Jump to content
rychester63

FRFR Question

Recommended Posts

I need help understanding this ...If a 6 string guitar goes to 8K after that is just air according to a  Korg chart that I saw on freq., then what is the purpose of having a horn? When I run direct with my Helix, I  have noticed some fizz on the top end, but if I run it with a amp and cab there is no fizz. Also I noticed that a lot of people put a high/low cut in their signal chain. I did that also, but any lower then 12.5 k and the life goes out of the tone.12.5 k???  So I guess that these settings are not real world settings? I'm not knocking the Helix by any means, lord knows I have and use their products everyday. I have a lot of other guitarists, myself included wondering this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have recently started putting an EQ block last in my chain (before stereo reverb/delays) and setting the low/high cuts at 100hz/11.5hz.  This seems to be a safe start (pending the amp block of choice) to eliminate any flubby bass and also remove any unwanted high/fizz content.  Any lower than 11.5 (again depending on the amp block) I seem to lose the 'air' or 'attack' of the note/chord dynamics.  There was one amp, not sure which one that I brought down to 8kish.... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say that it depends a lot on the volume and on the type of sound.

Clean tones doesn't necessarily need a severe high cut, unlike hi-gain tones, because the fizz content is smaller. Nevertheless, I prefer to have the same IR (and the same hi-/lo-cuts) that I use both for clean tones, and medium-high distorted tones. 

And then the loudness is very important. Playing at gig level (that is live & loud) imho any hi-cut higher than about 6.5 kHz will give rather bad and fizzy tones, specially with a lot of overdrive. Obviously the same severe high-cut may be a little dull if you use headphones or studio/home monitors, even if now I'm getting used to that tone, and I like it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a highcut at about 5 - 5.5K and my sound is described as bright.  What you should be thinking about is not the guitar, but the total system - we are used to hearing a guitar through an amp and speaker.  Typically, if you look on the Celestion web site you will see your favorite speakers frequency response - that has significant low cut and serious roll off in the high end.

100Hz to 5.5KHz is the main frequency range for most of the systems we regard as classic guitar sound.  The Helix lets you set that how you want, so you might actually go for a more extreme toppy clean if you so desire - as you point out, 8K would be extreme given there isn't much up there.  Amps - real amps without speakers do output a fizzy sound - it's the combination that works together. Also typically, we hear recorded guitar sound through a mic and the EQ on the desk, and it is very normal to EQ a guitar post the mic as it also adds colour to the sound.  

So why do you need a horn?  Well you don't - but most flat response systems use one to work with the natural range of the bass speaker to fill in the top end to get a flat sound.  What matters in FRFR is that you have a relatively flat frequency response to allow the accurate simulation of the effects, amp, speakers and mic to be reproduced. Then you can change the speaker and mic and get a realistic simulation of using a different box and mic - if the speaker system you use isn't reasonably flat, you end up colouring the sound so that you don't get that difference coming through. 

So it's about feeding all the lovely mid boost and frequency curves of real stuff into something that can reproduce that, not colour it.

Finally, if a high cut at 12.5K is killing the top in your sound, I'd start by setting up a typical high and low cut and then EQing you sound using amp and speakers, as I can only imagine you have some wild compensation going on - as you say, it's way outside the range of a guitar, let alone a typical guitar sound.  If you start with the cuts in place, you can always experiment with them later, but I think you'll find your tone starts to be way more warm and full and satisfying.  If you need to lift the top end save it till last - above 6.5K most distortion gets harsh and then fizzy.  This all applies to FRFR - if you go into a guitar speaker, you already got a lot of sound shaping going on and using any speaker simulation like an IR is likely to make your sound muffled.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First, that chart which I've seen is somewhat a general chart of frequency ranges, but there are some other considerations.  There are overtones and harmonics that come into play as well so the range can extend quite a bit byond that range at times.  Also bear in mind when you look at a frequency response chart for a traditional guitar speaker, the frequency range also extends beyond that, but not all of the frequencies are projected evenly across the spectrum.  The fizziness you hear would also be heard were you to put your ear up next to the center cap on most of these speakers (which I wouldn't advise doing), so that fizziness can even be heard through any FOH speaker system (which are all pretty much FRFR speakers) if you mic the center cap of a speaker.  Just as the fizziness disappears if you mic further out on the cone structure with the added effect that lower frequencies will get accentuated.  So even with a traditional speaker you can get rid of fizziness at the cost of a flubby bass.  All of these same artifacts are duplicated in the Helix with cabs, IRs, microphones, and mic placements.

