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Cab Block Preamp


Power User
You've no doubt heard the periodic complaint about FAS gear sometimes sounding too real. That's because it does sound too real. please please let me finish...

I just plugged my DR-880 drum machine into input 3 (after taking 30 confused minutes to discover that it only sends SPDIF at 44.1k), ran it through a drive block, then into the tube compressor. Rat sounds knarly, but a bit over the top. Lets try tape. :eek: Ok i tried the tape distortion before but always as a pedal, not too impressive (or apparent) in front of an amp. I know what tape distortion sounds like. That sounds like tape!

Ok, if that sounds like it's supposed to, what else did I plow through before and not notice. Where else did I see tape distortion. Cab block preamp. There's 3 tape preamps. High quality mode, just turning it on, no drive yet. Hey that sounds like tape too! What does tube sound like. Sounds like a tube preamp. What happens if you bump up the drive. WHAT. what happens if you bump up the bass a few dB. WHAAAAAT.

*throws guitar across room* "not really sure what it's doing but it sounds cool". don't know why but all that 'cab room' / 'amp in room' / 'virtual space around cab' tone search was just satiated by what i can only understand to be a little tiny bit of distortion from a mic preamp sim. Call me a lunatic, but [Tube Preamp, High Quality, drive 2.59, bass 3.17] is adding reverberation. The science doods probably have the logical explanation as some kind of preamp transformer bias cross modulating ghost noting, but this test monkey hears reverberation.

FAS gear sounds too real because it's got such a high audio resolution that an IR isn't enough to knock the high end down to where it would be in reality land. If you are trying to think of the signal chain from the perspective of listening to a microphone on a speaker, monitored through studio monitors in a control room, in real life there are more non-linearity sources (and interference sources) in the recording chain that just an IR doesn't provide, since an IR is a static filter. Enter preamp distortion. (From the virtual studio gear you're supposed to be running your virtual mic through.)

It's so subtle you probably can't hear it. If that's the case then I'm wrong. :D To be honest, I don't hear it either, until I turn it back off. Then all this digital [painstakingly accurately modeled] 32-bit floating point amplifier sandpaper pops back up, that shows it's face to be the un-named thing that's been bugging me in the tone quest of reality. That amount of resolution would never make it to your ears in real life, having ran through all the analog gear on the way to your ears. Too much clarity! :cool: FAS is awesome and I'm so satisfied right now I can't stand it. k bye.
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Are people using the pre amp drive more for when recording , or is it something people do when playing live or just jamming thru monitors , on their own, etc ? .

I have not had time to mess with it yet . I tried it thru monitors but briefly .


Power User
Honestly now that I've really heard it it's going to stay on all the time, an IR alone seriously is not enough filtering as you would be getting in real life, (hence a lot of people liking to bring the filter down to ~10k on the cab block.)

The distortion itself takes off some top, and adds some nonlinear color to a signal that otherwise was only being run through a static filter (IR), and the preamp tone controls are centered around the most useful bands for easy quick broad EQ strokes. Once you dial in the amp to do what you want, then dial in the preamp to do what you want to make it sound great, every IR you send through it will be really good then, way more pleasing than raw. it's all preference though, ymmv.
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