February 02, 2024
Guitarists, maybe even more than other musicians, are always looking for new ways to innovate when it comes to tone and timbre. This used to just be about amp and guitar hardware, but now we’ve added the digital realm. Within that area, Impulse Responses (IRs) have proven revolutionary. Let’s look at how IRs can take you and your guitar to new sonic places.
Impulse responses (IRs) are digital representations of the acoustic properties of various amplifiers, cabinets, microphones, and rooms. They capture the unique tonal characteristics and spatial characteristics of these setups, allowing guitarists to replicate the sound of different gear digitally. By convolving an IR with a clean guitar signal, you can recreate the sonic qualities of specific amps, cabinets, and mic placements.
Think of it like taking an audio snapshot of the sound produced when a short burst of audio (the impulse), is played through a specific setup. This captures the way the sound resonates, reflects, and interacts with the environment. IRs provide a convenient way to swap between different amp and cabinet combinations without physically changing gear.
The best emulation plugins and hardware use this technique to achieve a wide range of authentic tones, from classic vintage amp sounds to modern high-gain stacks. Of course, there’s no end to the possibilities IRs can open up, so it’s a good thing to understand.
For someone who has never used an impulse response (IR) for guitar, they’re typically used by loading them into digital guitar processors, DAW plugins, or hardware units that support IR functionality. Here's how you would start:
Let’s talk about using IRs in a rig.
Remember, the true power of impulse responses lies in experimentation. Don't hesitate to try different combinations, tweak settings, and explore unconventional approaches to create your signature guitar tones.
IRs can give you a world of tonality without much effort, but if you want to dig in, there’s no end to what you can do.
Take your guitar tone to new dimensions by combining IRs with effects pedals. Apply standard effects distortion, modulation, delay, or reverb to the signal after convolving it with an IR. This approach can give you tons of unique sonic possibilities, blending the characteristics of different amplifiers and cabinets with the creative potential of your pedal rig.
You can capture the essence of your favorite amps and cabinets by creating your own impulse responses. Use dedicated IR capture tools or plugins to record the response of your gear. Experiment with different mic placements, room acoustics, and playing techniques to tailor the IRs to your preferences. This way you can make highly personalized and authentic tones – like your particular dusty old amp in your particular bathroom, or your buddy’s home-built amp combo in your other buddy’s garage.Impulse Response can be an incredibly accurate way to recreate timbres you don’t have access to – like huge stacks or classic amp combos. It’s also used in other contexts – convolution reverbs, for example, are the premier way to emulate both existing and fantastical spaces. IR can also open up a world of crazy creativity too. So, if you’re the kind of guitarist who wants to push the envelope with tone and timbre, get into IR. You won’t regret it!
January 05, 2024
November 06, 2023
One of the most misunderstood things in mixing is bass – whether it’s getting the low end right in general, letting the bass guitar cut through without overpowering everything else, or just making the bass interesting and cool. It can be tricky to get it right, but there are plenty of tried-and-true tricks for getting there quickly. Let’s go over a few of those.
October 30, 2023
Some of the great guitar-playing artists were self-taught – which means a great many of them use weird tunings. That’s probably no coincidence – using alternate tunings is a great way to come up with a unique sound. So, let’s look at a few of the most common uncommon tunings you could try with your guitar – or your bass.
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