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Amp in the room missing


JamieCrain
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I run my LT through two behringer 10” powered speakers. They are loud, and some of my metal patches sound exactly  like the guitar tones I am copying. So big tick for Helix and FRFRs. 

But, I don’t have that amp sound and feel. I just have a loud stereo.


Basically the Behringers sound reallly accurate, but a bit flat. It’s almost like I need a subwoofer to add that low end that you can hear when Ola does his “chug” thing on YouTube. 
I don’t want to buy a sub, I feel like that’s the wrong solution. What I am thinking is that I swap out the Behringers for 2 x 50w 12” Katanas and use the Power Amp In function

and crank them. 
 

My question is, will this new set up add that low end “thump” that you hear through real guitar amps?

 

Or is this what IRs add? (And should I just buy some IRs first. If so, which?). 
 

TIA

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Katanas are well known to be trebly. Not the right solution.

 

Spend the money for a higher end pair of 12" FRFRs with good DSP eq features.

Or look for a 50-100watt stereo tube amp and a pair of guitar speaker cabs of the sort that the folks use who play the kind of music you like.

You won't have the wide range of tones that you might want for pop cover tunes, but if you like Ola then a tube amp and a couple of MB 2x12 cabs should get you there. Nothing like an AITR to sound like an AITR!

 

Unless you're on a budget and have a bad back.

In that case, umm.... get a sub?

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On 10/19/2022 at 4:32 AM, JamieCrain said:

Basically the Behringers sound reallly accurate, but a bit flat. It’s almost like I need a subwoofer to add that low end that you can hear when Ola does his “chug” thing on YouTube. 

 

So, do you listen to those videos with something else but the Behringers?

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On 10/19/2022 at 9:15 AM, JamieCrain said:

Yes. My TV soundbar. But even on the soundbar you can hear the oomph of the amp even without volume being loud. So it must be a tone thing, not a volume thing. 

 

That's why I was asking. You should probably play things back to your Behringers as well. That way you might easier be able to identify what's missing in your patches.

Thing is, if you like Ola Englunds sound as it comes out of your speakers, it's likely not an AITR issue. It might still become such an issue in case you manage to more or less copy the sound and still feel not happy while playing it. And fwiw, that's what all the AITR debates are all about. It's hardly ever about the sound itself but about how it feels to play that sound - which seems to be particularly difficult to adjust to for people coming from years of amp playing.

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The bottom line is, the "amp in the room" sound only comes from an "amp in the room" whether it's a modeler or a traditional setup and no one can ever hear that sound other than a person standing in the room where the amp is.  You can't get the "amp in the room" sound from a recording nor from a live stage production once you mic the amp.  As mentioned previously you can get the "amp in the room" sound by routing your Helix through an amp in the room, in which case you'd likely not want to use the Helix cabinets.  What you can get from the Helix through an FRFR very easily is the production sound everyone is used to hearing on recordings or in live productions.  The quality of that sound varies based on the quality of the FRFR speaker which Behringer is not in that higher quality category.  That would be reserved to companies like QSC, Yamaha, JBL, RCF, ElectroVoice, etc.

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On 10/18/2022 at 9:32 PM, JamieCrain said:

But, I don’t have that amp sound and feel. I just have a loud stereo.

 

Think about it for a moment... that's how you hear your favorite guitar players tones as well. You aren't hearing their "amp in the room" sounds, but you still strive to achieve them because you love them. It takes time, but eventually you will learn how it's done. 

 

 

On 10/18/2022 at 9:32 PM, JamieCrain said:

Or is this what IRs add?

 

Yes and no. A good IR is a blend of speaker, cab, mic choice and placement. You need to understand how all of those work together before you dive into the rabbit hole or you may end up with nothing but ear fatigue. 

 

IMO... if this is new to you, experiment with the stock cabs to get a feel of how it works. You will quickly develop some favorite choices. 

  1. Start with choosing a trusted cab model... one that suits the genre of music you play. 
  2. Now change the MIC and take note of the tone differences. Seriously, "take notes... as in... write down the difference" as you encounter it. 
  3. Repeat step 2 for each mic in the Helix toolkit. 
  4. Next.... play with the "distance" and again, take notes. The further away the mic is, the more "air/ambience" will be introduced to the tone. In some mic's you will notice a drop in low end due to the proximity effect of that particular mic. 
  5. Don't touch "early reflections" or the "hi/low cuts" yet. Figure those out AFTER you get the mic's and distance sorted out. IE: One step at a time.

Once you begin forming an opinion on which mics you like & at what distances.... the IR rabbit hole isn't nearly as deep and/or you may find you are quite happy with the stock cabs. 

