The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Miked Amp or Going Direct Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 4th August 2014
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Miked Amp or Going Direct

with all the amp simulators out there many guitar players are looking to bypass amps and go direct...what's your opinion on this?
Old 4th August 2014
  #2
sm57 on a cab is tough to beat and usually available at every bar / club I've ever gigged.

Use to play a mesa mark iv with a direct out. once in a while I would use that instead of mic. sounded decent. here is one clip with the mark iv direct out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAhQ...PQe06Now6Skz6Q
Old 4th August 2014
  #3
Here for the gear
All the amp simulators I've had to mix sounded like crap when put direct through a PA... usually something akin to a nest of angry bees.
Old 4th August 2014
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kkguitar View Post
sm57 on a cab is tough to beat and usually available at every bar / club I've ever gigged.

Use to play a mesa mark iv with a direct out. once in a while I would use that instead of mic. sounded decent. here is one clip with the mark iv direct out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAhQ...PQe06Now6Skz6Q
sounds cool brotha
Old 4th August 2014
  #5
Gear Addict
 

if you can find the sweet spot with the Sm57, that's all you need. But of course, you have to find it, otherwise you're better off with an amp sim
Old 4th August 2014
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Naindurth View Post
if you can find the sweet spot with the Sm57, that's all you need. But of course, you have to find it, otherwise you're better off with an amp sim
you think better off?
Old 4th August 2014
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Electrolytic's Avatar
 

for live sound the only good sims are very expensive
Old 4th August 2014
  #8
Gear Nut
 
Audiobond's Avatar
 

There was a time when I would have said mic hands down (tho I'm a little old school in that regard and still kinda lean that way. Definitely in my personal guitar rig). A lot of the sims are getting decent/good now tho. Assuming that the patches are set up properly and with the simulator in mind, it's a toss up. Notice I mentioned "with the simulator in mind". It doesn't usually seem to be a simple case of take what you normally plug into an amp, turn on the simulator, and it's the same or even passable/good. You kind of have to build the patch around the simulator. That and the fact that a lot of these multi effects units, simulators, what-have-you have controls and adjustments out the ying yang that many guitarists just don't understand and therefore end up setting wrong/weird/less than optimally. Engineers would look at it and go "of course", but the joe schmo guitarist is often confused. Not to say that they (guitarists) all are, but it's the kind of stuff you would more expect an audio professional to be familiar with than a muso.

The other concern is that you have to have good monitoring to pull it off as well as a FOH system that can handle it. In those dive bars where the PA is pretty much only vocals, it may have a hard time keeping the guitar up with the drums, bass, etc... And if the monitors are poor quality, limited (not in the dynamic range sense), mixed poorly, or non-existent, good luck with you or anyone else on stage that needs to hear guitar hearing it. Also requires an engineer that can provide that monitor mix effectively.

There's a lot to be said for consistency of tone from night to night, mic to mic, engineer to engineer (in regards to mic placement), you just have to be aware of the downsides and be prepared. There are definitely bigger names that use them. Gary Hoey comes to mind.

Sooooo... all in all, I'd say situation, tone, style, personal preference dependent. I'll take signal from whatever you have on stage when I mix you, but if your tone sucks thru a simulator, 99% chance that's on you, not me (or any other engineer). Like I said, I kind of still prefer a mic on a cab, but I can totally see the allure of the simulators. Hell, I did a gig with Guster years ago and it was the quietest stage I've ever been on. Only the drums and vocals were acoustic, EVERYTHING else was DI and they were on IEMs and sounded great.
Old 4th August 2014
  #9
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Electrolytic View Post
for live sound the only good sims are very expensive
so things like the sans amp are no good live?..btw i'm also in the midlands
Old 4th August 2014
  #10
Lives for gear
We have finally succeeded in getting ALL of our players at the church going direct. We no longer have any amps on stage. Drums are the only stage volume which greatly helps in wrangling in the mix in a moderate sized auditorium.

Before with a 4x8 bass cab, VoxAC15 and a variety of rotating lead guitar players with different amps, our stage volume before the PA was roughly 85dB spl A at FOH against the back wall.

Now we're hovering around 80 most of the time which is much more manageable. I run my mix around 92dB, and there's a huge difference now that I'm not battling with amps onstage.

