Dumb (naive) question probably about DAWs


dlwalke
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Joined: 02/02/19
Posts: 240

So I'm coming back to guitar after a 35 year or so respite. Taking lessons here at GT and enjoying myself. I was just visiting the Brian May Guitar website and see that they have added a new product called AmpliTube that is suppose to model BM's guitar tone. I guess this has something to do with DAWs but I am really ignorant about all that. The description says "a brand new signature collection of amps, speaker cabinets, pedals and signal processors meticulously modeled after the actual equipment used by the legendary guitarist and available NOW in a stunningly designed Mac and PC compatible desktop app and plug-in for your DAW."

Again, I know next to nothing about DAWs. There is a video on the site showing someone playing a guitar demonstrating different Brian May sounds with this software. I thought though that this type of software was just used in recording rather than actual playing. Am I wrong? With this software (and whatever associated hardware I would need) would I be able to play my guitar and have it sound like this (minus the good guitar skills) in real time? Does it also function sort of like a pedal where I could send my guitar signal through this and then into an amp?

Thanks for your insights,

Dave


# 1
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 7,929

Glad you are enjoying GT!

Originally Posted by: dlwalke

I was just visiting the Brian May Guitar website and see that they have added a new product called AmpliTube that is suppose to model BM's guitar tone.

[p]DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation. It's essentially a computer program that you can use to record & produce music.

Amplitube is a standalone computer program that you can use to plug your guitar into your computer (through a specialized sound card or a USB interface). This essentially turns your computer into a powerful effects unit! The software in Amplitube "models", or is written to simulate the guitar sounds of various artists & pieces of gear (amps, effects, speakers, mics, etc.).

You can also use Amplitiube in conjunction with a DAW in order to use it in creating musical audio. In this application it's called a plug-in because you are "plugging" it into the DAW, instead of just using it as a standalone program.

All this software is usually pretty easy to learn to use. But there is a learning curve. And what is not often mentioned is that you need a decent computer to run this gear. Also that in order to get a decent level of sound quality you will need a good sound card & speakers.

These videos capture some of the process.

Basics of DAW

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqMrgQ0bHYo

Intro to Amplitube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_cza47ha5Q

Hope that helps!


Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

Christopher Schlegel Lesson Directory
# 2
William MG
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Joined: 03/08/19
Posts: 1,394

Hi Dave,

I see Christopher already posted, but this took me some time to put together so I am posting it anyway and hopefully between the 2 you get what you are looking for.

[u]I guess this has something to do with DAWs[/u]

It looks like a piece of software, that can act as a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). A DAW itself is just a piece of software that accepts audio signal and allows you to record and manipulate it on a pc or mac. Personally, I use Audacity which is free, but that is only used when we want to record.

[u]The description says "a brand new signature collection of amps, speaker cabinets, pedals and signal processors meticulously modeled after the actual equipment used by the legendary guitarist and available NOW in a stunningly designed Mac and PC compatible desktop app and plug-in for your DAW."[/u]

So this sounds like what you are buying is an effects package like you would find on a effects board such as a Zoom G3N as an example (I use this one in my example because it is the one we use and I can speak to it).

Effects boards (and by the sounds of it this product) provide a series of software patches designed to add an audio effect to your guitar signal. These effects can be anything – delay, reverb, crunch, and so on. It is pretty much limitless. And in addition, most boards and it sounds like this software package as well, will include some presets that will give you a simulated sound of a Vox AC30, or a Mesa or a certain cab, or a certain pedal etc. Again, it is pretty much endless what can be replicated through software.

But I am confused on if you can use this software download as a DAW. The website leads me to believe you can, but in the line above it states “desktop app and plug-in for your DAW." So this could mean that perhaps you already have a DAW you are using (such as Audacity in my case) and you want to stick with it rather than use something new, which would require a new learning curve. DAW software can be complicated to come to grips with, so in my case, I would not want to switch to something new as what I already have works for what I want to do.

[u]There is a video on the site showing someone playing a guitar demonstrating different Brian May sounds with this software. I thought though that this type of software was just used in recording rather than actual playing. Am I wrong?[/u]

Yes, your mistaken on this. Hopefully these chain diagrams make sense:

#1) Guitar -> Amplifier

#2) Guitar -> EB -> Amplifier

#3) Guitar -> EB -> Interface -> DAW

#1) would be your normal setup. Plug your guitar into your amp and play away. Your guitar audio signal can only be shaped by the controls on your guitar and your amp (gain, volume, master volume etc)

#2) would be plugging your guitar into an Effects Board (or this software package *) and then into your amp. This would allow you to be very creative with your sound and you could pretty much shape anything you wanted provided the effects you are looking for are included in your software. Your effects board would be plugged into the clean channel of the amp.

#3) basically the same as #2) with the exception that instead of plugging into your amp, the EB would be plugged into an Interface such as a mixer (I use an ArtTube) or as shown in the video on the website, an AXE I/O. This interface gets plugged into your pc (mine uses a USB cable). Now that you are sending your guitar signal into your PC and the DAW software, you have a very clean signal to record which you can then modify or manipulate in any number of ways depending on what you want to do with it. But that is way too complicated for this discussion. The output audio would typically be played through headphones or studio monitors.

[u]With this software (and whatever associated hardware I would need) would I be able to play my guitar and have it sound like this (minus the good guitar skills) in real time? Does it also function sort of like a pedal where I could send my guitar signal through this and then into an amp?[/u]

Yes and yes.

