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Why are we chasing the amp in the room sound?

Neill00

Inspired
I’m just throwing this out there because I found that in watching and reading reviews of modellers as well as being part of forums that I have been influenced by all of this discussion to such a degree that I thought I wanted it too.

I have had my Axe FX III since January 8, 2020 ( I don’t think I’ll ever forget that date). After almost a year I am getting to the point that I can tweak a patch in the headphones and it actually sounds close through the PA which I have never been able to do with any other gear ever. I use in ears on stage so this is a great advancement for me. I absolutely love the tones I am getting, they are so satisfying to play. By the way I am 59 years old and have been playing guitar since I was 11. I have owned tons of great amps over the years including Fender, HiWatt, Marshall, Mesa/Boogie and other offerings that I experimented with here and there. Naturally there were some I loved more than others and they all had their “thing”. The Hi Watt was my first really good amp and I think I liked it the best but it was big and heavy and I was looking for an easier route. Here’s the thing, sure it sounded great in the room but I looked forward to the huge power of mic’ing it up in a club and hearing it through a big PA. I also liked hearing it on recordings if we managed to get the mics positioned correctly. It also occurs to me that any time I have heard inspiring guitar tones from my favourite players it’s only been on recordings or through a PA.

The amp in the room unless it was a stack was usually best heard by my lower legs and in the smaller clubs where i just used the amp the audience wasn’t hearing what I was hearing. That has changed since switching to modellers and now with the AF3 when doing a sound check it’s super satisfying to take my wireless guitar out into the room and listen the cranked up sound. It sounds like the ton I crafted just louder and bigger since I am in a bigger space.

This discussion, if anyone is interested enough to participate, is not going to have a right or wrong answer. It’s going to be completely subjective. I put this forward not because I don’t recognize there is a difference, there absolutely is. I think what I am getting at is WHY are we chasing that? Not WHAT it is. I recognize there is a link between the “what“ and the “why” but I am as happy and satisfied with the sound of my Axe Fx III recorded, through the PA and even in headphones as I have ever been with any amp in the room I‘ve played myself or listened to others play. I will admit that wasn’t always the case, with other modellers that I previously owned it was about the dynamics and feel but AF3 takes care of that. I guess it’s more about, if Cliff figures out a way to nail it so that everyone says “yes there’s that amp in the room sound I was looking for”, what will it do for us. And if i dial up a Fender Twin with a 2 X12 cab will I have to walk 10 feet from the sound source to hear the high end? (That was a joke).
 

unix-guy

Legend!
Once I got my head around the fact that ALL the tones I've ever chased (and I'd argue the same is probably true for everyone here) are recorded tones, I have wondered why everyone still chases amp in the room.

I think it's partially that we mostly have only experienced the amp in the room sound, not the recorded one.

So it's this weird dichotomy where we are playing with an amp in the room but chasing a recorded tone.

There's definitely a feel that you can get with that amp that isn't there when using headphones or studio monitors (in most cases - I've been lucky to record in some very nice studios where we could really crank the monitors)... But with a good FRFR at a nice volume that can also be achieved.

It's an interesting thing to wrap your brain around but I think if you can it will free you up to really get those tones you've chased forever.
 

guitarnerdswe

Fractal Fanatic
Hear ye hear ye, preaching to the choir here. I never gelled with the amp in a room sound. Or more accurately, the amp hitting my calves sound. I used to tilt a 2x12 cab, or use a slant 4x12 to get any kind of treble to my ears. I'm 6 2", which only makes things worse.

I still have nightmares about having to play with a combo on the floor. I seriously don't get how people can play like, or even prefer it.

And as you said, all our favourite tones from records are through a mic, and that is the sound I want to hear for myself. Not distant muffle city.
 

Smittefar

Fractal Fanatic
There is something undeniably satisfying about turning a stack up way to loud and just be immersed in the massive volume. It is difficult to achive quite the same feeling with a modeler.

But otherwise, I completely agree. Amp in the room tone is a moot point for me. I am so happy with the tones I am getting through my studio monitors or headphones at home or in-ears on stage.
 

henryrobinett

Fractal Fanatic
It always seemed to me most live and recorded sounds used a mic sometimes at a slight distance. There's always a room sound. In the Axe Fx it's direct and sounds unnatural to me like that. That's why I have to apply reverb and delay, other than just for effect.

But what really burned my toast are some video reocrdings I've been doing. I record the Axe direct of course. But sometimes first I look at the video and listen to the audio from the camera. The camera is in the room of course and I'm listening to the axe from the distance of about 6 feet from the speakers. Don't kill me now but it ALWAYS SOUNDS WAY BETTER TO ME than the recorded track. So I'm gone to trying to recorded with the room/air effects. Frustrating but it doesn't work that well. Still trying. The recorded track sounds processed. But coming out of the speakers where air is a big component of the sound, sounds natural.

