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  1. #1

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    Hey gang. I'm not a gear head and admit to being a complete novice when it comes to recording guitar for small, individual projects.

    Do you use a Mac laptop with Garage Band and an audio interface?

    Do you use Audacity on a PC (I'm not wild about Audacity)

    Do you have any preferences among audio interfaces such as the following 2 or others?

    Presonus Audiobox USB
    Scarlett 2i2:

    I apologize for the state of cluelessness on the topic, and thanks in advance!

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I've used Sonar Home Studio, Sonar Producer, and Reaper all on a PC. I've used Protools in a college class, and Garage Band at home both on a Mac.

    I haven't notice a recording quality difference between any of those products. The difference is capabilities and features, workflow, educational tutorials, support, online community forum quality, and price (I'm sure I'm missing some).

    With all that said, I'm a big fan of Reaper that excels in every one of those categories that I listed.

    I think the same can be said for audio interfaces, once you hit a medium level of quality, it's really hard to tell the difference as far as sound quality, at least to me. Important to me is being able to monitor through headphones with no latency when I'm recording tracks (referred to as 'direct monitoring'). Also you want to consider how many tracks you can simultaneously record.

    For what it's worth I use a m-audio delta 44 on my PC desktop, it works great.
    Last edited by fep; 06-05-2015 at 10:54 PM.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  4. #3

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    Another vote for Reaper. Does more than you'll ever need, very reasonable price, software works just as it's supposed to, and there are lots of tutorials available. I also like Focusrite Scarlett interfaces. Easy to integrate with Reaper on a PC and their drivers appear to be rock solid.
    Hell is full of musical amateurs - George Bernard Shaw

  5. #4

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    I use Ableton that came bundled with my Fender Mustang. It has a bit of a learning curve, but I really like it. The Mustang's USB goes straight into my laptop. I also picked up an iRig HD for recording to my iPad using GarageBand and Fender Edition of Amplitube. This is a fun quick and dirty setup that is VERY portable in that I do not 110v power.

    The iRig HD also works well with Ableton through the PC, though I prefer the Mustang IV with Ableton when recording something that I want to be its best.

    Up until I got Ableton, I used Audacity. I prefer Ableton.
    Check out my tracks at www.soundcloud.com/billmcmannis

  6. #5

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    I like Reaper, as it is very resource efficient, but I learned to use it after learning on Protools (with an Mbox 2) -- where I spent about 2-3 years. Any DAW has a learning curve of some sort. I would say if you just want to do simple recordings of single guitar tracks or of live recordings then keep the set-up simple too. A Macbook can be pretty easily configured to record just by using the computer's mic input (with a jack adapter) and using Garage Band, Audacity or Reaper. If you want to get an interface then Presonus or Scarlett units with one or two mic inputs (and sometimes a midi connection) are good options. Older Mboxes (1 and 2s) can also be picked up pretty cheap on eBay. If you want to mic up then Behringer makes some very nice mics that don't cost much. The XM8500 is a great buy. The C-2 condenser set is also very usable.
    Last edited by wildschwein; 06-05-2015 at 11:25 PM.

  7. #6

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    My focuright Scarlet came with Ableton lite and I could just not figure it out. My brother-in-law who is a recording engineer suggested reaper and it is very easy for me to use. I am a fan I'm glad I paid for it


    so, Sennheiser e- 609 into the scarlet into windows seven with reaper
    Edit: yeah I dictated that to my phone, and no I'm not going to fix the mistakes.

  8. #7

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    Yeah Ableton is more for electronic music -- a lot of DJs use it for live performance. It's based mainly on utilising sample libraries. It can be used for regular recording but I don't think it's the best choice.

  9. #8

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    I use an Alesis 8 USB mixer with Audacity 1.x and have no problem using it.
    Regards,

    Gary

  10. #9

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    I use Reaper, which offers an extremely well working/priced recording software together with a Focusrite 2i2, which is good if I want to record 2 channels simultaniously. All my mistakes in time as tone are crystal clear, and it is a very easy operation.

