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  1. #1

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    So I like the idea of a tiny little amp that can serve as a direct box for playing through other systems, but still having EQ and a bit of "character" as well, but also being able to drive a speaker and serve as a mini-rig. The Quilter Interblock 45 seemed a good candidate for that task, so I found a "floor demo" model in like-new condition for a bit less than list price. I still haven't fathomed all its features, but thought I could go ahead and post a demo of a matter that is important to me: how does the DI signal sound compared with a speaker?

    To do this, I took a piece I've been working on, you guessed it, a Jimmy Raney solo from Aebersold Vol. 20. I listened to the backing track on headphones and sent the direct line into the A/D box, while also mic'ing the cabinet with a Bluebird "Blue" microphone and sending that to the other input of the A/D box. From there it went via USB to my iPhone lightning port. My speaker was a Faital 8FE200, an 8" speaker 4 ohms. It's in a cheap-o Randall cabinet.

    So here's the demo. The mic'd signal is in the Left channel, the direct line is in the Right channel. The backing track is in both, but I tried to bring it down so as not to interfere with the guitar.

    Many other factors enter in to the purchase of a piece of kit, but I hope this helps a little for anyone who is thinking about buying this little box.

    UPDATE: So I tried using the Effects Return for introducing a backing track. The manual refers to a "Pro Tip" that you can plug the output of an MP3 player into the Return... they even call this a "secret audio input" feature. Well... so far, no go. Or rather, only a partial go. The output from a phone or MP3 player is, of course, stereo and a mini-plug. But the Effects Return is a 1/4" plug. Okay, I have a cable with one of each on each end. The result was only one side of the stereo signal came over. So I tried a TRS to TS adaptor, still only one side of the stereo signal. So far, I've found no way to get the stereo signal from any of my players (iPhone, iPad, etc) to come through with both signals. I have a drawer full of cables and adaptors and I'm not through them all yet, but this is a discouraging sign as a "one box" solution for quiet practice and small venue performance. Short of an actual stereo-to-mono mixer, I don't know what the solution is.

    Last edited by lawson-stone; 09-18-2019 at 11:41 AM.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

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  3. #2

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    Hi Lawson-Stone,

    If you look in the FAQ on Quilter's web site, they mention that the Interblock 45 has switchable cab-simulators that can be used to make a di signal sound more 'realistic'.

    Also from page 3 of the manual:

    "FR/CAB: The FR setti ng produces Full Range Flat Response output, suitable for acoustic guitar, keyboards, or digital modelling systems. Use with the EQ Voice switch on FULLQ so EQ starts from a flat response curve. The VINTAGE voice may be used when more “sparkle” is needed. The CAB position activates a “cabinet simulator” circuit that shapes the tone to resemble the response of typical guitar speakers. This will produce a hotter, more musical response for electric guitar, especially when using overdrive. Use FULLQ or VINTAGE EQ voice as desired. The output flows to both the SPEAKER and separate HEADPHONE/LINE OUT jacks.




    Hope that helps.

    Doug


    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    So I like the idea of a tiny little amp that can serve as a direct box for playing through other systems, but still having EQ and a bit of "character" as well, but also being able to drive a speaker and serve as a mini-rig. The Quilter Interblock 45 seemed a good candidate for that task, so I found a "floor demo" model in like-new condition for a bit less than list price. I still haven't fathomed all its features, but thought I could go ahead and post a demo of a matter that is important to me: how does the DI signal sound compared with a speaker?

    To do this, I took a piece I've been working on, you guessed it, a Jimmy Raney solo from Aebersold Vol. 20. I listened to the backing track on headphones and sent the direct line into the A/D box, while also mic'ing the cabinet with a Bluebird "Blue" microphone and sending that to the other input of the A/D box. From there it went via USB to my iPhone lightning port. My speaker was a Faital 8FE200, an 8" speaker 4 ohms. It's in a cheap-o Randall cabinet.

    So here's the demo. The mic'd signal is in the Left channel, the direct line is in the Right channel. The backing track is in both, but I tried to bring it down so as not to interfere with the guitar.

    Many other factors enter in to the purchase of a piece of kit, but I hope this helps a little for anyone who is thinking about buying this little box.


  4. #3

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    Strange , I'd expect the unit to be able to be set up with ....

    IR cab sim going to the DI out for front of house
    (and the headphone out )

    and simultaneously , the straight up 'full Q' going to the
    speaker out

    Anyway never mind all that ....are you pleased with it as an amp ?

  5. #4

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    Maybe it's my ears but I heard your soloing on the right channel only from start to finish. Sounds good! The question with the Interblock is its usability as a traditional gigging amp driving a speaker cab. I've had it on a few gigs, with Master at almost full and volume controlled by Gain. Moderate volumes are fine but there isn't a lot of clean headroom. Find myself fumbling with the Mid eq all the time. Again my ears, probably, but the difference between Full and Vintage eq settings is quite subtle. It may be more pronounced through my soon-to-be-tested FRFR cabs.