 

The reason FRFR speakers use horns is the same reason studio FRFR speakers use tweeters.  It enables the speaker to have a flatter response across the entire range of frequencies it covers and treat them all equally unlike a simple speaker.  The reason for a horn in a powered FRFR speakers like an Alto, or Yamaha, or QSC is because it's designed for projection over long distances because they are, in effect, the same thing as a FOH PA speaker.  They do this by conserving energy by maintaining a very controlled sound cone so that energy doesn't get wasted by sending it up into the ceiling or down into the floor, nor does it get leaked outside of the cabinet enclosure.  Also higher frequencies die out faster across distances than do lower frequencies.  The horn is a pretty important part in all of this.

 

The high and low cuts are dependent on MANY factors.  I have several presets that have no high or low cuts depending on the style of music, the guitar/pickups I use, the amp, cabs/IRs, mic, mic placement and mic mixes.  Unless you have a pretty good understanding of speaker behaviors and particularly microphone differences, their placement and mixes, it's sometimes easier for people to compensate for such things by simply using high and low cuts.  The fact is, those type of high and low cuts have been used in commercial studio recordings as far back as I can remember into the 60s and 70s.  That's because even a home stereo system or car stereo will reproduce highs and lows better than what your ears would hear standing next to an amp, and those recordings are made by mic'ing a speaker, so all of the same physics apply.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, DunedinDragon said:

The fact is, those type of high and low cuts have been used in commercial studio recordings as far back as I can remember into the 60s and 70s. 

 

Exactly.

 

 

4 hours ago, rychester63 said:

If a 6 string guitar goes to 8K after that is just air according to a  Korg chart that I saw on freq., then what is the purpose of having a horn?

Yes, in general, a guitar cab using guitar speakers have a frequency response much narrower that FRFR speakers use. Look at it another way. A 2000 watt power amp doesn't usually "use" all that much wattage all the time, but they are bought for the "head-room" involved so that the levels of "punchy lows" and "clean mids" and highs don't run out of energy (power) during the peaks (like a drum hit for instance). Its the same way for FRFR speaker frequency responses (Headroom in frequency versus the power example) and I for one would rather have that (for the occasional harmonics) and not need it on both sides of the frequency spectrum, versus needing it and...., well, you get my point. And with this, you can always (like Dune pointed out) remove what you don't want/need. But the "main" reason for FRFR speakers is because they are (good ones) FLAT. So when you use a good IR/Profile/fake noise, it will represent what was intended.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, a FR speaker horn really comes into play for synth and octave effects, and the acoustic and reso models on my Variax.  IMO, the need for the horn/tweeter drops off for traditional electric guitar/amp/cab sounds (less than 8kHz to 10kHz).

 

XiTone used to make an FRFR cab with an Eminence Beta 12LTA (Whizzer cone speaker), with no horn or tweeter.  This eliminated the need for the crossover or DSP.  Some old EA bass cabs have also taken advantage of whizzer cones on a woofer for extended upper range without a horn.  So I believe your questioning the need of the horn for guitar tones is somewhat valid.

