We recently caught up with Pete Thorn again after his video review of SpeakerMix Pro. If you haven’t seen it already you can watch it here:
So, what are the key benefits he describes?
1 Dynamic Speaker Response takes realism to the next-level
SpeakerMix Pro is the plugin that supports Celestion’s new Dynamic Speaker Responses (DSRs). A real speaker that’s being played softly sounds different to the same speaker being driven hard. Impulse Responses (IRs) do a great job of capturing the sound of a speaker at one level, but they can-not respond to the dynamics of playing where one note may be whisper quiet and the next screaming loud. DSRs running in SpeakerMix Pro do exactly this, adding an edge of detail never before heard in a speaker simulator.
2 It’s a great sounding and very powerful multi-channel speaker-mixer
- The heart of SpeakerMix Pro is a simple audio mixer that allows up to six different speaker/cab/mic combinations to be blended. Channels can be linked as stereo pairs, soloed and muted, and panned to any position in the stereo field.
- Each individual channel and the master output section have a fully parametric (8 point plus hi/lo pass filters) eq, and a dedicated send to the Room sound buss.
- For each speaker/cab/mic DSR the position of the microphone can be dragged to any position from the centre to the outer edge of the speaker to emphasize bite or warmth.
- The dedicated Room buss provides bloom and depth to the mixed sound. The amount of signal from each speaker/cab/mic is set using the channel Room control, and the overall level is set using the red Room channel fader. The actual room sound can be tweaked by selecting from a range of room mics, or by loading an Impulse Response (useful if you want to place the action in your own room!) and both stereo width (mono – 200%) and pre-delay are adjustable to tighten or relax the sound.
- The mixer has a built-in Impedance Curve control which emulates the complex relationship between a tube power amp and a speaker cabinet. A live amp captured through a reactive loadbox will have this relationship built-in to the sound, but a simple resistive load or perhaps a DI signal into an amp-sim may sound a little flat by comparison – the Impedance Curve control allows the magic to be dialled back-in.
- A built-in delay function allows the left and right sides of the mixed signal to be superimposed and delayed for a thickening effect, or delayed against each other for a stereo widening effect.
- The blended output from the mixer can be collapsed to mono or spread up to 200% of the natural stereo width for perfect placement in a mix.
3 Super Easy Workflow
The SpeakerMix Pro interface is super easy to navigate. A single click on the speaker image in the plugin opens the selection panel; choose an available DSR by simply clicking a speaker, a cabinet and a microphone to load onto the selected mixer channel, or an IR from the drop-down list.
The mixer interface is pretty-much self explanatory, pan with the pan knobs, set levels with the faders, link pairs of channels with the link buttons, send signal to the Room buss with the Room control……. just as you’d expect.
Auto level and Auto Gain controls simplify workflow by assigning level controls to the centre of their operating range and balancing input/output levels to make mixing decisions easier and quicker.
A/B presets on each channel make it quick and easy to try different options, and Copy/Paste channel options make it simple to duplicate a channel for tweaking.
A couple of controls do have drop-down menus – the Delay control gives options for what is mixed and delayed against what, and the main meters have options for input and output peak, RMS and VU, other-wise, what you see is what you get.
4 It makes your existing IRs better
Impulse Responses have been around for several years now and many of us have invested in libraries of favourite speakers. While a traditional Impulse Response can-not match the dynamic detail of the new Celestion DSRs, any IRs loaded into SpeakerMix Pro are pre-conditioned so that they can be used alone, or alongside other IRs or DSRs without sample rate or phase compatibility issues, and they can also be treated with the Variable Impedance Curve and Room Mic features.
Despite being so simple to use, SpeakerMix Pro works well wherever a DAW session requires a speaker.
- Amp recorded live through a reactive load – put SpeakerMix Pro on the audio track and leave the impedance control set to minimum for the most realistic version of that amp into a great speaker.
- Amp recorded through a simple resistive load – put SpeakerMix Pro on the audio track and adjust the impedance control to bring the sound back to life.
- DI guitar part played through an amp sim – bypass the sim’s speaker cabs and follow it with SpeakerMix Pro.
- Add depth to a real speaker recording – add SpeakerMix Pro to the audio track, set-up speaker selection, send output to the Room channel, channel faders all the way down, add Room sound to taste.
- Create stereo parts from a single recorded track – use different speaker/mic/cab selections on two or more channels, pan Left and Right, add delay and width to balance the stereo spread. Add a central panned part with a completely different speaker set-up to add interest to a simple arrangement.
- Use SpeakerMix Pro as an effect on other sources – vocals or drums or keys or anything at all to create a unique sound.
SpeakerMix Pro packs next-generation realism as the host for Celestion’s DSRs into an attractive and intuitive plugin that also adds value to your existing IR collection. In his words, this may just be the best Guitar Speaker Sim….Ever!