Session Guitar: To Mic or Use Amplifier Emulation in the Studio?

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JSW

I slept on the pod xt when it came out and now just getting it
and loving every thing about it even if the new pod hd is out now
this thing is saving me a lot guacamole and it's just much
easier to work with not worrying about mic placements and cables
running all over your bedroom line 6 keep up the good work
you guy's are fantastic!!!!!!!! Ron good work too.

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vinnyjames96

Great Blog Mr.Ron,To me some recording studios don't have a clue about were to place a mic,what ever amp i might be using,be it a Marshall a boogie,the sound isn't good until i,m 5 ft away.when playing loud and distorted. I never liked they way it comes out directly in front of the speaker.I remember rec in electric lady land studios many moons ago,and they had the amp in the bathroom,about 3 mics in different areas,i,m sure you've done it. Any who the turn out was pretty good,i,m always looking for that warm but not to compress sound.Technology has come so far.Its good to know mad scientist like you,haha are out there looking for the right chemicals to make it work.

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brian6string

Ron. Great article, I feel exactly the same way: the new technology tries to "emulate" that of the past, and does a decent job in some respects. But in a lot of ways, it adds something positive (when used well).

ANY CHANCE you could make your POD patches available (or maybe you already have)?

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ardiril

Recording in analog works great if the whole sound chain remains analog, including that all-important playback device. However, today that playback device will most likely be an MP3 player using a digital file. Getting a guitar signal sounding good in a digital format as early as possible makes sense.

I am still waiting for a custom ADC chip made specifically for a guitar signal.

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RonZabrocki

Now that would be interesting! Thanks for reading and the thoughtful comment!

ttweedle

Very good article as it is hard to find anyone with real experience and knowledge willing to admit that "vintage" sound isn't always the best way to go. I have been playing for two years and want to start recording some so that I can hear what I sound like so I can get better but have been "sheep herded" into thinking I need to get an all tube vintage head with and all this other stuff that I just can't afford. It would be cool to know what you think would be a budget minded recording studio for someone that would like to start recording their own stuff for personal use and or making demos etc. And if this is already in cyberspace could you or anyone point me in the right direction?

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RonZabrocki

Ok...short response. It costs incredibly little to make VERY decent quality recordings at home. Presonus Studio one software. A PC laptop. A new Focusrite Ad converter. Under a greand. Then get the small pod and a usb mic. 200 more. After this....it's up to you. You can spend alot more or even less. My email is ronzabrocki@hotmail.com if you need any advice on any particular pieces of gear. But trust me, i own EVERYTHING and the lines between expensive/tube/vintage/analog and inexpensive digital gear is not so different anymore.
Hope this helps a bit!

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fegtri17

I did not ask the question (I was about to) and I will remember the answer !!

Thanks Ron !

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guitar_Player_66

I also like tracking using both traditional and emulated ways........ or reaping an amp simulated track..... possibilities are endless..... boils down down to getting a great tone no matter what you use.... IMO... great blog.....

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RonZabrocki

Thanks for the comment and the compliment!

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jyflorida

Great stuff! I've been using Pods for many years - did a lot of recording with the XT bean - and currently using an HD500. I've never had a problem getting a great tone for whatever I was recording. Nice to see that more people are liking the idea of using a modeler. Having said that, there's a huge sense of satisfaction in getting the amp, mic(s), and everything else with the millions of variables inherent in them to behave and get THE sound!

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RonZabrocki

Thanks for the comment and for reading! Now you've got me thinking about something else. Is the effort involved in getting the amp to sound right and properly recorded affecting the effort of play. Ok. Now you've done it! I'll be up all night! Thanks! Lol!

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kdoverock

Very honest review, I don't think any modeler can beat that true analog tube tone, but it can easily match it. I've found that using a modeler with a high quality interface and a tube preamp or power amp is a really good solution. It gives you the flexibility of the modelers and it gives you a touch of true tube tone :p

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RonZabrocki

True! Great point! Running your gtr into a killer pre makes a big difference before it hits the modeler! You can shape the sound so much that way. Thankyou for the excellent comment!

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alex94kumar

I use a Line 6 Pod X3, and I like how I can fine tune my tone without having to buy thousands of dollars of gear. On the contrary, however, it just doesn't have that authentic tube tone of my B52 amp head (I don't have any condenser mics)......

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RonZabrocki

Love my X3 and love the B52! Don't worry about condensers too much! A shure 57 goes a looooong way and may be the best mic for an amp! Thanks for sharing and reading!

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alex94kumar

Thanks for the timely response. I've mic'd my B52, and I would much rather take the warm tone of tubes over my POD. I can't remember if you, or someone else, said it below, but there's just something about the sound of the room and the air when you mic an amp that you just can't achieve with a modeling processor

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alex94kumar

(accidentally posted 3 times)

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alex94kumar

(accidentally posted 3 times)

i_am_metalhead

Also, something that's worth trying that I haven't gotten around to yet: I read an article not too long ago about recording with emulators which said that the program/machine you use will never be able to emulate a speaker properly. It went on to explain (which everyone with half a brain knows) that one of the biggest things in recording a physical speaker is the air movement. An emulator will never be able to replicate the air movement properly. So, the thing to try (Yes, after all the rambling we are finally here) is to run your emulator into an actual speaker, whether its a studio monitor, a cab, etc. and then mic that speaker and record.

Just an idea that I wanted to throw at you.

