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tracking guitars from my control room

I want to play my guitar in my control room. I dont want my Amp anywhere near my control room. I would like to mic my amp in the farthest room in my house and play my guitar in the control room hearing what the mic picks up on my monitors. 3 part question: 1.Good Idea Or Bad Idea? 2. Can I do it like this?
Snake through the crawl space into the farthest room. Mic input 1 into mix input 1. Then id take the Balanced 1/4" jack thats normally used as a send, rewire it like a guitar cable, rewire the male end into a female, and just plug my guitar into that new jack in the control room sending my guitar hiZ signal through the snakes rewired 1/4" jack into the guitar amp. I'm even kind of confused. 3. how do i rewire the balanced jack, do i even need to rewire the balanced jack?


Kapt.Krunch Fri, 03/16/2007 - 04:02
Yep, the mic'ing part should be no problem, but you may get a lot of signal loss and a lot of possible noise connecting a guitar to that long of a cable. There are several things you could try, like boosting the signal, or running it through some kind of hi-lo Z conversion, and back again to plug into the amp. Either one may still affect tone.

Then there's the problem of getting the right tone in the first place. If the amp controls are 80 feet away, you'll set what you think sounds good in the room with the amp, then you'll go back to the control room and listen on monitors. If you don't quite like what you hear, you'll run back to the amp room, tweak again, run back to the control room for another listen. Maybe run back, run forth. It probably ain't gonna sound the same through the monitors, and within the mix, as it does in the amp room.

You may find that the glorious, full sound in the room muddies up everything.

Hmmmm...what do we do about that? One possibility would be to perhaps use an extension speaker, if you have a combo amp, or if you have a head/cab, keep the head in the control room, and run speaker wires to the cab. At least you could tweak while listening. That still may present a bit of a problem, if the speaker cable were too long. And no, do NOT try running that through a snake. If it were in the next room, probably not a problem...80 feet away might be. If possible, maybe even jack plates between two rooms with high quality speaker jacks to connect the amp to the cab. Of course, it's always best to use the fewest connections possible, and the least amount of speaker wire on an amp.

Does it absolutely HAVE to be at the other end of the house? Yeah, I know, if your rooms aren't sound-proofed, then having it in the next room will likely bleed into the control room while playing. That can be dealt with. Possibly, record a bit, listen to it within the mix, and then make changes if necessary. If the head were in the room, at least the changes you make will be heard immediately through the monitors, instead of guessing, and then running back and forth. Of course, if you only have a combo amp, and no extension cab...then you're going to have to run back and forth anyway.

Some people can't stand NOT to be in the same room as the amp. A part of the tone is the effect that the amp volume-to-guitar response has on their tone and playing. It's pretty hard to get a guitar to do a controlled near-feedback sustain through a pair of studio any level.

It's a conundrum if you're alone, and trying to play and engineer at the same time. How do I start the recording if I'm in another room? How do I control the amp's tone if I'm in the control room?

A set of headphones run to the amp room, with a loooong count-in to give you time to get in there, put on the guitar, headphones and be ready?

Or, play the guitar in the control room with the amp controls inaccessible?

Maybe the amp in the next room, a wall plate for headphones, and a lengthy count-in with a distinguishable change in the count right before the tune starts? All you are doing in that case is monitoring the tempo and changes in the tune anyway, so you may consider putting the headphones on only one ear to know where you're at, and you can still hear the amp, and respond to it.

No easy way to do it without someone else pushing the record button.

Just some things to consider.


Jonesey Fri, 03/16/2007 - 08:32
Go to mercenary audio website and they sell a device specifically to do that. I bought one 2 weeks ago and can't remember what it's called, and am at work right now. It comes with a 1/4 phone plug that plugs into your guitar and the other end plugs into a snake or xlr mic cable. At the amp side the xlr plugs into a little box that also has 2 1/4 phone outputs so you can connect the guitar to two amps at once if you choose. It works like a charm. You can also get a good sound on the amp and using headphones move the mic around the speaker to find the sweet spot.

What I usually do is just crank the amp and for heavens sake keep your volume knob on your guitar completely off. The mic will pickup the hiss of the speaker and you can usually judge your mic positioning from the tone of the amp hiss. Turn your amp's volume back and go back to your control room and record. I guess you can send your amp white noise and position the mic that way also, but more time consuming.

Pro Audio Guest Tue, 03/20/2007 - 12:51
Exactly correct :) I would like to add that I recently had a problem with my "2 year old std", emailed little labs and Jonathan Little replied requsting I send in my unit and they would upgrade it for free ! Got it back within a week and it looks pretty much like a brand new unit. Can't get much better customer service then that :)