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Two Notes Torpedo Captor Review – The Best Value Load Box!

Hello there and welcome back to yet another gear review for you! This time we will check out possibly the best value/money load boxes, Two Notes Torpedo Captor! In this Two Notes Captor review article, I will introduce you to one of the leading pioneers in the music industry, Two Notes Audio Engineering, and provide you with an honest Two Notes Captor review and useful test and demo video of the unit.

Two Notes Audio Engineering Company

Two Notes Audio Engineering was founded by Dr. Guillaume Pille in 2008 in France. He was a passionate musician and he’d spend most of his time recording, gigging and engineering bands while studying at university. Even though he had access to great tube amps, he noticed that he wasn’t able to use them to their full potential. He also realised that this was an issue for many players, producers and engineers.

Back in the day, there were not many products that could fill this gap in the MI market. After he turned down an offer to be a post-grad lecturer at the university, Guillaume Pille started focusing on a product that would allow players to turn up their tube amps and sound great for home recordings.

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While digital modelling, guitar processors and software plugins were getting better every day, he still wanted to take the risk and further develop a product that would allow guitar players to use their guitar amp with full potential. This is how Two Notes and the infamous Torpedo came into existence!

Two Notes Captor Top
Two Notes Captor built like a tank!

Two Notes Torpedo Product History

Since then there have been many incarnations of the Torpedo series. The first model was the Torpedo VB-101 (2008-2013), a digital loadbox with resistive load featuring 16DynIR (dynamic impulse responses) with USB and MIDI.

The Torpedo VM-202 (2010 – 2013) followed it with more flexible features such as line-level inputs that were designed to be used with rack-mounted and storm box-sized guitar and bass preamps.

In 2011, Two Notes released Torpedo Pi-101 (2011 – 2013) which was their first plug-in for impulse responses, virtual microphone and speaker fine-tuning within DAWs.

This advancement also led Two Notes to release the next generation of Two Notes products, Torpedo Live (2012 – 2020) which featured a fully reactive load instead of resistive with MIDI control in a more compact 1 unit rack format.

Two Notes then released Torpedo C.A.B. (2013 – 2019) which came in a pedal format featuring an all-in-one cabinet simulator design. C.A.B. had the design that positioned Two Notes into a place which we are familiar with!

Check out the entire Two Notes product line here

Around this era, Two Notes realised that the guitar players were more into recording at home and needed reamping with their tube amplifiers. For these reasons, they released the Torpedo Reload (2013 – 2019).

Two Notes also worked hard on their software and released the Torpedo Wall of Sound plugin, which has become one of the most popular IR loaders, microphones and speaker cabinets software in the market.

Torpedo WoS allowed quicker editing than the original Pi-101 software and let users also directly purchase the DynIR cabinet collection from the company.

In the meantime, they released the Torpedo Studio version (2014 – 2019) which had every ground-breaking feature that the Two Notes company had developed so far. It featured a multi-impedance reactive load box with dual stereo miking, post-FX and Torpedo Remote control.

Two Notes also released multiple tube-driven preamps in a pedal format called Le Preamp (2015 – 2022) that were designed to be the perfect match for Torpedo C.A.B.

Two Notes always puts a lot of effort into making these outstanding designs fit into different formats and price segments to make them accessible to everyone. Therefore, the company released Torpedo Captor (2017 – ) which is still in production and features their reactive load box with built-in analogue speaker simulation. *This is the product I’ll be featuring in this article!

Torpedo C.A.B. also got an update under a new name, Torpedo C.A.B. M (2019 – 2021) which was the first wirelessly controlled product. This was a step up from the original C.A.B. and became very popular among guitar players.

The most recent version was another step-up model that combined the C.A.B. M and the Captor series in a box with Torpedo WoS software! This was the infamous Torpedo Captor X (2020 – ) model that was awarded Best Guitar Technology Product for 2020 by SoS Magazine.

Following that, Two Notes also released an update to Torpedo C.A.B. M under C.A.B. M+ that featured an improved headroom of the clean preamp, updated power amp simulations, enhancer, tuner and improved reverbs. To complement the software updates, hardware was also updated and released under this new model name.

Two Notes Captor Features

Two Notes Torpedo Captor is a 100% analogue, 100-watt RMS reactive load box, available in 4, 8 or 16 Ohms. Unlike some of the products in the market, Two Notes Captor does not have a built-in IR loader. But it comes with Torpedo Wall of Sound software that contains 16 different DynIR cabinets.

