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Old 2 weeks ago
Lives for gear
Yuri Kogan's Avatar

Originally Posted by tINY View Post

For a majority of the general public, and especially in a dense mix, there is no audible difference. People who obsess over tone and performance are more likely to hear differences - whether and IR into an full range speaker is better or worse is still subjective. (I sometimes go to extreme measures to remove some non-linearities in my cabinets - like rattles in the panels - because I don't like those particular sounds)

As to why the non-linearities would be different between a guitar cabinet and a Hi-fi speaker: Guitar speakers are awful. Try hooking up a pair of guitar cabinets to your home stereo and listening....


True, they are a low quality speaker. These days by design. However I remember playing a Goodman's equipped AC30 (silver speakers) and it was a very different tone to say Celestion Blues (which are pretty bad actually). Speakers were selected to compensate for deficiencies of the guitar amps (not great quality either compared to HiFi). For example AC30 is a very dark sounding amp. But with AlNicos like Blues, which have a piercing hi-end they work, Try them with a more mid-range speaker and its very unimpressive. Marshall has a mid bump. So with the greenbacks it overdrives and sounds grumpy. This may be enhanced by playing dynamics, where you get random-ish distortion with harder picking. Same AC30 sounds anaemic at anything but flat-out where it over-saturated speakers. Ditto for Marshalls.
HiFi speakers are designed for high headroom, before the get into a non-linear region. You really need to push then hard to get there. It was harder with tube hifi amps as they used transformers and that interaction contributed the a smaller linear region. With guitars, players like that distortion and the speakers are purposely left unrefined. We play them at the edge of blowing up, cause we like that distortion.
When you drive a SS or digital amp into a speaker you get closer to hifi situation. Its like playing some sort of recording into a clean speaker to preserve it. That's why the dynamics are different and you don't get the tonal variations you get with speaker/PA interaction.
Speakers like any other device behave unpredictably when pushed to the limit. And guitarists like it. They say the sound is more alive. Push a small amp into a 100W speaker - no distortion, boring sound. Its because you are not in that unpredictable region of operation. Turn a hot amp down and you get the CLEAN tone- same thing you are working in the predictable range of the speaker. Its the truth which has been known since day one and is still true. I cannot overdrive my studio monitors with any guitar preamp recording and therefore 90% of the time afterwards guys want to record an amp, with all the nuances. And the monitors just reproduce the non-linearity the mic picks up from the speaker.
There are millions of papers written on this and speaker design. Any "tests" run here, by un-initiated would only open a discussion of twisting the truth. But fair enough, I presume people in quarantine have nothing better to do then try to disprove the obvious.
Ill just go and get a load of popcorn - may be entertaining after a long day of work