    Lest I forget: A big thank for your demos! Jimmy Raney is an almost unsung hero but very high on my list, and the solo you master is simply great. Wish I had the talent and patience to study similar material. After 60 years of playing, I'm still light-years behind.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug B View Post
    Hi Lawson-Stone,

    If you look in the FAQ on Quilter's web site, they mention that the Interblock 45 has switchable cab-simulators that can be used to make a di signal sound more 'realistic'.

    Also from page 3 of the manual:

    "FR/CAB: The FR setti ng produces Full Range Flat Response output, suitable for acoustic guitar, keyboards, or digital modelling systems. Use with the EQ Voice switch on FULLQ so EQ starts from a flat response curve. The VINTAGE voice may be used when more “sparkle” is needed. The CAB position activates a “cabinet simulator” circuit that shapes the tone to resemble the response of typical guitar speakers. This will produce a hotter, more musical response for electric guitar, especially when using overdrive. Use FULLQ or VINTAGE EQ voice as desired. The output flows to both the SPEAKER and separate HEADPHONE/LINE OUT jacks.




    Hope that helps.

    Doug
    If you look at the clip you'll see I am using that setting. I didn't post to present a problem or issue, just to illustrate the Interblock 45 in use and to provide information in the form of the exact same playing heard through the two different forms of output. I wasn't complaining or asking a question, just doing the usual "New Amp Day" post.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu View Post
    Strange , I'd expect the unit to be able to be set up with ....

    IR cab sim going to the DI out for front of house
    (and the headphone out )

    and simultaneously , the straight up 'full Q' going to the
    speaker out

    Anyway never mind all that ....are you pleased with it as an amp ?
    The one limiting frustration (potentially) of the INterblock 45 is that you can't do things like that. You have to have DI OR headphones, Vintage or FullQ, FRFR or Cabinet simulation. If you use the Effects return for a backing track, you can't use it as part of an effects loop. That's the one thing DVMark has over Quilter is that they don't force you to make so many "binary" choices.

    But overall, I can live with the product. I had something I thought was better, but it was created entirely for acoustic guitars, right down to the impedance of the inputs, and it didn't have the ability to power a speaker.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  8. #7

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    I hear a fair amount of what sounds like either digital overs and/or distortion somewhere in the signal chain (through an android phone and decent earbuds). That made it harder for me to evaluate the sound.

    Trying to factor that out, both sides sounded kind of thin to me. I think you probably need to get to know this piece of gear a little better in order to get the sound closer to your other amps. That, plus some reverb and compressor (at least for recording)

    John

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    If you look at the clip you'll see I am using that setting. I didn't post to present a problem or issue, just to illustrate the Interblock 45 in use and to provide information in the form of the exact same playing heard through the two different forms of output. I wasn't complaining or asking a question, just doing the usual "New Amp Day" post.
    So be it. Guess I read your post too fast!

    My apologies.

    Doug

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    I hear a fair amount of what sounds like either digital overs and/or distortion somewhere in the signal chain (through an android phone and decent earbuds). That made it harder for me to evaluate the sound.

    Trying to factor that out, both sides sounded kind of thin to me. I think you probably need to get to know this piece of gear a little better in order to get the sound closer to your other amps. That, plus some reverb and compressor (at least for recording)

    John
    I didn't want to add reverb or any subsequent effect because I wanted to capture the sound of the amp itself. I'm pretty sure there isn't any digital clipping. All the levels were in the green. This box is designed to distort, and from the picture you can see I have the gain kind of high and the master low, which gives some break-up at moderate volume. I also think my speaker is doing something a little odd. I might have it mis-matched to the cabinet or something. Sometimes it distorts which I'm not accustomed to hearing.

    I am puzzled that you think it sounds "thin." I've listened both through headphones and speakers and while it's not the ultimate, to-die-for tone, I think it's round, warm, pleasant, not thin at all. I'm not sure why we hear that so differently, but then that's why I like to share these clips, to hear other people's perceptions.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug B View Post
    So be it. Guess I read your post too fast!

    My apologies.

    Doug
    No sweat. It was just a quick demo on a setting I thought many here would likely be curious to hear. Thanks for listening.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    I didn't want to add reverb or any subsequent effect because I wanted to capture the sound of the amp itself. I'm pretty sure there isn't any digital clipping. All the levels were in the green. This box is designed to distort, and from the picture you can see I have the gain kind of high and the master low, which gives some break-up at moderate volume. I also think my speaker is doing something a little odd. I might have it mis-matched to the cabinet or something. Sometimes it distorts which I'm not accustomed to hearing.

