Surprise Sound Lab
Our newest product is the SE-5 Speaker Emulator. This pedal-size unit is designed to eliminate the need to mic a speaker cab for recording and live performance using a PA sound system. This is a passive unit that requires no battery or power supply. It emulates the sound of a real speaker cab. It must be driven with the speaker ouput of a guitar amplifier. The ouput is unbalanced line or mic level.
This unit is superior to other affordable products in several important ways:
- An internal dummy load is included for amps rated at 5 watts or less, so no external speaker load is required. A THRU jack is included so that amps rated at more than 5 watts can be used with a speaker or external dummy load.
- A continuous tone control varies the sound from a 1X8" cab to a 4X12" cab and everything in between. Competing products have only 1, 2 or 3 preset sounds.
- An 8 position switch is included to adjust the output volume in 7 db steps. Competing products have a 3-way volume switch that varies the volume in 15 or 20 db steps. The SE-5 can provide much finer control of the output volume.
- The filter used in the SE-5 emulates the entire frequency response of typical guitar speakers, not just the high frequency rolloff.
- The output of the SE-5 is unbalanced line-level. This makes it easier to connect to effects pedals. If a balance signal is required for long cable runs after the effects chain, then an inexpensive (about $25) DI box can be used.
- Finally, the SE-5 sounds like real speaker cabs.
It is a common practice to use a microphone very close to a speaker cab for live performance or recording. This technique eliminates bleed-through from other instruments and also minimizes room reverberation for a more consistent sound. The result is a dry mono sound that is often a little bass-shy due to the lack of floor/room bass reinforcement. EQ and stereo reverb are typically added to the signal from the microphone to produce a sound that is more like a live performance.
The SE-5 emulates the sound of a close-miced speaker cab with all of the advantages and some of the limitations. Therefore, the SE-5's output may sound dry and a little bass-shy without enhancement. EQ and stereo reverb pedals or software should be used to enhance the bass and simulate room reverberation. It is also recommend to set the TONE control on "4" as a starting point.