Our rhythm player uses an old POD 2.0, which sounds pretty good with his strat. Basically only uses a single patch but it works great.
Our bassist plays a Modulus which goes straight into a JDI and sounds great with only a little comp and EQ on the board
Our lead players rotate each week. One guy has Fractal AxeFX which sounds incredible. Great tones and dynamics, and he's a really great player.
Another one just switched from a 50watt boutique amp to POD HD500x and it sounds pretty good with his LP. It's still new so he's tweaking some tones, but it's much better dealing with a slightly flat tone than having to build the entire mix over the guitar amp onstage.
When I play guitar occasionally at this gig, I go through my buddy's VOX tonelab (tube) for modeling and a Fulltone Fulldrive 2 for most of my tone

One of my other gigs all the players also go direct (including electronic drums), and the guitars rarely sound good. I think most of them are using the older Line6 POD pedalboards, but they definitely all sound really modeled and not so great.


Bottom line is that most modeling will sound like modeling, unless you get into something like the Axe FX, which is like $2000+. In smaller venues or where volume is a concern, it may be worth trying if the player is up for it. Otherwise, you can always try throwing the amp backstage or turning it around or burying it in moving blankets or behind some drape or whatever else you have to do
Old 4th August 2014
  #11
Here for the gear
 
Ruff Lee's Avatar
 

I like what Audiobond posted: "if your tone sucks thru a simulator, 99% chance that's on you." It's similar to the whole "Paul thru a Marshall" syndrome of the '70s; people expect greatness to happen without effort. Strange that most people are still wanting to disavow analog DI tone. I mostly only hear talk about Fractal, Line6 and Roland. Where's H&K and Tech21? Pro audio techs that I've worked with - guys that engineered records for Brad Whitford and go on tour with Kansas - LOVE that I put the time and effort into a great-sounding analog DI signal. I've talked to them about where my influences are, since I'm more Vai, May, and Isley than typical "Marshall" sound, and asked for feedback: "What can I do to help you? What would get what you want without EQing at the board?" and I have nothing but good response now, even from new sound guys that are doubtful at first.
Old 4th August 2014
  #12
I've been working with several guitarists who have been using Fractal Axe's on stage. I get a XLR feed from them, and pump them through their wedges or inears. If they know how to operate their Fractals, it can sound really good. Plus, it cuts back on stage noise and no more having to tell them to turn their amps down.

with that, a 57 always seems to work. But when bass and guitars are DI'd, i can really help with the noise floor.
Old 5th August 2014
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Electrolytic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kimanistar View Post
so things like the sans amp are no good live?..btw i'm also in the midlands
Sans amp are my favourite pedal, sound great on Bass.
Matamp one also


but for guitars AXE FX sounded good.
Old 5th August 2014
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Joe_K's Avatar
You can also go direct with something like a Radial JDX between the amp head and the cabinet. I do that at about half our shows (and the number is growing). I like being able to go direct with any amp and still have the amp behind me on stage. I also bring my own e906 in case the sound man has got religious objections to running direct and I don't want to be at the mercy of whatever busted mics the venue has. I always take the guys temperature first and let him choose.
Old 5th August 2014
  #15
Lives for gear
 
hbphotoav's Avatar
 

The first time I was blown away (as FOH guy) with the guitar sound right off the stage was when my friend Jim Weber fired up his two-space rack with a very nice preamp and old-skool Korg tuner aboard, handed me two XLRms and said "no EQ to begin with"... and, with the exception of a room node or two, "flat" was beautiful. He had installed a great pickup, taken a good bit of time to "dial in" his acoustic sound, and was golden.

If you're going to simulate, for heaven's sake take the simulator to Guitar Center (or elsewhere) before you "go live" on a stage, and be certain you are in the ballpark when your signal runs through a mixer channel to PA speakers. Headphones and computer speakers won't cut it here... unless you're playing through decent PA, you'll not have a clue as to how it will sound.

OTOH, a small 5- to 10-watt amp (Vox Night Train, Egnater or the like), with a small 8"-10" speaker cabinet kicked back and aimed at your face with a 57 or a 904 or a Fat Head on it can sound amazing through a decent PA, and keep the stage level from going bonkers. A power attenuator of some sort ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_attenuator_(guitar) ) can further reduce stage level, while keeping tubes in a happy place.

Me...? I like the sound of moving air coming off a speaker cone through a mic, E Gtr or Bass. But, then... I'm old.

It's your job to obtain gear that produces the tone you want... it's FOH's job to make it louder...

