Jumbo Sunshade - Ezine

Using a DI with Electric Guitar
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Studio work:
There are three basic ways in which 90-something percent of electric guitar recordings are produced these days:
1. Microphone on a speaker cabinet (with either a real amp or an amp modeler).
2. Amp/cab modeler direct to tape/disk.
3. Clean performance tracked and then re-amped later.

With the availability of kick-ass recording software and cheap, huge, hard drives; alot of players do combinations of the above using hi-Z, lo-Z, DI boxes, A/B/Y boxes, etc.  Below are just a few of the more common setups that utilize DI's.


Given a choice, i think that most people would use a DI to get the signal from their amp modeler to their hard disk (preferably with a tube preamp to soften/fatten things up).
Let's take a look at that setup in its simplest form:

If the modeler allows it, a semi-affected (or unaffected) signal can also be thrown to an amp/speaker, which could itself be mic'd & recorded.


I have used both cheap and expensive DI's live with amp modelers, and my own personal conclusion is that the sonic differences (with distorted electric guitar) are all but completely inaudible through the PA.  But studio recordings are another matter altogether; in which case i recommend using the best (cleanest; most headroom) DI that can be afforded, especially for getting dry tracks to tape/disk.

Why get dry guitar tracks to disk?  For reference and for reamping.  The obvious problem is that when you're trying to play blues, rock, or hard rock; you need to hear more than just a completely clean guitar tone.
What most people do is use the DI's Parallel Out to send the guitar signal to an amp modeler, which (in some various form) is routed to the performer's headphone mix for reference while tracking.

In addition to using the modeler for reference monitoring, its signal could also be sent to tape and recorded.

Of course to get the best of ALL worlds, you can get the dry performance to tape/disk while simultaneously recording an actual amplifier, which typically looks like this:

[i wasn't motivated enough to put microphones in these graphics!]

Now with that dry performance captured, you're ready to spend endless hours going through all of your various amp-modeling hardware & software, second-guessing yourself at every patch.  ;)

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