Two notes' Guillaume Pille Talks Cab Simulators and the Future of Digital Amps

Two notes is a brand found in studios all over the world, mainly by way of its Torpedo line of speaker cabinet simulators. Founder and designer Guillame Pille has gone on a long quest for achieving great tone at any volume, resulting in cab sim technology that cuts down on the footprint and decibel level of a guitarist’s for bassist’s recording setup.

Many aren’t aware that Two notes is based in France because the brand’s innovative implementation of impulse response technology is mostly in demand outside of its home country’s borders. That demand will likely only grow as Pille starts designing digital equipment that aims to do more than simply emulate existent tones.

We recently caught up with Pille to talk about the future of digital amp technology and why innovation shouldn’t just be about making digital sound as indistinguishable from analog.

What was your motivation for starting Two notes?

Since I was a teenager I was interested in how you can make and record music. I had the chance to play with a lot of very cool toys in the early ‘90s when computers started to be an important part of a music making or recording setup.

Two notes Torpedo C.A.B. Speaker Simulator

As soon as I could I started my own home studio, and I was lucky enough to have a couple rooms in my house where I could record and monitor. The idea of the digital loadbox came to me because I didn't find any satisfying way to record my own amp without setting up a whole lot of gear, most of in in another room.

I started first to mix some early impulse response software with analog loadboxes, because I didn't like the sound of analog speaker sims. The concept was born.

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Impulse response cabinet simulators sit in a no man’s land between fully digital profilers like the Kemper and just plugging into a speaker cabinet the old fashioned way. Why not just go all the way and use a device that profile both the amp and the cab?

I wanted to offer an option for the people who don't want to change their analog gear and their habits. They simply want to use their amp at their full potential and do it in silence, or at a volume they can control.

It's a niche market of course, but definitely not a no man's land. A lot of guitar or bass player can be disoriented when given the billions of possibility of a full rig modelling, while most people's needs are very simple. So when you have an awesome rig that took so much time to put together, why get rid of it because you can’t push it [loud enough] when a silent solution exists?

Two notes Torpedo Live

What are some of your favourite amps to put through a Two notes cab sim?

I love a lot of amps and I would say it really depends on the situation and what I want to play. But I would be happy with just a Mesa Roadking and a Revv Generator 120. I'm not very much into vintage gear, even if I don't hate playing my '74 Bassman.

As an innovator yourself, what do you see in the future for guitar and amp technology?

Digital algorithms are constantly getting better and closer to the real deal, so there will be more progress. But we are already reaching a point where most people can’t tell the difference between [digital and the original] when listening.

I'd love to see the modelling and digital market push more towards creating new sounds rather than focusing on the replication of existing amps and cabinets. What we call innovation in the guitar market is usually just trying to accurately sound like an amp that was built 40 years ago!

But because most people just want to sound like their guitar heroes, I guess that an amp able to "listen" to any song and extract the guitar or the bass [sound] accurately to reproduce it could be a hit.

Two notes Torpedo Reload

Digital can also help a lot in the decision making when you’re trying to get a certain tone. Pure and simple replication of said tone is one thing, but guiding the user though the "tone making" process could also be a very interesting way to empower the user and enable them to be more creative.

Innovation in the analog domain looks a little more complicated, but where it excels over digital is in offering new tones. We can make amps smaller, more practical and powerful, and possibly eco–friendly too.

Ultimately the best innovation will be the one that brings more young people to practice guitar and bass. Perhaps serious gaming is a good way?

Technologically speaking is there much room left for cab sims to become even more detailed than they are today?

Two notes Le Crunch 2-Ch Tube Preamp

There is always some room for improvement in general. But rather than making bigger, faster, stronger versions of what we already do, we’re focusing on finding new ways to help users achieve great tones even if they’re not experts.

Two notes cab sims are used by artists all over the world, do you still feel like a French brand specifically? And what does that mean for you?

Well, we did not chose a French name, for the brand or the products. Since the very beginning I considered the world our playground. We were always exporting 60% of our products outside of France, and that's now closer to 80–85%.

The most French thing you could find is our preamp series called Le Clean, Le Lead, etc. I wanted to play with the French cliché to show again that we do not forget where we come from, but we really are open to the world.

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