HB
Old 5th August 2014
  #16
Gear Addict
 

In small venues, where stage sound is important, it's nice to have different sources, so amps still rule.
Imagine listening to an orchestra where every sound comes out of the PA
Old 5th August 2014
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Electrolytic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Naindurth View Post
In small venues, where stage sound is important,
correct, stage level is paramount.
Quote:
it's nice to have different sources, so amps still rule.
incorrect, stage level too high will compromise the mix to nothing but vocals, if there is even enough to get them over the top. small venues do not need to have silly SPL's.
Old 5th August 2014
  #18
Gear Addict
 

Why are you assuming that an amp has an off/on switch at volume of 11 ?
A good band can adapt their sound to the room they're playing. If you can only play at high spl, well that's the band's problem, not the amps.
Old 6th August 2014
  #19
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by hbphotoav View Post

It's your job to obtain gear that produces the tone you want... it's FOH's job to make it louder...

HB
Unless the only gear that produces the tone you want is a 100 watt Plexi into 2 4x12 stacks...
Old 6th August 2014
  #20
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naindurth View Post
In small venues, where stage sound is important, it's nice to have different sources, so amps still rule.
Imagine listening to an orchestra where every sound comes out of the PA
You've never been to the Hollywood Bowl… every sound does come out of the PA for most of the audience and it sounds great. I've also been to the Disney Concert Hall where none are mic'd. each are equally great, but also different venues.

A better way of saying might be that in smaller venues your stage volume is most if not all of the total venue volume. With that in mind, as long as amps aren't overpowering everything else in the band, great.

Amps rule as long as the wattage and volume level are appropriate for the venue. Too often a$$hat guitar players show up with a 50-100 watt Marshall stack and crank it in a 50 person bar.
Old 6th August 2014
  #21
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nedorama View Post
You've never been to the Hollywood Bowl… every sound does come out of the PA for most of the audience and it sounds great. I've also been to the Disney Concert Hall where none are mic'd. each are equally great, but also different venues.

A better way of saying might be that in smaller venues your stage volume is most if not all of the total venue volume. With that in mind, as long as amps aren't overpowering everything else in the band, great.

Amps rule as long as the wattage and volume level are appropriate for the venue. Too often a$$hat guitar players show up with a 50-100 watt Marshall stack and crank it in a 50 person bar.
Haven't had the pleasure yet! Someday maybe!

I was one of those guitarist but I was just a kid.
Now I just ask the drummer to play soft to medium and set the volume according to that. Less is more.
Old 6th August 2014
  #22
Here for the gear
 

At my church we use an ADA GSC-3 Guitar Cabinet Simulator. We have a very small stage and have to run everything direct, including an electronic drumkit. Obviously we have to use in-ear monitoring to keep the stage volume down even more.

With the guitar cabinet simulator our guitar players just have to bring their pedal board and plug straight into it. I have the XLR out go to the stage snake and the 1/4inch out goes to our monitoring system (JamHub).

I've had no complaint from any of our guitar players about using this setup, and all of them say it sounds fine in their ears. In fact, one guy in particular loves not having to carry his amp on stage. I think the ability for our guitar players to still use their own pedals is a big plus. The funny thing is when I asked them about using things like a POD or other digital amp sim none seemed to hot on the idea, however they are fine with using our analog cabinet simulator. I don't know if that's kind of like a placebo effect thing, but the GSC-3 has been a blessing for us nonetheless.
Old 6th August 2014
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Joe_K's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyruke View Post
The funny thing is when I asked them about using things like a POD or other digital amp sim none seemed to hot on the idea, however they are fine with using our analog cabinet simulator. I don't know if that's kind of like a placebo effect thing
Nah, getting a guitarist to use their own gear with a cabinet simulator at the end of the chain is a completely different matter than asking them to use a POD. It's not a placebo thing, it's a bridge too far.
Old 6th August 2014
  #24
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_K View Post
Nah, getting a guitarist to use their own gear with a cabinet simulator at the end of the chain is a completely different matter than asking them to use a POD. It's not a placebo thing, it's a bridge too far.
Well I meant just using the cabinet simulation only on something like a POD, BOSS GT, or something else. So they could still use their own pedalboard.

But in hindsight I think it would be a lot of wasted stage space and money just to use a digital pedal board just for it's cabinet simulation.

And I don't know how analog pedals sound with digital amp simulation.
Old 6th August 2014
  #25
Lives for gear
Be careful with that ADA Box - it's a speaker emulator, much like the H&K Redbox or the Radial JDX (also colored Red...). These need to have a speaker cab connected to them for the amp to see a resistive load - otherwise you can fry people's tube amps! Great for preamps - I had an ADA MicroCab I & II which this is resurrecting. I used mine live with an ADA MP-1 and an SPX90, and it sounded great through the PA.

