Recording guitar direct... your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Gasp100, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Supporting Member

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    Just sold my AxeFX. A killer unit and super versatile, but I could not justify (or afford) tubes amp(S) and the AxeFX. So now I'm trying to determine the best course of action for headphone practice/playing and recording direct to disk.
    I've used Guitar Rig 2 before, it was okay but not great. How good is three as far as sonic improvement? I know they added stuff, but did they UPGRADE tones?
    I downloaded a demo of Amplitube (like the idea that you get a full working version for 10 days). It is pretty basic on the surface, but that's a good thing to me. I was up and running quickly and efficiently and it was easy to tweak, not sure how it will fair latency wise in tandem with Reaper.
    Anything else to look at for PC / software based recording in the $200-300 range (less is better obviously :)
    I am also toying with the idea of an attenutor / dummy load on my tube amps with DI into my soundcard. I would still need some type of cab sim and I'm concerned it just won't sound nearly good enough.
    Another option is one (or a few) of those Tech21 Character pedals. I've heard pretty good things, they are not that expensive and I've heard THEY actually take other pedals in front / behind and then into the soundcard. That would also take any latency issues and processing power off the audio card / PC as well. But, much less versatile.
    Thoughts? Let's here them, clips welcomed!
     
  2. Zero Point

    Zero Point Member

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    Guitar Rig 3 has some more interesting models in it. And the delays are really nice. But I can hear some aliasing in the guitar amps. They also don't take outside pedals well. Like, if you have a tube screamer you want to use with GR3, you will hear some weird high end noises in there. In my experience. Used alone, you might like it.

    I bought Waves GTR 3 mainly for a direct bass and softsynth amping. But the guitar amps are the best sounding models I've heard yet in software. And I got GTR3 software only, and the iLok for 170.00 total at Musician's Friend.

    I also have the Tech 21 Blonde and California pedals. While they sound great for clean tones, they don't have the presence of a tube amp to me. I'll prolly sell them off soon.

    If you have a good interface with a 1M ohm line instrument input, you prolly won't need a DI box. But if you don't have that, you would do well to get a DI box. So you may want to get the PRS interface version of Waves GTR instead of the software version.


    -Z
     
  3. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Supporting Member

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    Thanks for that, great stuff. I just worked with Amplitube again a bit and their built in OD pedals kind of suck... unless I'm doing something really wrong. The TS9 is cool, the output levels on the others are insane.
    I'm plugging direct into an Echo Audiofire8 mic/line input and it actually sounds pretty damn good completely straight in... I'm surprised. So, that tells me the audio interface is pretty good (I already new the pre's worked well with my AxeFX). I will checkout Waves GTR next.
     
  4. Zero Point

    Zero Point Member

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    They have GTR3 Solo free right now for a year :)
     
  5. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Supporting Member

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    I know, you are the man. I just downloaded and installed it after reading your reply before. I dig it. VERY simplistic and easy to use. Some of the presets (cleans) sound pretty damn good. Like I said, I think my guitar direct has a nice/solid sound with more than enough headroom vs. a lot of really wimpy lower end sound cards. Then, the amp sim has that much more to work with -- ever drop pedals between the guitar -> audio interface -> GTR3? I'm not a pedal guy but I'm jumping in with both feet and bought a Fulldrive mosfet 2 and DD-20; it would be great to get my OD tones in front of GTR3 from the fulldrive (and maybe other pedals). GTR3 + Reaper is a NO COST solution (for the interim anyway) -- very, very cool (although I will definitely buy Reaper soon once I get it tweaked with my gear and I'm leaning towards GTR3 just because it's really cool to offer a one year demo.
    Have you tried putting pedals in front of the Tech21 stuff? I mean, if they give you a nice clean tone wouldn't they take pedals well too?
     
  6. BPlexico

    BPlexico Gold Supporting Member

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    Per some of the suggestions on various threads as of late, I have been playing around using the line out from my attenuator into an Apogee Duet into Logic on my Mac. I am using the one year free trial version of GTR3 Solo for cabinet simulation inside Logic. So far, so good, still have a bit of comparing to do, but am pleased with the results to date.

    Barr
     
  7. stratocat63

    stratocat63 Supporting Member

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    Damage Control Womanizer sounds really good direct, and they are seen up for sale around here from time to time in the $150-175 range.
     
  8. Timmylikesthing

    Timmylikesthing Member

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    Digidesign Eleven.

    Limited a bit on the number of models, but for amp/cab sim, it is the most realistic I've heard.

