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What's a guitar speaker for anyway? Saturation Plugins
Old 24th June 2004
  #1
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What's a guitar speaker for anyway?

In all seriousness. I come from an electronic music background. Just getting into the guitar thing. It puzzles me. Why do you need a guitar speaker? Can't you create distortion, then use a filter to roll off the top-end? Power-soak DI's (whatever that's all about). Seriously. Someone put me out of your misery.

Flounder.
Old 25th June 2004
  #2
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ToddP's Avatar
 

There is a lot more to speakers than meets the eye! I have always been of the belief that two the most important aspects of a guitarist's tone are the pickups and the speaker. The first and last line of attack. A simple filter does not get all the subtle nuances of the interaction of the electricity/magnet/cone-- all the eddys of magnetic current and other factors that effect the sound.
I have yet to hear a speaker simulator powerfull enough to really capture it.
And then there is the additional factor of how the sound of the amp affects the strings and pickups of the guitar while it is being played... synergy baby
Old 25th June 2004
  #3
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Todd,
but aren't there a hundred other ways to create complex distortion? Isn't a speaker just one of many methods?

Another thing puzzles me. Multi-miking a guitar cab. Doesn't this lead to phase mess? I don't care how carefully you move the mics around, you're always going to be in phase-mess-land, aren't you? Again, I'm new to this so don't tar + feather me straight away.

Flounder.
Old 25th June 2004
  #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by ToddP
And then there is the additional factor of how the sound of the amp affects the strings and pickups of the guitar while it is being played...
That's a good one.

Jimi wouldn't have got quite so far with a Pod, would he?
Old 25th June 2004
  #5
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vaporbrains's Avatar
 

Well, in my opinion, which doesnt hold much water, multi miking can create a much wider bigger guitar sound, and as far as phasing issues are concerned, you can sometimes actually create an array of different pleaseing tones regardless of phase correlation. But dont get me wrong, im a DI junkie as well.
Old 25th June 2004
  #6
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ToddP's Avatar
 

Well, yeah there are a hundred ways to make complex distortion, but it won't sound like a guitar (or what we expect a guitar to sound like). You can certainly experiment and come up with any number of crazy sounds-- and some (few) guitarists have. But most guitarists are-- shall we say-- purists (maybe you would want to use the word closed-minded ).

Now the multimics thing, You can run into phasing problems if you do it wrong. But the idea is to get the pure in-your-face speaker tone out of one mic and then the "room" with the other. It seems to be the best way to get the real sound of the amp. Everyone has their own technique.

But using two mics is certainly not unique to guitar amps. It is a technique used with many different acoustic instruments and in many different situations.
Old 25th June 2004
  #7
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ahhhh, there seems to be more to this then I thought!
Old 25th June 2004
  #8
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AAsa's Avatar
now, if we could just record the lead singer without a mic or maybe even the lead singer!
Old 25th June 2004
  #9
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
posted by Flounder:
What's a guitar speaker for anyway?

In all seriousness. I come from an electronic music background. Just getting into the guitar thing. It puzzles me. Why do you need a guitar speaker? Can't you create distortion, then use a filter to roll off the top-end? Power-soak DI's (whatever that's all about).
Flounder,

ToddP had a lot of great feedback for you, and some of this only restates his case...

There's no law stating you cannot get a perfectly usable sound recording guitars DI. Many gearslutz would be appalled if they knew how many of their favorite records were laced with DI'd guitars. I suspect Mike Shipley made some jaws drop when he stated on his forum that Mutt recorded many of his guitars DI.

But go back to your original question, "What's a guitar speaker for anyway?"

If you examine the way a good guitar amp translates the axe, and the way the player hits it, you'll see there's a complex set of interactions there which creates a unique character of sound that has a certain power in a mix. That character is impossible to mimic with plugins.

The speaker moves air, and they way it is powered, especially if tube circuitry is involved, becomes an integral part of the instrument.

Then you factor in the microphones used to record the amp, how the mics are positioned, the room the rig is in, the preamps (and compressors?) in the signal chain going into the recorder - all of which will lend their own uniquely musical (or otherwise) influence on the sound.

