Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

For all tech discussions relating to Guitars, Basses, Amps, Pedals & Accessories.
Forum rules
For all tech discussions relating to Guitars, Basses, Amps, Pedals & Accessories.

Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by IAA »

As you an tell I’m really sure of what to do! So in a nutshell I’m playing lots more guitar and am ready to record some overdubs to my forthcoming EP. But I’m not sure about which could sound most “authentic”.

Options might be,

Guitar direct to AI hi z input then Amplitude (for example) - got all this.
Guitar to Blackstar combo, and mic up with my Shure sm57 - got all this
Get something like the ampster to go between guitar and AI. - would buy

I’m after a strong crunch not too hi gain. Guitar is single coil predominately.

Any advice from the experts here would be much appreciated.

Ian
IAA
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1254 Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:00 am

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by ore_terra »

if authenticity is what you're after, there's nothing more authentic than an amp and a mic. That's the fact.

Now that you mention amplitube, I suggest you try ToneX. It integrates with Amplitube and sounds killer. it's based in real amp captures such as kemper and quad cortex, and it performs as good at them.
User avatar
ore_terra
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1071 Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:56 pm Location: Seville - Spain
casmoestudio.com

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Personally I'd always go for a mic'd amp if you can. The only thing I would caution is to dial in the amount of drive/distortion you want, then just back it off a touch.
It's easy to add a bit more crunch in but often what sounds right at the point of recording ends up being a bit much in the mix.
User avatar
Drew Stephenson
Apprentice Guru
Posts: 25312 Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am Location: York
(The forumuser formerly known as Blinddrew)
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...
https://drewstephenson.bandcamp.com/

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by Aled Hughes »

Either and any will be an 'authentic' guitar sound, since it will be a guitar, so I wouldn't worry about that.

I'll second the Tonex recommendation, I think it sounds very good, and it's much quicker and more convenient than setting up and amp and a mic.

If you've already got an amp you like, then by all means use it, but a lot of software is free to try so it might be better to go down that route first?

As I alluded to in my opening sentence, I don't think using an amp is a more 'authentic' way of recording an electric guitar. It's just the way it used to be done. It's still valid, but it's not the only way. Moving away from real amps opens new possibilites for the instrument (though software such as Tonex exist mainly to replicate the 'old way' and the old sounds we're accustomed to - and that it does very well I think)
Aled Hughes
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1822 Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:00 am Location: Pwllheli, Cymru

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by Kwackman »

I like S-Gear Scuffham amp sim.
I'm NOT an expert, but a couple of good players on this forum have praised it.
I think there's a free demo version.
User avatar
Kwackman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3260 Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2002 12:00 am Location: Belfast
Cubase, guitars.

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by resistorman »

Not sure what "authentic" means, but why not record with what you have and see which you like better? Nobody can advise about that.
User avatar
resistorman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2743 Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2015 12:00 am Location: Asheville NC
"The Best" piece of gear is subjective.

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by Stuart79 »

I would say experiment with what you have also. Either can sound good and your ears will be the best judge of what's right for you and your music.

The benefit of DI is that you have more flexibility to change the sound later if necessary. And domestic circumstances sometimes dictate that this is the most practical option. I like to go via the "Thru" output of a DI box to monitor via an amp while I'm playing as it feels better. I sometimes mic up the amp but as it's a domestic space this usually necessitates doing some temporary sound absorption with duvets above and either side of the mic. I'll often just go with DI for speed and use an amp sim later.

Paul White put together a podcast on this not long ago if I'm not mistaken.
Stuart79
Regular
Posts: 132 Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:00 am Location: Northampton, UK

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by IAA »

That’s helpful, thanks all. I’ll try again to mic the current amp and test against DI and amp sims. I’ll hold off on the purchases till I try again. When I last tried to mic the guitar I was a bit underwhelmed at the results, but it was my first go at it so trying again might be worth a shot.

I'll second the Tonex recommendation, I think it sounds very good, and it's much quicker and more convenient than setting up and amp and a mic.

Yes I’d seen this but need to read a bit more about it. Given I’ve Amplitude it might make sense.

