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Troubles Tracking Guitars
Old 10th December 2012
Gear Addict

Originally Posted by Octopussy View Post
My only question is... Would this be keeper material for you if you tracked like this? I mean, is the quality to a point that can really be used at a high level?
Just listen to Queen
Old 10th December 2012
Lives for gear
Flying_Dutchman's Avatar

foh show saturady - one band: kemper left, gt8 right ...same shxt
band after: twin + ac30.same music, different story
shxt in , shxt out
low wattage amps are great
attenuators also work...but kill some sound.. the koch isn´t bad...4-16ohms in one
foh some things really get very obvious...don´t fool yourself and think that studio is different, like i did
Old 10th December 2012
Lives for gear
NYCruiser's Avatar
I keep a VOX AC4TV in my studio. The separate head/cab model. Amazing what guitar players have been able to get out of that thing during tracking. Haven't had any trouble with it either. Just sayin'
Old 10th December 2012
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GearAndGuitars's Avatar

Originally Posted by RCM - Ronan View Post
I really like low wattage amps, but a lot of people make the mistake of getting low watts amps to record quietly. I have a 12 Watt amp from Jule Amps, that has two setting super loud and off. On the other hand my 320 Watt Rivera can shake concrete buildings, but also sounds great at levels lower than most people watch TV.
yeah, I hear you - a fender pro jr, can get pretty loud... as can the rebel 20 on an orange 1x12 cab, and even the marshal class 5... the fox AC4TV as a 2 watt setting as well... so yeah, I don't specifically record at low volumes, I just record at a volume that sounds good - which doesn't need to shake the house.
Old 11th December 2012
Lives for gear
As a NYC denizen and a guitarist who is super picky about his tone, I've been on this quest for years now - I've tried everything for recording decent sounding guitars in an apartment, but still have no Grail to offer you. My latest plan is to put together a portable, laptop-based rig for "field recording" and just go to a local rehearsal studio to record my guitar tracks, then mix at home on my desktop.
Old 11th December 2012
Lives for gear
RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Originally Posted by Octopussy View Post
Thanks for the reply Ronan,

I'm really glad you mention this. I've tried before but never gave it a real go at it. I have plenty of valve amps to choose from and I'll definitely give this a real shot.

My only question is... Would this be keeper material for you if you tracked like this? I mean, is the quality to a point that can really be used at a high level?
I prefer the sounds I can get this way over any digital amp sim I have ever heard.
Old 11th December 2012
Lives for gear
I've done a lot of research into this, read almost everything available and tried a large number of them (to be honest, I've only used an Isocab briefly). I do have an AxeFX but don't find it inspiring enough to be my plug in and go solution. That distinction belongs to a pair of amps:

1. Emery Superbaby-I can run this at 1/4 watt to 8 watts, depending on output tubes. With the option of any kind of preamp tube, rectifier and power tube it'll do anything from American clean to british fully saturated. What it won't do is push-pull odd harmonics, so it won't sound exactly like a pushed Twin with 6L6s, for example.

2. For that I need the London Power Session. It has a wide range of power amp options: single vs double ended, triode vs pentode, cathode vs fixed bias, power soak and impedance match/mismatch. With individual power tube bias, I can run a 6V6 and an EL34 for a rich, harmonic clean and a nice crunch. It's non master volume, but I can use the effects return as a master volume. It takes pedals really well, which is how I can get almost any type of sound I want at volumes that don't kill. That said, it's not truly quiet, not like you can have a quiet conversation while playing. Nothing I've tried sounds like a big amp cranked at that volume.

That all said, what I think might be the best answer is the new Badcat Unleash. It's a reactive load box with a built in solid state reamp-so you can use it to turn your 15w amp into 100w for gigs, or into 1/4 watt for recording with exactly the same sound. Hughes and Kettner used the same idea in their Metal Machine, Blues Machine and Cream Machine to great effect.
Old 11th December 2012
Gear Nut
Just my 2c

I also have an Ensemble and some other interfaces. Using the instrument inputs I agree with you about harshness etc, but using the Waves Gtr DI interface thing into a mic pre, into NI Gtr rig I am very happy.
Still doesn't sound the same as a single source 12' speaker in the same room but sounds like listening to that amp miked from the control room to me.

Ps even the beautiful mic pres with selectable impedence I have don't sound as good as the waves box into the same pre.
I'm sure there are other boxes that mimic Gtr amp impedence properly too but that is the only one I've tried.
Old 11th December 2012
Gear Addict

Originally Posted by babel2 View Post
I'm sure there are other boxes that mimic Gtr amp impedence properly too but that is the only one I've tried.
I think little labs does, the MW1 is probably the best (plus it will reamp). Sansamp made a device that was useable for like $75
Old 11th December 2012
Gear Maniac

Originally Posted by mcgruff View Post
If you don't want to use an ISO cab, crank the amp into a Palmer load box / power soak.

