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FRFR speaker choice: acoustic amp or FRFR speaker


davidderekmoss
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I am currently running my Helix through a Tanglewood T6 acoustic amp - via the FX return. A few questions: 

 

- Does an acoustic amp such as this one provide the same quality as a decent FRFR speaker? - or am I compromising on sound in using a Acoustic Amp

- If I do opt to continue using the acoustic amp, should I use the line or instrument output going to my Fx return on the acoustic amp? 

 

Also opinions on whether I should invest in a FRFR speaker or does my acoustic amp do pretty much the same thing? It sounds good, but perhaps not quite as good as through my monitors - but difficult to tell! 

 

Thanks, 

Dave 

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Acoustic amps are an entirely different animal than typical powered speakers.  They may tend to be more full range and less flat response and are tuned specifically for acoustic instruments often times with features specific for that such as anti-feedback adjustments.  They also tend to be lower powered than your typical powered speaker just due to the nature of amplifying acoustic instruments on stage.  Another key difference is that most powered speakers in this category are bi-amped using one amp to drive the lower frequency ranges through one speaker and the other to drive the compression driver for the high end speaker.  Acoustic amps tend to be simple crossover designs from a single amplifier circuit.

 

Of course using the FX return bypasses the tone circuitry, but what comes into play in most of the powered speakers are DSP contouring features that help maintain the flat response which is necessary to support ALL types of inputs whether it be instruments, voices or percussion.  This is why many of us choose to use these type of powered speakers because it matches up better with the FOH speakers in terms of response so we feel more confident that the sound we've dialed in and hear on stage will be a closer match to what the audience is hearing.  I truly doubt that sort of thing is designed into acoustic amps since they are more single purposed in their design.  Generally many of us that use powered speakers like these go direct from the output of our Helix (such as an XLR) to the board and go direct into the speaker with different output such as the 1/4" out.  I'm not sure you're going to get the same effect going that way on an acoustic amp, but the only way to know is to try it.

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23 minutes ago, DunedinDragon said:

Acoustic amps are an entirely different animal than typical powered speakers.  They may tend to be more full range and less flat response

 

Just curious, isn't a full range amp the same as a flat response amp?

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1 hour ago, brue58ski said:

 

Just curious, isn't a full range amp the same as a flat response amp?

 

I think "full range" usually refers to the lowest and highest frequencies the speaker can reproduce, while "flat response" usually refers to how evenly each frequency within that range is amplified by the speaker relative to all other frequencies in the range. So something would be "full range" if it is capable of reproducing all frequencies within normal human ability to hear, say from 20Hz to 20kHz; and it would be "flat response" if there were no frequencies within that range which were significantly boosted or cut, for example, by inputting a sine wave sweep of the entire frequency range and having the output be the same volume for the entire sweep.

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13 hours ago, rzumwalt said:

 

I think "full range" usually refers to the lowest and highest frequencies the speaker can reproduce, while "flat response" usually refers to how evenly each frequency within that range is amplified by the speaker relative to all other frequencies in the range. So something would be "full range" if it is capable of reproducing all frequencies within normal human ability to hear, say from 20Hz to 20kHz; and it would be "flat response" if there were no frequencies within that range which were significantly boosted or cut, for example, by inputting a sine wave sweep of the entire frequency range and having the output be the same volume for the entire sweep.

 

It's probably easiest and most accurate to think about "flat response" as the lack of coloration a speaker adds to the sound.  In reality no speaker is totally flat as that would actually sound pretty unnatural, but things like studio monitors or live speakers tend to be admired for how accurately and evenly they can reproduce a signal across the entire frequency range of human hearing.

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21 hours ago, davidderekmoss said:

- Does an acoustic amp such as this one provide the same quality as a decent FRFR speaker? - or am I compromising on sound in using a Acoustic Amp

- If I do opt to continue using the acoustic amp, should I use the line or instrument output going to my Fx return on the acoustic amp? 

 

Generally speaking, an acoustic amp will be full range (more so than a regular guitar amp) but will not be flat response. Most acoustic amps I heard have an extreme mid cut. This will make a modeler sound pretty decent at home, but it will get lost on a stage as soon as other instruments are introduced. Normally the voicing of the amp is in the pre-amp... not the power section so you could go into the FX return and it may flatten the response enough to be usable. 

 

When I go direct, I usually just use the stage monitors... but to do that you need your own monitor and your own monitor mix. When in doubt, or when I know I won't have good monitors I have converted my old Silver Stripe Peavey Bandit into a usable FRFR rig by installing a coaxial full range speaker... an Eminence BETA 12LTA. To avoid the tonal color of the amp I use the power amp in (just power) or the effects return which still gives me access to the presence, resonance and reverb if I need some control. 

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I think maybe the terms Full Range and FRFR are often interchanged.  Technically a guitar speaker is "Full Range" (reproduces from 20-20k) like this classic guitar speaker

 

https://celestion.com/product/15/g12t75/

 

but I wouldn't describe it as Full Range since the frequency response curve is so, well, curvy.

 


Then we have this "Full Range" speaker.

 

https://www.guitarcenter.com/Peavey/PBK-12-Full-range-12-in-2-Way-Passive-Speaker.gc

 

But I don't think it would be considered a FRFR speaker because I think it would color it a bit. After doing a bit of research, it seems like Full Range is for a speaker that adequately reproduces the full 20-20k spectrum and an FRFR speaker is a Full Range speaker that has a much flatter frequency response, often due to some digital manipulation...I think. I'm not even sure that there is an overall consensus on what the difference is. At least I can't find a concrete description of what the difference is. Sorry for kind of beating this to death. Just looking to get my terms right and I think this is a case where no one really knows.

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30 minutes ago, brue58ski said:

After doing a bit of research, it seems like Full Range is for a speaker that adequately reproduces the full 20-20k spectrum and an FRFR speaker is a Full Range speaker that has a much flatter frequency response...

 

There's no mystery to it... that's exactly what it is. 

 

FRFR= Full Range Flat Response

 

It's really the "flat response" part that we're all interested in for our purposes. "Full range" is easy to find, and doesn't really mean much in the end...you can buy full range $7 ear buds on Amazon, but I wouldn't use them to create patches because the response curve is probably a roller coaster... and it's the curve that matters. 

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That's the impression I get. The mystery isn't what the words were, it was (and still is for me) what the actual "official" difference is between the two terms. Like I said, and you as well, it seems a Full Range speaker is one that adequately reproduces the full range of sound and a Full Range Flat Response speaker is designed to have a much flatter frequency response curve, often through some kind of processing. But again, technically many a guitar speaker is Full Range as well. They just have a very curvy frequency response curve so I wouldn't refer to a guitar speaker as full range.

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The reality is that there is no such thing as a FRFR speaker...

 

Full Range & Flat Response are objectives, design goals if you wish, but IF there were two competing FRFR speakers then the sound would be identical between them, and as we all know, that simply isnt how life and reality is.. 

 

The bottom line is that you can use whatever amp & speaker, powered speaker, powered monitor or FRFR unit that you are happy with the sound of..

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1 hour ago, mystic38 said:

The reality is that there is no such thing as a FRFR speaker...

 

Well there's almost nothing in life that's 100% true, guaranteed, etc etc... so if that's your yardstick, then there's not much point in trying to define anything...

 

Except dropping dead, which had a definition that's hard to dispute, and is generally rather "final", lol. ;)

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