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I finally got a big, thick, tight heavy guitar sound straight to disk...details at 11 Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 28th February 2003
Lives for gear
guittarzzan's Avatar
I finally got a big, thick, tight heavy guitar sound straight to disk...details at 11

After much frustration, I finally got a great high-gain, thick distorted guitar sound that actually still sound sweet after the a/d/a. All this without even micing the cab. I'm talking a single track and not referring to the standard recording techniques like multiple tracks of the same part, different chord voicings etc.
The signal chain is as follows:

Prs guitar to Avalon U5 direct box to Sansamp Psa-1 to the clean channel on my VHT Pitbull head (with power section at about 6) to Palmer load box to Vintech X73 pre to Art pro VLA compressor to Digidesign 192 a/d/a at 88.2.
The list is long, but you may get as good or better results with other gear. The combination of the Psa-1 as a pre for the VHT power section is awesome and neither one on their own sounds as good as the two together. I'm sure the VHT guys would argue this though. I'm blown away by how good it sounds even after the a/d/a. I'm no pro by any means, but to me, it sounds as good or better than a lot of what I've heard lately on the radio...and that's w/o any extra tracks.
I hope this gives someone out there something that may help ya get what you're looking for in guitar tracks. The sound is somewhere between STP's Core album and Godsmack's sound; heavy and tight.

just my 3 cents,
Old 28th February 2003
Lives for gear
preben's Avatar

sounds VERY interesting. This is something I have tried to achieve (with no luck, I must ad) for many years with all sorts of types of gear. What Palmer load box did you use PDI-03 or the newer 04..? And also: is it possible for you to throw a link or send me an mp3 or something as I would love to hear the tone you got..??
Old 28th February 2003
Lives for gear
guittarzzan's Avatar
Hi, it is the new PGA-04. I tried hard to just run my VHT amp through it, but the sound was just kind of mushy and boring. I don't understand it. Live, the amp sounds great, but it's a tough one to record imo. I finally just figured this out today so it might even sound just as good w/o a few of the pieces of gear in the chain. Most of my set up is fairly new and I just got my cd burning software today so it'll be a while before I have anything to slap on the web.
A simpler scheme that I bet you would have good results with is the Sansamp preamp with any half way decent tube amp and just run it through the clean channel. The Sansamp unit has a lot of great sounds, but sound a little fake w/o the help of some tubes. I have a Pod Pro too, but the Psa-1 is years ahead of the Pod. I wouldn't recommend the Palmer as a solution by itself as it sounded a lot less impressive to me than just putting a 57 in front of a speaker. In fact, until I ran the Psa through the VHT as the preamp, I was planning on selling the Palmer. The Avalon unit is sweet all around. It's hard to explain what it does to a guitar signal. It just seems to bring everything alive more. Going direct w/o using mics isn't the way a lot of "pros" do it, but it sure sounds good to me.
I still lose a little of it in the a/d/a, but it sounded light years better than any previous attempts.
When I get my crap together and something I'm not embarassed to post, I'll put something up.
good luck,

Old 28th February 2003
I have the OTHER direct / load box unit with a good rep, the Marshall SE100

I have to try some pre amps I have feeding the Engle Savage power amp section... then going into the SE100...

I really need to take a gtr mess around 'day off'.

I think I will record a DI gtr then reamp it out to various set ups and see what 'wins'

Thanks for the tip off!

Old 28th February 2003
Lives for gear
preben's Avatar

You're probably right about the fact that it is combination of the various pieces that makes the difference - although one probably can good results even if one or more parts of the chain is omitted or substituted.

I have tried more or less everything out there to try and sort out the guitars-direct-to-disk conundrum. I have the Marshall SE-100 and the old Palmer PDI-03 and have used them with a variation of Marshall and Fender amps (no Vox'es - 16 Ohm) and I must admit that sofar particulaly thick crunchy tones have eluded me. It's MILES better than any of the digital devices (The j-station was the best of the bunch for me so far, also better than the new POD.. I know I'm alone on this one). The best result so far has been the JD-10 from session, which is a similar unit to the original SansAmp which from memory sounds a lot warmer than the PSA-1... but still not quite there...

