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An Acoustic IR Odyssey

iaresee

Administrator
Moderator
Sunday! Why not record all the things?

I bought a 3 Sigma Audio acoustic IR pack weeks ago and have been meaning to make a recording and run in through the IRs for ages now. Today was the day! I liked their samples on the site quite a bit, but nothing says how well something will work like trying it for yourself. I was curious how these IRs would translate to my J-45 (which isn't the J-15 they were captured from, obviously) and how well they'd work with my less-than-delicate, mostly-an-amateur acoustic guitar playing.

I used my Gibson J-45 for the recording. The piezo output was running through my Axe-Fx II for a re-amp track capture and then I "re-amp'ed" the capture through the same preset, rotating the IR with each take.

Here's the setup I used:

Screen Shot 2016-11-13 at 5.35.29 PM.png

I found most of the 3 Sigma IRs unpleasant. They were too notched or too boomy for my tastes. 4b and 5b were the most pleasant to my ears but still lacked some sparkle. The Special Blend is something I'd consider using in a recording -- it would make a piezo captured acoustic sound a lot more mic-like. I'd get the convenience of recording the acoustic through a pickup, but a semi-mic'ed type of sound for the mix. The Special Blend is a combination of 4b, 5b and the direct piezo sound (boosted through a VOL block running in parallel with the CAB block in the signal chain).

I also re-amp'ed through @fremen's TM TDR Acoustic IR I happened to have in my unit. It's very, very bright but not unpleasantly so. I think he uses it with a piezo-equipped electric guitar.

I doubt I'd use any of these IRs live. I think the guitar would get buried or need some extreme EQ boost in the high frequencies to work with these IRs, live. The straight, boosted piezo sound would work just fine live.

And one thing to note: nothing will save you from a shitty piezo system. While I dearly love the sound of my J-45 unplugged, the stock piezo system in it is super minimal and when you dig in hard the piezo gives up the ghost. You can hear it in the recording more than a few times where the piezo compresses and clips; it's not pleasant. My bandmate's Taylor doesn't sound as nice unplugged but it's Expression system kicks my J-45's system when it comes to plugged-in acoustic tone.

Here's the full run through as a playlist so you can skip around and compare the different IRs as you please:

 

profusion

Inspired
I thought that some of those sounded pretty good, especially for what they are. Also, not all of the 3 Sigma acoustic IRs are so scooped; their Taylor model sounds bright and full, from the samples on their site. I'm definitely getting that one when I'm ready to reamp some piezo acoustic parts I recorded recently.

Most dreadnaughts are going to be scooped and bass-heavy. It's what makes them sound so big and yet what makes them so hard to fit into an mix.
 

iaresee

Administrator
Moderator
I thought that some of those sounded pretty good, especially for what they are.
Hey! I'd love to know which ones you preferred! It's all wine, for sure -- different flavours for different tastes.

Also, not all of the 3 Sigma acoustic IRs are so scooped; their Taylor model sounds bright and full, from the samples on their site. I'm definitely getting that one when I'm ready to reamp some piezo acoustic parts I recorded recently.
I snagged the J-15 IRs because they were closest to my J-45 -- I wonder what the less-well-matched IRs would sound like?

Most dreadnaughts are going to be scooped and bass-heavy. It's what makes them sound so big and yet what makes them so hard to fit into an mix.
I find the J-45 suuuuuuuuper balanced. It's not bottom or top heavy. It's not dark or bright. It's just even and there.
 

profusion

Inspired
I'd have to listen to them all again, but I only found a few of them to be genuinely bad. The others I felt could work with some re-EQing.

As for acoustics being scooped, I was thinking in terms of acoustics used in arrangements, where what ends up surviving is usually the high end.

With these IRs, I don't think I'd want them for solo guitar recordings, but they seem like a decent solution for those of us who can't afford the mics/preamp/decent room in order to get good mic'ed acoustic guitar sounds. It sounds like it'll work in a mix.
 
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