Anyone talked about IRs just lately? Marshall/Celestion content.

Liam

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I hadn't bought any IRs for a long time, maybe 3 years, but had downloaded a few cheapies, and "borrowed" some from friends that I would have bought if I had liked, but for some reason a few days ago I got to thinking...

Of all my favourite IRs so far, most had come from the Fractal shop, and were from OwnHammer or ML Sound Labs. The absolutely standout ones were the ML Sound Labs Vox AC30, and they actually came with an "Amp Pack", which is a set of modeller presets that have been matched alongside the IRs with a real amp. I have had a couple of 60's AC30s over the years, and was seriously impressed how the good and bad memories came back when I tried them.

Long story as short as I can, I bought the Mars PR Cab Pack bundle (pre-Rola loaded 4 x 12s, G12 -M and -H, both in 55 Hz and 75 Hz resonances), and the Mars Collection Amp Pack (100W Plexi [don't know which model, 1959 or 1992 I guess], JMP 2203 100W [an amp I have known literally inside out for the last 25 years], and some sort of Silver Jubilee [2205/10 circuit at a guess]).

So far have only worked through the first two amp models, and the G12H-55 and G12M-75 final mixes. These are available in Fractal, Kemper or Helix versions, and in the Fractal version not so much has been done under the hood aside from tweaking output EQ and finding some really nice balanced and great sounding control settings. But that's as expected, because the Fractal models are pretty damn good for a number of amps that I love, including the JMP 1959 and 2203/4 models (ignore the 2204 Plexi designation if you have a Fractal modeller, I'm guessing Fractal don't know there was never such a thing). I started out using admittedly quite old OwnHammer IRs I had bought, and it was sort of OK. With the 2203 model things seemed a little too harsh compared to my real one, but I could quite happily have gigged or recorded with it and though it was OK.

Then I swapped the cabs over to ML Sound Labs IRs. Holy crap, he has done some work on this! Cleans up on the volume control like they do in real life (and I still haven't even loaded one of my favourite Celestions from real life in ML's IR form yet), I am finally tempted to ditch the dirt pedal models that I love so much - I can possibly do most of what I ever needed just with the amps. Some will find high gain settings with these amps to sound rather noisy unless you put a gate in front - truth be told, with the real amps, even a gate doesn't help when they are flat out, but luckily the first chord totally deafens you with the real ones, to the point where you might never need noise gates again.

I know from ML Sounds videos that they put a lot of work into the amp packs, and that they try to match Kemper, Helix and Fractal to the real amp so that they are all indistinguishable from the real amp recorded. For Fractal users, the original amp models are pretty amazing, which means the ML Amp Packs might be semi-redundant because they are not tweaked a long way off stock. But to be honest, $30 saves me days of trying different amp models, and endlessly tweaking them, and never knowing if I am quite happy. These just work. For Helix, I am guessing they had to do a tiny bit more tweaking, and for Kemper, these profiles must be worth hearing if you like old Marshalls. Tonal response, feel, articulation, EQ balance, all exceptionally realistic.

The IRs however, are in another league. I have only tried 2 of the 4 cabs, and I already have my money's worth. They work so well with the amp models. Subtle variations between the mixes in the main, but worthwhile all the same. The different cabs are amazingly different, and in an incredibly authentic sounding way. Most importantly, I finally heard an IR that made me realise I never should have sold one of my old '70s 4x12 cabinets. Memories just flooded back.

2 long lost friends, but I bet one of them is making a great sound somewhere:

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Here's why:

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If you are on the fence, I'd recommend jumping onto these, the IRs in particular if you like late 60's to late 70's rock tones. If you are a Marshall geek that has gone modelling like me, get the Amp Pack as well.

I'm using an Axe FX III into Adam A5X speakers, but I am totally confident it will translate well into my 15" speaker live rig without additional flubbiness. Seems I have plenty of time to test the theory just now.

Thanks as ever to frankv for sending me down this rabbit hole. Just keeps getting better.

Liam

[For geeks that haven't yet clocked it, that's a no-name early 70's cab loaded with ultra-rare Pulsonic cones. G12-H 75Hz Celestions. FWIW in 2008 or whenever it was, the cab handles were worth more than all 4 speakers combined. Ebay buyers got nervous about whether the listing was real, lots of emails from the USA about whether I'd ditch the cab and speakers, and just sell the handles. Eventual buyer bought the cab complete, and had already bought a cracking HiWatt DR-103 amp from me previously, so got Indian food for tea and a bed for the night into the bargain. I am sure he still loves that cab. As for increase in value while I owned it? Acquired in 1996 or '97, except I didn't want another 4x12, so was thrown in for nothing with a 100W Marshall. Was my main cab for about 12 years because it sounded incredible with 2203 or 1987 metal face, and the buyer had to ask, "Seriously, why would you sell such a great sounding cab?" I m glad it went to him, he was an absolute dude, and if he ever wants to sell it, I hope he knows how to find me... The German Shepherd was called Bear. He was very good mates with Terry Morgan.]
 
