Let's talk preamps...amp sims

Let’s talk preamps…amp sims????

To sim or not to sim that is the question…

As some of you know I have been upgrading my setup and it would seem the last thing I need to achieve a higher bar or tracks is a preamp? or amp sim?

That is where the confusion lies for me, I don’t know the difference between the two or what advantages they have.

Some devices are listed as amp sims, while others are pre-amp? so what gives? which is the one for me?

I am going to use it to send the guitar signal directly into the Soundcraft board’s DI, then into the M-audio Firewire, which is connected to the puter.

I have amp plugs that simulate different amps, but many people have suggested that the signal should be sent in through a hardware device such as a pre-amp or amp sim FIRST for the best sound. (also I think that would be good for the feel of the tracks since I could hear the sound of them amplified FIRST, also I use a DemonIbanez wah wah pedal and same brand distortion pedal sometimes)

Any and all suggestions on what devices are good or explanations as to what these two differently named devices are would be helpful.

Also on a side note, if I was to say get a Presonus tube pre-amp I was thinking of sending the CAD 8000(tube condenser mic) through it, but would be tube overkill?

So let’s talk pre-amps :)

keep shinin’

jerm :cool:

Hey Jerm,
Just some rambling thoughts.
Pre-amp Take a low level (guitar) to a usable level.
Gain curve should be flat across the spectrum.
Tube vs. IC or transistor.
The thing about tubes is that when they are overdriven,
they produce odd harmonics (harmonically pleasing) as opposed
to IC or transistor produce the evens also.
But for strictly (non overdriven) pre-amping, I’m not sure
one is better than the other. The circuits are generally the
same.
As far as signal chain. Pre-amp first (more to work with),
then your pedals, I think they say compression first if you use
one.
Then I would take that into any amp sim, (which I assume is the
electronic simulation of the components that made up the original
amp - like a VOX Super Beatle or something).
But you know - really anything goes. Sometimes going against
convention is the best thing.

Quote: (sevenOfeleven @ Jan. 29 2008, 7:30 PM)

Hey Jerm,
Just some rambling thoughts.
Pre-amp Take a low level (guitar) to a usable level.
Gain curve should be flat across the spectrum.
Tube vs. IC or transistor.
The thing about tubes is that when they are overdriven,
they produce odd harmonics (harmonically pleasing) as opposed
to IC or transistor produce the evens also.
But for strictly (non overdriven) pre-amping, I'm not sure
one is better than the other. The circuits are generally the
same.
As far as signal chain. Pre-amp first (more to work with),
then your pedals, I think they say compression first if you use
one.
Then I would take that into any amp sim, (which I assume is the
electronic simulation of the components that made up the original
amp - like a VOX Super Beatle or something).
But you know - really anything goes. Sometimes going against
convention is the best thing.

Thanks for the reply 7.

So are you suggesting I need both? and a hardware compressor as well?

This is already sounding expensive.....

The sims I was speaking of have multiple amps sizes and head to chose from. (even build your own options like some of the software ones like TRASH have)

Is this the chain you are suggesting?

GUITAR>COMPRESSOR>PRE_AMP>FX>AMP SIM>BOARD>INTERFACE>PUTER

Yeah I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions as far as what preamps are good? brand names?
IF they are not the same thing as amp sims and sims are at the end of the chain than I guess I could go either way with the sims hardware or software.
I am leaning towards tubes since I plan on doing a great deal of OVERDRIVE! we are talking in your face crunk! :whistle:

Would something like this do the job effectively?

Behringer V-Amp Pro Rackmount Guitar Pre-Amp

IT boast having a compressor in it along with 32 virtual amp models, 15 speaker cabinet simulations designed by Juergen Rath, noise gate, wah-wah, modulation effects, delay and reverb.

It also says it has a ES/EBU and S/PDIF connectors with 24-bit/96 kHz digital output so theoretically I could go directly into the Firewire box and bypass the Soundcraft mixer altogether.....

Is that even a preamp? or just a glorified amp sim that would still need a preamp to be effective?

keep shinin'

jerm :cool:

I use my Line6 POD v.1.0 for all electric guitar recordings, but lately I have discovered FreeAmp, which I use as a track effect, i.e. I apply it to the recorded guitar tracks at the mixing stage.

