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-   -   Guitar playback sounds different to live (http://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=404839)

ReleadPlays 05-21-2019 11:01 PM

Guitar playback sounds different to live
Hey, so I am using a Katana-100 Amplifier with a line out feature to plug into the instrument jack on the front of my Focusrite Scarlett Solo (2nd Gen) USB Interface, into Pro Tools First.

When I listen through the amp's speakers, (imo) the tone sounds incredible. However listening through playback it sounds different... it sounds really high gain, or trebly, I can't explain it. The gain is down on the interface input, there's no options on the amp, and I though it might just be the speakers/amp line out being different to the amp's speakers, similar to how headphones never sound similar to the amp's speakers.

However, this still happens when I use the Eleven Lite plugin (and other effects) that came with the interface. I listen to it live, and it sounds great. Listening to it after recording, no mixing or anything, it sounds weaker and really ew... and in my opinion, worse. I can't really explain it properly.

Either way, I have tried to search these forums and other places online, but I can't really find anything. If any of you have any ideas, I'd be extremely grateful. Maybe I'm missing something obvious. Eitherway, please help me :)


Darryl Ramm 05-22-2019 12:48 AM

Re: Guitar playback sounds different to live
Your experience is likely about normal.. you have to work out how to do this. And you need to start simple, follow some guidance/tutorials and spend a *lot* of time playing around.

Lots more useful info needed: how you are listening back to what you have recorded? What exact monitors and/or speakers or power amps? and/or headphones? What type of tone are you going for... do you know what that artist used? What amp or the models in the Katana or Eleven that you have tried? What levels in Pro Tools in dBFS did you record at? (make sure you are in pre-fader meter mode). You should be aiming for peaking at something like -18dFS. Something as a beginner especially it will help you avoid any input clipping, and with the low-end electronics in the solo will not sound good when pushed hard... and be sure you have the Line/DI switch to line position. It sounds like the line input gain can be adjusted with the line level input (which makes me think you might not have it in line input mode), but check see what the input is in Pro Tools in dbFS (remember you have to be in pre-fader metering mode).

Is your room set-up, roughly calibrated to a play-back level? (seriously, yes even a home studio, ~75 db SPL-C is worth trying for if your monitors are capable of enough SPL, and that's the huge question here. Trying to calibrate stuff or hearing recommended mix SPLs levels give you an idea of the environments that professionals mix in.).

There is a huge difference between the sound and feel of an amp in the room and an a wet guitar signal recorded and played back though some monitor/amp/speaker chain. And that starts with a large perceived difference due to different SPL (sound level). Google "Fletcher–Munson". And then (as here) an open-back speaker cabinet spraying sound all around a room, reflecting off walls, etc. is a whole different thing that listening back on studio monitors.

You may have got too much going on here, especially for a beginner. You are using a combo modeling/power amp and feeding into a DAW, and are you then playing with adding Eleven amps sim plugin to that signal? Or are you only using Eleven plugins within the guitar going direct into the DI input? And you are trying to do all that with maybe inexperience with basic recording and no mixing/post record processing being done. Play around but with that setup and work out what you like the recorded sound of most.

You will likely want to do some signal processing early on, not much but some. You may need to adjust the input track fader to adjust its level into any plugins on that track and tweak the plugin settings themselves. You may want EQ plugins to sweeten things, maybe some reverb on that track. Then on an output bus a gentle compressor, or compressor followed by reverb etc. But the point is you likely will want to sweeten the sound a bit while tracking (if you monitor though Pro Tools) or when listening back.

Recoded guitar tracks are usually *heavily* processed, EQ'ed, compressed, may have reverb added, often multi-tracked, or reamped or reamped into multiple tracks. etc. And then the whole mix is mastered with EQ and compression applied. Try to find some of the videos on you tube where folks involved dissemble popular hits and you likely will notice how thin the guitar tracks sound stand alone.

