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  • Writer's pictureLazarus Crow

Choices, choices, choices…Direct (Plugins) or Amp

You're recording your guitar. If you’re like me, you have a small studio with limited space to “crank it up!”

So, next comes the question: Direct (plug-in) or amp?

For the most part, I’ve been using plug-ins. There are so many to choose from!

The plug-ins I have and use are:

1. Studio Devil – It has a slew of presets and is an all-in-one package with gain, mid, treble, drive, graphic and parametric eq, compressor, chorus, flanger, tremelo, echo, reverb, noise gate and master volume, all in a single interface. Whew, that was a mouthful.

2. Amplitube from IK Multimedia. This one comes with choices for pedals, amp heads, combo amps, speaker cabs, speaker type, mics and room. There’s also a selection of digital effects.

Not done yet!

3. Guitar Rig, a Native Instruments plugin. You can either choose from individual components or presets. Once again the components section covers a gamut of effects and modulation while the preset section offers choices of fx type, character, amp, genres and artist presets covering clean to distortion and everything in between.

I should mention that my DAW is Digital Performer, which has over 60 bells and whistles for affecting audio.

On the amp side of things, I’ve used my Peavy Classic 30 for live and recording in larger rooms. It’s close to 20 years old and still packs a punch.

Then I have a Musicman 50 watt which is about 40 years old. And, rounding things out, I have a small Peavey Rage 158 (15 watts/ 8 inch speaker),

which I keep under my recording desk. I have that one mic’d with an SM57. Surprisingly, that little amp sounds great.

So, choices, choices, choices. It really is enough to make your head spin! I play around with the plug-ins to see which one (or ones) I like best--that even includes splitting the signal from the guitar; one direct and the other through the Peavey.

The best of both worlds…

Lazarus Crow, out

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