There is no doubt that speaker impulse responses are improving the lives and saving the backs of many touring musicians, crew and front of house engineers, but that shouldn’t mean they get all the fun! CelestionPlus’ IRs can be appreciated by all and today, in this blog and accompanying video, I’m going to show you how easy it is to get started with Celestion IRs.
If you have ever had the slightest notion about getting in to recording music or even just having the ability to archive songs and riffs that isn’t just on your phone’s ‘voice memos’, then it’s highly likely you’ve done some kind of research into a laptop, DAW (digital audio workstation) and interface. These are the three important elements you’ll need to achieve the goal of laying down music with nice control and workflow.
What Do I Need?
So let’s presume you have an Apple computer with GarageBand. I know Apple isn’t the first choice for everyone, but it is a basic piece of kit that many of you will be familiar with, and for this blog tutorial, I wanted to pick a common but industry standard starting point.
You do not need a super-duper MacBook Pro with all the bells and whistles, I use a 2015 MacBook Air. GarageBand is Apple’s free DAW and while I could SO easily write a whole blog on the pure ridiculousness of this software being FREE… I’ll try and stay cool, but basically, it’s amazing. And while it might not have the full-fat properties of its senior, Logic Pro X, it does a heck of a lot, and yes, will allow you to use your shiny new Celestion IRs.
And that’s the point I really want to drive home from this blog. You do not need ProTools, Logic Pro X, Reactive Load-boxes or thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment to enjoy having a Celestion IR as a part of YOUR sound. Some of the bits above are important, but they don’t have to be right now, or perhaps for you, ever! Although, I highly recommend you do look up what a load-box is because that is something that could cost you serious issues and money if you get it wrong. However, we aren’t using real amplifiers today so feel free to read on…
What Do I Do?
Open up a new GarageBand template, make sure your signal chain is correct and that you can see your guitar’s audio is being recognized. Move over to the section where you can install your plugins and choose ‘Amp Designer’. If you haven’t ever messed with Amp Designer then be prepared to lose a few hours at some point as it’s pretty addicting to see what is offered but for right now, I’m choosing a Vox (ish) sound for my Rhythm sound and a Marshall (esque) tone for Lead and you can choose the same or find something else.
At the bottom of your virtual amp, you will see you can choose the Cabinet Style you want to go with your amp. 4×12’s, 2×12’s…seem familiar? This is GarageBand’s own speaker and Cab emulation. Still a worth while place to explore but I can see you’re itching to use them IRs so click the ‘Direct’ instead of a cabinet choice. This will now make the amp sound how all amps sound without a speaker attached. Terrible. Okay, now head back to your Plugin section and choose ‘Pulse’. If you’re not familiar with this IR Loader by Lancaster Audio then you should be because it’s wonderful and free.
Now, find the Impulse Response you want as your speaker. Today I’m using Vintage 30s but carry on with your choice. This is your sound.
You will be able to tell that the amp doesn’t sound terrible anymore, that’s because we have our Celestion speaker attached and we achieved this from by-passing GarageBand’s in-house cabinet emulation.
Hopefully, if you’ve been following along you’ve already steered off from the reading a little here and enjoyed experimenting with loading different impulse responses into your virtual amp. There’s not much else to do now except hit record and create some music!
I also recommend watching the video I have made to go along with this blog where you can see me doing the above and also hear some differences between GarageBand’s stock speaker/cab emulation and the tighter/richer tones of CelestionPlus’ IRs.
Professionally captured, multi mic’d Celestion speakers in your laptop, on your guitar track, in your new song!
If you are new to IRs, check out some other useful guides here:
https://www.celestionplus.com/ir-instructions/ – a guide on how to download our IRs and a list of other popular compatible modelling amps you can use them with.
https://www.celestionplus.com/ir-file-formats/ – a guide to our .WAV file formats
https://www.celestionplus.com/ir-mic-mix-info/ – IR Microphone and Mix Info – a guide to our standard speaker IR microphones and mic placements, and additional mic mixes.