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> Improving Results With Guitar Sims/plugins
Todd Simpson
post Sep 1 2014, 08:51 PM
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I'm not an engineer, I'm a guitar player smile.gif But very often, I hear about folks very frustrated with the tone they get from guitar sims. Only recently did I realize I was doing something by accident almost that is giving me a bit of an advantage in hardware. The good news is, it's an easy fix.

THE PROBLEM:

You plug in to your interface, you launch your guitar plugin and it sounds thin/weak/etc.

THE CURE

There are a couple of easy ways to fix this. I'm using a Behringer Direct Box (original I just added it for boost) but it also, according to the behringer site,

"Provides impedance and signal matching for the direct connection of instruments to mixers and amplifiers"
http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/DI4000.aspx
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essentially, plugging directly in to an interface robs your signal of some of the natural response of an amp. I'm using a very generic product to overcome this, but you could also use a purpose built product like this one.

The MOTU Z BOX.

This device does something similar and makes your software react a bit better by doing a bit of impedance kung fu. From the vendor web site. http://www.motu.com/products/guitar/zbox
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"ZBox matches the output impedance (”Z”) of your guitar to the impedance of a non-amp input, such as the mic/instrument preamp inputs on your audio interface. Without proper impedance matching, your guitar won’t sound natural or “feel right”.
"

The pricey option is to get something like the 11 Rack or similar rack unit that adjusts input impedance on the fly to make the guitar simulations seem more realistic. I've used wads of rack units and the 11 does respond with the dynamics of an amp. So while it does seem a bit like smoke and mirrors, I've been converted in to a believer smile.gif

Here is a brief article about "impedance matching" and it's impact on overall GUITAR TONE. It's a wad more important than I originally thought. Just sharing my experience though, your mileage may vary smile.gif

http://community.avid.com/blogs/avid/archi...out-true-z.aspx
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This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Sep 1 2014, 08:53 PM


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klasaine
post Sep 2 2014, 03:18 PM
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Great point and great advice Todd.

Before the 11 rack and Axe-fx became popular for players and studios to own, a lot of guys, myself included used one of these ... http://www.radialeng.com/jdv.php before hitting the interface.
*Even using a decent overdrive pedal or pedal compressor (set for unity and not much gain or comp) can help a lot.


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Todd Simpson
post Sep 2 2014, 03:49 PM
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Thanks and GREAT point! Using an overdrive pedal after your guitar and before your interface can really help your overall signal. Put the distortion on 0 and volume/tone up to taste around mid way or more and BAM, your Sim will liven up like never before.

This trick doesn't work well with distortion pedals as well as it does with overdrive since overdrive can serve as a "clean boost" smile.gif It's a quick and dirty version of adding a preamp before your interface.

Also, thats RADIAL DIRECT BOX is a killer bit of kit and would serve anyone well on studio or stage. I went with the budget option and got the behringer partially as it was cheaper and rackable and such. The radial is far more portable and could be easily mounted on a pedal board!

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QUOTE (klasaine @ Sep 2 2014, 10:18 AM) *
Great point and great advice Todd.

Before the 11 rack and Axe-fx became popular for players and studios to own, a lot of guys, myself included used one of these ... http://www.radialeng.com/jdv.php before hitting the interface.
*Even using a decent overdrive pedal or pedal compressor (set for unity and not much gain or comp) can help a lot.


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Sep 2 2014, 03:52 PM


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klasaine
post Sep 2 2014, 05:18 PM
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I've been using this with less than stellar backline amps lately.
Tone Concepts 'the Distillery' ... http://www.toneconcepts.com/the-distillery/
It's got some EQ, some compression, some boost and a little gain.
*The most dramatic affects are with crappy solid state amps. It can really open them up.




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Mertay
post Sep 2 2014, 05:52 PM
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Thinking about the last 2-3 years, it actually became hard to find a non-high impedence (hi-z guitar input) soundcard for a while now.

But beginners tend to use the mic. input before investing to a soundcard, which sucks smile.gif The other fact is they don't have a clean preamp to boost the signal.

Todd, did you try connecting an overdrive to an input that doesn't have a preamp? if yes how was the noisefloor considering dist. or clean sound?

I wonder because I have no idea how good good the gain is increased by the pedals. I have a digitech rp12 processor for example, and the output preamp is very "meh" to me but some even consider it very bad. Love the preamps on my TC Electronics soundcard though smile.gif

This post has been edited by Mertay: Sep 2 2014, 05:53 PM


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Todd Simpson
post Sep 2 2014, 07:36 PM
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The RP12 sadly has a sub par preamp section sad.gif It's a bit of an older unit and they skimped a bit on that. I"ve had great results with the PRO TONE BULB DELUXE and the FUHRMANN TUBE DRIVE. Both of which are very "tube like" despite being solid state smile.gif

Any Ibanez Tube Screamer clone of decent quality should get you pretty good results wink.gif

Todd

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QUOTE (Mertay @ Sep 2 2014, 12:52 PM) *
Thinking about the last 2-3 years, it actually became hard to find a non-high impedence (hi-z guitar input) soundcard for a while now.

But beginners tend to use the mic. input before investing to a soundcard, which sucks smile.gif The other fact is they don't have a clean preamp to boost the signal.

Todd, did you try connecting an overdrive to an input that doesn't have a preamp? if yes how was the noisefloor considering dist. or clean sound?

I wonder because I have no idea how good good the gain is increased by the pedals. I have a digitech rp12 processor for example, and the output preamp is very "meh" to me but some even consider it very bad. Love the preamps on my TC Electronics soundcard though smile.gif



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Mertay
post Sep 2 2014, 08:47 PM
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Cool smile.gif


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