donkelley Posted July 20, 2020 Share Posted July 20, 2020 Hi, I just wanted to post a thread that explains the actual reason why FRFR, PA, and studio monitor speakers typically still require treble cut to avoid sounding fizzy with distortion or overdrive on a guitar tone. THE COMMON PROBLEM I've read through some of the threads on this topic, and while I saw one person post the correct explanation (Without getting the credit or kudos he deserved for it, from what I saw), most people state the problem is that the user is not understanding the difference between guitar speakers and FRFR speakers. I believe users aren't that naive - and many good comparisons exist where users get great sound from helix (without virtual cab) into power amp into real cab, or other ... simpler..... modeller brand (with only virtual cab) directly into FRFR. However most of those "it's simple - guitar speakers have less treble, so you need to cut treble on FRFR" explanations go on to incorrectly state that the problem is that guitar cabs cut the treble a lot because they aren't flat, where as FRFR speakers are, at least in theory, outputting a flat response - therefore putting out much more volume at high frequencies than guitar cabs do. I mean, yes, that is true ... but NO that is not the problem. Again, the scenario is that we ALREADY have a virtual cab or IR in our signal chain - so shouldn't the high frequencies already be cut? Shouldn't the FRFR speaker just output exactly what that virtual cab sounds like, with the already good sounding treble cut baked into the virtual cab since it's a copy of a real cab??? (The end user, and you here, are asking this.... :-) ) Folks state that you need to think like a recording or mixing engineer, not like a guitarist - which is absolutely correct. But stating that with FRFR speakers you need to cut treble because it is brighter than a guitar cab is not logical, nor correct, since the scenarios being discussed invariably have either a virtual guitar cab already in the signal chain, or a cab IR. Since we have a virtual cab in a block, we already HAVE that high cut, so the statement is not correct - not in the simple way most folks tell it on this forum, at least. There is more to it.... The common problem from nearly everybody using a helix is with the end users who are experiencing fizz through FRFR, and questioning why, considering they are using a virtual cab or cab IR which is emulating the sound of the cab. WHAT A VIRTUAL CAB OR IR IS ACTUALLY REPRODUCING The simple description of the problem is that it's NOT emulating the sound of the cab FROM a position that a guitarist would be playing and listening to the tone. The facts of why the virtual cab, or many of the cab IRs available, are NOT sufficient to sound like a cab in a room are with how the virtual cab or cab IR were miked up: - In a virtual cab, and in many cab IRS, the cab was, more or less, close miked, in one mix position, on one part of one cone. That is how many cabs are miked in the studio and live... but is NOT how you get the sound you hear as a guitarist when playing through your amp. IT IS a MUCH brighter tone, and much LESS COMPLEX than the sound of a real cab in a room. The virtual cabs or many of the cab IRs are miked this way for various reasons - technical reasons (CAB IR files aren't really designed to handle the long recording of room reflections and short plate reverb that your cab in a room would require)..... and removing early reflections as much as possible by close miking in a dead room allows you, the player, to configure the rest of the tone after the close miked speaker on the cab - you can eq to mimick various rooms, you can add room or plate verb for the same reason.... etc. You might think... "Ok, so because the guitar cab is close miked, it is much brighter and fizzier, right? like how if I put my ear to it and play quietly with a distortion pedal, it sounds bad.... that's your point? So Why can't I just put my FRFR speaker where my guitar cab would normally go and play and have it sound the same, since it's playing back the exact sound of a guitar speaker in that location, and the room and angle should take care of everything else?" Well, folks, that is an EXCELLENT grasp on the close miked speaker sound, yes it's much brighter and fizzier, but it is missing a couple of important points about the "amp in the room" sound when playing through an FRFR or PA. 1) the FRFR or PA probably has FAR better high frequency dispersion than your guitar speaker, up high, and you always hear the on axis tone (IE: the virtual cab sounds like a close miked speaker, so you get that sound everwhere in front of the FRFR without it changing with direction or distance in the way a real guitar cab does). So where every you stand, relative to your FRFR speaker, it's like having your guitar cab aimed right at, and next to, your ears. 2) the close miked virtual cab response or IR response is on one part of the cone and miked from one direction... it is one aspect of the tone. Dust cap, edge, OR middle of cone, on axis OR off axis, at a specific distance. 3) No matter how bright each guitar speaker on it's own sounds, in a cab with more than one speaker there remains much less high frequency sound once you're a certain distance away from it - due to physics of how multiple speaker outputs work together for dispersion, etc. The real sound from the cab as you hear it is a mix of many radically different tones coming from various parts of the guitar speaker. Guitar speakers are not rigid cones, normally, and the dust cap, edge, middle of the cone, and other areas can truly sound quite different, as can on axis versus off axis tones. This is why some of the best CAB IR libraries include multi miked files... it's sort of a pre-mixed cab IR that actually sound sound much more like the blend you get from a real cab when you play back through an FRFR or PA. A guitar cab with more than one speaker is extra difficult to reproduce when single miked as a cab IR or virtual cab - because the tone in the room is a wild, chaotic mix of the multitude of EQs and tones you get from the cab, all interestingly blended together. So, a MIX engineer in a studio will be accustomed to taking that fizzy close miked amp recording and EQing it accordingly to make it sound great through studio monitors, which are truly FRFR (and likely the only TRULY FRFR speakers you will ever encounter, since they are typically EQed to be as neutral, or flat as possible, in that control room. AT least ONE set of their monitors should be like that, anyhow, in a big studio. They probably mix on something like NS7s though, or other similarly bright and revealing speakers, which also reminds the engineer to cut back on high frequencies and remove the fizz. So yes, think like an engineer, but for the right reasons, and with a little tiny bit more of the full picture than you had before. Saying that guitar cabs aren't as bright as FRFR as a reason to cut treble is simply wrong, since we all know we're placing a virtual guitar cab that, one would ASSUME, must have that same high cut in our signal path. It's actually because our virtual cabs, and some cab IRs, contain much more high frequencies than you actually hear from the real cab when standing and playing... and an FRFR or PA speaker will not result in the same high cut in a room as the actual cab would, due to physical design differences between the transducers and the layout of the speakers. Basically, the original cab IR or virtual cab was probably not setup as a mic in a room standing where a guitarist stands while playing.... it is probably a MUCH brighter recording that isn't anything like how you normally hear your cab... but is great for a studio MIX engineer to work with. SO YOU STILL NEED TREBLE CUT, EVEN WITH A VIRTUAL CAB, or with MANY IRs (but maybe not all IRs) Rest assured - if you have a virtual cab, you still need treble cut (at the very least) after a helix virtual cab or many of the cab IRs you can buy to sound anything like a real cab when you connect your helix directly to a TRUE FRFR cab or to a PA... and honestly you probably need a bit of plate reverb and possibly some low end cut also to really get you there. But what DOES a virtual cab or cab IR do for you? it gets you the true EQ of that cab, in a common, popular recorded microphone position for studio use. Just cut 8kHz, more or less, and up from there, ... probably rather dramatically, and it will start to sound similar to a good cab.....but use your ears, choose eq how you like it. Or, look for an IR library that is a producer blend of mic positions and /or room sound in one cab IR - and you will probably find that you love that sound. Another minor footnote - FRFR cabs you can buy for modelers are not particularly flat response or full range, but they are MUCH more so than most guitar cabs. A PA is often hotter in the highs than a real FRFR speaker is. A REAL FRFR can likely only be found in some recording studios, and even then might not be the speakers chosen by the engineer to work with... for reasons I won't get into here. 1 2 3 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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