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FRFR NOOB question


immyjay666
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Ok so I have been using modellers for YEARS - ever since my Vox Valvetronix and early Line 6 stuff.   I have never gone the FRFR route, as I NEED the feel of a real tube amp and cab.  So generally I have been running through rackmount tube power amps.   Now I have the Helix LT and LOVE LOVE LOVE my setup - cab sims and IR's DISABLED, using Helix as preamp into my Peavey 50/50 power amp (EL84's). 

 

BUT... it seems most users are doing the FRFR thing and almost everything seems geared toward THAT.  So of course I am curious.  I happen to have a QSC K12 (a pair actually) as I also DJ weddings.  So I tried it through that and found it "interesting".  I completely understand the concept of "mic'd cab sound" and all that jazz, and probably could go that route and be happy. 

 

But ALAS, my question:  I have seen on numerous threads and forums (Line 6, Kemper, Fractal) where people say "no no no, stay away from QSC and other such "P.A" speakers as they aren't TRULY FRFR".  But isn't the whole selling point of FRFR that you are going to be hearing at home/ studio/ practice/ on stage EXACTLY what the audience is hearing? Don't they HEAR you through the P.A. SPEAKERS? Shouldn't we be dialling in P.A. speakers then? Because if you're going to tell me that my QSC isn't going to cut it, well this is confusing to me.  If I dial in my perfect tone on a TRULY FRFR speaker, and then say "THIS is exactly what the crowd is gonna hear! YAY!!!"... well isn't that inaccurate, seeing as the sound guy is then going to pump your signal in to a damn QSC K12 (or other such speaker) anyway?  

 

I can see where this may sound like I am being snarky or already have my mind made up, or whatnot... but I promise you I am genuinely asking because I am confused  :)  It is making me want to just stick to my good old fashioned way of playing thru a real cab and mic'ing it, and not worrying about what the crowd is hearing, as we have done for decades, LOL. (but I AM intrigued by the idea of going FOH/FRFR and am considering getting a Friedman ASM-12 or ASC-12, but will; my QSC be just fine after all???)

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But isn't the whole selling point of FRFR that you are going to be hearing at home/ studio/ practice/ on stage EXACTLY what the audience is hearing? Don't they HEAR you through the P.A. SPEAKERS? Shouldn't we be dialling in P.A. speakers then? Because if you're going to tell me that my QSC isn't going to cut it, well this is confusing to me.  If I dial in my perfect tone on a TRULY FRFR speaker, and then say "THIS is exactly what the crowd is gonna hear! YAY!!!"... well isn't that inaccurate, seeing as the sound guy is then going to pump your signal in to a damn QSC K12 (or other such speaker) anyway?

 

So much this! FRFR (Full Range, Flat Response) is both, A: a lie and B: a marketing-hype term that inaccurately describes PA speakers.

 

Some people prefer the sound of their amp-modeler of choice through a standard guitar cabinet. Others (myself included) have chosen to go the self-powered PA speaker route. Both are fine and completely valid choices; it just depends on what a user feels give them the best sound. No right or wrong about it.

 

I haven't yet tried going straight into the PA yet with the Helix - although I did do this in the past with my Vetta II on occasion. To be fair.. my bad doesn't gig that often and the places we do play tend to not have great PA setups... so I usually just use my Alto TS10A on a pole.

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Thanks for reply! I am in a HEAVY experimentation phase, LOL.  I have the tube power amp/cab setup.  I also have a Quilter mini head into a cab.  And then the QSC's.  I just got done setting up dual paths on the Helix, identical paths except one has a cab sim and is going to the QSC, and the other has cab disabled and running to the Quilter.  I can instantly A and B them that way.  Gotta say, I am thinking the powered speaker may be a viable option.  I was just looking at Altos today, online.  You are happy with Alto, yes?

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Gotta say, I am thinking the powered speaker may be a viable option.  I was just looking at Altos today, online.  You are happy with Alto, yes?

 

I've been very happy with them, I have the older TS10As that I used with my HD500x before the Helix. The best thing is to be able to walk into rehearsal with my Helix in the backpack on my shoulder, an Alto in one hand and my guitar case in the other. One trip from the car and I have all I need for rehearsal!

 

As we get older... having to schlep less gear is a BIG plus ;)

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Ok so I have been using modellers for YEARS - ever since my Vox Valvetronix and early Line 6 stuff.   I have never gone the FRFR route, as I NEED the feel of a real tube amp and cab.  So generally I have been running through rackmount tube power amps.   Now I have the Helix LT and LOVE LOVE LOVE my setup - cab sims and IR's DISABLED, using Helix as preamp into my Peavey 50/50 power amp (EL84's). 