 

Looking Eminence Beta 12LTA specs and frequency response curve, the speaker is full range, and pretty flat response to about 8kHz, then starts to roll off.  It's not as flat as the DSP-enabled, horn loaded cabs, but I would say it's in the ballpark.  I've read some articles about guitarists retro-fitting traditional guitar cabs with this speaker and getting good FRFR-ish results with just a solid state amp.

 

https://www.eminence.com/pdf/Beta_12LTA.pdf

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to thank all who gave their opinion on this subject, its been highly informative for me to say the least! The only question I have left ( yea right lol ) is... Could someone post a capture of their signal chain with the high/ low cut  in the chain? I must be doing something wrong cause if I took any of my patches or any of the factory ones ( which I don't use ) and placed a 5.5k cut at the end, it would sound like I placed a stack of blankets over the FOH,...it would not cut threw the mix.

So I quess I'll try this, place the cut... 8k or lower first then make up the difference with the amp block's eq. ( bass, middle, treble, presence ) or should I start with a higher cut 11.5 ?

11.5 on down is where I notice the block starting to effect my tones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ryche, check out some of Jason Sadites’ great Helix videos on YouTube. He uses a slick crossover split with volume blocks in combination with an EQ block to address the same concerns you mentioned. The filters in the standard EQ block have a different slope (dB per octave) than the high and low cuts in the cabinet/IR block. IIRC, he starts with low and high cuts at 100 Hz and 12 KHz respectively and then tunes the amp’s tone stack and/or adds more EQ blocks to shape the tone. He rarely goes back and moves the overall cut frequencies. In the end, it’s all about what sounds right to you...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The high/low cuts slopes are not very steep so even though you may set high at 8k, that is just where the slope starts. You may find yourself getting down to 5-6 sometimes for taming the "fizz". A parametric EQ at/near the end can give you a steeper slope if needed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, rychester63 said:

I would like to thank all who gave their opinion on this subject, its been highly informative for me to say the least! The only question I have left ( yea right lol ) is... Could someone post a capture of their signal chain with the high/ low cut  in the chain? I must be doing something wrong cause if I took any of my patches or any of the factory ones ( which I don't use ) and placed a 5.5k cut at the end, it would sound like I placed a stack of blankets over the FOH,...it would not cut threw the mix.

So I quess I'll try this, place the cut... 8k or lower first then make up the difference with the amp block's eq. ( bass, middle, treble, presence ) or should I start with a higher cut 11.5 ?

11.5 on down is where I notice the block starting to effect my tones.

 

Here's what I do.  I put in my amp and cab/IR blocks in place, then almost at the very end of the signal chain I place a parametric EQ block.  The reason I use a parametric EQ block is the slopes on the high and low cuts are much steeper than the ones on the cab or IR blocks so it makes it easier for me to hear and make adjustments.  I typically start high cuts up around 12khz and work my way down until I hear what I'm after.  I then work my way up on the low cut around 60Hz till I get the tightness I want on the bass.

 

One other thing I now commonly do is the trick Jason Sadites showed in his video of doing a crossover split using two gain blocks to adjust overall levels of lows and highs.  The way that's done is you add two simple gain blocks and then create a split with one on the top path and one on the lower path.  Change the split type to a crossover split and I'll normally specify around 650Hz to start.  This allows you to fine tune the overall sound of the lows and highs very effectively by simply adjusting the upper and lower gain blocks up or down as well as where the crossover split frequency starts.  Very cool trick.

 

image.thumb.png.a6db4620be3d708189231bdc12c0f587.png

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do watch Jason's videos and have downloaded one of his tones that utilize the gain blocks, I thought that was a neat trick also. I will have to try that in my patches that I use live and adjust each gain block accordingly to the FOH.

i played a medium size venue last weekend and got a chance to hear my tones in the mix and they sound ok when everyone else is playing but on their own is when I noticed the fizz.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, rychester63 said:

I do watch Jason's videos and have downloaded one of his tones that utilize the gain blocks, I thought that was a neat trick also. I will have to try that in my patches that I use live and adjust each gain block accordingly to the FOH.

i played a medium size venue last weekend and got a chance to hear my tones in the mix and they sound ok when everyone else is playing but on their own is when I noticed the fizz.

