/speaker simulation]

Custom Audio Electronics SE3+, an amp-like preamp

The same person also reviewed the Rocktron/Egnater IE-4 preamp, liking the IE-4's clean channnel (but wishing it had a bright switch), and the second channel, but finding the 3 and 4th channels distortion way too coarse.

As with the Rocktron/Egnater IE-4, someone advised me to add this unit to this Web site. But it's just a preamp. Sure, it's a great preamp, but I'm really skeptical -- a preamp is a preamp; with no power tubes or speaker, and without even a marketing promise of amp emulation, I am skeptical that a preamp is going to generate distinctively tube-amp, power-tube Tone. So I am considering removing this product from this site.

Reviewed in a comparative tube preamp review in Guitar Player July 1994, which I have.

Picture snagged from site of Steve.

Canadian $2450.00 US $1600 street.

John Surh, designer.

From: jsuhr at aol.com (JSuhr)
Date: 1996/02/03
Newsgroups: rec.music.makers.guitar,alt.guitar

>From Guitar Player July 1994
> "The CAE 3+ features three independent channels, each with its own
> bass, middle, treble, and master controls, plus bright switches. A
> switchable all tube master-EQ section with a level-trim is provided.
> The back panel contains the optional footswitch controller jack,
> rack switching and secondary EQ jacks, ground lifted and main outs,
> and an auxillary input."
> "The 3+ uses seven Chinese 12ax7's with DC tube heaters.
>A toroidal transformer keeps the lid on hum > The 3+'s parts quality and workmanship is A+..."
> "The 3+ delivered clean spank and silky highs and was even more
> refined sounding than our stellar sounding '68 Twin Reverb.
> The middle and burn channels are intense and girthy, and the top
> end's uncanny sweetness eclipses anything in its class. Channel
> 3's super-sustain violin tones are the best we've heard. In
> all cases we preferred the sound without the extra EQ (the EQ section
> can be used simply as a switchable level). The 3+ doesn't do
> the Marshall mid-growl thing quite as intensely as the Egnater SE3+,
> but it's the most refined sounding and focused preamp in our lineup."

SE3+ user comments - excerpts:

The Custom Audio 3+ pre-amp uses seven 12ax7 tubes to achieve three totally independent channels; plus, an all tube channel boost with additional eq. Each channel has gain ,treble, middle, bass, presence, and volume as well as a bright switch. This pre-amp is very amp-like and stupifingly easy to dial up AMAZING amp tones. Sound quality of the 3+ is incredible. I use this pre-amp with a VHT Classic Limited Edition power amp and the sound coming out of my 25 watt greenback loaded Marshall 4x12 cabinets is unbelieveable. I use a Rocktron Intellefex to split the signal into stereo to feed my VHT power amp. [this is one approach to post-power-tube effects, or "post-amp effects", if the VHT power amp is just used as a final, non-distorting monitor amp - Michael]. Channel 1 sounds HUGE, like a 25 foot 1965 Fender twin on steriods. I use a little compression on channel 1, using a rocktron 300G compressor and my strings sound as thick as telephone wire in a Canadian blizzard. This channel is super clean and I Love It. Put a tube screamer in front of it and stand back. Channel 2 is like plugging into a completely different amplifier. This second channel sounds like an old Marshall and cleans up nicely when I back off my guitar volume. This is a medium gain channel but can be driven quit hard for an early Van Halen sound. From classic rock to hard AC/DC this channel can do it. The second channel smokes. That's why everyone raves about it. Channel 3 takes off where the second ends. Super saturation with great pick articulation. Also cleans up nicely by turning down your guitar. Channel 3 is very warm sounding with extreme amounts of even order harmonics. Beautifully sweet to very nasty. I would definitly by the Custom Audio 3+ again. Everyone that has heard this pre-amp wants to buy one. I love all three channels especially the first and second. The third channel sounds great but I would pay the same amount of hard earned money,(from teaching hundreds students and playing many a gig)for just two channels. The third channe l is just icing on the cake. I did compare it to other pre-amps. First I purchased the Mesa Boogie Triaxis( I took it back four days later and got my money back.) I also tried the Marshall JMP1 (Very noisy and not as refined sounding.) I would like to compare the Custom Audio 3+ to the Egnator IE4 but they're hard to find in Toronto,Canada.

3+ user comments

Has a tube EQ Section.No midi control for changing channels which is a drag. The only thing I don't like about it is the 2nd(Crunch)channel.This is the channel everybody raves about.No matter what setting it takes my head off. I don't mean volume, just the tone in general.Very harsh.I know which power amp used with it makes a large difference.I've tried several. Getting good tones is a given. Getting great ones doesn't take much tweaking. The clean channel is remarkably "Fendery"-very 3D, sparkling tones not unlike those of a 1965 Fender Twin. I compared the clean channel to a VHT Pittbull's clean tones, and the CAE seemed to have much richer tones. The VHT was good-very "hi-fi" in some respects with plenty of punch, but not as much sparkle. The crunch and lead channels are very Marshally, and somehow manage to capture elements of power tube tone coloration. Impressive. The crunch channel has a wide range of sounds, and with the gain cranked it can get very saturated lead tones. Yes!! This is unlike the Soldano X88R, whose crunch channel can't venture into lead territory. The 3+'s lead tones are extremely rich and complex, with plenty of aggressive grind without being too gnarly. There's an insane amount of gain on tap; I found a 2 o'clock setting super saturated without losing any articulation-the sound of the strings are still there. Amen! If you've got several Marshall heads that you can crank, plus a couple of old Fender's for clean, you probably don't need the 3+. But if you sometimes have to rely on preamp tone coloration alone, this is by far the best sounding preamp I've ever heard. It does Marshall better than Marshall! Now if only John Surh would add a Vox AC30 type channel to the beast......

Users seem to love the Tone of this company's conventional guitar amp, OD-100. OD-100 comments.

[to do: link/extract DejaNews, Harmony Central, AltaVista]

DejaNews query: se3 or "custom audio electronics"

[verify query]

Amptone.com ultra gear-search page

Home (amp tone and effects placement)