Direct Recording Options...?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by js54, Feb 4, 2005.

  1. js54

    js54 Member

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    Maybe this has been addressed before, I've read some past posts (the POD vs. ToneLab)...but I'm looking for more recording specific info.

    I'm using Pro-Tools and due to my apartment, cranking my amp is not an option. I can get decent tones at low volumes, but late in the evening...it's not an option.

    I have a 1st generation POD - it's just OK and not good enough for much more than rough sketches. I'm doing all strat bluesy/jazz, EJ/Clapton-ish types of tones.

    What products or tricks have you guys used to get "usable" tones with D/I?
    I know that nothing will compare to a real amp and a mic, but there has to be something out there that delivers workable tones for demo purposes.

    I've been hearing a lot about the PODxt, VOX ToneLab, V-Stack, SansAmps....etc.. They all seem to have mixed reviews.

    Thanks.
     
  2. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    If you're not looking for super hi gain, you may want to check out an ART Powerplant. Not fancy, just like a 2-channel amp, but it sounds REALLY nice and can be had CHEAP.

    Loudboy
     
  3. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    Here's two suggestions:

    A tube preamp DI like the GT brick, Avalon U5 or Summit TD-100 to record a dry mix. Then amp farm or amplitube of whatever amp sim you have. And you can always reamp the track when the neighbors are out.

    Or, a GI-100 DI and a dummy load on any amp. The speaker sim on that DI sounds pretty decent. Or there are a few load boxes with the DI built in. The Koch box comes to mind.
     
  4. js54

    js54 Member

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    Thansk for the ideas.....

    The Koch looks interesting........

    I'll have to do a bunch more research and see what works and what fits the budget..........

    Thanks.
     
  5. journo

    journo Member

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    Hi,

    I record direct using the Boss GS-10 with good result. I have just tried the Boss GT-8 direct and it sounds somewhat better than the GS-10 with a Strat. The GS-10 sounds a bit better with humbuckers.

    Cheers,

    Mats N
     
  6. GerryJ

    GerryJ Member

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    I'm posting this on the Cubase Forum, but I'm interested in what you all use
    here as well-
    I'm getting a system with an RME Fireface800 into CubaseSX, and want to use
    the direct line in on the fireface for guitar/bass silent recording. I've
    got good outboard analog gear - Matchless hot box tube preamp, TC chorus,
    Fender spring reverb, Moogerfooger low pass and ring mod/tremelo - But I
    don't have a stand alone guitar pre-amp (like the Mesa recording pre-amp),
    and I don't even have a pre-amp out on my amps (they're OLD!).
    My question is, will Cubase have enough EQ options for me, or do I need an
    outboard hardware EQ thing to tweak the tone? Thanks!
     
  7. Paul Secondino

    Paul Secondino Member

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    You've gotten some good ideas here already. The first is trying to use your amp wit ha mic. So in addition to that, I'd suggest trying to use your amp and mic it at a relatively low level and buy a good mic pre with lots of headroom. If you were to use the avalon as mentioned, you could crank the hell out of your mic without adding much noise. A cheap mic pre will add alot of noise with the added volume. However, great mic pres start around 1500.00 and keep going up. My UA 2-610 is $1900.00 new.

    The other idea mentioned is to use a load simulator/DI . THe best I have heard is the Palmer. palmer was making two versions and one accepted line level load only and the hot rodded version accepted a full speaker level load. that will get your amp's relatively true sound into your DAW.

    Related to that, you can use a good preamp or your amp's preamp out and use a speaker sim plug in. The best one I heard is made by native instruments. It's not the amp sim, it's the speaker sim.

    For doing jazz,blues, I think a Pod will be lacking.THe worst thing about the Pods is that the cleans are not clean at all. The cheap-o J station actually has much better sounding cleans but horrible sounding gain. The Tone Lab sounds better than both to my ears and is more musical I think.
     
  8. js54

    js54 Member

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    Paul,

    Thanks for the info.

    Unforunately, a $1500 mic pre is not an option.....someday.

    The Palmer sounds cool. I'm running Plexi and tweed amps, so no pre-amp outs, just speaker outs. When running the Palmer PDI-09, what would one use a load so that wouldn't have to go though a speaker??

    Thanks.
     
  9. GuitslingerTim

    GuitslingerTim Member

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    I use a Weber MASS with multiple impedance selections for running tube heads directly into my soundcard. The DI option in the MASS includes tone shaping controls. The end result doesn't sound like a cranked head through a cab, but it sounds good. The only feature it lacks is cabinet simulation, but I have several plugins that accomplish that.

    I also purchased an H&K Tubeman which creates tube tones exclusively for direct recording, but I've yet to find the time to use it. The clips I've heard were over the top.
     
  10. Paul Secondino

    Paul Secondino Member

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    Well, if you purchase a Palmer PSA 04 , it provides you with the speaker load. It is a Direct box that accepts the speaker out of your amp. The reason I know of it is because a local friend has one and we compared it to the ADA microcab. The Palmer sounds much much better.I learned from alot of members about the quality of the Palmer as well. I believe Ed Degenaro uses one as well for certain things.

    Your other option is to modify the amps to have an effects loop.This isn't so hard but it's probably not necesarry. John Suhr is quite the master of modding Marshall amps, among others.

    to my knowledge, there is a member of the Huge Racks forum selling a Palmer PGA 04 www.hugeracksinc.com

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  11. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Guest

    In regards to the POD and possibly other modelling devices I would strongly suggest NOT using the onboard effects for recording. I have been doing some A/Bing now that I have finished treating my control room and can hear things more accurately and I have found that the onboard effects are gritty and rough around the edges. Thats not news to me but the extent of it was pretty surprizing. I didn't think they were all THAT bad. The sound of my inexpensive Midiverb4 applied to the dry amp/cab sounds from the POD were so much cleaner and articulate. This isn't really surprizing. They only have so much processing power to work with.

