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Overwhelmed by Cabs

HAhN SOLO

Inspired
This gets even crazier because the IR's themselves influence so much of the texture and response you get, so it's not just about the EQ differences between cabs. That is to say, when I change cabs, I change settings at the amp to accentuate what I like. This makes it pretty ineffective to dial in a tone and just cycle through cab examples... well, shouldn't say ineffective because its a fine place to start, but it's certainly incomplete.

All I can say is I have maybe 10 IR's I like per goal. Squeaky cleans, pushed cleans, saturated classic power amp crunch, or fire breathing watt monsters, inside of those categories I have maybe 5-10 "go to" IR's. This is what I draw on when I need to spend my time learning/playing vs. exploring.

When I don't have a deadline, I go exploring. I dial an amp in for the mood I'm in, then I cycle cabs. When I find something special, I switch modes and cycle amps through that one cab to really "learn" it and what it brings to the table. I get a TON of practicing done across many genre's as I work through the cab list, lemme tell ya :D so I don't really mind that it's a pretty slow process

To me EVERYTHING is all about the IR. I leave the amp controls at noon and find the IR that suits the amp, then adjust to taste with amp controls .
 

REDD

Fractal Fanatic
Would be really cool (with all this new compute power), if when globally selected, and you add a new Amp, a related Cab Block would be chained and configured with these best IR version to match the Amp. This could save a lot of time (and frustration) with IR selection for just demoing amps.
What would be really cool is to be able to pick a cab and a mic you want and then have a knob or switch that controls the virtual mic position. To be able to find the sweet spot in a virtual cab by moving around a modeled mic in an amp modeler using impulse responses, what a crazy world!
 

Rex

Legend!
What would be really cool is to be able to pick a cab and a mic you want and then have a knob or switch that controls the virtual mic position. To be able to find the sweet spot in a virtual cab by moving around a modeled mic in an amp modeler using impulse responses, what a crazy world!
That would be sweet, but not very practical to do accurately.

A microphone picks up sound from every part of the speaker cone, and from every part of the cabinet. The sound from all of these places arrives at the microphone at different times and in different phases. That "sound soup" is what gives each cab its own flavor.

For each position of each microphone, you'd have to calculate how loud each part of the cabinet is, what time the sound from it arrives at the microphone, what phase it's at relative to all the other parts of the cab, what the microphone's response is to sound waves coming in at each angle...that's thousands of calculations — and that's just for one sample. At Fractal's 48 KHz sample rate, you'd have to run every one of those thousands of calculations 48,000 times per second. That works out to hundreds of millions of calculations per second. More power than any processor has.

I love your idea, though.
 
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Hi, my name is Dr. Dipwad, and I am Overwhelmed by Cabs.

(The scene: A circle of folding chairs in a church basement. The assembled 12-step "Cab-Overwhelmed" group responds, "Hi, Dr. Dipwad...," and a white-coated facilitator nods affirmingly to continue....) ;)

I suspect I'm not alone, because there's a WISH in the wish-list forum asking for Folders/Directories to manage cabs. And Rex had the following to say:

Yeah. I'm with ya', Rex. That's what I did through the entire Axe FX II era.

I never used a User Cab live, not even once.

I tried exploring around in them at one point. There were a few I liked, even. But I wasn't taking notes at the time, just casually scrolling and noodling.

So when it came time to set up sounds for a live gig, did any non-standard Cabs I'd liked get used? Nope, because it was a week later and I had no idea which ones they were.

And now, in the Axe III era, I have the ability to blend multiple IRs in a single Cab Block! 4 of them! My options just went up exponentially and instead of feeling empowered I kinda feel bewildered.

It's a bit like being one of the proverbial Russian defectors from the Soviet era who stood in an American supermarket for the first time and had a panic attack because they couldn't cope with having so many options. (Slight exaggeration.)

SO, HERE'S MY QUESTION:

You people who aren't overwhelmed by Cabs, how do you do it?

I'm not talking about people who "opt out" of the whole question by picking 5 cabs that sound good enough and sticking with them.

I mean: Let's say there's a tone you want to achieve, and you have 1,000 Cabs, a hundred of which will come close, but out of which there'll be one that's best.

What's your workflow?