The only thing I would caution is to dial in the amount of drive/distortion you want, then just back it off a touch.
It's easy to add a bit more crunch in but often what sounds right at the point of recording ends up being a bit much in the mix.

. Hmm wonder whether this was part of the problem last time I tried, I definitely remember the sound as way too muddy on playback.
IAA
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1254 Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:00 am

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by The Elf »

I wouldn't (and don't) give two hoots for 'authenticity'. Listeners will not care how 'authentic' your guitar sound is either.

Just try your options and choose the one that sounds good to you.

On the previous album I used everything from a DI-ed 50p charity shop FX pedal to thousands of pounds-worth of amps/cabs and mic's. I guarantee that nobody knows, or cares, which one is which.

But always record a clean DI to give you options later...
User avatar
The Elf
Forum Aficionado
Posts: 20280 Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by IAA »

On the previous album I used everything from a 50p charity shop FX pedal to thousands of pounds-worth of amps/cabs and mic's. I guarantee that nobody knows, or cares, which one is which.


Blimey Mr Elf, next you’ll be telling me listeners can’t tell the difference between my lovely analog synths and my virtual collection! ;):headbang:

:D

But I know you’re right of course, it’s just I’d like to get that guitar sound that’s in my head, or more realistically on most of the work that Steve Hackett does!
IAA
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1254 Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:00 am

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by The Elf »

IAA wrote: Thu Mar 02, 2023 9:37 amBut I know you’re right of course, it’s just I’d like to get that guitar sound that’s in my head, or more realistically on most of the work that Steve Hackett does!

Some of the stories I could tell...! A lot of pro's go for the pragmatic solution. ;)
User avatar
The Elf
Forum Aficionado
Posts: 20280 Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by Matt Houghton »

blinddrew wrote: Wed Mar 01, 2023 7:55 pm Personally I'd always go for a mic'd amp if you can. The only thing I would caution is to dial in the amount of drive/distortion you want, then just back it off a touch.
It's easy to add a bit more crunch in but often what sounds right at the point of recording ends up being a bit much in the mix.

Seconded! In the same vein, I'd suggest when setting up your amp/pedals that you don't scoop the mids out too much either.
Matt Houghton
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1328 Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 12:00 am
SOS Reviews Editor

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by BigRedX »

"Authentic" is entirely subjective. What you want is sound that works with the other instruments in the arrangement/mix.

I own a very nice Hughes & Kettner all valve amp which like most H&K gear features a built-in Red Box speaker emulator. last time I did any serious guitar recording we mic'd up the speaker and ran a line from the Red Box output and recorded both. IIRC the Red Box sound won out marginally when placed in the mix.

If you already have an amp and speaker that you like the sound of, I would record that, but also take a DI directly from the guitar. That way if your recorded amp sound doesn't work in the final mix you'll have lots of post processing options as well as the fact that the the guitar performance will have benefitted from the interaction between the guitar and the amplification.
User avatar
BigRedX
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2361 Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2004 12:00 am
RockinRollin' VampireMan

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by Ben Asaro »

I almost always record straight to the DAW with an amp sim and strive to get the best performance first. Then I’m in the cat-bird seat and can reamp the DI however I see fit. I personally don’t like playing guitarist and recording engineer at the same time, it’s much easier for me to sort out the playing first.
Ben Asaro
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2400 Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:00 am Location: NYC

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by Sam Spoons »

I'd record the amp/57 to one track and a clean DI to a second track.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Forum Aficionado
Posts: 20042 Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 12:00 am Location: Manchester UK
People often mistake me for a grown-up because of my age.

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by Essex Boi »

IAA wrote: Wed Mar 01, 2023 6:21 pm So in a nutshell I’m playing lots more guitar and am ready to record some overdubs to my forthcoming EP.

For overdubs I'd be aiming for something that replicates the sound of the track(s) I'm overdubbing. Previous answers have covered the options of how to record sounds you might like, but overdubs are going to stand out if they're too different to the sound of the original guitar tracks. That might be what you're going for, in which case it's an artistic choice.
Essex Boi
Poster
Posts: 75 Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2022 1:10 pm Location: Not the bit of Essex on the telly
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by The Elf »

Sam Spoons wrote: Thu Mar 02, 2023 1:52 pm ...to one track and a clean DI to a second track.

