recording guitar amps direct

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by xMannequiNx, Nov 24, 2008.

  1. xMannequiNx

    xMannequiNx Guest

    my friend and I got in an argument about whether recording guitars direct is a good idea. He thinks that its better to use a mic and crank the volume on his cab than using a direct box with his amp (he thinks a lot of distortion comes from overdriving the speakers of the cab). I keep telling him that it doesn't matter, but I need some backup :)

    So what sounds better, using a direct box or a mic? Or do they come out the same for the most part?
  2. StephenMC

    StephenMC Member

    Dec 10, 2007
    Depends on the sound you want.

    Mic'ing the cab is the generally preferred around here, I believe. It's live, it's real, it's sexy and full. DIing is the lesser as you don't get any room sound, you don't get the cab coloration, and it's less fun.

    Basically what Remy says better.
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Your friend is generally correct. Most of the sound of an electric guitar is 50% the amplifier/speaker combination. Remove that? And you have removed half the sound of your guitar. Now that's not to say you couldn't "remic" from a track playback of direct guitar. You simply take the output Channel from the recorder track and plug that directly into a guitar amplifier of your choice. Carefully placing a microphone with the kind and type you want and recording that onto an additional Channel. Rinse & repeat with a different amplifier. Now you have your guitar playing through 2 different amplifier's with 2 completely different sounds. Of course if you're performance relied upon some guitar feedback effects? You'd definitely have to have your guitar plugged into an amplifier to accomplish feedback. But you can still take a direct off of that guitar & still feed it to a track. Then upon playback, you'll discover the feedback is now an integral part of the guitar sound which would then be re-amplified to an additional guitar amplifier which would retain that feedback sound to be recorded with a microphone.

    Of course there are some dynamite emulation programs such as IK Multimedia of Italy's Amplitube. Plenty of excellent emulations. Especially when used with a direct guitar feed.

    So I actually would answer both. I love micing good guitar cabinets & I love taking guitar's direct for later re-amping.

    So you're both correct & you're both wrong. The answer is both.

    Recording the best of both for many years
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    Well, as the others are saying - you are definitely wrong to say that it doesn't matter. Very different sounds. Now "better" is a matter of opinion, and it all depends on your resources and equipment and the type of sound you are going for. If you have a bad speaker in a bad room you may be better with a direct sound even if you are going for the type of distorted sounds that normally sound better with a miced amp. Also watch out for your friend's idea of driving the amp to the volumes of a live gig. This can be a real problem for recording. The paying audience is a little microphone a couple of inches from the speaker. You don't need to move air. There are tons of threads on recording guitar on this board and others -start reading.
  5. xMannequiNx

    xMannequiNx Guest

    remy, your post was very confusing but also very enlightening :)

    bob, the reason I'm saying he should crank the volume is because of the properties of the amp. His Krank sounds much better with the volume nice and loud. Is this still a bad idea?
  6. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    Generally It's better to crank a 15W tube amp than to crack the 150W stack you use to play live. The room reflections are going to significantly alter the sound at loud volumes due to simple and standing wave reflections. If you are skilled with electronics, for recording you may be able to un-wire all but one of the speakers, and wire them to equivalent high wattage resistors instead. This should drive the amp and the cone the same, but at a lower decibel level.
  7. stickers

    stickers Active Member

    Jan 31, 2005
    Lowell MA
    Home Page:
    I use 2 tracks for guitar. a DI for backup and one mic on the amp.
  8. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA

    Of course, start out with what has been working live, but you may well end up with mud. Ideally, you would like to be driving only a single speaker at a volume that doesn't shake the rafters. It can be a lot of work to make this happen while getting the best sound out of the amp.

    Again, there are a lot of threads on this here and links to posts on other boards. You have a lot of listening and experimenting ahead of you.
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