When I finish setting up my home studio, the palmer is what I'm going with.
Old 11th December 2012
Gear Maniac
Originally Posted by stafs View Post
Real is the deal. Best cheap low watt amps:
Jet City - JCA2112RC for high gain sounds.
Fender Super Champ for Cleaner stuff.
Add dummy load to your arsenal for recording late, use speaker sims, like Recabinet and Yo will get killer tones. I promise. :D
No need to spend few thousands on digital stuff and hate the tone you get.
Of, course, there are a lot of other amps that will do the job, but in my opinion, these two will cover all your studio needs.
Hey Stafs, using a dummy load would be a great idea. I already have the Red5 (i think that's the right name) cabinet simulators.

Which dummy box do you guys recommend?
Old 12th December 2012
Lives for gear
tomdarude's Avatar
Been there, done that.... my solution:

Silverface Champ with good NOS tubes (I chose a JJ/Tungsol combo)


great oversized 1x12" tweed cabinet (look for something that´s bigger than the average 1x12, and does resonate) with a Tonetubby (ceramic or alnico)
you can experiment with an additional powersoak, but only doing very little.


great mics/pres

Old 12th December 2012
I just got my Kemper yesterday, I'm blown away.

I'm selling my amps once I have profiles of them.
Old 12th December 2012
Lives for gear
mcgruff's Avatar

Kemper - is it just me or is there something rather unsettling about having an amp that's smarter than I am..?
Old 9th January 2013
Gear Maniac
Kemper - sweet!

After learning more about it - I think i found it's weak spot - I think...

When you sample an amp, you are just sampling that particular setting. Once you move the gain or eq in the Kemper, I've heard those changes aren't true to the sound. So, it's not like bumping up gain or low end on your amp.

So if I understand correctly... YOu'd have to sample a clean, low gain, mid gain, high gain and cranked gain. So you would have 6 samples for one amp? And then still would loose all the in between goodness?
Old 10th January 2013
Tracking guitar with digital modeling does not work for me. I think many pros use modeling live because it is easy to transport and has a wide tonal pallet.
But I still don't like digital tracking. and I cannot stand the harsh sound of digital amp/cab simulation. You are way better off with analog cab sims.
In my humble home studio I use a Mesa amp into a Rivera Rockcrusher into a Radial JDX
into a 550b into a mic pre.
The tracks do not sound as huge as a miced amp with room ambience, but they sound real.
When it comes to guitar tracking, authenticity is more important than anything,
including the ability to digitally model hundreds of amplifier types. Who cares?
Also, digital effects make the guitar sound too stereo-symphonic - a great way to make your rock sound like elevator music.
I mean, you are better off using a guitar plugged into a Sans Amp into a mic pre, than you are using digital. Digital is processed pabulum.
Old 10th January 2013
Gear Addict

Have you considered recording the amp's output direct and useing a dummy load instead of a speaker? You could then use an impulse cab simulator later to add the speaker sound. I have yet to try this aproach, but I will be doing so soon.

There are some really good free ampsims and cabsims made by this one guy, though the name escapes me at the moment. I will let you know when I can look them up again.
Old 3rd March 2013
Gear Maniac
So after messing around a lot, I'm still suffering a bit.

Ronan!! Hey man. I tried recording low volume but struggled. Obviously I have to crank up my mic pres and it gets a little noisy. Can you provide any more detail in regards to getting great sounds at low volume? Do you successfully record clean and gain guitars low volume? Not a lot of super heavy distortion going on here...

ANyone else have tips on recording at low volumes? I think this is the only slick option if I could get it to work. I just finally accepted there is no substitute for a real guitar amp and mic combo. It's like a piano, although the plugs sound good and I have a Numa Nero 88 key awesome weighted controller, it just is not possible (yet) to substitute a real piano for a real player.
Old 3rd March 2013
Lives for gear
Spede's Avatar

Some of this might have already been covered, but I usually go with smallest (appropriate) amp at hand to record the guitars. It's not about the volume, but about the power amp distortion. I'd much rather use a 25W Marshall head than 100W head :D And attenuators are better option than fully quiet amp IMO.
Old 3rd March 2013
Lives for gear

Tech 21 is a pretty amazing company when it comes to DI recording. They may not be up your alley, but I would check out the SansAmp GT2. It's basic but it gets the job done.
Old 3rd March 2013
Gear Maniac
Thanks for the replies!

Currently have a Marshall 18 watt with a built in attenuator and a 5 watt fender champ (both ceriatone) an ac15/celestion blue and a Mesa mark II 100/50 watt. A cab with 2x10 celestial bulldogs, 2x12 w vintage 30, 2x12 Mesa cab with black shadow( I think) and a modded valve junior w 1x12 cab and Jensen C12. ALL too loud to track at night. I also have a SansAmp GT2 which I think is just horrible (haven't tried it direct just as a stompbox).

So my thought again was Iso cab, soundproof a room or after this post, Ronan mentioned low volume tracking. That absolutely sounds like the best option if I can make it happen.

Ronan around? Or anyone with experience tracking solid pro level guitars at low volume?

Again. I can get a great sound with a good room and without volume restraints. Struggling since my new house has less than optimal sound separation and sounds easily travel thru the house.

Thanks again for helping and maybe this will help someone in the future. I know I've benefited from so many others.
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