I picked up a Two notes Captor X as I need to be able to practice silently. Plugged it in and found out that I can’t get a decent sound out of it with the virtual cabs. Surely it must be user error as I have heard plenty of demos on youtube that sound decent enough… right?
I’m trying to approximate my Zilla Fatboy 2x12 (v30)
So I’m thinking that the IRs are the way to go, but I haven’t got a flipping clue what I’m doing and I can already see myself blowing a load of cash on stuff I don’t really understand…
What is the signal chain? Amp, captor and then headphones? If that’s it, even with a good IR it’s going to sound direct and upfront.
If you run it through a DAW first, you might be able to have a little more control over it through the use of mixing in some medium and far field IR’s to get some room in there and a tiny bit of some time based monitoring effect to room it out a bit.
Yes, that is the setup (although a headphone upgrade would also help with the sonic experience). Our laptop is largely unavailable at the time I practice so I’m not likely to be using it much. Also, would this add another layer of latency? (I’m already struggling with that a bit to my surprise, but I haven’t used any digital gear in my rig for years, but assumed it would be minimal in the Captor X).
The Captor X has plenty of options regarding reverb and ambience, but by ‘medium and far field’ IRs do you mean a mix of IRs with different mic distances?
Where would you suggest that I get IRs from and is there anything I need to understand beforehand?
I have been using IRs for a while but I am far from an expert. So here is a bunch of statements that may or may not help
IRs typically simulate the cabinet + microphone + often some sort of mixer console or EQ. This is very different from the “amp in a room” sounds you are used to.
there are, however, some “Room Mic” IRs that you can try out (see e.g. https://seacowcabs.wordpress.com/, they have some free IRs and many of them include a room mic of sorts)
another thing you can do along the same lines is to add some room reverb after the IR.
the quality of your headphones / speakers matters a fair amount. if you are aiming to play silently I’m guessing you’ll go for headphones, make sure they are not completely crappy
PS: I am a bit surprised that you have problems with latency. Good modern systems have / should have a latency of a few ms, indistinguishable from the latency of, say, your amp sitting 2m away from you. So maybe something is not working properly at the software level (audio drivers and whatnot?)
What @tommo and I are hinting at is really the difference between recorded guitar tone and what you hear in the room when you are jamming away. Which is often the bane of a lot of guitar players existence. Depending on where you are and the proximity you are to the amp, you are mostly hearing what’s bouncing off your walls, through two ears that are facing in opposite directions, Dimension and Space. unless of course you play with your ear up against the speakers while blocking the other that’s faces away (not likely).
Devices like the captor are primarily designed for silent Recording, and most IR’s are typically made with close mic placements, as they are typically more useful as a whole for recording. anyone who has ever been in a studio knows that the sound coming out of the headphones while that button is red is not always the prettiest, again because it’s right up against your head, there’s really nothing giving you that perception of dimension and space.
Nowadays a lot of IR companies provide stereo room mixes that you can mix in with the more direct mic placements, this is where a dedicated IR loader may help so you can fine tune the mix of multiple IR’s. And while this might not capture what your ear really hears, it’s a step in the right direction. Mixing in some slight amount of delay or reverb effects may also make the sound more alive. A lot of these things can be found for free as well. So if you don’t want to drop any money on a practice set up, there’s no need.
Guilty as charged, I had a decent pair that perished in storage, so I’m using a very crappy set. I’ll tap up the father-in-law to borrow his classy hifi ones to try.
Its not massive (I’m also surprised that I noticed), I notice it more with faster playing, its like I have been drinking, except instead of my hands feeling disconnected, its my ears!!
Sounds like a great place to start, thankyou
Yeah, I can go with that - I definitely prefer more off-axis tones. Funnily enough, I normally play sat in an arm chair (soft material) that is about 20cm in front of the cab in an attempt to reduce reflections, so I’m currently getting ‘extreme off axis’ action!
Along with Tommo’s comments about room IRs, this makes sense. I don’t mind spending good money for a good product, but there seems to be countless IRs on offer and you don’t get the opportunity to try them.
I believe with the two notes stuff you have access to all their wall of sound IRs to try before you buy. I am in process of getting a captor X so I can actually play my HRD more at the house as its wicked loud. You can basically do 1 mic or 2 mic setups and just with room size and everything. The thing even has studio reverb and delay as well as a noise gate so on top of just the fact that its and IR load box you also get 3 pedals built-in as well. Plus its bluetooth so you can edit stuff right from your phone. I dont think anything touches it in the price its at. SO if what your at is standing right in front of your amp then adjust the mics so its direct IN front or slightly off access of the cones. But in general IRs are meant to be straight to record sound. My fave is a 57 mixed with an R121. In addition as other said Quality headphones are key as well.
It would be good to see how you get on, let us know. You can try their virtual cabinets - the sound dips out every minute or so, but it only gives you 1 mic placement in that preview mode. I have tried some, but didn’t really like what I was getting. I got a free 3rd party IR from some web forum and whilst not perfect, was better than what I was getting from the virtual cab. But given the above thread, I need to get some better headphones, experiment a bit more and delve into some room IRs…