Steve Vai And Home Recording
Todd Simpson
May 1 2020, 02:07 AM
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From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Steve Vai mentions that it’s tough to record LOUD guitars at home. He is spot on for most of us. Many if not all of us have some type of home recording setup and few of us have the luxury of grabbing a big tube amp and cranking it up through a big cab and putting a mic in front of it. This simple trick, just playing real amps and playing them loud, is a classic way to get pretty good tone out of tube amps/cabs/mics. Just jam a SHURE SM57 right in the cone, turn the amp up until yours ears bleed and you have a good shot and recording some very BIG guitars. Steve talks about changing the angle of the mic and position of the mic in the crease of the cone and using more than one mic. This is asking a lot for home recording in most cases.

Give how hard this is, many folks use things like the OX load box from UA with their tube amp in order to make the amp sound like it’s at full volume, even though it’s not attracting the police to your home for a noise complaint. If you are using a tube amp for recording, having a load box is a great way to get killer tones from it and keep the volume at reasonable levels, especially if you are recording with the amp in the same room as your monitors. Recording an amp in the same room with your audio monitors is considered a big NO NO in general, since it’s hard to tell whats coming from the amp and whats coming from the monitors at the same time. That’s why studios use an “Isolation Booth” for guitar amps. This is hard to do at home, it’s possible, but it’s hard. Sure, you can stick your amp/cab in a closet down the hall, if you have a spare, or by a speaker cab built for isolation, but home recordists typically have one room to get it all done in and a small budget to work with.

This is where things like the KEMPER PROFILER come in to play. Also, very precise plugin guitar sim like the one from OVERLOUD. Essentially, these units let you get the amp in a virtual isolation room, in your computer during recording, and you can crank the virtual amp up as much as you like. Technology has finally gotten to the point where guitar simulation, in a mix, can sound pretty much like the real thing and yield great results without needing the expense, size and hassle of having a marshall stack in your bedroom.

In this vid, Steve is talking about the SYNERGY products which are similar to the Randall Modular amps of years past. It allows you to fit 3 amp tones in to one amp head. The same way the old Randal RM100 let you do. This approach fell out of favor for a while as amp sims got better and better but now the modules are so good that its making a comeback!

QUESTION: Who uses a loud amp and who uses a kemper/Helix/Plugin for recording?

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Todd Simpson
May 4 2020, 06:00 PM
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I started getting in to Steve Vai on the EAT EM AND SMILE album. When did you guys get in to VAI's Stuff?

Remember this track? It had a very "VanHalen" vibe to it imho.

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Phil66
May 4 2020, 09:08 PM
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I'd been reading about this bloke called Steve Vai, I was in my local independent record shop around early 1988 browsing just about everything. Being one to always check out the line up on the back cover I found Eat Em And Smile and saw "Guitar: Steve Vai", same visit I found Surfin' With The Alien by another guitarist I'd been reading about called Joe Satriani.

I think I bought King Of The Delta Blues Singers: Robert Johnson that same day too smile.gif

Important day in my life cool.gif

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Todd Simpson
May 5 2020, 01:00 AM
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That is a really important day to be sure. Getting to know the work of three of the best players ever to pick up the instrument. I can remember hearing Tony McAlpine for the first time in a local record store. I thought it was a keyboard or something fake at first. I didn't think it could be a human being as it was just to complex to be from human fingers. Little did I know smile.gif


QUOTE (Phil66 @ May 4 2020, 04:08 PM) *
Important day in my life cool.gif

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Sensible Jones
May 5 2020, 03:54 PM
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I first heard about him when 'Flex'able' was released. A friend at College put me onto it. That would have been 84!!!!
ohmy.gif ohmy.gif

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Todd Simpson
May 6 2020, 04:03 AM
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Once i found out about Vai I started looking for other works by him. Took me a while run across a copy of flexible and I worked in a record store! I finally ordered the entire vai collection at the time for the store smile.gif

QUOTE (Sensible Jones @ May 5 2020, 10:54 AM) *
I first heard about him when 'Flex'able' was released. A friend at College put me onto it. That would have been 84!!!!
ohmy.gif ohmy.gif

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