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Old 03-21-2011, 11:17 PM
Chris Townsend Chris Townsend is offline
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Daly City, CA
Posts: 792
Lightbulb Speaker Breakup

I wanted to say a few things about the new Speaker Breakup feature in Eleven Rack, so all of you can get the most out of it. My personal and very biased opinion is that it's a fantastic feature, which makes Eleven Rack sound even better, so it's definitely worth checking out. Also, the algorithm has been totally redesigned from what's in the Eleven Plug-In and has a completely different control taper, so I suggest discarding any preconceived notions. But regardless, I think you'll like the new one even better.

When you first start playing around with speaker breakup I recommend using headphones, because usually the difference is a little more noticeable. While any preset will work just fine, I think some presets do a better job of showing off the difference that breakup makes. Bolder Axe and Browntown are particularly good choices.

Under the hood the breakup control is mapped to numerous parameters, so that the user can get a considerable range of sounds from a single control. The speaker breakup algorithm is a combination of cone breakup, speaker "compression" and other types of speaker distortion. In a very simplified sense the breakup control adjusts the amount of breakup distortion and it also adjusts the amount of natural speaker "compression". The speaker compression is not really like any compressor effect you're used to, so I used the term "compression" loosely. Anyhow, it mainly affects high frequencies, so the sound tends to get darker as this compression is increased. Sometimes it can also sound as if there is less breakup when the sound gets darker from this compression, even though the actual amount breakup distortion may have increased.

Around 1.0 to 2.0 on the dial the algorithm adds a relatively subtle "smoothing" of the high-end, although even this setting can be quite obvious on certain material. By about 3.0, speaker compression kicks in fully, which results in a somewhat darker sound. At about 5.0 there is less compression, but more breakup distortion. Above 8.0, the speaker breakup distortion starts to become more extreme than what would typically occur in an actual guitar speaker. These higher settings tend to work better with darker-sounding cabs. And as a general rule high gain amps work better with lower breakup settings, while low-to-medium-gain amps often work well with higher breakup settings.

More specifically there are a number of nice effects that breakup can have on your sound. For one, the algorithm only kicks in when you are pushing the amp and speaker really hard, so it will have virtually no effect on purely clean tones or on distorted tones with the master volume turned way down. But if you set the amp right you can get nice clean tones with your volume backed off and raging distortion and breakup with the volume maxed. In other words, it can make the sound more expressive and responsive.

Also, it makes the transition from clean to distorted smoother and more gradual. Without it there is a clearer transition at the point when the power tubes start clipping. This can be a big benefit for moderately clean tones, because transients that clip don't stick out as being obviously distorted, but instead sound "smoother". In other words, without breakup the harder you play you get: clean, clean, clean, clip, clip Whereas with breakup as you play harder you get: clean, clean-ish, slight clip, more clip, lots of clip.

At certain settings (e.g. 3.0) the speaker compression dominates, so generally you get a darker sound the harder you play. This can smooth transients in a nice way. Of course, it will depend on the particular application and what you're going for.

And last but not least, it can smooth out high-end "fizziness" from tube clipping. Even tubes can hard clip if you drive them hard enough, which results in very high frequency harmonics. To me these very high harmonics sometimes sound as if they are separate from, or sit on top of, the main guitar sound. With breakup I would describe the sound as being more integrated. In other words, the low frequencies and the high frequencies better blend together to create a unified sound.

Ultimately I think it's more realistic, but I'll let all of you be the judge of that.
Chris Townsend
Guitar Products Architect
Digidesign, A Division of Avid, Inc.
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:20 PM
guitardom guitardom is offline
Join Date: May 2004
Location: New Mexico
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Default Re: Speaker Breakup

Quite an explanation chris. Thank you. These little (well not so little) tidbits can be quite helpful!


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Old 03-21-2011, 11:27 PM
jesling jesling is offline
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Location: Colorado Springs
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Default Re: Speaker Breakup

Thanks a lot Chris!
I'm looking forward to dialing in some awesome sounding guitar.
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:34 PM
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TheChimp TheChimp is offline
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Default Re: Speaker Breakup

We also made it so that you can keep Speaker Breakup on when you're using the Outputs to Amp without the cab. It can sound really nice feeding a tube amp. Adjust to taste. But remember it's still on when the cab is off!

(You can turn it off in each Rig by just setting it to 0.0)
The Chimp
Delivery Manager/CSM, Guitar Products/AAX Plug-ins
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:34 PM
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Benoni Benoni is offline
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Default Re: Speaker Breakup

So what did you all do, to include this in the ERXP? just optimize the algorithm? I think it sounds better in the 11R than in the software which i also have, or maybe im going crazy or deaf, or both

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Old 03-22-2011, 02:15 AM
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zedhed zedhed is online now
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Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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Default Re: Speaker Breakup

Originally Posted by TheChimp View Post
We also made it so that you can keep Speaker Breakup on when you're using the Outputs to Amp without the cab. It can sound really nice feeding a tube amp. Adjust to taste. But remember it's still on when the cab is off!

(You can turn it off in each Rig by just setting it to 0.0)
NICE! Can't wait to try that out.
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:22 AM
maddmatt maddmatt is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: London
Posts: 101
Default Re: Speaker Breakup

Stupid question, where and how do I get this pack, surely its ready for release, its 9:25am GMT 22nd March already!!
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:22 AM
mikefont mikefont is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 691
Default Re: Speaker Breakup

Thanks for the foreword on the speaker breakup Chris. That will come in handy when I start playing around with it!

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Old 03-22-2011, 05:29 AM
timos timos is offline
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Australia
Posts: 53
Default Re: Speaker Breakup

Thanks Chris, it will be great if it does really tame the high end fizz. Hopefully I can dump Red Wirez, for the most part, except for stereo tracks maybe.
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:25 AM
Badcard Badcard is offline
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 131
Default Re: Speaker Breakup

Can't wait tio try it out, it's one of the feature I've been waiting for the most!!
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