"I've tried using amp sims but they just don't sound like the real thing."
Is this you? Do you feel like amp sims are great for writing, but you'd always choose a "real" amp for your actual record? If only you had access to a couple of great guitar amps, cabs and mics... If only recording these real amps was as quick and convenient as recording a DI into plugin... If only amp sims would sound as good as the real thing...
Good news: They do! Not the same, but just as good.
As always, it's not about the gear you use, it's about the sound in your head, your vision, your creativity. And there are always multiple different ways and different tools to get there.
When it comes to guitar tone, modern amp sims (virtual guitar amp plugins or Kemper profiles) can definitely get you there. That being said, we can see why you are feeling like they're lacking. There are reasons many people seem to love analog gear (and specifically analog guitar amps) more than their digital counterparts. But luckily, there are ways to make them work just as well as the classic amps we all love.
In this episode we're discussing what it actually is that makes an amp sound great and "real", then we're talking about if, where and why amp sims might be lacking and finally, we're giving actionable advice on how to make them work on a professional, exciting record.
Don't let your lack of gear hold you back!
Things Mentioned In The Episode:
Some Of Our Amp Sim Recommendations:
Some DI Box Recommendations:
Countryman Type 85, Radial JDI , Radial J48, Palmer PAN 02, Little Labs Redeye
#5: The 5 Key Ingredients Of A Great Guitar Tone
#18: How DI Tracks Can Save Your Guitar Recordings
TSRB Podcast 032 - How To Make Amp Sims And Kemper Profiles Work
[00:00:00] Benedikt: [00:00:00] We need to figure out what a real quote unquote real amp actually sounds like or what the typical characteristics of a real amp are and then how to get these characteristic or how to get the Sims. If they are lacking to sound like a relapse, this is the self recording band podcast. The show where we help you make exciting records on your own, wherever you are, DIY stuff.
Hello and welcome to. The self recording band podcast. I am your host Ben at the time, and I'm here with my friend and cohost, Malcolm and flood. How are you, Malcolm?
Malcom: [00:00:36] Hello? I'm great. Thank you. I am, uh, currently on beautiful Vancouver Island, but, uh, there is smoke everywhere. There's like forest fires going down in the States real close by and a couple on the Island.
And it's just like, it looks like a foggy November day.
Benedikt: [00:00:52] Yeah. Like we were talking about that. I can hardly imagine how that is because I've never experienced something like that. Thankfully,
[00:01:00] Malcom: [00:01:00] it's so weird. Like, it'll be the middle of the day, but it's still just looks like there's. It's just great everywhere.
You can't see anything. And the sun is like red and it's like the end of the world.
Benedikt: [00:01:12] Are there warnings to stay inside if it's getting too bad or stuff? Yeah.
Malcom: [00:01:17] Yeah. Like actually this is a pretty bad one. The air quality is, is terrible. Um, some of the worst that it's ever been in my life anyways, so yeah.
Benedikt: [00:01:29] how just for, for people and for myself so that we can understand this. How far away from the actual crazy fires are you
Malcom: [00:01:36] really far? I mean, I don't know. Let's see forest fires map. I'm sure. I'll find something. Current wildfire activity. Interactive map. Here we go. Thank God for the internet. I mean, there's, there's some on the Island that are really close.
Um, Yeah, like an hour drive if even that, uh, but [00:02:00] this doesn't show the ones in the States, so I didn't find a good map. Um, so I'm not really actually sure where the fire is happening in the States. Other than that, it's. Kind of a lot of places I think, cause the fire is pretty out of control down there,
Benedikt: [00:02:13] but it's at least a couple of hours then.
Malcom: [00:02:15] Oh yeah. Yeah. Easy. Um, yeah, the, the fire, the spoken travel really, really far,
Benedikt: [00:02:21] but it's like the fact alone that it's like hours away and it's still like really affecting the air quality where you are kind of crazy. So
Malcom: [00:02:29] yeah, it is very, very crazy.
Benedikt: [00:02:31] Yeah. I mean, but there's like a water gap between you and the.
The States, right. So
Malcom: [00:02:37] yes, we're, we're saying in that regard tastefully. Oh shit. Okay. Yeah. I found a little map and Oh yeah. Wow. It is not good down there. Holy cow. Alright. Sending out good vibes to the Washington. Yeah, totally get that control
Benedikt: [00:02:58] Washington, California, [00:03:00] Oregon also affect it. Yeah.
Malcom: [00:03:03] Yeah. It's like the whole Western side of the U S is on fire.
It looks like on this map anyways. Holy cow. If you're listening from there sending you our best wishes. Yeah,
Benedikt: [00:03:13] totally, totally. Well, yeah, there's nothing we can, we can do other than that, unfortunately. Um, it's like, yeah, it's kinda crazy too for us Europeans, especially because we don't have things like that often, if at all, and like, it seems like something I can't even imagine.
So. Yeah. Uh, anyway, um, other than that, I hope you you're feeling great. You had a, you had a great weekend.
Malcom: [00:03:35] Yep. Yeah. Things are good. We're going to be doing a whole bunch of mixed in this week, so I'm stoked.
Benedikt: [00:03:41] That's awesome. Um, yeah, I mean today's episode is a thing that we are, um, that where like, we, we are answering again a pretty common popular question that I got a couple of times, like during the last weeks or months.
So people have been [00:04:00] emailing about this and I'm mentioning it, I think also in the community, in the Facebook community. Uh, and that is. They want to know how to make amp Sims or stuff like the kemper or Axe FX sound more real or feel more real, like a real amp. So it seems like people really struggle with this, or they feel like that amp sims sound flat or like two dimensional compared to a real amp, but they want to know what to do.
Uh, about this. And, uh, since this is, uh, seems to be such a popular topic, uh, and I have, like, I put some thought into it and, and we we've been talking about this before the episode, and we came up with a couple of things to help you, um, with the problem, if you have that. And because we think there are some, there could be some reasons for that, uh, that are pretty easy.
To tackle and, um, yeah, that's what we're going to talk about. Make your amp sims sound more real, feel more real so that you don't feel like you're using an artificial amp.
Malcom: [00:04:58] Uh, the, it [00:05:00] shouldn't be that way. They're amp Sims at modelers, like, like the camper or acts vacs and stuff like that. Um, they are more than capable of doing a very professional job.
And if, if you don't think that's true, You are mistaken. Totally. They they've been prevalent and, and being used on tons of his songs for a long time now. Um, Yeah. Like it's not even a question. If they are up to the task anymore, they, they just told the are. So if you're not getting those results, that's something we need to figure out what you're doing wrong.
Benedikt: [00:05:38] Totally. And that's why it's so hard for me to describe the episode or to come up with a title, even because we don't want to imply that amp sims are not as good or not as real sounding because they are, um, it's most likely it's the way you're using it. That's causing the problem and not the amp sim or the kemper itself.
And that's why it's kind of hard to find a good title for this, but [00:06:00] I can see that there is a problem. Um, and I, I totally believe that there's an issue if people are emailing about that. So you can't argue with how people feel about using those, those things. And, um, so that's why we decided to do that.
