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Author Topic: Analog emulation through cans  (Read 4454 times)

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van Sinn

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Analog emulation through cans
« on: Time Format »

Here we go again on an old topic we had years ago - that I still haven't managed to resolve.

I can have a fairly good tone using the 2x12 emu in my MP-2 out through my Mackie 624 mkII monitors.
Same setup on my DT770 cans (80 Ohm version) sounds like utter shit, both the cleans and distorted.

I'm sure the reason it sounds pretty decent on the monitors is simply due to going sonic, with the sheer density of the air it passes through acting as a filter on the distance from speakers to ears, whereas the cans sits half an inch from the inner ear.

I see no good way of dealing with this other than using convolution. I sold my GSP1101, which did a fairly good job at the IR/convolution (though overall weren't my thang). The only other device (if we omit a laptop) I would consider would would be the Two Notes Torpedo C.A.B.

The only other potential I see might be to add an adjustable comb filter to the MP-2 filter, and simply experiment with this to get rid of the information overload at the higher frequencies.
I have of course tried filtering off those higher frequencies, but to little avail; it just ends up sounded rolled-off and muffled.
Higher frequency information here means not just the treble to presence and further up, but also the upper mids.
I have the feeling it could indeed be a matter of too much energy in these ranges; hence the idea of adding a comb filter to curb those.


I must have this resolved before February, simply because I now know my apartment will be sold much lower than expected + my bank screwed me, so I'll end up with residual debt in a small'ish room likely for years, so forget about noises through speakers.
- let's drop the discussion on finance et al (unless your rich sister is looking for a handsome dude); referred merely for outlining the physical situation.
« Last Edit: Time Format by van Sinn »
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Kim

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Re: Analog emulation through cans
« Reply #1 on: Time Format »

I know what you're talking about (I have the exact same pair of cans you do) :thumb-up:  but I have exactly the opposite problem.  My Alesis monitors are showing me the harshness you describe, while the cans sound great.   :dunno:
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RIG OF FIRE:  ADA MP-2, Rocktron Xpression, Peavey Classic 60/60, Gator GPB-BAK-1 pedalboard, Rolls MidiBuddy, Morley Tremonti wah.
Mellotron/organ section:  EHX Mel9, EHX C9, Saturnworks A/B switch, Vox V860 volume, Crate Powerblock.
Pair of 4x12 cabs:  each custom wired for both 2x12 guitar and 2x12 Mel9. UPDATED DIAGRAMS
HOME/STUDIO/COMBOS/STUFF:  Peavey JSX halfstack, Crate G60XL, Saturnworks Saturn Fuzz,  EHX Soul Food, ProCo Rat, Saturnworks buffered splitter, Peavey PV6, Korg DTR-1000.
GUITARS:  Jackson KE3-DiMarzio Breed/PAF Pro, Jackson KE3-DiMarzio Breed/PAF Pro, Silvertone P-bass, '70s Gretsch Dorado acoustic.
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Peter H. Boer

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Re: Analog emulation through cans
« Reply #2 on: Time Format »

Looks like you both could win by sharing settings and finding middle ground between them  8)
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rnolan

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Re: Analog emulation through cans
« Reply #3 on: Time Format »

Wow go figure, similar setups, opposite effect  :facepalm: of course you use different patches, different guits etc as well.
@Kim, are you using 2x12open back or 4 x 12 sealed ?  I started with the 4 x 12 (seemed sensible) but get a much better (I prefer it) sound these days with the 2 x 12 setting.

But hears an idea to try.  Take the main outs and the cab sim outs (so 4 channels) then balance them up to taste, it may help your respective problems  :dunno: .
Now this suggestion has slightly oblique precedence.  I now take all 4 MP2 outs into the desk in my live (hybrid) rig.  I've been running this into either the DCM200L or sometimes my B200s then into 2 x P112 Mesa (bass) cabs. So the Mesa cabs have a 12 and a tweeter (and some scope to change xover point and vol of tweeter (but not off  :facepalm: )).  But they are not flat (ish) like cross ref monitors or cans. So I cross over the tweeter at 4k now, seems to help.  So I want to play guitar (MP2) and bass MB1 through this setup.  Bass is just fine mmmm.  Mp2 doesn't sound great on either cab sim outs or main outs but both sounds have merit.  Mixing them together seems to work reasonably well (early days, I could of course just swap in a Slant split stack for the MP2 and go main outs).
In my studio rig the MP2 cab sim outs and MB1 (add a little TC MOne del/verb) > Truths/Truth Sub sound awesome (haven't done cans for a long time so  :dunno: ) and when I wind in a bit of the QUAD ESL 63s (such articulate speakers) even better.
I haven't tried the same idea (use all 4 MP2 outs) into the studio rig, but I'll give it a whirl when I get a chance.