 

 

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On 10/19/2022 at 3:32 AM, JamieCrain said:

I run my LT through two behringer 10” powered speakers. They are loud, and some of my metal patches sound exactly  like the guitar tones I am copying. So big tick for Helix and FRFRs. 

But, I don’t have that amp sound and feel. I just have a loud stereo.


Basically the Behringers sound reallly accurate, but a bit flat. It’s almost like I need a subwoofer to add that low end that you can hear when Ola does his “chug” thing on YouTube. 
I don’t want to buy a sub, I feel like that’s the wrong solution. What I am thinking is that I swap out the Behringers for 2 x 50w 12” Katanas and use the Power Amp In function

and crank them. 
 

My question is, will this new set up add that low end “thump” that you hear through real guitar amps?

 

Or is this what IRs add? (And should I just buy some IRs first. If so, which?). 
 

TIA

 

Jamie, I've been here mate, same exact issues. I play rock and metal, always searching for great high gain. I've had some good results this year with my Helix floor but I tell you right now, it's a fiddly art full of variables that no one can duplicate for you because your set up, your room, your guitars.. it all changes the results.

 

What I did - changed my speakers for yamaha HS7's, no sub (don't think you need that), adjusted room control bass and treble on the speakers (cut both i think, can't remember right now). Other recommended speakers would be Adams and G66 Elis - I never tried them but people rave about them.

 

Ditched the cab sims altogether, got some nice IR's, trim the high gain to anywhere between 5khz to about 10khz (adjusting this for each preset is vital)

 

Stopped buying custom presets - waste of time. Dial in your own, it's the only way you will get what YOU need.

 

I now adjust the amp settings by very small margins to get just where I want. Typically the bass is only ever around 3-4 and I can can get some pretty thumpy tones with that.

 

I can get close tones to what Ola does - obviously you won't get the exact same thing using FRFR speakers as a real amp, for the reasons discussed, but you can still get a damn close tone. I cannot emphasise how important it is to find the sweet spot on the IR high trim, along with the mid, treble and bass values on the amp block. Presence is also very important to get right because it changes the tone from accurate to disgusting.

 

You may have tried some of this, I know what you're shooting for and you can get close.. with the right variables

 

 

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Also explore using a Dual Cabs Block! Regardless if you select two of the same or different Cabs, and explore using different Mics and Positions.

 

[Addendum: I forgot to mention that you can also explore the Cab's Reflections parameter to add a bit or room feel. Or, if you've got the DSP on your Helix, split and pan the cab blocks. Insert a Simple Delay Block and use a few ms of delay on one of the cabs. 1ms = approx 1ft of distance. These can create a bit more of a bigger feel to add to the sound. Neither, will be the same as AITR, but you may like the results. ]

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Thanks everyone, some good tips. I do think it's maybe a tone thing and I need to dial in some of the deep parameters like the mics etc.

 

If you listen to the guitar in this video by Ola, you can hear the depth of the tone, which I struggle to get through my set up. His guitar tone has an "aura" which is mainly low-end it seems, and I wonder if the physical wooden cabinet is contributing a lot to this. My speakers will reproduce the core tone very faithfully, but without this extra "something". That's why I was thinking it may be the speakers. Headphones sounds great by the way.

 

I'm going to experiment this weekend with some extreme parameters and see if I can find something. If anyone knows any good tones on the Line 6 CUSTOMTONE site that might have the right settings, please let share the link.

 

Thanks, Jamie 

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No mention of the PowerCab at all?  I have one, and really like it and get some "amp in the room".  That said, I do tend to run it in FR/FR mode to track guitars (to reduce dissimilarities between the sound in the room and that which is tracked).  But I do think there is a question of how close you are going to get it to some specific sound you are chasing.

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On 10/21/2022 at 1:11 PM, rwandering said:

No mention of the PowerCab at all?  I have one, and really like it and get some "amp in the room".  That said, I do tend to run it in FR/FR mode to track guitars (to reduce dissimilarities between the sound in the room and that which is tracked).  But I do think there is a question of how close you are going to get it to some specific sound you are chasing.

The Powercabs look good but are expensive for what they are IMO. That's why I was looking at the Katana which is similar spec (1x12, 50 Watts) but less than half the price. I'm not really after an amp - the Helix does that well - I just want the speakers to have that "oomph" around the edges. 

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On 10/21/2022 at 12:59 AM, JamieCrain said:

The Powercabs look good but are expensive for what they are IMO. That's why I was looking at the Katana which is similar spec (1x12, 50 Watts) but less than half the price. I'm not really after an amp - the Helix does that well - I just want the speakers to have that "oomph" around the edges. 