That is with any guitar rig. To me Boogie Triple Rectifiers (real amps) have a lot of "sizzle" that is noticeable playing alone, but "disappears" as soon as you have cymbals and other higher frequency stuff going on in the mix. The "fizz" I believe is just that natural sizzle associated with the digital amp models, but is just accentuated in the full range system of the Helix and associated FRFR monitoring system. A lot of people blame the hardware for the fizz, but it is just the nature of the beast. Once you understand and learn how to tweak it for your needs, then all is well. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/26/2018 at 3:12 PM, rychester63 said:

I need help understanding this ...If a 6 string guitar goes to 8K after that is just air according to a  Korg chart that I saw on freq., then what is the purpose of having a horn? When I run direct with my Helix, I  have noticed some fizz on the top end, but if I run it with a amp and cab there is no fizz. Also I noticed that a lot of people put a high/low cut in their signal chain. I did that also, but any lower then 12.5 k and the life goes out of the tone.12.5 k???  So I guess that these settings are not real world settings? I'm not knocking the Helix by any means, lord knows I have and use their products everyday. I have a lot of other guitarists, myself included wondering this.

The horn has a couple of purposes. First its to provide dispersion of your guitar tone so that more than just the few people that are right in front of it and right on axis get the high end. Second is to provide full range flat frequency response for other patches that say include acoustic guitar or mic inputs. 

 

Now to the high cut on cab and IR models. Although an electric guitar pickups don’t produce much above 6 kHz, and guitar speakers often reproduce even less, a distorted guitar with a mic pointed right at the speaker cone can result in substantially higher frequencies than that. Hence the fizz. This is not unusual for mic’d analog amps and cabinets. Microphone choice and placement are a real art for capturing a good electric guitar sound. And it usually takes some post EQ, compression, limiting, etc. in the recorded track to get what we’re use to hearing. Live this stuff doesn’t matter as much because its LOUD. But in headphones, or with monitor speakers at normal room volumes, it will matter a great deal. This is why you need to use high cut on Helix cab and IR blocks - to reproduce the whole signal chain.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/26/2018 at 6:01 PM, rvroberts said:

I have a highcut at about 5 - 5.5K and my sound is described as bright.  What you should be thinking about is not the guitar, but the total system - we are used to hearing a guitar through an amp and speaker.  Typically, if you look on the Celestion web site you will see your favorite speakers frequency response - that has significant low cut and serious roll off in the high end.

100Hz to 5.5KHz is the main frequency range for most of the systems we regard as classic guitar sound.  The Helix lets you set that how you want, so you might actually go for a more extreme toppy clean if you so desire - as you point out, 8K would be extreme given there isn't much up there.  Amps - real amps without speakers do output a fizzy sound - it's the combination that works together. Also typically, we hear recorded guitar sound through a mic and the EQ on the desk, and it is very normal to EQ a guitar post the mic as it also adds colour to the sound.  

So why do you need a horn?  Well you don't - but most flat response systems use one to work with the natural range of the bass speaker to fill in the top end to get a flat sound.  What matters in FRFR is that you have a relatively flat frequency response to allow the accurate simulation of the effects, amp, speakers and mic to be reproduced. Then you can change the speaker and mic and get a realistic simulation of using a different box and mic - if the speaker system you use isn't reasonably flat, you end up colouring the sound so that you don't get that difference coming through. 

So it's about feeding all the lovely mid boost and frequency curves of real stuff into something that can reproduce that, not colour it.

