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Guitar amp direct out recording

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by xkrisx, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. xkrisx

    xkrisx Active Member

    Hey. Im new in that forum. Im also total new to home recording. But recently i finally bought guitar im very happy with and i would like to start recording.
    For now except my guitar i own Line6 SpiderIV guitar amp, Steinberg CI1 USB interface and a PC laptop. I also have Mixcraft5 software.
    As you can see thats the most low budget config you can probably imagine :) But since i want to record stuff for myself and some of my friends i dont want to spend too much money. As you noticed i dont own any mic so for now the only way of recording my guitar is trough direct out of my SpiderIV which shouldnt be that bad since it has cab simulation. But for now im not very happy with it. Even though its not great amp still sound i hear from it while playing its much better than the one i can hear recorded. It kind of adds some distortion to it.
    Well im not sure of a reason. So here are my questions
    1) Is it amps direct output fault, cab simulation fault or my usb audio interface setup fault?
    2) Also what is the proper way of setting up amp output and interface gain levels? Should i make amp loud and gain on interface on minimum or i should somehow try to set up amp quieter and add gain on the interface?
    3) Im also thinking of buying mic Shure SM57. I know its one of the most popular to use with guitar amps. But is there any point of using it if i dont have proper room at home? I mean my recording will happen in the living room of my apartment.

    As you see my questions are about very basic stuff but please if you dont wanna help, then at least spare me stupid comments like "read manual" or "google it".

    Thanx in advance for all help.

  2. xkrisx

    xkrisx Active Member

    Anybody, anything??
  3. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    What you are hearing is the actual sound a guitar amp produces. A techie will doubtless correct me but basically a guitar speaker acts as a very effective and tuneful filter in my understanding, and its the unique combination of amp and speaker cabinet thats responsible for modern and vintage guitar tone. A cabinet simulator is an ineffective way of simulating this 'tone-shaving' and never as good.

    So in answer to (1) its nothing to do with your gear, you will just never get a proper recorded guitar sound using a direct out. BUT

    In answer to (2) its the same as ever, bash your axe as hard as you can and it should just clip the input of the next stage, drop it one notch and your level is set. It works very much the same as Gain and Volume on your guitar amp, just with more horrible results if you get it wrong. So its possible you are overloading the input of the following stage. Won't take more than 10 minutes and 2 ears to work that one out.

    3) is the key. Yes, buy the 57. As long as your neighbours will stand the volume, simply positioning your 57 in different places will give you much more varied and creative results than a cab simulator ever good. Its a purchase you will never regret. This assumes the Steinberg interface has a mic pre, I'd guess it has the EMU type which are pretty OK.
  4. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    If you don't have the means to record a properly miked clip either due to volume sensitive neighbors, poor gear, lack of recording experience or any combination of the above, then amp direct recording can be the desired way. The hard truth is that although mic recording is the preferred method of getting the best guitar tones possible, it takes years to learn and with an amp like what you are using it won't be worth the effort. You should buy a DI box like a Countryman Type 85, which has an amplifier DI mode that will properly load the amplifier for direct recording. The problem with 'adding gain' as Jeemy pointed out is due to you recording direct and not through a speaker. Guitar loudspeakers are designed to sharply roll off high end, without this effect the tone would be gritty and harsh. You could approximate this ITB using a Low Pass at ~5kHz with a slope of 12 or 18dB per octave. I have done this using a distortion pedal direct in with desirable results so I don't see why you couldn't do it with an amplifier. You may actually want to pick up a distortion box to record direct in instead of using the amp. I don't like Line 6 amplifiers at all. I've never heard a sound from one of them that I would consider desirable.
  5. xkrisx

    xkrisx Active Member

    Thanx for reply Jeemy. Yes Steinberg CI1 has 2 mic preamps but i can't find any info about them. Studio guy from my city said they are the best i can get in that tiny budget of mine. He compared quality of them to the ones in FOCUSRITE SAFFIRE 6 USB... I dont know how much knowledge he has but looked like he knew what he was talking about. Also he said that its a level higher than the m-audio interfaces including some 3 times the price of CI1.
    I guess im gonna buy the mic then. For now it will have to be my setup. I guess next step would be to go for fireface 400, but first new amp.
    Thanx again for answering