Somewhere along the line you're going to have to address the output method.  You're using some very inexpensive powered speakers that aren't known for high quality sound and expecting high performance out of them.  In the field of speaker systems, you get what you  pay for whether it's amp or a powered speaker.  You'll find the vast majority of Helix or any other modeling users that want to work with FRFR style speakers tend to use speakers from JBL, QSC, Yamaha, RCF, ElectroVoice and so forth because those companies are very well known for the quality of their speakers and their speakers are tunable to your situation.  They are all more expensive than your Behringers, but that's because they don't cut corners in order to appeal to budget oriented buyers.

 

You spent quite a bit of money on a high end modeler.  Does it really make sense to cut corners on the output method?  I exclusively use FRFR style speakers and have a bunch of them.  My most used ones are Yamaha DXR12 which I have six of, but I also have QSC K10 and EV ZLX12p, but I know I can get great performances out of any of them.  I'd suggest you make some time to take your Helix unit into a music store and audition different ones.  Make sure you download and read their operation manuals so you can be prepared to audition the different tuning possibilities on each of them.

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On 10/21/2022 at 11:38 PM, DunedinDragon said:

You're using some very inexpensive powered speakers that aren't known for high quality sound and expecting high performance out of them.

Yes I know I’m using speakers at the cheaper end and ideally I’d have a set of mesa boogie cabs, but the Bs actually sound very good when running other sources through them (I did think about NOT mentioning the brand to see if that produced different responses to this topic). But, at the end of the day I can’t quite get what I want so i will start with editing the deeper parameters and if i still can’t improve things I will talk to the bank manager.  
 

thanks everyone. 

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A couple observations to report back.

Mic type and distance seems to play a significant part in shaping the tone, though the pattern doesn’t seem logical to me. Moving the mic further away helps round out the tones’ edges (good) but in some mics the reverse is true. 
 

But the biggest issue appears to be something else completely. I have realised the room I am in has double brick walls on all sides. My speakers are at one end and I am at the other when I play. The mid to high frequencies seem to be bouncing a lot and covering up some of the lower freq tone that I can hear through headphones clearly. When I stand next to the speakers and play, or move to a room with different wall materials, the tone is much much better. So the room acoustics seem to be the biggest culprit in shaping the tone. I don’t think changing speakers will fix this.

 

I’ll have to buy a new house..lol

 

 

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On 10/22/2022 at 6:53 PM, JamieCrain said:

A couple observations to report back.

Mic type and distance seems to play a significant part in shaping the tone, though the pattern doesn’t seem logical to me. Moving the mic further away helps round out the tones’ edges (good) but in some mics the reverse is true. 
 

But the biggest issue appears to be something else completely. I have realised the room I am in has double brick walls on all sides. My speakers are at one end and I am at the other when I play. The mid to high frequencies seem to be bouncing a lot and covering up some of the lower freq tone that I can hear through headphones clearly. When I stand next to the speakers and play, or move to a room with different wall materials, the tone is much much better. So the room acoustics seem to be the biggest culprit in shaping the tone. I don’t think changing speakers will fix this.

 

I’ll have to buy a new house..lol

 

 

  Mic type and distance probably have the single most impact on overall tone.  Distance is one factor but the other is the type of mic and it's normal response characteristics over distance.  Ribbon, condenser and dynamic mics all respond a little differently over distances...some lose highs quickly some retain them over distance and so forth.  Over time most people tend to find the best combinations for what they want and stick with them.  Myself, I'm an MD421 dynamic mixed with a R121 ribbon mic generally but everyone's different.

The room characteristics can have some impact, but generally you really don't need that much volume to hear the true characteristics of the sound.  I'd suggest loading a signal meter on your phone and shoot for about 85db from where you stand when playing.  That will be above the point where Fletcher Munson effects color the sound and below the level where you get too much flavoring from the walls and should be a pretty accurate representation of your live sound through a PA in room filled with people.

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On 10/22/2022 at 5:53 PM, JamieCrain said:

Mic type and distance seems to play a significant part in shaping the tone, though the pattern doesn’t seem logical to me. Moving the mic further away helps round out the tones’ edges (good) but in some mics the reverse is true. 

 

That is why I suggesting taking notes with every change. In a studio, producers/engineers spend more time selecting and placing mics than anything else. They will get out of their chairs 30 times to adjust a mic a 1/2" before they will reach for an EQ knob. This is a world many guitar players know little about, but it's worth taking the time to learn.

