Poll: Ethics of profiling using Impulse Responses

  • Is using IRs for profiling and then sharing ethical? 51

    The result is only visible to the participants.

    I would really like to create some profiles for others using a load box and IRs. That has raised two internal debates that I am pondering over.

    1) I feel that I am not violating the conditions with which I acquired the IRs. I am not distributing the IRs. I am routing my own amps with my own settings through them, I am adjusting how much signal I am feeding the IRs, more often than not I use a combination of IRs rather than just one and lastly, the profiling process creates a cabinet that is better than the original IR.

    However, I am wondering about the ethics of it, given that I have not created the IRs.

    2) I am wondering whether profiles should be created using IRs at all. Could it be some kind of Pandora's box where the quality of profiles gets diluted somehow? After all, Mothership doesn't recommend profiling using any kind of load box, because the results won't be 1:1. I have gotten some pretty good results that I have not shared. Much better than a lot of free profiles on the Rig Exchange, for example.

    I think this needs some debate. Please note that this is not like taking the IRs and putting them through the Cabinet Maker software (that is, imho; I'd love to know if it is). Perhaps Mothership could weigh in, or maybe commercial profilers or anybody who has released IRs.

    It would be good to know what the opinion is of other users. I haven't done it yet and I have no issues with never doing it if it somehow violates community guidelines or any terms and conditions I was unaware of.

    Please let me know why you voted one way or another.

  • nightlight

    Changed the title of the thread from “Poll: Ethics of profiling using IRs” to “Poll: Ethics of profiling using Impulse Responses”.
  • So let's say you use the UA OX to load down the amp, process the signal through an IR, then line out to the Kemper to produce a KPA Profile. You're taking one product, combining it with other products and creating a new product.

    That's not really any different from using a mic to create a KPA Profile -- is there an ethical quandary to profiling the sound of a microphone in the KPA? Or a particular preamp, say, a Neve preamp?

    If that use case is unethical, then so is the KPA itself.

    I mean, it certainly doesn't SEEM right, but the ethical argument against it would also apply to profiling an amp, to microphones, to any outboard gear in the profiling signal path.

  • Wow... Good question.

    I think if you combine some existing IRs (i.e. you are applying your own ear, tastes and technique), then I lean toward it being ethical (or at least not un-ethical).

    If you make a profile using a "stock" IR by some third party - especially if that IR is not free - then it becomes much more blurry to me. Here I think I lean toward it being UN-ethical.

  • You equally own the microphone and mic preamp that you’d be using to profile.

    Or for that matter the amps you’d be Profiling

    If you’re not violating some moral contract with Vox or Hiwatt by Profiling their creations then you’re just as much not doing so with the IR maker.

    As long as you own the products

  • situation: you use the IR by converting it. This you are free to do. You then take your own amp, mics, preamps etc and use your own settings in your own studio with humidity, temperature and guitar on a single unique day.

    I reckon it makes no difference, since you've still gotta swing that axe yourself! If IRs are available, good or bad they are to be used.


  • In the software development biz, there are commercial libraries that you can bolt on to add functionality without having to reinvent the wheel. Kinda like adding a stomp box to your guitar rig. The license agreement for this sort of thing generally follows the same pattern. You can sell your own apps that you built using the library no problem, that's what they sell it for. What you can't do is sell or share the library itself, because that's someone else's property and you'd be hurting their business. It's not yours to give.

    It seems like it would be the same sort of thing in this domain. If you create cool stuff with a product someone sells to help you create cool stuff, distributing your own work is in a way promoting their product. Everyone wins.

    That said, as with all intellectual property, I suspect there's no one global answer and it would be worth checking with the manufacturers of the given IRs to see what their policy is. Some might be grateful for the exposure, others might threaten to invoke lawyers, counterproductive though that may be (people aren't always rational). Above and beyond personal honor, it's always worth considering the risk of legal action, warranted or not.

