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  #1  
Old 12-27-2020, 09:38 AM
KerryCalvert KerryCalvert is offline
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Default Upgrade Digi 003 rack?

I am using Pro Tools 2020 with Native Instruments plugins, mostly Guitar Rig 6.

I am very disillusioned with the quality of the guitar effects this produces. There is no effect that produces decent sustain in the high notes, and most of the effects are heavy distortion and modulations that are boring. Trying to reproduce tones of the major guitarists like Gilmour, Satriani, Van Halen, Carleton, etc seems like a impossibility with this rig.

My 003 is 20 years old now, and rarely used because I have never been happy with what it can do, going back to PT 8.

Since PT 2020 does not officially support the Digi 003, I am considering upgrading my audio interface to a more modern one. Along with the tone weakness, this setup has a lot of problem with hum generated from poor cable ground, in spite of my efforts to follow the normal corrections for this problem.

My question is whether upgrading the audio interface will help me solve the tone quality issues or hum problems. And if it will, what setup (hardware/software) are guitarists using to get a professional sounding rig emulation?

I realize there are many factors, including the guitar, cable quality, power quality, etc. But I have a quality guitar, professionally set up, a Furman regulating power supply that all the equipment gets power from, and quality cables. The constant through all this investment has been Pro Tools, and the 003 rack.

I am obviously missing something.

My assumption is that the tone quality is not a primarily a function of the input signal from the 003, and is more an issue of the plugin software or CPU speed to do the signal processing. But maybe this is wrong, and there is actually signal conditioning happening in the 003 that is poor?

I am using Windows 10, on a 4 core 3.4 Ghz pentium and 16 GB memory.
I have the Digi 003, and a Tascam 8/8 pre-amp. I have tested connecting the guitar directly to the 003 as well as the pre-amp, and there is no difference in the tone quality or cable grounding issues.

My issues are not related to recording, I cannot get a decent sounding guitar platform just from setting up the mix and playing to test the sound.
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  #2  
Old 12-27-2020, 03:44 PM
wwittman wwittman is offline
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Default Re: Upgrade Digi 003 rack?

Short answer: no

If you’re unhappy with Guitar Rig try demoing other guitar amp and effects software.
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  #3  
Old 12-28-2020, 12:16 AM
Obsidian Dragon Obsidian Dragon is offline
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Default Re: Upgrade Digi 003 rack?

First, I would check if your sound from you guitar is fine (yes I read that you have a quality guitar). Is there hum when you play through a guitar amp? If your guitar has single coil pickups, that is known to generate hum. That is why double coil pickups are called "Humbuckers," to defeat the 60 Hertz hum found in single coil pickups. You may need a noise gate or noise suppressor pedal to control the hum when not playing. Is the tone of your guitar to your liking? I'm talking about the unprocessed clean tone through a good sounding clean amp. If not, you need to see what can be done there first. There is an interaction of your guitar plugged into an amplifier that loads the pickups and affects the sound. Plugging your guitar into an interface does not load the pickup the same way. Then check your signal chain. Are you using any pedals, DI, preamps, etc.? Are you running long cable lengths? You may need a buffer to and from your pedalboard. What are you using as monitors for your Protools setup. Small reference monitors don't necessarily sound like four 12" Celestion speakers in a Marshall cab. As you can see, there are many factors affecting your tone, so take your time and evaluate each component to eliminate the cause. When in doubt, simplify your setup.
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  #4  
Old 12-28-2020, 05:19 AM
musicman691 musicman691 is online now
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Default Re: Upgrade Digi 003 rack?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Obsidian Dragon View Post
First, I would check if your sound from you guitar is fine (yes I read that you have a quality guitar). Is there hum when you play through a guitar amp? If your guitar has single coil pickups, that is known to generate hum. That is why double coil pickups are called "Humbuckers," to defeat the 60 Hertz hum found in single coil pickups. You may need a noise gate or noise suppressor pedal to control the hum when not playing. Is the tone of your guitar to your liking? I'm talking about the unprocessed clean tone through a good sounding clean amp. If not, you need to see what can be done there first. There is an interaction of your guitar plugged into an amplifier that loads the pickups and affects the sound. Plugging your guitar into an interface does not load the pickup the same way. Then check your signal chain. Are you using any pedals, DI, preamps, etc.? Are you running long cable lengths? You may need a buffer to and from your pedalboard. What are you using as monitors for your Protools setup. Small reference monitors don't necessarily sound like four 12" Celestion speakers in a Marshall cab. As you can see, there are many factors affecting your tone, so take your time and evaluate each component to eliminate the cause. When in doubt, simplify your setup.
All excellent info. I don't know if the 003 has a high impedance input or not and that's a major issue. You want a 1 meg or higher impedance. Unless your axe has active pickups.


Humbuckers and single coils - if you're trying to match to the guitarist keep in mind that certain axe slingers stayed mainly with one type. Gilmour mainly uses single coils (Strats and Tele's). Larry Carlton is strictly humbucker; there's a reason he's called Mr. 335. EVH was mostly single coils. If you're trying to cover those tones no single guitar will do it. That's why I've got various Strats with either single coils or humbuckers. Not to mention an LP-type with 'buckers.


Amps - Gilmour mainly uses HIwatts and GR has one called a HighWhite which is their emulation. EVH used modded Marshalls in the early years. I think Satch is using Marshalls.


