USB audio from an amp


I’ve used Ardour for a while, what a great program. I have a kid now, and suddenly can’t use my Marshall stack, its just too damn loud.

I came across this, which says it has XLR out, and USB out -

It sounds a good way to make music without being loud.

Has anyone had any experience of USB from an Amp into Jack/Ardour on Linux?

This video suggests its a standard audio interface of some sort? -

I also have a Focusrite saffire card … so I could feed the XLR into there, rather than micing up the Marshall?

Thanks for any help!

Here is a video with a Blackstar HT5R MK2 connect to Logic Pro X, so yes it looks like it has an USB audio interface built-in:

Of course I would try to get hold of such an amp and do some testing, because sound is a matter of taste, and the sound via USB might be different than the sound from the speaker.

Here I found some additional info from Blackstar:

For recording guitar tracks I use an old Zoom G3X which also has a USB out. After some tweaking I can get sounds that I do like. Of course it’s not a Kemper or AXe FX, but it did not cost $$$$$ either.

I have a Marshall too \m/ but since getting a USB audio interface I just use Rakarrack and Guitarx. There are any number of tones available and no noise complaints.

Biggest question is what platform you are on. If its Linux, you might want to check compatibility before expecting the USB output to be recognized. But like you already said, if you want to use the XLR output, you can plug it straight into the Focusrite and and record it that way. Focusrite preamps are pretty damn transparent.

A lot of guitar amps have USB out. Most of these are modelling amps, like the Fender Mustang, Boss Katana, etc. but even analogue amps with a USB recording output will, basically, have some sort of cabinet emulation digital modelling.

I’ve actually recently finished testing some ALSA patches which provide support for the Boss Katana amps.

If it’s recording you are after, then your Focusrite should work but you may or may not be happy with he results. A friend of mine has a Marshall JVM210C which he loves, but he hates the sound from the line out. YMMV.

The problem is going to be how good the cabinet emulation is on the line out. And headphones or computer speakers aren’t going to give you the same feeling as the amp does.

If you are looking for something for quieter playing in general, then there’s a bunch of options. I can personal vouch for the Katana, but I also have a Positive Grid Spark 40, and a Yamaha THR10II. The Yammy is especially good for very low-level playing. The Spark is OK, but has been overhyped and isn’t that great. The Katana can also be switched right down to 0.5W mode for quiet practice, although not as quiet as the Yammy.

All the above work with Linux for USB recording if that’s a requirement, although to get the Katana going you would probably need to compile a recent kernel.

The Yamaha and the Katana have an interesting capability in that you can choose to record ether the “wet” sound, with all the effects applied, or the “dry” sound with no effects, so you can apply them in the DAW. With the Katana you can actually record wet and dry at the same time and even push the sound back into the Katana to “re-amp” it.



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