Direct Guitar Recording

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Shred, Mar 25, 2006.

  1. Shred

    Shred Guest

    First Post!! Yeah! I'd really like to be able to go direct to mixer with my guitar and still get a metal guitar tone. The products I have been looking at are:

    • Sansamp TRI-AC
      Sansamp GT2
      Sansamp PSA 1
      Hughes & Kettner Tubeman
    Out of these four what do you think would get me the heaviest and nicest distortion? Feel free to add to the list as well if you have recommendations. Like I said I play metal, so I need something that can pull that sound off direct.

    I will be setting it up like so:

    Guitar -> One of the devices I'm looking at -> Mixer -> M-Audio Firewire 410 -> iMac G5 -> Logic
  2. StevenColbert

    StevenColbert Member

    Feb 13, 2006
    I too write/ record/ play/ & love metal. I use a Hughes & Kettner 125W tube head with a DI box. But you have to use a different type of DI box for tube amps. I can talk more about this if nes.
    May I ask what type of amp you are using? Tube or solid state?
    I never could get a nice metal tone out of a solid state amplifier. They all sound lifeless to me after using tube distortion.
    Off subject...
    I do own a SansAmp Bass DI and love it to death. I also own a Hughes & Kettner Tube Factor (not the Tubeman, very simular however). Great little single tube distortion preamp for guitar. Easy to use as a DI as well. I can think of several very nice ways you can get some great tones, just need to know your preferences, so my suggestions are more to your liking, and/ or your type of studio setup.
  3. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    Welcome to RO, Shred !
    Ah, that age-old question about DI'ing a geetar! Been doing that for too many years now. Got a slew of stomps, modellers, power sponges, etc. to
    prove it...
    I have a Tri-AC and a PSA-1 (plus a Killer Wail, an American Woman, and a SansAmp Bass DI) in my studio. I think that Tech 21 gear ROCKS! But, to be honest, the players that come in to my studio are not usually metal players. I would say that the only SansAmp that will really do hi-gain is the Tri-AC. And when you compare it to a Mesa Boogie V-Twin pedal, it sounds a bit more harsh and less dynamic. To me, the SansAmp line is a more subtle tone machine rather than a bone-cruncher.
    We also have a Tubeman here. The metal players seem to gravitate towards it more due to the crunch factor and the mid scoop it displays.
    But these little tube things are a misnomer. All ANY of these manufacturers do is "starve" a Chinese 12AX7 to get the SAME non-linear harmonic distortion that transistor can do. I think half the guys I see pick a box is because it has a tube in it, even if it fizzes and farts.
    Have you looked at the Vox ToneLab? There are some good advantages
    to using a modeller when you want to DI a guitar. I have the pedal version, and the popularity of that puppy, and its ability to emulate the CABINET as well as the head, is uncanny. You might check that aspect out, too...
  4. Shred

    Shred Guest

    Sweet! Thanks for the welcome guys!

    StevenColbert- I am using a Mesa/Boogie F30 Combo, but soon to be a F100 Head. I would die using solid state haha...I need my tubes. I normally run the amp's distortion, but there are times when I'll run a Boss MT-2 through it, which gives me a really heavy distortion, but pulls away from some of the tube sound. Studiowise, I'm somewhat limited to volume due to neighbors which is why I've started to move away from micing. Plus I like recording at night, which is possible with DI.

    moonbaby- I took a look at the Vox ToneLab, and it does look very nice from the modeling standpoint, but I would like to try to stay away from Multi-FX. The Reason would be I have a Boss GT8, and I know that is capable of doing direct, it doesn't pull it off. Plus, I do know how to use my GT8, but it is a very complicated device with millions of options. I'm looking for something more simple. Maybe I am doing the wrong thing in comparing the ToneLab with the GT8. I'm not sure, but if I am just let me know why and I'll take another, closer, look. haha. Also, I see you have experience with the Tri-AC and the PSA-1, but have you used the Sansamp GT2 at all? Someone told me that this one is capaple of pulling off some nice metal tones. One of the main things that pulls me toward the sansamps are their simplicity. As far as the Tubeman goes, I am not sure if that one has too crazy of a distortion. I have not been able to try it out. Now would it be possible, if I had to, boost like the Tri-AC with a distortion/overdrive pedal? That is just one of my curiosity questions. haha.

  5. CoyoteTrax

    CoyoteTrax Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2005
    Home Page:
    FWIW I'd like to add that for metal tones there's nothing IMHO that comes close to a JMP-1 for guitar preamp/DI work and sometimes you can score them for half-price on ebay.

    This may be scattered advice but I just wanted to add real quick to the good advice the other guys are offering:

    An ART Pro VLA can really bring a DI signal to life before it goes to your DAW or tape deck. Whether you actually use the compression features or not.

    The Sansamp Classic is a killer device.

    High quality pickups (Fralin's, Bill Lawrence, Rio Grande's, Kinman's, etc.) are an absolute Must if you're going to do DI work with any guitar or bass.