  11. #10

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    If you're trying to record guitar, then you dont need overly complicated studio software packages. All you need is the most basic form of software like GarageBand. All these products will record at a selection of rates that go up so high that you will never need that size of file.

    The Audio interface is where most of the magic happens and if you have the money (although its not too expensive) grab yourself this

    I think its hands down the best D/I interface on the market by a long way

    Universal Audio Apollo Twin SOLO | Sweetwater.com

    It has a High Z input which is designed for guitar.

    The only problem you will have is that the sound of a D/I will always be different from the sound you will get from an amp, lets call it a little more clinical or sterile because you are literally only getting the sound from the pickup.
    The best way is to mic your amp and then record in that way, if you want to maximise your archtop sound.

    I suspect its because when you go straight in with a guitar, you have no movement of air that helps create the over all sound you hear when playing either acoustically or through an amp.
    Last edited by ArchtopHeaven; 06-06-2015 at 06:15 AM.

  12. #11

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    many thanks gentlemen, keep it coming!

  13. #12

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    Used to use a Win 7 desktop and Cubase with a Presonus FireBox interface. Now I use an iPad with a Focusrite iTrack Dock into Auria or Cubasis. The iTrack has an instrument in, 2 line level in, 2 XLR ins with 48v phantom power. With a dock extender cable I am not chained to the desk. Sometimes I use a Sonoma Wire Works Guitar Jack which is powered by the iPad. Then I'm free to record anywhere. No electrical outlet needed.
    Last edited by TedBPhx; 06-06-2015 at 11:30 AM.

  14. #13

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    I use Balance and Propellerhead Reason Essentials sofware with PC. This set work perfect for me...recomended. I use it few years without any problems. https://www.propellerheads.se/products/balance/

  15. #14

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    I don't record straight to my PC because there is always a noticeable latency which I then have to correct. For example the guitar will lag slightly behind the backing track so I have to time shift it in Audacity until it syncs. I don't know if this is because my PC is a bit old, or it's got a basic sound card or what.

    Anyway I prefer to record either to the iPad or to my Korg SOS recorder (neither has latency issues) then transfer everything to the PC for mixing etc. For that I use Audacity which does everything I need.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    I don't record straight to my PC because there is always a noticeable latency which I then have to correct. For example the guitar will lag slightly behind the backing track so I have to time shift it in Audacity until it syncs. I don't know if this is because my PC is a bit old, or it's got a basic sound card or what.

    Anyway I prefer to record either to the iPad or to my Korg SOS recorder (neither has latency issues) then transfer everything to the PC for mixing etc. For that I use Audacity which does everything I need.
    FYI, Reaper has automated latency compensation. I've never had to do a "time shift" with Reaper.
    B+
    Frank (aka fep)

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop View Post
    I don't record straight to my PC because there is always a noticeable latency which I then have to correct. For example the guitar will lag slightly behind the backing track so I have to time shift it in Audacity until it syncs. I don't know if this is because my PC is a bit old, or it's got a basic sound card or what..
    That is because Audacity is not made for this. It is basically an audio EDITING program.

    It also cannot use low latency drivers like ASIO (PC) and Core Audio (MAC).

    Dedicated audio apps like Logic, Cubase, Ableton, Studio One, Garageband are "low latency capable", that is in conjunction with an audio interface with low latency drivers (Asio).

    A mac is, with the right software per default low latency capable. You can have low latency in garageband with no external audio interface connected (playing soft synths with a midi keyboard or even recording vocals with the build-in mic).

    That said you WILL need an audio interface on a mac too to adapt the signal coming out of your guitar. This is called a High-Z input (a jack connection with an input impedance like a guitar amp).

    Th Uber-simplest way is to use a simple interface like a irig HD or apogee jam. Signal goes through the interface into the Mac (ipad and iphone too). Sound comes out of the onboard sound card (headphone output). Latency is really really low and compensated for in the software (Garageband/ Logic/ Reaper/ Studio One/ Cubase/ Ableton...choose your poison...).

    On PC you would have to use an audio interface with dedicated drivers (ASIO drivers). In general the in AND outs are on the interface. ASIO can not combine the input of your interface with the output of another interface!

