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> Some Guitar And Recording Gear Help Please ..., Preamps, Power Amps, Keyboards, Drum machines, connectivity
Man0waR
post Nov 3 2007, 06:34 AM
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Hey all !

Was wondering if I could get a short explanation of the roles of a few piece of guitar / music gear.

I was wondering about a few things that I have little or no clue about smile.gif I'll attach some LINKED examples so I'm sure we're talking about the same stuff - and sry about the silly approach, but I wanna get some things straight and clear before I get the chance to try out more gear.

1. the purpose of a preamp [ like Rocktron rack preamp ]

2. how do rack delays , reverbs or all in one multi effects compare to your usual stompbox pedal or multi-effects procs - as I can see most of the rack - mounted multi effects processors are seriously more expensive and I haven't had the chance [yet] to try out some serious gear , so how does the sound quality or versatility compare ? [ Rocktron multieffects ]

3. the purpose of poweramps [ like Marshall rack poweramp ]

4. I've already pretty much seen that using software for recording guitar is much more flexible at this point , given I also don't move around much. I also want to create my own backing tracks with a home keyboard, percussion ( either drum software or by buying a portable drum machine - which I'm very fond of for some reason , it's more interactive than software-created drum patterns ). Some home keyboards also have the possibility of creating drum and bass patterns - is that desirable in your opinion or do they have flaws in that area ? For example - Roland Keyboard

- I'm curious : how do I keep all these devices connected to my pc for recording , do I need a mixer and connect that to my PC ? what recording-friendly sound-card could I get ? I have a LINE6 toneport for guitar [also has a mic input] but I'm not really enjoying most of the tones I can get from the software associated with the toneport - I want to record what I'm playing on my Ibanez + my beloved ZooM G2 multi effects pedal + a silly 50Watt 2 channel cheap amp, not what I can get with the toneport software. I also don't know much about recording instruments with a mic [as in positioned around the amp] or having some form of connection from the amp to the pc for direct recording - I'd like to know a few details about that , hoping to find the simplest solution to recording without losing sound quality for my [far] future plans. That's why I need a little lesson in connectivity and I'll have HUGE appreciation for someone who can clarify me about all these issues I'm boldly asking about smile.gif .

Believe it or not , I still have a few things I'd like to ask about but I guess my memory will help me a bit later.

A big fat thank you in advance for the moment biggrin.gif

P.S. : didn't know for sure to post this in Recording or Gear topics... covers both so I guess it's ok biggrin.gif

This post has been edited by Man0waR: Nov 3 2007, 06:37 AM
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Man0waR
post Nov 3 2007, 02:25 PM
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I know this wall o' text is blinding you all now, but it's vital to me and whenever one of you pro's get the courage to seriously enlighten me on all this - I'll appreciate it a lot ! smile.gif

This post has been edited by Man0waR: Nov 3 2007, 02:26 PM
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Andrew Cockburn
post Nov 3 2007, 08:44 PM
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Hi Manoeaw,

I'll give this a try smile.gif

QUOTE (Man0waR @ Nov 3 2007, 01:34 AM) *
1. the purpose of a preamp [ like Rocktron rack preamp ]


A preamp is usually something that goes before a power amp to boost the signal enough for the power section of the amp. Most of the time they are built into the amp itself so you never see it. Sometimes, when using rack gear, you can separate out the pre and power amps. One reason to do this is because you can mix and match brands, another is because you need to put certain types of effects (reverbs, delays and choruses for example) between the pre and power amps for best effect.

A lot of preamps these days (like the ones from rocktron) also have built in effects and blur the line between a straigh preamp and a multi effects unit.

QUOTE (Man0waR @ Nov 3 2007, 01:34 AM) *
2. how do rack delays , reverbs or all in one multi effects compare to your usual stompbox pedal or multi-effects procs - as I can see most of the rack - mounted multi effects processors are seriously more expensive and I haven't had the chance [yet] to try out some serious gear , so how does the sound quality or versatility compare ? [ Rocktron multieffects ]


Well they are rackmounted for a start wink.gif

Rackmount multi FX are generally speaking higher quality than stomp boxes for some of the types of effects - mainly the ones I mentioned above - but this is probably open to debate. Things like wah and distprtion are usually better as stomp boxes.

