For my electric guitar, I use a digital effects pedal (Zoom G3) and want to use no [traditional] amp for both home practice and stage playing. However, my tones tend to sound a lot different on stage than at home.
I believed this was due to the compression of using my little G-Dec junior amp as a monitor, so I ditched that and went ahead and sprung for a compact mixer and some KRK Rokit 5 studio monitors. The idea is to remove any compression that I didn't intentionally add, and to better represent the wedge monitor on stage. Also the mixer allows me to practice against a recording with my guitar coming through the same speakers.
Unfortunately, while the monitors sound amazing on their own, my guitar just sounds "muddy," especially if I'm playing over a recording. It's really hard to pick out "the details" of what I'm playing.
So while the songs sound the same through the KRK monitors vs. a good pair of headphones, somehow I lose a lot through the monitors on guitar, but can hear what I want to through headphones. My only guess was that the studio monitors are very directional, so I sat in just the right spot and played. It's a little better, but not much.
What gives? How do I get closer to the stage sound? If the answer is "just get a stage monitor," why is there such a big difference (especially versus headphones)?
At this point I may just set up for headphones through the mixer, as that's working pretty well, but if I'm going to keep or return $300 worth of studio monitors, I'd like to know why.