    With most interfaces you get a light version of an ASIO capable app (Cubase, Ableton et...) that mostly exceeds your basic needs. Especially the basic versions of cubase (Cubase AI) are quite potent. Ableton is generally limited to 8 tracks in the light version.

    Choose the interface with the lowest latency possible. Manufacturers of said interface tend to cheat in their sales pitch ...The brand with the best track record in the field of latency (excellent ASIO drivers) is RME. But RME is not cheap and not needed right away.

    The interfaces with THE BEST (below 1 millisecond "round trip") latency figures are the recently developed thunderbolt interfaces (UAD, Zoom, soon also Focusrite), but to my knowledge they are Mac only and quite (very) expensive...

    The best you can do if you want to decide on an interface is to do a google of said interface with the words "problems" or "latency" or "latency problems" etc...You will get educated in no time :-).

    Ah, and with some interfaces (I know which ones...) there are reports of guitar inputs being too sensitive resulting in clipping (not the nice distortion of an amp) of the input. Doing a google search with "name interface"+ guitar input clipping is also a safe measure...

    Hope this helps a bit...

    Hugo
    Last edited by HugoJacquet; 06-06-2015 at 06:53 PM. Reason: adding info

  18. #17

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    +1 for Reaper. Good price, lots of updates, good user community. On a Mac I prefer Reaper but Garage Band is great and relatively simple to use.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep View Post
    FYI, Reaper has automated latency compensation. I've never had to do a "time shift" with Reaper.
    Audacity also has a feature like that, I just preferred the 'precision control' of doing it manually. It was easy enough to do.

  20. #19

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    Zoom G3 as USB interface into a Macbook or iPad with Garageband is what I use. The Zoom is also used as headphone practice tool with rhythm and looper, as multi fx into a guitar amp and as multi fx/amp modeler direct into mixer and PA for live use. Consider a Zoom (or Pod etc) with USB audio interface instead of a general purpose audio interface, unless you are determined to mic up real amps.

  21. #20

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    Take a look at the Fender Mustang I as a recording amp - aux in, headphone and USB out, teriffic modelling, tonal and effects possibilities and a fine practice amp, all for about $125 or less. Used, about $75.

    Garageband works fine, and is simple to use.

  22. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by 0zoro View Post
    I use Reaper, which offers an extremely well working/priced recording software together with a Focusrite 2i2, which is good if I want to record 2 channels simultaniously. All my mistakes in time as tone are crystal clear, and it is a very easy operation.
    This is what I have as well. I put in another vote for this set up, fumble. Really easy plug and play . Really brainless, especially compared to the days when you had to take the PC apart and install a soundcard .

    After using cakewalk, can't imagine living without slip editing and some of the automation controls that it had. Used to, you had to pay several hundred dollars for those kind of features in recording software, and then hundreds more to upgrade periodically . Reaper is super cheap and Has all of it. You get so much more, per dollar, out of that $40 software then you get for the zero-dollar audacity.

  23. #22

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    I'm trying get this together too. I'm considering the Fosusrite 2i2 and the Tascam 366. I'll probably go with the 2i2 because Guitar Center has them in stock. Easy return if need be.
    I usually use Sound Forge but I came across a nice free audio editor called Wavosaur.

    Wavosaur free audio editor with VST and ASIO support

  24. #23

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    I'm going to try this one;

    PreSonus | AudioBox i Series

    Unlike most of the smaller PreSonus units this has line-level input. Don't need the iPad thing but it won't hurt. Never had any problems with my old FireBox so I'll stick with PreSonus.

  25. #24

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    I use a focusrite interface with cubase. Easy to use and low latency. To my ears, focusrite has better mic pres than others for the price, although I have only used Tascam and Presonus other than focusrite.

    One thing I do is go to the company website who is making the interface before I would consider buying to see the last time they updated their audio driver....some companies never do...

  26. #25

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    I started with Focusrite 2i2 several years ago. Recently upgraded to 18i20 to get more inputs. I would have settled for 4 mic inputs (18i8), but I found a restock 18i20 sold as new from a dealer for about the same price as the new 18i8.

