Create Impulse Responses with a DAW and EQ Plug-in

In this post, I’ll show you how to create impulse responses with a DAW and EQ plug-in. We’ll make an EQ profile of a guitar tone and then apply that profile to a clean impulse response in the DAW, resulting in a custom IR that can saved and be used whenever you like.

14 January 2021 – Written by Michael R. Myers #mykmyrs

Tags: #impulseresponse #ir #eq #TDRNovaGE #TokyoDawnRecords #equalizer #guitar #audioprofile #smartops #plugin #vst3 #au #daw #waveform11 #tone #sweep

Skill Level: Advanced

What You’ll Need to Get Started

In order to create impulse responses with a DAW and EQ plug-in, take a look at the following items you’ll need.

  • A clean white noise audio sample
  • A DAW that supports 3rd party plug-ins. In this post, I am using Tracktion Waveform 11 Pro.
  • Any EQ plug-in. I’m using a registered copy of version 2.1.3 of TDR’s Nova GE equalizer.
  • A dry guitar track
  • An audio sample of your target guitar tone to profile
  • A virtual amp simulator and an IR loader like STL Tones’ NAD IR

First things first

I am entirely a beginner at creating custom impulse response files and capturing equalizer profiles. This post is the result of research, trial and error and probably more luck than anything else during my first attempt. If I have misstated or written things that are not correct, please let me know and I’ll happily edit my erroneous information. My goal is to help others learn techniques to aid their music production needs.

Credit where credit is due

In order for me to get this far, I want to acknowledge the sources that have given me the motivation and information to complete my first EQ guitar tone profile. Without these folks, I would still be at step 0. Thank you for your work and information.

  • Andrew Wade’s YouTube Channel – This 35-second video is one of the best resources I have ever seen. This video was the break-through that showed me how to take my EQ capture and convert it into a custom IR file. Thank you, sir!
  • TokyoDawnRecords YouTube Channel – Have a look at the video “Introduction to Smart Operations in Nova GE and SlickEQ” at about the 6 minute mark to see how the presenter uses matching to try to get one microphone to sound like another that was used previously.
  • Resington’s YouTube Channel – Resington made his own impulse response and he listed a source where the author demonstrates how to make an EQ profile in Reaper. See below.
  • BGelais’ YouTube Channel – BGelais discusses the steps to make an EQ profile in Reaper with a Reaper plug-in. The concepts are transferable to other DAWs and tools for folks like me who do not use Reaper.

Create the EQ tone profile

  1. Create a new project in your DAW
  2. Add your audio reference sample to a new track. For guitars, it works best if you have as much of an isolated sample as possible, without other instruments.
  3. Add an instance of the TDR Nova GE plug-in to the audio sample track.Add-Nova-to-source-track.
  4. Record a new track of your dry guitar or load an existing DI file of your guitar that you want to transform. You’ll need to add an amplifier plug-in and IRs that get you close to your audio sample that you want to re-create.
  5. Add an instance of the TDR Nova GE plug-in to your DI guitar trackAdd-Nova-to-target-track
  6. Now that the source and target tracks are created, let’s work within Nova GE to extract the EQ profile of the sample.
  7. On your audio sample guitar track, open Nova GE and click the Smart Ops button.Click-Smart-Ops-button
  8. You’ll see the following screen. Click the Learn button and press “Play” in your DAW so that Nova can analyze your guitar tone sample file.Smart-Ops-Learn-Button
  9. When Nova as finished analyzing the source sample, the window above the learn button will display “LEARNED” and you will be able to see the outline of the EQ curve that it captured. At this time, let’s save it as an input reference by clicking REFERENCE, Use Learned Input as Reference. Close this instance of Nova to return back to your DAW.Smart-Ops-Learned
  10. On your target track, open Nova and click the Smart Ops button. When the Smart Operations window opens, click the LEARN button and profile your target track’s audio. When it’s complete, click REFERENCE, From Plugin Instance and choose the item listed, which is the Nova on your source track. Finally, in OPERATION, choose Static Match and click Apply.Target-Nova-Input
  11. Listen to your target track and you should be able to hear the EQ profile applied to it. Enable and disable Nova to be sure your curve is audible.
  12. Finally, the save the EQ profile in Nova GE to be re-used in the future,

Summary

In this post, we covered how to profile guitar tones with Tokyo Dawn Records’ Nova GE equalizer plug-in to re-create a sample guitar tone with a different guitar track. As long as you realize it won’t be exact and perfect, this process has the ability to help you sculpt a sound that resembles another.

If you would like to add to this content to help other folks, please contact me and let me know what you have in mind.