I never was quite satisfied with the sound of the POD, but it does provide adequate signal level and impedance matching for my guitar (Fender Telecaster fitted with Dean Markley pickups, YMMV). I use the POD to get ‘in the ballpark’ for the sound I want to achieve, and then get it right using the FreeAmp VST plugin.

I honestly don’t know where the VST came from - I guess it entered my DAW as a stowaway - scary thought, really…

regards, Nils

Dispel the hype.

http://www.record-producer.com/learn.cfm?a=3080

Were do I get one of those? Mark, I wonder how low noise they are…this is going to be used for recording.

Line six pod Nils? I see one can get one for around $40 used theses days…that certainly would leave money left over for a compressor…
I can imagine that would work well with a fender since it seem to have a lot of vintage amp sims in it.
I am using a Ibanez with humbuckers and am looking for something that will ad warmth and do a variety of genres, hard thick heavy, chintzy, and acoustic (Yamamha 12 string)…

anyone ever hear of the ART Tube pre-amp and compressor? tubpac?

Presonus blue tube? digitube?

Behringer V-amp?


Some of these offer the digital out which can go directly into the M-audio fairewire I have that is why I ask…

keep shinin’

jerm :cool:

is mic"n a real amp out of the question?

Yeah, my post was a bit too cryptic. I was trying to show that it’s not all about what the price, or what the adverts say, or even the specs say. In the case I gave, a $5 preamp (albeit a mic preamp rather than guitar), out performed a “much better” preamp. It’s all about what appeals to the ear.

To be more specific, I have, and have had, several guitar preamps in my guitar rig/rack and for recording. At present, my favourite is my Rocktron Chameleon. Great range of usage sounds. Lots of emulations and effects. I used to have a nice simple Marshall rack mount pre (9000?). Just like the front end on an amp. Nice and easy to use but with fewer sound possibilities.

I also have a J-station. Similar to the Pod. Dirt cheap on ebay but again, some really great sounds. You can use PC software (free) to control the J-station - which is cool.

But as Wozz says - sometimes you can’t beat and amp, a speaker and a mic!

Hope you find something that works for you.

I snagged a Line 6 POD XT Live yesterday. I need it mostly for live use but first tests sound promising for recording use.

I also agree with Mark, FreeAmp 3 is the first plugin amp-sim I’ve tried that sounded err… “inspirational”. The other “free” ones have kind of left me cold. Word has it ReValver mkIII is AWESOME… but I don’t have that kind of dough laying around. Besides, if I can’t get the tone I want with the POD, FreeAmp or my little Korg Pandora, I can run the family off and fire up the big box and mic it!

D

A while ago I made a test to see what some recent pieces of software I had obtained was any good or not…

I used Cubase Studio 4 (might as well have been n-Track), my Fender Telecaster (with diMarzio pickups), my POD (v.1.0), and after a few moments I had this:

Lame, raw take

I had the POD set at ‘neutral’ just using it as an impedance converter for the input, and laid down bass, rhythm guitar, and a freaky solo. Just one round of a 12-bar blues ditty to get something to work with. I recorded everything totally ‘wild’ i.e. no click track, no rhythm box, no guide at all - just went along with the first track.

Then I started to experiment - first with FreeAmp2 VST with different settings for each track, and then with JamStix 2 virtual drummer. Oh, this app really rocks! As a further test, I tried to get a sound similar to a basement rehearsal just for the fun of it. It goes like this:

Finished, roughened mix of the raw take

I hope this may turn other people on to both FreeAmp2 VST and JamStix 2. At least I had great fun playing with them both… :)

regards, Nils

Nils, have you downloaded FA3 yet? There’s some really good improvements in there over FA2. Definitely worth checking out.

http://frettedsynth.home.att.net/

D

Quote: (Mark A @ Jan. 30 2008, 2:25 AM)

Dispel the hype.

http://www.record-producer.com/learn.cfm?a=3080

Let's form a production company, Mark.

edit: Actually, when I did the listening test, I picked the LA610 over the 5 dollar one, and the berry in last. I wonder if they ran the test with just the preamp section of the 610 or with the comp in line as well. Still, for 5 bucks, that's the way to build a home studio.
Quote: (Mark A @ Jan. 30 2008, 7:30 AM)

Just like the front end on an amp. Nice and easy to use but with fewer sound possibilities.

