Connecting amp modellers to audio interface

I often hear demos on youtube of amp modelling units (e.g. line 6 helix, axe fx etc) where the tones in the video have been recorded by connecting the modeller to an audio interface.

I do not have a physical amp modeller to try this with, but could this cause the clipping at the audio interface especially when using a high gain patch? I specifically have a focusrite scarlett solo 3rd gen and am wondering if I would be able to connect a physical amp modeller to my audio interface for monitoring through studio monitors and have a backing track on at the same time?

Thank you :slight_smile:

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You just have to lower the output of whatever modeller you are using if it’s too hot. If it’s still too hot, most audio interfaces will have a pad, which will lower the input to an appropriate level.

If you are using a DAW, you can have as many tracks as you like playing at the same time. Just keep an eye on the master fader and lower your tracks if clipping.


Great, thanks! I’ve always been keen to get some kind of floor modeller but wasn’t sure if it would integrate with my current setup well. Sounds like it could work well :slight_smile:

Thanks for the help!

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Back in the day the way to do home recordings was plugging some unit into an audio interface. Misha Mansoor got great sounding demos pre Periphery fame. He plugged a pod xt into a Presonus interface. When I quite playing in a band I paid him an undisclosed sum to show me some secrets. About $2k on ebay buys (interface, pod x3 and a bass guitar, a legit cubase license, a legit supperior drummer license and I was up and running with pro-ish sounding demos. Definitely plugged straight into the interface.

The only thing I’ve changed over the years is due to the interface dying I’ve gotten the focusrite interface you have, and I recently learned about an AMAZING product called s gear (about $130) and now I don’t need the pod x3 anymore. I’ve felt stupid for using it anyway given that it’s 2023 lol! Sounded good but things have moved on. Guitar tones via plugins are a great option and s gear is so cheap with SO many great sounds. Way more options than the handful of (still amazing sounding) patches Misha made me on the pod.


Thats pretty cool you got some tips from Misha himself!

By running a modeller into an audio interface will I lose the ability to have stereo effects from the modeller?

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Nah you can setup tracks as stereo in your DAW. You should be good using the modeler effects as stereo

If your modeller has a L&R output, which most would do, you can have your fx in stereo. Just use the two outputs and set up a stereo channel, or two mono channels in your DAW


Oh good call. The Scarlett solo only has one input…not sure how that works in this scenario

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Does using a DAW to set up stereo playback work for just playing and not recording?

You need two inputs on your interface to record in stereo. I’d forgotten that you mentioned you were using a Scarlett solo. If that is a single input only then you wouldn’t be able to record your stereo fx. You could record without the stereo fx and run them, in stereo, in your DAW, via a plugin.

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Just looked it up and it sounds great! I’m gonna try the free trial later and see how it sounds with my setup :slight_smile:

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You will have multiple outputs on the scarlett solo, so you’ve got a route for left and right speaker. Inputs though, yeah…you just have the one. A traditional approach for stereo would be like an acoustic guitar where you have 2 mics. Or a guitar cab that has multiple mics. I have always recorded “ampless” using a mon input. For rx I use a “send” where I have a track specifically for say, delay and reverb, and I route the “sends” to various instruments to this track. You can control the amount of what gets sent for wetter vs drier but it’s a nice pattern and also should save a little processing

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I did the free trial and never looked back. Do make sure you download all the free presets from their site. The “Drive thru” and “rat pack” have some really nice presets in there. The best thing for me about s gear is it feels like you are playing a real amp still

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I honestly think it depends on what you are trying to do. If you are trying to make demos and record songs, I wouldn’t use fx at all, and record dry. All the grease is usually added in post, and it gives you a lot more flexibility after the fact. You can do this by affecting the each individual track if you want different effects and settings on each, or by creating different busses for a group of tracks that will get the same effects with the same settings. And even a master buss for the whole track. You won’t be able to monitor these in real time during the recording process though.

If you are trying to have a quiet practice rig, record instagram, tik tok, or you tube vids, then yes use the fx all you want.

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Thats not technically stereo though, more tandem from a mono source. You could kind of fake a wider image due to delays between the sound source and mic proximity, but you also run the risk of phasing issues between the mics. You can fake it even further by delaying one capture a bit, but for true stereo you need two different performances two different sources.

The general purpose of double micing a cab is usually done to blend the characteristics of two different mics, two different speakers, to manipulate and add depth to a mono source or a combination of all. It’s not usually done to sort of fake a stereo field but to add depth to a mono one.


Yep, thats all :slight_smile: I’m just considering expanding my current practice rig

In that case I second Joe’s recommendation for S-gear, it’s amazing. The beauty of using plugins over outboard modellers is that your computer records the dry signal, any time you want to make changes you just change the settings in the plugins. One other amp sim I really like is the Bogren Amp Knob, it’s $40 and has a fantastic EVH type sound at lower gain settings.


All of the above advice sounds great, but I have one question: Why directly connect to the Scarlett? If your laptop is nearby, why not connect the modeler directly via USB and have your DAW record “wet” and “dry” versions of your playing, and then mix the wet guitar with the backing track (presumably pulled into the DAW) and then feed that to the Scarlett to drive your powered speakers, PA, or whatever it is that you’re looking at?

PS: Sorry if I missed something.

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I was refering to using a modeler as something for practicing with, not recording (I apologise as I didn’t make this clear in my original post :slight_smile: )

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I tried this idea and it sounded horrible. I connected my POD X3 to my Focusrite Scarlett, thinking perhaps I would get better recording quality, but the sound I heard through the headphones was awful.

The POD itself is an audio interface. I don’t suspect it’s meant to connect an audio interface to an audio interface.