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On 10/22/2022 at 6:53 PM, JamieCrain said:

A couple observations to report back.

Mic type and distance seems to play a significant part in shaping the tone, though the pattern doesn’t seem logical to me. Moving the mic further away helps round out the tones’ edges (good) but in some mics the reverse is true. 
 

But the biggest issue appears to be something else completely. I have realised the room I am in has double brick walls on all sides. My speakers are at one end and I am at the other when I play. The mid to high frequencies seem to be bouncing a lot and covering up some of the lower freq tone that I can hear through headphones clearly. When I stand next to the speakers and play, or move to a room with different wall materials, the tone is much much better. So the room acoustics seem to be the biggest culprit in shaping the tone. I don’t think changing speakers will fix this.

 

I’ll have to buy a new house..lol

 

 

 

There is also the low-tech solution of hanging some tapestries, packing blankets, acoustic insulation, or whatever on your brick walls to make them less reflective. Same applies to ceilings and floors.

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  • 1 month later...

TO report back on this topic.

 

I ended up getting two Katana 50s to replace my Behringer PA setup. Contrary to popular belief, when using Power Amp In mode, the Katanas are not at all trebly nor do they have too much high-end. On the contrary, they sound like a blanket has been thrown over the speaker compared to the Bs. 

 

So are they any good? Yes. Much better.

  1. They are sufficiently loud with 50W 12" speaker. Yes you can always go louder but honestly I've no need, my ears will still ring after playing these.
  2. They are responsive. Even at volume, there is no latency. The Bs had slight latency which got worse as volume increased.
  3. The tone and feel is very much like an AITR. Though I have had to adjust the EQ on all my patches to INCREASE high end, but I don't mind doing that.

Interestingly the tonal difference between each of my guitars has widened. i.e. I will probably end up with different setlist for each guitar with slightly tweaked patches.

 

So in the end, pretty happy with the outcome, and now i have a responsive and loud stereo set up that sounds like an AITR.

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On 10/18/2022 at 10:32 PM, JamieCrain said:

I run my LT through two behringer 10” powered speakers. They are loud, and some of my metal patches sound exactly  like the guitar tones I am copying. So big tick for Helix and FRFRs. 

But, I don’t have that amp sound and feel. I just have a loud stereo.


Basically the Behringers sound reallly accurate, but a bit flat. It’s almost like I need a subwoofer to add that low end that you can hear when Ola does his “chug” thing on YouTube. 
I don’t want to buy a sub, I feel like that’s the wrong solution. What I am thinking is that I swap out the Behringers for 2 x 50w 12” Katanas and use the Power Amp In function

and crank them. 
 

My question is, will this new set up add that low end “thump” that you hear through real guitar amps?

 

Or is this what IRs add? (And should I just buy some IRs first. If so, which?). 
 

TIA

 

If you use FRFR's as stage monitors what you are really getting is FOH In The Room (FOHITR). Minus any additional mojo the soundman may be applying to FOH. You are essentially playing through a miniature PA as your stage monitor. Great for hearing something from stage that is closer to what the audience will experience but not by default equivalent to what playing a modeler through an amp sounds like. Although you can get close.

 

I think you are probably right about the subs being the wrong solution. Sure, if your band uses subs for FOH, adding them to your monitor setup would theoretically make your stage sound even closer to FOH, but that is way too much extra expense, gear, weight, and fuss for my tastes. If you have determined you are going the FRFR route, you should be able to get your guitar sound without having to add a sub. I can see a bass player perhaps going to the trouble - nope. One potential drawback of using a sub with your stage monitor is it could add low-end mud, making it harder to hear other instruments and vocals. However, PAs like the Bose towers come to mind that often do double-duty as both stage monitors and FOH, and they have subs. albeit small ones. So hey, there are no fixed rules, but personally I would seek a solution without subs. Try out a different pair of FRFRs or work more on my presets, EQ in particular. Or perhaps you discover you prefer modeling through an amp better. Maybe not the Katanas.

 

For FRFR players who have grown up playing through amps, one approach is to strike a compromise that provides enough of that ephemeral feel thing on stage recognizing it might have some impact on the FOH sound, might be good, might not - your call (and your soundperson and audience's). Looking for that point where you are happy with the sound you are getting from your FRFRs monitor(s) and things sound great at FOH as well. Probably the majority of the FRFR users on this forum favor an approach akin to this.

 

For FRFR users who jumped in right from the start with modeling, or for those whose ears have adjusted over time to a FRFR monitor approach, or those who are more focused on FOH regardless of feel, they may just go for their preferred FOH sound - which is also their preferred monitor sound, and may be different than, for example, that of a player who grew up on and goes for a more traditional amp sound.