I also have a J-station. Similar to the Pod. Dirt cheap on ebay but again, some really great sounds. You can use PC software (free) to control the J-station - which is cool.

that would be ideal if it had a D/SP out I looked at the back picture of a few of them and they have 1/4 inch outs and midi it looks like.....
I wouldn't know where to begin with that, although the M-audio firewire interface I have has midi in and out.....
I still do not know if these devices are pre-amps or amp sims????? or both?

Quote:

To be more specific, I have, and have had, several guitar preamps in my guitar rig/rack and for recording. At present, my favourite is my Rocktron Chameleon.

Not too many of those used up for sale....no one seems to want to part with them! lol

Quote:

I used to have a nice simple Marshall rack mount pre (9000?)


like this?

Marshall DPR-1


Thanks for replying guys I am one step closer to understanding what all these terms mean, and one step closer to the Holy Grail of DI recording of guitars. :)

keep shinin'

jerm :cool:

Anyone ever hear of the Studio Projects VTB1?

I’m here good things over at harmony central about them… :O

keep shinin’

jerm :cool:

Yeah, I used to have one. It’s a mic preamp. You could use it for guitar but I don’t think it’s what you are looking for.

Actually Jerm, I wonder if you are confusing yourself here. There is a difference between a preamp/amp and audio interfaces - I’m sure you realise.

I think you’d be much better off finding a decent interface, and then find whatever preamps/amps/simulators/emulators that you need rather than trying to find one bit of kit that does it all. You get much more versatility and flexibility that way.

Yeah, my guitar preamps have 1/4" outputs. But that’s what they do; that’s what they are for. Connect it to a poweramp and a cab… or hook them into my mixer/soundcard, depending on what I’m doing. The MIDI you see is for controlling the preamps remotely. No audio stuff going on there at all.

The J-station has a digital output (S/PDIF) which is handy as my card has digital in.

The VTB-1 and the Art are really microphone preamps. If you want guitar sounds, then you’d get a better result using a “proper” guitar device. If you want a mic pre, then try the Art or VTB-1.

Or you could try the software route, (Vsti) but that’s a whole different discussion. :slight_smile:

Quote: (Mark A @ Jan. 31 2008, 2:28 AM)

Actually Jerm, I wonder if you are confusing yourself here. There is a difference between a preamp/amp and audio interfaces - I'm sure you realise.

I think you'd be much better off finding a decent interface, and then find whatever preamps/amps/simulators/emulators that you need rather than trying to find one bit of kit that does it all. You get much more versatility and flexibility that way.

As the OP says I already have a M-audio Audiophile firewire interface.

And I have a soundcraft mixer with phantom power along with a Cad 8000 condensor tube mic.

What I am looking for is for guitars, I thought I was looking for a pre-amp, but in that search amp sim came up.
I noticed there were a few pre-amps that also converted analog to digital at 96, so since the M-audio has a digital input I figured I could bypass the soundcraft and use that if I needed to.

In theory with a combination of theses devices I would like to be able to record guitar and vocals at the same time without it waking up the whole neighborhood.
But if that is not possible or affordable at this time I would simply like to be able to pre-amp the electric and acoustic guitars and feed them into the soundcraft.(with possibly adding some live FX)

Thanks for all the help and continued patients I am on a learning curve as wide as the earths diameter.

keep shinin'

jerm :cool:

Methinks you’ll get the most satisfaction from a Pod or J-station type device.

The Marshall pre that you linked to above will probably only give you a single sound with variations. The Pod/J-station will give you lots of emulations.

If you want to play live then a rack pre like the Rocktron would be cool… but I think you want a Pod/J-station. You’ll have more sounds than you can shake a stick at.

:slight_smile:

Quote: (Diogenes @ Jan. 30 2008, 2:11 PM)

Nils, have you downloaded FA3 yet? There's some really good improvements in there over FA2. Definitely worth checking out.

http://frettedsynth.home.att.net/

D

Got it. looks interesting...

Thanks.

regards, Nils