The Producer's Toolbox - Recording guitars without using amplifiers.

(Disclaimer: This is a revision of one of my old articles already posted on the Steem blockchain with the intention of building my Engrave blog) Hello Everyone! Here I am signing up aga...

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(Disclaimer: This is a revision of one of my old articles already posted on the Steem blockchain with the intention of building my Engrave blog)

Hello Everyone!


Here I am signing up again to talk a little bit about guitar recording , but more specifically , recording without using amplifiers of any type.

I'm a fan of old style tube amps and ''plug n-play'' approach , getting a nice mic and preamp combination , set the microphone on a nice speaker ( 90% of the time it's just a shure Sm57 ) look for a nice sweet spot and forget about it.
After that I just get on with the recording and switch gear when I don't need a particular tone anymore.

There are a lot of very nice amp and FX modelers out there nowadays like the Axe Fx , Kemper , Helix and many more , they sound very nice and with some fine tweaking you can get some amazing tones and to be honest , once they are placed in the mix, they sound maybe as good as the real deal. The thing is I haven't been able to get my hands on these modelers long enough , I've borrowed some of these for a couple days and got frustrated right away , maybe they are not for me , maybe I need more time figuring some of the out , who knows :p.

So , if I am into the old school type approach of recording , why would I record ''direct'' ?
( cable --> interface ).

Here are some of my reasons:

- Overnight recording.

I live in an apartment nowadays and can't set up my amps at a healthy volume and place a mic on them at any time , so maybe if I am tracking ideas at 12pm , i'd be recording direct with headphones , and everybody is happy . I can always reamp the guitar tracks another time.

- Easier editing and Reamping.

Even when I set up the amp and mic , i usually also get a DI signal, so later in the production if a particular tone is not working for me ( or the producer) I can reamp it later and I don't have to record it again, such a time saving thing to do!

It is also easier to edit a clean signal , the transients are a lot clearer and it is more obvious of where to cut , paste , fade, edit , etc. Also big time saver!

- Tone combining.

Why settle for one or the other? , sometimes combining the Direct track with some processing and the real amp track , you can get some very interesting tones , so ... experiment with this !

- Deadlines :/

Yes , this is also a reason , I've been in situations where time is CRUCIAL , and simply there is no time to set up , experiment or anything. So , direct recording is also a faster way of getting things done.

Audio differences? Well , why don't you be the judge ? here are two examples of productions that had both approaches.

For this particular track , I did everything overnight just by using Amplitube 4 , time was a big issue because the video had a release date , so I tried my best to get some usable tones by just using plug-ins . Sergio did some analog compression and EQ on them at La Real Sociedad Studios... but that was it . I think they worked nicely in the end.

And for the opposite old school approach , here is an example:

All the tones here were obtained by recording amps , changing mics , getting room sounds , pedals , and all that fun stuff haha . Most of the tones were recorded with a modded Vox AC15 that i have back in Guayaquil , a Royer R-121 ribbon mic and all the pedals we could get our hands on. This meant spending the whole day in the studio tweaking knobs and getting nice raw takes. Time clearly was not an issue here haha . Again Sergio Vivar on mixing and production.

Tell me what you think , and what are your experiencies in recording with both approaches?

Thanks for reading!

Signing off

Pechiche Mena

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Originally posted on Producer, Musician, Artist. . Steem blog powered by ENGRAVE.