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Creating Professional Guitar Sound on PC

  • Guitar as an electric signal source, guitar pickup's characteristics.
  • How do Guitars Monsters make their great sound. Professional Analog guitar effects boxes, Ibanes Tube Screamer, Power Tube Amplifiers, Mesa Boogie, Marshall Guitar Speakers, SansAmp.
  • Hardware Digital Audio Effects and Guitar Processors, BOSS, Digitech.
  • Sound Cards
  • use good sound card for digitizing guitar signals with signal to noise ration 80 db or better, non-linear distortions 0.1% or better.
  • Using Personal Computer for applying Effects to guitar signals, advances of 32 bit processing's in modern WAVE editors CoolEdit Pro, WaveLab, SAW, Sound Forge and ActiveX DX/ASIO/VST plug-ins.
  • Noise problem, 60 Hz filter, white noise, noise reduction units
  • Software Tube Amplifiers Simulators
  • Software Analogue distortions simulators
  • Equalizations, filters
  • Flanger, Chorus, Pitch Shifter
  • Software Reverb plug-ins, Waves, CoolEdit, WaveLab, Sound Forge

Guitar as an electric signal source, guitar pickup's characteristics.

Guitar with pickups produces electric signals according to vibrations of guitar strings. The signal quality and properties depend of type of pickups and many other conditions. But pickups produce electric signals for further amplification and processing so I explain it in details.

Single Coil Pickup: Old Fender pickups are single coil units. This compares to Gibson, which started using double coil (Humbucking) pickups in 1957. Single coil pickups have a single slab of wound wire around magnet(s). Single coil pickups are easily influenced by outside noise. This would include 60-cycle hum and fluorescent lights. Signal noise ration for this type of pickups is around 65..75 dB.

Humbucking pickup: This type of pickup has two single coils combined into one unit. Each coil is reverse wound so that the hum from first coil cancels the hum from the second. Signal noise ration for this type of pickups is around 75..85 dB.

The longer the pickup wire and more turns used, the higher the resistance. Also the higher the resistance, the louder or "hotter" the pickup. But be aware, higher resistance comes at a cost: lose of treble frequencies. This is why single coil pickups have more treble and less output than Humbucking pickups (which use two coils). Hence Humbucking pickups have more mid-range and are "hotter". Also this is why single coil pickups that are wound with tons of wire (to approach Humbucking ohms) don't sound very good.

Usually pickups have the resistance around 5..9 kOhms and produce electric signals around 0.1..0.5 Volts. Both resistance and output voltage of guitar pickups are not very bad for microphone or line input of ordinal sound cards.

How do Guitars Monsters make their great sound ?

Usually they use the typicall set of audio equipment. As a rule it consists of a tube pre-amp (ADA), analog solid circuit distortion box (Ibanes Tube Screamer or SansAmp), power tube amplifier (Mesa Boogie, Vox, Marshall), special guitar speakers (Marshall, Celestion) and microphone (Shure 57 etc.) placed in front of the speaker. All parts are essential. It is very important to note that guitar signal never is recorded directly from pre-amp or power amp output, but always from microphone.

DOD YJM308 Yngwie J Malmsteen Signature Overdrive Pedal-GT
Yngwie Malmsteen Signature
Overdrive Pedal-GT
Tech 21 SansAmp GT2 Tube Amp Emulator
Tech 21 SansAmp GT2 Tube Amp Emulator
Maxon DS830 Distortion Master
Maxon DS830 Distortion Master
Pantera Distortion
Produces the aggressive, heavy, razor-edged tones of
Pantera's guitarist Dimebag Darrell
Guyatone MM-X Metal Monster Tube Distortion
Guyatone MM-X Metal Monster Tube Distortion

Metal Monster Groove Sound Examples
DigiTech XMM Metal Master™ Heavy Metal Distortion Pedal
DigiTech XMM Metal Master™
Heavy Metal Distortion Pedal

For the meanest metal imaginable! Levels of grinding gain and singing sustain previously unattainable without the use of powerful tube amps at high volume. Hybrid tube/solid state distortion circuitry gets it all, from subtle overdrive to extreme saturation worthy of the blackest metal. Three-band equalization with a parametric mid to cover the sweet spot between 200-5kHz allows for a range of brutal tones, including the scooped mid sound of Metallica or Pantera. Where other distortions aren't enough, this kills. Features: Hybrid tube/solid statge distortion circuitry Three-band equalization with parametric mid control

Anonymous enthusiast wants to share excitement about finally discovered secret of elusive warm guitar tone he has sought for years. He has tried all sorts of rackmount preamps, power amps, effects units, combo amps, and so on. He has finally found the secret to a warm guitar sound; this may help others looking for the same classic warm guitar crunch and long, smooth sustain!

