Looking for decent input devise for silent recording

guitardon

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Hi, I am looking at direct boxes for silent recording. I’d like at the minimum cabinet emulation, overdrive and possibly basic effects like reverb an possibly delay and chorus. The later two not as important. I will run it through my Apogee Quartet audio interface.

There is so much out there that it is mind boggling with each product claiming to be the best. Reviews are useless, they all have mixed reviews. I’m hopeng someone here can recommend some devices you’ve had success with getting real amp sounds through an input device. I can’t afford anything like an OX but want something decent in a moderate price range. I don’t want anything that is used in a rack, I don’t have space. So I’m looking for something that sits on a desk.

Any recommendations will be appreciated.
 
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motowntom

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I record only in the box, and have used them all except Kemper and OX (super high dollar), I always end up selling all the newer ones and going back to my Pod Pro (rack mount version). It's got to be 15 YO, but it does everything I need. It has balanced XLR outs if you plan on recording, takes pedals well, and is great just with headphones. I bought a second one recently as backup and paid $120.00, believe it or not I think they were about a grand back in the day. You can find them everywhere pretty cheap. Good luck on your search.
Cheers
 

CerebralGasket

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Mac or PC?
Do you have an amp?
Does it have USB out?
Does it have direct out?

I prefer to record guitar direct as clean or dirt without effects.

Add reverb, delay, or any other effects in DAW as plugins. This allows you to mix the amount of wet / dry effect during and after recording.
 

guitardon

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I record only in the box, and have used them all except Kemper and OX (super high dollar), I always end up selling all the newer ones and going back to my Pod Pro (rack mount version). It's got to be 15 YO, but it does everything I need. It has balanced XLR outs if you plan on recording, takes pedals well, and is great just with headphones. I bought a second one recently as backup and paid $120.00, believe it or not I think they were about a grand back in the day. You can find them everywhere pretty cheap. Good luck on your search.
Cheers
I’ll look into this.
 

guitardon

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Mac or PC?
Do you have an amp?
Does it have USB out?
Does it have direct out?

I prefer to record guitar direct as clean or dirt without effects.

Add reverb, delay, or any other effects in DAW as plugins. This allows you to mix the amount of wet / dry effect during and after recording.
I have a vintage Musicman RD50, the one with tubes and a Roland Blues Cube. The Blues Is solid state but it sounds pretty good live. The Roland has usb out but playing with headphones which sounds similar to USB is to thin cause there isn’t any speaker emulation. The musicman is too old and best recorded live. Both are too loud recording live with warmer weather coming and windows open is not ideal. I have expensive gear and like to discrete. I’m just don’t want to bring arrention to the fact that my house has musical instruments.

I use Logic Pro and realize you can add effects there. My audio interface is a Apogee Quartet and I think it has a USB function. I’m looking mostly for speaker/cabinet emulation and overdrive. Effects would be secondary. I tend not to use a lot of effects. A little reverb and a touch of delay. I like what I’ve read about the OX and the Boss equivalent but that is way out of my price range. I’m too old to spend over a thousand bucks for the little recording I do.

So based on what I said do you have a recommendation for something in a more modest price range?
 

guitardon

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I record only in the box, and have used them all except Kemper and OX (super high dollar), I always end up selling all the newer ones and going back to my Pod Pro (rack mount version). It's got to be 15 YO, but it does everything I need. It has balanced XLR outs if you plan on recording, takes pedals well, and is great just with headphones. I bought a second one recently as backup and paid $120.00, believe it or not I think they were about a grand back in the day. You can find them everywhere pretty cheap. Good luck on your search.
Cheers
I checked out the Pod pro, I don’t have space for a rack unit. I saw a Pod Go which,looks like a newer desktop unit. Do you know if its the same technology as your Pod
 

CerebralGasket

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I have a vintage Musicman RD50, the one with tubes and a Roland Blues Cube. The Blues Is solid state but it sounds pretty good live. The Roland has usb out but playing with headphones which sounds similar to USB is to thin cause there isn’t any speaker emulation. The musicman is too old and best recorded live. Both are too loud recording live with warmer weather coming and windows open is not ideal. I have expensive gear and like to discrete. I’m just don’t want to bring arrention to the fact that my house has musical instruments.