 

BUT... it seems most users are doing the FRFR thing and almost everything seems geared toward THAT.  So of course I am curious.  I happen to have a QSC K12 (a pair actually) as I also DJ weddings.  So I tried it through that and found it "interesting".  I completely understand the concept of "mic'd cab sound" and all that jazz, and probably could go that route and be happy. 

 

But ALAS, my question:  I have seen on numerous threads and forums (Line 6, Kemper, Fractal) where people say "no no no, stay away from QSC and other such "P.A" speakers as they aren't TRULY FRFR".  But isn't the whole selling point of FRFR that you are going to be hearing at home/ studio/ practice/ on stage EXACTLY what the audience is hearing? Don't they HEAR you through the P.A. SPEAKERS? Shouldn't we be dialling in P.A. speakers then? Because if you're going to tell me that my QSC isn't going to cut it, well this is confusing to me.  If I dial in my perfect tone on a TRULY FRFR speaker, and then say "THIS is exactly what the crowd is gonna hear! YAY!!!"... well isn't that inaccurate, seeing as the sound guy is then going to pump your signal in to a damn QSC K12 (or other such speaker) anyway?  

 

I can see where this may sound like I am being snarky or already have my mind made up, or whatnot... but I promise you I am genuinely asking because I am confused  :)  It is making me want to just stick to my good old fashioned way of playing thru a real cab and mic'ing it, and not worrying about what the crowd is hearing, as we have done for decades, LOL. (but I AM intrigued by the idea of going FOH/FRFR and am considering getting a Friedman ASM-12 or ASC-12, but will; my QSC be just fine after all???)

 

This is exactly why I bought the exact same speaker for my Helix as I have for my PA. Seems like a no brainer. I dunno. 

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Disregard those posts from the malcontents!

 

The QSCs are amongst the very good FRFR products. As are the Yamahas, JBLs, StageSource, EV. and many others. Granted these are distinct from the actual Amp In The Room (AITR) experience, or using an Amp and Cab. Nonetheless, they do an exceptional job with the Helix and other modeling units.

 

Some prefer the Mic'd Sound from the FRFR method. Others prefer AITR.

 

Use what suits you best. There are no rules!

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Why I bought the Helix as it provides me with the best of all situations! A straight effects pedal board into Guitar amp, or modeler with a real tube amp and 1x12 or 2x12 or 4x12 speaker, or modeler out to PA with IR's or Helix cabs... 

 

I play in a band that plays small gigs where my amp is not mic'd, so I built a Fryette Power Station tube amp 1x12 speaker cab/amp that sounds great for this band as we are original act.. (And they are old school and worry about perception...lol)

And I play in bands with IEM or just stage monitors more of "cover songs", so I have my IEM's and I have a Line 6 L2t, So I am covered with different patches with all speaker config's for all.

 

We all have a different ears, so to each his own. I call it create your sound or copy..

 

And QSC K12's are great speakers! I have used them for years running sound for bands.

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Your current setup is a mic'ed cab going to FOH through a PA speaker. What you have on stage now is more different then if you put a PA/FRFR speaker on stage. I also us TS110As as monitors on stage. They surprisingly push some air. Very amp like feel to me. I have 2 so may be that's why.

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First off, if you're going by opinions on the internet about FRFR speakers or PA system and it's coming from guitar players there's a pretty high chance you're going to be mislead simply because the VAST majority of guitar players don't have a single clue about live sound reinforcement to any depth and are simply parroting something they've heard but have no direct experience with.

 

The K series of speakers is clearly top of the line especially the new .2 series.  If they're saying they're not FRFR the first question to ask would be under what setting?  Like most top of the line powered speakers such as QSC, Yamaha, and Line 6, they incorporate several DSP options to tailor the speaker to the situation for which it's being used.  At a minimum they have a monitor setting that can be used to adjust the response of the speaker when it's placed in a floor monitor position to adjust for bass coupling which is the effect of low frequencies that build up when the speaker is placed on a floor.  The new K series has an even wider variety of settings for specific uses such as speech or direct guitar.  But the simple fact is, if someone says they aren't TRULY FRFR that's more than enough evidence to dismiss anything they say on a lack of knowledge about the term FRFR or anything to do with modern PA equipment.