    So, with that in mind I would suggest recording what ever you go with dry and apply effects in the mix.
     
  12. js54

    js54 Member

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    Paul,

    Can you give more details about the Palmer PGA -04?

    What kind of results have you gotten? Are they good enough for tracking final tracks or does it sound "obviously" direct?

    How close to a mic'ed amp does it sound?

    Is it really worth the $$ or is one better off just dealing with micing an amp at low volme?
     
  13. Paul Secondino

    Paul Secondino Member

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    I'd always prefer to mic and keep the amp at medium volume and then use a powerful mic pre to get the signal up to unity gain in your DAW. Also, a good interface, (I have two Aardvark Q10's) can offer respectable clean gain. The pres in it are actually quite good. No legendary sound but very clean and certainly better than say the pres on a Mackie Mixer.

    The Palmer definitely sounds direct but it's the best that I have heard. I had an Ada microcab and the thing just sounded like junk to me. Atleast with the PGA 04 , you get the sonic coloration of the power tube section of your amp.

    If you get a chance to talk or email Ed Degenaro, I think he can offer you lots of great real world experience with his Palmer gear. I forget which unit(s) he has or had. I know that he uses one of the palmer units for mainly lie playing and send a Direct signal from his amp to the sound board.

    I'd only go for the Palmer if there's no way to mic the amp and get good signal.THat's almost always the most natural,ear pleasing sound.
     
  14. GerryJ

    GerryJ Member

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    FWIW, Joe Satriani used a Palmer (fed by Marshall and Rectifier heads, and his Wells amp head boutique thing) for "Strange Beautiful Music" CD, and possibly other CDs.

    Johnny A used the pre-amp out of a Marshall 30th anniversary head to direct record his first album (and ?maybe the 2nd too).

    The direct sound has a certain 'hi-fi' quality, even when distorted, that's unique, which you may or may not like.

    For Pipsqueeks like me, the Direct question has to do with recording at 10 PM at night without getting either arrested, divorced, or both :cool: .
     
  15. tiltrite

    tiltrite Member

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    So far I've tried "real" amps from plexi RI to roccas to fenders into palmer pga04 and sequis motherload; Also tried the vox tonelab and pod pro (not xt). Liked the tonelab for slightly dirty sounds, and it has the best auto-wah going imo. After lots of experimentation, the best DI for me ended up being a tim into a vstack classic (liked it the best after shootout between vstacks tweedy/bhm/and classic) into an a-designs 'reddi' tube DI box. Really believable plexi style sounds.

    Having said that, I'm now using..... native instruments guitar rig. After some tweaking I've saved a couple of really good sounds that sit well in a mix with vox/bass/drums etc... At first it was just for jotting down ideas but it's become a regular on my demos. Have fun!
     
  16. Marcello

    Marcello Member

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  17. js54

    js54 Member

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    I was actually able to improve on the POD tone by running into a Digitech Bad Monkey (Mixer out-it's a very basic spkr sim) and then into the POD.

    Then over the weekend went back to my pedals, amp with an SM57 - even at 1 on the amp volume knob, it still sounded way better than POD land.

    I'm very interested in hearing the NI Guitar Rig, Palmer, V-stack, et al......

    However, I am toying with the idea of building an iso box for my amps. It would bigger than the Demeter product..kind of like a mini vocal booth. The big risk is, after I buy and build, will the sound be controlled so that the apartment neighbors below are not disturbed by a rumbling amp.
    Any one have personal experience with a home made iso cab....?


    Bottom line, an apartment is NOT a suitable environment for a recording studio. Compromises have to be made....it's coming down to what flavor of compromise and how much money will it cost....
     
  18. joseph

    joseph Member

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    Does the Native Instruments sound that good? I'm biased (or brainwashed :D ) into thinking that the tube analog sound of an amp head into a load box, or a tube pre-amp, "has" to sound better than a digital program for guitar tones - but am I wrong (again)? thanks
     
  19. tiltrite

    tiltrite Member

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    All you can really do is check it out within the context of your own needs. The NI is a great tool for a certain job that I need done. I can't see myself showing up to a gig and whipping out the laptop with NI and plugging that into the PA. It won't replace my Ganesha or my Harry Joyce, or even my superchamp- but but who knows what the future holds:D I did indeed try many quality amps into various quality load boxes and speaker emulators. For my purposes I've ended up using the NI stuff.

    A lot of this might be due to my limitations as an audio engineer. I've only recently begun recording my own music and I have a LOT to learn. That might be another reason that I'm able to get better sounds with the software than with the heads and load boxes etc... Being a sound recordist is a whole other job description than being a player and takes awhile to get any good at it. I've been reading up some great books on audio engineering such as "mixing with your mind" "behind the glass" and Bruce Swedien's book "make mine music" and after reading about all that goes into getting a great recording to happen, I'm just happy to get a good usable tone with the limited resources and gear available to me.

    So it's not going to replace my "real" gear, but when I'm laying down demos and need a quick variety of good tones that sit well in a mix the NI stuff has been great. I can't stress enough the "sits well in a mix" part, which it does pretty well. There's a lot of factors that went into me using the software: simplicity, transportability, price, etc... in addition to sound quality. Just another tool in the shed, and I've been lucky enough to make it work for me. One of the TGP members has in his sig that it's a great time to be a guitarist; I agree, we have more choices than ever. Above all, have fun!
     
  20. joseph

    joseph Member

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    tech 21
    Checked their site, they have some interesting looing rack pre-amps for guitar/bass - any one have recording experience with them?
     

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