What is a Load Box?

If you think about guitar amps and speakers, speakers can be considered a load for the tube amplifiers. When you use your tube amplifier, you must always connect your amp to a speaker. In case you simply want to switch on your tube amp without a load or a speaker, you will highly likely damage your amp.

Load boxes can act as a load and simulate the complex impedance of a guitar speaker. There are two types of loads; resistive and reactive loads. Resistive loads have been around for a long time and as the name suggests, they are not built to react to your tube amplifier.

On the other hand, reactive loads are designed to react and interact with your tube amplifier, resulting in a much more realistic and dynamic sound while you play your guitar.

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Note that, load boxes from different manufacturers do not sound identical. Depending on their design, they will react differently to your tube amp and your playing as well.

Two Notes Captor comes in a very sturdy carton box. You have only the product and some documents on their product line as well as instructions on how to register your product.

Depending on your tube amp, you may want to prefer 4,8 or 16-ohm versions. However, modern amps usually have multiple outputs with different Ohm values, so any model would do in most cases.

Two Notes Captor Box
Two Notes Captor comes in a sturdy box

Two Notes Torpedo Captor does not come with a power supply! If you want to use it as a DI Box (via XLR) or benefit from the analogue speaker output, then you need to power it up.

It operates either on phantom power or a 9-12V DC, negative centre power supply. Unlike most load boxes on the market, Two Notes Captor has a 20dB attenuator built-in. So you can adjust the output of your amp using this function.

Two Notes Captor also comes with a built-in analogue speaker simulation for both guitar and bass. If you ever have any experience with previous generations of analogue simulations, you are probably aware that they are no match for today’s standard impulse responses.

However, analogue cabinet simulations are very direct and instant-feeling simulations that introduce no latency to your playing. You may wonder why they implemented an old-fashioned analogue simulation.

It’s simply because when Captor was first released, the design concept for combining load boxes with impulse loaders was not really a thing. Instead, they implemented an analogue simulation so users could directly benefit from their tube amp without needing anything else such as a computer, audio interface or IRs.

Two Notes Captor Front
Two Notes Captor front panel

I think the analogue simulation sounds pretty good and can be a lifesaver in case you have no access to anything digital! But do not expect to get the same results or extreme flexibility.

And don’t worry, I’m going to provide a no-talking test video that you can listen to how the analogue speaker simulation sounds like with electric guitars.

Two Notes Captor Back
Two Notes Captor back panel

The reason I bought Two Notes Captor was that I wanted to test it and also compare it against my beloved Red Seven Amp Central reactive load/IR loader. I’m still working on a comparison article and video material so please stay tuned. Before I provide you with an honest review, let’s have a quick look at the tech specs first.

Two Notes Torpedo Captor Tech Specs

Input / Output
Speaker Input1/4″ Jack TS
Speaker Attenuated Output1/4″ Jack TS
Attenuation: -20dB
Speaker Thru*1/4″ Jack TS
*Loadbox disconnected when in use
Line Output*1/4″ Jack balanced (TRS)
Impedance: 1000 Ohms
Phase switch
Ground lift
*Without speaker simulation
DI OutputXLR balanced
Impedance: 600 Ohms
*With or without speaker simulation
Analog speaker simGuitar : based on Brit VintC DynIR Cabinet – Dyn57 Microphone
Bass : based on Fridge DynIR Cabinet – Cnd87 Microphone
Reactive Load BoxImpedance
4, 8 or 16 Ohms 
Max admissible power100W RMS
Safety systemTemperature-controlled fan
Active thermal safety
PowerInput voltage*
Phantom power or 9-12V DC jack, 2.1×5.5mm, negative center.
Current draw5mA
Power input connectorDC connector, centre negative
*Power is required only for the XLR DI output and analog speaker sim
Dimensions & weightW X D X H*
12.6cm x 17.5cm x 6.2cm – 4.9″ x 6.7″ x 2.4″
*Including connectors and knobs
Weight1000 g

Two Notes Torpedo Captor Review

In my opinion, Two Notes Torpedo Captor is possibly the best value reactive load box in the market. I mean, this is not even an opinion! Try to find a product that offers the same build quality and costs the same or less along with free access to an excellent array of impulse responses.

I think it’s matchless. However, note that you always need to have an audio interface, and a decent computer to run the software in real-time with the lowest possible latency.