    I have decided to keep the 2i2 in the family. It's really convenient, powered by the USB port. You can pack everything you need for a small rig into one case.

    Focusrite Forte looks like a nice piece.

    Presonus is supposed to be pretty good, the interfaces and their recording software Studio One.

    Whatever you buy, you almost can't go wrong. Quality is pretty standard. So I looked at specific things. For example I favored metal boxes over plastic and other sort of secondary features.

    You don't really need to spend a lot. But if you want to pay up, there are some hot choices, like UA Apollo.

    Happy tracking!

  27. #26

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    Zoom G3 & GarageBand hands downRecording guitar with your computer.🏼

  28. #27

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    Or - maybe you should consider to switch over to Linux. There are two main guitar amp simulator apps, with lots of presets (including few cool jazz presets) Rakarrack and Guitarix. You can record and monitor guitar in virtually real time, if you configure your system right, in DAW's like Ardour, Qtractor, Muse or in Audacity. Plenty of plugins and utilities like tuners, metronomes, great rhythm machine - Hydrogen.

    But, what I like the most, and the reason I switched from Windows is the fact that I can play the guitar while watching YouTube videos and other multimedia content online and offline in real time, with a decent sound and loudness, virtually no noise - and all that with an average sound card and an average computer in general. Furthermore, transcribing is easier with playing the guitar in real time, slowing down the tune in players like VLC and writing it down with MuseScore or Impro-Visor, the free and open source equivalents to Finale and BIAB, having headphones and not bothering anyone in the house. Needles to say, that's a great environment for learning to play. I've turned my laptop into a personal jazz guitar academy I couldn't do that in Windows. It was close to it in Windows 8.1 with the WASAPI shared mode in Reaper, but there was a noticeable lag anyway.

    And yeah, you get all thatl for free (and your valuable time to learn how to get around, but that's the part of the fun anyway, plus you get that geeky vibe and feel )
    Last edited by aleksandar; 08-05-2015 at 12:30 PM.

  29. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by fumblefingers View Post
    Hey gang. I'm not a gear head and admit to being a complete novice when it comes to recording guitar for small, individual projects.

    Do you use a Mac laptop with Garage Band and an audio interface?

    Do you use Audacity on a PC (I'm not wild about Audacity)

    Do you have any preferences among audio interfaces such as the following 2 or others?

    Presonus Audiobox USB
    Scarlett 2i2:

    I apologize for the state of cluelessness on the topic, and thanks in advance!

    If you want to save a lot of time and grief.

    1 Buy a Mac Pro
    2 Buy one of the Apollo interfaces
    3 buy one good microphone....doesn't have to be a boutique one. A Shure SM7B .....about $700 will be great is is a go to for many working engineers. Jack of all trades and quite un colored.
    4 find out if Garage Band works with the interface you choose, if not buy Logic ProX. For what you want it will be quite simple to learn. You only need to learn what you need it for. It's about $300 and works well with Apollo interface.

    I don't get the impression that you want to go cheap and waste your time problem solving.

    just my 2c but I've been in the game all my life and recording and writing is how I make my living.

    Buy the best you can afford and good luck.

  30. #29

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    OP, what platform are you accustomed to? Mac, PC, tablet?

  31. #30

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    I am interested in the Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 because of positive reviews (in this forum, too). I would like to use it mainly to record the electrical output from the guitar directly. (And have the option to record from a mic.)

    I've been to a shop to inform about it. Now the trouble is that the software that comes with it (a basic version of Ableton), does not seem to allow for guitar amp/cabinet modelling. That would mean that you can only record the 'naked' guitar sound, which won't be very pleasant. The guy from the shop recommended the Guitar Rig add-on (€ 199,-). But that removes the charm of having a relatively low-budget solution.

    So, what software would I need to get amp modelling? (Don't want anything wild, just a nice semi-acoustic bebop sound.)
    Or would it be smarter to buy an audio interface that allows for amp modelling out of the box? (e.g. Line 6 UX-1 or Zoom G3X.)