And yeah. I think too, to be able to really do this and to find the issue and solve it, we need to figure out why you are feeling, um, that way or why , why people think that amp sims sound digital or not real. We need to figure out what a real quote unquote, real amp actually sounds like or what the typical characteristics of a real amp are, and then how to get these characteristics or how to get the Sims.
If they're lacking. Um, to sound like a real lamp. So it's a step by step process again, in this episode. And, um, yeah, let's jump in. So, alright, Malcolm, what's your, um, thoughts on this? Why do you think that people still believe that amp Sims are not a professional thing to use or does don't sound as good as real [00:07:00] amps?
Malcom: [00:07:00] Okay. I do have a theory on this and I think it all comes down to what they're hearing when they try them out because you plug into an amp sim and you're hearing it out of whatever your studio monitoring setup is. And if that's not. Super awesome. You just got some cheap laptop speakers or something like that.
You know, it's not going to sound very impressive to you, but you know what you're hearing, isn't going to sound very impressive. But if you plug in the Marshall stack, sitting beside your desk and have like a hundred lots of speakers blasting ya, it's going to, you're going to perceive that to sound way better, right?
Benedikt: [00:07:36] Totally. Yeah, go ahead. But
Malcom: [00:07:39] what you're hearing for the amp sim in that situation, you know, if you're listening to it, of your, your laptop speakers or whatever, isn't what that sounds like. It's just what you're hearing, you know, that's your monitoring setup that is flawed in that case. Um, so I, I don't think sometimes that they're shot out in a, in a realistic way that actually portrays [00:08:00] what they sound like compared to each other.
Benedikt: [00:08:03] That's a super good point. Um, I haven't even thought about this, but you're totally right. And maybe, or pretty likely it's the, the issue that people have with amp sims might be the same issue when that they have, when they ask, um, the, almost just as popular question of why does my recorded real guitar amp? Why does that not sound like the amp in the room when I'm standing in front of it?
It's like a different question, but basically the same reason. So they have the stack, then they make it up then through it, through their headphones or through their monitors or whatever. And then they feel like it's not the same, like what they heard in the room. So this might be just the same issue. As the one with the amp sims because you're not comparing the feeling you have, you are comparing the feeling you have when you're standing in front of an amp with what comes out of your monitors.
That's very interesting. And you're right. Yeah.
Malcom: [00:08:52] Yeah. So until you make up that amp and compare it through the same medium that you're comparing using to listen to the amp sim [00:09:00] you, you can't really do an accurate. A comparison, right? They have to be back to back through the same, uh, like audible. So making up the amp and then listening to it through those same speakers would be a great way to do that.
Benedikt: [00:09:12] Totally. And by the way, this, usually I say these things at the end of the episode, but this time as this is some, I feel like a very objective, a subjective, um, topic. And I feel like, um, there are different. Opinions, a lot of strong opinions on this because some people swear by amp Sims, others hate them.
We're curious to know how you feel about this. So in case you're not listening to the very end of the episode and miss it, I want to point you to the Facebook community. And I want to say, please join that community and let us know. Uh, how you feel about this and maybe like, let us know if you are struggling with the same thing or if you have found solutions for this.
So if you have a theory on why that is, so just go to the self recording, band.com/community and, uh, yeah. Trying the conversation there and let us know, because this is an interesting topic. And the one that gets that will get even more important, because I feel like more and more people are starting [00:10:00] to use amp Sims.
And then similar things like Canberra Equifax's just because they sound so good. And just because it's just more convenient to use them. And the tools we have now are just different from what we had a couple of years ago. So this is an ongoing, ever evolving topic. And we're curious to hear your thoughts on this.
So join the Facebook community and let us know. Well, I just wanted to say that. Awesome. Yeah. Um, yeah. So there's the problem of comparing the real thing to what comes out of your speakers? That's one thing I feel like also just the fact that it's digital and that you are turning virtual knobs on a plugin, or like at this computer, like there's this futuristic sounding Kemper device or whatever you're using.
I feel that alone. Might add to the impression that it's kind of artificial or fake or not real, just because it is not real, but you know what I mean? So people like turning knobs, it's the same with like analog recording gear. So much of that is just how you feel about using it. If you can actually touch it, or if you have to use your mouse.
And so there's [00:11:00] a bias, I think, towards like analog circuits and knobs. And stuff, right? Yeah. That definitely, definitely I think plays a role here.
Malcom: [00:11:10] Yeah. It's potentially not as fun to use.
Benedikt: [00:11:13] Yeah, exactly. And there are two camps. Some people like that, some people I prefer that they, there are these like computer people or especially the younger people.
I think who've like start out using amp sims. They don't have that problem as much, but as like someone. Who is like really used to their amps, maybe spent a lot of money on their amps and were like, these amps are really valuable to them. They know how they sound. And it's hard to accept that a hundred dollar a plugin can do the same thing as your like vintage Marshall or Mesa or whatever you have.
Right. So it kind of hurts a bit to admit that that may be also,
Malcom: [00:11:48] yeah, I really liked that. You said maybe spent a lot on their amp. I think that that is more than likely. Um, yeah, there's a sunk cost fallacy where you you've invested in it [00:12:00] already. So now you have to use it. Otherwise you feel like you're losing money.
Yeah, but you wasted your money, but either way you already spent the money on the amp. So you're stuck.
Benedikt: [00:12:08] Totally. And I know that feeling as well, even though I know that these amp sims really can sound as good as a real amp. I sometimes, especially at the beginning, I sometimes felt guilty when I was mixing stuff and I had to re-amp stuff.
And that was using a plugin instead of the real amps that I have here in the studio and the real, like the re-amping box that I have and the analog gear and all the nice preempts and mikes and stuff, not using that. And going for a plugin always felt like lazy or. It's almost like I owed it to the client to use the real stuff.
Although I know that the plugin was the better decision in that case, but it felt a little bit weird
Malcom: [00:12:42] cause you, yeah. I mean, you just have to remember that it's all about the results, not the process,
Benedikt: [00:12:47] so yeah, but all that said, I think there are still some flaws and problems that some amps sims have. But there are ways to compensate for that.
And, uh, we want to talk about those [00:13:00] as well. And, uh, I kind of, or we kind of divide this into two camps, so there's the hardware models or like the profiling approach of the Kemper versus the actual amp sims, which are two different things. Um, Malcolm, you have more experience with the Kemper. I use plugins a lot.
So we can talk about this a little. Yeah. Let's start. Do you feel like the Kemper has something if you're capturing a profile of a real amp, because that's what the Kemper does. The Kemper is not an amp sim and that it's an algorithm that tries to be an amp, but it like captures a real scenario and tries to reproduce it accurately.
That's what a kemper does. But do you feel if you're doing like AB comparisons. That there is a big enough difference to be worried about. Or do you feel like this AB comparison even makes sense? Do you even need to do that?
Malcom: [00:13:51] Don't I think it's awesome, man. Like, I I'm just constantly blown away by this. It was easily like the best investment I've ever made in a piece of gear without a doubt.
