#TweedTalk 4: Recording A Real Tweed Deluxe Amplifier

#TweedTalk is my occasional Tuesday column, where I talk about all things related to tweed amps and tweed-tone pedals.

This time around, I share my notes on how I’m capturing the sound of my Tweed Deluxe amplifier, and my thoughts on the experience.

What Am I Trying To Do?

I want to take all the things that I love about my Tweed Deluxe amp, and work out how to capture them in my DAW.

This is just a first step. There’ll be time and opportunity to improve on the results in the future, especially as I don’t actually know what makes for a good recording tone. I still need to learn that one!

I need to keep notes on this, so I figured that the blog is just as good a place as any for that 🙂

Four Possible Approaches

With my current collection of gear, there’s four different ways that I can try this:

  1. Real amp > mic up real speakers > DAW
  2. Real amp > Two Notes CAB M+ > DAW
  3. Real amp > Two Notes Captor > Axe FX 3 > DAW
  4. Real amp > Fryette PS-100 Power Station > Axe FX 3 > DAW

After trying them all, I settled on the fourth approach.

My Signal Chain

After some experimenting, I’ve settled on this signal chain for now:

  • my Les Paul (middle position; neck vol at 5, bridge vol at 9)
  • direct into INPUT 1 of the Axe FX 3 (mostly for the tuner)
  • direct into INST 1 of the Tweed Deluxe
  • the speaker out of the Tweed Deluxe goes into the Fryette Power Station PS-100 (powered off; attenuator switches set to Edge and Warm)
  • the line-out of the PS-100 goes back into the Axe FX 3 (for noise gate, IRs, corrective EQ, delay and reverb)
  • direct into my Universal Audio Apollo x6

The beauty of this approach is … that’s it. I’ve got a perfectly usable sound without needing any plugins in my DAW.

As an added bonus, it’s almost completely silent in the room. The Tweed Deluxe is passively cooled; and with the Fryette running in its powered off mode, there’s no transformer hum or fan noise there.

The other approaches all needed corrective EQ in the DAW, which started to get quite difficult to work with. I think that was mostly caused by the power-amp section on the PS-100 being on the fritz.

What Does It Sound Like?

Have a listen to this.

Stu’s Tweed Deluxe amp

That’s my Tweed Deluxe amp, in the classic 4/8-ish setup (4 on the Bright channel, 8 on the Normal channel). Tone is up around 11, because this is a pretty dark amp.

To my ears, that’s a thick sound. The note attack is right on the verge of fuzzing out, giving it an intriguing softness that (off the top of my head) I don’t think I can get from any of my tweed-tone pedals.

Final Thoughts

This blog post has been kicking around in my drafts folder for several months, as my approach and setup evolved. I decided not to share the earlier results, because I just wasn’t happy with them.

Now, I am.

You know, it really is true what they say: fix your tone problems as close to the source as possible. The more I do that, the happier I’m getting with the sounds that I’m achieving.

The key to making this work has been adding the Axe FX 3 to my rig. I know I’m in danger of turning into a total fan boy over it, but it has solved so many problems that I’ve struggled with over the last few years. But that’s a story for another blog post.

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