QUOTE (Man0waR @ Nov 3 2007, 01:34 AM) *
3. the purpose of poweramps [ like Marshall rack poweramp ]


See above - if you have a separate preamp you need a power amp to boost it to separate levels. ANopther reason to do this if you have tube amps is that you need to run a tube amp close to max volume to get the best sound. So you could have a 20 watt rack power amp for bar gigs, and a 100w amp for stadiums, and just drop in the one you need before the gig.

QUOTE (Man0waR @ Nov 3 2007, 01:34 AM) *
4. I've already pretty much seen that using software for recording guitar is much more flexible at this point , given I also don't move around much. I also want to create my own backing tracks with a home keyboard, percussion ( either drum software or by buying a portable drum machine - which I'm very fond of for some reason , it's more interactive than software-created drum patterns ). Some home keyboards also have the possibility of creating drum and bass patterns - is that desirable in your opinion or do they have flaws in that area ? For example - Roland Keyboard


If you are using compute software, I would suggest you stay away from hardware keyboards entirely - you can get a lot more versatilty out of VSTi instruments, including drum software like EZDrummer or Addictive drums. Drum machines in keyboards are good standalone but useless in a recording setup (you can use the sounds of course, but the drum machine patterm generator is of little use to you). One option is to make the patterns in a drum machine then import them into your recording software which allows you to edit them after the fact but do the main compostion using the drum machine if you prefer that.

QUOTE (Man0waR @ Nov 3 2007, 01:34 AM) *
- I'm curious : how do I keep all these devices connected to my pc for recording , do I need a mixer and connect that to my PC ? what recording-friendly sound-card could I get ? I have a LINE6 toneport for guitar [also has a mic input] but I'm not really enjoying most of the tones I can get from the software associated with the toneport - I want to record what I'm playing on my Ibanez + my beloved ZooM G2 multi effects pedal + a silly 50Watt 2 channel cheap amp, not what I can get with the toneport software. I also don't know much about recording instruments with a mic [as in positioned around the amp] or having some form of connection from the amp to the pc for direct recording - I'd like to know a few details about that , hoping to find the simplest solution to recording without losing sound quality for my [far] future plans. That's why I need a little lesson in connectivity and I'll have HUGE appreciation for someone who can clarify me about all these issues I'm boldly asking about smile.gif .


Depends how complex you want to get ... Line6 products allow you to record directly through USB. You could use a mic for recording if you have a great tone from your amp, but that is a lot of hassle. These days guitar modelers like Line6 pod do a very good job of simulating all the amp and speaker gubbins without the trouble of micing - its a great way to start and the results are generally excellent. Micing amps is a little hardcore for the inexperienced.

Ok, thats a start - I am sure others will comment and argue with me, and I am equally sure you will have more questions, so fire away smile.gif


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Nov 3 2007, 09:06 PM
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+1.

Just to add to what Andrew has said:

1) The preamp section often contains the circuitary and controls that allow the user to adjust the tone and distortion. This is a simplification as eq etc can be placed post pre-amp and the poweramp tubes have a great affect on the type of tube distortion. The latter though isn't usually easily adjusted/changed by the user. Arguably the most, perhaps best, control you can have over tone is to have a parametric eq at preamp stage and a parametric at post preamp.

Recording preamps are a particular type where you can use them to record direct into a desk, portastudio or suitably equipped audio hardware. Recording preamps have a speaker emulation circuit to a)mimic a speaker cabinet's colouration and cool.gif provide a dummy load to the preamp. NOTE - If you don't place a suitable load on a tube preamp you will fry it.

2) Rack mounted effects usually have high quality in built transformers and so are mains operated rather then battery. They also usually have balanced XLR and/or TRS in/out.

3) As Andrew says you need a poweramp, or similar, connected to the preamp if it does have suitable direct recording.

4) A midi controller keyboard for computers can be useful for inputting notes but isn't essential. A midi controller keyboard however doesn't have to be a synth or pro keyboard. If anything that's overkill and could be too confusing. Many synths/pro keyboards tend to assume you know midi coding and maybe sysex as well. Midi controllers for soft synths/vsts don't usually make that assumption and some come with pre-written templates that will map some of the more common controls and functions of some of the popular sequencers (like Cubase/Reason etc) and vsts.

Cheers,
Tony


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Man0waR
post Nov 3 2007, 11:44 PM
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Big thanks for tackling these issues.

