Quiet Practice Or Recording With A Dual Rectifier Series FX Loop and TC Electronic Nova System

Posted: January 11, 2016 in Amp Settings, Effects, Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier, Recording, Tube Amps
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While this is written about a 3 Channel Dual Rectifier with an FX loop modification to serial, the basic idea will apply to any amplifier with a serial loop.  As well, the Nova System can be substituted for another device with a speaker simulation.  The speaker sim is in the Utility menu.

The TC Electronic Nova System has inputs for line level and instrument level.  I tried this out by using the Slave Out and the FX Send from the Dual Rectifier into the line level input.

The Slave Out always has a hum in it with any device I have run it to.  The only time this hum stops is when Modern is selected on either Channel 2 or 3.  I tried different slave levels, volumes, and FX Send settings, and even bypassed the loop, but the hum never stopped.

Turning off the amp, I switched it back over to my normal setup with the loop active.  The only difference was that I unplugged the cord from the “Out” on the Nova System and inserted studio headphones.  This (almost) silenced the amp.  There is a very small amount of signal which bleeds through.  I think it’s crossover from the PCB track.

In Use With Headphones

The speaker sim is rudimentary and has no options to adjust the frequency response chosen by the designers.  Despite limitations, it does sound very good.  Switching it on and off makes it apparent just how well they designed it.

With the power amp removed, the tone is tighter and brighter than what you would typically expect from a Dual Rectifier.  Vintage and Modern sound about the same, except for the Presence control being able to work on Modern.  Raw becomes much livelier and the Presence control has a larger influence than when the power amp is filtering out the upper frequencies.  I found some very British tones here.  The Clean mode sounds a lot like a Fender.

The dirty channels have more clarity when driven hard.  Even with the Gain up near 3:00, the signal stayed tight and I was able to get pinch harmonics and other stupid-pet-tricks happening.  Channel 2 was darker than Channel 3 and that worked well for keeping the harsher upper frequencies under control.


Though the preamp tone doesn’t exactly sound like the normal Dual Rectifier tone, it does sound pretty good with the speaker sim.  There are several options when recording to a digital interface; the speaker sim can be disabled for some of them.  These options include: just using the speaker sim, inserting to a tube-driven preamp before the DI, inserting to a hardware digital modeler before the DI, recording direct and using EQ to shape response, and recording direct and using a software modeled power amp.

The easiest is to just use a speaker sim directly to the digital interface.  I like using a tube preamp to add some color to my recordings, but I haven’t used it this way, yet.

In my opinion, newer digital modelers and software modelers can provide good results if you use them as a clean amplifier, even for the dirty sounds.  I still find that most digital distortion units are lacking, as the sound of several tubes filtering the signal is quite complex and just doesn’t come out right when done digitally.  The general idea is to enhance the preamp sound, if needed, not to drastically change it.

I hope this was helpful, or at least provided a person with some creative ideas of their own.  Good luck.


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