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Great problems to have - testing DI Recording with 4 heavy hitters

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by monsterthompson, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. monsterthompson

    monsterthompson The Eighth Note Wonder Of The World Supporting Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    I'm taking some time today to mess around with DI recordings on my three different amps. I've been neglecting figuring out a regular setup for each, so I am trying to fine tune levels and EQ. I'm in way over my head and it will take mes some time to get sorted, so I don't think clips are in order yet. But I will tell you what I'm working with, and what I've noticed so far.

    Rig = Nash P > amp DI > Mbox > Logic > NAD stereo amp > B&W tower speakers

    1 - Mesa Buster - very articulate tone. Tough to get a boomy doom bass sound out of it, though it seems to do that sound live. Probably my favorite so far for articulation. Doesn't quite punch or boom or overdrive with the settings I've tried (including bumping the gain and bass while dumping the highs). The graphic EQ is great for fine tuning mids.

    2 - Mesa Walkabout - much darker and warmer. Easy to coax a bit of overdrive. The biggest issue is that the Master level seems to impact the DI level, so it is tough to do a quiet recording (my understanding is that Mesa suggests keeping a speaker load on the amp, though I've read posts saying folks are running it without speaker load and having no issues). The para EQ seems to have quite a bit of sculpting potential, but the amp is naturally warm and dark. The most compressed levels of the bunch I'm toying with now; with the gain at noon or higher, the input levels stay well within a limited range.

    3 - Monique - a nice blend of the two. It seems to give me more warmth than the Buster and better articulation than the Walkabout. It also has the most dynamic range so far; finger technique seems to make the levels move, so I need to bring my A-game. I tried plugging in a Diamond BCP1 to help me out with my slop, and it certainly helps. It is interesting to note how much the level moves with the Sensitivity and EQ adjustments, even when the audible change doesn't seem very drastic.

    All three of the above seem to have low levels of noise. To my hacker ear, nothing stands out as audible (not using headphones).

    4 - Darkglass B7k - I just remembered this does DI, so I need to plug this in. I've recorded with it before for fuzzed metal sounds. It will be interesting to see how it handles.
    Edit - it seems to do clean enough settings @ 100% blend and low gain. It feels hollow, but not in a bad way. Obviously, it overdrives up top, but it doesn't seem to get phat or growly, even with the fat setting engaged and the bass and low mids boosted. Definitely the best overdrive of the bunch when pushed, since that is what it is designed for. Probably the right tool for a dense mix, or to flavor an already solid tone with some blending.

    If anyone has questions about these, I'd be happy to try to answer them. If anyone has suggestions, I'd appreciate those too.

    Right now, I'm just trying to get good, clean, even levels, and a sense of what each one can do. I have tried blending the Buster and Walkabout signal, with nice results. I've also been trying the built in compressors in Logic and noticing they have quite a range of sounds (the FET one seems to clip pretty easily, while the others haven't done that). Once I get a better sense of things, perhaps I'll lay down a few tracks of each to see how they compare, but first I need to figure out a "level" playing field (pardon the pun).
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    The Walkabout is not a tube amp, so there's no need to keep a speaker load on it. Only amps with output transformers need a speaker load, and that includes the vast majority of tube amps and hardly any SS amps (the only SS amps with an output tranny being made that I know of is the high end Warwick Hellborg power amps). And those little Jensen OT's don't count ;)