recording direct

Recording engineering discussions and questions. Also a great place to discuss software, plugins, and computer based recording/arranging.
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bfloyd6969
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recording direct

Post by bfloyd6969 » September 2nd, 2009, 12:18 am

Hello all. I'm looking for recommendations on a good unit to record guitar direct with. I remember using a Line 6 POD and a Behringer V-amp before in the past and was wondering if there is anything newer and better out today. I tried the amp sim route and never really got the sound I was looking for, as well as could never quite fully get rid of that harshness from them when using overdrive settings. Any recommendations? Thanks.

(oh yeah, I should mention that my current recording situation does not allow me to mic an amp:()
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greybeard
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Re: recording direct

Post by greybeard » September 2nd, 2009, 12:46 am

I use a couple of methods. I have a Hughes & Kettner Cream Machine, which is a low power tube amp. It has various outputs that allow me to go straight into the line-in of my pc sound card.
I bought a small mixer (Eurorack UB1002) for a bit more flexibility - it has mike amps and phantom power, as well. I found that I had severe problems with interference - mostly from my fluorescent office lamp. A quick trip into Ebay-land netted me a passive DI box with ground lift. So, I now have the guitar into the DI box, into the mixer into the pc. I could make the chain shorter, but having the mixer gives me the added bonus of not having to fiddle with connections at the back of my pc every time I want to connect anything.
That gives me a very good dry signal. If I want to use effects, I simply change the guitar lead from the DI box to the wah pedal (first effect) and put the output from my last effect into the DI box. Again not necessary, but the DI box is conveniently positioned next to my amp, so that changing is very quick and easy.
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Scrybe
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Re: recording direct

Post by Scrybe » September 2nd, 2009, 3:35 am

I'm assuming you already have an interface or some other device set up to get audio into your computer with, and are just seeking ways to get a good guitar tone...

You could plug your amp into a dummy load box and DI that way. Or use a guitar recording preamp - MesaBoogie do really sweet ones, and I think Fender have variations based on their full-amp lines too. Both would be silent, but would give good tone. You could also use any preamp with HiZ inputs included on it. I know the FMR RNP has these, and they beat the crap out of recording direct into the instrument ins on my interface. The upside of this is the RNP can also be used on other instruments (e.g. recording mic'd up acoustic guitar, which may or may not be feasible in your situation, or vocals).

For ITB stuff, Amplitube is my fave, but I'm not happy with it compared to mic'd up tones. I've done everything possible to have a good tone going in, and it is still lacking, so I understand you being wary of going that route too much, but it can be a great way to throw ideas down.

Aside from that, I think the Pod route is the next best available option.

Sorry I'm not more help on this.
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bfloyd6969
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Re: recording direct

Post by bfloyd6969 » September 2nd, 2009, 4:18 am

Thanks for the replies all. Yeah, I own Guitar Rig 3, Amplitube 2, Metal, and Fender, as well as all the free vst amp sims out there but they lack. The best tones I get are from GR3 and the Amplitube lines, and they come close, but still just not quite there. I have a usb interface (which came with the GR3 when I purchase the software as a combo deal), which has both instument and line in as well as XLR in. My clean signal going in is very good, IMO. I just think that I'm wanting to get a mic'd amp sound from a non-mic'd amp sim.

I've considered trying a direct box and then hitting a mixer before the soundcard but I don't know if that will help any with the vst's. Perhaps with an actual amp. I have a Roland Cube 30 which has a direct recording out, but that too left me with a harsh, brittle sound. Maybe if I go from the Roland, to a Direct Box, to a mixer, and then the soundcard??...
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greybeard
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Re: recording direct

Post by greybeard » September 2nd, 2009, 5:18 am

There are speaker simulators out there that are supposed to sound like a particular set of speakers - my Cream Machine has the H&K simulator built in.

This may be your answer. It gives you speaker simulation in a DI box.
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Scrybe
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Re: recording direct

Post by Scrybe » September 2nd, 2009, 6:18 am

The Red Box Greybeard linked to is very nice.

If you're willing to give Amplitube a second try....

Guitar cabs tend to roll off pretty quickly above c.4kHz, so setting up a low pass filter on your EQ should bring you more into the real-amp-sound ballpark.

If that isn't sufficient, also try making some EQ cuts or boosts around the 240Hz and 2.5kHz marks. 240Hz is where you get the fullness in guitar tone, and 2.5Hz is where the bite is at. You said your clean sound is good, so there shouldn't be any need to cut around 50-60Hz (50 if UK, 60 if US), but you'd cut there if you had mains hum problems (not the greatest solution, but sometimes works as a bandaid).

A DI box might help your signal chain - I found going Guitar>FMR RNP>2626>computer gave me less mud in my audio than going Guitar>2626>computer. Probably because the RNP pres were better suited to guitar than the pres on the 2626, and this set up meant I was running a patch cable from the RNP to line insert on the back of the 2626, bypassing the pres on the latter. If your set up allows for a similar workaround, it may be that a DI or preamp has pre's better suited to guitar than those on your mixer. Doesn't mean the mixer pre's are bad though - pre's differ in quality, but generally any specific pre will be better suited to some instruments than others. For example,, I found the 2626 pre's sound great when micing my acoustic guitar, there was no need to employ the RNP, but with electric guitar, I always use the RNP in my signal chain if going direct.

I realise all of this is more than a bit tangential to your OP, but figured it worth throwing out there just in case it was of use. Hope you find a set up that works for you.

Edit: even with a Pod or other set up, those EQ suggestions might improve your mix, so they're worth the try if you're unhappy with your guitar tone, even if not using an amp sim.
Last edited by Scrybe on September 2nd, 2009, 5:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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bfloyd6969
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Re: recording direct

Post by bfloyd6969 » September 2nd, 2009, 5:09 pm

Thanks again all. I'll look into the Redbox more and also try your tips Scrybe...
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TRGuitar
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Re: recording direct

Post by TRGuitar » September 13th, 2009, 11:34 pm

One word ................................ SansAmp

Image

I have one and it is awsome ... but it's not cheap. Almost $200.
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bfloyd6969
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Re: recording direct

Post by bfloyd6969 » October 31st, 2009, 3:12 am

Sorry to bring this back, but I just wanted to post that I just picked up a Line 6 POD 2.0 to record direct with. I've been trying to record with the with all the amp sims out today (have GR3, Amplitube 2, and Amplitube Fender) but just couldn't get that sound I wanted. I haven't tried anything yet with the POD but I'm hoping it will work for what I want...
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