Impulse responses, or IRs, and the technology that makes them possible, allow us to digitally capture a sonic fingerprint. When IRs first emerged, they were used in the popular Altiverb convolution reverb plugin to recreate any acoustic environment imaginable. Impulse response technology has quickly evolved to add just about anything you can pass sound through, and is generally used to emulate miked speaker cabinets for guitar production.
Without getting too far in to the technical side, impulse responses are recorded in a particular way so that the input signal is very short, and the system’s output signal is the IR. It’s possible to capture a device’s, or whole chain of device’s, sonic characteristics when recording IRs.
There are several benefits of using impulse responses live or in the studio, which we’ll discuss further.
1. Real-World Acoustic Spaces close at hand
IRs provide usage of a virtually unlimited palette of sonic flavors. With regards to reverbs, real-world acoustic environments have been meticulously captured for digital recreation. If all of your vocal needs is a Sydney Opera House reverb, IRs and the folks who capture them make it possible.
You can also go as far as to make your own, too. Have a bathroom that sounds fantastic? Capture an IR and use its natural reverb in future productions.
2. Access to Expensive Signal Chains
When it comes to using speaker cabinet IRs, these can give guitarists usage of gear that is incredibly expensive or otherwise unattainable. The common bedroom producer may well not get access to a Royer R-122 and a sought-after speaker cabinet to track his/her guitar parts, but an IR of the exact situation exists somewhere!
3. Give Your Back a Break – FORGET ABOUT Hauling 4x12s Around
Lugging around a 4×12 speaker cabinet is an enormous hassle-period. IRs be able to forgo the original live setup and run straight to FOH with an impulse response handling the speaker emulation.
Your tube amp will still desire a load box of some kind since there’s no physical cabinet handling it, nevertheless, you can give your back an escape when you opt for IRs live.
4. Better Tones for Live Performance
Piggybacking on #3, using impulse responses live can enhance your rig’s overall sound. Because you’re no longer miking a cabinet, you’re immune to bleed from other instruments that may interfere and muck up your tone.
Eliminating variables like mic placement, too, means a guitarists’ sound can become more regular night to night.
5. Quiet Tracking and Practice
Let’s face it-few people are in a position where they can routinely push a 100-watt tube amp the way it’s designed to be driven. Those of us recording at home probably have even our amps setup in the same room as our DAW-zero isolation.
Establishing your amp with lots box and IRs means you can track and practice practically silently while still dime’ing your mind what sort of guitar gods intended.
6. Unmatched Versatility
At this time, you’ve probably sussed out that you aren’t limited by a single acoustic space for reverbs, or one speaker cabinet for guitars, with IRs.
You may essentially put together an entire digital collection of acoustic environments, speaker cabinets, and microphones with IR technology.
7. Professional Quality Assured
When working with professionally recorded Free impulse responses, quality is guaranteed. With speaker cabinet IRs, you’re getting the best sounding room, with the best sounding mic, with the best sounding cabinets.
Any guesswork requiring you to set up your own mic, etc. has been eliminated. Impulse responses allow you to use pro-quality sound to your rig in an instant.
8. Impulse Responses Won’t FILL Your Studio
Specifically with speaker cabinet IRs, you can rest assured that the digital versions of real 4x12s won’t take up much space in your studio. Ok, you may want a hard drive, but those easily fit into your back pocket!
9. They Won’t Break your budget
We mentioned before that IRs replicate expensive sound that isn’t accessible to many folks. Likewise, IRs themselves are relatively cheap in terms of what they’re recreating. Once you element in studio time, microphone, and speaker cabinet costs, impulse responses are astronomically less costly.
10. Quick Recall for Future Sessions
With guitar cabinet IRs, you can mix and blend speakers, mics, and rooms as much as you’d like. Once you’ve settled on a combination you prefer best, you can quickly recall it over and over for just about any and all your tracking needs.
Equally IRs remove any guesswork live, in addition they eliminate variables in the studio. Your tone will always be your tone, and it doesn’t require any physical set-up to be perfect.