* and other options:

In #2) above I reference plugging your guitar into this software package. To do this you do need an interface. I mention 2 but I also use an iRig2. Its pretty cheap and available on Amazon.

The reason I am talking about this, is that with the iRig2 and a software app called Tone Bridge installed on your smart phone or tablet, you can get a huge array of pre-made tones – for instance Queen. So you might want to try this 1st. The app is free and iRig2 is cheap. By downloading the app you can search for what is available and I can say from experience so far so good. The tones created on Tone Bridge sound pretty close to the real thing to me.

Hope this helped.


# 3
dlwalke
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Joined: 02/02/19
Posts: 240

Thanks a bunch. That was very helpful info. I'll definitely check out iRig2. One of the things I have wondered about with respect to some software I've seen and also some pedals (e.g., this one) that are suppose to give you the sound of a certain type or style of amp is that you're playing through another amp typically. So if you have some software that is suppose to impart the sound of a Marshall stack but you're playing it through a Fender Twin Reverb, how does that work, or does it?


# 4
fuzzb0x
Registered User
Joined: 04/02/13
Posts: 555

if it was me, i would go down the route of starting off with something like a Line 6 pod (loads on ebay second hand), it has loads of amp models and effects already loaded and you can link it up to your DAW of choice (Reaper has a free 30 day tial and has lots of tutorials on youtube) through an audio interface and start recording straight away. The Pod can also work off headphones or be linked up to an amp, it's a cheap and easy way to get started and then if you decide to at a later date you can upgrade to something more expensive.


# 5
William MG
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Joined: 03/08/19
Posts: 1,394

It will still work, but there is a compromise because as you point out you are running the effect through another amp. So it would be best to run it through the clean channel of your amp, IF it has a clean channel. If your amp does not have a clean channel the best advice I can think of would be to keep your tones at center and experiment with the gain, volume and master volume until you arrive at what sounds right to your ears.

It will never be the real thing but you can get it close enough to make the experimenting worth your time.


# 6
matonanjin2
Registered User
Joined: 08/11/17
Posts: 357
Originally Posted by: dlwalke

Again, I know next to nothing about DAWs.

Dave

Dave, if you want to go down the rabbit hole of DAW's and home recording I found this to be a very good guide, Home Recording for Beginners. It helped me a lot. It starts you on a 30 day project of a recording session and provides you all the raw files to work with. Day one you load the software and set up your system, one of the first few days you do some recording. In there you do some retakes and finally on day 30 you render all the files to a finished audio files.

In the project you have the choice of using the sample files or you can do some recording and use your own files.

The book is not cheap, a $50 investment, but I think worth it.

It uses Reaper for the DAW and comes with a trial of it. @fuzzb0x said that Reaper comes with a 30 fee trial but I actually think that is 90 days. It used to be 90; I've had it a long time and maybe they have changed it. But it gives you a lot of time to try it to decide if recording is for you and if Reaper will be your DAW. There are lots of training videos on their site and a really helpful forum.

Good luck in your venture into recording.


[u]Guitars:[/u] 2014 PRS Santana, 2013 PRS Paul's, 2009 PRS Hollowbody, 1972 Gibson ES-325, 2012 Fender Strat American Standard, 2012 Yamaha Pacifica, Martin M-36, Martin 000-15M, Seagull S6 Classic[br][u]Amps:[/u] Fender Blues Junior III, Boss Eband JS-10, Line 6 POD 500X, Quilter Microblock 45

# 7
rsg.gill
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Joined: 12/17/18
Posts: 22

Dave,

I own the iRig HD 2. I have bought a number of the Amplitube sims on iOS, include the Brian May pack. I connect my iRig to an iPad (or iPhone) and then into headphones. Sounds pretty good. I use it for 'family room' practice. I can fire up a song on Spotify and play along using the iRIg. Everything comes through the headphones. I've even run Guitar Tricks lessons on the iPad using the iRig.

I've played around with the PC version of Amplitube too but don't use it very often.

Let me know if you need more info.

Ron


# 8
William MG
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Joined: 03/08/19
Posts: 1,394

I put this together at my morning practice. It will show you the iRig2 and Tone Bridge

Tone Bridge


# 9
dlwalke
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Joined: 02/02/19
Posts: 240

Wow, thanks all for this treasure trove of information. William, that video was really helpful (and well done). Thanks so much for putting that together!


# 10
William MG
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Joined: 03/08/19
Posts: 1,394

You're welcome DL, glad it helped


# 11
snojones
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Joined: 04/17/13
Posts: 679

Being a computer idiot, I bought a DAW, and I could never get the thing to work.  Gave up and went back to practicing the guitar. 


Captcha is a total pain in the........

# 13
manXcat
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Joined: 02/17/18
Posts: 1,425
#13 Originally Posted by: snojones

Being a computer idiot, I bought a DAW, and I could never get the thing to work.  Gave up and went back to practicing the guitar. 

IMPE developing competency with a DAW is a marathon snojones. Stick with it if they are a tool you'll use. They do require application and perseverence.

I certainly haven't found one I'd consider intuitive yet, and I've tried a few. I don't find them fun either.

The one I like most when the need calls is Presonus Studio One. Presonus used to offer three versions one of which, Prime, was free to DL and use. IDK if they still offer Prime now they're up to Studio One 6? I suspect they have abandoned it and gone over to annual/monthly subscription model Sphere with a 30 day free trial (requires CC signup, you know the drill).   The other two versions, Artist and Pro, you have to buy. 

I use Presonus Artist. It's all I need.


Cheers mate.


# 13