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Amplifier Emulators take the Direct Box to another level, not only coupling an electric instrument to a console or DAW without the need of a microphone, but adding the sound of an amplifier and speaker cabinet as well. There are some tips and tricks for using one that I think you'll find useful. The amplifier emulator, which is basically a glorified active direct box, has been around for some time now. It's become a staple of just about any recording studio. In the DAW world, there are many amplifier emulator plug-ins available that you can insert on a track, which allow you to continue to adjust your sound during mixing.
An emulator attempts to electronically duplicate the sound of different guitar and bass amplifiers, speaker cabinets, and even miking schemes. The advantages of an emulator are that it provides a quick and easy setup. Gives a very wide tonal variation and provides the proper interface to just about any recording device. While they may not sound as realistic as a properly miked amplifier in a great studio with a terrific signal chain, they can provide a more than adequate substitute if you don't have any of those pieces available. Let's give a listen to a clean guitar sound that's been passed into an amp emulator, so you can hear what I'm talking about.
(music playing) If you're using an amplifier emulator, here are a few tricks.
Use an impulse response reverb plug-in like Altiverb or TL Space to find a good spring reverb or room setting to make it sound a bit more realistic. If you're recording directly into the computer, and then into an Amps Emulator, use a short cable to minimize hum and buzz. Most Amps Emulators like to be hit with a hot signal. So Les Pauls often sounds far better than Teles or Strats. The hotter the pickups, the better the Amp Emulator sounds. Try driving the input stage up to distortion, then back off a bit. If you're recording directly into the computer, listen to how your pickups react to the computer display and move around computer until you find a sweet spot with the least amount of noise.
By using these tips, you find that you'll get the most realistic sound with the least amount of noise from your Amp Emulator.
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