    • Fender guitar w/ HS3 pickups
    • Ibanez TS-9 Tube Screamer (Drive: 8, Level: 10) or SansAmp Classic
    • Noise suppression pedal
    • Marshall 50 Watt Plexiglass head, model 1987 (High Treble Input #1, Bass:2, Mid:6, Treble:6, Presence:4, Volume:10)
    • Marshall Power Brake power attenuator
    • Speaker cabinet with Celestion speakers
    • Shure-57 mic about 2" from the speaker pointed at the edge (about a 30-45 degree angle)
    • Record dry, and add an appropriate amount of reverb at the recording and mixing console.

You can hear the sound examples in RealAudio format, created by Takaaki Yagi on similar set of audio equipments, example1, exapmle2, example3.

Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer Effects Pedal
Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer Effects Pedal


Shure SM57 Instrument/Vocal Mic
Shure SM57 Instrument/Vocal Mic


Marshall JCM 800 Head and 1960AV Cab Half-Stack Package
Marshall JCM 800 Head and 1960AV Cab Half-Stack Package


The sound of this set of audio equipment is more of a straight rock sound like old Van Halen, Yngwie Malmsteen, George Lynch, AC/DC, and so on, rather than the modern highly fx-processed sounds of players such as Steve Vai, Satriani, and Petrucci. Of course you could add any effects you wish at the console.

Randall R412CX 4x12 Celestion Speaker Cab
Randall R412CX 4x12 Celestion Speaker Cab

Fig. 3. Typical Guitar Speakers.

Metallica's James Hetfield: The last time I used a distortion [overdrive] pedal was on Ride the Lightning, and it was hell. It was an Ibanez Tube Screamer like Kirk uses. It really helps his solos cut through, but it puts a shitty coating on smooth rhythm tones, and it was hard to make it not sound like a pedal. You can recognize Marshall distortion in an instant; that's why I shied away from that and went with MESA/Boogies. I basically use the Boogie's distortion with a non-programmable studio-quality Aphex parametric EQ to fine-tune certain frequencies, dipping out some of the midrange. All my speakers are Celestion Vintage 30s."

Celestion Vintage 30 Speaker
Celestion Vintage 30 Speaker

Metallica is the cover story for Guitar Player Sep 1991, which I have. James: "I use a lot of mics... up to 8. I use them to phase-cancel each other, to control the sound like with an EQ but instead of an EQ. ... for the 1991 album, I'm using MESA Boogie amps, with ADA MP-1 tube preamp, but Boogie Simul-class II is the main part of the sound. Cabs: Boogie for clean, cutting stuff, Marshalls with 30 watt Celestion Vintage 30s for warmth."


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Hardware Digital Audio Effects & Guitar Processors

Rocktron VooDu Valve™ On-Line Tube Guitar preamp
Rocktron VooDu Valve™ - Tube Guitar preamp plus Digital Processor

Sound Example

Digitech, BOSS, DOD, Roland and, may be, Zoom are very good looking things. Guitar Effects Processors have great functionality if you believe in words that manufacturers and magazines like "Guitar Player" are saying! But you understand they are advertisement words only. Note: Professional guitarists use Guitar Effects Processors not very often. Why? The real sounds from the devices are far from advertisement in guitar magazines. At the same time, why we can't find WAV or MP3 files with sound examples of such devices. I have scanned hard Internet and failed to find them, but I have found a lot of sound examples from different analogue solid state (transistors) and tubes based pre-amps, power amps and distortion boxes. Some famous Guitar Effects Processors use analogue and even Tube pre-amps and distortion sections!