 

And then there are players who will simply never like the sound and feel of a modeler through anything other than a good old-fashioned guitar amp. Nothing wrong with that! It just doesn't give you quite as accurate a reflection of what the audience is hearing at FOH.

 

As has been said, no matter how you end up getting there, it is key that it sound good to you on stage as well as to the audience or you will be uninspired, impacting your show more than any difference in tone (unless it is egregious). Find the right mix of equipment for yourself. Almost anything can be made to sound great with enough tweaking. Just depends on how much time you want to spend on it. Some equipment combinations and individual's tone preferences fall into place faster than others.

 

I imagine as different tones get created with digital equipment, not only players' but audiences' tone preferences are probably changing in response to recordings and live music made with less traditional devices (e.g. modelers). We're still modeling all those great analog amps and pedals as well as using them in studios though, even if modelers have also become ubiquitous. Not all the studios have dumped their tape machines yet either.

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On 10/18/2022 at 10:32 PM, JamieCrain said:

I run my LT through two behringer 10” powered speakers. They are loud, and some of my metal patches sound exactly  like the guitar tones I am copying. So big tick for Helix and FRFRs. 

But, I don’t have that amp sound and feel. I just have a loud stereo.


Basically the Behringers sound reallly accurate, but a bit flat. It’s almost like I need a subwoofer to add that low end that you can hear when Ola does his “chug” thing on YouTube. 
I don’t want to buy a sub, I feel like that’s the wrong solution. What I am thinking is that I swap out the Behringers for 2 x 50w 12” Katanas and use the Power Amp In function

and crank them. 
 

My question is, will this new set up add that low end “thump” that you hear through real guitar amps?

 

Or is this what IRs add? (And should I just buy some IRs first. If so, which?). 
 

TIA

I went down this rabbit hole when i got my Helix Floor back when they first came out, and wound up getting rid of it for the very reason you cite- no amp in a room experience.  Tried it with the Friedman ASM, and QSC stuff, but still the same experience as you.  years later i got the Pod Go for quiet, late night practicing.  One day on a whim, i plugged the Go into the FX loop return of my Bad Cat.  BAM!  there it was.  This was my gateway back to an LT and i haven't looked back.  Unless your amp setup is a head and a huge 4x12 cab (mine's just a 112 combo), i would suggest giving it a try.  You'd still be carrying an FRFR speaker to a rehearsal/gig, why not make it a combo amp instead?  same footprint, and you can still feet a PA while you hear yourself through an actual amp...obviously just be sure to not have cab blocks going through to your amp.  worth noting is that, at least with my amp, I get better sounds keeping the power amp modeling in place, versus using a preamp block only.  YMMV

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On 12/20/2022 at 10:14 AM, boynigel said:

I went down this rabbit hole when i got my Helix Floor back when they first came out, and wound up getting rid of it for the very reason you cite- no amp in a room experience.  Tried it with the Friedman ASM, and QSC stuff, but still the same experience as you.  years later i got the Pod Go for quiet, late night practicing.  One day on a whim, i plugged the Go into the FX loop return of my Bad Cat.  BAM!  there it was.  This was my gateway back to an LT and i haven't looked back.  Unless your amp setup is a head and a huge 4x12 cab (mine's just a 112 combo), i would suggest giving it a try.  You'd still be carrying an FRFR speaker to a rehearsal/gig, why not make it a combo amp instead?  same footprint, and you can still feet a PA while you hear yourself through an actual amp...obviously just be sure to not have cab blocks going through to your amp.  worth noting is that, at least with my amp, I get better sounds keeping the power amp modeling in place, versus using a preamp block only.  YMMV

 

Respect! Personally, I prefer the FRFR route, but you are far from alone with this approach. And you're right, not much more to haul, especially if you use one of the many "lunchbox" heads, or power amp in a pedal, available these days. 'Course you do have the option of just using your vocal wedges for monitoring the guitar, less to haul but you are at the mercy of the person running the board and the sound characteristics of the wedge. I always bring my own monitor (FRFR).

 

If you find yourself beating your head against the side of your FRFR, long after you should be past the initial learning curve of using and EQ'ing a modeler properly, it is probably time to try that thang with a guitar amp. That might just be the sound you are looking for. Traditional guitar amps can definitely be easier to dial in with a modeler as the speaker and amp are already designed to get the limited frequency range and frequency response that so many of us associate with a great guitar sound.

 

LOL, this FRFR vs. guitar amp discussion has been going on as long as the forum has existed. Seems to have gotten less partisan over the years though.

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