[00:14:00] I love it way too much. I'm a such a fanboy. Um, so I think it sounds killer. I think the misconception that people. Most commonly half. And that may be I had at the beginning was that it was going to put every amp in the world at my fingertips. And it's, it's not that. So if there's a flaw in the design, I mean, I wouldn't call it a flop because it's not meant to do that, but, uh, that's where it feels like you don't have that power.
So I can't just like grab the. The treble or like the, the cutoff and expect it to sound like of like a Vox AC 30s cutoff, you know, it's not that I don't have all the knobs. Of every amp in front of me, but I do have a capture of that amp in a specific room with a specific mic and a specific like amp chain, essentially kind of thing.
So you have to look at it differently in how you perceive what the tool is. Um, and, and once you are looking at it, as it was intended [00:15:00] as these snapshots of different setups, not an amp in front of you, just snapshots of certain situations with those amps. I think it performs perfectly.
Benedikt: [00:15:12] Yeah, I agree. I agree.
That's really the misconception here. You can't expect to dial in mids on the Kemper and expect it to be what like reaching for the mid to Marshall. Does. Because as we all know, the Marshall EQ doesn't do anything. You can't,
Malcom: [00:15:29] it doesn't matter
Benedikt: [00:15:30] where the Marshall EQ is.
Malcom: [00:15:31] Like it's like
Benedikt: [00:15:32] compared to other amps at least.
But the Kemper is like, it's only Q a that's baked into the device and it's not what the really cue is, but people think. Uh, that was some people think, uh, that this is what it does. So you're right here. I agree.
Malcom: [00:15:50] Right. But it does bring up the good point in that there is a learning how to use your gear and be that a Kemper.
Um, so like, you know, with my Kemper, I've learned how to get the [00:16:00] results. If I want more mids, uh, or the midst of kind of be shaped differently on that profile. I have to find ways to do that. You know? So you do learn how to manipulate the gear in front of you, and I'm sure you know, that it's the same with these amp Sims.
Um, you, you learn ways to get them to do what you expect them to
Benedikt: [00:16:15] do. Yeah. Agreed. Um, that's yeah, the main issues for me with the Kemper, at least from my experience with it I've I used to have one as well twice. Actually. I had one, I sold it. I bought one again and I sold it again, but, um, I liked it. I still liked it.
It's just that I was using more and more plugins and that was better for my workflow and everything, but I still liked it, but I think there are two, or at least to me, there were two flaws or issues that I had with it. Not really floss, but two issues that I had with it. One was. To be able to really match it perfectly or to like have control over the way feels rather than like the sound.
Um, but just the way it feels when you play it. I always had to dive into the menu a bit and dial [00:17:00] in. Um, or it play with the, with the stuff that's not as obvious. So it's not the cue that you see is not just the game, but it's, what's, what's under the hood that you can manipulate with the Kemper. And if you play with that experiment with that and get it, what it actually does, you can get so close or like you can get a perfectly basically.
Um, but I always felt like I had to play around with this and I never really got it entirely. Or I feel like the, for many people that they didn't spend enough time with it. To really get it to the point where it's like perfect the sweet spot. So that's one issue kind of that I had with it. Um, just the way that the workflow is and the menus and that you have to dial in all these things.
And the other thing for me, and I'm curious if you have the same experience. The other thing for me was. I always had to use it with a plugin anyway, because I had to use it with IsS most of the time, because I didn't, I really didn't like the way the cabs sound and the camper. I always felt like no matter the chain, no matter the profile, especially for distorted stuff, there [00:18:00] always was like this layer, this subtle layer of fizz over everything with clean.
So I didn't have that issue. I love the clean somber camper. Absolutely. But with high gain stuff, especially, I felt like there was always this layer of fizz. And, uh, I always had to use. External IRs with it to get that right. I don't know if you have the same issue, but that's what I was constantly running into.
It was the same sound. But with that added like kind of white noise thing on top of it. Right.
Malcom: [00:18:25] So I've been experimenting with IRs from your suggestion actually. And I, I do think it sounds great doing that. Um, but I, I, I haven't really found it to be worth the hassle. Um, and I've got. Kind of two things for that.
I think there is a quality of profile that you use in a Kemper. Um, that's really important, right? Uh, and I are like improving the IR on a bad one. Makes a huge difference. It's ridiculous. But uh, some of them are, are just great captures and, and you'll, you're going to be fine either way. And then the other thing is that I just don't do that much super high gain guitar tones.
[00:19:00] So I don't think I'm running into that problem as much, you know, I'm, I'm primarily in rock, which is cleaner than you'd think. Um, for as far as guitar tones go and, and it hasn't really been a problem, but that I, our trick is totally worth. Using, um, and knowing how to do as well.
Benedikt: [00:19:17] Yeah. I think it might be a high gain issue really, but that's what I always had with the Kemper.
And it was kind of frustrating because I wish it would just give me the tone out of the box, ready to go. And I always had to run into a plugin or some IR loader or anything like that. Um, yeah, so that's, that was basically it. And, um, I don't know. And then there is something that hasn't been soft for me quite yet.
Um, I was discussing this with a couple of people and I have, I got totally different opinions on this and that is the DI quality of the Kemper. Like if you record, if you split the signal and you record the processed signal off the Kemper and you also record the clean DI in case you want to ramp later, Yep.
I'm in, like, there are two camps, basically [00:20:00] I'm on, uh, in the camp like that. Doesn't like the, how the Kemper DI sounds. But there are people who say it's totally fine and they love how it sounds. I always felt that the DI out of the Kemper, even if you like patch it, that it's like just the, the through, without any processing didn't sound like the DI.
It was always, it sounded a little processed. It sounded a little weird. I just didn't like the way the DI sounded. I dunno. That's
Malcom: [00:20:24] yeah. I run a DI in front of the
Benedikt: [00:20:27] Kemper. Um,
Malcom: [00:20:28] yeah, I mean, like, it's fine. It'll, it'll capture a DI, but, uh, the, I, I have a radial active DI that kicks his ass for sure. So I use that in front of it for
Benedikt: [00:20:39] sure.
Every time. Right.
Malcom: [00:20:40] Um, yeah, definitely with you on that. I. Yeah, for sure. I did want to add that. I, I could be wrong on this, but I think they've built in an IR loader into the Kempers app now. Um, Oh, and this is probably new for you as well, but there is a computer app for Kemper now. Like [00:21:00] you run your Kemper from the computer, not the amp.
If you want to,
Benedikt: [00:21:04] but you, but not like a plugin, you still need the Kemper, you just control it from the computer.
Malcom: [00:21:08] Oh yes. Yeah. It's just a controller, but I believe they've built in an IR loader. I haven't actually downloaded it yet, so I can't really verify that, but awesome.
Benedikt: [00:21:16] I'm just, I'm just saying all these things, because that's a totally different topic actually, but I'm just saying these things because I, because I want to get to the core, like the issues that could be behind all this.
And so we have. The fizz thing, because we were going to talk about that later. That's also an issue with the, some of the amp sim plugins. Then we have the DI quality, which also always plays a role. Like if you are. Maybe it's not the Kepmer that's wrong, but maybe you are recording the clean DI through the Kemper and then you re-amping later and then it maybe is a little wrong or weird.
