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Thread: Miking or DI?

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    Miking or DI?

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    Hello! My name is Grant, and I'm (obviously) a noob to recording. I play the electric guitar as a hobby, and I want to record covers and the like, and perhaps original music later on. I have a Scarlett 2i2 interface and a sufficient laptop for recording, and was initially convinced that I could use effects pedals while recording electric guitar directly and still achieve a good sound. Boy was I wrong! I really want to use my analog effects pedals that I have already invested in to record, and I have a competent tube amp (Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue; though I can't exactly crank it), but the only room I have available to record in is my bedroom. On top of that, acoustic treatment more than likely isn't possible for me.

    Here is my question: Am I better of simply using amp modeling software and recording a dry signal, or should I pull the trigger on an SM57 and mike my amp in order to use my pedals and amp as desired? Being a novice and all, plugins, EQ, and modeling software are fairly new to me, and I am much more familiar with my physical gear and the tone I can achieve with it. And while I realize the sound I will get from miking an amp in an untreated room is not optimal, will this be enough for what I am trying to accomplish? (covers, etc). If DI is a better option, can anyone recomend decent amp modeling software that isn't overly expensive? On another note, can anyone suggest any reading on recording in general and how to use DAWs as well as EQ, compression, effects, etc.?

    Thanks in advance!

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    I'd say learn how to do both. If you have tones from your amp and pedals that you really wanna record, go with the mic. If you close mic with a 57, you won't have huge issues recording in your room. Recording DI has some benefits too. Definitely look around the forums here to learn more about recording. There's so much info on this site that can help you learn.

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    You have a great amp. It would be a shame not to use it. Get the SM57. I take it you're playing the kind of music where that amp would fit in--not metal or some such. As the poster above said, room treatment is not critical when close-miking a guitar amp. Can you find a time when you can get a little bit loud?

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    Hi Grant. This is a common question and a huge problem to many budding guitar recordists.

    I am no guitarists so what follows is just what I have absorbed from these pages and other forums plus some time helping a musical son.

    Yes, mic'ing the amp is likely to give good results but not guaranteed! The process needs experiment and learning. You say "Can't really crank the amp" Never? In any case you don't need it blowing out windows to get a good tone (an ENTIRELY subjective matter tho'but!) but you might like to investigate the concept of "Re-amping". This technique involves recording a clean* DI signal and getting a technically perfect take.
    This signal is then fed to the guitar amp and can be done at a time more suited to loud noise. You can play around with mic positions, pedals etc, without the encumbrance of the guitar.

    If 100dBSPLs are REALLY not on, investigate Power Soaks. These devices reduce the power into the speaker by a considerable factor and allow the amplifier to be driven quite hard but a "fairly" socially acceptable sound level to be produced. Not perfect, nothing is but can be useful.

    *The very first 2i2s had very poor DI headroom, i.e. they overloaded easily and some say nastily (also put a high level into the PC. You want signals 1/2 way up the DAW meter scale, around -18, even -20dBFS)
    You can of course turn the guitar down to avoid overload but use a short, sub 2mtr, guitar lead to avoid HF loss.
    Better if you have a problem is a dedicated attenuator before the DI input. This needs a trivial amount of soldering/assembly skill but as a starter in the recording field, getting some electronics smarts is a VERY GOOD THING!

    Dave.

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    I'm going for amp sims. You'll have a much broader range of tones available and won't have to worry about bothering whoever else shares your home. The standalone liscence for PodFarm is relatively cheap and definitely decent. There are plenty of other options out there too, and some very good ones for free even.

    Don't even worry about the DI/Instrument input on the interface. Run your guitar through at least one pedal and plug into a line input and/or leave it switched to line rather than instrument. You can add gain in the DAW - often in the plugin itself - if you need/want to hit the amp sim harder.

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    I'd recommend trying out Native Instruments for amp sims, there layout could be a little better but I like there tones.

    Usually what I do is run my guitar into a D.I. box and one line out goes to interface and the other to my amp for latency free recording and not having to commit to a sound. Then I'll slap on a amp sim to get in the ball park adding drums, bass and whatever...Then I go back and adjust the amp sim to where I want it.

    If you record your amp you are stuck with the sound to an extent. yes you can make some adjustments with eq,compression...whatever.

    If I want to record an amp for a song, I will do what I said above plus add a mic to the cabinet. Then you have both! D.I. and amp mic'd

    Bottom line is really what's gonna be right for the song, I have had effects units that where hard to duplicate.
    Good luck

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    Another vote for amp sims / DI. Amplitube fan here. Haven't owned a guitar amp in maybe 5 or 6 years (?). Don't miss the outboard gear a single bit, although I do still have a volume and wah pedal because those things can't be replaced/replicated reliably.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinky View Post
    ...although I do still have a volume and wah pedal because those things can't be replaced/replicated reliably.
    Sure they can, if you've got some sort of MIDI expression pedal. Volume is easy, and there are plenty of wah plugs out there even before you start looking at other types of filters. There's no good reason not to use the pedals, though.

    I advise against a passive DI because: 1) Volume drop through the transformer will need to be made up at the other end and will bring up the noise floor with it, and B) The reflected impedance is usually a little low for passive pickups.

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    There you go Grant ^

    This is a "cat" with way more than 9 lives and even more ways to skin it! Download the demos of the major DAWs (and many minor ones) and get a range of softwares to experiment with.

    Dave.

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    Aha! I have loaned my regular HP laptop out to son and grandson who are recording up at my daughters. This feeble eMachines laptop works the same on HR as the HP, that is, pressing Post Quick Reply just clears the box, no post until I refresh the page!

    So, is the problem to do with IE or W7/64 or the forum? Any ideas mods? I can it seems edit at the moment.

    Dave.

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