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the_cottage
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#1
18th August 2009
Old 18th August 2009
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Your approach to recording guitars without disturbing the neighbours (Amp-Plug-In, Di

Hi!

I´m looking for a solution to record guitars at home without disturbing the neighbours - so micing an amp is not an option.

i don´t want to start a discussion about amp-modellers vs. the real thing since I regulary mic amps when I´m in the studio and I will keep doing it when I feel that it is needed on a production. but i want to be able to record guitars at home.

So far I´ve been trying the following options:

- NI Guitar Rig (I really liked some sounds of it but I sold it because my Computer wasn`t able to run two instances of Guitar Rig back then (this was on a G4 with Guitar Rig 1))

- Pod 2.0 (tried it some months ago but didn´t like it)

- Pod XT (owned it three years ago but can´t remeber it´s sounds)

- Sansamp (GT2 and BassDriver - I like the BassDriver for distorted bass, so it´s a keeper; I didn´t like the GT2 that much and sold it)

Since I don´t want to spend that much money something like the axe fx is no option - even if it´s THAT good. I´ve been thinking about the following options:

- Buy Guitar Rig or Amplitube again (I´ve been hearing good things about the Amplitube Fender Edition over here and their SVT Plug-IN)
Since I´m working on a DualCore CPU right now, the computer will easily be able to provide the power for at least two instances of Guitar Rig at the same time (this would be needed when I´m tracking guitar tracks with two guitarists simultaneously). Besides that I´ve heard some really convincing sounds recorded with Guitar Rig or Amplitube. But I´m asking myself if latency could become a problem if I choose to go this route. As a guitar player myself, I know that it´s impossible to record guitar with a high latency.

- Buy the new Pod Studio UX1 (I like some sounds on their websites)
If I understand it correctly you can record with the UX1 without latency and change the sound of the recorded guitar tracks later on via the POD farm. I could connect my stereo highend preamp/di with the UX1 and record two tracks of guitar at the same time without latency and the sound might turn out nice as well.

- Use a combination of DI-Box and convolution-reverb
There are some great guitar-recordings over here that where produced by the use of DI-box and convolution-reverb (with cabinet impulses). But I only know Di-boxes that are plugged between amp and speaker, which means that this isn´t silent at all - there´s just no mic involved in recording via a dibox. So is there a way to connect an amp-head to my preamp/soundcard without the need for a loudspeaker. In the studio I´m using mostly old fender amps that don´t have a direct recording out. I will be recording a band soon that uses marshall heads...


---------

Reamping is not an option since I want to work on and finish some records at home without the need for taking a hardrive to the studio and reamp guitar tracks there. Working with a 5 watt tube amp is not an option either cause this would be quite loud too...


So please let me now your approach. I´m interested in your experiences in working with amp-plug-ins. I know there are many studio-owners that work with amp-plug-ins - so please chime in. Altough I would like to know more about the dibox approach cause it seems very promising to me (sound- and latencywise) . Share your experience!


Cheers!
#2
18th August 2009
Old 18th August 2009
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I´m using a Vox preamp pedal. For the speaker sound I use Guitar rig or IR´s in a convolution plug in. The pedal sounds so much better than any

Amp sim I´ve tried. Im´not 100% satisfied with the speaker sound yet. Tried a palmer pdi-09 anlog speaker thing recently and was very disappointed.

After all I´m quite happy with this setup.
the_cottage
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18th August 2009
Old 18th August 2009
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Dear karma! Could please tell me which Vox Pedal you use - is it the tonelab?

Forgot to mention above that I used the Vox AC30 Ampplug for some times for recording demos - eventhough the Amplug seemed like a toy it sounded very very good for it´s price. So Vox mabe worth a try...
#4
18th August 2009
Old 18th August 2009
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I have had great success doing the following - so much so that I dont mic a guitar that often anymore.

I have an excellent valve amp (Dr Z) and a THD hotplate - which has a line out.
I attach the lineout to a valve DI box and record the amp 'on 8 or 9' (because of the hot plate) so the valves are really working.

I then dial up Digidesign eleven (but I assume any plug in simulator would work), pop it in as an insert in protools, and bypass the amp section, so that I just have the cabinet and mic working. Then pick my cab and mic.