So you are suggesting that creating the keyboard patterns virtually is more versatile and straightforward right ?

If so , I guess you're right , but if I can get close to the same results with a keyboard connected to the whole process , I think I might preffer that. I'm keen on learning to play piano, this would obviousely help, and if I could get my backing track needs fulfilled with it - even better. You might agree with me - I feel that it's a bit more interactive if you play your own keyboard recording. So anyway - you would mainly suggest sticking to software emulation of keyboard. Makes sense I guess , if it weren't for my big desire to learn to play keyboards.
I've already read about many softwares relevant in our discussion here - Cubase , Adobe Audition , etc..... either way I'm curious where can the best VST plugins be found ?

About the rack gear - so the equivalent of having a combo amp , or amp head with cabs is having a power and pre-amp on the rack (given its versatility with setting in effects and tones) , which are then connected to your usual cabinets / speakers directly ?

It seems I should've bought a LINE 6 POD instead of the toneport biggrin.gif You CAN get some decent tones but I keep feeling that it's lacking a lot compared to what I can get with the amp and zoom g2 pedal. I'm supposing I'll be better off getting a LINE 6 POD that's a bit above the zoom g2 in it's class and then I'll also have easy recording AND tone flexibility , right ?

Anyways , THANKS a lot for your answers biggrin.gif it's exactly what I needed to know.

This post has been edited by Man0waR: Nov 3 2007, 11:46 PM
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Twibeard
post Nov 4 2007, 01:07 AM
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QUOTE (Man0waR @ Nov 3 2007, 11:44 PM) *
If so , I guess you're right , but if I can get close to the same results with a keyboard connected to the whole process , I think I might preffer that. I'm keen on learning to play piano, this would obviousely help, and if I could get my backing track needs fulfilled with it - even better. You might agree with me - I feel that it's a bit more interactive if you play your own keyboard recording. So anyway - you would mainly suggest sticking to software emulation of keyboard. Makes sense I guess , if it weren't for my big desire to learn to play keyboards.
I've already read about many softwares relevant in our discussion here - Cubase , Adobe Audition , etc..... either way I'm curious where can the best VST plugins be found ?

Mate i'm a Synth guy - trying to learn guitar here at GMC.
I totally agree in the above. Today you cant really compete in sound quality and flexibility if you use hardware synths or hardware drum-mashines.
I used to play on all kind of Roland keyboard gear, best hardware there is. But now I have to admit that if you want to make great music and if you want a flixible high-quality environment, then you need to dig into Software Synths that you play on a high quality (physical) midi keyboard.
I myself use the professional keyboard from NOVATON, the Novation ReMote SL is the absolute best Pro equipment p.t. You also have to invest in the software for the PC, I'll recomend software from Native-Instrument (something like Kontakt-2 or FM-8 or ABsynth) but also from MoTu - they make awsome samples and loop-machines ... great Pro stuff. Then you can play keyboard like Michael Stearns or JMJ.
You will ofcuse need a sequenser, to record, mix and manipulate your sound, and use the Synths via VST. Welcome to 2007 laugh.gif but thats a must today (that is if you are not into Indy-music - 8" tape recording - which is cool by the way cool.gif ).
I just got the EZdrummer as recmended by Andrew, and I can recomend it too, Use Reaktor-5 too, but EZdrummer is a releaf! And with Novation AutoMap, you just hit the drumpads on ya keyboard when initializing and you are all set in 10 sec's. I use Cubase SX3 ... it's Pro software. If you use Apple you can dig into Logic aswel, I used to use Logic but changed to Cubase last year.
To record your guitar or other akustic sound you will ofcause need a Soundcard made for pro music, affordable but doable is stuff from M-Audio. But you will find Threads on the forum for better SoundCards.
Here is an eksample of my synth music: click here - remember its copyrighted by law by ENHALO cool.gif From my new CD - printing in Australia spring 2008.

This post has been edited by Twibeard: Nov 4 2007, 01:29 AM


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Guitar: Ibanez RG370DXCE my backup is a Fender Strat.
Amps: Marshall MG and Line6 Spider III 75W combo (preferred)

Recording stuff: Cubase SX3, Logic emagic, Novation ReMote SL, M-Audio Pro
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Main VST's: Kontakt2, FM8, Bass station, Ezdrummer, MoTu EI, Atmosphere, Crystall
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