    BTW: I have a Windows PC.
    Last edited by Wilfred2; 12-12-2015 at 02:32 PM.

  32. #31

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    You might consider a mobile-device based amp modeler like the Bias amps that run on most tablets and smart phones. that and a good digital adaptor to plug the guitar into the phone, and you can output often directly to the computer via USB. Or you can output to some other box if you want to mix with another signal.

  33. #32

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    To keep things simple, get an irig HD (recently upgraded to 24/96 resolution), and learn how to use garageband on your ipad or imac - the irig HD has connectors for each. Later, you can go in other directions. Some of the advice above is too complex for a newbie, IMO.

  34. #33

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    Thanks for the advice, guys!

    The Bias Amp software looks quite advanced. (A bit too advanced for my purposes, actually.)
    Keeping things simple is certainly a good idea, if you want to spend your time playing guitar instead of struggling with software. (I didn't really )-:
    Working with a mobile device is probably a great solution if you need to travel frequently with your gear, but that's not really relevant for me at the moment. Besides, I'm worried about a possible delay of the signal. (See below.)
    There seems to be more music software available for Apple devices than for Windows, and often at a (much) lower price. However, I am not yet motivated enough to move to an Apple device.

    I will describe my solution here, hoping it might be helpful for somebody.

    I bought the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, as was my original plan. It has 2 inputs for microphone or direct input from guitar. (Only tried direct input from guitar so far.) (Besides, it's great as an external DAC/headphone amplifier!) It comes with Ableton Live software. From what I read, this software would be aimed more at creating electronic music than at recording, but I found it very easy to record several tracks, or import a backing track from an mp3 file and record a solo on top of it. (I probably use about 1% of the capabilities of the program...) Using the monitor feature of the Focusrite, I can hear the existing tracks together with what I am currently playing on my headphones.

    A big desire was to have some sort of amp/cabinet simulation. Ableton Live has some basic amp simulations, but I didn't find them convincing. Several plug-ins (effects) for Ableton Live can be downloaded for free, based on the Focusrite license, but no amp simulation. (I haven't installed them all yet. It's not all plug and play :-( But I like the Softube TSAR-1R Reverb, that sounds like a very natural room response.)

    I also downloaded the free variant of Line6 POD Farm. This includes a few amplifiers/cabinets/effects. (Not enough to be able to use the Wes Montgomery preset )-: There should be free variants of GuitarRig and AmpliTube as well.
    I spent much more time fiddling with the settings than I intended, but I reached a satisfying clean bebop sound with the following simulated signal chain: PowerAmp (Line6) (This is a neutrally sounding amp) --> Brit Celest cabinet + dynamic mic (Line6) --> 'Console' preamp (Line6) (This has a 4-band equalizer. Rolled the highs a bit down.) --> [Spring reverb (Line6)] --> TSAR-1R Reverb (Softube).

    Something I would have liked, is to hear the processed guitar sound through the headphones (or speakers) while playing. But unfortunately, this is only possible with a noticeable delay.

    I plan to look at the recording software of AmpliTube later. It seems to be simpler than Ableton Live, and to have useful features for practising.

    Final note: I hoped to come close to what Jack Zucker posted elsewhere in this forum. (See links below.) I'm not there yet, but that will have something to do with the quality of my guitar and my playing.

    Links:
    Recording Jazz Guitar

    5 Tips for Purchasing a DAW | GuitarPlayer

  35. #34

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    Yes Ableton Live is marketed for live usage, but I found it really easy to use to record a few audio tracks, say guitar and vocals one after the other. I later tried and gave up to use Cubase, which I found overcomplicated for that task. But of course, I got familiar with Ableton over the years and I did not invest into following the learning curve for Cubase.

    The delay of hearing the guitar played back is due to the software latency. A good value is a few ms. Achieving this requires a good audio interface, an ASIO audio driver (not the default OS one), and a reasonably fast processor.
    And also in a later step, tweaking the OS for audio performance, basically preventing audio useless software to run on the machine while recording: no fancy windows graphic like aero, no network connection, no antivirus or other monitoring software, etc ..