Finally, if a high cut at 12.5K is killing the top in your sound, I'd start by setting up a typical high and low cut and then EQing you sound using amp and speakers, as I can only imagine you have some wild compensation going on - as you say, it's way outside the range of a guitar, let alone a typical guitar sound.  If you start with the cuts in place, you can always experiment with them later, but I think you'll find your tone starts to be way more warm and full and satisfying.  If you need to lift the top end save it till last - above 6.5K most distortion gets harsh and then fizzy.  This all applies to FRFR - if you go into a guitar speaker, you already got a lot of sound shaping going on and using any speaker simulation like an IR is likely to make your sound muffled.

 

Man do I agree with this post, particularly when it comes to crunch and lead sounds. My experience when it comes to an FRFR rig with the Helix and some other modelers as well is don't hesitate to make aggressive cuts to 5k or less if necessary. Some amp/cab combinations require them and some don't. These steep cuts can quickly turn a harsh fizzy tone through an FRFR into something buttery and great. That doesn't mean I don't still search for and sometimes find more surgical EQ cuts. As noted by others a steep cut can pull out too much of the bite and the "good stuff" on the high end but overall I find that when using an FRFR as a monitor these fairly substantial cuts are sometimes the quickest way to getting a better tone.

 

It has occurred to many of us who use an FRFR "Hey, isn't that harsh stuff already supposed to be cut out by the cab model?". A perfectly legitimate assumption but I find it is often just not the case. You may have to provide cuts, sometimes quite drastic, with some presets combined with some FRFRs, until things sound right to you. Despite how you think it "should" work.

 

The guitar tones we all know and love were not produced on FRFRs, they were produced with guitar amps and cabs with limited frequency response over 5k. However these tones can be reproduced beautifully on FRFRs but sometimes you just have to radically limit the high end and cut some of the lows. I think it is just a fact that an FRFR has a tendency to more easily introduce harsh high and low end frequencies, fizz, and even string noise, than a traditional guitar amp/cab. You often have to EQ that stuff out and sometimes it gets a bit tricky. FRFRs require more work.

 

As FRFRs become an even more popular method of monitoring guitar it would not hurt if the modelers made some changes to accommodate them more easily such as customized EQ curves/profiles, as some modelers have provided in the past, or even dynamically customized EQ. Actually I think that time is here but for the present in return for using an FRFR you can get fantastic electric guitar tones, great full range acoustic guitar and synth guitar tones as well as vocals. When the presets are EQ'd properly FRFRs provide tones that much more closely resemble the amps they were modeled after. It is a lot easier for your Helix to get close to the sound of a Vox AC30 if it is not pumping into a Marshall amp and cab. Even if that sounds great too. Just different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Dragon for this- I played around with your editor settings shown and it does indeed help to carve out a very nice tone!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, spikey said:

Thanks, Dragon for this- I played around with your editor settings shown and it does indeed help to carve out a very nice tone!!!

 

Glad that works for you.  It's a great little trick.  I don't use it all the time, but often when I just can't seem to get the balance I want between upper and lower frequencies it's just the medicine to fix it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding the difference between a guitar cabinet and a FRFR, the biggest impact is the mic position. Try this. With your Marshall 4x12 cranked, place your ear 1” from the center of the speaker cone. That’s not going to sound good to you at all (and would definitely cause hearing loss). That’s what a mic is going to hear and pump out of FOH with no EQ. That’s not realistic for micing a guitar cabinet, and for the same reason, its not realistic for a Helix cab model or IR. Having all that low end and fizz come out of the cab model or IR isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Its a lot easier to cut what you have too much of than boost something that isn’t there. So think of the high and low cuts on the cab and IR blocks as controlling what the mic hears in order to produce the overall sound you want. I’d recommend doing what you can with speaker, mic choice and position first, and then fine tune with high and low cut to get the final result.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I went the frfr way for 2 months it was nice but the powerstage 170 into my blackstar 212 is much better and I have the option of just using the powerstage 170 with helix effects.You cant dod that with a frfr speaker and if you still have pedals it makes a great backup setup.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euK_qD6MHRE&t=363s

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...