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Author Topic: Software vs hardware effects  (Read 1345 times)

htrain

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Software vs hardware effects
« on: August 29, 2015, 12:16:08 PM »
Learning the new GarageBand has been a struggle - especially with the effects that I eventually found. I've also struggled with pedals (HarpTone, Harp Delay, and Harp Attack) into my amps and then mixing the amp into the computer for recording. I've been impressed with the quality of tone and effects that many on this forum get with their pedal set up as well as those who use software effects. I find it relatively easy to use the software because I can hear the difference as I apply the effect whereas there's lots of back and forth adjustments to set up the sound I want before I finally record.

I'm very curious as to what others on this website use and think.

ShufflinPaul

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Re: Software vs hardware effects
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2015, 09:56:29 PM »
Htrain,

I am using 4 pedals and playing through my Hughes & Kettner tube amp . I use the Lone Wolf Harp Attack, Harp Delay, Harp Tone +, and the Harp Shield. The Harp Shield is an awesome pedal that eliminates and fights feedback if I am at a gig. For recording I mic my amp and run it through a USB Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface right into my PC recording software. I am use Reaper software. I was running the pedals right into the Scarlett 2i2 interface but I was not get a clean crisp sound. Like you I have problems with the complexity of the recording software. I still have not figured out the effects part on the software. One of the guys in our band suggested that I should mic the amp for better sound and I just started doing that 2 weeks ago. I really like the results of miking the amp. I was going to purchase a Shure 57 but when I called Sweetwater Sound the engineer suggested that I should try the Blue encore 100i and stated that encore came out with this mic and it is equal if not better then the 57. They had a buy one and get one free. I gave one to the guy in the band to let me know what he thinks (I certainly am not an expert on these things) and he loved it and bought the 2nd one from me. Anyway right now I am just playing through the pedals and miking the amp. I use the reverb on the amp and that is it. You have the same pedals that I have and I suggest that you start messing with the setting like I have to find sounds that you like.

Paul Gilara  (ShufflinPaul)

The Blues ainít nothing but a good man feeling bad.

Matt

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Re: Software vs hardware effects
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2015, 11:01:31 PM »
I use very little effects. I use the amp's native spring reverb, it's a pretty big tank and is very present without being too 'wet'. I set the level of the reverb to less than 1 usually, unless playing out doors where I might tap it up to 2 or 3. Not much effect, just enough to allow the note to hang in the air.

Sometimes I use a Boss Digital delay, but I'm going for the same thing as my reverb: make the note hang in the air a little bit, just a bit. That's my personal choice, I know it isn't everybody's. I prefer spring reverb to delay, but have found that when I use the Boss Delay pedal in the effects loop of the amp I can actually get a pretty good approximation of my reverb sound and it is a bit fuller. Still messing around with that at the moment.

I use the Kinder Anti Feedback Pedal, but not always when I record.
I use a Harp Tone+ all the time, also when I record and upload here. I have it set with bass a little more than half way (remember this pedal is already boosting the low end by 20db) and I roll the treble off to just below half way. After the amp has been played for an hour or so I find I need to up the treble a little bit, maybe 15-20%.

That's it for my default harp sound.
I might use a little bit of chorus on a recording (can't remember doing so, though) or certainly a touch of compression to shave the most extreme peaks and valleys.
I have many other effects but rarely or never use them.

Most of my uploads here have been recorded on good old Audacity software (free). I have even plugged my mic straight into the sound card and recorded that way (not recommended). I have used by Zoom guitar multi effects unit with the harp mic. The Zoom is a USB hardware interface designed to talk to the computer, so this option is an improvement on plugging in 'raw'. It has little or no latency which is a good thing, but doesn't sound as good as recording a mic'd amp. I plug headphones into the Zoom to hear the playback as I'm recording. Only by listening to the playback via the Zoom is the latency issue avoided. If you rely on the PC sound card for the playback it is out of sync with the Zoom input.

I'll mic my amp with two different mics these days, and set them at different distances from the amp (one against the grille cloth and aiming hafway between the speaker centre and the speaker edge). Sometimes I mic the room with a condensor (AKG Perception 120) I run the mics to a Boss digital recording studio (BR1200) and then mix the two signals into a stereo track.  The backing track is loaded into the BR1200 as a wav file (mp3 converted to WAV with Audacity), and I can play along and record, edit, punch in and out etc.

Before I got motivated to fire up the BR1200 I would just mic the amp near a speaker cone (as mentioned above) and run that to the sound card. The only real issue here was latency; the recorded track is not perfectly in sync with the backing track. This is one of the reasons why people use hardware audio interfaces - to eliminate latency. I always had to correct for the latency in Audacity and I didn't always do a good job of it. Life is simpler now that set up the good gear.

I pay attention to how loud the harp is in context with the backing track. I've made the harp too loud in many of my uploads, I realise now. I usually only do one or two takes, it's a real throw-away sort of thing for me like a proper jam - but really there's no reason why one could spend a lot of time on the recording and playing and produce something to be truly proud of. Getting to know what your software can do is good advice. It gives you confidence and saves you time.

Beelzebob

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Re: Software vs hardware effects
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2015, 04:53:59 AM »
I only use free amp sims, usually Amplitube Free.  I fiddle around and make presets.  Every time I post, I try something a little different.  With blues I almost always use the amp sim's equalizer to "harp tune" the amp model.  I use Randy Landry's (Lone Wolf) suggestions for which frequencies to increase or decrease.  Then just a little bit of reverb/delay goes a long way, just like Matt says.  Often 1 on the amp dial.  In my DAW I often use a compressor on the harp track, lately it's been a Neve clone.  Every BT and ST I make gets a limiter on the master bus.  Melda makes a half decent free one.  They call em limiters but they increase loudness.  They also prevent clipping, but still, name seems odd.

I've been playing chromatic lately, for that I don't use an amp sim anymore per Ed's advice.  I just use compression (maybe) and reverb.

htrain

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Re: Software vs hardware effects
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2015, 01:14:17 PM »
Big time thanks to all of you for the responses. It gives me a lot to think about and work with. I'm getting more comfortable and happier with the software effects set up and that is certainly making a difference. I contacted Frosty to ask about his set up and took his advice before uploading my last post (Midnight City Hwy). I've also added an equalizer to play with (a band EQ rather than the Parametric EQ that the software uses) and that is giving me more control - still playing around with it though. I'll have to mess around with reverb, limiter and compressor because I have tended to just use the EQ and echo without an understanding of those other effects.

Again, big thanks to you for the info!!