Uber-Producer Bob Rock on Celestion Guitar Speakers, Impulse Responses
“The Celestion Impulse Responses are a sonic revelation…They’re a must-have for pro studios and home recordings alike." Enthused legendary producer Bob Rock. "This is just the beginning of the possibilities, and I’m looking forward to more speaker profiles from Celestion.”
Sometimes people’s names just fit. Computer pioneer Steve Jobs, who created quite a few of them. Olympic track champion Usain Bolt, who certainly can run. And Canadian Music Hall of Famer Robert Jens Rock has lent his production acumen to so many albums by today’s hardest-hitting and most successful bands that saying, “This album needs to Rock,” might as well be how they hire him. Bob Rock tells us that his lifelong use of Celestion guitar speakers was a natural springboard into his recent adoption of Celestion Impulse Responses, the digital tonal profiles of classic Celestion drivers, meant for use in today’s profiling amps, modeling software, and convolution plug-ins.
“For most guitar sounds that I need to get, whether it’s been for James Hetfield of Metallica or Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe, the drivers in the amps have been Celestion,” says Rock about two of the heavy metal juggernauts with whom he’s most readily name-checked — although his talents are also diverse enough to have earned him a Grammy Award for crooner Michael Bublé’s To Be Loved. “Whether the head is a Boogie or a Marshall, it’s always Celestion in the cabinet. I like the low-powered Greenbacks in a four-by-12" configuration. Same with the Creambacks. Sometimes I also like a single 12" Red in an open cabinet. When I find something that has a character I like, I tend to stick with it. When tracking, I also like to get the guitar player really involved with getting the sound, moving the mic to find a sweet spot, and so on, and usually with Celestion speakers that process is very quick.”
Sometimes, however, Rock needs to be even quicker, as when auditioning sounds for demos. “I first heard about the Celestion IRs [impulse responses] through my friend Alexander Dumble, who makes the boutique Dumble amplifiers,” Rock explains. “I then learned more about them from Rick Skillman at Celestion, and loaded all the IRs into my Kemper Profiler amp, which I use a lot for pre-production. When I do these kinds of demos, I work very quickly and I end up keeping a lot of what happens. I have go-to sounds, and with the impulse responses, I always find something that makes it more real. The Greenback and the Creamback — those are my go-to here just like with the actual speakers.”
Working quickly also means sometimes having to refine a guitar track that was recorded in haste to capture a musical idea while it was fresh. “There’s this amazing thing that just happened. I was mixing this stuff that had average, in-the-box sorts of guitar sounds, because when you’re doing something quickly, you just grab whatever works.
The engineer I work with, Adam Greenholtz, loaded all the Celestion IRs into a plug-in so we could just go through and audition all the profiles in the context of the mix. I put the Celestions on the guitars and — oh my God! It was like re-amping, only really easily.
“I’ve been mixing my whole life, and I’ve had to re-amp some truly horrible guitar sounds along the way,” he continues. “It helps that I’ve used Celestion speakers for so long and know the sound I’m looking for, but with the IRs, you can take a bad guitar sound and make it actually quite good, and fit it into the mix very quickly.”
What are the most current Bob Rock projects to benefit from Celestion hardware and impulse responses alike? “I just used it on something with Richie Sambora, and I’m also working with a young guy from Montreal named Travis Cormier,” says Bob, referring respectively to the guitarist of Bon Jovi fame and a winner of the French-Canadian version of singing competition The Voice. I just used the Greenback on a mix with him right before Christmas (2017).
“The Celestion Impulse responses are a sonic revelation — great choices for my Kemper Profiler and my in-the-box plug-ins,” Bob sums up, “They’re a must-have for pro studios and home recordings alike. This is just the beginning of the possibilities, as I’m looking forward to more speaker profiles I’ve heard may be coming. I want to see the seriously vintage stuff, like pre-‘Rola’ speakers. That’s what we call ‘Bob food!’ But to use Celestions for 40 years and now have this? Thank you Celestion. You rock!”
About Celestion and Celestion Guitar Speakers
An important element to essential British guitar tone since the birth of Rock & Roll, Celestion Guitar Speakers are famous for their lively and vocal midrange character with plenty of sparkle and chime. With worldwide headquarters in Ipswich, England, Celestion design, develop and manufacture premium guitar and bass loudspeakers, and high-quality professional audio drivers for sound reinforcement. These world-renowned speakers are used onstage and in clubs, theatres and other venues the world over.
Contact Celestion at: firstname.lastname@example.org and visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/celestion.
Learn more about Celestion Impulse Responses at www.celestionplus.com