OX Amp Top Box
OX Amp Top Box
I have been a frustrated "purist" for so, so long. I have great amps and guitars. I'm outfitted with an Apollo 8p, some great mics, and a Mac Pro. I'm a good musician and songwriter, and I'm technically savvy. All the ingredients for killer recordings, right?
Despite my every effort, I've never been able to get guitar tones to tape (disk) that represent (and enhance) the tones of my amazing amps. It's been maddening! I've tried isolation cabinets, normal attenuators, even tried going all digital using amp modeling stuff that so many people have tried to convince me are as good as the real thing. There's always been something missing. However, with real mics and speakers, I haven't been able to get it to sound like what I know people have achieved many times over.
Maybe it's some weakness in my skills as an engineer, or that I tend to get frustrated and need to get moving before the musical energy is sucked out of me. So many times I've gotten stuck going down the rabbit hole of thinking the tone isn't right, and it just drains my inspiration. With modeling software, again, I've heard so many people get great tones, but even with the lowest latency (latency is the bane of my existence), it just doesn't feel quite right and doesn't respond to my playing the way I'm used to.
I've got a long history playing live and recording situations (in real studios, with professional engineers). On my own, I've never been able to recreate the bliss that is the right amp through the right gear
I had all but surrendered to the cold reality that I was never going to be able to achieve what I know is possible on my own...
Never wanting to give up, and loving my other UA gear, I thought I'd give the OX a try. As I type this I am still vibrating with excitement. I plugged my guitar straight into my favorite Marshall, which I then plugged in into the OX, and plugged a good pair of headphones into the jack on the front...
From the first chord, I knew this was it. This is what has eluded me for so long. It feels REAL. My amp is my amp! And it's like I'm playing it through the best mics, pres, into the best board, in the best sounding room, with the best engineer, and I'm in Abbey Road!
I have to go to work now, and I am thinking of calling in sick. I can't believe this is happening! I want to go back a re-record so many tracks! And, I'm so inspired to create new ones!!!
The OX is absolutely outstanding. It's a fantastic attenuator, yes, but the sound quality out of the box is simply stunning. I never thought anything could rival mics in a room, but this truly does it. Makes me second-guess my abilities as an engineer. It's also ridiculously simple to use. Seriously, seconds after plugging everything in, you are off and running. This is an absolute home-run. I can't tell you how skeptical I was until I heard it and played through it. It won me over instantly. Just an outstanding unit.
Overall it's really great!
So I got mine in January among the very 1st ones shipped and have had time to get to know better. I'm using 1.0.1 software now.
The stepped attenuator function is outstanding (used it with vintage brown face 6G2 Princeton, 60's Vox AC10 Twin and an AC15, a Savage Rohr (2x 10) and a Studious Selye). The 6 preset cabs (some with effects such as reverb and delay) sound nice via headphone jack for practice or thru my Apollo via SPDIF.
Now that I've gotten to spend a good amount of time with the OX software - I've created many of my own cab/mic presets since some all of the included ones were directly in my wheelhouse. Overall this produces very usable guitar tones using your amps. My own sonic preferences lean toward cleaner Vox and Fender sounds - and there are no shortage of usable sounds in here once you start tweaking. I've mostly used the digital out into my Apollo devices to record keeper tracks on demos.
Two minor complaints - one far is poor quality of the SPDIF Toslink input/door - Despite exercising genuine caution on my part when plugging/unplugging the cable, the "shudder" or door broke off on the very 1st insertion and now the Toslink cable connection is no longer as secure/tight as it should be. It's a pain to have to get this repaired on a brand new unit. This is minor but kind of annoying. I've decided to live with it.
The 2nd complaint is the stereo only output. It would be nicer to be able to separately send to your interface all three output sources (Mic 1, Mic2, and Room). Its fine to blend the mics and pan L and R, but it would be nicer to have the flexibility.