Edit: as Peter said  :thumb-up: On paper, both of your setups should sound good in both cans and monitors. (albeit, as Van said, the mixing in the air makes a difference, but shouldn't be great and crap)
« Last Edit: Time Format by rnolan »
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Studio Rig: MP2/MB1 > Eurorack UB2442FX-Pro > TC M-One XL > Behringer Truths (with Truth Sub) / QUAD ESL 63s
Live Rig: MP2/MB1 > Alesis Quadverb > Alesis Midiverb 4 > Yamaha AM802 > B200s/Carvin TS100/DCM200L > ADA Split Stacks/Mesa P112s

van Sinn

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Re: Analog emulation through cans
« Reply #4 on: Time Format »

@Kim: Are you using the MP-2 build-in emulations?  If so, which one?
I've tried both the 2x12 and the darker more rounded 4x12. While the latter is less aggressively crappy sounding, still totally useless.

I just really do not understand How your setup can sound fine through cans at all.
And likewise have a problem understanding how it can sound crappy through monitors - unless those are totally crappy sounding monitors, which, to my knowledge, through comments on the web, isn't the case (never heard the Alesis, though).

Now, it is absolutely possible that the headphone amp in my old Luxkit is an inferior design, not handling distortions too well, but on hte other hand, cleans also sounds aggressively crappy, even rounded-off cleans, like my resent Hendrix Hey Joe preset.
Likewise, it sounds just fine with programme material off a CS, which isn't that far from fully clean MP-2 sounds, so..
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van Sinn

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Re: Analog emulation through cans
« Reply #5 on: Time Format »

Ahh! The plot thickens - or rather is about getting unraveled ;)

Just tried an old 80's headphone, Denon AH-D300, a set of IP2 plugs, a set of Sony unknown model EDIT: MDR-2808 plugs (printed on the plug) I found on the street.
Initially, all sounded crappy - until I realized that, when going through my Mackie monitors, I've been using the -20 db pad on my Luxkit Avance preamp.
I of course did this because else the output from my rig would make the Avance inputs overload, resulting in distortion.

Now, this pad is always inactive when using the headphone outs, just as tone controls are, so obviously, I get distortion.
The fun thing is that the Avance does almost useful distortion when the inputs are overloaded, which made me miss that point.

To remedy this, I turned the MP-2 Output down A LOT, and also turned the Room EQ to mid point, i.e. with no additional lifting of the 'body' and presence.
And waddayaknow.. things started to sound much better ;)  The Sony plugs, that I'd expected to be crap, actually sounds the best.
Another matter of importance is that the headphone driver in my Avance preamp simply aren't geared the best for driving the more demanding DT770 cans, even if those are the less demanding 80 Ohm version.

Now, why on earth then do the Mackies sound so neat?
Well, the Mackies, being professional monitors, require fairly correct positioning, room treatment and listening distance, which is impractical in my room.
As such, I sit a Bit too close to them, and partly have a thin pad of acoustic filtering of the same type as is present in headphones in front of the very detailed titanium tweeters, and partly have those dimed 2 dB down.
As a result, when standing up playing a couple meters away, they sound just great with my slightly aggressive rig presets.

To finalize my findings, which could be important for others too:
My super-duper very linear and very revealing studio monitors have been setup not fully correctly.
And my, elsewise (new English word) fairly ok, Avance preamp weren't correctly matched to my rig.
To this should be added that a good quality real headphone amplifier should always be employed.
So, my presets were never fully correctly aligned to neither the preamp nor the studio monitors or the headphones.
And this has been further problemized (next new word) by not having real amps/speakers available for being able to check with reality.

I can't fully resolve these issues at the moment (due to the apartment frenzy), but will be able to do so in another life later.
« Last Edit: Time Format by van Sinn »
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Kim

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Re: Analog emulation through cans
« Reply #6 on: Time Format »

When I used my MP-2 at home with the Recording Outs, I selected 2x12.  Now I use the Quad Tube at home with the Varicab set at one of the 4x12 settings, with Lo Boost and Hi Cut enagaged.

