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This article was originally published in issue #58
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This diminutive little device is a very powerful pedal format mic and power amp simulator that gives guitarists access to a wide range of mic, speaker and power amp combinations, in a compact form factor that will fit on your pedal board and survive the rigors of regular gigging.
Awesome speaker/mic/poweramp simulation in a compact pedal
High quality build and components
Best in class high resolution IR’s built in
Absolutely none that we can find!
Nux has introduced its new SS-5 Solid Studio IR & Power Amp simulator. The new simulator is a pedal version of a number of classic amp/cabinet combos, including microphones and power amp tubes and boasts 8 cabinets, 8 microphones and 3 power amp tube simulations, all of which are among the most commonly used models in the world. Sounds perfect, but just how good is it Tom Quayle investigates.
Micing guitar cabs on stage or in the studio is a notoriously tricky artform that can require a lot of expensive gear and extensive knowledge to get right. With an ever-increasing number of guitar players growing sick of lugging massive rigs to shows and micing up loud speaker cabs on stage, a selection of companies have begun to produce products to solve these issues and Nux is among them with their ‘Solid Studio I.R. and Power Amp Simulator’.
This diminutive little device is a very powerful pedal format mic and power amp simulator that gives guitarists access to a wide range of mic, speaker and power amp combinations, in a compact form factor that will fit on your pedal board and survive the rigors of regular gigging. The Solid Studio provides superb processing power and quality for best in class Impulse Responses that simulate the sound and feel of 8 classic speaker cabs, 8 definitive mics and 3 different variants of power amp tubes – EL34, 6V6 and EL84. Interestingly, the 6L6 power tube is missing from the list, but the extra low end provided by the superb resolution of the inbuilt I.R.’s means that you don’t miss it too much.
Cabs range from a JC120, Deluxe Reverb 1x12 and Bassman 4x10 to more modern Greenback and Vintage 30 4x12 variants. Mics cover all the necessary ground with classics such as the SM57 and Royer R121 to the Nuemann U87 and AKG414. Each mic can be set to one of three positions on the speaker for extra tonal flexibility and the power amp section has controls for Master Volume, Presence and Drive, adding further to the realism in feel and tone that the Solid Studio can provide a DI’d signal.
The Solid Studio features a very solid selection of ins and outs for an array of different setup possibilities. You get a 6.35mm mono input and a balanced D.I. XLR output, plus a TRS Stereo output jack for running headphones or direct to an audio interface or even applying stereo effects after the Cab, Mic and Power Amp simulation. A Thru output allows you to run a cable from your amps power amp to the Input of the Solid Studio and then out to your cab, or running the un-simulated signal to an amp on stage, but it’s worth noting that the Solid Studio offers no ‘load-taking’ capabilities, so you will always need your cab plugged into the THRU output if using the power amp out on your amp. The output level can be switched between Line and Speaker volumes depending on the use case and +4db/-10dB can be selected as required for the TRS output. Finally, a micro USB port allows for 3rd party IR’s and firmware updates to be loaded on to the device, allowing the user to load in their favourite IR’s or even homemade ones. The Solid Studio even has a mode allowing you to create your own IR’s from your existing cab/mic setup of required.
The uses of such a pedal are many and varied, but the most obvious application is for a small, pedal board only rig where the NUX sits as the last pedal in your signal path and acts as your speaker, mic and power amp. This allows you to DI your pedal board into the front of house or into an audio interface for recording, using your drive pedals as a preamp for gain and tone shaping. Alternatively, a dedicated preamp, albeit in pedal or rack form, can be used for a more authentic tone without the need to lug a power amp, speaker cab and mics to a gig or session. Finally you can run the power amp of your amp into the Solid Studio and use the cab simulation to run either no cab (your amp will need a load) or to run your amp on stage and send a speaker simulated tone to the front of house or a DAW.
In use, the Solid Studio produces a fantastic array of tones with a huge number of combinations of speaker, mic and power amps at your disposal. By running some of the highest resolution I.R. samples in the business you get superb accuracy in the feel and tone of the simulations and the dynamic response of the power amp simulation can make a DI’d pedal board sound and respond like a real amp. The Cab/Mic and Power Amp simulations can be switched on or off independently with high-quality non-latching switches and all of the controls feel very solid and responsive in the hands.
Fantastic tones combined with superb build quality and components, matched to a very simple, intuitive control layout that requires very little learning to master; the Solid Studio is a device that every guitar player should own for the sheer reason that it could save your gig if your amp goes down or provide an awesome sounding and feeling compact alternative setup to lugging a massive tube amp and cab around.
A fantastic product with a very reasonable price point from a company that we hope to see lots more from in the future. Highly recommended.
8 Speaker Cabinets
8 Microphones and 3 Mic. Positions
3 Power Amp Tubes
Master, Drive and Presence Controls