Do you sit there with pencil and notepad and scroll through all 1,000 rating them good or bad? And then...I dunno, do a runoff of the "good ones" to get it down to the top 10? Or what?
Research the most common cabs for the amp you wanna use. Start there. Then try all the legacy cabs. Figure out what you don't like about the ones that you don't like, and what you DO like about the ones you like but aren't gonna commit to. Then go to the Factory settings looking for that same cab. It's very important to know what a 57, 121, 160, etc will give you. If you need a little top end, add a 57 or a 414. If you need bottom end, add a 121 or a 160... or add proximity. It's kind of an art, but the more you do it, the quicker you get at figuring out what you want. Also, mess around with the smoothing on 10 on brighter mics. It has a special thing.
 

kroubik

Inspired
You can check out this thread

https://forum.fractalaudio.com/thre...ng-irs-the-amp-in-the-room.88236/#post1066436



Hi, my name is Dr. Dipwad, and I am Overwhelmed by Cabs.

(The scene: A circle of folding chairs in a church basement. The assembled 12-step "Cab-Overwhelmed" group responds, "Hi, Dr. Dipwad...," and a white-coated facilitator nods affirmingly to continue....) ;)

I suspect I'm not alone, because there's a WISH in the wish-list forum asking for Folders/Directories to manage cabs. And Rex had the following to say:

Yeah. I'm with ya', Rex. That's what I did through the entire Axe FX II era.

I never used a User Cab live, not even once.

I tried exploring around in them at one point. There were a few I liked, even. But I wasn't taking notes at the time, just casually scrolling and noodling.

So when it came time to set up sounds for a live gig, did any non-standard Cabs I'd liked get used? Nope, because it was a week later and I had no idea which ones they were.

And now, in the Axe III era, I have the ability to blend multiple IRs in a single Cab Block! 4 of them! My options just went up exponentially and instead of feeling empowered I kinda feel bewildered.

It's a bit like being one of the proverbial Russian defectors from the Soviet era who stood in an American supermarket for the first time and had a panic attack because they couldn't cope with having so many options. (Slight exaggeration.)

SO, HERE'S MY QUESTION:

You people who aren't overwhelmed by Cabs, how do you do it?

I'm not talking about people who "opt out" of the whole question by picking 5 cabs that sound good enough and sticking with them.

I mean: Let's say there's a tone you want to achieve, and you have 1,000 Cabs, a hundred of which will come close, but out of which there'll be one that's best.

What's your workflow?

Do you sit there with pencil and notepad and scroll through all 1,000 rating them good or bad? And then...I dunno, do a runoff of the "good ones" to get it down to the top 10? Or what?
 

Dr. Dipwad

Experienced
Hey, everyone,

Thanks so much for all the helpful feedback!

I'm going to try out the various suggestions and read the various suggested threads/resources.
 

Tommy Tempest

Power User
I always assumed the many cab choices were there because there are so many players that like different cabs, speakers, mics, etc.
So when I started I picked cab blocks that simulated cabs and speakers I was used to. Then I tweaked from there. Over the years I have tried many different cab blocks, finding myself going back to what I like, unless I'm looking for a specific tone. I was never overwhelmed at all, but rather pleased and excited that I had so many choices to choose from.
 

bishop5150

Fractal Fanatic
It is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of cabs. As mentioned above I think it is probably the most important aspect of the sound. I find the amp I want to use then audition cabs till I find what I hear in my head. I end up using the same cab I always use the majority of the time.
 

ML SOUND LAB

Cab Pack Wizard
Vendor
SO, HERE'S MY QUESTION:

You people who aren't overwhelmed by Cabs, how do you do it?
Super easy. Go to the Cab Picker in the Axe-Fx III Edit and limit your search with "ml" and you're left with only the best IR's. Ha... Ha... *slow clap*. But that really is my approach with stock cabs and take a look at how much easier things get:

dq5es0.jpg


My personal IR collection is over a 100.000 IR's and I don't feel overwhelmed. What are you talking about? You have the most powerful guitar tone super computer in the world. Why not spend a couple of hours a month getting the most out of it? :)

It was very obvious for me even in the Axe-Fx Standard days that the control you get with IR's is a million times bigger than any amp sim change or amp EQ setting. Limiting myself with only using a few IR's or like some people do, just choosing one IR and never changing it... That to me feels like you're always going to sound exactly the same. In some cases that's what you want but for me personally that gets boring as hell super fast.

There are hundreds of amp sims and people are super excited whenever there's a new amp sim included. The truth is... those amp sims will give you less versatility than any Cab Pack in the Fractal Audio Store. Most of us know the sound we're after. Maybe it's your favorite guitar player/band who has the tone you would like to have. You can't get there with any amp sim if you don't have an IR that fits that type of a tone. F.ex. it will be very hard to try and sound like John Petrucci without using a Mesa Traditional 4x12 IR. It's just not going to happen. Amp EQ is not very powerful for shaping your sound. IR is as powerful as it gets.

