How to achieve a great clean tone with a Torpedo?
The clean channel of most amps does generate distortion, even if it's just a little bit. It's there even if you don't hear it through a regular cabinet.
When using a Torpedo, especially with headphones, you may be subjected to what we call the "magnifier effect": hearing your sound so close and dry will make you focus on many tiny details that you usually don't notice.
When using your amp and the Torpedo for the first time, the instinct is to turn the amp volume up to hit that "sweet spot". Don't do it! If you want cleans you need several things to come together.
- Keep the master volume down, keep the preamp gain down, keep the loadbox or line input level to somewhere around -12db and don't allow the output volume to clip. When clipping ofccurs, a message will be displayed on the Torpedo screen.
- Keep your guitar volume just below full or 10 or whatever you use as a guide. Depending on how hot are your pickup output, it may saturate your amp faster.
- Keep your mids and especially the treble controls fairly flat. When the mid and treble controls are increased the amps harmonic distortion usually becomes more audible.
- Start with an amp that is capable of producing stellar cleans.
- Make sure that the power amp modelling section of your Torpedo is OFF if you are using a real amplifier, or keep it to a low volume (below 10dB) if you are using a preamplifier.
- Adjust the microphone distance if using the Two notes virtual cabinets. Otherwise, you are dependent on the IR. When on axis, condenser microphones will emphasize the distortion on the clean tone.
- Make sure your mix is at 100% wet, meaning 100% speaker sim. Dry will be the unfiltered tone and you will hear all the tiny distortions of your clean tone happening in the upper high frequencies.
- The Overload parameter will produce distortion (it is the actual distortion happening in a loudspeaker when pushed hard), keep it at a low level or OFF.
- Keep the Exciter, Eq, and Compressor settings reasonable. When pushed hard, the post FX can create distortion.
- If using digital in/out (S/PDIF or AES/EBU when available on your unit) make sure your interface and the Torpedo are at the same sync frequency, 44.1, 48, 96, whatever. If the sync is not established, you will hear some clickig noise from time to time.
- When it's possible, it's a good exercise to compare a "real" miking of your usual cabinet with what you can do with your Torpedo.
Many thanks to Uncle Mike from our Rigtalk official forum for this article.