Canadian Musician - May/June 2023 - Page 25

Two Notes ReVolt Guitar


By Jean-Philippe Comeau

In the last few years , amplifier simulation hardware and software has been populating the market more and more . The French company Two Notes Audio Engineering has managed to make its mark in this field by focusing on cabinet simulation solutions , both in hardware and software form , to give players the best direct sound possible while still using their amps . This time , they ’ ve decided to extend their range of products to analog amplifier simulation with the ReVolt Guitar and Bass . I tested the guitar version using a Telecaster and a Les Paul , my pedalboard , tube and solid-state amps , and my studio monitors and headphones . Here are my thoughts on it .

First , let ’ s do a quick spec check . This unit has three channels of tube-driven analog preamplification , a DI out with switchable analog cabinet simulation , and an integrated effects loop to insert effects such as delay and reverb in your chain , or to use the four-cable method to add three channels to your amp . An independent boost circuit lets you push each channel a step further , and all of that is controllable via MIDI . It uses a proprietary power supply but doesn ’ t have an on / off switch , which would have been super helpful for studio applications when you just want the unit to sit on your desk for tracking . Also note that , because it uses a tube , the pedal can get a little bit hot after a while . Overall , it ’ s very well built with solid hardware and sturdy knobs and switches .
Now , let ’ s explore the three channels in more depth . The clean channel is based on the quintessential American clean sound with rich bass and sparkling highs . It has gain and volume controls as well as a two-band EQ to adjust the bass and treble . Depending on the guitar and speaker / headphones you use , the bass can be too intense , but it ’ s fairly easy to tame it using the EQ . This was less pronounced through my studio monitors than through my headphones and speaker cabs . This channel produces a pristine clean sound with hardly any drive , even with humbuckers . Engaging the boost ( which is done by pressing the active channel ’ s footswitch ) will give your tone a bump around 1.1kHz , effectively making it a mid-boost . It works alright on the clean channel , but since it ’ s purely clean with a rich bass to begin with , it ’ s not the most effective use of the boost function in my opinion .
The crunch and lead channels are totally different animals . They both have their own gain and volume controls , but they share the same three-band EQ . The crunch channel emulates a certain British amp with a plexiglass panel that ’ s been heard on countless records . It has a biting sound that ’ s very natural and articulate across a range of medium to high gain . On the lower end of the gain knob though , the sound can get a little thin . I found the boost to be far more useful on this channel to tighten up the sound and push the preamp even more in a very satisfying way that ’ s suitable for defined rhythm and cutting lead tones alike . The lead channel , rightfully labeled “ Modern Lead ”, delivers just that ; a modern high-gain distortion that ’ s very tight and punchy with a slight scoop in the midrange for maximum chug when you need it . If you want to cut through the mix , just turn on the boost to bring back some mids and tame the lows .
During my testing , I found that the Re- Volt takes pedals very well for the most part , except for a little fizziness in the top end on the clean channel with some gain pedals . I mainly played it through my interface and studio monitors , but I also plugged it in a few of my amps ’ FX returns and with the four-cable method . It worked wonderfully in either situation as a standalone three-channel preamp or to add 3 channels to my amps , aside from a little fizziness once again , this time on the gain channels . Lastly , what I didn ’ t get to test but is worth mentioning , is that
the product comes with a lifetime licence of Torpedo Wall of Sound , a cabinet simulation plug-in for your DAW , complete with virtual miking , power amp simulation and studio effects that you can use in conjunction with the ReVolt .
So , all of this begs the question : is the Re- Volt Guitar worth it ? Well , it depends on what you ’ re looking for . It ’ s a powerful and versatile tool for players looking for an all-analog tubedriven amplifier and cabinet simulation , but it seems to have a strong leaning toward rockoriented sounds , especially with its biting crunch and chugging distortion channels . Keeping that in mind , if what you ’ re looking for is an array of clean and low-gain tones or ultimate customizability , you might want to look elsewhere , but if what it has to offer resonates with your style and your workflow , this unit is definitely worth checking out !
Jean-Philippe Comeau is a Montreal-based guitar player / multi-instrumentalist and teacher with a bachelor ’ s degree in music performance who ’ s been active for more than 15 years on the local scene playing in various bands . He co-produced singer-songwriter and long-time collaborator Karolane Millette ’ s debut album “ La Tête Haute ” on which he also played all the guitars , and he recently started working at Oakfloor Records as a session player and producer . He can be reached at guitarsolos04 @ hotmail . com .