 

The term FRFR is a relative term used to describe speaker systems that have their own power amp and electronics.  Generally speaking, embedded in that electronics package will be some form of electronics or DSP processing that compensates for the basic artifacts in speakers that tend to accentuate/deaccentuate certain frequencies.  This is a natural and expected artifact of speaker design.  No FRFR speaker is going to be truly "flat response" because that would sound very unnatural to your ears because of the way your hearing works and what is pleasing to your ear.  Manufacturers will vary a bit in what they interpret to be pleasing flat responses, but in this day and age they're all pretty close.  But one thing you can be assured of, if the speaker comes with dials that allow you to adjust highs, mids, and lows they aren't in the category one would use the term FRFR for.

 

So FRFR speakers will have slight variations in frequency response curves, but you would likely be hard pressed to really distinguish the differences in practice or in a double blind test.  For example, my band's PA system consists of QSC KLA line array speakers and KW subs.  The KLA speakers are typically mounted on poles.  I personally use a Yamaha DXR12 as my guitar monitor and we use DXR12's for our standard stage monitors as well.  I can rotate the KLA speakers to face the stage and there is no distinguishable difference between what we hear from them and what we hear form the Yamaha's.  On paper, the frequency response profiles are slightly different, but in practice, and in a practical sense, they are the same.  The arguments that they are generally more myth than reality and are likely based on someone's "elitist" impressions based on their "golden ears" than reality.

 

I'm not saying there aren't differences and I do believe you get what you pay for in the loudspeaker world.  But those differences tend to fall more into the category of clarity, definition, presence,  customizability, and articulation more than perceivable differences in frequency response.  If you dial in your tone using an FRFR speaker you absolutely will have a reasonably accurate representation of that sound through any modern PA system.  And what I mean by "modern" is a speaker with it's own amp and DSP electronics designed in the same way as described above.  The tones I've dialed in using my DXR12 have been accurately portrayed through any number of different FOH systems ranging from super high end line arrays available only through distributors to standard off the shelf professional systems available at Guitar Center or Sam Ash.  It will certainly be a more accurate representation that what you get from a traditional guitar cabinet after it's been mic'd.

 

Where it will vary is if you are unlucky enough to play through a PA system in which the amplifier and crossover are separate from the speaker...in effect a passive PA system.  It's the same effect as going through a separate power amp and a speaker in that the amplified signal is subject to the acoustic response of the cabinet and whatever natural deficiencies are in the speakers.  When the amp and speakers are integrated the amp can be tuned to the speaker response and cabinet acoustic artifacts to compensate for such things.

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  I happen to have a QSC K12 (a pair actually) as I also DJ weddings.  So I tried it through that and found it "interesting".  I completely understand the concept of "mic'd cab sound" and all that jazz, and probably could go that route and be happy. 

 

I think you answered your own question. Who cares what other people's opinion of FRFR is. MANY players are using a modeler/Powered PA combination with results that you could not distinguish from the "real thing". 

 

My recommendation would be to take some of your existing presets, and add in amp/cab models and tweak them while playing through your QSCs (those are fantastic speakers by the way). I play through a QSC based system every week. I bought a couple of JBL Eon 610s at home to develop my presets, because I didn't want to drop the cash for the QSCs. I am very happy with both brands. I am to the point now where I will be selling off my last guitar amp. I already sold my pedalboard off and all my effects. 

 

If is sounds good and feels good to you, try it for a while. 

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The more similar your stage monitor is to your PA speakers, all other variables aside, the better a predictor it will be of the FOH sound, .  Common sense dictates that the the closer you get your stage monitor to the same make and model/size of speaker in your FOH whether that is powered or passive, 10" or 15", modern or old, "FRFR" or "powered PA", the more similar they will sound. So the predictability of the FOH will be on a continuum where using your old Mesa Boogie combo on stage as a monitor will probably do the poorest job of accurately predicting the direct sound of your Helix to FOH, and using a stage monitor exactly the same brand and size as FOH will be the most accurate predictor of the FOH sound. My experience has been similar to DunedinDragon's however that once you get FOH and stage monitor roughly in the ballpark,  e.g. you are using similar modern powered PA speakers for both stage monitors and FOH, even if they are not exactly the same make and model or your stage monitor is marketed as an "FRFR" like the Friedmans you mentioned, the difference is usually not significant enough to prevent the stage monitors from being a fairly accurate predictor of the FOH. 

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I think of "FRFR" as just a term we use. We all understand it means "a speaker to accurately reproduce the sound of a mic'd guitar using a modeling device". If using a stricter definition, than all FRFRs would sound the same. Obviously they don't.

 

If I were the OP I would save my money and give the QSC a chance... for at least a couple of months.

 

I have a cheap Alto powered PA monitor/speaker. I don't expect to get my tone juices flowing with it... I just use it to monitor myself on stage, and it works well in that application and actually sounds pretty damn good (I just wish it were a bit louder).

