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Getting started with amp sims

Getting started with amp sims can be such a fun experience. You open up a whole new world of gear with a level of convenience that you have never experienced before.

There are a some things that you need to get started and we narrowed down a few. Please also head over to www.ehomerecording.com to check out their guides on what you need to get going.

#1. An interface

First thing you need is an interface. All most people require is a simple two input interface and even then, you may find yourself rarely using the second channel if you are using it for guitar and bass predominantly. Many companies make affordable, good quality ways to get tracking but as a recommendation, Presonus has always been great to me and their gear is affordable.

#2. DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)

If you are going to play with amp sims, most of them require that you have a DAW or digital audio workstation. This is a program designed to capture the audio. Our favourite suggestion is Reaper by Cockos because it’s very high quality and beyond cheap. There’s a ton of DAW programs out there and many resources to help you pick the right one for you. Picking the right one for your needs is essential because once you get used to a DAW it can be hard to switch.

#3. Studio monitors

To hear anything, you need speakers right? Studio monitors are speakers that are specifically designed for recording. Many people start with an entry level set and outgrow them quickly so our suggestion here is to get a solid middle end set. You can’t mix good sounding music on bad speakers. Do research on the best monitors for your needs and budget but we strongly advise investing in a decent set from the beginning. The best plugins won’t sound like the best plugins on bad monitors. Don’t be that guy on YouTube with a $4000+ guitar and $300 monitors. Priorities = sound quality.

#4. Plugins

Don’t go crazy and get a million plugins first day out. Get a small selection and take your time learning how things work and fit together. Get a few amp sims, pedals, impulses and whatever you feel looks like fun. Start playing around while keeping your signal chain in mind. Learn the basics of your DAW like how to add FX to a track and then you can start building your signal chain. Your signal chain is very important if all of your plugins are to do their job.

To get started, let’s keep it simple with two easy and free plugins. Both these are easy to set up, easy to use and they both sound great too. Tonelib GFX is a free full-amp suite with everything onboard and the STL/Ignite Emissary bundle is two plugins that work together. Research how to use an impulse loader on YouTube, many people explain very well.

LINK #1Tonelib GFX

LINK #2Emissary Bundle

#5. Research

Take the time to learn the basics of EQ, compression, saturation and other basic recording / mixing techniques, it will make your life a lot easier. Take the time to really learn what every knob and switch on every plugin does and how it affects the sound. The more time you spend learning, the faster you will improve. Never rush anything.