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Electric Guitar via DI - Do or Don't or YMMV?

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by wsiler, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. wsiler

    wsiler Active Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Hello All,

    I am preparing to add some electric guitar tracks to my current project song and I was wondering if I could get some feedback from the forum. I sold my Apeg amp about a year ago but I still have my stomp boxes.

    Can anyone tell me what their experience with running electric guitars into a recorder via DI was like? I expect there will be a lot of variance from everyone. If you have done this and it sounded good, can you tell me what if anything you did to help the sound?

    So much of electric guitar is about cabinets and amps that I am concerned I will get just trash when I fire this up tonight.

    Any pointers on the signal chain? Here are the units I will be working with...

    Proco Turbo Rat
    Boss SD-1 Overdrive
    Presonus Compressor
    Presonus Preamp

    Strat --> Boss --> Preamp --> Compressor --> Board

    Hopefully I can get a good smooth overdrive out of the SD-1 that sounds natural straight to ADAT. I plan to compress the signal but no other processing as I record everything dry.

  2. electro


    it depends on what type of music your doing...
    the 'sound' of a DI guitar is going to be VERY progressive for the modern ear. and i've only heard it done well by such artists as: Ratatat, Daft Punk, and an ocational guitar line from James iha (smashing pumpkins) and the Faint.

    it will basically sound sort of fake... and pressent. more like a keyboard... you can of course record it dry and re-amp it... but you'll still need an amp.

    if your doing electronic music... then with alot of careful work, you can get something really cool... but if its standard rock, or anything like that, you'll need at LEAST an amp modeler or something.

    at least that has been my experience. but i like the occational (very very occational) direct sound for electronic and progressive rock music.

    good luck
  3. wsiler

    wsiler Active Member

    Jan 7, 2005

    Thanks for the reply! My songs are pop/rock/folk. The sound I will be looking for is overdriven with a solid bottom but not to crunchy. Should be interesting to see what happens.

    I was afraid that might be the case with a DI solution. I was expecting to hear that the sound would be too thin. I guess at worst I will have to settle for guide tracks until I can get an amp or a cab emulator secured. I will give the old college try tonight and see if I can get anything worth keeping.

    Is this primarily diue to the nature of how cabinets roll off frequencies (above 4-7K I think? think i saw that here somewhere)??

  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    The whole point of an electric guitar is the amplifier.

    "Stomp boxes" are just ancillary items for the guitar into your amplifier.

    If you purchase something such as a " POD", it is designed to emulate and model a guitar cabinet/amplifier without the benefit of feedback effects.

    I frequently record my guitarists with an SM57 on the cabinet but also use a active "FET" DI, so as not to load down the pickups on the guitar and print that to a separate track so that if we decide we want a different sound, we can take that track and feed it into any guitar amplifier we want to an re-mic that to another track. Sometimes I use that trick is to make with stereo guitar.

    It's a woman's prerogative to change her mind
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  5. wsiler

    wsiler Active Member

    Jan 7, 2005
    Hello Remy,

    I get what you mean. The primary sound really is a matter of the amp and cabinet. Effects just help shape that sound. I was just hoping that I could get by with a minimum amount of equipment. Of course, if you want it to sound good a little more equipment may be needed.

    Now the question is what to do for an amp. My brother-in-law plays so I guess it will be time to offer him up a 12 pack and borrow one of his amps for a couple of days. Suprised I did not think of that before. Durp.

    I used to use SM57s to mic my cab when I played in college bands. No surprise those suckers are still so preferred. Bullet proof mics really. However, I only have one mic right now. Oktava MK319 (i think that is the model). Pretty common mic on the boards here. Mine sounds quite good as a matter of fact so I must have been lucky. I will have to settle for this mic and get creative to get the right sound. I know the amp I will be borrowing is open back. I remember the sound being OK but not too awe inspiring. I was thinking so I will probably try change the sound by stuffing a pillow into the back of the cab to see if some dampening helps with the tone.

    Neat idea on tracking a dry channel to replay at will. I will have to do that sometime.


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