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I had my guitar plugged in DI the other day and couldn't help but notice a digital distortion whenever I hit a chord too hard. I checked my gain structure and can't seem to figure out where it is coming from.

Fender > AVT50 > Firebox > iMac > Heaphones for monitor

Amp was kept pretty low on the clean channel. Firebox was below redline by about 15dB and the track inside my DAW never went above -12dB. The headphones also weren't clipping because I didn't have them up high enough and they're still pretty new, so it's not an old/damaged diaphragm.

I didn't use a DI box. Other than that, I have no idea why there was distortion, it sounded digital to me. Am I missing something? Advice/Help? because I intend on using DI in conjunction with a mic soon.

EDIT: ok, so in case you were wondering why I am using my amp and calling it DI, it's because my amp has a DI out lol. So I was using that.

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anonymous Mon, 03/09/2009 - 00:02

its because you're using a solid state amp DI into an inteface, i had the same problem about 3 years when i was tracking some guitar parts for a singer. The only real solution is to mic the amp, and avoid going DI. Marshall MG series, and AVT series will always have this problem unless you're playin something with a lot of distortion and any interferences with the signal path would blend in and be unnoticable. Try recording a scratch track with a lot of distortion and see if you're still getting the noticable "digital" distortion at all.
If you were using a true tube amp i'd say get an attenuator and play around with it some more, but your best bet with that amp is to put the cab in an isolated room, or vocal booth and just mic it up into the interface.

or just get a tube head. Im kidding, partially, but one thing i've learned is that there is always a shortcut around spending a bunch of money to get a good sound, atleast in a guitar-equipment-prespective.

RemyRAD Mon, 03/09/2009 - 18:40

There is actually no reason to use your guitar amplifier if you want to go DI into your box. Especially if all you want is a clean guitar sound. I'd say use a microphone on your amp, if you want to use your amp. If you want to use your amp DI output, make sure you're going into a line input, not a DI input. The DI input should only be used when you take the output from your guitar directly into your box. That is, unless, you are using some kind of effects built into your amplifier? Then you might want its direct output.

Thinking inside the box
Ms. Remy Ann David

anonymous Wed, 03/11/2009 - 21:50

I agree... Go straight into the instrument input on your firebox, and apply some light saturation in software if you want an amp sound. The output on your amp isn't speaker emulated, so its like plugging into a stomp box. The speaker of your amp smooths it out and limits the EQ range, adds compression, and lots of other things. If you really want to re-create that, you have to mic it.

If you have software like guitar rig or waves GTR, you can just go DI and choose your sound in software.

Guitarfreak Thu, 03/12/2009 - 08:58

I'm almost positive it is the amp though, I use an amp sim but only after tracking, and in this particular case the clean track came over distorted with no plugs. I can DI just fine straight from the guitar, and it comes out fine, so it's definitely the amp then. I don't understand the physics behind it is what it is.

jg49 Thu, 03/12/2009 - 09:15

Just for clarification you are using the Emulated Direct out on the rear of the amp cabled to your firebox?
Are you going in through the ports on the face of the unit? That is the preamp cicuit and it is possible that the signal from the amp is too hot for the preamp which could cause the clipping even though your gain out from the preamp after clipping is not high enuf to clip in the daw.
Try putting the Direct Out from the Marshall into the line in on the rear and see if that works. Let us know. You might have to assign the track in your software to "see" the line in.

Guitarfreak Thu, 03/12/2009 - 11:16

Your assumption was correct, however I already thought of that before I posted and tried to plug it in the back. It was the same deal, where it clipped at the top 15-20% of the signal. This was also the case where it made the clipping sound at whatever preamp setting I had it on, i.e. it made the same kind of distortion sound at 5dB as it did +25dB so I figured it was unrelated.

Thanks for the help guys!

Guitarfreak Thu, 03/12/2009 - 12:30

jg49 wrote: My thinking is that there is something wrong with the emulation circuit of the AVT itself.

Could be, I had it sent in a while ago to Marshall under warrantee and they sent it back saying there wasn't anything wrong with it. But I've noticed that there really isn't much depth to the distortion sound, like it sounds airy and not tight and warm. But whatev.


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