I do realize that spending a lot of time finding that right IR sounds like a lot of work and maybe you feel like you don't even know where to start. Not everyone's a tweaker and not everyone has to be, infact most guitar players who spent their time practicing instead of getting the best tone eventually became a lot better at actually playing. That being said, I think I've done almost 50 videos with Axe-Fx's where I demonstrate how to get a professional sound in a matter of minutes. You can even take it a step further and not allow yourself to even touch the amp EQ and get your tone by just mixing different IR's. You will get such an organic tone. Here's an example:


This kind of got sidetracked... SUMMARY: After you understand the power of IR's you should be automatically appreciating it the most in your signal chain. Spending an hour fine tuning that perfect IR with a Cab Pack will save you days of tweaking in the long run.
 

Shaw

Inspired
SO, HERE'S MY QUESTION:

You people who aren't overwhelmed by Cabs, how do you do it?
I’m not overwhelmed but I also haven’t listened to them all. Nowhere close. I know essentially what I want. So I get in the neighborhood and experiment. Let your ears guide you through this. For example, if I know I want 2 Bassman 4x10s panned left and right, I will experiment with different mics left and right, different proximities, etc.

Also, sometimes I will do “listening tours” and make mental notes of what catches my attention. But I generally place limitations on that... for example, just listening to Fender 2x12s.

And then there are some things I just never try because they don’t address my musical needs. I suspect most of us do that subconsciously, and I’m greatful that FAS has taken the “something for everyone” approach.
 

Randalljax

Fractal Fanatic
Super easy. Go to the Cab Picker in the Axe-Fx III Edit and limit your search with "ml" and you're left with only the best IR's. Ha... Ha... *slow clap*. But that really is my approach with stock cabs and take a look at how much easier things get:

dq5es0.jpg


My personal IR collection is over a 100.000 IR's and I don't feel overwhelmed. What are you talking about? You have the most powerful guitar tone super computer in the world. Why not spend a couple of hours a month getting the most out of it? :)

It was very obvious for me even in the Axe-Fx Standard days that the control you get with IR's is a million times bigger than any amp sim change or amp EQ setting. Limiting myself with only using a few IR's or like some people do, just choosing one IR and never changing it... That to me feels like you're always going to sound exactly the same. In some cases that's what you want but for me personally that gets boring as hell super fast.

There are hundreds of amp sims and people are super excited whenever there's a new amp sim included. The truth is... those amp sims will give you less versatility than any Cab Pack in the Fractal Audio Store. Most of us know the sound we're after. Maybe it's your favorite guitar player/band who has the tone you would like to have. You can't get there with any amp sim if you don't have an IR that fits that type of a tone. F.ex. it will be very hard to try and sound like John Petrucci without using a Mesa Traditional 4x12 IR. It's just not going to happen. Amp EQ is not very powerful for shaping your sound. IR is as powerful as it gets.

I do realize that spending a lot of time finding that right IR sounds like a lot of work and maybe you feel like you don't even know where to start. Not everyone's a tweaker and not everyone has to be, infact most guitar players who spent their time practicing instead of getting the best tone eventually became a lot better at actually playing. That being said, I think I've done almost 50 videos with Axe-Fx's where I demonstrate how to get a professional sound in a matter of minutes. You can even take it a step further and not allow yourself to even touch the amp EQ and get your tone by just mixing different IR's. You will get such an organic tone. Here's an example:


This kind of got sidetracked... SUMMARY: After you understand the power of IR's you should be automatically appreciating it the most in your signal chain. Spending an hour fine tuning that perfect IR with a Cab Pack will save you days of tweaking in the long run.


Is that an option now ??
Can I search just ML or Fas ???
That would be super helpful
 

GM Arts

Power User
I think it's important to give up on the thought that there might be a better tone buried somewhere in the unit. There probably is, but how much better? And how much does it matter?

One day, I'd love to see a cab emulation (not modelling) block that allows us to dial in the cab tones we like.
 

laxu

Power User
The issue is primarily in how the cabs are presented. These massive lists with the same cab with every mic and speaker known to man is not a good way to show them. It would be better to choose a cab (2x12 Zilla), then choose a variation (speakers, mic, position) for it. On the background this would just switch IRs but the way its presented to the user is what makes the difference in how easy it is to digest.

