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Cabinet Impulse Response (IR) Plugins shootout!

Discussion in 'Backline' started by FrancescoFiligoi, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. FrancescoFiligoi

    FrancescoFiligoi Count Blastula

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    Hi there! I'm a firm believer cabinet is the most important link in the chain regarding guitar tones (apart from hands of course), so I recently did a comparison between different softwares that enable Impulse Response loading, to check if they do have sonic differences and, if yes, which one behaves better with the same impulse.

    DISCLAIMER: this is not a "good tone" sample test, it's just to show how sonically different these softwares/plugins are between each other. In fact, I just tweaked a decent tone in 5 minutes with my Axe II and recorded a first take boring riff with the cab block bypassed.

    Gear used in this shootout:

    Amp: Axe-Fx II (TS808 drive->5153 amp block)
    Guitar: Carvin CS4 Drop D tuning
    Impulse: Telos IR#4 from Redline4, download here: http://www.ultimatemetal.com/forum/backline/947395-best-impulses-since-s-preshigh-theyre-free.html

    Softwares compared:

    Fractal Audio Axe-Fx II (UltraRes IR quality):
    http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5864881/CAB LOADER COMPARISON/Axe Fx II.wav

    LePou LeCab:
    http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5864881/CAB LOADER COMPARISON/LeCab.wav

    Redwirez MixIR 2:
    http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5864881/CAB LOADER COMPARISON/MixIR 2.wav

    Ignite Amps NadIR (Extreme quality setting):
    http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5864881/CAB LOADER COMPARISON/NadIR.wav

    TSE X50 v2 (8x oversampling, highest quality):
    http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5864881/CAB LOADER COMPARISON/X50 v2.wav

    Also here's a zip file with all the wavs included:
    http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5864881/CAB LOADER COMPARISON/CAB LOADER COMPARISON.zip

    Wav files are much better quality, but if you want something quick here's Soundcloud links:

    AXE-FX II


    LECAB


    MIXIR 2


    NADIR


    X50 V2


    Personal opinion:

    Axe-Fx II sounds the best along with X50 v2 - both very good, punchy, musical and transparent representations of the impulse. Unfortunately I don't own X50 v2 but one of my students does, so he helped me out with the comparison.
    NadIR is 95% there, only a hair darker with highs rolled off a liiiittle bit.
    MixIR 2 seems to add more aggressive upper mids which I personally don't like, and LeCab is the worst, adding lots of noisy highs/presence.

    Differences in the end are very subtle, all these softwares can work with no issue within a mix - also with some Match EQ applied the slight differences would disappear. Although I know from now on that if I need to use something out of my Axe-Fx II, it will most likely be X50 v2 or NadIR.

    Hope you enjoyed this shootout! If you want to hear any other free IR loader plugins added to this comparison, feel free to suggest :)
     
    #1 FrancescoFiligoi, Aug 7, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2015
  2. hoehlentroll

    hoehlentroll Member

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    to do the software justice, did you make sure the wav lenght is all the same on those clips? because some cut the wave shorter. x50 v2 doesn't count either, because it does have "space/dynamics adding technology" - not quite sure how it's called. did you turn that off?
     
  3. FrancescoFiligoi

    FrancescoFiligoi Count Blastula

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    I made sure my student turned all the X50 additional options off, yes. Did that via skype and screensharing so I know for sure those were off.

    I made sure all of them were the same length and same exact loudness. If some of them seem a hair louder or quieter, it's just because they sound a bit different :)
     
  4. Robert W

    Robert W Member

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    Does the clip sound like it's going in and out of tune to anyone else?
     
  5. FrancescoFiligoi

    FrancescoFiligoi Count Blastula

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    that's just the diminished chord I'm playing in some bits man
     
  6. Nuno Filipe

    Nuno Filipe You talkin' to me?

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    The difference is almost imperceptible. I only noticed lecab high frequencies and probably because you said it!lol The rest is the same, and in a mix no one can figure it.
     
  7. Redline4

    Redline4 Member

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    Super sick experiment man, glad you used my impulse. Kinda funny that I use leCab1 to monitor while I create, shape and test my impulses. Guess I could have a go at trying some other IR loaders, seeing that there's (not gignatic but still) a sonic difference between them.
     
  8. White_DeMoN

    White_DeMoN New Metal Member

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    I think that Lecab and X50v2 sound the bes, there so many presense in them,
    the worst is Mixir 2 I think, there is almost no highes, copare to others. Thanks for research, very interesting ^)
     
  9. FrancescoFiligoi

    FrancescoFiligoi Count Blastula

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    To my ears, it's like LeCab is by default not 100% wet, therefore still leaving a bit of the original cab-less amp signal, which results in higher frequency noise.
     
  10. Wild Hades

    Wild Hades Clean channels are for pussies

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    It's not a wet/dry issue, the problem is due to the supported IR length. If the IR is being cut too short, the accuracy decreases.
    He pointed that out on his blog:
    http://lepouplugins.blogspot.it/2010/12/lecab2-vst-for-windows.html

    I don't know what max IR length LeCab2 does support, but looking at the graph on his blog, my guess are 256 or 512 samples at 44100Hz.
    I can't speak for the other devs as I don't know the specs of their convolvers (I think the TSE one doesn't have any limitation, but I can be wrong), but NadIR goes up to 8192 samples at 44100Hz (that "Extreme" quality setting you're using).

    Hope it helps
     
  11. TRUIE

    TRUIE Member

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    Nice shootout !
    Would love to hear the following plugins :
    - Recabinet
    - Voxengo Pristine Space

    I own both, I can help if needed.
     
  12. HOFX

    HOFX Member

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    RE: Wild Hades on sample length.

    Here's a post from Cliff at Fractal regarding sample length. I don't own an AxeFX, nor am I promoting it, however it's a good technical discussion on the impact of sample length and important reading for those wishing to understand the factors that affect their amp sim/cab IR tone.

    http://forum.fractalaudio.com/axe-fx-ii-discussion/75794-something-cool-ive-been-working.html

    Also, good thread. Not nearly enough discussions like this on ASF to really understand the tools that we use.
     
  13. Nuno Filipe

    Nuno Filipe You talkin' to me?

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    Ok I must say that I did some tests myself and there is a difference. A difference in clarity essentially, at first even if it doesnt seem quite significative, it would be bigger, if you have quadtracked guitars. Because, a bit less clarity in one track might not be for concern but multiplied by 4, it´s something that will affect the final product and perception and would not be in a good way.

    I didnt heard much difference in OP tracks but probably because I heard the tracks from soundcloud.
     

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