The IRT-Pulse is designed to give you the sound and feel of an Ironheart amp in a desktop package, powered by a pair of high-voltage 12AX7 valves. It lets you plug directly into your DAW using a T-USB 2.0 interface, or as a silent practice aid with headphones and an AUX input, or in front of your amp as a high-end boost pedal. It also lets you re-amp your signal without a bunch of extra leads. On one end of the unit you’ll find the input jack and the re- amp button. On the other end is a headphone jack and phones volume control, balanced output jack, remote footswitch jack (for bypass if you want to use it as a pedal), AUX in, power jack and USB I/O. On the top are two knobs (gain and volume) plus six switches: Dark removes some of the high frequency content which helps the unit to sit better in a mix when using it through the front of a guitar amp. Bright beefs up the highs, especially on cleaner tones for recording. Hot provides extra gain, taking the distortion level all the way up to full-on metal, which is no mean feat since the cleans are designed to be extra- clear as well. The EQ button adds a pre-defined studio EQ curve to the signal with more bass and treble and less mids. And the Emulation button adds a 4X12 speaker emulation to the signal for going direct. There’s also a Bypass button.
Depending on how you want to use it, there are plenty of different things you can get out of this unit. As a pedal it gives you insane amounts of gain or subtle amounts of boost. Use it to get sickeningly distorted tones for leads, or simply for a bit of extra kick on a clean or overdriven sound. As a direct recording unit it gives you a super wide range of tones with especially noteworthy clean tones that let your guitar’s natural voice speak clearly, as well as fat, thick, chunky distortion sounds that seem especially happy with high output humbuckers. You can record a whole albums’ worth of guitar tones with this thing, with a caveat: although the various buttons do give you more control over your tone, they aren’t customisable so you’ll probably want to use a little EQ before or after the unit to get specifically tailored tones. As a re-amping device it’s useful but the one cabinet emulation might be a bit limiting for most players. It’s handy to have its direct recording or distortion pedal applications rather than as a re-amping unit.
ONE-STOP ROCK BOX
If you want true tube-driven tone for your recordings but you still need to work within a digital environment, this unit has a lot going for it. If you require more precise tone-shaping than the admittedly very useful preset sounds, or if you require more flexibility when re-amping, there are more suitably configured gadgets out there. But the things he IRT-Pulse does well, it does incredibly well.