My near-field monitor/headphone comparisons are indeed strange; my headphones are plugged into the Headphone jack on the active monitors themselves.
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RIG OF FIRE:  ADA MP-2, Rocktron Xpression, Peavey Classic 60/60, Gator GPB-BAK-1 pedalboard, Rolls MidiBuddy, Morley Tremonti wah.
Mellotron/organ section:  EHX Mel9, EHX C9, Saturnworks A/B switch, Vox V860 volume, Crate Powerblock.
Pair of 4x12 cabs:  each custom wired for both 2x12 guitar and 2x12 Mel9. UPDATED DIAGRAMS
HOME/STUDIO/COMBOS/STUFF:  Peavey JSX halfstack, Crate G60XL, Saturnworks Saturn Fuzz,  EHX Soul Food, ProCo Rat, Saturnworks buffered splitter, Peavey PV6, Korg DTR-1000.
GUITARS:  Jackson KE3-DiMarzio Breed/PAF Pro, Jackson KE3-DiMarzio Breed/PAF Pro, Silvertone P-bass, '70s Gretsch Dorado acoustic.
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Harley Hexxe

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Re: Analog emulation through cans
« Reply #7 on: Time Format »

When I used my MP-2 at home with the Recording Outs, I selected 2x12.  Now I use the Quad Tube at home with the Varicab set at one of the 4x12 settings, with Lo Boost and Hi Cut enagaged.

My near-field monitor/headphone comparisons are indeed strange; my headphones are plugged into the Headphone jack on the active monitors themselves.

  Doesn't that defeat the purpose of monitoring through headphones? Your monitors can't be that transparent to give you the mix directly off your mixing desk through headphones. :???:
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MarshallJMP

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Re: Analog emulation through cans
« Reply #8 on: Time Format »

I think there will always be a big difference between headphones and monitors. Studio monitors are designed to mix, headphones are not.
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van Sinn

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Re: Analog emulation through cans
« Reply #9 on: Time Format »

I think there will always be a big difference between headphones and monitors. Studio monitors are designed to mix, headphones are not.

Quite right. Another issue is that when using cans, we'll get left to left and right to right directly, thus missing the natural ambiance, even in a somewhat sound-treated room.
In other words, the cans will result in the famed 'hole-in-the-middle' + lack of reflections.
Now, there are plugins to remedy this. Some merely adds a, say, 8-10 % left-right cross mix; others will do more, like adding some sort of adjustable ambiance to make the listening experience more real.

Anyways, this of course isn't really my problem, but as I wrote in my summing-up, the most freaking part was my own misunderstanding of gain setting between rig and the hifi preamp that weren't really designed for my purpose.
Now, while it's all now much better, I don't think [fairly] simple analog filters will ever be able to do the job sufficiently good.
So, I should either use convolution, or real amps/cabs, or build an ISO box.


Speaking about the latter, I think a fairly decently working ISO solution could be:

* Within a deep 4U or 6U 19" rig box, install an inner box made from MDF, with a semi-separating partitioning wall.
* Fit two 6½" or two 8" drivers onto a recessed front. Those should not be real guitar speakers, but rather the mechanical Q/compliance chosen to allow the cones to mimic how a higher-powered guitar speaker cone flaps in and out.
* Mount two mics per side in a fixed phase-aligned setup. (SM57's can be made to fit by removing the head from the shaft).
* Build a small tube amp with a FET or germanium transistor as driver/phasesplitter and one 12AT7 or 12BH7 tube + transformer per channel.
* Close the deep front lid when used as an ISO, and for transport.

All of this could be housed in that single 19" rig box, which would serve as a compact split-cab under the rig when not used as an ISO, or could even be stood up vertically for space savings.
« Last Edit: Time Format by van Sinn »
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Kim

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Re: Analog emulation through cans
« Reply #10 on: Time Format »

I have no other place to conveniently plug my headphones in.  There's no "mixing desk" here.  This all happens on a computer, so they are used to alternate between and compare the results of the near-fields and the headphones.  Other than that the headphones are for my silent practice, for tracking, etc.