A small feature I really like on the Line6 Helix is that they have a small icon of an amp or pedal next to the model that looks like what it is. Everyone knows what a Marshall looks like or what a Tube Screamer looks like so having that visual cue is surprisingly helpful.

I would love to see Fractal improve how both amps and cabs are selected in the future.
 

shasha

Fractal Fanatic
I tried to come up with a way to add metadata to each cab back in the Ultra days so that we could sort and filter through something other than file name. I am far from an expert, but I do know enough to understand Mic type and placement will do to my tone. If we could have done something like that back then and made it a standard the AxeFXIII probably could have leveraged that even with many 3rd party It's. As it stands even with over a decade of experience with FAS stuff it can still be challenging.

The key to me is to know what you are looking for before you start running through the IR's. Pay attention to what is going on with that IR and then you'll start to understand what is going on and where to go moving forward. Micing a cab in real life is tedious and time consuming too. It's the biggest tone shaping tool there is and it is going to be time intensive in most cases until you really understand how to translate what you want to hear into knowing where to start and even then it will just be in the ballpark.
 

Stratoblaster

Fractal Fanatic
What's your workflow?

I can understand the feeling of getting overwhelmed by the thousands of cab IR's available to users; definitely can feel like 'option overload'.

Over the years I've spent considerable time auditioning and mixing IR's and can offer a general workflow:

I start with a suitable amp that I'd use most of the time; my 'main' amp. For me (these days anyway lol), it's the "Citrus RV 50". I can get a lot of varied tones from that amp. I've found that I've historically set the amp controls for my varied tones/guitars to lowering the Bass, and bringing up the Mid and Treble controls, a bit of Presence, so I rough in those settings along with the Input Gain/Master Volume and proceed...

I then go into AxeEdit -> Manage Cabs and Browse for IR's. I usually load an entire folder/sub-folder tree so I get tons of them listed. I click "Auto-Audition" and start going down the list. You can simply use the UP/DOWN arrow keys to cycle through the IR's. You find out pretty quick what cabs will work in general for your goal and get a feel for their flavor. The process is easy and efficient.

When I find a cab I generally like with my amp settings in place I then cycle through each IR in the cab set. This will give you a good feel for how the various mics differ from each other. Some you'll like, some you'll dismiss very quickly.

I mark suitable IR's as a "Favorite" and then load them into the AFX.

I repeat the process with different amps for different tones, say a blues tone/amp, clean, etc.

It can be a bit time consuming to do all of this for all IR's but if you do it in small, bite sized chunks (a few minutes here and there) you'll likely find you gravitate to one or two cabs/mics in general; you'll quickly get a feel for what works for you and narrow it down.

These days I'm using a single IR that works for many, many different tones and amps for live use. It's one from the Fractal Cab Packs; the TV cab with one of the M160 mics. I keep going back to that mic after many years of playing with IR's, and when I'm wanting to get into some new sounds/cabs that's the mic I always start with the M160. The 4047 is also a personal favorite.

If you have cab IR's with mixes from the IR producer that's also a very good way to start; a lot of the heavy lifting is already done for you and you can go thru them very quickly with the "Auto-Audition" feature.

I guess there is no substitute for just spending tons of time with IR's, but you can make all of that manageable by starting with the producer mixes and just going through a couple of cabs here and there. I have "IR sessions" where I'll spend an hour or so going over a couple of cabs/mics. Again, you'll likely find cabs/mics that work for you pretty quickly after only a few sessions. Do a couple of IR sessions a week/month, etc....take your time and you'll get a handle on it all for sure.
 
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josephyballew

Inspired
I generally stay with Greenback, Vintage 30, and Lynchbacks for high gain amps and Jensens for Fender amps, Celestian blues for Vox and Vox Clones. You can actually spend hours going through Cabs. Not saying something might sound better, but I don't have hours, so this works for me,
 

Paul Mills

New Member
I have the same feeling when im mixing guitars in my D.A.W. It's certainly overwelming to have too much I.R's but i found at least 10 that match with high gain settings and other 10 for low gain and clean sounds. I know you are not talking to the ones to opt for this desition but honestly most of te IR's including third party ones, they all sound great, the best way to deal with this is to COMMIT to a tone, I've learned the hard way spending hours of mixing sessions triying to get a "perfect tone" and i forced myself to commit to 10 o 15 cabs and saved them in a different path. I know live gigs are different but this may apply as well, just commit to a sound! because you know that hundreds of tones will be close to what you are looking for, get ONE and commit, this was hard for me to undestand.
 
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