I have GR5 and only used it for Gilmour-type sounds until I got Blue Cat Axiom which can do most anything if you have the time and grit to work with it. It's not the easiest of amp sims to work with. I also have Amplitube 4 and was that a waste - over priced and the sound ain't great. Their Marshalls are the worst in the s/w world.


'Quality guitar'? Exactly what make/model guitar is that? Gibson used to be known as a quality axe but now their stuff is spotty at best.


Been playing guitar since the late 60's and I've chased that tone rabbit all my life and have never stopped experimenting
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  #5  
Old 12-28-2020, 05:36 AM
cqd cqd is online now
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Default Re: Upgrade Digi 003 rack?

I'd say your problem is probably guitar rig.. it's a bit ****..
Has the guitar single coils?..is it shielded..

The one plugin I've found that works for single coils unshielded is s gear..

Honestly it's probably not the 003..
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  #6  
Old 12-28-2020, 08:39 PM
nst7 nst7 is offline
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Default Re: Upgrade Digi 003 rack?

I don't think the problem is guitar rig. I have used it in the past with very good results.

I used to have the 003 and the instrument input leaves a lot to be desired. I'm not sure what the answer is in your case.
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  #7  
Old 12-28-2020, 09:55 PM
paul_g paul_g is offline
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Default Re: Upgrade Digi 003 rack?

I don't know how you've never been happy with the 003. The Pre's are quite good, and the ADAT to another unit is always there. Don't forget you have 4 line-in's on the 003.

When I had mine, I had 8 ADAT from PreSonus DigiMax FS
4 of the Mic Pre's on the 003

But here is where things changed. I got 4 PreSonus Tube Pre's and sent those to the Line In's. Guitar Mic's, Vocals, heck even bass, I'd use the Tube Pre's.

Lets put it this way, 10 years ago, I tracked a record (some in a pro studio with floating floors and all), but about 90% of it was done in my home studio on an 003 and PT 9. That record got signed by a record label and the artist went on to get a Buddy Guy Blues Music Award.

So, with all that said, yes the 003 is long in the tooth, but if it still works, you have workarounds. Is it true 2020 won't even see the 003? I suppose things will get difficult as Firewire goes away. Natrual attrition I guess...

Do you require ADAT? Are you doing full bands, or just record and mix in the box? Meaning, do you need all the I/O of the 003? Are you recording real drums and vox?

If you're just doing guitar driven music (drums from loops or EZ Drummer) and bass and guitar, you could get either an HX Stomp or Line6 Helix. Both of those are full interfaces and work with pro-tools. As far as tone goes, I think Helix is the best hands down.

I'm fortunate enough to have two Dr. Z Amps and boutique effects pedals. I have a little recording booth (walk-in closet) where I do a two mic setup, ribbon & 57 and tracked a blues vamp. Spun up another track for the lead.

Then I dialed up the DrZ model w/ native cab in my HX Stomp and did the same vamp on one track, and solo on the other.

Aside from subtle differences, as expected, no one can tell which is the real Z and which is the Helix. They can tell differences, but not which is which. On my HX Stomp, I don't spend hours dialing in a sound because there is no need. Pull up an amp, adjust the gain to taste, I already have my favorite effects saved in
the new "favorites" feature and pull them in. I'm off and running.

Now that we're on version 3.0, new amps, new models, new features. Oh, you can also load IR's as well. Check out an HX Stomp, or Helix.. YouTube Jason Sadaties.

And for what it's worth, I have two PreSonus Tube Pre's on sale at the moment because no longer need them. I'd go that route first before making a heavy investment.
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  #8  
Old 12-28-2020, 09:56 PM
Obsidian Dragon Obsidian Dragon is offline
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Default Re: Upgrade Digi 003 rack?

If you've ruled out everything I mentioned above (guitar, pickups, cable length, pedals, buffers, and amps) and you really suspect the 003 as the culprit for your bad tone and hum, you might consider using a standalone preamp or a good
DI into one of the 003 standard inputs. I always try for the best clean sound before adding any dirt (overdrive, distortion, fuzz) through pedals, amps, or plugins. Having said that, I do all my guitar tone shaping outside of my DAW with my guitar, pedals, and my amp and then mic the cab through a channel strip into the interface of my DAW. I tried Guitar Rig and thought it was cool but still preferred my analog pedals and tube amp.
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  #9  
Old 12-29-2020, 03:25 AM
rossi68 rossi68 is offline
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Default Re: Upgrade Digi 003 rack?

Why not try TSE X50 at least for hi-gain... S-gear is also a good plugin.

On the other hand, its really hard to reproduce the same sound/tone as the players you mention. Its all in the hands....
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  #10  
Old 12-29-2020, 04:11 AM
huzzam huzzam is offline
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Default Re: Upgrade Digi 003 rack?

I'd suggest picking up a newer interface with a decent instrument input. Even a Focusrite Saffire or Steinberg UR22c should be an improvement, and the models with few channels go for $100-150.

Another option would be to just grab a nice DI, like a Radial active one, and run that into the 003. [edit: oops i see Obsidian Dragon already said that, great minds!]

Beyond that, I can heartily recommend Line 6 Helix Native for both amp sims and effects. Not the cheapest, but IMO about as good as it gets in the box.
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