As you can imagine, there are two options to go for when it comes to using your tube amplifiers in a direct recording setup. You can either get a load box like Two Notes Captor or a combined load box/IR loader such as Suhr Reactive IR or Red Seven Amp Central.

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To be honest with you, I first ordered my Red Seven Amp Central then decided to get Two Notes Captor as well just because I wanted to test them side by side.

As I mentioned, not all the reactive load boxes sound the same and I did not know this until I watched the video below! Mendel bij de Leij released a great comparison video between multiple load boxes including Driftwood, Suhr, Red Seven and Two Notes (both Captor X and Reload) models.

I think this video is the best to understand all the differences between load boxes and realise that they don’t sound the same! The differences are not so big in between each model, however, they are there. Apart from the functionality and design of these units, you can easily consider these sound differences while you are choosing your load box.

Using Two Notes Captor

Using Two Notes Captor is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is to connect it to your tube amp, using a proper speaker cable (not a guitar jack!) and enable phantom power on your audio interface. If you do not have a phantom power, do not attempt to connect it to your amp and run the risk of damaging your amp! Make sure you have the phantom power or a suitable power supply.

Since my RME Babyface PRO has built-in phantom power, I can easily switch this on via TotalMixFX software and start using it. As Two Notes Torpedo Captor does not come with a built-in IR loader, you always need a DAW or an IR load and monitor your signal via your DAW of choice.

For analogue speaker emulation, you don’t need to connect it to a DAW, instead, you can easily directly monitor this signal through your monitors and enjoy!

To present you with some sound samples covering both analogue speaker simulation and IRs, I prepared a demo video.

For this no-talking demo video, I used my EHX 720 looper to play and record multiple loops featuring my Fender USA Stratocaster Standard, Ibanez RG565, Ibanez AR300 and Schecter Hellraiser Hybrid PT-7. Then I sent these loops to my Marshall JVM410H via relevant channels and recorded this video below. Hope you like it!

Also, check out the bonus section featuring Two Notes Torpedo Captor’s analogue speaker simulation in action!

Two Notes Torpedo Captor Review & Sound Dem0 (no talking)

Conclusion

Even though I also got myself a pretty high-quality reactive load/IR loader, RedSeven Amp Central, I still think that the value Two Notes Captor has to offer is matchless. It’s extremely affordable even for the brand-new price tag it has in the market.

Check out my RedSeven Amp Central review here

If my budget was really tight and I didn’t want to invest a lot in this, I would definitely go for Two Notes Captor. I think analogue speaker simulation sounds OK, but I don’t think there is any guitar player who expects more from an analogue speaker simulation. They have been in use for a long time and until we started using impulse responses instead, they were still an option. As I pointed out in the article, please do not forget to check out my demo video featuring the analogue simulation. I believe it sounds pretty good for its design age. I sincerely enjoyed playing through my KRK Rokit 4 G5 monitors in my living room.

It sounds pretty close to a closed miced speaker cab but as you may know, there’s not much flexibility offered with this solution. It’s kind of a single, rigid option and should be considered a lifesaver in certain conditions.

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In today’s standard, we have tons of impulse responses for guitar speakers both free and paid, and I don’t think one would ever want to go back to this technology. However, if you have no access to any computer, DAW, or IR loader along with your Two Notes Captor, you still have the option to play your guitar through this!

Even though I upgraded my laptop with a pretty decent and modern spec one, I still want to distance myself from a laptop. This means that I don’t really like to monitor my signal via DAW using impulse responses while playing, practising or just enjoying my guitars. I prefer just to plug in my guitar amp and hear my tube amp with IRs through my monitors with zero latency monitoring.

That was the reason I also went for RedSeven Amp Central. I believe I will be looking forward to testing more advanced products in this niche category in the future as I think reactive loads are revolutionary!

Where to Buy Two Notes Torpedo Captor?

Getting a Two Notes Torpedo Captor is pretty easy as they are widely available in any online store. I got mine from Reverb in mint condition and I definitely suggest you check out Reverb for great deals over there!

Check out Two Notes Torpedo Captor deals on Reverb here

The good thing about Two Notes Captor is that the company is still manufacturing these and you can even consider visiting Thomann and get a brand new one at incredibly affordable price tags all around the year!

Check out Two Notes Torpedo Captor on Thomann here

I hope you have enjoyed this review article and the multimedia materials I produced for you. Thanks for visiting my blog and supporting me so far! I will hopefully see you in the next review here!

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