    And any tube device in the signal path should have the stock tubes rolled out and replaced with some sweet NOS tubes like the CV4024's that are available right now, JAN Philips tubes (especially 12AT7's), or Tesla/JJ's (Yum).

    Soviet or Chinese tubes suck the life out of everything and do nothing but sling mud into your signal. Especially if you're using overwound pickups with high output and cheap magnets (which usually equates to mud).
  6. StevenColbert

    StevenColbert Member

    Feb 13, 2006
    Shred, I too like to record at night. I looked for months before I bought my guitar DI setup. And I am VERY happy with what I bought. First off, for the tube amps, I read that you cannot run a tube amp without a speaker cabinet connected to the amplifier. UNLESS you buy a Marshall SE100 (which is no longer made) or the newer version made by Groove Tubes (I can't remember the name on that one at the moment). It's the same one Eddie VanHalen uses with his setup. The newer Marshall Hot plate is not supposted to be as good as the other two I already mentioned.
    I bought my Marshall SE100 on ebay. For $500. Since they do not make them anymore. You can crank the head and record with loud levels all while wearing your headphones. I love it
    For years the volume was my problem. The Marshall SE100 and the newer Groove Tubes unit are the best 2 to choose from (FYI---the GT has a chrome faceplate, unless its older then its a brown faceplate).
    The THD hotplate also had good ratings but not as good as the better ones. I try to only use the best. I hate investing twice
    Lets talk some more about this.....
  7. Shred

    Shred Guest

    Indeed...I take it the Groove Tube product you were talking about is the SEII Speaker Emulator. These sound very interesting, so I want to know a bit more about them. So basically with this type of device, I can take an amp head and instead of running the output to a speaker or cab, run it into this device. Then I can take the device and go into mixer. Correct me if I am wrong, but if I am right that sounds awesome. So I could keep my Mesa F Series sound and then be able to record that direct. Now, what are all the options on this type of product. I have seen the GT one now, and the Marshall, but are there aothers worth looking into?

  8. StevenColbert

    StevenColbert Member

    Feb 13, 2006
    Yeah, that's the one. Groove tubes actually designed the Marshall SE100 for Marshall back in the 80's. So the SEII is in fact the second version, with the designers name on in rather than the Marshall copywrite name. Marshall paid for the rights to make the SE100.

    Yes, that easy.

    Yes, you will be impressed to say the least

    Options for the Marshall SE100 are several and many. You can load the output (if you choose to use a speaker cabinet with the SE100)at 6db, 12db, 18db, or zero load. You can set up the angle in which the emulator emulates a mic. Reffered to as axial response. The settings are as degrees, 30degrees and 60 degrees. There is a button for open back speaker cabinets and closed back speaker cabinets. I like the closed for heavy chunky tones. It has a signal indicator LED and a peak LED.
    XLR out for going straight to the board, for DI recording. And a headphone jack on the front, with a volume knob for adjustment. Incase your just jamming and then all you need is a guitar your amphead and a pair of headphones. You do NOT need a speaker cabinet with the Marshall SE100. Or you can use a speaker cabinet with it as well, and still record.

    Shred, the SEII is a tad different, I don't own it. So I cant say as much about it as I can the Marshall SE100. I do know there is not an XLR on the GrooveTubes SEII.
    I did a google search and read for weeks about these type of emulators. Seems like the only 2 worth talking about are the 2 we are talking about at the moment. The THD hotplate, many users said "it's not as good"...the newer Marshall PowerBrake, some said "it sucks".

    If it helps you, goto google, type in Marshall SE100, and click on the image icon overtop of the google bar. This is how I was able to better understand the SE100 before I bought mine.

    Also lastly. Just make sure that the GrooveTubes SEII can work without a speaker cabinet if you go that route. I can not remember if it can work without a speaker cabinet connected. I did not buy the GrooveTubes SEII mostly because it does not have an XLR out and the price was $200 more. But the 2 units DO HAVE some differences. They aren't many, just a few.
    Hope this helps
  9. Shred

    Shred Guest

    Very nice. I am definetly going to look into this into much more detail, and will hopefully purchase either the SEII or the SE100 eventually. However, In the meantime while I look at the devices and save up some money I still want a half-decent way to direct record. Just to cover me until I get the real thing. Do you think it would be worth it to purchase a Sansamp GT2 or Tri-AC to have for some basic direct recording to lay tracks down. Plus I can add it to my collection of pedals for a live setup as well. I most likely will get the GT2 for now until I decide what bigger item I want, but I just want some final input from someone.

  10. StevenColbert

    StevenColbert Member

    Feb 13, 2006
    Sure. I love the SanAmp pedals. I'm also a fan of the Hughes and Kettner pedals, as well as the Line6 POD XT's. All of them are great tools for recording various colours for guitar tracks. The more the marrier

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