It's like recording drums. They need air to sound natural. Nobody listens to drums with their ears an inch away from the membranes. Same with guitar.
 

henryrobinett

Fractal Fanatic
That's cool. I still prefer the air of the room. Now keep in mind what I'm talking aout isn't useable from the camera. But that's more the way I am hearing it when I play and how I'm expecting to hear it recorded. But there's also the blended actual guitar in the room sans amp. Plus since i'm in a treated recording studio the room sounds nice, as do the speakers.
 

Bruce Sokolovic

Experienced
Because the room itself will change what you hear and most of the time its nothing like whats being produced by the speaker. The lack of any sonic neutrality in most rooms can often hit the ear in pleasing ways.
 

chris

Legend!
If you aim your full range speakers toward your ankles and turn up very loud, you’ll get a “in the room sound” because the sound is bouncing around the room the same a real amp would. You’ll have to adjust your EQ because it used to be facing your ears directly, but now it’s not, just like an amp. If you’ve ever pointed a real amp/cab directly at your ears, the exercise would be the same.
 
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guitarnerdswe

Fractal Fanatic
If you aim your full range speakers toward your ankles and turn up very loud, you’ll get a “in the room sound” because the sound is bouncing around the room the same a real amp would. You’ll have to adjust your EQ because it used to be facing your ears directly, but now it’s not, just like an amp. If you’ve ever pointed a real amp/can directly at your ears, the exercise would be the same.
A cab is still way more directional than a monitor though.
 

henryrobinett

Fractal Fanatic
Yeah and I never understood the need for it when you're playing live in a room. I only think of it for recording. Because you WILL have a natural in the room sound otherwise.
 

Budda

Power User
Someone pointed this out on another forum - if you want amp in the room, don't use close-mic'd IR's.

I wasn't pining for "amp in the room" when I went digital, just great tone. It was easy enough.

If you want "cranked amp in a stack" then just run it into 2x 412 cabs with some juice behind it. It'll probably elicit the same grin if you like what you've dialled in. I don't want to move 412 cabs anymore, so I won't be - but that doesn't mean I won't run some stage volume when that's a thing again.

I'm not sure if it's appropriate for this specific thread, but the other thing is that isolated guitar tone versus "guitar tone" in any band setting are two different sounds. I think a lot of people are (blissfully) unaware of that when dialling in. Guitar tone, outside of playing by yourself in your own home, should be cohesive with the group it's a part of. At the end of the day, playing amplified should be a fun and joyful experience. If it isn't, maybe re-evaluate.
 

Xrocker

Power User
Back in the day I used 4 4x12 Mesa boogies as side fills. I was perfectly happy at the front of the stage.

My bass player always said there was a zone in the opposite side of the stage that he couldn’t walk through without his hair catching on fire.

I miss those days. Nothing compares to an angry rock and roll band at 116dB!
 

johnnypig

Inspired
Mainly pants flap and gut punch. I enjoy being enveloped in a bubble of guitar sound. It's a magical place where the world disappears.
Sitting in front of monitors at my desk doesn't quite capture that. AxeFxIII into the loop of my amp is bliss.
Merry Christmas!
 

Douglas Costa

Inspired
Mainly pants flap and gut punch. I enjoy being enveloped in a bubble of guitar sound. It's a magical place where the world disappears.
Sitting in front of monitors at my desk doesn't quite capture that. AxeFxIII into the loop of my amp is bliss.
Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Flap pants and gut punch, that's a thing modelers by themselves will never provide (not thru a pair of headphones).

But they can drive a Poweramp plugged into a 4x12 (with CAB block off)... and this combo will do it for you.

Plugged into a FRFR, we need a CAB Block ON, so the sound can be loud and powerfull , but will be a loud and powerfull mic'ed amp sound.

What people expects is a tecnology or a special Cab IR where they can have a direct amp sound thru a FRFR Rig.
 

Neill00

Inspired
some interesting perspectives, perhaps part of my lack of need for it is due to the fact that I actually have a PA set up in my basement just for rehearsals. I have a pair of QSC K8.2 mounted to the ceiling in yokes and a single EV sub so I can crank it up pretty good. I’m either using headphones or going through the PA. I only listen through studio monitors if I’m recording. So maybe I’m being immersed enough not to miss it.

For those who are identifying that they’re missing the volume and the sound off the room, would it be fair to say that you’re just chasing that sound for headphones and or studio monitors?

on another note didn’t Cliff upload a bunch of room mic’d IRs? Not that I will bother but theoretically would blending those with the close mic’d get you part way there?
 
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