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Ph03n1x

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I tried a few of the ML sound IRs but I mostly play cleanish tones. The Ownhammer Super Reverb cab is a current favourite of mine for that. I've paired it with a few tweed style amps in Helix. I find it really time consuming to compare IRs. When you get some of those packs there are like 50 variants of the cabinet with different speaker / mic combinations. I should trial a few of the ML sound IRs and make a few Marshall style presets...

My other fav is a nearfield IR I was using from a guy on TGP. Not sure if it is still available though.,
 

Pwrmac7600

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I, like you swore by Ownhammer for quite a while, but I kept noticing that in a mix there was something in the lower mids that I was having to dial out every time. So I went back to retry some ML IR's that I had purchased, and that was it, I was stuck on ML ir's. I have since pulled all my ownhammer IR's off of my Axe and reloaded them with mostly ML IR's.

I would also recommend trying out the York Audio IR's, I have been playing around with them recently and really dig what they have going on.
 
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Rocco Crocco

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ML Sound Lab IRs are savagely good. They cut AND sound good on their own. The ML guy is a genius. I have their Mikko plugin which is just as good.
 

drew365

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ML Sound Labs are some of my favorite IR's, also. But currently my favorite is one I got for free from a guy on TGP, James Freeman. One that he made called Zero Character V7 is really clear and full bodied. I was looking for something to use in my Helix for an acoustic sound from the piezo pups on my JP15. This IR sounded so good, there wasn't even a close second.
 

Liam

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I, like you swore by Ownhammer for quite a while, but I kept noticing that in a mix there was something in the lower mids that I was having to dial out every time. So I went back to retry some ML IR's that I had purchased, and that was it, I was stuck on ML ir's. I have since pulled all my ownhammer IR's off of my Axe and reloaded them with mostly ML IR's.
I still have both. Spent an hour this evening trying my favourites, and OH will be staying on. None that I am using just now, but I think they might be able to lie back in the mix in a way that ML doesn't quite get to. But for anything where the guitar needs to be "present", but never harsh, ML got it right.

I would also recommend trying out the York Audio IR's, I have been playing around with them recently and really dig what they have going on.
Thanks for the heads up. Had seen them, was tempted, but somehow never jumped on them. There is just too much choice! Most freebies have been poor, along with a few that I paid for. Good to know there are others worth trying.

ML Sound Labs are some of my favorite IR's, also. But currently my favorite is one I got for free from a guy on TGP, James Freeman. One that he made called Zero Character V7 is really clear and full bodied. I was looking for something to use in my Helix for an acoustic sound from the piezo pups on my JP15. This IR sounded so good, there wasn't even a close second.
Jeepers! I never even thought of IRs for my acoustic. Currently I have a preset that is effectively a gated preamp into the FRFR, with just a little EQ to match the speaker output to what I hear in the room without an amp, and some reverb, chorus, and a flat boost for when I need it. This is like going down a rabbit hole, and discovering another rabbit hole inside the one I just went down. If my head recovers from the revelation, I'll try to check him out. Must be said, Axe-FX III is a pretty amazing preamp for a Fishman soundhole pickup in a 70's Guild D25-M. But to be honest, it has always sounded more than alright straight into the desk.

You just broke my brain!

Liam
 

drew365

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Well glue it back together.o_O My JP15 that I mentioned is a solid body electric guitar with piezo pickups. I create dual path patches. One for the mags and one for the piezo. Depending on how you set up a patch, the piezo can sound fine without an IR. But I'm always tweaking trying to build the super patch. With this last IR on the piezo, I'm getting close.
 

Mr Insane

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For the longest time I used Ownhammer IRs.
Love the overall feel they gave, but after a while I noticed the low-mid hump.

Later I got some Celestion IRs. After a while I felt them lacking in the "thump" and overall body department. And often too fizzy.

Tone Junkie makes great IRs but their catalog isn't very big at the moment.

I tried ML Soundlab, they are good...but to me they "lack some magic."

Which leads me back to Ownhammer.

Last night I was messing with the Ownhammer Oversized Bogner cab with a Greenback/V30 mix. Right away it just had that special feel. Just needed an EQ block after to lower the mids and put a little sparkle in the highs.

My plans for this weekend are to reorganize my IR Catalog in the Helix and put Ownhammer at the front of the pack again.
 

Mr Insane

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For those interested in acoustic IRs, worshiptutorials.com modeled a McPherson guitar. Which is my absolute dream acoustic guitar.
 


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