So the DI quality is very important. The IR is super-important, this fizz problem is a problem with many amp sims. So I just want to get to those, to those issues and then find ways [00:22:00] to, to compensate for those. Yeah, I think, I mean that's yeah,
Malcom: [00:22:04] well, that's great because I don't really use amp sims and, and kind of for similar reasons, like, uh, like I find that there's a fizz problem often in the ones that I've tried, um, especially on the high gain stuff.
And then it's the, getting it to feel like an amp, right. Um, like where I don't find that I've managed to make it respond like an amp, like I want it to, so we're kind of coming at it from the same. Issues, but we use different solutions and different products to get there. So this is perfect. We're going to kind of both learn.
Yeah. We can overcome those.
Benedikt: [00:22:36] Absolutely. So yeah, we need to find out what makes an amp sound real and we need to find out what issues there are potential issues. There are with amp sims. Uh, the potential issues are, as we said, the fizz, it could be in front of the episode, the problems, the like the, the DI. Uh, it could be the IR because the, the cab or the IR are just so important, even more important than, than, than the amp sometimes.
And then, um, [00:23:00] yeah, w like there is one thing that is, at least to me, that plays a big role in how an amp feels or how, like, if an amp feels real, and that is the sense of. Air being moved. That's what I always call it. Like the sensation of like the speakers are moving and like the guitar jumps out of the speakers.
This is what, what I would call a three dimensional sound versus this flat sound. That could be perfect. Like from the frequency, if you're talking about frequency response could be perfect. The dynamics could be perfect. So if you hit, um, The string softly, or if you hit them hard, you have differences in like distortion, even that could be perfect, but still it could sound kind of two, two dimensional.
If you don't get that oomph, this like the speaker movement, you know, and, uh, that could be part of the problem. I think that's part of what we perceive as a real amp. It was like what a real amp does. Um, [00:24:00] and there are ways to compensate for that. So, What do you do? If you have like small monitors or headphones, the typical recording scenario at home, and you don't get that sensation, you just don't feel like you have this loud amp in front of you.
What do you do to make that happen? Hmm. Yeah.
Malcom: [00:24:21] I mean, this is going to be a better question for you to answer because yeah. I mean, I guess I don't really have that problem. Okay. We need to do to you. We both have amazing studio monitors.
Benedikt: [00:24:32] Yeah. Yeah. But I feel like still to me with, um, for people to make it more enjoyable or to get the sensation of a real amp, I think they should try.
Um, and that goes against what many people will tell you. But I, I believe in this, I think you should try. Playing around with an EQ after the amp simm and just, and it could be just in your listening chain. So maybe could [00:25:00] be just a plugin on your channel that you disabled later, but just while you play. So to make it more fun, to make it feel more real, you could just find the spot and the low end where, um, yeah, we have, we are, you have this full body and speaker movement and this oomph that happens when you do Paul mutes and stuff.
It can't be too much in the mix later. So don't worry about that right now. But if you just find that spot where you get that, where the guitar jumps at you and you do that, um, and just boost that a little while you play and like increase the volume also a bit. And maybe have like the frequency response, a little weird, not what you want to have later in the mix, but just while you play, I feel like that is more fun.
And I feel like that feels more like what you have when you stand in front of it, actual amp. And I sometimes do that when someone's next to me and they say they just don't feel it. And they want to. Like they say they don't hear that guitar, but it's actually pretty loud, but still they somehow just don't feel it.
I sometimes think that I just crank 180 or 200 or something like this, just on the listening [00:26:00] side. And all of a sudden, all of a sudden it feels right more fat and real to them.
Malcom: [00:26:05] That's great because that, that really highlights one of the main primary, massive advantages of amp Sims. And it's that you can do that and it's not changing what you record at all.
You can just then turn down that base after the fact after they've recorded and you can do whatever you want to it it's, it hasn't been recorded that way. So huge advantage to amp Sims right there, because if you do that on a marshal, it's going to actually track that way. And you'd have to then re-amp to eliminate that.
Um, so. Way more time consuming. Definitely dig that. Now, were you talking to, I guess you were talking about yeah. Turning it up, like the bass on the amp sim or, but what about the positioning in the room? Um, because you could also find some spots. Especially if you're not running the computer where it actually sounds basically are in the room and just tip on that head to the back wall, it'll probably be right
[00:27:00] Benedikt: [00:26:59] against it.
Absolutely. Absolutely. I have this, like this couch behind me, the sofa behind me. And, uh, when you sit there. It's really, you have this crazy low end that I wouldn't want to hear when I'm mixing or judging like sounds, but it sounds impressive. And so, uh, I always tell people like, go back there, sit there and play there because a, um, it's a wise thing to do anyways, to move away from the computer screen at the monitors and the computer, because you'll get less interference, less noise issues.
Um, and B you have exactly what you just described. You have a spot in the room with this. This is exaggerated big, low end, and it's immediately more fun to play. Uh, if you're sitting there, um, you can also combine that with headphones. You can like have headphones on, so you really hear all the details.
But still have the monitors in the room really loud to just get the feeling like the low end and yeah. What it all comes down to is you just have to create an environment and a monitoring situation that is as close [00:28:00] as possible to what you're used to. When you're standing in front of an amp, that's basically what we're talking about.
And usually that's more low end than what it's going to end up being on the record. That's one thing it's, it has to do with volume. Um, and you just gotta make it fun. I think that's really it. I that's that's that's half the battle, actually, if it's fun to play, if it's loud, if it's fat, if it's, if it has low end, you immediately feel better compared to tiny speakers, low volume, less low end.
Yes. Just not as fun.
Malcom: [00:28:29] Now, this is actually at the bottom of our list because I wrote it at right before we started, but I think it should be discussed now. And it's the idea that the guitar tone isn't just made up from the guitar it's made up from all the other instruments in the mix as well. So drums and bass in particular, add a lot to what we perceive as the guitar sound, especially the bass guitar without a bass guitar and a good bass guitar.
Your, your guitar sounds pretty wimpy. So if you're not used to hearing what that actually sounds like you might [00:29:00] kind of feel like your amp sim is just like weak, right. But maybe it's fine. It just doesn't have a big bass guitar backing it up. Right. So there's a little bit of experience that goes into it.
Just knowing what an isolated guitar sound might sound like. Um, But I think this kind of ties into what you're saying right now, Benny, in that if you're recording guitar before bass, which Benny recommends, um, and you don't have that base to like, feel good, you have to compensate on the amp sim and you have to crank up that low end to make things just sound overly big.
Right. And it's going to help with your perception there.
Benedikt: [00:29:37] Totally. That could be part of that could be part of the problem. Actually, if you're tracking without a base. Sometimes I do like a bass scratch track or a program base to do not run into that issue. But it's true. If you're tracking without the bass track, just two drums, it could sound weaker than it actually isn't the final production.