Always. It's not just about re-amping. It can be a huge help later down the line.
User avatar
The Elf
Forum Aficionado
Posts: 20280 Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by jxnWHITE »

IAA wrote: Wed Mar 01, 2023 6:21 pm which could sound most “authentic”.

would read “authentic” as "unique" unless you're after a specific sound...

BigRedX wrote: Thu Mar 02, 2023 11:46 am Hughes & Kettner all valve amp which like most H&K gear features a built-in Red Box speaker emulator

our initial foray into manageable project recording and has always managed to sound just that little bit different here. small, inexpensive and "real"

Scuffham S-Gear

has been and remains the goto here since it came out for anything not hi gain.
the most "playable" of any amp sim imho = the best performance

IK Tonex

just now exploring this ecosystem for the few things we can't easily get in S-Gear, might have some promise, despite a frustrating UX ( preset, tone model management, too many poorly (user) captured tone models (so far), ToneNET crashing, lack of responsive support, etc.)
jxnWHITE
Poster
Posts: 22 Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2015 12:00 am

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by sonics »

If you don't like AmpliTube, I've had great results from all of the following for mid-gain tones. (I don't get too hung up on guitar sounds if the guitarist is happy when playing the tracks!)

Line 6 Helix.
Plugin Alliance software (eg Chandler/Orange/Friedman/Fuchs amps)
...with the right cabinet IRs.
Line 6 Catalyst.
Boss Katana (!)

Lots of choice for great tones these days.

If you're the really picky guitarist type you might be happiest finding a small tube amp you really get on with.

I don't think Tonex is enough of an improvement over AmpliTube really, to my ears, but I haven't had a lot of spare time to play with it.
sonics
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1889 Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2003 12:00 am Location: Canada
 

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by ore_terra »

I don't think Tonex is enough of an improvement over AmpliTube really, to my ears, but I haven't had a lot of spare time to play with it.

Oh… it is. The captures change everything. That said, tonex will sound as good as the capture you’re using. I dont like most of the factory captures.
User avatar
ore_terra
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1071 Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:56 pm Location: Seville - Spain
casmoestudio.com

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by IAA »

Hopefully this weekend I’m finishing a compilation track and need to redo a couple of guitar parts (well more than a couple if I’m honest :D ). So as you know, I’m going to mic my amp, but as you (the forum resident Jedi) also mentioned I’m going to capture a DI too. So, what’s the best audio splitter? I’ve looked at the Ekectro Harmonix switch blade plus https://www.gear4music.com/Guitar-and- ... iBHOfVTJAE

Would that suffice, and better options?

Ian
IAA
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1254 Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:00 am

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by The Elf »

You need a DI box to record the DI. That will give you a 'normal', unbalanced 'thru' output to feed the guitar amp and a balanced mic level output to tap and record the DI.

Then if you do decide you want to re-amp the captured DI you also need a re-amp box. To this end I have a Little Labs Red Eye 3D, which handles both with simple switching between duties, but separate DI and re-amper boxes will also do the job. These days I'd likely opt for Orchid devices (DI and Amp Interface), which I have installed at one of the studios where I work regularly. Orchid's offerings are better value for money than the Red Eye.
User avatar
The Elf
Forum Aficionado
Posts: 20280 Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by ef37a »

IAA wrote: Fri Mar 24, 2023 7:42 am Hopefully this weekend I’m finishing a compilation track and need to redo a couple of guitar parts (well more than a couple if I’m honest :D ). So as you know, I’m going to mic my amp, but as you (the forum resident Jedi) also mentioned I’m going to capture a DI too. So, what’s the best audio splitter? I’ve looked at the Ekectro Harmonix switch blade plus https://www.gear4music.com/Guitar-and- ... iBHOfVTJAE

Would that suffice, and better options?

Ian

Which model is the Blackstar amp Ian? Almost all of them have an effects loop and you can use the FX out to get a DI output, no need for more kit.

Some models also have an 'emulated' output (on XLR male on some models which I personally think is daft!)

In fact the only models I can think of that don't have at least FX out are the Artisan series but then these have 'high/low' jacks per input which is effectively a splitter.