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RonZabrocki

I ALWAYS do something when time allows or sound dictates. I run the tracks that were recorded with a modeler into the studio solo'd and mic the room! It adds some depth. I also ALWAYS do that with drum samples.

i_am_metalhead

Great article! In my own experience I've found that mixing real amps with emulations works best. I own an Ashdown Fallen Angel, a Peavey VTM 60, a '74 Bassman 50, and a Crate GX120 as well as a collection of cabs (some bought, some built myself) which includes a straight 4x12, a slant 4x12, a 2x12, a 1x12, a 1x10, a 1x8, and 1x15. Even with all of my amp/cab possibilities, I still find that often times a track will need a certain tone that I can only dial in on an emulator (I personally use Amplitube 3).

While that classic "vintage" sound of a tube amp, a couple of mics, and a preamp sounded great for the time period; modern technology just opens up a whole new window for better (and seemingly endless) tone possibilities.

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RonZabrocki

You said it! That's what I found out. I didn't want to mention gtrs and amps and pickups either. Everything matters. But for today's sound, a blend seems the best approach. I do fear amps may be leaving us...soon!
Thankyou so much for a great comment snd for reading! Gotta get back to todays fun...NOT! Ok not so bad. At least I'll be playing guitar!

starflyer3000

I know for those of us recording from home and on a very limited budget, modeling is often the only way to go. While I'd love to have a collection of amps (vintage or no), I just don't have the room or money for them. I enjoyed reading about your experience trying both ways.

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RonZabrocki

Thanks for reading! Budget is ALWAYS in the consideration! I have ammassed waaay too much gear. And that's a good thing. But these new modelers and the music I am called to record seem to give more of what the client wants to hear! I really appreciate your comment!

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Billy Christ

The freakin' convenience of firing up an amp mod and just hitting one of your favorite presets makes it so damned easy to leave your poor microphones and amplifiers behind sometimes as well. I may be getting some great sounding tracks but I also end up suffering from some kind of weird guilt. ???????

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RonZabrocki

Thanks...it is a guilty feeling, but the times they are a changing! Thanks for reading and the comment!

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anotherguitarist

How can you do an article like this and not supply audio? I cannot wait for your next article. With the ease of recording and importing files I can only assume (I mean I know - take my word for it - I did all the research - just trust me) that you actually did nothing. You get paid to write an article and Guitar World accepts this garbage. This would have been one of the most useful and educational articles I have ever come across had it had sound files. But I get it, you would have actually needed to do a little work. Then again...why do it?? If Guitar World would pay you to write random thoughts with no basis...why not just take the check?
Shame on you Guitar World for printing this as is. Next time let us hear the damn thing.

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RonZabrocki

And by the way, you assume too much. Assumed I get paid, assumed I did nothing. Hey, maybe I don't write this or own the gear! Or even play guitar. I won't print my assumptions about you!

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RonZabrocki

Sorry I disappointed you. I do not get paid to do this and have a very busy schedule. This is also a blog, not a featured article. If I did have the time I would include the audio and edit and upload. Yes, it would have proven helpful. Those who know me, and you do not, know my reputation. I appreciate your comment, insults and all. There is nothing wrong with your very intelligent opinion, there is something very wrong with your approach. I am passionate about music and I understand your passion and frustration. Sorry to dissappoint and it would make a great shootout article. However, the explanation alone went well over my word limit and I am pleased they printed it as is.
To reiterate: you cslled it an article. It is a blog. You asked for trust. I ask for your trust in my honesty.
I will take everything into consideration next time.

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anotherguitarist

"Printed it as is"???? lol
Anyway....not meant as an insult but, taking it that way shows you understand and see the point. My original post is over my word limit for the year in doing things like this. So my reply means the second coming is around the corner.
If you were not paid then fine, I still stand by my point. You are a great player with great experience man, this is why I took the time for a comment. I guess in a very selfish way I expect more from you. Your words and comments would be the reason I would take the time to listen to such a shootout. There are other means to this end but I breeze by them because of who is doing it or commenting on it. To see you, your words, your ability..."blogging" about this....made me actually decide to say hey...this is one I want to hear. For it to end with...take my word for it....was like watching porn only for the story and stopping as soon as the delivery guy puts the pizza box down.
Being you, I was happy to read the article and to see you arrive with the pizza box. I am now sitting with a bottle of lotion and my old high school depository tube sock from under the bed....and suddenly it ends.
Clearly, my approach was spot on....dripping in every word of your reply.
Let the others "blog" pointless words. You had a great subject, next time give us the xxx shot. (Or just say the files will be loaded at such and such soon).
In fact...DUDE....post the files!!
Kirk out.

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RonZabrocki

I lnow that movie! I will do all I can to give the money shot next time. And damn you sound like a friend I could spend the night arguing over trivial and important matters with....like Steve Vai or Guthrie Govan...or Tera Patrick or Jenna Jameson! But I do honestly appreciate your comment. Gotta go now. Indie movie soundtrack Work and it's being filmed right now. That means another deadline. Later.

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symptom7

Yes. I always mic it for SYMPTOM 7. Knowing which speaker is the best sounding speaker for the given day is key as well.

Could be more humid one day and another speaker sounds better than the normal speaker I usually mic etc... All dialing in.

I tend to like the sound better when recording with less humidity in the air. To my ears, when micing an amp, the tone sounds much better. Or I should say I am happier with the outcome.

I do have a Line 6 HD500 which I still need to try in the studio. Still dialing sounds on that.

Geoff

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RonZabrocki

Yeah humidity makes it mushier! Check your email.

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symptom7

Great blog as usual, Ron! Micing amps and/or using modelers in the studio are good. As long as you get the sound you need!

Geoff

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RonZabrocki

Do you always mic Geoff? Your sound with SYMPTOM7 is massive!

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