How Easy to Use are Celestion Impulse Response Files?

The most important feature of our impulse response files is their accuracy – giving you great tone that’s almost indistinguishable from a real Celestion speaker/cab setup.

But we’ve also put a lot of thought into making our IR downloads easy to use.

One recent YouTube demo highlighted this aspect really well and we wanted to focus on this here. The video is by Adam Steel at Hop Pole Studios in Manchester and you can view the whole thing here:

The Complexity Dilemma

As Adam explains on the video, there is a big dilemma around how many IR files (recording variations with different mics in different positions) to provide for one particular speaker.

If you have just one or two impulse response files for a speaker, this can be very limiting – it would be like just having the option of one cabinet type, with the same microphone in one or two positions, forever.

Even if you happened to really like the tone you got from those one or two options, this would give you fewer tonal options than if you actually owned the physical speaker and cabinet – because with a physical setup you can at least play with different mics in different positions to adjust your tone.

At the other extreme, you could have thousands of impulse files, representing many different microphones at lots of different distances and positions, each giving very slightly different tonal effects. Working your way through all these options, trying to compare them all and remember which ones you like, would be incredibly onerous. And the chances are you’d only ever end up using a handful of them. As Adam so eloquently puts it: “It’s option paralysis, it can take you forever.”

The Celestion Solution

We’re really glad that Adam picked up on the way we decided to record and organise our impulse response files to try and address this problem. (Start viewing the video at around the 10:30 mark to hear this bit. For info, Adam is using the Celestion Blue IR files, inside a Kazrog virtual amp.)

What we’ve aimed to do is provide enough variations to cover most of the key types of tone that guitar players are interested in, but few enough that it’s feasible to wrap your head around the range of options available, so you can actually start using them.

The impulse response files are organised into folders, rather than a single list of all the files on one level. This makes it easier to navigate to the type of cabinet (if you’ve bought the multi-cabinet package) and mic combination you want and ignore the rest if you want to (to look just at the options for the Sennheiser 421 for example).

We’ve also aimed to make things easier by using file names that are descriptive of the overall tone that each one provides. We could have taken an “engineering” approach to file naming and mentioned the distance and position of each mic. Instead we decided to take a more intuitive approach, by using terms that guitar players very often talk about when describing tone. We have 6 descriptive terms for the Sennheiser 421 and Shure SM57: Balanced, Bright, Dark, Dark2 (extra Dark!), Fat and Thin, and these terms appear within the filename itself.

Here is a screenshot from Adam’s desktop, showing the 6 tone options for the Sennheiser 421 (left side of the screen – Cabinet 1). All Adam has to do is click on one of the 6 options and start playing to hear the tonal differences for each impulse. (Adam runs through all 6 tones on the video, around about the 17:20 point.)

Celestion Impulse Response Files – 7 tone options for the Sennheiser 421 – Balanced, Bright, Dark, Dark2, Fat and Thin

Adam has a lot more useful info on this video, so it’s well worth a watch. Adam is planning more videos showing Celestion IRs in more detail – so be sure to subscribe to his channel!

Explore the full range of Celestion impulse response files here.