Yeah. That could be part of the problem. Totally. Definitely. Um, other than that, sometimes [00:30:00] these amp sims really have that issue. It's just, oftentimes it's just the, it's a matter of the, the monitoring and the listening chain, but some, some amp sims really sound a little, two dimensional or flat. It can be the case.
And if that's the case also this little subtle, so, and boosts that you can do it, can't be done in mixing. It can be done if you commit to it doing tracking, but just finding the spot in the frequency spectrum where like the speaker movement really is. Um, and increasing that, let's just a little bit boosting that a little bit can make something that sounds a little flat sound, more exciting and more three dimensional.
So I found that in the past quite often, not as often, uh, I've done it more often than with real amps, to be honest. So I think there might be an issue with some amp sims here that I just feel, it sounds somewhat flat, and I want to add this sensation of air being moved. So. If that's an issue with, with what you're using, just a subtle boost, like two D two DB or something at around 200, 150 something that would, depending on the tuning and everything, [00:31:00] but that can really make the guitars chump out a little more, especially during Palm Palm Utes.
Um, so that's one trick that I, I really use quite a bit actually. Um, I sometimes cut above that to not make it boxy or. Um, muddy, but let just a tiny narrow boost around this. This area really helps it a lot. Yeah. It helps a lot for me. So
Malcom: [00:31:21] yeah, I like that idea a lot.
Benedikt: [00:31:22] Okay. Um, another common issue is the fizz.
We've already talked about this, um, that this could be a problem. I don't know technically why that happens, but it is a problem. And. What it ultimately comes down to is what I've already said. In another episode that the cab is so important, same with real amps. It was like analog amps and cabs. The cab is super important and IR, it's just a virtual cab, or sometimes it's not an IR.
Sometimes it's just the filter curve or some speakers simulation built into an amp sim. Um, and depending on what those sound like and what those look like, uh, it could be, it could be a little weird. It could not be what a, what an actual, real. [00:32:00] Cab does. And what the air does that the sound needs to travel through before it hits the microphone and all that stuff.
So it could be an additional layer of a fizz there of high end that that would be filtered in a real life scenario. So, yeah, that is, that is an issue with, with some sims. Now, the problem is what many people do is they use a high cut or a low pass and just filter the top end until it's not fizzy anymore.
I don't like that at all. Most of the time, at least, because that always sounds kind of filtered for me. There's this weird resonance then around where the filter is. And then also, I don't know, it feels kind of dull. I like the open sound of not using a low pass filter. So I sometimes if I can't use another IR or if it's just, if I can't solve the problem that way, I just notch out those high, um, his C fizzy frequencies, but, but usually.
Usually I try to find an IR that just works because there are some that work and I am, [00:33:00] I'm a, this the point that I'm trying to get cross here is just play around with the IRs. If you have an amp sim that lets you turn off the speaker simulation, just try that. Get a third party. IR loader, there are free ones that are great.
Uh, get a bunch of IRs. They are cheap. There are free ones as well, and just play around with them, those and see what a difference those make, because it's a really, really big difference. And your fist problems might be gone. Sometimes it's just the built in cabs that do this. The amp might sound great, but it's just the cabs.
I felt the story before that I've worked with a band who used the almost 20 year old pod software, like the line six pod thing. And I was thought, this is just a terrible amp sim. But when you use that with. Great IRs, even that old thing can real can sound really, really cool. So, yeah. Yeah.
Malcom: [00:33:46] Yeah. I think that's been one of the biggest kind of leaps in, in amp sims is been the like realization of how, how much of good IR changes things, um, that, that fits used to be more of an issue than it [00:34:00] is now.
I think as well with modern amp Sims, like amp Sims have. More than doubled in their quality in the last 10 years. Um, they're, they're so much further and I'm, I'm really wanting to grab a couple of the newer ones that have come out because I'm seeing the results in, in songs I'm hearing, um, that I just can't believe that they recorded that without.
Without any gear, you know, they just went direct into an interface and ran it through that plugin. And it sounds amazing. So, yeah. Um, but I think the, the main thing that you need to just remember is that there's no reason to not solve that fizz. It is solvable. So, uh, in the case of a Kemper, I'm normally just reaching for a different profile.
Until I find something that doesn't have a fizz that's annoying me. That's really like my, my solution there. Um, that end the guitar, the guitar, because the guitar is going to interact with each profile in my case, um, differently. Right. So with, uh, with amp Sims, that might just mean, try it out a couple of different amp sims, or [00:35:00] different amps inside of the SIM, but then the, that almost all of the decent amp Sims these days have IR loaders or like, uh, cab options, I would say at least.
And if you can turn it off great and load up some other ones, there's always a solution.
Benedikt: [00:35:15] Totally. No, what IRs are, by the way, I'm a very quick explanation. IR stands for impulse response and it's a snapshot. It's a capture just like the, the Kemper profile. Basically it's a snapshot, a capture of a cab and a microphone and the recording chain behind it.
So. Uh, you just, if it turned the speaker simulation off on your amp sim, what you're left with is the head without a cab. And it sounds super fizzy. Of course, it doesn't have to filter. It goes all the way up and sounds very weird. And if you put a cab behind that, um, a natural guitar cab has this high end roll-off so it just goes until.
Six seven, eight K, something like that. And then it rolls off pretty steep. Um, and then IR it's just a capture of that. It does the [00:36:00] same thing. You can use a filter curve that's instead of an IR, the, there are various ways to do this, but IRs are not only the filter curves. They are the microphone, the microphone positioning, the preamp that's being used, like the whole chain.
It's just a snapshot of the recording chain, basically. So you can have your amp sim and then you can, um, switch between different cabs and microphone setups, and depending on how well those are done, you have the phase or you don't have it as much. And that's basically it. And it really changes the whole situation changes everything almost.
Malcom: [00:36:35] Yeah. Very important.
Benedikt: [00:36:37] Yeah, exactly. Um, okay. So IRs and fizz, I think the first problem mostly comes down to IRS. So that's why I, for those, like the way that I try to yeah. Answer the first question with the IR answer. Um, another thing is I think what makes a good real amp is how dynamic it is and how it feels when you play it.
So how it reacts to your [00:37:00] playing that's what many people complain about as well with Kempers or amp Sims? They say like, Especially with amp sims, with plugins, they say like, it doesn't react like they're real amp. Right. And I have a theory on this as well, and I believe that it comes down to gain staging.
I believe that many people run a signal into the amp sim that it's just too hot, maybe. So even if they pick lightly, it's just not as clean as they used to from their amps, always distorting. And when they hit harder, it it's still distorts, but it gets maybe a little muddier, but it's not as dynamic. So.
What do you need to understand is when you plug into a real amp, you have the volume on your guitar, and then you have the gain on the amp, the pre-amp, and then you have to master out, maybe depending on the amp that you're using. And that's it. And maybe if pedals in front of it, but you have your real rig.
If you are playing into your interface and using a plugin, you have an additional gain control, and that is the preamp of your interface. And it does matter [00:38:00] where like how you set this. It's not. Um, yeah, it has to be, it has to be right. The gain staging has to be right, because you can use that. You can abuse that just like you can use a booster in front of your amp that will overdrive the amp.