I use Logic Pro and realize you can add effects there. My audio interface is a Apogee Quartet and I think it has a USB function. I’m looking mostly for speaker/cabinet emulation and overdrive. Effects would be secondary. I tend not to use a lot of effects. A little reverb and a touch of delay. I like what I’ve read about the OX and the Boss equivalent but that is way out of my price range. I’m too old to spend over a thousand bucks for the little recording I do.

So based on what I said do you have a recommendation for something in a more modest price range?
You have everything you need.
It just needs to be dialed in.

Connect the Roland Blues Cube to Mac via USB cable.
Connect the Apogee to Mac via USB cable.
In Logic Pro > Preferences > Audio
Configure the following...
Output Device: Apogee Quartet
Input Device: Roland Blues Cube

You will use the Apogee for monitoring with either studio monitors or headphones.

Create New Audio Track in Logic Pro.

Many amps with USB recording have 4 channels.

Channel 1: Left channel fully processed guitar sound, with speaker cabinet emulation.

Channel 2: Right channel fully processed guitar sound, with speaker cabinet emulation.

Channel 3: The preamp sound of the amp, voices and EQ stages, without any speaker cabinet emulation.

Channel 4: Unprocessed dry guitar signal.

The Channels correspond to the Inputs on the guitar track in Logic Pro.
Channel 1 = Input 1
Channel 2 = Input 2
Channel 3 = Input 3
Channel 4 = Input 4

If you don't like the cabinet simulation from the Roland Cube, use Input 3 on the Guitar track in Logic Pro so that you are using USB Channel 3 without the Roland Cube's cab simulation. Use a cab simulation plugin in Logic Pro such as Amp Designer. In Amp Designer, set the Amp to Transparent Preamp and select the Cabinet of your choice.

I prefer the Vintage Britsh 4x12 cab with the Dynamic 57 mic selected.

USB direct recording often sounds thin or fizzy even with cabinet simulation. To eliminate this, use a Channel EQ on the guitar track in Logic Pro and apply a low pass filter with cutoff frequency set to around 3 - 4kHz.

 
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dmac in SC

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I have intentionally ignored all the responses to the original post, not because I am arrogant or think I know more than any of very smart people on this forum, but I have been, and still am to some degree, in the same situation...my struggles, simplified, may be of help

Here is what I have learned over the last two years or so:

I have a Presonus Studio 18/10 interface that feeds JBL EON 615 (active) monitors. I use a Strymon Iridium (BUY ONE) and my normal pedals for guitar inputs... It is amazing simply due to the fact that what I hear while recording is exactly what I hear recorded....but you need (quality) flat response monitors and some type of amp simulation/ Cabinet IR's to feel that joy...drum/bass tracks can go directly into the interface, and it is pretty simple to polish up any BS in the mixing stage.

Silent recording implies the use of headphones. If that is the case, get yourself some good ones.

That said...Vocals seem to be the most interesting challenge for me at this point.

I have spent my working career setting up and qualifying high tech analytical instruments for the chemical industry... All of that is child's play compared to recording...but it is a hell of alot of fun trying to figure it out
 

guitardon

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You have everything you need.
It just needs to be dialed in.

Connect the Roland Blues Cube to Mac via USB cable.
Connect the Apogee to Mac via USB cable.
In Logic Pro > Preferences > Audio
Configure the following...
Output Device: Apogee Quartet
Input Device: Roland Blues Cube

You will use the Apogee for monitoring with either studio monitors or headphones.

Create New Audio Track in Logic Pro.

Many amps with USB recording have 4 channels.

Channel 1: Left channel fully processed guitar sound, with speaker cabinet emulation.

Channel 2: Right channel fully processed guitar sound, with speaker cabinet emulation.

Channel 3: The preamp sound of the amp, voices and EQ stages, without any speaker cabinet emulation.

Channel 4: Unprocessed dry guitar signal.