Sounds brilliant. Sometimes duplicate the track with another instance of Eleven, pick a different cab and a different mic and blend the sounds. Stunningly realistic - often better than I have achieved micing a real amp.

Worth a go.
#5
18th August 2009
Old 18th August 2009
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Personally i hate guitar rig. I have the original like 1.0 version or something. Im never updating because im bummed at how thin it sounds overall to these ears at least. I do like the program itself, and the things you can do with it, but i just can seem to ever get guitar rig to give me that low end that i expect to hear on heavy distortion stuff, you know, palm mutes and the like.

For decent clean tones and light distortion its ok. Not fabulous.

I will say that i'm a big fan of mic'ing amps, they dont even need to be cranked up crazy loud, they just need to be moving some air. Especially low-wattage tube amps are GREAT for recording. Sometimes you can even stuff one in a closet with a bunch of pillows and blankets around, toss a mic on it, and record at home without annoying your neighbors or spending tons of money on acoustic treatment and sound dampening materials. I dont know if you have a closet space available to you, but if you do, and youre interested in checking out some low-wattage tube amps, you can get some world-class sounds that way. Sounds that you wont need to replace in the studio.

If i cant mic an amp, say when im at home instead of at the studio, i rely on the classic old Sansamp PSA-1 plug in for TDM to do my dirtywork. I've been using it for a decade now, and i think it does a pretty reasonable marshall, fender and vox sound. It also has some high-gain attempts ala mesa/boogie but i dont think it's quite there with those. It also has some real nice fender twin-on-clean sounds.

Also the good old standard hardware PSA-1 is a great box, they still sound good to me. And the new one, the PSA-1.1 has some added features, and the same classic analog circuitry as the original. I'm actually thinking about getting a hardware PSA-1 or PSA 1.1 for my studio one of these days. It would be a great the to get out of "the box" so to speak, to free up DSP for more reverbs and eq's which IMHO are good things to have "in the box".

Anyway....

I've also always enjoyed Amplitube. I dont own it, but i do some sessions for a guitarist that i grew up with, and he has this whole mini recording setup with just his guitar, mac laptop, Mbox, a variety of plug ins, and an AKG Perception mic. He sends me his PT sessions for editing and mixing, and i usually have him just re-record his amplitube'ed guitar tracks to new mono tracks for the mix. They usually require a bit more EQ sculpting than Sansamp'ed tracks, but i can always get something very usable. I havent heard the newer versions of Amplitube or Amplitube Fender, but it would not surprise me if it was pretty good.

also, ive heard really good things about Digidesign Eleven, which if im correct is basically just the evolution of Amp Farm by Line 6.
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#6
18th August 2009
Old 18th August 2009
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_cottage View Post
Since I don´t want to spend that much money something like the axe fx is no option - even if it´s THAT good. I´ve been thinking about the following options:
It is THAT good and well worth the money.

Here's what I did for absolute silence guitar recording before I got my Axe-Fx with decent results:

I have a Palmer PDI-03 speaker emulator (around EUR 350) where I actually DON'T USE the speaker emulator.
The PDI-03 is a load-box with a line-out, too. That enabled me to run my fully kranked 100W Marshall head's speaker outs into the PDI-03, monitor my playing in real-time (no latency, it's hardware!) through the speaker emulator (headphones! silence!) but actually record the PDI's line-out (without the emulation). Then I apply a cabinet impulse response to the recording, voila! Great sound including power amp saturation. Very convincing tone, far better than anything I miced (Mesa 4x12, SM57, I suck at micing, though).
I had every Line 6 device with every model pack and tried every software amp sim, but all of these sucked when compared to this setup.
#7
18th August 2009
Old 18th August 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiF View Post
It is THAT good and well worth the money.

