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Starship Krupa

Favorite Freeware FX Thread

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28 minutes ago, Starship Krupa said:

while not sounding exactly like a spring, will probably be useful for when I want that sound and don't feel like hooking up my old handmade spring reverb box.

Spring reverb...

CbB includes one.

It is part of the multi-effects suite called TH3 along with a lot of other effects with fairly flexible routing options.

I suspect it is easily overlooked being hidden in an amp sim.

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Posted (edited)

Impulse Responses: Who Knew?

tl;dr: NadIR and The Acoustic IR Database

I've learned a lot -- and saved a lot of money -- from @Starship Krupa's Favorite Freeware FX Thread, and from the many contributors to it. I feel a little guilty at taking and never giving here, but I just don't seem to find anything out there that you guys haven't already found and reported (or in some cases, discarded). But here's my story:

I have a Gibson J-160E that I bought at a Third Street pawn shop (San Francisco) in 1968. If you saw the movie "A Hard Days Night" you'll know the instrument. It's the acoustic/electric that John Lennon plays in the movie. When reporters later asked him to comment on the Hard Days Night tour he replied (paraphrasing) "It was good, but I lost me jumbo." The J-160E is not a jumbo (sorry John), but it is in fact the guitar that was stolen on that tour. Because of when and where I acquired mine, it's even money that it is, in fact, John's lost guitar. Yes, I know, some guy in San Diego claims he has the actual guitar, and a perfectly legible sales receipt from the Liverpool music store where John and George bought their 2 guitars 60 years ago. But there are enough twists and turns to the story that I will choose to believe that mine is the real one. I really don't think there's any way to know.

But the main thing about this guitar is, it sucks. It has a very heavy top, to keep it from resonating too much and feeding back when you plug it in. This makes it a terrible acoustic guitar, because it doesn't resonate much. And as an electric guitar, it plays like an acoustic guitar. Which would be fine if it were a great acoustic, but (see above) it's not. It does have a real pickup on it, which may or may not be a P-90 or a P-100, which would be fine if it were a good electric guitar, but it's not.

Still, it's the only acoustic I have, since I have had my own problems over the years with thieves and numbskulls. So whenever I need some acoustic strumming on a track, I dust off the old girl, mess around for a half hour with mic placement, and end up fiddling with chorus and EQ and finally burying it in the track, hoping no one will notice how bad it sounds.

Until I discovered impulse responses. I vaguely understand that when I use an amp sim with a virtual speaker cabinet, someone has modeled that speaker cabinet. Turns out, the modeling is in the form of an impulse response. In Guitar Rig, TH3 and many other sims, you don't have to know this. You click on pictures of speaker cabinets until you find one that sounds right, and badabing. IRs are also the driving force behind convolution reverbs, but that's a different story. Anyway, I got curious about IRs one day, and started googling around, and here's the thing I'd like to contribute to the Favorite Freeware FX Thread: acoustic guitar IRs.

OK, these are not, strictly speaking, effects, but the effect they have had on my old Gibson is amazing to me. People have been recording impulse responses from great-sounding guitars, and with a little free software, I can add an IR to my recorded guitar in Cakewalk, and it comes out sounding like a vintage, perfectly set up Martin D-28! Or any of hundreds of other beautiful and great-sounding guitars. How long has this been going on? It's like I've been transported back to 1969 and given the chance not to buy this stupid J-160E.

You need an IR loader, and that would be NadIR, linked at the very beginning. It's free from Ignite amps, but it comes attached to their Emissary amp sim, so you have to also get that, which is OK, especially if you're into metal. Both are free, so you can't lose. (Personally I prefer Ignite's Anvil amp -- you have to scroll down to find The Anvil.) I've never used anything like NadIR before, and it felt a little like being at the controls of an alien spaceship, but if you try a few things, you'll figure it out, or you'll crash on a moon of Jupiter. It comes with a few speaker cabinet IRs that you can use if you want to hitch 'em up to the Emissary amp, but you really need to try some acoustic guitar IRs, and you can search from among hundreds of them using the handy Acoustic Guitar IR Database (also linked at the top). I think all the IRs are free, but I didn't look at every one of them.

A little googling will reveal lots more places to get IRs. I've only used them in a very conservative way, to make one acoustic guitar sound a lot like a different acoustic guitar. I have a feeling IRs can also be used in extreme ways, and everything in between. The only drawback will be that you'll never get anything done, as you check out what your voice sounds like in the train station, or your snare drum at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.


Edited by Larry Jones
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