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Two Notes Torpedo Captor X

Guitar Amp Dummy Load & Speaker Simulator By Dave Lockwood

Two Notes Torpedo Captor X

Reactive load boxes that also offer top-quality speaker simulation have been seriously expensive — until now...

Dummy load and speaker simulator products allow guitarists to use tube amps at their 'sweet spot' level, either sending an attenuated signal on to a real speaker, or running silently and using a digital simulation of a miked-up speaker for recording. French company Two Notes were among the pioneers in this market sector, and their convolution-based, dynamic speaker-cabinet, microphone and room simulations are some of the most detailed and convincing available. They now offer a very comprehensive range of stage and studio products, from their top-of-the-range Torpedo Studio hardware box to their Wall Of Sound plug‑in.

Whilst the Torpedo Studio is the 'do everything' box, other products in Two Notes' portfolio fulfil more dedicated functions and cost less. Thus we have: the Torpedo Reload, offering a variable-impedance load box, attenuator, DI and optimised re-amping circuitry, conveniently gathered up in one hardware box; the Torpedo Captor, an attenuator with an analogue speaker simulation; and the CAB M ('Cabinets In A Box'), which has no dummy load/attenuator but hosts Two Notes' speaker and power-amp simulation, as well as user impulse responses, in a pedalboard-friendly, line-level box. The last can be remotely controlled from a smartphone or tablet using the elegant Torpedo Remote software.

The new Torpedo Captor X puts the dummy load/attenuator functions of the Captor and the sophisticated speaker and signal-chain software emulation of the CAB M into one compact — and surprisingly affordable — box. In fact, the software functions go beyond those of the CAB M, with variable output modes, a stereo reverb and the new Twin Tracker automatic double-tracking simulation.

Reactive Load

Starting at the loudspeaker signal input, the Captor X's reactive load has a fixed 8Ω nominal impedance, with a maximum power handling of 100W RMS. The housing's internal illumination will flash its red LEDs at you if things are getting too close to the limit, and thermal protection will kick in if you enter sustained overload — or, indeed, fire up your amp without switching the Captor X on. The impedance curve is the same 'averaged' one that Two Notes have used since 2010, which isn't derived from one specific loudspeaker or cabinet. There's been much discussion in 'forum world' over the last year or so about the 'accuracy' of impedance curves in dummy loads but it seems entirely logical to me that, when you want to emulate a range of different speakers in software, it's better to avoid starting from anything too specific. My own measure of how happy a load box is making an amp is to fire it up with an emulation of the same speaker and miking combo I might normally use it with, and see how much I instinctively start to tweak things on the amp — and for some of the Captor X's cabinets I found I wanted to change absolutely nothing. I'll say right up front that this is a great-sounding box and I'd think it a bargain even if it only had just one of the cabinets that I really liked.

The attenuator side of the Captor X is rather less sophisticated than its speaker emulation, offering three settings: Home (-38dB), Club (-20dB) and Stadium (0dB). When the last is selected, the amp isn't 'seeing' the dummy load at all — this contrasts with some other designs where the 'full-on' setting still actually has a degree of attenuation. That also means you don't have think about a parallel impedance having any effect on your sound. In the two attenuated modes, the amp is just seeing the 8Ω load of the Captor X. Although the Captor X only had an 8Ω...

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Published August 2020