I wonder if some can tell me if I can plug my Behringer amp to my Tascam US 16x08 audio interface? The reason for doing this is that I would like to use the affects from the amp for recording. Thanks for your help!
If your amp has a line-out, then plugging this into the line-in of your audio interface will work.
You can also use a headphone socket as a "poor man's line-out", and this will work almost as well. Adjust the headphone volume to set levels. And, an "FX out" is effectively a line-out.
Let's think about what this means.
What you think of as an "amp" is actually a bundle of several things.
In a traditional combo you have:
- a pre-amp (which brings the instrument level signal from the guitar up to the power necessary to drive the power amp)
- a power amp (which produces the powerful signal that drives the speaker
- a speaker cone in a cabinet (which turn the electrical signal into vibrating air)
(It's called a combo because it combines these elements -- an alternative is to have the speaker cabinet and the amplifiers in separate boxes)
You mention effects, and that suggests that your combo also contains an effects unit, and this is likely to fit into the chain between the pre-amp and the power amp.
Each of those steps adds some character to the sound - "hi fi" amps try to process sound without changing anything, but guitar amps are not hi fi amps. The pre-amp has character; the power amp has character; the speaker cone itself and even the acoustic properties of the box it's mounted in, all contribute to the sound you hear.
The line-out will be a tap into the point in the chain just before the power amp. Therefore you'll get the character from the pre-amp, and effects. You won't get the character from the power amp or the speakers.
It's up to you whether what's added to the sound by those components matters to you.
I would guess that if you were enough of a "connoisseur" to care, you'd already know the answer, and would be working with an expensive Marshall/Fender/etc amp.
My advice is to plug it all together and see if you like the result. You won't break anything.
If you do find that you're missing something in the sound, that you think was contributed by the power amp and speaker, then consider using a microphone. This is what a most professional studios still do. However it has its issues:
- Microphone positioning is a sophisticated art. Yes, you can just put a vocal mic against the speaker grill. But professionals do a lot more than this, chasing the perfect sound.
- People say that power amps and speakers sound good -- but they often only really "sing" at high volumes. You might not have the luxury of playing that loud.
- Once you start recording with a microphone, you have to start worrying about background noise. If you leave moving air out of the record chain, you don't have to worry about creating silence in the background.
Alternatively you might look at the software amp modelling effects available for many DAWs -- for example Guitar Rig or the amp modelling built into GarageBand. You could use this to add back the character of a power-amp and cabinet, having recorded the output of your combo's pre-amp + effects. Or, you could plug your guitar directly into your audio interface, and let the software provide the full chain of effects and amp modelling.
Guitar Rig (optionally) models every step, right down to choosing the position and type of a modelled microphone, and the type of simulated room it's in.
Todd is right a mic is best, your vocal mic on the grill, straight at the speaker is pretty foolproof.
If you are talking about using it like an effects loop, forget it. The input impedance is wrong, the output level is going to be wrong even if it has an XLR output. Any computer will produce vastly better results with free or stock plug ins. And all guitar amps and effects are noisy.
Once you go digital, you stay digital.
Every time you record into the interface it samples the sounds and you have less and less of your music left each time. I have a US-800 and the thing is stellar, yours should be better. Only use effects that go before the amp when recording guitar, like distortion, wah, phaser, etc.
You don't want effects like reverb on each separate track either. You make a channel with no input on it, assign your best reverb to it with a 100% wet mix, and use the software's send controls to add reverb to each track.
I feel I should directly address the points in the comments.
Please read my response above.
- I did not say plug ins are better in general. You use guitar FX on the way in to the amp. The are designed for Hi-Z input (like a guitar).
The question asked about:
my Behringer amp to my Tascam US 16x08 audio interface
It did not ask "should I reamp through a Marshall in A. Crowley's castle through my Neve console.
This would be "reamping" with:
- same amp
- probably with the same mic
- in the same room
- with the same FX he had going in.
Yes pro's do sometimes reamp tracks, typically when they screw up or want to use a scratch track possessed of some unusual genius (usually the former in my experience). But they have consoles with multiple configurable outputs. The current generation of Tascam audio interfaces is really the first range of affordable audio interfaces to provide sufficiently high enough quality input preamps and DAC to enable a home studio to provide broadcast quality results without resorting to pricy outboard preamps. But that quality comes at a price. That price is the quality of the outputs and ADC which is designed for latency free monitoring, not pristine audio reproduction. I am not talking in the abstract I am talking from extensive experience with virtually identical equipment. You lose quality on the way out (probably having to dither), then you take a line level output and stick into a high z input (I doubt the O.P. feels like spending a bunch of money direct boxes,otherwise there's pretty much no chance of it sounding good), it gets filtered down to the frequency range a guitar typically produces on the way into the internal effects of the amp, gets sampled again, gets the same FX he had on the way in, is dithered and converted back to analog then resampled again going back in.
The producer in the studio down the hall from mine was really into the reamping concept and we tested it many times using Tascam, Focusrite, and Digidesign interfaces on Logic, Protools, and Reaper. We both concluded the resulting increase in noise, loss of headroom, and increased small room ambiance detracted from the overall mix in every case. This was using Marshall, Mesa, and Fender tube amps, and we had the benefit of direct boxes, quality mics, 3 full stacks worth of vintage Celestion speakers, outboard preamps, and some of the amps had FX loops, power amp ins etc.
The only place it proved positive was with bass tracks recorded direct. Maybe our mistake was not using a Behringer? It was also time consuming and a pain to set up.
As to being always more artistic, worthwhile, and fun, well art is the process of creation, when that creation meets, exceeds, or expands our original vision we can say its worthwhile. When the results of our efforts are compromised because we fail to accept the limitations of our tools, that isn't fun, that's frustration.
If you have researched reamping you are probably familiar with the "Super 70's Snare Drum Trick" by Bart Thurber of House of Faith Studios. I asked him about it when I was recording my second album. He replied "That came in real useful until I learned how to get it right the first time."