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Re: RME Firewire 800 and Guitar Amp Sim - Preamps

Thanks, Luca.  Wow, you have really tried a lot of gear. I will likely wait until I get the FW400 before I rush into anything for much of the same reason you explain below. Jeff Kaiser keeps telling me to just wait and see what my guitar sounds like when I plug directly into the high qaulity inserts and preamps of the FW400. He thinks I will be pleasantly surprised, and I may well be.  The less gear I can get away with using to get my ideal sound, the better.
Just for reference, I like a very dark, warm, and "semi" clean jazz tone. With 95% of the amps or preamps I have used, I tend to turn the high end nobs down to 0% or at the most 25%, mid range about 45%, and low end anywhere between 50% to 80%. That generally gets me the EQ I like. I would say I don't like a flat frequency response, then, in my sound source.  The rest is the "tubeness" of the sound...whether it breaks up a bit if I pick hard (not as much as Scofield, however), it's "sponginess" (opposite of what I hear with guitarists like Mike Stearn running through SS amps), and so on...all hard to define characteristics.
I can typically never get this sound when I plug into a mixer board, because the mixer is just re-producing what it gets, which is not what I want. In general, unless we are talking about full bodied jazz hollow body guitara and acoustics, I dislike the sound of the electric guitar direct into a board....it sounds dry, lifeless, and sterile to me, for obvious reasons since the sound source is basically a piece of solid wood with a magnetic pickup.  Something I wrote to Kaiser last night. Take my extreme phrases lightly, as I was frustrated when I wrote the email, but I stick to the general "spirit" of the message regarding the solid body electric as an original sound source:
"Guitar is very, very tricky. A lot of people don't understand that the electric guitar and guitar amp (especially the tube amp) evolved together. The electric guitar by itself is basically a piece of wood with a pickup and strings on it....sounds like total crap when you run it through a regular line input or mixer board, etc.  So with the guitar, it is a fallacy to focus on fidelity of caputuring the sound of the sound source, unless we are talking about the tube amp as the source, because the electric guitar as a original sound source is pathetic. And this is unlike the acoustic, which is a different animal"
I like this idea of the electric guitar and guitar amp being a mutual evolution over the years. It explains why so many guitarists get so frustrated with trying to get a decent guitar sound without an amp.
----- Original Message -----
> Hi Kris,
> you may consider me crazy but since at least 10 years I play with no
> speaker simulators at all.
> When I play live I go direct into the converter ( FF400) just after
> having passed an overdrive, a compressor and a volume pedal.
> The outputs of the FF go direct to PA.
> When I record i have a few preamps to place before the converter to have
> a certain sound or to add what you call the tube drive/compression you
> get when playing harder.
> If I need to tweak the sound of a track I prefer re-preamping than
> record with a preamp placed between my rig and the recording converter;
> this way I keep all options available.
> I think that preamps are the item I checked more during the last 15 years.
> I tried all the Mesa, Ada, Alembic, Swr, Ampeg, Brunetti, Hughes &
> Kettner, Soldano, Trace Elliott, Sansamp, Carvin, Pod, Vox Tonelab,
> Summit, Avalon ...
> I still have my old Alembic F2-b, Mesa Boogie Studio pre and Spl
> Gainstation 1.
> 1st thing I noticed: most guitar preamps are pumping the mids in a way
> that even if you cut all of them you can't get a good "flat" signal.
> 2nd thing: bass preamps are usually more sensitive, natural and wide in
> frequency range.
> 3rd thing: most voice channels that offer a DI input are usually darker
> sounding.
> 4th thing: a good preamp can go direct to board and allow you to tweak
> your guitar later in the processing ( if you like).
> All my albums have been made with this system, being them ambient or
> rock or jazzy or ....
> I think that the ideal preamp ( don't forget pickups) has to be natural
> sounding, replicating the real, acoustic sound and character of your
> electric guitar.
> I look for wideness ( in the frequency range), dynamic sensitivity, the
> right amount of thickness and that subtle valve deepness that valves can
> deliver.
> Most of the speaker emulators I tried are just equalizers, in fact I
> think that speaker emulators are just a clever way to steal money ( I am
> not talking of those speaker emulators you place on the outputs of a
> real power amp).
> So I encourage you to look for those things you really need a preamp for
> that are gain, dynamics, wideness ... so that you still have ALL you
> original sound.
> You can always cut and eq.
> my 2 eurocents ;-)
> luca
> Krispen Hartung wrote:
>> Can anyone comment on the speaker emulation filter and tube
>> sim/limiter of the FW800? Someone on the Max/MSP list commented that
>> it was one of the best amp sims they've used. See below.  Is any other
>> high end firewire audio interface offering ann amp sim?
>> I am now focusing on how I can get the most natural electric
>> guitar/tube amp sound on my system, BEFORE going into the laptop (so,
>> no tube amp VSTs, etc). I need to do it with the audio interface, or
>> by adding a real tube amp or high end tube amp simulator (hardware)
>> Kris
>> "The FireFace 800's Hi-Z instrument input offers a soft-limiter, which
>> has been tuned especially for musical instruments. Due to a soft
>> transition and deliberate creation of harmonics, the input signal is
>> compressed steplessly according to taste, or the limiter can be used
>> for distortion with tube sound. Activate the Drive circuit too for
>> broad guitar distortion. The Speaker Emulation filter, which can also
>> be switched on separately, takes low- and high-frequency disturbances
>> away and guarantees an optimal basic sound even when recording
>> directly into the computer, or when monitoring through a mixing console. "
>> **************************************************************************
>> Krispen Hartung
www.krispenhartung.com <http://www.krispenhartung.com> /
www.myspace.com/krispenhartung <http://www.myspace.com/krispenhartung>
>> Performance Calendar:
>> info@krispenhartung.com <mailto:info@krispenhartung.com> / 1.208.724.5603
>> Discography -
>> CD Baby Discography: http://cdbaby.com/all/khartung
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