The Channels correspond to the Inputs on the guitar track in Logic Pro.
Channel 1 = Input 1
Channel 2 = Input 2
Channel 3 = Input 3
Channel 4 = Input 4

If you don't like the cabinet simulation from the Roland Cube, use Input 3 on the Guitar track in Logic Pro so that you are using USB Channel 3 without the Roland Cube's cab simulation. Use a cab simulation plugin in Logic Pro such as Amp Designer. In Amp Designer, set the Amp to Transparent Preamp and select the Cabinet of your choice.
I’ll give this a try but I would prefer an external device. What you suggest seem hit or miss and more of a hassle to set up. But I will try it. In my situation I can’t have the amp close enough to connect to my studio gear. Question, am I supposed to use all 4 input options or just option 1. I didn’t think the USB interface had so many opinions. I have to get a long usb cable before I can check this out, thanks
 

guitardon

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I have intentionally ignored all the responses to the original post, not because I am arrogant or think I know more than any of very smart people on this forum, but I have been, and still am to some degree, in the same situation...my struggles, simplified, may be of help

Here is what I have learned over the last two years or so:

I have a Presonus Studio 18/10 interface that feeds JBL EON 615 (active) monitors. I use a Strymon Iridium (BUY ONE) and my normal pedals for guitar inputs... It is amazing simply due to the fact that what I hear while recording is exactly what I hear recorded....but you need (quality) flat response monitors and some type of amp simulation/ Cabinet IR's to feel that joy...drum/bass tracks can go directly into the interface, and it is pretty simple to polish up any BS in the mixing stage.

Silent recording implies the use of headphones. If that is the case, get yourself some good ones.

That said...Vocals seem to be the most interesting challenge for me at this point.

I have spent my working career setting up and qualifying high tech analytical instruments for the chemical industry... All of that is child's play compared to recording...but it is a hell of alot of fun trying to figure it out
This sounds good I’ll look into the Strymon Iridium but you later state that “ some type of amp simulation/ Cabinet IR's to feel that joy”. If the Strymon is an amp sym why do you say I also need amp sym? It seems like redundancy to me.
 

dmac in SC

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This sounds good I’ll look into the Strymon Iridium but you later state that “ some type of amp simulation/ Cabinet IR's to feel that joy”. If the Strymon is an amp sym why do you say I also need amp sym? It seems like redundancy to me.
I made myself unclear. The iridium is the amp/cabinet IR simulator. Going straight into the interface with guitar is a crap shoot as far as what you hear vs what you record.
 

guitardon

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I made myself unclear. The iridium is the amp/cabinet IR simulator. Going straight into the interface with guitar is a crap shoot as far as what you hear vs what you record.
More confusion, first you say iridium is the cabinet simulator then you say going straight into the interface is a crapshoot. Well then why would I buy the iridium if it’s a crapshoot? It may just be my misinterpretation of what you said. Thanks in advance
 

guitardon

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More confusion, first you say iridium is the cabinet simulator then you say going straight into the interface is a crapshoot. Well then why would I buy the iridium if it’s a crapshoot? It may just be my misinterpretation of what you said. Thanks in advance
Also I’m reading that some people are buying the a radium and getting rid of their amps. Is an actually powerful enough on its own or are they talking about plugging into the PA system which is powering it? I guess what I’m asking is do you still need an amplifier if you don’t wanna go into a PA system. I never like that because I can’t control the monitors and here myself. Or when I take my music Ant-man and for example and plug into the radium with the guitar in the radium into the app? I’m asking this just for reference because I really don’t plan on taking it out of the house, I’m really looking for a recording interface.
 

CerebralGasket

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I’ll give this a try but I would prefer an external device. What you suggest seem hit or miss and more of a hassle to set up. But I will try it. In my situation I can’t have the amp close enough to connect to my studio gear. Question, am I supposed to use all 4 input options or just option 1. I didn’t think the USB interface had so many opinions. I have to get a long usb cable before I can check this out, thanks
Maximum length spec for USB 2.0 cable is around 16 feet.

USB Audio Channels...

Only one Channel / Input can be selected at a time per track.
Multiple tracks can be created with different Inputs.
I discovered this with my Blackstar HT 40 MkII.
The user manual explains the USB Channels.
Katana amps have the same implementation.
But is not documented in the manual.
Roland probably has same implementation.
Seems to be an industry standard.

Cabinet simulation done with either external box or with plugin from DAW both use software. The only advantage of using an external box is that it has its own processor to handle the software. Recent computers are more than powerful enough to handle plugins.

The Apogee Quartet is your external input device for silent recording.
It's an audio interface.
It doesn't have cab sims.
Cab sims are software.
Whether as plugins in a DAW.
Or from an external box such as a modeler or profiler.