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RIG OF FIRE:  ADA MP-2, Rocktron Xpression, Peavey Classic 60/60, Gator GPB-BAK-1 pedalboard, Rolls MidiBuddy, Morley Tremonti wah.
Mellotron/organ section:  EHX Mel9, EHX C9, Saturnworks A/B switch, Vox V860 volume, Crate Powerblock.
Pair of 4x12 cabs:  each custom wired for both 2x12 guitar and 2x12 Mel9. UPDATED DIAGRAMS
HOME/STUDIO/COMBOS/STUFF:  Peavey JSX halfstack, Crate G60XL, Saturnworks Saturn Fuzz,  EHX Soul Food, ProCo Rat, Saturnworks buffered splitter, Peavey PV6, Korg DTR-1000.
GUITARS:  Jackson KE3-DiMarzio Breed/PAF Pro, Jackson KE3-DiMarzio Breed/PAF Pro, Silvertone P-bass, '70s Gretsch Dorado acoustic.
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rnolan

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Re: Analog emulation through cans
« Reply #11 on: Time Format »

I think there will always be a big difference between headphones and monitors. Studio monitors are designed to mix, headphones are not.
too true MJMP, +1  :thumb-up: However, many consumers of the music use ear buds and headphones almost exclusively and so you need to consider (and cross reference) this when mixing.  Additionally (and unfortunately), you need to consider the crappier formats like MP3 in this context.  Bob Katz had some interesting tips etc for mixing for MP3.  Being such a ubiquitous format, it has to be considered seriously.
@ Kim, so the signal from the PC will be the same to the monitors and the headphone circuit, then it's what they do with it. Obviously different headphone circuits handle the wide array of possible headphones differently.
Is your PC signal derived from the PC's sound card (either built into the mother board or separate card) or do you have an interface (eg USB). While the A/D and D/A capabilities of these things has improved, they are typically no where near as good as the convertors in external interfaces. A decent 2 in/out I/O device with headphone capability would be a good investment.
@Van, great idea for a project, if you do get round to building it, I'd go 8" drivers.  The sub made for Behringer Truths uses 2 x 8" drivers, you may be able to get a pair of those (or similar) as I suspect they will suit the purpose.  Actually, you could modify a Truth sub to be an ISO box  :dunno: .
« Last Edit: Time Format by rnolan »
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Studio Rig: MP2/MB1 > Eurorack UB2442FX-Pro > TC M-One XL > Behringer Truths (with Truth Sub) / QUAD ESL 63s
Live Rig: MP2/MB1 > Alesis Quadverb > Alesis Midiverb 4 > Yamaha AM802 > B200s/Carvin TS100/DCM200L > ADA Split Stacks/Mesa P112s

Harley Hexxe

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Re: Analog emulation through cans
« Reply #12 on: Time Format »

I think there will always be a big difference between headphones and monitors. Studio monitors are designed to mix, headphones are not.
   ++1 :thumb-up: Absolutely MJMP! That is the point as Richard pointed out. To expound a little further on what Richard said, I use headphones as well as monitors and other sound sources to listen to a mix. The point being to listen on as many different mediums as possible to get a good idea what your mix sounds like to the average consumer who will mostly use earbuds, or headphones, but then again, listen to it in your car stereo, or a lo-fi stereo system, or hi-fi stereo.
   @ Kim, are you using an audio interface? If so, doesn't that have a headphone out?

   @ Sinn, You are correct that the headphones do give you the stereo separation without the room ambience, and that is why I use headphones mainly, to see if my stereo mix has a good stereo separation and blends in with the rest of the mix that not in stereo.
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van Sinn

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Re: Analog emulation through cans
« Reply #13 on: Time Format »

@Van, great idea for a project, if you do get round to building it, I'd go 8" drivers.  The sub made for Behringer Truths uses 2 x 8" drivers, you may be able to get a pair of those (or similar) as I suspect they will suit the purpose.  Actually, you could modify a Truth sub to be an ISO box  :dunno: .

I have to disagree on using speakers form subs, as those are deliberately made for lower frequencies, and even wanted to roll-off in a smooth way without breakups or non-linearities. Ideally, that is..
Else, I agree that 8"ers likely will provide better low-end fill and overall a fuller sound. Swap the soft plastic dome for a soft aluminum dome to add some presence, and it should work just fine.
We'll see.. I have way too much going on at the moment. Laters though..
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MarshallJMP

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Re: Analog emulation through cans
« Reply #14 on: Time Format »

I think 8" speakers are to small for a sub, and yes you can do some acoustic tricks with speaker housings and stuff, but still for me a sub has to be at least 10" and even better 12".
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