Recording music

I’ve just bought a DAW and am using a PC.

I’ve managed to record my first bit of rhythm playing to test out whether I could record successfully, and get the track turned into an MP3.

I’m looking for any advice on how to record single note runs, which I haven’t tried yet, when I’m not yet using a microphone, just with the guitar plugged straight into my Focusrite Solo.

As I understand it I can plug my guitar into any effects and then into the DAW. I can use the effects in the software I’ve been provided. And I’m not sure if I can plug my amp directly into the DAW? And should I be taking the gain knob up to the sound of a single note played loudly as in the first try I took the gain up to the sound of a loudly strummed chord?

Any advice would be useful.

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Aaah beware of the rabbit hole of digital gear :smiley:

I think these days you can get fantastic results with completely free amp simulators and impulse responses!

Last time I checked the “king” of free amps was the Ignite Emissary 2.0 - check it out!

This video was also very interesting:

I’ve tried to download from their site and my computer will not do it as it says the zip file is unsafe. Google Chrome is blocking the download as it thinks the zip file is unsafe.

Can I use an amp simulator on its own, is it it’s own software, or do I have to run it through other software like Pro Tools First? I really am at day one with this.

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It depends! If they have a “standalone” mode then you can use the amp sim on its own, but this is usually just for jamming and getting the sound - not for recording.

Otherwise they usually come in VST / AU format, i.e. “plugins” - these are effects that you can use on one or more of your logic pro tracks. There is usually a “monitoring mode” on each track, and if you turn it on you should be able to hear the sound of the processed signal even if you are not recording. I think the Emissary is only in plugin form for example, but the Neural DSP stuff (a bit expensive but very good) has both modes.

As for the safety issues - I have downloaded the Emissary and had no visible problems - but it may be that these people are not “officially approved developers” for your operating system.

More generally note that there is a difference between amp simulation (the amp head) and cabinet simulation + microphone (aka Impulse Responses = IRs). Some plugins include both, others don’t. If you don’t include a cabinet + mic simulation, it’s going to sound terrible! :smiley:

Another point to keep in mind: typical IRs simulate a microphone placed very close to the amp speaker. This is very different to the jam-session “amp in a room” sound many of us are used to. But there are also IRs called “room mic”, which instead simulate that more familiar sound.

Most DAW’s these days have an amp sim built in - it’s a place to start.

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Nembrini Crunck and Nalex Crunchman and Amplex are fantastic too.
Impulse response however will have the biggest impact on tone.

My tip - gainstage. Once you setup your effects and all that in DAW properly just try to use as little gain as possible. Especially if you double or quad track.

I’m mostly playing ampsims so i could say I know a thing or two, if you have questions feel free to ask.

I have some success.

It’s too messy to record descending I think without a microphone in front of the amp. But I’ve got some rudimentary distortion on the clip. I’m playing a common pentatonic pattern, two notes per string.

This is some quick pentatonic stuff where I’m not moving around so I can control the string noise happening.

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Cool, what’s your signal chain for this? I think the first recording is much brighter than the second - did you have the microphone closer to the center of the speaker?

This is my first recording attempt. No microphone, different effects.

The first I think is a distortion called Eleven Lite, the second an overdrive called Green JRC Overdrive. Strangely, the first example did not sound anything like this in my headphones, it wasn’t until I’d changed it to an MP3 that it sounded any different to the second example, which I recorded first.

I’m still cramping my fretting hand down to secure the muting, so its a little slower than I can get through my Marshall Valvestate with the correct settings. I probably needed a string damper for the recordings without a microphone.

That’s some ultra fast stuff, but please consider not relying on a microphone for this! Amp sim or real amp with a mic, you should be able to sound clean as long as the playing is tight. Any decent amp sim will get you there and you can change the mic positions inside the amp sim to tweak the sound. If not, something’s wrong with your setup/settings. Try Neural DSP’s demo versions, they’re good.

There might be something funky with your DAW setup, effects routing or rendering setup… What DAW is it? Can you describe your recording setup in general?

I think I’ve fiddled with the level or volume on the first recording. It’s bound to be me.

When I’m playing fast I don’t mute, which is the fun of getting the right set up and why it’s so fast, as there’s no friction on my picking hand on the strings. I can do it with the amp and I’m trying to do it with the DAW, which is the Pro Tools First which came with the Focusrite Solo I’ve just bought.

In that good example, I’ve just realised I’ve started putting in an extra note. It should have been all two note per string stuff, which I can still play as I tried it yesterday, but in the first example above I’ve added a three note per string on the change of direction.

Fixed it.

It was the level the simulator set at 50% rather than full volume.

What is your signal chain exactly? Starting from the guitar. I don’t think it sounds right.