    What I like the most about this conversation is a guy who's actually considering the ethics of using someone else's intellectual property. Would love to see more of that in the world.

  • I guess it matters by how much you value IRs. Personally I don’t value them at all, in fact I view them as a detriment - I would be less interested in cabs based in IRs than those made the traditional way, so ethically to me it’s the same as people profiling another sim. But as long as it’s posted letting you know that it’s not from a real source so I don’t waste my time then I’m good.

  • The price of a soft pillow is a clear conscience, so...

    Seek the IR author/s' permission, credit him / her / them in the sales blurb and use the Cab / Mic metadata fields to document IR's used and their author/s.

    This way there can be no question of legality or ethical compromise.

    Unless I'm missing something, this approach would render the poll choices redundant; neither option fits my outlined solution so I didn't vote.

  • It's not personal use if it's being shared publicly, which is what the poll question asks, Will:

    Is using IRs for profiling and then sharing ethical?

    This is why I suggested full transparency, which IMHO would remove such concerns:

    Seek the IR author/s' permission, credit him / her / them in the sales blurb and use the Cab / Mic metadata fields to document IR's used and their author/s.

    Of course, if they're being shared for free, the "sales blurb" part of that would be "description".

  • Well, it seems that the consensus is on your side.


    If I were creating commercial IRs, I would want to do everything in my power to stop those IRs from being distributed outside of my sales channels. Which makes sense, right? I have a right to profit from my work. Or at a minimum, not take a loss on it.

    And then you take my IR, and create a Kemper profile using it. It becomes hugely popular, and you, a newly minted millionaire, live life in the lap of luxury. With Lamborghini Kitchen Appliances and a Trophy Wife.

    The real question here is - do I deserve a cut? Could you have made your product without mine?

    In the software world, if I build a product (software) that uses proprietary code from another developer, I would need to license it. There may already be a license in place - one of the many open source licenses. It could also be a proprietary commercial license.

    I would be in violation of that license.

    So, we can't really answer this question - you need to reach out to whomever created the IR you are using and see what the terms of use actually state. A recording using that IR would most certainly be covered- but creating what is in effect an IR of a different type may not.

    KPA Unpowered Rack, Kemper Remote, X32 Rack, uTrack 24, MTP AV,BC Rich Mockingbird(s)

  • The real question here is - do I deserve a cut? Could you have made your product without mine?

    Could you have made the profile without the microphone? Or the console, or the mic pres, or... What if you used a DAW plug-in to tweak the EQ of the IR in your loadbox? ... or whatever... The profile is a new creation at that point.

    Your example of "proprietary code" does not apply here. In this software scenario you're incorporating actual, working, 1-for-1, code. An example would be importing an Ownhammer IR into your profile, then selling that Profile CONTAINING the Ownhammer IR.

    But in the OPs scenario, loading an Ownhammer IR into a UA Ox or somewhere else in the signal chain is a completely different thing.

    Here's the irony... you could sell the profile "seeking to recreate the sound of an Ownhammer OH 412 Mars-CB M75+H75 OH2 impulse response." ;)

  • A microphone's purpose is to capture an audio signal. That's what it's for. This is very very different.

    An IR is meant to simulate a cabinet. The QUESTION is - is it meant to simply simulate a cabinet, or is it mean to simulate a cabinet in a specific setting - meaning, for the aural enjoyment of the audience?

    Am I allowed to sell a profile of a profile? I don't mean a copy, but rather... if I profile my kemper with another kemper while running a commercial profile? Disregard any issues with quality in this case, I'm not asking if it will sound good. I'm asking if I would be *allowed* to.

    My proprietary code example is perfectly valid - in that it pertains to licensing. It's up to the OP to do the research here, really. If Ownhammer's licenses limit the use of their IRs for performances, either live or recorded, then the point is moot and it's not allowed.

    Interesting, even if it's just a thought experiment.

    KPA Unpowered Rack, Kemper Remote, X32 Rack, uTrack 24, MTP AV,BC Rich Mockingbird(s)