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Product Reviews

Fryette Power Load – A Real-World Review

By Rich Tozzoli. Power Load lets you achieve real amp tones without having to mic up a cabinet.

For those who need to record their amp heads but can’t shake the floors or bother the neighbors, the Power Load from Fryette is a useful tool. This variable reactive load box with analog cab and mic emulation box lets you plug that head into it and simulate the sound and feel of a miked-up cabinet.

It’s simple to use but remarkably versatile. On the front panel, you’ve got large amp-style knobs for Level, Lo Mid and Hi Mid Contour and Emphasis. There are also switches for Edge/Bright/Flat, Deep/Warm/Flat, 180/0 phase, In/Out and Air/Bite. That’s all there is to it. Plug your 4/8/16-ohm amp/head (up to 200 watts) into the rear panel Amp In, run the Direct Out (XLR or 1/4-inch) to your DAW and listen. From there, you can adjust both your amp and the settings on the Power Load to find what you’re looking for.

I have a few different heads I use for direct recording. I plugged my Mesa Boogie MK IV, Orange Micro Terror and Orange Micro Dark into the Power Load to test them out. Since I do a lot of mobile sessions, I found that pairing the Power Load with a small head like the Micro Dark lets me get real amp tones with a remarkably small footprint. The best way to get your sound happening is to make adjustments to both the amp and the Power Load, and think of them as a single unit. To get a thicker tone, for example, I would tweak the amp head first, then flip up the Deep switch and adjust the Low Mid Contour on the Power Load.

Via the rear-panel headphone jack and stereo effects loop, Fryette Power Load lets you crank your amp up and get some practice time in at all hours of the night. Note that there’s also XLR and 1/4-inch transformer-isolated direct-only outputs on the rear, as well as an aux input and Cab Thru for additional connectivity.

What I like about the Power Load is that it lets me achieve real amp tones without having to mic up a cabinet. Is it the same as miking up a cabinet? No, but it’s close, and for what it delivers at “all-hour” levels, it’s great. I can get funky clean, blues or searing rock tones from my amps in my home production studio without bothering neighbors.

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