How do I record electric guitars without an amplifier?
It may sound like a simple question but what is the best way to record electric guitars without micing up an amplifier cabinet? With a plethora of a software amplifiers out there we have a means to closely approximate this sound. Amplitube by Ik multimedia and various other plugins have many different tone flavours from a Marshall plexi stack to a Fender Champ but do they sound great when you plug your guitar straight into your soundcard?
First of all, your soundcard need to have a high impedance input. It may say 'Hi Z' or 'DI' or even have a switch for 'instruments' but essential this is crucial for getting a good tone from guitar or bass. If this is not available on your soundcard then your are going to need a DI box that will perform a similar function as the 'HiZ' input and in most cases it will be better due to more dedicated specific components used like transformers that eliminate ground hum.
An even better way is to use a guitar amp pre amplifier, this takes care of any impedance issue and also helps with tone. I personally use the pre amp of a vintage tube amplifier. It conveniently has output leads from its pre amp section that I use to go into my mixer. If you are doing this you will need to make sure that if the power section is still powered that a 'dummy load' is attached to the speaker output of the amp. If you don't do this then it could lead to failure down the line. The 'Dummy load' is replicated the resistance of the speaker so a simple circuit of high powered resistors will do the trick. Four 3.9OHM 30watt resistors would be suitable for most amps,