One of the things that sold me on TubeMeister 18 was the RedBox DI, that not only provides a speaker load for silent recording, but also has a built-in speaker simulator so you’ll get at the very least, a decent approximation of a miked speaker. Is it completely accurate. No. But it’s close. It’s very close.
But more importantly, the speaker simulator helps replicate the “feel” of a miked amp. An issue I’ve had with using amp models is that while they sound pretty good, they just don’t “feel” like playing an amp – you know you’re playing a model. With a tube amp, sag is a major component of the feel, and it’s missing from the models. On the other hand, the RedBox DI built into the TubeMeister 18 gives me all the feel of an amp; after all, I’m playing a real amp.
Tonally, it’s not nearly as good as a speaker pushing air, but that is easily remedied with some engineering. For me, it’s all about feel and dynamics, and the RedBox delivers that in spades. This evening when I played the amp plugged directly into my audio interface, I was amazed at the dynamics that were coming through; so much so, that I’m going to get an individual unit so I can use my other amps to do silent recording. Pretty freakin’ awesome.
I recorded a song this evening, which isn’t rock at all, but much more show tune-ish. It’s a scratch recording while I figure out all the orchestration, but I used the TubeMeister 18 to create a simple rhythm track with my Strat. The song’s called “One of Us.”
Yeah, the guitar track is pretty subtle, and way back in the mix, but the point I wanted to make is that recording even that simple track was an absolute joy.
I’ll have a full review of the amp with clips in the near future. But for now, I’m just enjoying this amp. It’s a winner!