If you use it, you can use your preamp gain. If you crank that you will send a lot of level and the empathy amp will not react the way it would when you pluck the guitar right. In. Um, or you can run a very quiet signal into the amp and it will also sound different and you will find yourself having to crank them more than you used to in the real world.
So you have this additional point of like step this additional, um, yeah. Gain stage that you need to control. And it's super important to remember that and that I feel like that's the issue for many people that, that don't really understand gains, gain staging, and that they don't record a level that simulates the actual.
Guitar level that goes into a real amp.
Malcom: [00:38:56] Yeah, that's huge. I, that could be one of the most important things to [00:39:00] take away from this episode is that the level you send into the amp sim is going to change the guitar tone. Hugely. And people do this with real amps all the time without realizing it, they stick on a boost pedal and they're like, Oh, like that got fat.
And it's like, well, now you're hitting your amp harder. It's distorting more. It's it has less dynamic range. Right. And, uh, that's going to change things. So it's something you may already be doing without realizing it. Um, but. You can do that with amp Sims, especially, um, because of this extra preamp and, and Kempers have to touch on that briefly.
I kind of think that. A Kemper just feels like a different amp. Once you get used to it, you start playing it like it's its own amp. Um, and the, the, the different profiles don't really change how that amps feels that much. But like you kind of alluded to earlier, there are some controls under the hood, like sag and stuff like that, that you can go into and customize to try and get it to respond differently.
Um, but that [00:40:00] that's too much to get into on this episode, just suffice to say, if you have a Kemper, you should totally go digging into that stuff and learn how to use it.
Benedikt: [00:40:06] Yes, totally. And you don't have that control with most amp sims. Um, there are some that give you more control, but most you don't, you cannot control what's under the hood, so you need to get this right.
You need to get the gain staging, right? Yeah. Basically that's basically, it's some amps, the STL tone hub that I'm enjoying very much right now. They have some additional controls that you might be used to from some real amps. So they have the overall resonance control, for example, that it does basically what I said with the low end boost.
If you crank that you get this additional low-end, but it's not like an ACU. It's just this, yeah, this oomph. I don't know how to explain it. This is like this low end that you feel more than you hear it. And the steps that you get, some amps are like, there are some real amps with a depth control. Um, especially the high end, um, like the high end amps do have a depth control or resonance it's called sometimes.
And the [00:41:00] STL Tonehub now plugin has this resonant, this global resonance controlled. And that is super cool. And I find when I don't use that, when that's all turned off to the left, it sounds a little flat. And when I, once I start dialing that in, or sometimes even really cranking it, it gives me the. The realism and the way I want an amp to react.
So yeah, some amps give you some control over this, but it's mostly gain staging. Yeah. But if you have a depth or resonance control, try, try playing with that. It's the opposite of what a or not the opposite, but maybe, you know what I mean? If I explain it that way, the opposite of what a presence knob does, the presence now gives you this, these harmonics and this, this top end without having to dial in highs.
Um, it makes it clearer. Makes it more present. Makes it more open. Um, the same thing in the low end does the resonance knob or the desktop not so, yeah. Right. Alright. So gain staging. Um, that brings us to another issue that I think [00:42:00] people might have. And that is if you are recording, if you're used to recording with an interface and not with a real amp, you might not.
Pay as much attention to what's in front of it, maybe. Um, so cables, um, the quality of the DI itself, because if you plug into an amp, it's just your guitar and then you have to input, but your interface might just change the DI signal. It gets converted and it has to make preamble that the, the, the instrument preamp.
So what you're sending into the amp SIM. Doesn't need to be the exact same thing. It's not necessarily the exact same thing that you would send it to a real amp. So the quality of your DI and the cable you're using and everything before the actual amp sim plays a huge part as well. So yeah. Um,
Malcom: [00:42:46] yeah, you wrote down DI quality and then I wrote down short cable runs, but they're kind of the same thing because that one affects the other.
Um, so I encourage people to use short cables, pretty much the shorter, [00:43:00] the cable, the less signal loss you're going to have. It's going to be a stronger signal and there's a kind of buffers and, and gear you can get to. To improve that. Um, and then the next thing would be to run that into a high quality DI as well, which we've already mentioned at this episode, but the high quality external DI is almost always going to be better than whatever's built into your interface.
I mean, technically you, if you have one, you should shoot up both and see what you think, but you'll probably find that you've got a stronger, a more full. Signal I CA DI capture. If you use a high quality external DI, do you have a favorite DI Benny?
Benedikt: [00:43:40] Uh, yes, I have, uh, the country man type eight 85. Um, Oh yes, that's classic.
And it's just really, really great. I love it. I also like the. Um, uh, little labs. What is it called? Red eye. Yeah, I don't have this one, but I have used it a couple of times and I've always found it, found it really great, but I [00:44:00] also had great success just with the radial ones that there is, but I have to be careful here.
There's one Radial one that I absolutely don't like, because it just, the impedance is not high enough to make it really work as a DI weirdly enough. It shouldn't be, I actually, um, but that's another thing here. Um, But most of the radial pro once the more expensive ones always sound great. And, um, yeah, interestingly, we D we did a, some, some shootouts within the Academy, better students that I, uh, that are going through my course better version.
And, um, they bought, some of them bought the DIs. After I've recommended this to them and they shot out there, um, interface, preamps and DIs with the DI boxes and we got very different results. So some of them had absolutely, absolutely. Some of them had results where it was absolutely clear that the di is bedroom, but I remember one particularly where the person.
Doing the shootout compared I think a [00:45:00] Palmer DI that I actually like and recommend because it's a budget cheap. DI, that is great. Um, he compared that to his Behringer interface, the very cheap that's the cheapest one they have, and he sent the results to me. They did a blind test and it was very hard.
Very very, very hard to tell, which is which so that cheap interface did a great job with the DI, but yeah, you have to shoot out to know that like there can be surprises to usand this case I would totally be fine using that interface as DI, although it was a very cheap one. So you never know.
Malcom: [00:45:33] Yeah.
Just don't make an assumption that your expensive interface has good dis yeah, because. That might be where they saved the money, you know? Um, you have to just until you experiment, you'd really don't know. Yeah. I got a it's a radial X hemp, uh, or no, that is the name of the ramp box. But it's like the equivalent model, uh, active DI and w I, I used to have, well, I still have the green JDI pro, which is a great passive DI, but until I got that active, when I [00:46:00] didn't really know what I was missing, it was just like, Oh, my guitar tone just got 15% better.
There we go.
Benedikt: [00:46:06] So unless that is, and that's why you don't, um, I mean, you don't do as much heavy stuff. Because where the active DI boxes is fall short is when you use it active pickups with a lot of ups, they tend to clip. They don't have the headroom. You need great passive one for that application.
Malcom: [00:46:21] Yeah.
That's when I would go back to the green. Yeah, yeah, definitely. Um, yeah, like, you know, on my wallet, just a bunch of Les Pauls and Telecasters and stuff. So it's all these passive pickups and, uh, so yeah, getting an active DI box was a great move.