    I am puzzled that you think it sounds "thin." I've listened both through headphones and speakers and while it's not the ultimate, to-die-for tone, I think it's round, warm, pleasant, not thin at all. I'm not sure why we hear that so differently, but then that's why I like to share these clips, to hear other people's perceptions.
    Ok, not digital overs, but distortion somewhere that sounds more like clipping than warmth to me. Thinness - i listened again, and I hear the high strings as a bit thin, but not dramatically so.

    John

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    Ok, not digital overs, but distortion somewhere that sounds more like clipping than warmth to me. Thinness - i listened again, and I hear the high strings as a bit thin, but not dramatically so.

    John
    I'll check over all the audio files to see if I overloaded the inputs somewhere. I wonder if the thinness isn't more brightness? The Vintage Q option simulates basically a Fender tone stack with the mid-scoop and "glassy" highs. I will play with this thing some more. Other than so far being very disappointed in the claims about the Effects Return being used for audio input (so far doesn't work right) I'm very impressed with what this little box can do.

    Thanks for your feedback. I'll go over all my connections and levels, maybe try a different cabinet, might do another clip.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    ...I wonder if the thinness isn't more brightness? The Vintage Q option simulates basically a Fender tone stack with the mid-scoop and "glassy" highs. I will play with this thing some more. Other than so far being very disappointed in the claims about the Effects Return being used for audio input (so far doesn't work right) I'm very impressed with what this little box can do.

    Thanks for your feedback. I'll go over all my connections and levels, maybe try a different cabinet, might do another clip.
    It could well be that. Could also be something in the way you have it mic'd, or something upstream. But if the recording sounds like the live amp to you, and you like it, then you're good.

    John

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    It could well be that. Could also be something in the way you have it mic'd, or something upstream. But if the recording sounds like the live amp to you, and you like it, then you're good.

    John
    Well I respect your perspective of course and if you're hearing something amiss, I'm going to check it out. I'm never totally happy with my recordings, to be honest. Somewhere something gets crushed. I'm not sure when or how, but things that sound very distinct to me end up mushing together on recordings. Maybe it's YouTube, maybe it's my A/D hardware, maybe it's my post-processing. It's fine for study groups, but I'd love to kick it up a level.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    Well I respect your perspective of course and if you're hearing something amiss, I'm going to check it out. I'm never totally happy with my recordings, to be honest. Somewhere something gets crushed. I'm not sure when or how, but things that sound very distinct to me end up mushing together on recordings. Maybe it's YouTube, maybe it's my A/D hardware, maybe it's my post-processing. It's fine for study groups, but I'd love to kick it up a level.
    Recording is hard. Recording all by yourself while also playing is really hard. Mixing is a whole 'nother level of hard because you have to consider multiple playback systems and you have to be able to divorce yourself from your own performance and listen to something as if you didn't just play it. That said, most of your stuff sounds quite good to me. Ordinarily I wouldn't even comment because with stuff I hear on the forum I try to listen just to the performance, but in this case it seemed like you were soliciting feedback on the recording quality.

    John

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by John A. View Post
    Recording is hard. Recording all by yourself while also playing is really hard. Mixing is a whole 'nother level of hard because you have to consider multiple playback systems and you have to be able to divorce yourself from your own performance and listen to something as if you didn't just play it. That said, most of your stuff sounds quite good to me. Ordinarily I wouldn't even comment because with stuff I hear on the forum I try to listen just to the performance, but in this case it seemed like you were soliciting feedback on the recording quality.

    John
    I really do appreciate your listening and also the kind words. Yes, I'm the artist, engineer, mix-down guy, and distributor! My main interest was just to put a sample out there of the Interblock 45 because I know many are curious about this mini-amp/direct box/EQ. It checks a lot of boxes, to be sure.

    I have another up now where I'm comparing the Polytone Minibrute 2 and the "Brute EQ" or "Polytone in a Pedal" made by a forum member. The pedal comes out sounding really nice.

    I really appreciate your feedback and insights, and I always enjoy hearing you play.
    - Lawson
    "Whenever you come near the human race, there's layers and layers of nonsense." - Thornton Wilder, Our Town

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by lawson-stone View Post
    I really do appreciate your listening and also the kind words. Yes, I'm the artist, engineer, mix-down guy, and distributor! My main interest was just to put a sample out there of the Interblock 45 because I know many are curious about this mini-amp/direct box/EQ. It checks a lot of boxes, to be sure.

    I have another up now where I'm comparing the Polytone Minibrute 2 and the "Brute EQ" or "Polytone in a Pedal" made by a forum member. The pedal comes out sounding really nice.

    I really appreciate your feedback and insights, and I always enjoy hearing you play.
    Thank you kindly. I'm gonna go do that now.

    John