Overall this is an outstanding box with lots of uses for guitarists and a unique tool in my studio!!
I have received the OX Box today hooked it up and the first chord blew me away. I use the Two Notes Live and it sounded great but now? The OX sounds more alive, the highs are crisp, the effects... amazing. I couldn't be happier. The perfect match for my Bogner XTC and Mark V. The price is ok if you consider how much work they did spend in development. The hardware is 1st class nothing looks and feels cheap. Great work UAD.
Perfect for our Business
The Ox Box is such a great piece of gear for us here at McPherson Stompboxes New Zealand. We build effects pedals + repair musician's backline gear and the Ox is proving to be very useful.
First off, now we can get great (and accurate) recordings of our pedals for online content. The Ox is definitely the best sounding way to get our Artisan effects pedals heard. Over the last 10 years we have tried a lot of different options and many do sound great but the Ox does sound the most convincing (vs standing in the room) + it is also the most convenient.
Secondly, when musicians want to try out our pedals they can now jam happily with headphones on through a cranked amp, while I'm am free continue working in the workshop. They really get to hear what our units sound and feel like at stage volume, their reactions are always enjoyable to watch.
Before the Ox cranking amps in the workshop would have caused problems with nearby residents....they should lighten up, it's just Rock & Roll!
Lastly, we do loads of Tube amp repair work and being able to test an amp through a great reactive load means, that not only can we tell that the amp is sounding how it should but also that it feels like it should.
No doubt I will find more uses for this great piece of gear, at the moment it gets used everyday!
All round great product, I've opened it up and the build quality is also very good, nice work Universal Audio, you should be proud of this one, it really does fill a big need!
OX Amp Top Box
Great product that works with my Mac and Logic without any problems. The software that is provided with the product works very well and lets you save you rig configurations for use as you like to your computer. The only problem I had with the unit is it does not have a 2 ohm setting for use with my Fender Bassman, but there is a work around with a Weber Harness Cable, BMH Bassman Attenuator Harness from www.tedweber.com. I had contacted technical support from Fender and Universal Audio to see if this amp top box would work with the Fender Bassman and it appeared that it could. With the Weber Harness Cable, it works great. It would be nice if there was a 2 ohm setting on the Amp Top Box to work easier on amps with 2 ohms output. Great Product!!!!!!!
Only 2 outputs!!!
Fantastic piece of gear!!! but it´s a shame we can´t record the 2 mics and the2 room mics in 4 separate outputs! Please!!! make a way so that we can use the analog and the digital outputs to separate the 4 mics. Nevertheless it´s really great sounding! Thanks UAD!
Flexible toolbox for studio and live
Increadible tool for practice - can get my real amp sounds through can's or low volume, Gives a really good sound for demo's - so much so that many of them have ended up on the final recording. And perfect for playing live and getting the sound guy a decent workable DI every time while still hanging onto your monitor sound.
Almost there but not quite yet!
JCM 800 and 900 OX as a load box no cabinet connected. Sounds killer! Then I realized there were some features not implemented yet. I hate that! It's like getting the latest greatest car then having to wait for the wheels. In regards to the OX, if you have USB connections then make them functional and not part of greater scheme down the road. If you have a foot switch, make it do something now and not in a future update. There are some lacking features like the cab sims and mic placements being pretty much set at the factory. Sure UA can pick the best options, and they are good, but at $1299 I want to be able to move my mic positions and have more cabinets to choose from. There are ton of UA plugins that they could of used and maybe down the road they will, but pretty generic choices for now. This of course is all subjective. I will hold onto the thing and see where it leads because knowing my luck I get rid of it then vers 2.0 comes out the thing is stellar and I miss the boat. But it sounds good, built like a tank, esthetically pleasing, but only 75% there so please UA surprise us new owners and make it as stellar as it was advertised to be.
The best Guitarsound with a Cab-Simulator so far..
