Impulse responses have become increasingly popular in recent years thanks to their ability to faithfully reproduce the characteristics of any amplifier, speaker cab, or microphone. They provide a level of consistency and precision in tone shaping that has traditionally been challenging to achieve with traditional analog gear alone.
As more and more gear is becoming capable of loading IRs, we’re seeing an increasing number of IR packages hitting the market. One of the hottest on the market today is from a brand new brand, Tonemission, founded by Dream Theater guitarist, John Petrucci.
The John Petrucci IR Collection: Vol. 1 is Tonemission’s debut product offering, and comes with a package of impulse responses that flawlessly replicatePetrucci’s sound on the 3 most recent Dream Theater albums.
In this KillerGuitarRigs Review, we spent some time with this IR package to see what kind of tones we could squeeze out of it, and whether it really did match the Petrucci sound as advertised.
Whether or not you’re a Petrucci fan, there’s a lot of promise in a professionally engineered IR package like this – keep on reading to see what we thought!
Who is This For?
The John Petrucci IR Collection: Vol. 1 is ideal for a wide range of guitarists. Of course Dream Theater fans in particular will love this package, but we also think pretty much any prog metal or rock player will get a lot out of these IRs.
It’s also a great tool for both home and professional studio use, as well as for gigging guitarists looking for professionally produced signal chains.
Appearance / Features / Controls
All elements of this package were put together with accuracy in mind, which is why the entire bundle was captured at Dream Theater’s DTHQ studio, the same venue in which the albums the tones were based on were recorded. John Petrucci himself was directly involved in the creation of these IRs, together with the band’s engineer, James “Jimmy T” Meslin. The pair meticulously recreated the entire signal chain used on the albums, ensuring the most authentic emulation of the tones heard on those records, with everything from mic placement to room sound being considered.
It featured a range of different microphone models, including the same condenser, ribbon, and dynamic mics that were used on Petrucci’s 4×12 Mesa/Boogie cabinet in the studio, and also came with a room mic option, too.
The collection included a total of 34 impulse response files, allowing us the flexibility to select individual sounds, or create our own unique tones by blending different signals. This versatility enabled us to not only recreate Petrucci’s album tones verbatim, but also use them as a foundation for making our own unique sounds.
The IR files were provided in six different resolutions, including 16-bit/44.1kHz, 24-bit/44.1kHz, 16-bit/48kHz, 24-bit/48kHz, 24-bit/88.2kHz, and 24-bit/96kHz to ensure compatibility with a wide range of recording setups and platforms. This is the first time an IR pack has been released to specifically copy the exact sound of a guitarist on a particular album, and features like this really set the bar high for anybody else thinking of releasing a similar IR set.
There were direct sounds, blends, and room ambience elements from all of the recording sessions for Terminal Velocity, Liquid Tension Experiment 3, and a View From the Top of the World, providing a huge set of resources for us to work with.
One of the best features of the bundle was that it gave us the ability to utilize each individual microphone as standalone sounds or create custom blends by loading multiple different IRs.
Performance / Sound
Setting up the IRs was pretty straight forward. They were compatible with any IR loader, whether that’s a pedal, modeling amp, or into your DAW. We installed the IRs directly into Logic for our test.
There were 3 individual packs within the bundle, the Terminal pack, the Liquid pack, and the Dreamworld pack, and each had the IRs that corresponded to the specific album.
We started out with Terminal, and found that the clarity, articulation, and note definition were absolutely spectacular. We’re by no means Petrucci level players, but we definitely felt that the tones we got very much complemented our playing.
We got highly saturated leads, with smooth, drawn out sustain. The mids were highly pronounced, and had just the right amount of distortion to give us that edgy tone Petrucci is so well known for. The delay and reverb were tastefully added, giving just enough depth and dimension while retaining clarity and the tightness of the bottom end.
With the Liquid pack we got tight, punchy tones that really lent themselves well to a heavy, chugging sound. We found this pack to be expressive, and super dynamic.
In the Dreamworld pack, we got even more unique sounds. We especially liked the lush cleans, and the ambient soundscapes we were able to produce. It was ideal for arpeggiated lead lines and solos.
In all, each of the packs sounded and felt great. It’s clear that there’s been some real sound engineering involved, and not just set it and forget it profiling. The accuracy was really incredible, and while this is inevitably going to vary from person to person depending on the speakers, amp, or headphones you’re using, we think that the majority of players will be happy with just how close this gets to Petrucci’s tone.
Final Thoughts on the Tonemission John Petrucci IR Collection: Volume 1
We’ve used plenty of IRs over the last few years at KGR, including many home made attempts at recreations of specific artist’s tones, but the fact that the man himself, John Petrucci, put together the Tonemission John Petrucci IR Collection: Volume 1 lent this bundle a level of accuracy no home recording enthusiast could even come close to matching.
We loved the variety of tones we got from the 3 packs, and found that the clarity and articulation on each was amazing. These professionally engineered IRs are studio ready, whether you want to use them as they are, or blend them to create your own sound.