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NEWB: NEEDS HELP CONFIGURING THE USE OF VSTs/PLUG-IN's ON A 'LIVE' GUITAR RIG

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Troubadour, Mar 1, 2012.

  1. Troubadour

    Troubadour Active Member

    Greetings Folks!

    I'm an intermediate level guitarist and home studio hobbyist with a boatload of great gear including some great tube amps, speaker cabs, a few high-end rack-mounted FX processors, as well as a firewire-based mixing board to a Mac Pro with Garageband and Logic Express, but I'm completely new to recording, so I've got a few basic newbee questions for the membership here:

    I prefer an ultra 'clean' sound on guitar about 98% of the time, and over the years, I've tried virtually EVERY configuration imaginable in an effort to polish my 'live' (home studio) guitar sound. This includes the use of premium FX (mostly reverb/delay) directly through the amp's FX loops, and even a few wet/dry/wet setups using the amp's Line Out to a solid state amp with separate cabs. However, no matter how I try, I can't seem to get some of the truly pure, seemingly multi-dimensional, almost 'crystalline' sounds that I see others achieving on YouTube and elsewhere using VST's.

    The problem is, none of those sources ever seem to specify just how it is that they have their system(s) configured, and I won't belabor it by citing specific YouTube videos here at this early juncture, but suffice to say, they are videos of home studio guitarists just like me, using VST's (such as Waves Guitar or GTR3) to somehow process their 'live' sound with incredibly gorgeous-sounding results, and its the "somehow" of this equation that has me stumped.

    Now, I realize that this is a deep subject that is FAR beyond the scope of a single introductory thread, especially when its been initiated by a complete "newb", but basically, here are the preliminary questions that I'm hoping to get some help with for starters (and please, forgive any seemingly ridiculous questions as stemming from sheer ignorance):

    1) What specific VSTs (for Mac) are currently considered by the experts to be the very BEST for studio-grade guitar and what (if any) pitfalls or limitations do I need to watch-out for in purchasing them?

    2) Can the FX provided by a VST/plug-in be active and heard while playing the instrument in real time? Or is it a situation where the FX can only be added to a previously recorded signal and restricted to playback?

    3) I've seen reports of people using the Send jack of their amp's FX loop to send the dry signal to their computer/VST for processing, while apparently using a "dummy" cable (?) from the Return jack to load the amp and somehow disable the speaker(s) so that they can play silently with headphones while recording and still not damage their amp? But what is a "dummy" cable? And despite the use of such a cable on the peripheral FX loop, wouldn't the amp's dry signal still travel through to the cabs?

    Thanks ahead-of-time to all of those who choose to contribute here.
     
  2. Troubadour

    Troubadour Active Member

    What? That's it? Nine or more views and not a single answer to either of these entry-level (aka, beginner) questions? I thought this was a "professional" recording forum?

    What is it they say? . . . All dressed-up and nowhere to go.
     
  3. Flagg Audio

    Flagg Audio Active Member

    1. I think that's the stuff that makes threads go for 300 pages. Guitar Rig is pretty good, if I'm to get the ball rolling, though I'll use anything. There's free guitar cab sims out there as well. Just listen and figure out what works.

    2. There's free stand alone VST hosts that'll work and provide live real-time processing for live settings. Look up MiniHost and SAVIHost. Also, paid apps like Ableton Live work as well... in fact most DAW systems will let you but the routing stuff might eat up CPU moreso than stand alone hosts.

    3. You can just unplug the speakers wires. I'm guessing a dummy cable is just a cable with nothing plugged in at the other end. This could work depending on the amp.
     

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