I would pick one core thing and play with that, explore it until you understand it fairly well (~you play with stuff over several days for hours per day) and then move on to the next. So pick if you are going to start using your external amp or if you want to plug the guitar directly into the Solo DI input and use the Eleven plugin. Try to find a tutorial on YouTube for somebody doing something similar to what you want to do with that amp or Eleven plugin and follow along with that tutorial to start with.

You will likely get more help here if you go with the Eleven Plugin, lots of us use that, and/or have Eleven Racks. But pick what you want to do.

The Katana might or might not just sound bad out the line output, I've never heard one. Run the line-out into a loud enough PA system (to get high enough SPLs) and listen to it through that. Since it's a digital modelling amp I would hope they try to do a pretty good job, including I hope they have a speaker-cabinet resonance/EQ and maybe mic simulator processing applied to that output. Hopefully they explain that in the documentation, but being Boss I'd not be surprised if the documentation is a pretty bad Japanese translated mess, they don't even seem to want to admit it's a modeling amp from what I see. If the line output is missing cab/mic simulation you may want to make up for that in Pro Tools.

jeffro 05-22-2019 09:27 AM

Re: Guitar playback sounds different to live
Welcome to the community.

Great advice from Darryl (thanks).

Line Outputs on guitar amps are traditionally less effective at providing the sound of the amp when recording (unless they include cabinet modeling, etc.). I'd use that to feed another amp or maybe a PA if I ran out of mics. Typically get better recordings by putting a mic in front of an amp to capture the sound of the speaker/cabinet/room which is what you are used to hearing.

I took a quick look at their website and am curious about the HEADPHONE/REC OUT (is it switchable?) as well as the USB connector. Need more info but one of those might get you closer than using the Line Out. Otherwise, as Darryl suggested, you might need to make up for deficiencies with plug-ins.

Darryl Ramm 05-22-2019 11:30 AM

Re: Guitar playback sounds different to l
Some more waffle that might help...

Micing a cab is something everybody should try out, although I think best and easiest results for many folks, especially working in home studios will be with amp sim plugins like Eleven or an amp sim box like an Eleven Rack or Fractal Axe-FX.

If you want to play with micing a guitar amp you can try it with any mic you have. Just get started, lots of tutorials online. If you are buying a mic to try with, get an SM57 or SM58. ~$100 and the reference cab mic for many people.

If you plan on tracking guitars (and bass) a lot the other place I would go is an Eleven Rack. It has all the Eleven Mk II Amps built in and a reasonable range of basic effects pedals. They are super value for money and flexible in different ways than your solo+Eleven plugins, and it may just replace your solo since it has a mic input as well.

There are many great third party amp sim plugins for Pro Tools, but they are unfortunately not compatible with Pro Tools First. Pro Tools First can run the full Eleven Mk II plugin suite and the Eleven Rack effects pedals, and all those plugins come in the ~$50/year complete plugins subscription... so I know First is fairly limited by itself but you can at try out much more with that complete plugin bundle after doing more playing around with what you have now.

A brilliant combo is both the Eleven Rack and Eleven Mk II plugins... that lets you track with the Eleven Rack then reamp all in the box. ... but don’t focus now on gear. Focus on experimenting.

ReleadPlays 05-23-2019 12:35 AM

Re: Guitar playback sounds different to live
First of all, thank you guys for the replies, you all came up with some complex words that I don't understand but using all of my brain at once it made some sense :) I've always thought of buying a mic and micing up an amp, but I live with two noisy parents and 4 pets in a loud neighbourhood atm... maybe later in life?
Anyway, I've found the answer I've been looking for after a day of tweaking...
It was in the Amp's software. It turns out that there is a feature in the software to adjust the 'line out air feel' between Live, Rec, and Blend. Don't know what the difference is but I was using Blend, but Rec ends up sounding way better in playback (funny, seeing it's 'rec'). I thought this was only a feature on the higher end Katana 'Artist' amp, but seems like this model has it too, of sorts.
Thank you both for the help, I'll definitely look and see if there's anything else I can do to further improve my situation. Darryl, you've given me a lot of food for thought, and I appreciate that! :)
Although, think I'll stick with the amp. The Eleven stuff looks cool, but also unnecessary for what I want to do. Thank you though.

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