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I write music using Nuendo and by connecting my electric guitar to my tonelab LE pedalboard and then to my focusrite scarlet 2i2 audio interface.

I feel that there is something that I am missing. I fail to have a good volume level because if I turn pedalboard, audio interface or Nuendo input volume level higher I have distortion. Also my sound quality is not the best possible. The guitar, especially when distorted or overdriven does not sound very bright while it sounds very good if i plug the pedalboard to an amp.

What am I missing here? How do other guitar players who I watch on youtube or hear on soundcloud achieve such full and bright tone?

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Always remember one thing: the sound that you hear depends on the device you are getting the output through. As you say, you like the sound through your amp but not from the software, this is because you probably use the same settings on your pedalboard when you plug it into the interface as you do when you plug it into the amp. You need to check the output of the sound through the audio interface and/or what is received by the computer and make the settings accordingly. This can be done best if you switch off your amp and plug in headphones into the interface and then hear how the sound is and adjust the pedalboard controls accordingly. If you fail to get the best sounds from the available controls on the pedalboard, interface and the software, then try using the software called Amplitube. Also, learn how to use plugins in nuendo to make guitars sound better.

Let me tell you about the "bright sound" you hear in other youtube videos. Mostly, distortion guitar sound is not recorded by plugging in the guitar from the pedalboard to the interface, but using an instrument microphone and record the sound directly that comes out of the amp. That way, you can get the bright tone of your guitar recorded as you hear from the amp without using additional software. So, it will be best if you buy an instrument mic like the SHURE SM57.

Recording guitars is a lot different from recording digital instruments like the synth. How you record determines the quality of your sound. As you now see, plugging in your guitar into an interface is not always the best idea for recording distorted sounds. However, if you have to record it without using a mic, then you just have to adjust the pedalboard settings according to the interface output as you'd hear through the hedphones. In this method, you may have to use artificial effects and plugins to get that bright tone.

Hope it helps.


"Artificial" effects don't make you a fake musician

These effects/software are used only to make the recording sound as real as possible. You'd obviously be giving your real efforts to play the instrument in the first place. So, there's no chance you'd be a hypocrite by using plugins and effects. It's just that we humans are left with no other option to make the computer do what we want out of it. Relax! :-)

  • Hmmm...amplitube seems extremely interesting. I will try it out! I also will try some equalizer and compressor plugins that came along with my Scarlett to see if they will help. – papakias Aug 18 '16 at 10:06
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    There are recording softwares like Reaper (not free though) and Studio One that allow flexible use of plugins so can also try them out. – Progy Rock Aug 18 '16 at 10:30
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If you want it to sound like air being moved by a speaker you have to use air being moved by a speaker. Mic placement is critical. Whether it is on center or at the edge of the speaker makes a difference, as well as distance from the speaker. Also remember that sound bounces off walls and is absorbed by furniture, etc. To capture this you might also want to place another mic elsewhere in the room for the ambient sound. After recording, use your faders to set a pleasing balance.

As for plugging a pedalboard directly into your system, if you don't run it through a good quality amp and cabinet simulator, it won't have anything close to the sound of the real thing.

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This doesn't answer your question per se, but have you tried connecting your pedal board directly to your computer instead of connecting to an interface and see what it sounds like? I think your pedal board has a usb out on the back that you can easily connect to your pc.

Try connecting to your pc and see if there's any change in the quality of your sound. If there is, you might have a problem with your interface.

  • This was what I originally did before I buy the audio interface. And It was even worse, Now using the Scarlett is quite better but still I don't have the best sound possible. – papakias Aug 18 '16 at 10:02
  • That's strange. If connected directly to your computer it should sound as good as connecting headphones to your pedal board. – João Paiva Aug 18 '16 at 10:05
  • As progy_rock says...maybe I have my pedalboard set to sound good with my amp – papakias Aug 18 '16 at 10:09
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    Wait a second! @JoãoPaiva Do you mean to say that connecting this 6.1mm guitar cable to the 3.5mm mic port of the computer using a converter would make it sound better??? No way! It will probably blow the computer's audio card. – Progy Rock Aug 19 '16 at 8:45
  • @progy_rock No that's not what I meant. I said connecting the pedalboard directly to the computer with USB out. Guitar -> Pedalboard -> Computer instead of Guitar -> Pedalboard -> Interface -> Computer. – João Paiva Aug 19 '16 at 9:22

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