Here's what I did for absolute silence guitar recording before I got my Axe-Fx with decent results:

I have a Palmer PDI-03 speaker emulator (around EUR 350) where I actually DON'T USE the speaker emulator.
The PDI-03 is a load-box with a line-out, too. That enabled me to run my fully kranked 100W Marshall head's speaker outs into the PDI-03, monitor my playing in real-time (no latency, it's hardware!) through the speaker emulator (headphones! silence!) but actually record the PDI's line-out (without the emulation). Then I apply a cabinet impulse response to the recording, voila! Great sound including power amp saturation. Very convincing tone, far better than anything I miced (Mesa 4x12, SM57, I suck at micing, though).
I had every Line 6 device with every model pack and tried every software amp sim, but all of these sucked when compared to this setup.
Same thing as what I am doing with the hot plate. Stunning results.
the_cottage
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18th August 2009
Old 18th August 2009
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Thanks to all of you for your advice so far. What darrenbarker and RiF are doing seems to be exactly what I´m looking for. I guess I have to try out the Palmer PDI-03 soon.
And it also seems I should give Amplitube a try.
#9
18th August 2009
Old 18th August 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_cottage View Post
Thanks to all of you for your advice so far. What darrenbarker and RiF are doing seems to be exactly what I´m looking for. I guess I have to try out the Palmer PDI-03 soon.
And it also seems I should give Amplitube a try.

Its a good way to go. You get the feel of the amp (does depend on how good your amp is though), breaking up of tubes etc, which I find is the hard bit to emulate.
The 'power' of an amp turned up is the hardest thing to get.
D
#10
18th August 2009
Old 18th August 2009
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I listened to the fractal FX demos and they all, to me anyways, are ultra lame. Im very curious about this product because I'm looking for ways of playing live with a very complex guitar setup in a simple box with just a few external pedals. How is this box at other sounds other then way to clean distortion. can it get gritty and dirty? If not can it mixed with a pedal or two achieve that. I use a variety of sounds but generally aim towards jackwhite/broken social scene/yeah yeah yeahs/Kasabian.
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#11
18th August 2009
Old 18th August 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedommer View Post
I listened to the fractal FX demos and they all, to me anyways, are ultra lame. Im very curious about this product because I'm looking for ways of playing live with a very complex guitar setup in a simple box with just a few external pedals. How is this box at other sounds other then way to clean distortion. can it get gritty and dirty? If not can it mixed with a pedal or two achieve that. I use a variety of sounds but generally aim towards jackwhite/broken social scene/yeah yeah yeahs/Kasabian.
  • Forget the clips on the fractal audio site, they are total crap.
  • Forget the stock presets on the Axe-Fx, they are total crap, too (maybe a few aren't...)
  • Check out clips posted at the Axe-Fx forum to see what this unit is capable of.
  • I can replicate almost ANY guitar sound with this unit. I came pretty close in my attempts to nail tones from AC/DC to Machine Head to Devildriver (here are some clips to check out). But the bands you listed sound way different from what I usually do, so the clips might not be of any help/interest for you. This video on You Tube is funny and informative, too.
  • You probably can leave most of your pedals at home with this unit. Over at the Fractal Audio forum are a lot of people reporting that they saved 10-16 rack spaces after getting the Axe-Fx (Dweezil Zappa being one of them).
#12
18th August 2009
Old 18th August 2009
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#13
18th August 2009
Old 18th August 2009
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I have actually gone around the entire circle to get where I am now. My route was:

1. POD XT Pro. It has its pros and cons. If you really work with it, you can get some nice sounds. It'll never sound as good as the real thing, but not bad, and a lot of variety in a single box. Unless you are going to re-amp, you do have to commit to sounds up front as you would with recording real amps.

2. I eventually though sold that and went to Amplitube2. I used various pre-amps as DIs, from teh Solo/610, LA-610, Great River, A-Designs P-1. Again, it has its pros and cons. If you really learn it and have a good DI, where something like the Solo/610 is kind of nice, you can get some good sounds. I listen back to some stuff I did and it's not bad. But the overhead is pretty considerable given as many guitar tracks often tends to be in a song. And there again, it'll never sound as good as the real thing. But you do have the choice to change the tone up to the last moment.

3. Then I moved to an Epiphone Valve Jr. half stack. It's five watts. Shouldn't be a problem, right? It was stupidly loud. I immediately figured out that wasn't going to work. It wasn't that great an amp either really.

4. So I sold that and got an Emery Microbaby, which is a 1 watt amp. Still, VERY loud when cranked, but a very nice amp and I still have it.

5. So I got a Weber attenuator to use with it. That didn't sound bad and I could get some nice tones with it, though it does adversely affect the tone to heavily attenuate any setup. And I was having problems getting good levels into the DAW at those levels.

