The digital-recording outfit's latest features a Rupert Neve-designed preamp, a Z-Tone impedance-adapting circuit for transforming your guitar's voice from single-coil-like to humbucker-esque (or vice versa), and Amp Out jack, and a host of free software, including AmpliTube 4 Deluxe.
AXE I/O SOLO
AXE I/O SOLO is a premium 2-in /3-out USB audio interface designed specifically for guitarists. A custom Z-TONE guitar input offers active/passive pickup switch, PURE and JFET channels and adjustable input impedance for ground-breaking tone shaping, and a dedicated Hi-Z Amp Out makes re-amping a breeze. And a PURE mic preamp with phantom power, 24-bit, 192 kHz converters and wide, flat frequency response ensure the most pristine sound for any type of recording. All this plus a massive software bundle make AXE I/O SOLO an amazing solution for the recording guitarist.
How to record a cranked-up sound without disturbing the peace.
photo by John Covington
But let me go back to that HotPlate again for a minute. It’s got a load setting and it also has a line-out. For all intents and purposes, that would give me the sound of the whole amp including the power amp. All I needed to do was find a way to get the sound of a mic’d cabinet in a room. The room is easy enough, and the more I thought about it, you don’t have to use the amp portion of most of the amp simulators (there’s a bypass button on almost all of them). If I affected the line out signal of the amp/HotPlate for use with the mic and cabinet simulation, this might just work.
By the way, this is not a far-fetched or even an original idea. If you look at history, people have used everything from Palmer speaker simulators, Hughes & Kettner Red Boxes, Demeter Silent Speaker Chambers, and on and on to solve the problem of not being able to mic a cabinet. This particular method worked well for me because it was fast, I had all the components, and most importantly it retained the feel of my amp. It certainly ended up working for me, and better yet, it allowed me to tailor the settings of the mic/speaker cab/room all the way up through the mix. Here’s the basic signal flow that I used:
|Before Pro Tools
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|After Pro Tools
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2008 Fender American Strat – ENGL Ritchie Blackmore head – 16 ohm THD HotPlate – Line Out of HotPlate into Creation Audio Labs MW1 (as D.I.) – Pro Tools 7.4.
|Steve isn''t our only columnist using Speakerphone. Click here to read Rich Tozzoli''s On Track column for more info on the software.
I think it’s important to note that there are many ways of achieving a non-speaker, no-noise situation, this one just happened to work out really well for me. There are numerous amp modeling programs out there that do a fine job of sounding like amps. And because you’re recording a dry guitar signal when using an amp sim, you can always re-amp it in the studio later. The important thing in the end is to be able to be creative when creativity or deadlines strike. It’s also nice to know that your ''65 Marshall JTM-45 can be played and enjoyed anytime you want.
If you’d like to hear the results of my experience in speaker-free land, check out “Rip 1” on my Myspace page at www.myspace.com/steveouimette.
Until next time…
Steve is best known for his recent work on Guitar Hero III, the multi-platinum selling video game that is turning gamers into guitarists by the thousands. A guitarist/composer/producer, he holds a B.A. in Music Performance and Composition and spends his days and nights writing music for games, film and television. He’s also a rabid tone fanatic and amp enthusiast always looking for a unique sound. His original music can be found on iTunes and at myspace.com/steveouimette.