The Carl Martin Rock Bug is an Amp/Speaker Simulator and Headphone rehearsal unit that operates on a single 9v battery. Although this type of accessory is not new, we believe there is nothing on the market that feels as real or sounds as realistic as the Rock Bug! You simply get the feeling that you are playing through a good tube amp. Just plug your guitar (with or without pedals) into the unbalanced ¼” input, plug your favourite headphones into the unbalanced ¼” output and off you go! Adjust your instruments’ volume with the Guitar knob, select an open cabinet or closed cabinet simulation with the mini-toggle switch, and wail away through the privacy of your headphones. If you like, use the AUX stereo inputs and add an MP3, CD or DAT player to the mix; adjust the Master volume for your music, blend in your guitar sounds with the Guitar volume, and either play along with your favourite cd’s or add a personal touch to your pre-recorded backing tracks. Utilizing the balanced XLR output, you can connect your Rock Bug to a mixing console for recording, solo gigs accompanying the pre-recorded music with your live guitar, or as a DI for live performance when you are packing light, or your amp goes down. You might not think an Amp-Speaker Simulator is new, but with all these features, the Rock Bug is the little Danish-Swiss Army Knife that belongs in the pocket of every guitar-players gig-bag!
By Mats Nermark Fuzz Magazine Sweden April 2009.
I have for many years wanted a DI pedal to use between my pedal and soundcard or PA mixing console. The Carl Martin Rock Bug is such a product. The Rock Bug features apart from the Guitar in also a stereo RCA in for iPod or similar, so it’s possible to rehearse together with your favourite backing tracks on a set of headphones. There’s out’s for headphones and XLR balanced out for direct in at a soundcard of mixing desk without any problems, the Master pot controls the RCA in level, the Guitar knob controls the guitar level, furthermore there’s a toggle switch to change between open and closed cabinet simulation.To give the Rock Bug a tuff test I plugged my Tyler SE HD guitar direct in it, and from the Rock Bug direct to a studio desk, with a set of Adam A7 monitors attached. With the open/closed switch set at open I was meet with a really nice warm well-balanced and dynamic tone. I then plugged in my pedalbaord to the Rock Bug, with a good quality compressor I found the sweetest funk sounds. With the different Drive and Dist pedals I found I preferred the closed cab simulation, which sounded really great. The Rock Bug preserves the character of the guitar as well as the different pedals. I use a lot of digital simulation unit’s for recording, but I must say the Rock Bug in combination with a good set of pedals, beats most digital units by far. I cannot say exactly what it is and why, but the Rock Bug simply feels very “right” to play with. The Rock Bug is a very pleasant surprise, and work better than I expected, and would be the solution for many people wanting direct recording or PA use. Are you not happy with what on the market of digital solutions, I suggest to check out the Rock Bug.
Rock Bug has a very nice clean tone – better than anything I ever heard thru P.Ds. For me it will serve several purposes: 1. recording on computer – hook my pedal board in and XLR into audio interface; 2. backup amp for gigs; 3. no need to haul my amp in if we rehearse where PA is available (I normally use clean jazz am so I am not losing all that much); 4. I can now easily mix in output from guitar synth (using RCA input on Rock Bug) and run both guitar and synth thru same keyboard/acoustic amp; 5. when traveling I can take Rock Bug, XLR cable and maybe fav dirt pedal and show up for open mic and have a decent chance to play; 6. in a hotel that is all you need to practice (well ok… headphones or speaker and iPod thru RCA input). Very well made and very quiet. Yes you don’t get EQ and reverb – but honestly sound is so good you barely miss them (first time I plug in my guitar and headphones I played 30 mins – did not want to stop…).
If you have used ANY Carl Martin products, you already know the quality. This unique problem-solver will deliver YOUR tone as if through a professional speaker-cabinet to any PA or studio-mixer.It also converts your signal to Low-Z so you don’t loose treble over long cable runs. By itself, that feature is worth the price of admission. But when you combine this with the head-phone out, stereo aux-ins and two-knob mixing, you have a tool that lets you practice in hotel-rooms or on the tour-bus with the EXACT tone you use live.It’s small, but just as tough as all CM pedals.I love it because it retains noiseless-clarity with practically NO signal degradation over 100′ of cable.
It has a clean amp approaching the sound of a Roland JC120 respectful of the guitar pickups and haven for all kinds of pedals. It is his greatest quality, allow to rediscover his effects pedals and his work sounds without disturbing the neighbors. The switch open / closed produces a subtle difference in sound. The headphone output level is enough to power my Sennheiser HD25 or my Shure SRH840.