Benedikt: [00:46:35] Totally. Yeah. So that whole chain before the interface just makes so much of a difference and that could be totally where the problem is.
So. You just don't have to think about any of this, if you're just plugging straight into an amp, but if you plug it into your interface, you have to think about it. The quality of the Di, the length of the, the whole chain short cables are always a great idea also with real amps, but just the whole quality of the chain before the interface just makes.
[00:47:00] Um, it makes a difference. And, uh, that could be, that could be what, what, like makes you think amp sims are not as great. It might be before the problem might be before the amp sim. Yeah. Um, one thing that I think you should try is. You can, and that's also thing you can only do in the digital world with amp sims if everything we just said, doesn't give you the results that you're going for.
Try manipulating the di before it hits the, the amp sim, because that's the freedom. That's the freedom you have in the door. You can put whatever plugin you want in front of the amp sim. So. If you are missing some of the grid, for example, well, if you just feel like the amp sounds too clean to sterile, to digital or whatever, try a clipper in front of the amp sim, try a subtle overdrive plugin, try a compressor, try whatever you want in front of the amp sim.
And all of a sudden your amp sim might sound grittier. [00:48:00] Dirtier might have more mid range, whatever you feel it's lacking. And that can add to the realism or would you perceive as real? And that can, um, take away that feeling of like stare out clean digital sound.
Malcom: [00:48:13] Yeah. This is the, the super power of amp Sims is what you can do before you even hit him.
And I love it. Um, I, I mean, technically this is true a relapsed too, because you could do the same before reamping into one, but it's just the complete convenience factor and the speed of workflow is. Probably why both Benny and I love these products so much, is that it, like in no time, we're going to go through a bunch of different options and find something that works awesome.
Where if we were to try to do the same thing with real amps, we'd be at it all day and potentially not have the tool for the job. Right, because that would mean that we have to have a huge library of real amps available to us to try and find the one that does it. And [00:49:00] that's not a real, less realistic expectation of your gear.
Um, even if you have 10 amps, which is a lot of amps to have in a room that takes up a lot of space and, and the signal chains to set them all up so you can compare them realistically there, there's still a very slim chance that you're going to have the right tool for the job.
Benedikt: [00:49:18] Yeah. Totally totally. Uh, that's also something that is worth mentioning and I think that's basically the whole point of this and the whole, um, yeah, what we're trying to get across is that I think we don't view Malcolm and I don't view amp sims or kEMPERS.
As something that's supposed to be the exact same thing as, as an amp, it's just different tools that have a sound and we always have the vision and the tone in mind that we want to achieve. We listen to what, whatever we using sounds like. And then we try to get that thing to make the sound that we want, no matter what that's real or fake or artificial or whatever, it's just, it's you just try to make it sound the way we want.
And once you. [00:50:00] Get over that. And once you do not try to, to mimic a real thing, it's just another tool that can work just as fine. So if the amp sim just lacking in whatever way, just find a way around that. Just add a plug in front of it. Just. Tweak it a little differently. Um, try experiment with the gain, staging, hit it differently.
Do something to make it work just as you would with a real amp. If you plug into a real amp and yeah, you don't immediately like the sound, you just start tweaking. You start adding a pedal, you start adding an overdrive tube. Screamer, you play it. You start messing with the volume on your guitar or. Um, you're messing with the gain and the, the relationship between gain and master output and all that you do that immediately.
If you use a real amp, do the same with amp sims and don't expect it to be the same as a real amp, just view it as, as what it is and try to make it sound as good as you can. And then you will find out that it's just a different way to get there. And that's basically it.
Malcom: [00:50:59] Yeah, [00:51:00] really. It's just a matter of speed for me and speed and options, you know?
Um, I just, there was no way that I would have the budget for each project. I work on to spend days shooting out guitar amps, where in 10 minutes I can shoot out. Just like dozens of amps. And like this happened recently, Ben was like, well, should we compare a couple? I'm like, well, I already did while he were sitting there waiting and I shot out five different amps.
This one sounds great. We just got to tweak a little from here and we're good. Like it's, it's so cool. So
Benedikt: [00:51:31] true. It's yeah, totally. That's and it also is not, it's not something lazy or just an easier way. It, your projects actually benefit from that because you can do it immediately while you still have the vision and the inspiration.
Like as soon as you have an idea of what you're going for, you can immediately act on it. But if you have that idea and you first have to patch a lot of things and you have to warm up the tubes on the amp and you'll do all those things that you need to do with a real amp. [00:52:00] That moment of inspiration might be gone.
You, you might not even know what you were going forward and like it's so I think it's also, it is thing and your songs and your, the whole record benefits from just being able to move intuitively and fast. And so, yeah, it's, it's still, it's a blessing. I it's, it's just a blessing to have those tools, even if it hurts admitting that they are just as good as real expensive things, but it's true.
They are just great. Um, yeah, so I mean, to sum it up, it was kind of confusing the way we, we went through this episode because it's just such a difficult thing to describe and subjective, but just to bring it into an, an order again. So we have everything that's before the kemper or the amp sim. So we have.
The cable, use a short cable. That's number one. Then if you're using your interface, that's not so much an issue with the kemper. If you're using the interface, use, tryusing a DI box and shoot it out against your interfaces preamp and see what you like better [00:53:00] then. Get the gain staging. Right? So the level you're sending into the computer, try to make that like, maybe see if there is your amp sim is calibrated a certain way.
Maybe they even recommend a certain level going in or just experiment with it. They'll probably do. Yes. Um, just play around with that. Um, find the sweet spot, find the spot where you have the same dynamics that you get the same dynamics while you play that you would expect from an amp, then try.
Manipulating the DI, maybe if that's what you're going for, if you would, if you would use a tube screamer in real life, but you don't have one, you want to do that digitally and find either a tube screamer plugin, or just use a clipper or an overdrive, something like that. And see if you like that. Um, try queuing to di.
If you feel like it's boxy or overly bright or whatever, try queuing the DI. Try filtering it. Um, before the amp, because that's already makes the, the absent react differently. Try a low cut if you find it's too boomy or Woofy or [00:54:00] whatever. Um, so yeah, the Di quality of the D the way that the DI sounds, and then on the amp sim e itself, try playing with the low end that's part of the realism for me, as I said, try to get rid of the fizz.
With proper IRS or and, or IQ, but I would always start with the IR or virtual mic position as well. Some, some plugins also give you the, the option to move the micro round, play with that. Right. And while you're doing all of that, stop thinking about it as the real thing, just you, it as what it is. And stop comparing while you're at it.
Just try to get the best possible sound out of it. And then once you're done and you did the best, you can then maybe compare if you want to do that. But just use the tool as what it is and find the stuff that's cool about it. Eliminate the stuff that's not cool about it. And you will end up with something usable.
I'm absolutely sure.
Malcom: [00:54:53] Yeah, definitely. It's not a, we started this off is like how to make it sound as good as real amps, but it's not even [00:55:00] about that. It's just how to make. How to get good guitar tone. Um, and, and you can use these, these tools or a real amp. It doesn't really matter to us, but, uh, you should be able to get the job done with either.