Since you have extra distance between your studio gear and amp, instead of USB, another option is a Balanced TRS cable from the Line Out of the Roland connected to an input on the Apogee and then use cab sim plugins in the DAW for silent recording.

With silent recording, I started out with GarageBand and an Apogee Duet and was using plugins for amp and cab sims. Later on as I learned more, I switched from GarageBand to Logic Pro. Replaced the amp sim with a Vox ToneLab LE, but used the cab sim plugin in Logic Pro. Then I got a Line 6 Pod Pro HD rack and later on a Kemper Profiler rack. Both of those devices provided amp and cab sims instead of plugins.

Now I have simplified things and have a Blackstar HT 40 MkII.

What I like about that setup is that it is loud enough to play live and then be able to use for silent practice and recording. It is completely hassle-free. A USB cable is all I need for silent recording. I use the tube preamp audio sent through the amp's built-in USB audio interface with it's own cab simulation. I have the option to use the amp's cab sim or use any cab sim plugin of my choice in the DAW.
 
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guitardon

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Maximum length spec for USB 2.0 cable is around 16 feet.

USB Audio Channels...
Only one Channel / Input can be selected at a time per track.
Multiple tracks can be created with different Inputs.
I discovered this with my Blackstar HT 40 MkII.
The user manual explains the different USB Channels.
The Katana amps have the same implementation, but is not documented in the manual.
I would wager that the Roland has the same implementation as well.
Seems to be an industry standard.

Cabinet simulation done with either external box or with plugin from DAW both use software. The only advantage of using an external box is that it has its own processor to handle the software. Most recent computers are more than powerful enough to handle plugins.

Since you have extra distance between your studio gear and amp, instead of USB, you could use a Balanced TRS cable from the Line Out of the Roland connected to an input on the Apogee and then use cab sim plugins in the DAW for silent recording.

The Apogee is your external input device for silent recording.
It's an audio interface.
It just doesn't have cab sims.

Even if you were to get an OX, it is not an audio interface and you would need to connect it to one such as the Apogee.
Interesting. I don’t think the line out mutes the amp speaker, I’ll have to check that out to be sure.
 

dmac in SC

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Also I’m reading that some people are buying the a radium and getting rid of their amps. Is an actually powerful enough on its own or are they talking about plugging into the PA system which is powering it? I guess what I’m asking is do you still need an amplifier if you don’t wanna go into a PA system. I never like that because I can’t control the monitors and here myself. Or when I take my music Ant-man and for example and plug into the radium with the guitar in the radium into the app? I’m asking this just for reference because I really don’t plan on taking it out of the house, I’m really looking for a recording interface.

I'll try once more..the iridium is an amp simulator (it only has three) and cabinet impulse response simulator (you can put in dozens.) It works with flat response (PA) speaker systems, not amps. It is much cheaper than a helix or kemper, but can give you similar and sometimes better results.

You run your guitar through your normal pedal train through the Iridium into the interface, or straight into the board, and listen through monitors, or headphones. What you hear is what you get on the recording.

If you have to use your amps, I would suggest mic'ing. Or you can ABY the signal into the amp and recording interface, but what you will hear out of the amp will not be close to the tones you are recording.....and you'll spend all day turning knobs and trying over.
 

CerebralGasket

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Interesting. I don’t think the line out mutes the amp speaker, I’ll have to check that out to be sure.
Turn the Master Volume all the way down.
Line Out should be a constant Line Level.
Speaker will still be connected, but silent as a load for the amp.
Use the Apogee Volume Control for monitoring through headphones.
 

LP1865

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Personally, OP I would invest in a Torpedo Captor. Its super cheap, has cab emulations built in and acts as an attenuator.
You can disable the emulation and also use your own IRs
 

CerebralGasket

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You have to keep in mind that silent recording through headphones is never going to sound as good as a tube amp cranked through a cabinet loaded with 12" speakers moving some air.
 

guitardon

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You have to keep in mind that silent recording through headphones is never going to sound as good as a tube amp cranked through a cabinet loaded with 12" speakers moving some air.
I figured as much but need to go with silent recording. I don’t have a good recording space. I like to be discreet with summer coming and open windows. So I will buy what works best for my situation. Thanks for your input.
 


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