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The other guitarist in my band and I both use JBL EONs for rehearsal and stage monitoring. He uses a 610 and I have a 612. We use the same custom DSP EQ curve that I created by spending the better part of a day dialing in tones on one of our older mains (JBL 515XT) and then tailoring my EON to sound as much like it as possible. I had the two speakers side by side on the carpet and kept switching back and forth. Talk about ear fatigue! I had to take several breaks and come back later. The EONs have a VERY flat response, so unless EQ'd they sound artificially bright compared to more traditional full range speakers that roll off the highs. Now we can both dial in new tones using our EONs and they sound remarkably similar through FOH, giving us assurance that our audience is hearing pretty much what we hear on stage. The one time we used a different set of mains recently, we got several compliments on the sound out front. I agree with DunedinDragon and HonestOpinion that the slight difference in tone among different FOH brands is insignificant once you dial in with a decent monitor.

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So much this! FRFR (Full Range, Flat Response) is both, A: a lie and B: a marketing-hype term that inaccurately describes PA speakers.

 

Hmmm... I don't recall ever seeing any PA speaker, powered or passive being marketed as "full-range" or " flat response". I've only ever seen hifi speaker manufacturers allude to such claims. Mainly it's been the hifi speaker reviewers who have dared to make such lofty assertions about the latest bookshelf speaker they've reviewed.

It kind of surprised me when I first saw the term appear in one of the XT-Live forums... or was it the Gt Central forum?

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Hmmm... I don't recall ever seeing any PA speaker, powered or passive being marketed as "full-range" or " flat response". I've only ever seen hifi speaker manufacturers allude to such claims. Mainly it's been the hifi speaker reviewers who have dared to make such lofty assertions about the latest bookshelf speaker they've reviewed.

It kind of surprised me when I first saw the term appear in one of the XT-Live forums... or was it the Gt Central forum?

 

Flat Response is a term that's been kicked around as far back as I can remember in evaluations of studio monitors and to a lesser degree studio headsets.  And that goes back to the '70s.  It meant the same thing then as it does now which is a lack of coloration being added to the basic sound.  I think that's more the heritage of where the FRFR thing comes from.  There really wasn't anything in the live performance arena that could really be considered as flat response until roughly around the late 90's and 2000 in the same manner as what was being applied to studio monitors.

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There really wasn't anything in the live performance arena that could really be considered as flat response until roughly around the late 90's and 2000 in the same manner as what was being applied to studio monitors.

Right. And to my recollection no PA speaker manufacturer has ever made that assertion. At least, not blatantly.

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Right. And to my recollection no PA speaker manufacturer has ever made that assertion. At least, not blatantly.

 

Absolutely.  I think the term "FRFR" originated in the marketplace of users rather than a term used by manufacturers.  The term is almost as deceptive as it is descriptive.  The problem being that in my experience guitarists are generally lacking in any background and understanding of PA equipment and how it all works.  Once you go past a traditional amp cabinet it's all a big mystery to most of them...thus a lot of misperceptions and misunderstandings.

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Absolutely.  I think the term "FRFR" originated in the marketplace of users rather than a term used by manufacturers.  The term is almost as deceptive as it is descriptive.  The problem being that in my experience guitarists are generally lacking in any background and understanding of PA equipment and how it all works.  Once you go past a traditional amp cabinet it's all a big mystery to most of them...thus a lot of misperceptions and misunderstandings.

 

Totally agree.

 

Sound reinforcement is a field/art/science in itself. If you don't learn it, you don't get it.

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Hmmm... I don't recall ever seeing any PA speaker, powered or passive being marketed as "full-range" or " flat response". I've only ever seen hifi speaker manufacturers allude to such claims. Mainly it's been the hifi speaker reviewers who have dared to make such lofty assertions about the latest bookshelf speaker they've reviewed.

It kind of surprised me when I first saw the term appear in one of the XT-Live forums... or was it the Gt Central forum?

 

Quite true... I guess my fingers got ahead of my brain, or I just was drunk when I wrote that.

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I've been using a small Fender keyboard amp for several years with pretty good success, but have wanted to upgrade to a nice FRFR speaker.  Finally bought the JBL EON615.  I went with the 615 because I also play bass and wanted a little beefier bottom-end response.  After accessing the EQ settings via bluetooth I was able to save settings for both the guitar and bass.  I'm very pleased with what I'm hearing from both.  I'm finding that it's easier to match the output levels from patch to patch which makes it a little easier for lady mixing the FOH at our church.  I'll probably get another 615 in the near future.  Very pleased.

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