So it must be the combination of factors that makes it work. I'll do what Jules does: have a day of messing about with guitars, amps, loads and other devices. Still very curious to hear your stuff, though :-)
Old 28th February 2003
Lives for gear
guittarzzan's Avatar
I haven't heard the J station, but I have read a few guys' posts that they think they're better than the Pod stuff. I'll have to check one out. Personally, I think the Psa-1 is way ahead of the Line 6 stuff. At first listen, I thought the Pod was great, but after trying to record with it, all the sounds just sound synthetic or as if the mic was too far from the cab. The sounds just never seem to leap out at ya imo.
I know a guy who uses the Pod pro with a Mesa power amp for his live rig and he swears by it.
For my personal taste, I think I'm starting to see a common denominator, at least for recording. It seems to me that a solid state pre is quicker and tighter sounding than a tube, but still needs that tube help for the power section. When I've tried it with the VHT alone, the articulation just kind of softened into mush. I'm not talking about Yngwie Malmsteen riffs...just some simple bar chord riffs with some stops and palm muting.
Does anyone out there make amps with a ss preamp and tube power section? I've heard amps with tube pre and ss power and haven't been blown away.
Jules, I've heard good things about the Engles in fact, I think that was the main amp of choice on the STP Core album and I love the guitars on that album. If you are familiar with that material, would you say that the Core album is the basic sound of Engle amps?
Also, don't get too excited. What I think is a great, rich distortion tone, you guys may think sounds like a Fender Champ in a garbage can lol. Plus, I'm just a UPS driver with a love of music and a gear addiction, so I'm probably in a different league than you guys who do this for a living.
Anyhoo, when I figure out how to get my new Cd burning software, I'll try and put up a couple audio nuggets for you to love or laugh at. I just got SF Cd Architect and for the life of me, I can't find one word in the manual about dithering. I burned a rough draft of a song last night that was recorded at 88.1 and it src'd on its own. The result on my home stereo sounded nothing more than a turd on a skillet. It was horrible!!

Have a good weekend,
Old 28th February 2003
Gear Maniac
ultima's Avatar

Is that SAE Preben...?

if not then never mind.
Old 28th February 2003
Shocking as it may seem, I am no much up on STP so I dunno. I bought the Engle as an all rounder for my studio on a tip off from Michael Wagener, Gearslutz High End moderator and producer supremo!

I am very happy with it, but of course want em all.

Old 28th February 2003
Lives for gear
preben's Avatar

First of all: I don't know what you mean by SAE so it probably isn't yuktyy

Secondly: One of the best ever guitar tones I ever heard/recorded came out of a tiny tweed Fender Champ so if you've got that sound I'm even more excited

I have tried a lot of different guitar amps and generally seem to have more luck with non-master volume amps - apart from the Dual Rectifier which I think is highly underrated for clean sounds btw.

Peavey actually made a couple of good sounding tranny-pre valve-power amps many years ago (the Classic and the Deuce (Lynyrd Skynyrd) - you can pick those up for nothing these days as they are very non-trendy... And then there's the MusicMan amps some of which do the same. As combo's none of these will probably cut it in 'modern' guitar music but as heads with a good 4x12 they could be quite interesting.
Old 1st March 2003
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Meriphew's Avatar

There are some great MusicMan amps out there, at least great for clean sounds or dirtied up with pedals. Look for the ones with names written in script ie - Sixty Five Reverb (my fav).
Old 16th March 2003
Lives for gear

Great thread! I arrived at the same conclusions myself (though I need an 04) actually! At this point I actually detest mic'ing a guitar amp for really crunchy sounds. I much prefer going direct, as it just fits my style better (and as much as 80% of the stuff I record is my own crap).

I'm probably way more a guitar gear slut than a recording one, so I went through a ton of amps and I always like talking about them! For the record, those Engle amps are called Engl, which I think is German for Angel. They are super super awesome amps, though I've never been totally fond of the Savage special edition amps. Their best sounding rock set up, to my ears, was the Ritchie Blackmore signature amp. In my opinion, that thing just RIPS for any sort of metal tone.

I agree with the original poster about the VHT- I had the same findings as you. Great in the room, ****ty in the post mic/ad mix. I've never been a tremendous fan of VHT front ends at all, but they are the industry standard for guitar power amps. In fact, a lot of the reason you might be getting that STP tone is because Dean DeLeo uses a VHT power amp!

In the coming months, I'm probably going to need to establish a really solid direct recording rig and the Sansamp/VHT combo is exactly what I'd go to first. I never thought of running the signal through something like a U5 first though, that's a great idea!

I love the sound of distorted direct guitars mixed with a class a amp with a real room sound- I've been doing this with a Top Hat Club Royale as the room amp and it sounds great. I do this to make the direct sound more realistic- record drums with the 2x12 open back Top Hat playing in the same room (20W amp and usually not very loud) bleeding a bit into the drum mics, then go back and do the usual doubling **** with the more direct rig. The sound is both very present and very three dimensional. If the guitar player is tight, the sound can be absolutely tremendous.
Old 17th March 2003
Lives for gear
guittarzzan's Avatar
Ba, do you usually record the direct source and the room amp at the same time using a splitter or do em both at different takes?
Old 17th March 2003
Lives for gear

Generally I don't do them at the same time. It might be psycho-acoustic, but I think the whole splitter thing does something to the tone. And when I play heavy stuff, I'm generally tight enough to make it sound coherant. You know, I'd love to hear a clip of your tone if you get a chance! BTW, I'm thinking of getting a 100W Top Hat ambassador head and using that as the power amp. For some reason I just feel like that would rock.
Old 1st April 2003
Lives for gear
drundall's Avatar

Hey Jules, which model Engle do you have? I used a Ritchie Blackmore sig model in Italy last month and while it was cool it was a little carved out sounding. We were running an Engle cab also.
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