It all really depends upon the sound you're going for. That said, coming from an electronic music background is something you and I have in common; yet I always try to get amps mic'd, and record that. There's an art to the whole mic placement thing, and proper amping of the mics, the gain staging - but it's not rocket science. The rewards are immense, because you'll find yourself getting a sweet depth of sound not possible with DI'd axes.

You don't need huge stacks of amps, nor may you even want them. Bob Ohlsson has posted previously on the advantages of mic'ing small amps and mixing them in a large context. My favorite setup is mic'ing my resident guitarist's Fender Blues Junior (a smallish 1x12 tube combo), with a Shure SM57 close at a 45 degree angle, and a LDC about a foot or so away, and mixing those two signals to one track.

Recording your guitars in such a way will give your electronic music mixes a dope and delicious analog dimension, so it's worth checking out and experimenting with for that reason alone. You may even find that you LIKE it, and then find yourself mic'ing all kinds of other things, like percussion especially; or getting horn players into your studio blowing sweet riffs that you can mix into your electro. It's quite fun you know.
Old 25th June 2004
  #10
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well, for one thing, the amp is throwing out an 8-ohm load, and needs something to "catch it" properly. you can't just DI a 100watt tube marshall head.

also, the speaker affects the sound. let's say the guitar amp has a real sharp decay...as soon as you stop playing, the sound instantly stops. well a typical guitar speaker does not have instant shut-off. the speaker needs some time to return to a dormant state. during this return-excursion, sound is still being produced. this affects your adsr in synth-talk.

moreover, the decay is not equal across the entire spectrum. typically, lower frequencies will take longer to "shut off" than the higher ones. you can see this in a "waterfall plot" of a speaker's performance. this is a different situation than simply making a sound midrange-dominant through some eq shelving. it's an eq response that changes dynamically over time in a subtle yet meaningful way.

also, when driven hard, speakers distort. some guitarists like speaker cone distortion. others don't and use very high-wattage-rated speakers in their cabinets to avoid cone breakup.

it's kind of like you ordered a salad, and are asking why you need parmesan cheese. you don't, but it's part of the sound on the usual guitar salad.
Old 25th June 2004
  #11
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ToddP's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by genericperson
it's kind of like you ordered a salad, and are asking why you need parmesan cheese. you don't, but it's part of the sound on the usual guitar salad.
I have often been accused of having a cheesy guitar tone.
Old 25th June 2004
  #12
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Jack Pettit's Avatar
 

Speakers !!!
They all sound and act different.
The electric guitar and amp (with speaker) are a unit.
When you lean into that system it will push back.
The magnets make a big difference, Alnico has a smooth
creamy top end while ceramic magnets are more accurate
but the highs can have a little ice pick attack.
Like a lot of stuff the old ones sometimes sound better than
the new ones. Jensens in fenders, celestions in marshalls,
I like the brown soun tone tubby, green backs, gold backs.
Some compress more, some are crunchy, warm.
O.K. I'll shut up now but you are missing alot of the fun and
sound of electric guitar if you don't look into the amp
speaker thing.
Old 25th June 2004
  #13
Gear Guru
 

aside from all the interesting things that speakers do, speakers sit in cabinets that resonate and do stuff that adds character to the sound.

I have a few amp modeling options here, and I find them quite useful- for keyboards, vocals and drums!
Old 25th June 2004
  #14
All you need is a Vetta a cab simulator and a Liquid channel..

Throw everything elese out in the trash!



(who are these men in white coats? TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF ME! Aggggggg.........k!)

Old 25th June 2004
  #15
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
ToddP:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by genericperson
it's kind of like you ordered a salad, and are asking why you need parmesan cheese. you don't, but it's part of the sound on the usual guitar salad.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


I have often been accused of having a cheesy guitar tone.
I have a plugin called Frohmage that does some cool things to DI'd guitars etc.

Free download from Ohmforce.

Cheese is good, especially when it's MELTED.
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