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Thread: Amp simulator vs tube amps for home studio.

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    Amp simulator vs tube amps for home studio.

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    Hello,

    I recently have purchased my own house and am now out of my parents bedroom where I had my studio squeezed in with my bed wardrobe etc haha and have my own room just for my studio to work with. I have previously been using an Axe FX to record guitar with but have never been happy with it. It always sounded too thin and weak while being very frustrating to deal in and pick up where I left off. Trying to get clean and dirty sounds in the same recording never seemed to sit right either. I imagine most of these problems are caused by me not being able to use it to it's potential but I've just never got on with it.

    Now I've moved in I've taken down all my heads and pedals from the loft and moved them into the new room and my original plan was to sell them so I plugged them to test they work. I have a Blackstar 100 series one, a Peavey 5150 and a Mesa Boogie express combo amp plus lots of pedals. Using them again was fantastic and I loved my tone again, I haven't been able to put the guitar down since.

    So now I'm thinking of getting rid of the Axe Fx and using the amps and pedals to record instead and wanted to ask some questions around that... Firstly do you think this is the right move or should I really put time in to learning the Axe Fx and I will end up more satisfied in the long run?

    Secondly if I go this route should I buy a small cab and mic it up to record or use something like a Palmer pdi 03 into my audio interface and how will this sound recorded, is it likely to be better than the Axe fx?

    I was also thinking of buying something like a TC Electronic G-Force or G-Major or another effects rack for ease of use for my effects if I don't have the Axe Fx anymore, anyone have any recommendations about which to buy? Id still use my pedals I have but would like something just ready to go with all effects. With the stuff I'm selling I can probably do up to 800 maybe more but obviously the less I spend the more I can invest elsewhere?

    With the money I am also thinking of getting a bass for my recordings, what would be the best way to record bass, would I also need to get a bass amp and mic it up or would there be a better way that would take up less space haha.

    I realise it's a lot of question and I'm sure I've missed some out.. I'm just very excited to get going, any help is appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Sam.

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    You've got some nice heads. Get a cab and mic them. If you haven't been doing this, there will be a learning curve. But the results will be worth it.

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    If it doesn't piss off your new neighbors, mic the cabinet.

    As far as effects go, I would apply any effects that you can while you are mixing instead of at the guitar amp. This allows you to change your mind about the effect or how much effect you want on the part. It also allows you to have a stereo effect on the guitar part.

    Obviously, overdrives, wah pedals, etc... will still need to be done at the amp, but reverbs, delays, stereo chorus's, etc... will be much cleaner when applied in the mix.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording. I am also the forum spokesmodel for Terasyne Amplification

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    Thank you for the replies.

    So it will sound better mic'd up over getting something like the Palmer pdi 03, even in a small room? I was worried about the neighbors but they've not complained yet haha. I would like to be able to record late on as well though so maybe worth looking into both avenues?

    I currently have a Peavy 5150 4x12 cab which is ridiculously big for the room, if I sold it and got something smaller but better quality would that yield just as good results or do you need a bigger cab?

    I didn't realise that about the effects, I will have to look into adding them post recording, it's a shame as I have some nice pedals. Why do big studios have racks and racks of effects if it's better to apply them during mixing?
    Last edited by Glover902; 1 Week Ago at 09:35.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glover902 View Post
    ...
    I didn't realise that about the effects, I will have to look into adding them post recording, it's a shame as I have some nice pedals. Why do big studios have racks and racks of effects if it's better to apply them during mixing?
    Well, guitar players that can afford studio time often have a clear idea on the sound they want to hear when they're laying down their track, and that means using pedals going in. I wouldn't dispose of that board (or thought!), because you may find it works better for you, though you give up some flexibility in the mix stage. HOWEVER, tinkering with effects in the mix stage is rarely as rewarding as I think some of us fool ourselves into thinking - most listeners could care less...

    I'd keep everything and try it out for a while. You probably need to consider getting some "bogos" at the least to help control the sound of the amps, and maybe even build an "iso-cab" so you can crank the amp while keeping the sound from having the neighbors/cops banging on the door at 02:00.

    After some time you may find you don't need everything (4x12 cab comes to mind) to do good recording, but it's always nice to have an amp or two for when friends come over to jam, if nothing else.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glover902 View Post
    So it will sound better mic'd up over getting something like the Palmer pdi 03, even in a small room?
    If you're going to DI out of those amps and add cab simulation in any form, you might as well just use the amp sim you've got. The cab and microphone are at least half the tone.

    I currently have a Peavy 5150 4x12 cab which is ridiculously big for the room...
    Then your room's probably too small to take full advantage of micing about anything. Close micing can sometimes help take the room out of the recording, but there will probably be a whole lot of mess in the low end. Moving the cab itself around might find you a decent spot, but I promise it will be the least convenient place possible.

    And that's not even to mention that those things are going to be absurdly loud in a room that small. It will be pretty tough to be in the room with the amp long enough to dial in a decent tone.

    Either way and anyway, you'll probably lot a lot of acoustic treatment. Maybe think about figuring that into your budget.

    if I sold it and got something smaller but better quality would that yield just as good results or do you need a bigger cab?
    A different cab will sound different. It's up to you whether that will be closer to or farther from where you want to be. The Axe FX should be able to give you some ideas of how different cabs might change things, but until you plug in a real speaker in the room, you'll never know for sure what it'll do.
    Why do big studios have racks and racks of effects if it's better to apply them during mixing?
    They use them during mixing.

    It completely depends on what you're shooting for. There's a real difference between distorted chorus and chorused distortion. A delay before the amp is completely different from one added in the mix after. To me, post amp effects tend to sound like the 80s and cocaine, but some folks are into that kind of thing.

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    The one other option I have of course is getting rid of the Axe Fx and trying to find an amp sim that agrees with me, with what's been said above that might be a good bet right now. I'm sure there's one that would better suit me and I would like the sound of.

    I'll upload a picture of the room when I get chance so you can see.

    The Blackstar has a power knob where you can turn it down to 10W, the Mesa Boogie can also been turned down to 5W amp which is how I'm using that cab at the moment in there, I imagine that's probably not ideal for recording though.

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    I honestly find the 0.5W setting pretty useful on my Blues Cube, and occasionally the 5W. Nothing higher for home recording - even the 5W setting can only be tolerated in small doses, and that's with tracking phones on.

    You've got plenty to actually do lots of quality recording if you take some time to see what can be done in your space. Have you laid down tracks with all of the stuff you have already to listen to? Do that [first] and post them here and ask questions would be my recommendation.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    I've only used the Axe Fx to record, I've just moved out and all the other stuff was up the loft until very recently, they were all used in my gigging days. I don't currently have any way to record using the other stuff, no mics or a speaker simulator.

    I was trying to get an idea of which one would be better to use with my set up before spending hundreds on one to find out it's no good for me after the fact.

    Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet

    There is the room in question, obviously it's a bit of a mess at the moment while I sort everything out!

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    Wow, tiny room. You'll go deaf in there playing that stack. Seriously. You need to think about your hearing. I'd really work on learning to use the Axe or just focus on recording with some of the quality amp/pedal plugins available. Try one of the smaller amps in your collection and see how it goes. It's not possible to recommend an amp for that situation without knowing what you're able to do with what you have, and you being able to articulate what you're trying to achieve that you can't with what you have, at least IMO.

    And, in any case, you need some serious treatment in that room before you drop a dime on another amp. Again, IMO. There's probably someone, somewhere, that will tell you to buy amp X, but it's not gonna be me...
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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