  6. Jeemy

    Jeemy Well-Known Member

    I have to say I disagree with GF, not in statement, but in intent. If you get the mic, you have many options to change amp (I agree the Spider is poor, but it is what you have), speakers (a Vintage 30 in that combo of yours would cost like $30 s/h and then you can just move it into a better amp), but mainly I disagree in the whole taking years to learn mic positioning thing. Yeah, it'll take years to become expert, but its all diminishing returns, in 2 weeks you'll be happier, in 2 months you'll be pretty damn good, and in 2 years you'll know everything about an SM57 in your room. The movement of the mic within your room is enough to cover so many tonal variations, you will find one that works. And it will be maybe not easier, but better than tweaking the Spider til your knuckles give out.

    I'm sure Bos or somebody in the know will chime in but I'm guessing the CI1 converters are bought in and match EMU or MOTU or something in chipset - going to RME should be an improvement thereafter but yeah, new amp bro. I have a Cornford Harlequin, a Rivera S120 and an Orange Tiny Terror going up for sale soon if you are in the UK. If you are US (or UK and don't fancy those) the tweed covered Peaveys and Laneys are very good for the buck and the Crate VC5212 I haven't actually got my hands on yet, but Knopfler is using one.....plenty good cheap tube amps around now.
  7. xkrisx

    xkrisx Active Member

    Thanx guys. Thing about the amp is that i play everything and nothing. From SRV through classic rock to Dream Theater and Killswitch Engage (drop D drop C tuning)... Believe me i would really like to get Fender Super Reverb or Bassman, Marshall 1959, and Mesa Dual Rectifier. There is just no money for that. So in the beginning i needed something as universal as possible for little money. So i just have to deal with what i have for a while and try to get as much as i can from my rubbish gear. I try to save money and buy Mesa Road King. Thats absolutely amazing amp and extremely versatile. But damn its expensive. About Peaveys and Laneys: as you mentioned in some other post (and i agree) its smart to complete your gear by purchasing something that can get you to the higher level of sound quality A+ without regreting any purchase. So i'd rather wait for my Mesa rather than buy Laney and in 2 years end up crying for amp change again.
    Yeah Jeemy. Those amps you mentioned are tempting, especially Rivera. But unfortunately i live in Norway now and since this crazy country is not an EU member, taxes customs and all the other fees would make that purchase uneconomical even if you really have good price for them. But just out of curiosity do you know already how much will be that Rivera? :)
  8. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Is the Spider direct out a combination stereo/phones/direct out? How are you connecting it to the interface (i.e., what kind of cable)? How much have you played with the gain structure? That is the gain of the amp / input of the interface ? What does the recorded track look like in the DAW? Is the waveform clipped?
  9. xkrisx

    xkrisx Active Member

    Thanx for all help again.
    So Bob, there you go...

    Yes, exactly.
    1/4" stereo jack into the amps direct out and two mono 1/4" jacks into two imputs of CI1 interface
    My question about gain was more to find out whats the rule (if there is any) about setting it up for recording. I set up gain in the amp acording to what guitar tone i want to hear and then operate master volume and gain on the interface so the peak control light shows up only with the strongest stumming. Thing is im wondering if i should put interface gain control on minimum and use only master volume on the amp or maybe use both controls to get to desirable signal level
    Im not sure what you mean by that so i put screenshot
  10. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Waveforms look OK. They are not clipped, but a little more jagged than I would expect. Blow one of them up so that we can see only three or four oscillations.

    I assume you are not showing a pair of tracks recorded simultaneously.
  11. lele61082

    lele61082 Active Member

    ??? are you still an active member?
  12. lele61082

    lele61082 Active Member

    ??? are you still an active member?

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