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Guitar recording / effects software


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Hi everyone,


maybe I searched the wrong way, but I couldn't find any threads on this topic, so here we go.

Recently the desire came up to try and record my guitar playing and experiment with melodies that come out of my hands.

I've owned Rocksmith now for more than 1.5 years, and never considered the possibility that the Rocksmith Cable would be good for more than Rocksmith itself - silly me!

It works great with other guitar / recording software!


So I started experimenting with different software and want to tell you about it - maybe you, too, have no clue about the potential of the hardware you already own. At the same time I would like to know if others already have experience in this field and would like to share some tips.


Guitar Software


The most important detail in the beginning: Its worth installing the free audio driver asio4all  to reduce the latency of the guitar audio signal - worked great for me!


Rocksmith modifies the audio signal from your guitar to apply various effects, and it is by far not the only software to do that. There are lots of other options and all claim to be very authentic and highly sophisticated. They come with not-so-low price tags, but feature a wide range of simulated hardware.



140 €

It has a demo version with reduced features but without time limitations. It simulates pedals, amps, racks, cabinets and you can even adjust the microphone and its position in front of the amp. Feels like a less clunky version of Rocksmith's Tone Designer. You can also record your guitar with it. The free version has two recording tracks, the full version eigth. The full version also has a four-layer looper, which I am very tempted to try out. What I do not like is the fact that you cannot resize the window of the application. Especially in the recorder this is a shame, since I could see a lot more of the audio tracks in a full screen mode. But well.. its all about the tone, I guess.

If you have something you can kick with your feet that sends out Midi signals (see my description) you can control many of AmpliTubes functions (start recording / looping / switching presets / enabling pedals) while playing your guitar - I love it!

Finally, it also works as a VST plugin for most digital audio workstations (DAWs) - see below.


Bias FX

70 €

Demo version is only for a limited time. Seems to basically have the same functionality as AmpliTube, minus the recorder and looper. Has a standalone application, but is primarily designed to be used as a DAW plugin. May be a bit cheaper than AmpliTube... but in both cases there is some much extra stuff you can purchase, that this is really hard to tell.

Is featured heavily on quite a few YouTube channels I watch. I don't have the experience to tell weather it sounds better or worse than AmpliTube.



DAW / recording software


Digital audio workstations are programs that allow you all the fancy recording and mixing of you instruments and their tracks. You can apply FX plugins to your tracks to get the guitar sound that you are after.


FL Studio 12

90 €

Demo version cannot open saved projects. Seems higly professional oriented, with fancy all-vectorized and scaleable interfaces (have a look here, AmpliTube). Had a quick look at it and couldn't get the AmpliTube plugin working - but that's just me, I guess.



$ 60

Not as fancy looking as FL Studio, but noticeably cheaper and packed with functionality. 60 day trial period. Plugins worked immediately, and recording my guitar, too! I really enjoy the "take" feature. If you record say your lead guitar on one track, but missed one note in your awesome solo, you can go there and record a few seconds again, on the same track. It adds a new take for the second recording, and you can choose the take with your best performance.




Currently I am using Reaper + AmpliTube to have fun experimenting with my first recording and didn't need to pay a dime up to this point - highly recommended!


Now I want to know: What guitar sound software do you use? Do you like being completely digital, or do you record your amp with a real microphone?

What software do you use to record your music? Do you have tips for useful freeware?

Do you recommend paying about 200€ for Reaper + AmpliTube? Or should I invest in real hardware?

Please note: I don't own an amp yet... all the time I have only been playing through Rocksmith... I figured I don't need an expensive amp when I play through cheapish headphones anyway.


Thank for your time, and keep on rockin'! :)

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Check out my easy tutorial on how to add a metronome to your CDLC: Mute the original music, play only with the metronome and find out how good you really sound! Also: Find CDLCs that have the metronome enabled!


Want a USB-Footswitch that you can use to control the tone selection and all the menus in Rocksmith? Check out Rodman's Tutorial and my additions to that!  Footswitch_Logo.png

My CDLCs: Devin Townsend - Life, Deep Peace, Ih-Ah!, Deadhead; Farin Urlaub - Ok

My ideas for new features in Ignition, e.g. filters for Multitrack CDLC and Metronome CDLC.

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I find myself in a very similar situation, currently kicking our business out of my office and rebuilding it as working man's wannabe music studio.  I have opted to go with 2 DAW's, REAPER, mainly because I like their "if you're not making money with it we'll give you a break" licensing policy, and Ableton Live with their innovative Session Mode (the Ableton Live Intro seems adequate to start and won't break the bank).

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I use Cubase 5 because I invested time and money into it years ago and I cba changing now.  My tip for useful freeware is keep it simple, too many plugins just fry your brain because you are constantly fiddling.  Get the guitar part right.  Learning what plugins you like and which ones are genuinely useful takes a long time, don't download 200 free plugins then spend all your time loading them up - get some guitar played!


The Sound on Sound website is a great place to start for free stuff that won't break your pc.


As far as direct or amp recording goes, you need to try both.  See what you like yourself.  I think most recorded music is actually a blend of the two, mostly guitar amps with some DI effects mixed in for various reasons at certain parts of the song.



Now, the most important question...  amp or digital?


Now its safe to say that a lot of people have it all.  Multiple guitars, amps, pcs, DAWs, keyboards etc etc etc.  I am not talking about them, I am talking about someone starting out with only $200 to spend.


I guess you need to answer this question honestly; "where do I want to go with guitar?"


If the answer is "man I wanna get on stage and play in a band" then buy an amp.


If the answer is "I wanna play for my own pleasure and probably won't be getting up in front of people" then buy a DAW, probably your suggestion of Reaper and Amplitube.



There are things that happen in guitar playing that can only happen with an amp.  The laws of physics cannot be broken.  Feedback happens when soundwaves come out of the speaker and hit your guitar strings.  You don't get feedback from headphones.  Also, amps (especially valve amps) react to your guitar and your playing in a way that software tries to model as best it can.  You want the real thing, buy an amp (especially a Fender valve amp :D )


Also, you can take an amp along to your mates house and jam along with him playing his drums.  You can take it down the local pub and plug in and play.  You can take it to the practice room to jam with a full band.  Pretty hard to do these things without an amp...


But, if you are a bedroom player then having all those great software effects on hand, being able to record to a click track and/or loop, building up your parts, adding in drums samples to play along to, maybe a bass sample/lick, messing with gazillions of possible effects...  great times to be had there too :D




So, the answer my friend, is blowing in the wind...

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If youre onto hackery, Im assuming the software op mentions is controllable via keyboard,if this is the case you can modify an old usb keyboard to make a footpedal array on the cheap.


I made one for a game that required a two button hold to move forward I got tired of having both hands occupied so made the footswitch to free up a hand.

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