Rocktron Prophesy Guitar Preamp with Effects
Rocktron Prophesy Tube Guitar Preamp with Digial Effects
So, the digital part of these devices makes (as a rule) chorus, flanger, delay and reverb, and sometimes pitch-shifting. Experts often say that special studio hardware digital Reverbs produce, as a rule, better sounds. But, modern Guitar Effects Processors implement (in digital domain) several guitar sound related things. The most important are tube pre-amp, power amplifier simulators, guitar speaker simulators and, sometimes, microphone simulators. It seems to me that these things could improve guitar processors sounds. But Guitar Effects Processors with such simulators cost like the best tube pre-amps and tube power amplifiers with excellent guitar speakers.

DigiTech Genesis 3 GeNetX Guitar Desktop Processor
DigiTech Genesis 3 GeNetX Guitar Desktop Processor



Lexicon Desktop Recording Studio


Lexicon Omega Desktop Recording Studio

Lexicon has taken a whole-system approach to desktop recording. Omega Studio is an integrated computer recording system that includes the Omega 8x4x2 USB I/O mixer, ProTracks Plus? 32-track recording software, and Pantheon? world-class Lexicon reverb plug-in. Omega Studio contains all of the components necessary to transform your computer into a professional 24-bit recording studio. Whether you are a guitarist, keyboard player, vocalist, instrumentalist or an audio engineer, Omega Studio provides all the I/O mixing, recording and effects you need to make your next project sound like it came from a professional studio.

Sound Cards for guitar signal digitizing

Sound cards for digitizing guitar signals must have very good signal to noise ration (SNR). SNR of analog-to-digital converter (ADC) of sound card is the most important technical characteristic in our case. It must be 24 bits 96 kHz at minimum.

A soundboard for all reasons!

Based on EWS88/MT/D technology it supports any software with ASIO 2.0, GSIF, or DirectSound drivers. The most demanding applications are supported with 24-bit/96kHz resolution and distortion separation of more than 101dB. With all the standard features of ordinary soundcards, it also gives you a MIDI connection.

The EWS 24 bit/96 kHz comes with the following software: Gigasampler LE, Fruity Loops Express, Arturia Storm, Emagic Logic Fun, Steinberg Wavelab(!) Lite, Buzz

Terratec EWX24/96 Mastering Soundcard
Terratec EWX24/96 4 in / 4 out, $139, Mastering Soundcard

M-Audio Audiophile 2496 PCI Digital Audio Card
M-Audio Audiophile 2496 PCI Digital Audio Card

ST Audio 24/96 PCI Recording Card
ST Audio 24/96 PCI Recording Card



Transform your PC into guitar effects processor FREE!

Electric guitar sound doesn't always mean analogue stomp boxes or tube amps! If yopu want extra fat, screeching scooped crunch, shiney sparkle, smooth and mellow, clean or dirty guitar sounds read this article, download software and enjoy! Demo sounds in mp3: tube overdrive, distortion, solo, rock pre-amp simulator, (preset to do it), combo, overdrive, Marshall.

Ask yourself why you plug your guitar into effects pedals, boxes or stompboxes? The answer is you want to have a great sound. You are dreaming about power impressive distortions like Metalica has and natural sounding 10 sec sustain like Santana guitar sings! During XX century guitar players have known one way only - to buy expensive pedals and stompboxes and plug a guitar into a hole in these devices. But times have changed. Today all we have got personal computers (PC). I am sure many guitar players with PC have seen several holes at the back side of their PCs. These holes look very similar to the holes on the effects pedals! So, many of us sometimes think - I have pluged my guitar into effects pedals during last 10 years. But now I would like to try something new. Well, why (at the end) do not try to plug in a guitar into PC? What happens if I put my guitar cable jeck into one of the holes at the back side of my personal computer? The answer is you will get a great guitar sound! Yes, your PC can pumps electric guitar signals, processe it, apply distortion, sustain, wah, chorus, flanger, reverb, delay effects and output result signals on your headphones or speakers. PC doesn't need in additional equipments to do this. No options necessary! (I am sure your PC has a sound card).

How to do it?

Usually, we have "big jeck" or 1/4" jeck at the end of a guitar cable. At the back side of PCs usually we can see 1/8" holes. So, you need to buy in nearest computer or music shop a 1/4" to 1/8" adaptor. It costs around $1..$2. Then you can plug in your guitar into the blue color hole at the back side of your PC. Usually this hole has "Line" title. Don't forget to plug in your stereo headphones into black color hole (with title "spkr") at the back side of you PC. Now you can tune your sound card audio mixer. Go to the Windows 95/98/2000/XP "Sart" menu at the bottom right corner of PC screen, choose "Run" option, type "SNDVOL32.EXE" and press "O'k" button. You must see a picture like you can see in this article. Set up all slieders exactly in the same positions as you can see in the article. Now you are ready to get some for free software from my site, install and run it. Now try to play something on your guitar and you hear that your personal computer works like the best traditional effects pedals or stompboxes! You must know that you can find in the Ineternet hundreds titles of free audio effects softwares for your PC. It means you can enjoy with the best world distortions, sustains, reverbs, choruses, flangers, delays, equalisers, tube amp simulators realy for free using only your personal computer!
Save your expensive time: Download all guitar software as a single 70 MB zip archive file.
Or download any item from this software list: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20



Download All as a single zip file!
and save your expensive time.


Best guitar effects and amp modeling software:
VST effects units (free & paid)
VST-hosts (free & paid)
Windows XP ASIO adaptors-drivers (free)




Shareware effects processor 1
more info click here!

* Download



Shareware tube amp effects processor 2
more info? Click here!

* Download



Shareware amp modeling processor 3
more info click here!





Shareware VST amp modeling processor 4
more info? Click here!

* Download


Marshall, Soldano amps modeling processor 5
more info? Click here!

* Download



Software VST plug-in simulating Hughes & Kettner and Marshall amps 6
more info? sound examples? Click here!

* Download




shareware effects processor 7
* not included


Marshall, Soldano amps modeling processor 8
more info? Click here!

* Download


Shareware analogue stomp boxes simulator (VST) 9
more info? Click here!

* Download




Modular Design Shareware amp modeling processor 10
more info? Click here!

* Download




FREE ! Marshall JCM 900 amp modeling processor 11
more info? Click here!

* Download



Shareware Effects processor 12 (FREE!)



Another Marshall, Soldano amps modeling processor 14
more info? Click here!

* Download




Shareware amp modeling processor 15
*
Download



DirectX plugin: Marshall and other combo amp modeling processor 16
-- Want more info? Click here!




VST/DX plugin: fx and amp modeling processor 17 (FREE!)
*
Download



VST/DX plugin: fx and amp modeling processor 18 (FREE!)
* Download



VST/DX plugin: shareware amp modeling processor 19
* Download



VST/DX plugin: fx amp modeling processor 20 (FREE!)
* Download



VST/DX plugin: fx amp modeling processor 21 (FREE!)
* Download



FREE! VST plug-in: Distortion-Compressor with effects - 22

more info? Click here!

* Download



VST plug-in, virtual guitar, FX, cabinet and Amp modeling 23

more info? Click here!

* Download


The Best Amp Modeling Guitar Effects Processor

The World's best amp modeling Guitar Effects Processor must contain and use only the World's best effects and tube amp models! It's impossible in the hardware (stompbox) world. Modern hardware guitar effects processors contain only those effects and amp models developed by a single firm. Some firms can develop the best reverbs (say Lexicon), but another firm can develop the best flangers (say DSP-FX) etc. If you want to have the best guitar effects processor in the world you must be able to construct your own using effects and tube amp models that are the best in the world. This is now possible by using the best software "fx building blocks" in the world. Simply download these beautiful effects "plug-ins" or "fx building blocks" you can find on this site, then download any of free (or not) fx players and construct your own best guitar effects processor in the world! Construction is simple. Run fx player, insert your chosen effects, connect the effects as you like and enjoy!
A typical effects chain is "Noise Gate" => "Compressor" =>"Distortion" =>"Equaliser" =>"Flanger" =>"Amp Simulator" =>"Reverb" =>"Microphone Simulator".


This is freeware utility from DirectX 8 SDK

Download graphEdt.exe (150 kB)
It's in "Files" section of this Yahoo Group, you must subscribe into it, it's free.


Must have: DirectX 8 (12 MB)


To use free/paid VST-FX units see above
you must use one of the VST hosts see below



More info click here!





More info click here!





More info click here!





price $20, more info click here!




If you have no ASIO sound cards:
you must download and install any Windows-to-ASIO adaptor: adaptor 1, adaptor 2


You can order CD-ROM with 70 MB of the best
guitar effects freeware and shareware!
Order Now!
pay via PayPal

Guitar Effects Software FORUM (10,000 subscribers!)

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