6. So I spent like $500 and injured myself numerous times building a big iso cab. As with all such things it has its pros and cons. It definitely adversely affects the tone as well, though I was able to get some good results with it.

7. Then I discovered that the reason I'd had problems getting good levels was a patch bay issue and that I never really needed the iso cab to begin with, after all that work.


Now I'm using a Vox Night Train and the Emery Microbaby. The Vox has a master volume so it's easy to get good tones at very reasonable apartment volumes, especially on it's 7 watt mode. The Microbaby is use sometimes with the attenuator if I want to crank it heavily or without for less cranked stuff.

Soooo... I've gone all the way from the POD to recording real amps in the room, over the course of a couple years. It's been quite a trip. But there's nothing like a nice amp through a nice speaker. Since most electric guitar stuff is close mic'd it doesn't have to be loud. I also use an EQ pedal to keep some of the lower end out of the amp (which would tend to get removed anyway in many cases anyway), which keeps the volume down considerably. For an amp like the Microbaby, it can have lots of low end in it when cranked.

No one would hear me playing outside the apartment, and the tones are really nice. I'd like to also add a Marshall type flavor at some point, maybe a Tiny Terror. My current two amps are very small physically, so not a problem for an apartment studio. And low enough wattage to be practical. I also use 16 ohm speakers to help eat up some more volume from the amps naturally.

Getting a speaker/cab that's tight on the low end helps as well. For the Vox I use a Weber Blue Dog which is a very Vox'y speaker that is light on the low end. For the Emery I'm using a Greenback in an Avatar cab, which sounds quite nice but more low end.
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RiF
#14
18th August 2009
Old 18th August 2009
  #14
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So you're using a power attenuator on a 1 watt amp, right?
It just sounds so funny :-)
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18th August 2009
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I've built a small iso booth for my Mesa Boogie. I put the amp on the 5 watt setting and turn down the master volume. The amp is not audible outside my apartment. I have Amplitude and Guitar Rig and I've used them both. But as some other folks are suggesting on this thread, you can get very good sounds by micing a small amp with the master volume turned down.
#16
18th August 2009
Old 18th August 2009
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direct recording

I use various things for different things.

The main first track that I do usually with a click is the Neve Portico 5016, D.I. section. This also has a thru to send, sometimes I will use this, micing up various tube guitar heads, most of the time no though, becuase at this stage I'm not exactly sure how I want it to sound, so just the Neve D.I. is sufficent.
Once inside Cubase 5, I use the Cubase amp sim plugin and also some fx sends with a slight comp.

Other times for stereo sounds aside from the main, I will use a first edition pod kidney bean. This gives me a nice stereo spread and the quaility is fine since it is usually not in the limelight within the context of the song.

Sometimes I will use a Randall isolation cab with mainly my 65 Bassman head. I bought both the guitar model with the 12 inch speaker and the bass with the 10 inch speaker. I sold the guitar model a long time ago because it sounded, well...boxey, haha
The bass model goes down lower, I think around 70hz and cuts off sooner in the highs compared to the guitar model speaker, think around 5kish. This seems to sound a lot better with my guitars. I have used various mics inside the iso cab, usually a 57 works well, also a 58, I used a 609 before and got good results too.
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#17
18th August 2009
Old 18th August 2009
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Sorry I kinda got off the topic.

Hands down the best combo for writing and recording without being loud, and most importantly, keeping the workflow going

get a good D.I. and use amp sim

radial, neve etc...

Cubase amp sim is great, guitar rig is nice too, have that on my laptop, but I really like that everything is in Cubase without needing to use guitar rig,

there some cool guitar impulses out there too to use.
#18
18th August 2009
Old 18th August 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiF View Post
So you're using a power attenuator on a 1 watt amp, right? It just sounds so funny :-)
In a way I guess it does. But a 1 watt amp is VERY loud when you are talking about an apartment. Even with a 16 ohm speaker, the least efficient you can get basically, it's very loud. Keep in mind that it's not a master volume type amp. You get grunge by driving both the pre-amp and the output tubes hard. So to get it nice and nasty, you have to push it hard. And it's VERY sensitive to pickup levels. The difference between the volume knob at 8 and at 10 when the amp is cranked, is huge. But you have to have the guitar output hot to drive it it into smooth overdrive generally.

