Long story short: I've been producing electronic music for a long time now, so I have a very good amount of knowledge on mixing, special effects and mastering, but I have never EVER recorded anything directly - with a microphone or even DI. Everything I've done is:

1.) Sample/Sampler Based

2.) Synth Based

So, now I've got a friend who is interested in recording some meta guitars - he's also a good singer..., but I've no idea how to get that sound. He only has a 50W fender amp, and I own a classic Meteoro Vulcano 200W. He also owns a turbo distorsion 2 and I've got a RP100a

At the moment I have no money to buy any equipment - usually electronics are way expensive here in Brazil, maybe a VST or two.

We were thinking something rather trash metal, like Metallica Seek and Destroy or Slayers Raining Blood, maybe even Iced Earth's Something Wicked This Way Comes.

I was thinking about getting some mxl microphones for vocals, could those be used for guitars?

But to be honest, I was thinking on recording everything clean DI and then trying to work the distortion with soft effects - so my main question is:

How can I gest the best sound out of a guitar that's being recorded with direct input ?

2 Answers 2


In the studio I record my guitars directly in to Cubase or Guitar Rig with no distortion before the record chain. This way I can alter the effects precisely (I pop them in the effects loop) and is the way most studio work seems to go with other bands I know. If you do mic up your amps, you can get a very live sound, but it takes a lot of work to get it clean enough if you don't have a well soundproofed studio.

At home, depending on what software you currently use, there are some okay VST plugins, but you might be better off trying a dedicated guitar effects app.

For free software effects, you could look at older versions of Guitar Rig - version 3 appears to be free. It isn't as good as the latest version, but should still be able to provide you with some good thrashy distortion.

Alternatively, Rakarrack is free for Linux and is a full featured equivalent of Guitar Rig.

  • 1
    Almost the perfect answer: Get me any alternative to Guitar Rig - I simply don't want to use it.
    – Johnny Bigoode
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 18:34
  • Rakarrack is excellent if you run Linux - don't think they have any plans to make a windows version. And if you like Cubase or any software that copes with VST's there are quite a few available.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 19:55
  • @Johnny Bigoode: my favourite distortion/amp simulator plugin is iZotope Trash, you may want to try this. It deliberately stays away from too much Guitar-Rig-style "analog pedal chain" metaphors, which is part of what I like about it. Not exactly cheap, though. Dr Mayhem, I don't have any exact statistics but I think most professional guitarists still prefer to record with a microphone from their amps, as filzilla says. Which doesn't mean that it's necessarily better, but it certainly has its charme.
    – leftaroundabout
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 20:56
  • Huh, really? I already own Trash, it's great for leads and screaming acid synths - never occurred to me using it with guitar sounds.
    – Johnny Bigoode
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 21:13
  • 1
    @leftaroundabout - I agree, but it isn't a cheap or convenient way to do it for someone without a studio.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Feb 13, 2012 at 21:14

Dr. Mayhem has offered some very good solutions for 'direct in' recording however, I would like to add a note about live recording. Many guitarist especially blues players think of the electric guitar as only half of their tone, the other half being their amp. These folks spend hours having their vacuum tube amps tweaked for optimum bias of the power tubes and as well as seeking out the best sounding NOS tubes for power and preamp sections. That being said, they are very happy with their live sound. A heavy metal guitarist with a Fender amp, may be a good candidate for having his tone captured with a mic. A standard practice done for years by blues guitarists is to have a mic (typically a Shure SM-57) placed on the upper corner of the amp. Here are some links on this:


This fella demonstrates how placing the mic at different places near the speaker affect tone.

The "rub" part: To record an amp like this, it may have to be cranked pretty loud before the desired tone becomes present, so be prepared to find a place that is isolated enough so that the local police don't come knock on your door.

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