For tube amp heads, you need a load box; Palmer and others make a load box that eliminates the need to still have the speaker. Mesa has their new Cab Clone which does the same thing.
Cab Clone Guitar Speaker Cabinet Simulator

Be sure to use the right tool for the job. Glad the ADA is working for you for preamps.
Old 6th August 2014
  #26
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nedorama View Post
Be careful with that ADA Box - it's a speaker emulator, much like the H&K Redbox or the Radial JDX (also colored Red...). These need to have a speaker cab connected to them for the amp to see a resistive load - otherwise you can fry people's tube amps! Great for preamps - I had an ADA MicroCab I & II which this is resurrecting. I used mine live with an ADA MP-1 and an SPX90, and it sounded great through the PA.

For tube amp heads, you need a load box; Palmer and others make a load box that eliminates the need to still have the speaker. Mesa has their new Cab Clone which does the same thing.
Cab Clone Guitar Speaker Cabinet Simulator

Be sure to use the right tool for the job. Glad the ADA is working for you for preamps.
Yes, you are right. The ADA GCS-3 cannot be used with a tube amp unless it's also connected to a speaker using it's THRU jack.

On our church stage we don't use amplifiers on stage at all (well we have one on stage, but it's just to cover some wires, and it produces no sound), so no one brings their tube amps. All our guitarists have their own pedal boards so we just put the ADA box at the end of the chain. I thought at first maybe the sound wouldn't be so good without some sort of special pre-amp pedal, but even with just a signal chain of guitar->distortion pedal->ADA GCS-3 it still produces a decent sound. However, I am very interested in pairing it up with ADA's newer APP-1 pedal preamp.
Old 6th August 2014
  #27
Registered User
A cheap Sansamp pedal (especially the new Character range) can be fantastic if you have a clue, and if the player is fully on board and not letting his ego get in the way.

An expensive tube amp on stage can also sound like **** (especially if the Ego has the amp on the stage and can't hear the extreme treble it is outputting). Also, if they insist on having it too loud then there can be very little coming from the PA, and due to the very limited projection angle of a guitar cab, maybe only the mosh pit can hear him anyway ...

I've definately seen and heard great results either way. But many guitarists struggle with technology. If it sounds like angry bees through the PA, they have nothing to blame but their own poor ears and/or poor judgement.

I'm amazed at how often I see comments such as "great for studio but couldn't get it to work live". I personally find it the other way around - although even for studio they can be amazing.

Depends on genre and expectations too. Sometimes only the sound of a hemorrhaging amp is good enough.
Old 6th August 2014
  #28
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimanistar View Post
so things like the sans amp are no good live?..btw i'm also in the midlands
Sansamp/tech21 is also really great. I haven't used 'em much on guitar, but I love the stompbox/di for bass.

I also use the tech21 plugin a lot on the VENUE boards (great on bass and also snare surprisingly enough)
Old 6th August 2014
  #29
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyruke View Post
Yes, you are right. The ADA GCS-3 cannot be used with a tube amp unless it's also connected to a speaker using it's THRU jack.

On our church stage we don't use amplifiers on stage at all (well we have one on stage, but it's just to cover some wires, and it produces no sound), so no one brings their tube amps. All our guitarists have their own pedal boards so we just put the ADA box at the end of the chain. I thought at first maybe the sound wouldn't be so good without some sort of special pre-amp pedal, but even with just a signal chain of guitar->distortion pedal->ADA GCS-3 it still produces a decent sound. However, I am very interested in pairing it up with ADA's newer APP-1 pedal preamp.
Nice - looks like you're on your way to recreating my 92-2000 guitar rig! Loved the sound for recording, and it worked great live. I did have to ensure that the patches had less gain and no scooped mids - two issues that most pedalboard players who only play at home suffer from. Through headphones it sounds great, but through a PA it's sonic mud...
Old 6th August 2014
  #30
Registered User
There is no need for a good DI pedal (like the Sansamp stuff) to sound like "sonic mud". They are extremely powerful eq's, as well as having colorful saturation.

The problem I can see is if the pedal is in the control of the artist, and if the artist is not in control of the PA. That could be an issue. But if you are one and the same, or if you have a good working relationship - you can adjust the pedal to sound fantastic through the PA.

I recommend using a looper pedal - let the guitar player hear how it sounds from the floor, and tweak it to taste. Or go wireless and come and have a listen.

There is no rocket science really. There is very little difference between a Sansamp and a guitar preamp and the internal preamp of an amp. They do a very similar job of creating a tone stack. The power amp, cab and mic create fairly definately eq curve, which the Sansamps are capable of emulating.

If it sounds bad, there is no excuse really.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump