Recording guitars direct: give it to me.

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inverseroom
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Recording guitars direct: give it to me.

Post by inverseroom » Sat Nov 04, 2006 10:03 am

OK, if you're gonna tell me to go buy an amp and mic it, you can just go poop yourself. Because I do indeed have a nice recording amp and would love to mic it all the time. But I record in a noisy environment and 70% of the time don't have that choice...and when I do have a moment of silence, I usually use it for vocals or acoustic guitar.

So what I'd like to know is how you all get good sounding electric guitar tracks while recording direct. Here are the methods I've used and like, but found somewhat lacking.

1) Sansamp PSA-1. Great tones, but the cab sim never did it for me. I sold it after a while, and miss it sometimes. I'm actually thinking about re-buying it.

2) Vox Tonelab. I like the cab sims quite a lot! But it's noisy, and not a good kind of noise...and I'm never satisfied with the mids. Nevertheless, it's my main go-to guitar thingy.

3) Software. I've done a few tracks by playing clean through the Hamptone, then processing in the box, mostly with FreeAmp 2, a terrific software amp/fx suite. Sounds pretty decent but it's not much fun.

4) Zoom G2. A shockingly good pedal for $99. But the amp models are few, the choices narrow, and it's always over at my bandmate's house anyway.

And here are the methods I'm thinking about trying...

1) Sansamp classic. Never tried it. Does it do stuff the PSA-1 doesn't? Is the cab sim good? It doesn't have to be "realistic," just GOOD.

2) PodXT. I've never so much as tried the thing, but I have heard the Pod has gotten quite excellent in the latest version.

If you get good sounds with directly recorded guitars, how do you do it? I should add I have lots of nice effects pedals to put in front of the amp model, so I don't need a solution that has a zillion effects attached to it.

Thanks all
John

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RodC
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Post by RodC » Sat Nov 04, 2006 10:12 am

Well I always like to reamp, but you could also try a few other things.

I like the POD XT but steer clear of the presets, I havnt done a lot with it but I have heard some good stuff.

I like to be different. Get yourself a nice guitar preamp and use some cab simulators, either software or hardware.

What about a hot plate and use the line out of it? Its not the same as micing the speaker but at least you can capture some of the poweramp tube sound.
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Post by John Jeffers » Sat Nov 04, 2006 10:22 am

I used to own a PSA-1 and I sold it. I think it makes a nice preamp going into a real amp and speaker, but I didn't really like it for direct.

I have a PodXT Live right now, and I think it's pretty good. I've used it on records for clean tones. I really like it for bass, too. You can now buy the bass models and install them on your guitar PodXT to turn it into a "Bass PodXT Lite". I definitely agree with RodC about avoiding the presets and rolling your own. There are so many frickin' choices that it might take a while to find the sounds that do it for you, but it's worth it.

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Post by mjau » Sat Nov 04, 2006 10:38 am

I've not used the the vox tonelab, but have used the podxt and it'll definitely do the trick. Even the first series of pod can be passable, IMO.

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inverseroom
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Post by inverseroom » Sat Nov 04, 2006 10:40 am

Nah, I never use presets...I really enjoy twiddling knobs until something good comes out.

Is the rackmount Pod "better"? Worth all the extra dough?

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Post by mjau » Sat Nov 04, 2006 10:58 am

inverseroom wrote:Nah, I never use presets...I really enjoy twiddling knobs until something good comes out.

Is the rackmount Pod "better"? Worth all the extra dough?
Not in my experience with it, though that was with the first pod edition. Didn't hear any difference between the kidney bean and the 19-incher.

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Post by John Jeffers » Sat Nov 04, 2006 11:15 am

The rack version gives you balanced XLR and some other I/O goodies, but the models and effects are exactly the same as the bean. Save your money.

OTOH, the XT Live is worth the extra cash if you gig with it because it's a floorboard design with switches and a pedal, which is very handy for live situations. Otherwise, you gotta buy the bean and a separate pedalboard. It's nice to have it all in one.

