Namm 2018 Roundup: Guitars & Bass

Was your pedal-board more expensive than your car? Mine was, and I drive a Tesla. Well… not really, the autonomous options pushed the Tesla just out in front, but you get the point. As an active guitarist, you’ve likely invested a substantial amount of time and money into your rig and have everything exactly the way you like it.

Perhaps you’re familiar with the digital amplifier emulation offerings from some of the big brand names. While the practical advantages are undeniable, it’s fair to say that not everybody’s 100% on board with digital amps. When it comes time to record, why would you forgo your own gear, in favour of an emulation of somebody else’s?

The main culprit here is that noisy valve amplifier of yours. Sure it sounds fantastic when turned up to 10, but how often are you really in a position to do so? Even on stage, a 50 watt valve amp probably doesn’t need to be turned up past  5 to sit where it needs to be. This is far from ideal of course as that tonal magic doesn’t really kick in until the master volume gets near 7 or 8, when all those power amp valves start to cook.

What if you live in an apartment and like to record at 2:00 in the morning? You may love the way your valve amp inspires you, however it probably inspires different emotions from your neighbours.

All of these dilemmas are solved, elegantly and simply by the Universal Audio OX. Just take the speaker output of your favourite valve amp and plug it straight into the OX whose reactive load box will handle up to 100 watts. No need to plug in a speaker cab. Just use the 6 position RIG knob to select your favourite virtual speaker cabinet and mic setup, and use the ROOM knob to dial in just the right amount of ambience.

Either plug in a pair of headphones, or connect the line out  into your DAW and you have instant album ready tone using the exact same gear you use to play live (minus the speaker cab of course).  All of your amp’s tone is preserved including that precious power amp distortion. UA’s ‘Dynamic Speaker Modeling’ simulates the chaotic speaker breakup and tone cry that occurs when you push your amp to the ‘Edge of Destruction”.

The free iPad or desktop app allows  extensive customization and fine tuning with regards to mic and cabinet choice, as well as things such as EQ, compression, delay and reverb. OX even creates its own Wi-Fi network so you can edit everything on stage, during rehearsal, or at the beach.

Conveniently, the OX also has a ‘speaker through’ connector allowing you to keep your speaker cabinet connected, but with the all the advantages of a reactive load box.  As alluded to before, valve amps are rarely pushed to the point at which they truly shine. Chances are you’ve never really heard your amp like it was intended to sound.

With the OX sitting between your amp and your speaker, turn the OX’s speaker volume knob to one of the 6 preset levels, and all of a sudden you have a cranked valve amp, at a practical volume.  Each of the six positions of the speaker level knob represent a carefully considered playing scenario. Level 1 for example is for quiet practice, Level 5 is full performance volume,  and level 0 is silent for use with headphones.

The Universal Audio OX is available in Australia now from authorized Universal Audio dealers.

Universal Audio OX - The Top Box companion your amplifier deserves
Universal Audio OX - The Top Box companion your amplifier deserves

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