Thoughts on guitar cab vs FRFR?

  • I have the bias head, and currently run it through an Orange PPC212 with v30s in it, but I'm toying with the idea of selling that and getting an FRFR cab to run the bias head through instead, something like the Line 6 Powercab. If anyone has any experience running the head through this cab it would be great to get some input.

    What would be the main differences really? I know you can load different IR's, but will there be a noticeable loss of bottom end going from 2x12 to 1x12? Anyone got any thoughts on any other FRFRs? Ideally they'd be more 'cab' style than the traditional wedge type FRFR as the head would sit on the cab.

    I'm not 100% sure whether I want to go ahead with it yet as they're looking to be about £500 for a half decent one.

  • A2

    I'm running an Alto TS-210. Its probably on the very lowest end of FRFR's and even with this I've never been anywhere near this happy with my sound in my life.

    Any FRFR worth a crap, no matter what size speaker is going to have far far far far more low end on demand than a guitar range 4x12 could, in fact you are going to have the opposite problem. I don't know that I'd use a 12" FRFR for guitar, though if we had some multiband compressors in BiasFX, I bet it would be fine

  • @pipelineaudio Thanks for your reply. I'm thinking it might be worth a shot since I don't need to initially get rid of my current cab until after I have the FRFR. How does it compare doing the 'amp in the room' sort of thing? Hate using that term but currently with my cab the bias head sounds very natural and I'm worried using an FRFR it might sound too sterile and recorded if that makes sense

  • A2

    As my primary focus is to as close as possible, replicate my recorded sound live, I might be going for the opposite thing from you, not sure. It sounds closer to my recorded sound than a 4x12 is capable of, but for you that might be a bad thing.

    If any of your friends has even a crappy powered floor wedge, you should try it, its going to be similar. BiasFX on its own doesn't have as much technical and surgical control as you might need to make a crappy monitor sound perfect, but it should give you a pretty good idea of the range of what can happen

  • I just can't imagine not having a 4x12 behind me cranked up. I don't know if/when I'll be tempted away from that, but it hasn't happened yet.

  • not having to have a cranked-up 4x12 behind me is one of the best things about using a modeling amp imo. I've always hated the effect that guitar cabs have on the overall soundstage during gigs due to their directionality -- blasting whomever is unfortunate enough to be sitting in the direct path of the cabinet. I have an upright FRFR cab which I built from a loudspeaker cabinet with an eminence coax speaker set and matching xover.... but tbh I'm thinking of just leaving it unplugged and only running my stuff through the monitors/mains, since they do just as good a job of blasting my eardrums without projecting that same sound into unsuspecting bystanders in the crowd. in recent practices i've been trying this setup and love it so far.

  • That is the whole thing behind emulated technology, light weight, great sound, great feel, and you can bring the studio sound with you all over the world.

    That being said, to replace a 4x12 cab or a 2x12 cab on stage then you need to understand the dynamics of real speakers vs virtual setup.

    If you like recording or listening to yourself playing in headphones, and like the feel and sound of that, then the goal is to replicate that on stage without blowing your ears out.

    I played quite a few live shows with HUGE PAs, and I could not here my amp at all on stage, unless I was running 100-200watts of tube power (which was not going to happen) What I did get was a great replicated sound by micing the amp and hearing that in my monitors, which sounded really good.

    The issue is, the feel and dynamics you would get from a real tube amp on stage. How the guitar amp and fingers correlate to the articulation of all combined. No matter what, it is NOT the same as a real tube amp of your liking miced up just right, just the right volume for yourself and to make a sound guy happy. Thus the quest for portability and great sound you can take anywhere and not have to worry about micing up a cab, having the volume just right, and making sure your atmosphere on stage to give you the feedback you need to enjoy yourself as well.

    Lots of big bands have turned to processed sounds, which is strange since they can afford it, but as anything if you can eliminate the time and hassle and maintenance, then it saves time gig to gig. Metalica uses AXE FX II, they have stage cabs for ambience effect for themselves. Some say for feedback and other say otherwise, but the setup time is less, and no messing around with mics and cabs on stage and having to worry about feedback issues all the time, bad enough from singing. Nightwish and Hammerfall use Kemper, Pontus guitar playing it fantastic and his sound is always consistent, and he is a stickler for sound. Both him and Oscar use Kemper, Empuu from Nightwish switched to Kemper as well, both bands seem to have some sort of cab on stage for the presence, but it is not needed, something they are used to.

    With a full range speaker it will take some adjusting to get the tone the way you hear it in your headphones. You may need to tweak the patches for live full range speakers, but it can be done, and you can also have as mentioned a small cab on stage for your stage presence. You can get some big tones from a full range speaker, to the point where you need to cut back on the bottom end, and guitars really do not live in that frequency range anyway. If you have to dial up bass in your rig to get a full sound, then you should go back to basics and understand what is needed to get some nice creamy lead tones, and some chunky rhythm tones from any digital reproduction of a tube amp.

    Always using tube amps which I love and not having that on stage with me at first seemed unnatural, but lets case it, if you do a small bar gig, stage volume is an issue, if you do a huge show, stage volume is an issue.