    Using ASIO audio drivers is key, default Windows driver leads to delay on the order of a few 100 ms, which is not usable for playing while hearing using a headset.

    On a 2.5Ghz core 2 old laptop, using a top quality RME Fireface UC audio interface, I achieved a 6ms delay using Ableton (network connected). On my new 3.5Ghz Xeon PC from XI-machines, same interface, I'm now at 3ms with no effort at all to improve it.

    I guess most reasonable quality audio interfaces allow to reach 10 ms or so delay
    Perfection is in the Details, but Perfection isn't a Detail (Leonardo da Vinci)

  36. #35

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    The thing about recording on the computer and recording guitar is that it is a journey. I am not a great Jazz guitarist, although reasonable at the kind of music I do, but I am getting good at working with Cubase. I can make what I play in Cubase sound pretty good. However, like all the old lags on this site who talk about really playing jazz, it comes at a cost and that means you have to put the time into learning about the whole process.

    There is no substitute for learning your software. It does not really matter what it is. Logic, Reaper, Cubase or ProTools, they all demand a certain intimacy. You have to go through the rookie stage - the "oh my God I can't do this" stage - the I'm never going to master this stage. You can't master parallel compression or side-chaining until you have a thorough understanding of the architecture of your chosen DAW. The basics, as always, are the start of the learning curve. There is no avoiding it or no alternative.

    Your first recordings may well be utter rubbish, but they will improve. Just think back to when you started playing. You may well find that you make all the wrong decisions about equipment because you were too impatient to do the proper research. You may lose interest because of the time it takes to produced polished results. However there is nothing like writing and producing your own work. You will find out things about your playing that you never imagined and it will force you to be far more realistic about your interests and ambitions.

    I dealt with the latency issue by buying a Kemper Profiling Amp and direct monitoring with it. It has given me some of the best clean sounds I have ever heard - well from myself. You can direct monitor with any amp sim that has a standalone version, provided your sound card allows you to monitor two or more applications.

    I started off with Cubase on the Atari using a cassette base recorder. I have created more terrible sounding recordings than you can imagine. However, I have also had more fun than you could believe. Especially when working with others.

  37. #36

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    Yet another Reaper fan. I agree with fep, great software!

  38. #37

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    Try JamUp, it's free and you can buy effects and amps ehen you need them, JamUp pro comes with more amps and effects than the free version

    In terms of sound quality is the best and also has a mixer, you can load you backing track and record with a decent quality. It also comes with metronome, tuner and looper/sampler.

    I gave it a try some days ago and I was able to dial a nice fender sound and record a song in 10 min.

    IMO is the best all-in-one software for guitar atm

  39. #38

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    Another +1 for Reaper. I use a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 for the interface.

  40. #39

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    Wilfred2,

    As stated above I use Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 and Reaper. However, I read about your latency problem with the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. The 18i20 uses Scarlett Mix Control in the background to interface with Reaper. I don't know what the 2i2 uses, but if it uses a Scarlett Mix Control to interface with your DAW, then open up the Scarlett Mix Control and go to the settings and select something like 3ms or so and that should completely eliminate your latency problem with the 2i2. Make sure have chosen the Focusrite Scarlett ASIO in your DAW. Hope this helps.

  41. #40

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    2i2 doesn't use mix control, but it has a "Direct Monitor" switch on the front panel. Set the switch to "On" and there will be absolutely zero latency between what you're listening to and what you're playing.

    Use of ASIO driver is important in the audio hardware settings.

  42. #41

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    Thanks Ken Bennett for correcting that for me. I've never used the 2i2, just the 18i20 from the Focusrite lineup. While the Mix Control software for the 18i20 also has a "Direct Monitor" option (via software, not a hardware switch), one would not be able to hear any effects such as reverb, that they may have applied in their DAW. But if one has latency problems it is a viable solution.

  43. #42

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    May be a free plug in would work for you.

    I did find this video. (I did not watch it myself.)

  44. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanielleOM View Post
    May be a free plug in would work for you.

    I did find this video. (I did not watch it myself.)
    Just realized all these examples are high gain. You could probably search further and find something.