I don't have to use the attenuator if I'm looking for clean or mild breakup type of tones. Those are generally gettable at reasonable volumes. It also has 3 modes, the first of which drives the pre-amp tubes fairly little, the next a little more, and the next a little more. So on the first one, even when the power tubes driven hard, the volume doesn't get too crazy as long as the guitar volume is down a bit, which you'd want for a clean or 'edge of breakup' type of tone anyway.

But the great thing about the Microbaby is that the tubes it uses are designed to be sweating when driven to 1 watt. So it's not like some high wattage design artificially limited by an internal attenuator or something like that. It's an amp designed for low wattage. So when you crank it up, even though it's only humping 1 watt, the power tubes are lit up nicely and you are really getting honest to goodness power tube saturation.
#19
18th August 2009
Old 18th August 2009
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I used to record direct with a SGE rack thingy ...sounded awesome, wish I still had it.
#20
19th August 2009
Old 19th August 2009
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#21
19th August 2009
Old 19th August 2009
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19th August 2009
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My approach would be to move. I hate it when art is being led by convenience.
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#23
19th August 2009
Old 19th August 2009
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My approach would be to move. I hate it when art is being led by convenience.
Wow, how did I fail to see this obvious solution? I'm going to the ATM right now to withdraw $500,000 so that I can buy a house. Doh!
#24
19th August 2009
Old 19th August 2009
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I've just recently stumbled upon a combo that i'm really happy with. I downloaded the amplitube Fender demo and thought I would trying warming it up some. Pulled out my Mesa boogie V-twin pedal. It's a guitar pre with two 12ax7's. Worked great for blackface stuff. I even thought the tweed stuff sounded better than things I'd heard before. I hardly ever do the marshall stack thing. But when I need to do it quietly, I use my beloved peavey classic 20 with a turbo rat. Of course Iso boxes are a great option too.
#25
23rd November 2009
Old 23rd November 2009
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I know this thread is kinda cold but I didnt see anyone mention a true isolation box which Ive seen Dave Weiner from Steve Vais band use fro his solo work.(oops I guess someone did mention it..but check it out anyways) Here is a link to the Riff of the Week were he talks about it. I built one very similar to his for under $200. It works well to cut most of the high and mid frequencies and some of the lows and it records well. I put my 2 x 12 extension cab inside it and crank it!
check it out>YouTube - Riff Of The Weekâ„¢ - Season 1: Recording Electric Guitar pt1
#26
23rd November 2009
Old 23rd November 2009
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I think if I were unable to record real amps I would use an amp sim in my apartment and then either reamp the raw track during hours that wouldn't get me evicted (saturday afternoons for example).

also - by using an amp sim and having the raw clean track you could also take that somewhere to reamp, a studio or suitable situation where you can get loud, and you'll still have your performance saved.

one of the awesome things about all this digital stuff is sync holds tight and that makes all of these other options possible.
#27
23rd November 2009
Old 23rd November 2009
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Another couple things I've added to my arsenal since the above are an Electroharmonix BlackFinger and an Effectrode Tube Drive. Both are tube based pedals (with real tube level voltages, not just for show), and with those I can get really nice tones at a nice volume without attenuation.

The BlackFinger, though it's a compressor, allows its pre-amp section to be overdriven slightly for some light breakup (very nice as a bass DI.) And the Tube Drive is a basically a tube based pre-amp in a box.

YouTube - Black Finger - Demo by Peter Stroud - Optical Tube Compressor
YouTube - Effectrode Tube Drive

So I have the option of using either amp running clean and get any overdrive I want in the pedals (and still have it be really sweet tube based overdrive), or run the amp gains harder and get it there, or a combination thereof. It really helps a lot with getting the tone I want at a reasonable volume.
#28
23rd November 2009
Old 23rd November 2009
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The trick is to play so loud, that your neighbors lose their hearing Its a good long-term solution too
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#29
23rd November 2009
Old 23rd November 2009
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My first need was to eliminate any outside traffic, airplanes, people knocking on the doors, pets making noise, heating and cooling system noises.
I contracted a professional, when all of those factors were gone - they byproduct was that when I made noise they never heard me either.
I can do anything I want 24/7 and my neighbors think I am very quiet.
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