I tryed allready several Cab-Simulators and all of them couldn‘t get the feeling you have by playing through a real amp. The OX is the first Cab-Simulator who could do this! Its pretty amaizing! Even with headphones the sound is cool! You can get a fully processed sound very easy. The OX is well worth the money and I really recomed it! WiFi works without issues for me.. I‘m curious what the next updats will bring. A V30 cab would be cool..
THIS is the one to get!
After much delay & countless YouTube demos of reactive load boxes & speaker attenuators ... I came to the conclusion that THIS is the one ... So I got on, y'all get ya one too!
Love the sounds, exactly what i was hoping for. wifi sucks...
I absolutely love this thing.. my experience with other products - other reactive load devices plus other 'amp room' software wasn't great. I wasn't sure the Ox would be any better. I have an especially hard time getting headphones mixes that feel 'right'. The Ox nails it. My Reverb Deluxe sounds wonderful and i spend my time playing with the character of the cabs and mic's, easily getting great sounds - not spending my time trying to dial in a usable sound. 1 had to knock off 1 star from my rating though - the wifi is terrible. It won't stay connected to my home network, so i have to use the direct connect wifi instead - my ipad connects to the Ox's internal wifi. Event this is problematic - it's always searching for the Ox. I mean - my ipad is right next to the Ox - how hard can it be for them to find each other?
The OX is great but there is room for improvement!
I really like the look and feel of the OX, its really fun to play with! The cab/speaker/mic positions are a bit lacking imo. As a reactive load box with a 5 position attenuator the OX is nice but nothing new under the horizon. The attenuator seems frequency compensated and doesn't work great on every amp so try with your own amp before you buy! The OX app looks neat and works very intuitive although a Windows and Android version of the app would be nice. The OX has several I/O connections that don't work at this moment and what UAD plans with the OX are is unknown. For this price you may expect some major updates with for example a guitar cab with V30 speakers and some bass cabs, selectable higher sample rates with spdif (as an advantage this will also lower the OX latency), more mic positions or some EQ presets to mimic this, and maybe USB audio so you can record all mic tracks individually within your DAW, etc.
The OX is an very useful and great sounding box but there is room for improvement! If this means UAD plans to bring out a MKII version of the OX instead of giving its current OX owners some great updates i would be really disappointing. UAD is not very active on forums so what their plans are is unknown. I give it 3 stars at this moment...
Sounds GREAT, connection is terrible
The device sounds absolutely fantastic, but I spend a LOT more time trying to get the darn thing to connect than I do using it. The wifi just simply does not work as advertised.
Good sound. Terrible user experience.
Ox earns a space on top of my amp.
I’ve gone from only using a real amp 6 years ago, to being impressed and loving IR tech, to being ecstatic about what UAD is doing with the Ox.
I’ve owned a Two Notes Torpedo CAB, eventually graduated to the LIVE. They are great loadboxes and using either the Two Notes software or 3rd party IRs from OwnHammer, I really didn’t think I could get a more satisfying studio/headphone experience, but I’ve always loved UAD and the Ox stylings spoke to me and more importantly, the sound lived up to the hype.
My experience with IRs was extremely positive, but the speaker modelling that UAD has put together has definitely won me over. I could always hear a weird sizzle at the end of notes using IRs, only really noticeable when playing clean and solo. Might be user error, but I’d like to think I know how to plug my amp in. I don’t hear that with the Ox, just nice clean trails to the notes played.
The software is on version 1.0 currently, so I think it’s too early to complain about not enough cabs, no bass cabs, lack of footswitching, etc. I have a feeling more features lie in wait. The app is well setup, but like any software, it has bugs. It’s extremely useable right out of the box, so no issues there. It will get more finely tuned with time and there will be more bells and whistles for us to lose our s. over.
My advice to potential buyers:
You will enjoy the Ox if you’re a UAD fan, if you’ve used UAD plug-ins getting one is a no brainer. The price is decent, right between a Two Notes LIVE and Studio, features-wise, I think it’s in the middle of those two machines as well.