    Although to be 100% honest, if you are recording anything guitar-centric, mic an amp. I mean for this piano rock band, the amp sim worked because the piano was the focus. For rock stuff, it's gotta be a good mic'd amp.
     
  9. peridot1

    peridot1 Member

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    Been wrestling with direct recording for almost 3 years. Mostly because I cannot afford to soundproof my room and can't disturb family members and neighbors.

    So far the best results I've gotton was using tube preamp pedals with direct cab sim outs like the womanizer mentioned above. Fooled with software for a little bit. Don't think software 'got it' yet but maybe someday. Digital floor multi's didn't cut it for me (had a podxt and gt-10).

    So right now I use Blackstar HT pedals and the Womanizer. Everything else is basic effects pedals finally going into a summit TD100 DI --> multitrack. Sansamp character pedals are nice but I use the womanizer as a tube driver (on a clean/low gain setting using it's amp out) to beef it up.

    Can't compare to mic'ing an amp but far better than any digital direct unit I've used so far.

    Last thing I was working on a few months ago.. http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?zwyjmyzyyj2

    First part was sansamp liverpool --> womanizer and second was a blackstar HT pedal (dual or distX.. forget which one).
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009
  10. Bleak

    Bleak Member

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    I'm a fan of ReValver, but truthfully, if I had the cash to get a half decent recording rig, I'd never touch it again. I strongly prefer the sound of my actual amp over it.
     
  11. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Supporting Member

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    I can never get links on the media site to work... can you email me the mp3 (gasp100@gmail.com) I'd like to check it out.
    I'm sure the Summit helps :)

    I actually feel like I have a pretty good tone going with Waves GTR using just a sweet clean patch and toggling their Tube Screamer on and off. Pretty nice actually. It doesn't seem to want to show up in Reaper as an FX, might have to pull out Sonar 4 or something I have stashed away somewhere.
     
  12. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Supporting Member

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    I've been recording guitar direct for many years..The GT speaker emulater works well. I have a Koch Pedaltone 4 channel all tube preamp with skr sims out that's fantastic for recording direct.. I've also had good luck with the Vox Tonelab stuff for certain sounds... I've used a few versions of amplitube, and it just doesn't do it for me..
     
  13. clayville

    clayville Member

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    +1
    For various reasons (small kids, wife, urban condo) I've been recording direct through one of these for about five years now and really like it for clean to mildly overdriven "Fender combo-like" tones. There's a different model for gainer distortion called the Demonizer. The built-in compression, drive and e.q. are fairly versatile and it will take pedals in front very well. 90% of what it will do is useful to me, and I can't say that about the various digital options I've tried (Pods, software).

    The video here gives you a pretyt good idea:
    http://damagecontrolusa.com/products/womanizer/
     
  14. Steve Dallas

    Steve Dallas Supporting Member

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    I've been recording direct for a long time as well. I run whichever amp I'm in the mood for into a Palmer used only as a load box. Then I run the full-range signal into a mic pre and into my interface. I use Guitar Rig 3 or POD Farm for cabinet sims only. I get great results this way, and it doesn't sound fake or digitized at all. And it's nice to be able to futz with the cab/mic/room parameters during the mix.

    If I had some samples already mixed that are not subject to copyright, I would post them for you. But alas.
     
  15. iaresee

    iaresee Supporting Member

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    I've use a setup similar to what boogers uses. I started out with a PGA-04, using it's filtered output -- which was nice but wasn't rocking my socks. The Ed D and a couple of guys around here mentioned taking the unfiltered output into a speaker sim + mike sim and that really improved things. Plus you get to play with cabinet and mic sims to change up the sound.

    I sold the PGA-04 after buying a Koch which has a built in soak and recording output on it. It's lightly filtered and most times I just record that now -- using the EQ on the amp (the recording out EQs completely differently than when you run the amp with the speaker) or a little post processing EQ. Occassionally I'll throw on a speaker + mic sim via Guitar Rig 3 but it's pretty rare now.

    Additionally I'll sometimes go direct into Guitar Rig 3. If I'm looking to do something really strange. Or something that requires a great deal of synchronization with the tempo (sync'ed tremolo and delays at the same time for example). I generally use the direct approach for stuff that's in the background -- layered rhythm tracks for example.

    In the mix it all comes out pretty decent. Much, if not all of the stuff on this page was recorded using one of the direct approach I mentioned above. If you've got specific questions about any of them let me know.