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Post by rhythm ranch » Sat Nov 04, 2006 11:33 am

A good friend and life-long guitarist had a Pod for years and really liked it. Easy to take to small gigs, small apartment rehearsals, sounded good, very tweakable. When the Pod XT came out, he sold the old Pod and got the XT. At first, he was frustrated with it; after a couple of months he started liking it quite a bit. He said that he felt like the XT had better algorithms and was more like the amps it was modeling. It took a little more work to get a sound you felt was just right and all your own - just like when working with a real amp.

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Post by Quest Poetics » Sat Nov 04, 2006 12:37 pm

Get a software emulator...I use amplitube and dont necessarily use the distortion on the software, instead use your pedals into the amp model w/ the distortion turned off (with in the software) I"ve actually have had way better results w/ that setup rather than any pod / outboard emulator....

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Post by KennyLusk » Sat Nov 04, 2006 3:10 pm

FWIW I like the Toneport UX2 quite a bit and use it to re-amp with but it also sounds pretty cool as a DI if you route the analog outputs through a Pro VLA to add some analog color. The Toneport has some of the XT technology and some of the Vetta models as well and the console emulations are fun, as is the mic modeller and pre-delay feature on the reverb. Very useful little tool that's incredibly inexpensive IMO. The GUI interface is great great fun and totally cool. It's an addictive little gadget.

BTW, the toneport analog outputs routed into a tube 4-track RTR sounds quite convincing.
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inverseroom
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Post by inverseroom » Sat Nov 04, 2006 5:50 pm

Toneport, no shit? I should try it out.

I'm actually very satisfied with my method of getting sounds into the computer. And I do indeed have a Pro VLA, and when I've done guitars direct, they indeed have gone through several pieces of tube gear. So this makes sense, as does Sound Campaign's idea. I really do recommend FreeAmp 2...version 3 should be out before too long, in fact. It's freeware, a VST.

I shouldn't be getting hung up on this stuff...I feel like this kind of thing is a much lower priority than a good song and a good performance...I mean I'd rather have a wonderful solo poorly recorded than a careful and calculated one that sounds great...but there's that little voice in the back of my head that says I can have it all...

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Post by kayagum » Sat Nov 04, 2006 8:09 pm

I own both a SansAmp original and Pod XT Live....

I actually use both as a speaker sim, and you can definitely make them work.

The key (for me) has been getting a good, relatively transparent pedal compressor. For my SansAmp, I use my Maxon compressor. On the Pod XT, I program a good compressor (there are several to choose from).

They give you the extra feel that you expect from playing through a speaker... a slight give or pushback. It's made all the difference.

When recording, I DI them through a Groove Tubes Ditto box into a RNP. Works just fine.

The SansAmp takes pedals really well...especially distortion and fuzz.
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Post by swingdoc » Sat Nov 04, 2006 11:47 pm

JOhn, if I want to run clean, I'll just run directly into a preamp that has a 1/4" jack. Sounds great imo.
If I want noise, then an outboard preamp like the Voodoo labs or Boogie Quad etc work great.
Then get a Lil labs re-amp'r thing when you have time or its day time or whatever, and reamp and mic it if you feel you need to. Also, you can record a clean signal directly through the mic preamp, then when you re-amp, you can use your pedals to get whatever.

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Post by joelkriske » Sun Nov 05, 2006 12:10 am

gotta say it...

though i love love love my avalon u5, for the total fender/smog/catpower sound, i love my sheraton thru a joemeek vc6q. it's right there.
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Post by flanneljammies » Sun Nov 05, 2006 7:11 am

Another vote for the Sans Amp Classis. I haven't used the PSA ever, but I'm never disappointed when I use the Classic. I find it especially good for Tortoise-style baritone lines, but it works well for everything. You can even use it as a distortion stompbox for live shows as well.

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