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16955 Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am Location: northampton uk

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by The Elf »

Personally I always want to take my DI before it has entered the amp, but to each their own. If you can save the cost of a DI that's an option.
User avatar
The Elf
Forum Aficionado
Posts: 20280 Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by Wonks »

It will be taken after most/all of the preamp, so any drive and EQ will be present in the DI signal. It’s certainly an option but a direct DI will give more choice if you don’t use the miked signal.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 17233 Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am Location: Reading, UK
Reliably fallible.

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by IAA »

I have a Blackstar ID10 and a positive grid spark. I think neither have a loop?

In an ideal world I’d like to mic up the amp and have a clean DI direct to the instrument input on the interface for fun and games ITB. The mic signal will be crunchy and a bit of room.

So that’s why I thought audio splitter.

Cheers chaps.

Ian
IAA
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1254 Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:00 am

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by ef37a »

IAA wrote: Fri Mar 24, 2023 1:36 pm I have a Blackstar ID10 and a positive grid spark. I think neither have a loop?

In an ideal world I’d like to mic up the amp and have a clean DI direct to the instrument input on the interface for fun and games ITB. The mic signal will be crunchy and a bit of room.

So that’s why I thought audio splitter.

Cheers chaps.

Ian

https://blackstaramps.com/wp-content/up ... ndbook.pdf

The headphone output is speaker emulating though it will of course kill the internal speakers* I would also say that recording the speaker output of THAT particular type of amplifier might not be the best way to go.

Then the amp is of course a USB interface as well so that is another recording option.

*I would bet the speaker kill is not done 'mechanically' and you might be able to defeat it in software? Blackstar will I am sure be pleased to advise.

Dave.
ef37a
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16955 Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 12:00 am Location: northampton uk

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by The Elf »

IAA wrote: Fri Mar 24, 2023 1:36 pmIn an ideal world I’d like to mic up the amp and have a clean DI direct to the instrument input on the interface for fun and games ITB.

But that's why you need a DI. Not sure why you chose a splitter? It may work perfectly well, I suppose...

The idea is that you plug your guitar into the DI. You connect the 'thru' of the DI into your amp. You connect the balanced XLR output of the DI into a mic input on your interface.

Now you record the mic in front of the speaker at the same time as you record the 'clean' signal from the DI box. With that 'clean' signal you can now send it back to your amp (via a re-amper box), use a plug-in amp simulator, or anything else you like.
User avatar
The Elf
Forum Aficionado
Posts: 20280 Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by IAA »

The idea is that you plug your guitar into the DI. You connect the 'thru' of the DI into your amp. You connect the balanced XLR output of the DI into a mic input on your interface.

Yep got that now :headbang: I thought the splitter woukd offer two outputs of the source - one to the amp the other the interface instrument input.

I would also say that recording the speaker output of THAT particular type of amplifier might not be the best way to go.

Is that because it’s modeled anyhow Dave?

Keyboard recording was far easier, but hey I’m learning stuff!

Thanks.

Ian
IAA
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1254 Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 12:00 am

Re: Ampster or small tube amp or DSP or ……..

Post by Sam Spoons »

IAA wrote: Fri Mar 24, 2023 3:24 pm
The idea is that you plug your guitar into the DI. You connect the 'thru' of the DI into your amp. You connect the balanced XLR output of the DI into a mic input on your interface.

Yep got that now :headbang: I thought the splitter woukd offer two outputs of the source - one to the amp the other the interface instrument input.

You are right, it would work and the splitter you link to would get the job done but a DI is the 'conventional' method and has a few advantages over a simple split signal*, primarily that the signal between the DI and the interface is balanced (and at mic level though that is principally a benefit when sending the signal down a snake to a PA desk). A secondary benefit is that you haven't got an extra guitar cable adding capacitance and reducing treble (AKA 'tone suck') to the guitar side of the system.

* And a Orchid Classic DI was about £20 cheaper than the box you linked, he no longer shows prices on the website so you'll have to email him for the current price

http://orchid-electronics.co.uk/classic_DI.htm
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Forum Aficionado
Posts: 20042 Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 12:00 am Location: Manchester UK
People often mistake me for a grown-up because of my age.
Post Reply