    As an addendum I'll add: I've always wanted to try a PDI-03. I know Palmer says the PGA-04 and the PDI-03 are the same save for the knobs but everything everyone else I've had convesations with about them says differently. For example: I had an impossible time creating a good chimey cabinet using the PGA-04. Something that mimic'ed the Celestion Blues-filled Z-Best cab I had with a Mini Z. But some PDI-03 users swears that's an easy sound to cop. The thread should be in this section actually -- it was pretty recent -- with a whole lot of arguing between me and the other guy for a bit before we come to some sane discussion. :cool:
     
  16. peridot1

    peridot1 Member

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    If I had money I would go with the palmer or the koch from what I've been hearing.
     
  17. jammybastard

    jammybastard "I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."

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    For demos I record all my guitars direct and for sessions with my band I record both direct and mic up amps depending on the sound I'm going for.

    I've got Guitar Rig 3, Amplitube 2, and GTR 3 because IMHO none of them do everything well.

    Here's what I've found for each...

    Guitar Rig 3 is great for creating and replicating *non-traditional sounds*. If you just want a traditional "blooze" tone this isn't the first program I'd go with unless you want to do a fair bit of tweaking.
    If you want to create some real cool, over the top, effected sounds this is a great program ebcause it has a TON of effects included that are infinately tweakable.
    I don't think the cabinet sounds are good for reamping a mic'd up amp signal, but again that's just IMHO.

    Amplitube 2 is a nice middle of the road pick. It gives you good solid sounds all the way through, without too much color. It's got good amp models but a limited in the effects category to some of the basics.
    I do think the cab sims are decent for reamping an close mic'd guitar signal and I like the fact that you can change the kind of mic and it's placement on the speaker.

    Waves GTR 3 is the best of the bunch for reamping. The cab sims sound good, no color to the tone besides what you think sould be there for that particular model.
    It's also an excellent sim for direct recording.

    Here's a good example of what GTR3 and Amplitube 2 can sound like on a clean direct signal...

    http://rapidshare.com/files/202657939/ChiliPalmer-022409.mp3

    The guitar player in my band had a progression in his head, so I plugged his stratocaster directly into my DIGI002 and had him track the various parts with a click.
    After he left I went through and edited the parts together to build a song, and then reamped his direct signal using GTR3 and Amplitube 2.
    The first half of the song is a clean GTR3 preset, and the exotic part of the song is his playing split between two Amplitube 2 patches, one of which I reversed.

    Here's another one, done just with Amplitube 2...
    http://rapidshare.com/files/200165724/RollItTakeit.mp3

    Most of my demos that I post here on TGP are reamped using these 3 programs so if you hear one and have any questions let me know.

    Good luck.
     
  18. TheJudge

    TheJudge Member

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    I am also an apartment dwelling musician who has been trying to maximize my silent recording efforts. First, I've attached a link to a clip I made today of the intro to Little Wing, a song I am currently trying to learn!

    Here it is http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=780597&songID=7387905

    If you listened to it, and you think the sound/tone has something positive going for it, the following is the setup:

    Strat w/custom shop 69 pickups into Klon into 4-hole NMV plexi style amp (Aiken Invader Mk I) with balanced XLR direct out into an Audio Technica microphone impedence matching transformer into Apogee Duet into MacBook Pro running Logic 8. I added some reverb and a bit of delay using Logic plugins.

    I also own Guitar Rig 3, Amplitube 2, Hendrix, Metal, and Revalver III. I've tried using the cabinet sims in those amp modelers as well as impulse response files in Revalver and Logic's Space Designer. I have been most happy with the cabinet emulation built into the XLR direct in the amp.

    I'd like to know what you guys think of the clip. The playing isn't great...I know...I am still trying to learn the intro.

    Thanks.
     
  19. iaresee

    iaresee Supporting Member

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    If you hadn't told me it was direct, I wouldn't have known. To my ears, that's a pretty faithful and workable recorded guitar tone.
     
  20. buddyboy

    buddyboy Gold Supporting Member

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    "JB Corn" has it's two electric guitar tracks recorded straight into my ancient PC using an M-Audio Solo. The guitar amp program is Amplitude LE which came with Guitar Tracks Pro. I use Reaper now but it found the Amplitude plug-in just the same. The verb is from Amplitude. Drums are EZDrummer. Bass is direct also thru Amplitude LE. Acoustics were recorded with an SM57 into the Solo. An old James Burton number.

    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=890451
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2009

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