MINICAB DRIVER+ (MINICAB DRIVER PLUS)
The MINICAB DRIVER+ is based on the MINICAB DRIVER guitar “amp in a box” module. The “plus” version allows you to tweak some of the “under the hood” settings and adds additional features for even more rocking tones!
MINICAB DRIVER+ handles mono or stereo inputs / outputs, and the stereo image is maintained throughout. If you’re using a guitar, route it to the left or right input, and use both outputs in stereo to get a room sound “spread” effect.
As you’ll most likely be using MINICAB DRIVER+ with an electric guitar, we’ve added a handy monitor LED next to the input jacks. For optimal setup, the LED should typically only be blue if you’re playing otherwise too much background noise is being amplified - in which case reduce your input level. Also, the LED should only flash red when your playing is at its hardest / most aggressive. If the LED is red nearly all the time, then again, back off your input level.
The left side of the interface is almost identical (*) to the standard version, and with everything on the right side at the default settings, the standard and plus version will sound exactly the same.
Let’s focus on the left hand side first. If you’re familiar with the standard version, you can skip this bit!
(*) The standard version currently does not have the CV LEAD switching option.
The POWER switch toggles MINICAB DRIVER+ between active and bypass mode. The LED below the switch will be lit when active.
Next up, we have a CAB SIM switch with status LED. When lit, this brings in our guitar cabinet simulator designed to mimic the frequency response of a legendary green guitar speaker.
DRIVE adjusts how hard your input signal hits the “preamp” of MINICAB DRIVER+. A dual cascading “preamp” stage delivers tube-like crunch, and a “power stage” adds more distortion and compression as you crank up the DRIVE. And yes, the drive does actually clean-up with your guitar volume and picking dynamics, and it goes up to ELEVEN!
TIGHT mode when lit, increases the overall compression for a “tighter” feel, useful for lead playing. When off, the response is a bit more dynamic and “open”.
LEAD mode when lit, increases the gain of one of the “preamp” stages for when you need that little bit extra drive! This mode is also switchable via the CV LEAD trigger input (+1V pulse or more).
The BASS, MIDDLE and TREBLE controls are based on a fairly traditional guitar amp tone stack found in a famous amp with a similar colour scheme. Like many high gain rock-oriented amps, the tone stack comes after the “preamp” stage. Boosting the MIDDLE control will result in noticeably more drive and saturation occurring at the “power amp” stage.
The switch in the centre of the BASS, MIDDLE and TREBLE controls can be used to bypass the tone stack entirely when not lit.
ROOM allows you to bring in a bit of ambience, adding to the illusion of a guitar amp in an actual physical space. This control also helps spread your sound out a bit, avoiding that “pin point” / dead-centre DI type effect.
The SMALL / MEDIUM / LARGE switch sets the size and damping characteristics of the ROOM ambience, from recording booth to large hall.
BUZZ KILL. Here at Waverley Instruments HQ, we love the sound of single coil guitar pickups, but we're not so keen on the mains hum they're also prone to picking up! It can be a real buzz kill. So... we added a BUZZ KILL switch to MINICAB DRIVER+! This is a noise reduction system aimed specifically at mains hum, switchable between 50 and 60Hz depending on where you are in the world. Due to the way it works, you might have to tweak your tone controls to compensate for the offending buzzy frequencies being attenuated. The centre position bypasses the noise reduction. Please note, if you’re using a humbucker pickup guitar, you’re unlikely to need this function.
Attention tweakers, now we take a look at the controls on the right side!
The AMP CONFIG section allows you to configure the basic character of the amp emulation. To reflect the ongoing quest for more gain over the years, each switch position, inspired by the decades of the 60s, 70s and 80s brings more gain to the party. Select 60s for Bluesy breakup, 70s for classic crunch, and 80s for Hair Metal!
The VINTAGE switch engages a different drive algorithm for the power stage and is derived from our CLIPDRIVER overdrive. This is a smoother, and warmer drive compared to the default distortion algorithm and the difference will be more noticeable as you increase the DRIVE control.
POWER SAG, when switched on, is an effect similar to compression and in a real amp, is caused by the power supply struggling to deliver maximum power on initial transients, which results in a “sag” effect after the initial attack, then a recovery “bloom” phase similar to a compressor with a slow attack and release.
AMOUNT varies the amount of compression / sag. The LED below the switch will light when “sagging”.
RECOVERY sets the release time of the sag effect from 100-2000ms. At high gain and SAG AMOUNT settings, this is the time it takes for chords to “bloom”. It can take a little while to dial-in properly, but we think the results can be very rewarding and tube amp-like!
The CAB CONFIG section allows you to configure the number and character of the speakers in the emulated speaker cabinet. As a general rule, the bigger speaker cabinets with more speakers will typically have more low end. Also, the resonant frequency of the speaker tends to be more apparent, going from say a 1x12 to a 4x12 cabinet.
The VINTAGE switch is intended to emulate the frequency response of older speaker designs which tend to have a little less presence and a warmer low end.
The MIC SIM options add an EQ curved based on typical microphone coloration. The DYN (dynamic) mic has a noticeable resonant peak that can help a guitar cut through a mix, combined with low end attenuation which can help a guitar sit in a mix. The CON (condenser) mic adds presence or “air” as is typical with many large diaphragm condensers. The OFF position bypasses the mic EQ.
VOLUME is a simple passive attenuation control that can be used to balance the level of the main outputs with other instruments or channels in your setup.
The switchable ADT section is our tribute to the old “automatic double tracker” studio trick. The idea is that ADT creates the illusion of the same part, overdubbed several times which can work great with guitar. There are various approaches for achieving this effect, but most use a short delay, a bit of stereo processing and possibly some modulation applied to the delay. We use all three for our ADT!
SPREAD varies the overall delay time and width of the stereo image of the duplicated parts. As you increase the SPREAD control, the effect becomes more obvious and more dramatic!
MIX adjusts the level of the duplicated parts.
DRIFT varies the amount of modulation applied to the duplicated parts so that they’re never at the same fixed delay time. This helps create the impression of overdubbed parts ever so slightly out of time with one another. At high settings, DRIFT can almost get into chorus type modulation territory.
The switchable FX LOOP allows additional effects to be added via the send (SND) and return (RTN) jacks to the signal chain in an effects loop, just like a real guitar amp. This can achieve very different results compared to running effects before or after the module as it places the effects chain between the internal amp’s components. The effects are inserted just before the power amp section, after the preamp. Please note that any power amp distortion will be applied after your effects, which might be just the thing for a bit of added realism!
Ultimately we wanted to keep MINICAB DRIVER+ relatively simple, but add enough features so you could use it to get decent guitar tones easily and quickly for recordings or even for playing live.
We hope you’re tempted to take a rock’n’roll ride with the MINICAB DRIVER+!
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