You need an Ox or something like it to enjoy playing guitar for years to come, a real cab sounds great, but come on, this stuff is cool and you can crank your tube amp while babies are sleeping.
My requests/accessories recommendations to make it a better experience:
Some kind of rack ears might be nice. They’re going to be used in studios. Maybe someone out there can whip a design together.
A fitted carrying case like what usually comes with a lunchbox style head would be great for using the Ox at gigs. We’re going to start seeing them on stages. Venues should invest in them if they want to keep stage volume down.
Hopefully we get footswitch capabilities for the Master channel inserts/effects. Not sure what the 1/4” jack for the footswitch will bring to the table, but if it’s potential is limited, maybe some kind of Wifi enabled foot controller could be designed? 4 footswitchs and a tap tempo, wireless? Like hot cakes UAudio!
T. de Halleux
Sounds great, easy to use, perfectible
It sounds absolutely superb, the effects and notably the plate reverb are great, the user interface is simple, well designed and easy to use, most factory presets are usable and sounds great.
I've read all the others review and i'm ok with some criticism/request:
1 - WIFI could be more "sensitive", i use the OX at a place in my home where the WIFI is a little weak, and it's not always easy to connect the OX to it.
2 - More sample rates, like 48 and 96 KHz, will be more than welcome
3 - More cabinets and mics will be welcome too, but i'm quite sure that's not a problem and these are coming in future updates of the software.
Here are my three more personal requests to UA for a future OX Mk II
1 - An auxiliary inputs on 3,5mm jack to permit the use of an external source like a iPad or Mac while using the Headphone, the idea being to be able to practice on headphone with a metronome or a backing track.
These "aux" input can be found on most amp modeling platform, like LINE 6 HD500 POD and HELIX, or HEADRUSH and KEMPER, and i think it will be really useful on the OX also.
2 - XLR3 line outputs instead of 6,5mm jacks will be more professional.
3 - The possibility to use the OX as a sound card on a MAC with the USB interface.
As a summary i think this product is perfectible, like most products are, but is nevertheless a great piece of gear as it is now and i don't regret a second buying it, even if a little expensive, well done UA!
I love it so much, I hate it
I've spent 4 years cultivating a very respectable pedal board. I also bought a high quality combo tube amp so there would be no excuses as I chased tone and sound. I buy the OX and it's essentially rendered by pedal board obsolete. With the OX I can achieve sweet overdrive through the tube amp that doesn't blow up my hearing aid. The rig settings have built-in reverb, delay, compression and EQ. So the only pedals I use are my Strymon Mobius (for Chorus, Flanger, Phaser, etc) and a TC looper. But once UA gets around to offering UAD's that cover these effects, I can put my entire board up for sale on eBay/Reverb. The only comfort I take is that I couldn't have seen this coming... the OX is a new ground breaking product that's going to turn the world of effects on it's head. Thanks a lot? BTW - when can we expect the Chorus/Phaser/Looper effects to become available?
Marvellous Ox Amp Top Box
Thats what I'm searching for. Great tone with my own amps into the daw and always neighbor friendly. Thx UAD. Complete fantastic.
Its what I've wanted/needed for around 40 years !!
So it took some time, but finally, in 2018 I can now actually get a decent electric guitar sound at a sensible volume. Brilliant!
Room for improvement
What I like:
The idea is great. It sounds good. It is easy to use and to set up.
What I don't like:
The Ox is missing bottom end.
A simulation of moving the mic further away from the cabinet I would appreciate a lot.
I hope there will be more cabinets and microphones later.
Personally miss my favourite microphone, the Sennheiser 906.
Wifi is weak, should at least have a the reach of an ordinary iMac, which it hasn't.
Digital output limited to 44100 does not impress me much.
Recording a “real” cabinet, in my case through Apollo 8p, analog in 1-2 and digital spdif are not in sync.
Spdif is late.