    You will not lose any bottom end, unless you are talking about feeling the bottom end from your guitar, which should not be there in the first place. If you are talking about chugging chunking sound, you can replicate that in your headphones to SOUND the same, and you can certainly do that live as well, without getting into the wrong frequencies because you are compensating with the bass cranked.

    I would not get rid of the 2x12 cab if that is the sound you like to get a powered cab, especially is you have a powered head. I toyed with that idea as well, but back to reality, back is screwed and light weight with portability is the key for me.

    My friend used Kemper and everyone went with in ear mixes. So can you imagine having a whole band mixed in your ear piece, would sound like headphones if you get good quality in ears. Soo the same applies with the monitor onstage, no need to blast the audience, and if you are far enough away from your band mates, have at it and wreck your ear

    All that being said, you need a decent PA and a sound guy who knows what he is doing. Really all you need to do after you setup is check the FOH sound to make sure it sounds the way you want it (maybe tiny bit of EQ tweaking). A good blend of the band is the key, and using digital processing you can achieve that.



  • @mike_studio thanks frobyour reply Mike, it's really in depth and helpful!

    Currently I'm just an at home player so no PA or stage worries for me. My main thought from frfr is to get the most out of the head as a lot of the tone comes from the speaker. I feel like at the moment whilst I love the sound and feel I get from my bias head, the patches aren't that accurate to what they're meant to emulate (possibly a strange statement since I do like the sound) and so I feel I want to aim for a closer reproduction of the original patches to get more versatility in my sound if that makes sense?

    Basically I feel the cab may be colouring the patch in a way that means I'm not utilising the head to the fullest, and I'm trying to see if frfr will allow me to do that whilst keeping the current feel I have from the 'real' cab I have in the room.

    Thanks again

  • A2

    The flatter the FRFR you get, the more different cabinet (and mic) flavors you can get. Nothing is 100% flat with 100% dispersion, so you want to get reasonably close and tweak a bit from there. In real world use, I end up going for a GENERAL sound of a certain speaker/cab/mic combo and then tweak from there in ways I couldn't actually do with a guitar range speaker and cab

  • @liam Your Welcome...
    As pipeline mentioned, the flatter a certain cabinet is, the better chance of getting a wider range of sounds without the colouring effects that can make you tweak for hours.

    I do the same as Pipeline, I find a generic combo and start from there, but if there is a lot of coloration in the cab you are using, then the harder it will be to get the TONE you are after.

    As mentioned, people are comparing the digital products to the realistic sound of a particular amp or amp cab combo. Thus the creators of such devices have strived to do just that, but really, if you get close enough, who really cares.

    If the feel and sound that you get you are happy with, then that is the goal. Who cares about comparison and such to the real thing, want the real thing then get that particular amp if you use it ALL the time, if not, then the digital creation is the next best thing.

    This coming from a guy who loves the sound of tube amps, but the versatility and sound you can get from software or digitally created hardware is pretty cool.

    Thus why I bit the bullet and bought a bias rack, the sound of the software blew me away. If you know the sound you are going after, then you can create it in the software, but yes it needs some know how and tweaking.

    The people who go back to analog, either are fed up with tweaking, or just do not know what they are doing to get a good sound, or they simply gravitate to the sound of real tubes and the feel of a real amp, this has happened a lot.

    I personally I go back and forth, but after the bias software demo, I want that tone for my live sound as well, because really in the digital world you can get any sound you want, but on stage, this is where it gets tricky.

    I have heard a lot of digital products sound horrible live, and a lot sound to good through a PA with no cab on stage.

    Couple of weeks back I mixed a few bands, one guitar player had a Kemper, and I have never heard it in the real world let alone live on stage. I have to say, I was very impressed. I had a younger guy that I did mixing for a band, and he had a vox digital amp with e Boss digital floor board. Well take your pick Straight from the amp or from the floorboard. I cannot remember exactly the amp or peddle he had, but it was NOT in the expensive range, but this 17 year old kid, put me and my other band mate to

    His sound was not the greatest, so had to do some major eqing, and his patches were NOT the same levels, so it was a task. But overall, it sounded decent in the mix and was simple to do.

    Need to know how to dial out the harshness, or cheat a little if you know what you are doing. My hearing is still pretty good, so when I connected my 11R to a powered speaker, I was not impressed, until I did some tweaking with mics and placement and the sound is HUGE. I also added a Behringer Mic2200 tube preamp into the live rack and into the studio rack, and between the slight tube warmth and the EQ on the Behringer, the live and studio sound was that much better. So imagine with a really good tube preamp with the digital racks...

    I usually run my Line 6 XT live into my tube amp that I like. My first patch is a clean patch with just some eq to fatten up the sound, and use the amp for the cleans, works well sounds great.

    Lots of people have whined about high gain tones from these devices and try to compare, but the clean tones from the devices are lacking quite a bit, and I find this area is a challenge to make sound like a really nice tube clean sound, the high gain stuff no problem at all.