Um, and it's a skill to be learned. So if you Excel at getting good guitar tones with real amps, then you now need to focus on what you're not good at, which might be getting a guitar tones with amp Sims. Which is something that I kind of relapsed and KEMPER figured out. So now it's time for me to figure it out.
Benedikt: [00:55:30] Yeah, totally. And you will, because you going into that with the right mindset, you will, you will view it as a different tool. You will play with it until you find out what's cool about it. And then you will make it work. It's like, it's all about that. And with the Kemper, um, maybe a quick rundown of what you would do or what you would recommend to someone using a Kemper.
If they are not satisfied with sounds.
Malcom: [00:55:51] Yeah. Yeah. Cause I think my workflow is pretty tried and true. Uh, so first off plug into short guitar cable directly into my active DI in [00:56:00] my case or DI. Um, if you're not tracking the DI, you can just go directly in, but use a short cable still. And we always recommend grabbing a di.
So you might as well grab a Di and then go from the DI into the kemper. And then that's where you, you want to absolutely have the Kemper software up on your computer because you're going to shoot out amps. Rapid speed kind of thing. So, and as you go to the kemper, you're going to learn what profiles you like.
You'll start having some favorites, you know, and you'd be like, okay, well, this really don't like, sounds great. I know that. So you'll have some places you want to start for sure. Um, but I generally ask the client, like, what are we fixturing? But like, Hmm. Fender kind of Tweed, like, okay, then I've got a fender kind of like folder.
I've set up with all my favorite fender kind of tones. And I'm going to start digging in there. And as they're playing, I'll just like literally rapid fire through them. Make little notes in my head of which ones I liked. And then we narrow it down to three. I'm like, okay, let's try this one. We recorded into the song, this one, this one, this one.
[00:57:00] And then I choose one. And from there that's when like, that's the first time I'll start grabbing knobs. Like really it's the, we've always talked about this before, but the different starts for the furthest away from the amp as you can. So it's the player first, right? We've talked about that and pics and strings and stuff like that.
We all know that now. Uh, and then there's a guitar. So the guitar would have already been sorted out by the way. Um, and, and then it's going to be the amp and not, not the knobs in the amp, it's going to be the actual amp. So that's what I'm doing when I'm shooting out through different profiles in a kemper, I'm shooting out different amps essentially, or different setups of amps, um, in some cases, but that's going to make a bigger difference than anything I could do with turning knobs.
And then once I've got that right. I really don't have to touch the knobs that much, you know, I go in there and, uh, often for me, there's like a clarity knob inside of the kemper. That's kind of under the hood a little bit, and that will really open up or subdue things in a pretty big [00:58:00] way. And that, that helps with like the realism, um, feel that we're going for.
And then, uh, yeah, there's not a lot from there. Sometimes I grab a pedal, sometimes they don't. It's a, but that's really my workflow and it should be done in five to 10 minutes.
Benedikt: [00:58:14] Super cool that I think that I need to say one more thing now, because what you just said with the queue and you don't, you basically shooting out of Hughes and you'd not messing around with the knobs too much is also a general great recommendation, I think.
And that might just get me thinking that might also be an issue that people have when they use amp sims is because. On the one hand, it's cool to have all this extra control in the computer, but on the other hand, maybe people are just over queuing and over-processing stuff just because they can't when they use amp Sims.
So they might not find a proper setting and a proper IR and a proper like SIM and then just use that. They might find that they might take. Whatever comes first, or they might shoot out a bunch in a couple and then they take some, something that's close [00:59:00] to what they're going for. And then they might throw on an IQ or really like boost a lot of stuff or cut a lot of stuff and really butcher the, whatever comes out of the SIM.
And that might actually cause this weird result that they get so big guitar recording in general, I think is something. Where the raw recording should be pretty close to what you want to hear on the record. It's not like with drums where you have these raw drums had done in modern productions, they are heavily processed and sound completely different when it's done, because that can happen with drums.
With guitars, you should be much closer. After the recording, it shouldn't require tons of acute to make it work. And if it does try a different profile, try a different amp sim, try a different IR whatever, but don't try to achieve it with the cue because it won't work. It will sound weird and artificial, and that might be actually also part of the issue here.
Malcom: [00:59:48] Yeah, guitars. Don't like GQ, if we're being honest, they, you know, I mean, it happens all the time, of course, but, uh, if I don't have to use it, I'm very happy. And that's what I shoot for. I'm [01:00:00] normally not giving up on my amp hunt inside of the kemper until I feel like I don't have to change it. Like I'm shooting for not ha not having to change it.
And it's like, okay, well that sounds great. We're, we're good. How they play it is going to make a bigger difference than if I add a little top end.
Benedikt: [01:00:16] Absolutely. And then the final thing here that we've mentioned briefly is the noise issue, maybe. So if you're using amp Sims or a kemper, you're likely sitting in front of your screen, your monitors, your computer.
So, and I've also seen that a lot online in forums where people were asking about noise issues with, with amp Sims. And I feel like part of that is because they are sitting in front of their gear with maybe. They're not ideal cables, cheap cables is something. So just try and turn away with your guitar from, from all the electrical stuff around you, try increasing the distance because noise in a, such an environment can really be an issue.
So that's just one thing I want to add here again, if that's your problem, you feel like you're getting a lot of noise with amp Sims. It might just be that when you're [01:01:00] recording, you're standing in the rehearsal room in front of your amp. And when you're recording with amp sims is just sitting in front of your computer screen.
So that will give you a whole other. Level of noise, floor and interferences and everything your pickup's gonna pick up. So just try turning in your chair and finding the position where you have the least noise, like the least amount of noise, right? Um, yeah, that's also recommended.
Malcom: [01:01:20] Yeah. If you've got single coil pickups, it's going to be a lot,
Benedikt: [01:01:25] like, I love that P90 pickups.
They have one of my favorite pickups on planet, on the planet, but they are so super noisy. You can't use them anywhere near anything electrical. So, yeah. Um, So I think that's it. I'm kind of confusing, but I think still valuable episode. That's just a hard topic to explain, but I think there is a couple of actionable things in there that you can try.
And we just want to encourage you to use those things and don't view the amp sims of the kemper, the problem, but just the way you're using it. Just accept that and just try to, to, to [01:02:00] figure it out because you can't figure it out. It's not the tools you having. Like if you have any modern apps, you will, it will get the job done.
Malcom: [01:02:08] definitely
Benedikt: [01:02:08] with you. Cool. That's it go to the Facebook community? Let us know your experiences with that, your results or your issues and problems. And maybe we can discuss it further. Uh, the self recording, pat.com/community. See you there.
Malcom: [01:02:24] See you there. Bye.
TSRB Academy Waiting List:
TSRB Free Facebook Community:
Malcom's and Benedikt's websites:
Outback Recordings (Benedikt's Mixing Studio and personal website)
Outback Recordings Podcast - Benedikt's other podcast
Stone Mastering (Malcom's Mastering Company)
Your Band Sucks (at business) - Malcom's other podcast
Gimme The Beat (The Netflix Documentary Malcom is involved with)
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