Following on from our previous Teufelsberg and Funktion One impulse response packs we're proud to bring you another soundsystem and, in our opinion, London's best. On first hearing a Flipside Soundsystem you think, 'Why can't all P.A. systems sound like this?' We've heard Flipside setups in cavernous spaces with very little damping, yet they manage to sound focussed and weighty over a wide sweet spot area. Of note in particular, the top end extends upwards in a clear and natural way that you would normally associate with high quality studio speakers. We were fans of the systems before we got in touch with the Flipside crew and were really glad they were into the idea of doing an IR pack. Turns out apart from being super professional on the night, they're down to earth guys too. We caught up with founder James Cooper for a few questions below and keep scrolling down for more download options and detailed instructions.
Get the impulse responses...
So as you know I've been very impressed by your soundsystems and to my ear they far outperform some more well known names in the industry. Can you explain a little about the technology and thinking behind the Flipside sound?
The Flipside designs are born of an ethos of quality components throughout. They are essentially tried and tested design approaches but executed without compromise.
We begin each design by auditioning drivers and ensuring we start with something we like the sound of. There's no digital trickery in our designs, the cabinets are merely designed to accentuate the driver and provide the performance aspects required. Once we have a driver we like we begin a process of revision and development of the driver itself, often there are aspects that we feel could be improved or some feature that could be changed to "get it out of the way of the sound". In the case of our mid horns, our signature piece, a great deal of time was spent perfecting the entry into the horn throat and how the driver interacts with the acoustics of the horn...
In the end I think what sets us apart is a willingness to spend the time getting the cabinet acoustics right where other designers settle for something that is passable or seek to "fix" issues in the processing end.
Since most of our readers are music makers, what kind of mistakes do you usually hear producers making in their tracks/live sets, that you feel could be rectified to let their sound hit big rig systems in a better way?
I think nowadays there is a culture of overusing compression/expansion and maximisation. Correctly used compression can glue elements of tracks together but often it just results in something that sounds "loud" and "tight" but lacks depth of field.
Similarly I think the art of stereo imaging in production has all but disappeared. For me a large part of what makes a track immersive is a sense of space, if you can listen to a mono split of a track and here nothing different from the stereo mix I think there are serious questions to be asked.
As a designer you focus on a set of elements that become your signature, for me I hold dynamics and imaging at the top of my list. They are hard quantities to achieve in loudspeaker design and much can be learnt from the audiophile hifi market, it's hard to find a PA that can actually deliver a coherent image. This is one of the reasons I think these factors have been somewhat overlooked in the music production of recent years. It's disheartening to spend time crafting a track that delivers a deep, layered, 3 dimensional sound only to then play it out on a pa system that butchers all your hard work...
Similarly though it can be equally disheartening to spend a year designing a loudspeaker that you know can do justice to such tracks only to hear hour after hour of compressed, flat tracks played out on it...
Also... Modular... Use more analogue synthesis... It's just better!
Can you tell us about some of the venues or gigs where we can hear Flipside systems in 2016?
So the big flagship install is at EGG LDN. Over the past three years we've been working continually with the venue and the results are great. It's a four room super-venue in which you can find all but a few of our products powered by some seriously uncompromising infrastructure.
Besides EGG we hire out to events all around London and the UK. Currently we're working on a very exciting Shoreditch venue that should open its doors later this year as well as a custom design for an events space down in our native Brixton.
Keep an eye out for London Modular's review nights as you can be pretty sure to find us there... and they're always something special. Just contact us if you've got something coming up. Increasingly we are focusing on smaller scale events and spaces in an effort to support fresh promoters doing something exciting.
The impulse response pack contains 4 files:
The true stereo set gives the most realistic impression of what it sounds like to stand in front of these speakers. If you’re using the parallel stereo or the straight mono IRs it’s best to reduce the stereo width of your master channel to about 25–50% to mimic the width reduction that occurs with the true stereo set.
If you have accurate monitoring and an acoustically treated room that’s quite dry sounding then speakers will work. In this case it’s best to use the parallel stereo or the straight mono impulse responses set to full stereo width.
However, where these IRs really shine is by using the true stereo set with a good quality pair of headphones (preferably open-backed). This removes the influence of your own room acoustics and by using the true stereo set you get a slightly narrow stereo image comparable to standing about 12 feet in front of a set of Flipside Soundsystem speaker stacks. This emulation of the behaviour of real speakers make these IRs a valuable aid to anyone who’s forced to mix on headphones.
The default set are 24bit 44.1kHz WAV files. But if they don’t work…
This full collection has the converted 44.1, 48, 88.2 and original 96kHz sample rates each at 16 and 24 bit depths versions for your convenience. The conversion was performed by Naoki Shibata’s excellent Shibatch SRC HQ.
This 2005 Sound On Sound article explains convolution and using IRs not just for reverbs which is the standard use but for other processes too.
Or you could just get stuck in with a convolution plugin native to your system.
If you find that your DAW doesn’t have a native convolution reverb plugin you can use a third party plugin to load these such as these ones.
For us, Liquidsonics provide the best option(s). Both of the following are cross platform plugins and offer true stereo convolution at zero latency.
We’ve spent a lot of time and effort on these IRs. These weren’t just set and forget sweep recordings, they’re the result of many hours of critical listening and tweaking both on location and back in the studio. We’re hoping to create more useful tools like this to help you make great sounding mixes, quickly and efficiently.
If you use this IR set and would like us to create more like it, here’s how you can help:
Finally. Remember. Like anything involving convolution, you don’t have to use these IRs as intended. Use them in productions as a standard reverb if you want to. Reverse them, mangle them, distort them; these are just a starting point.
Many thanks to all at Flipside Soundsystem for the collaboration.