I am a complete newbie with home recording so I need to understand a couple of things.

I want to record my guitar using software such as GarageBand or Logic Pro. One way to do it is to directly connect my amplifier (with its sound effects) through my audio interface to the computer and record directly tracks.

I am so confused on how I can use computer software for modelling amplifiers directly on my computer though. In other words, how can I record and which software can I use in order to record tracks by plugging the guitar directly to the audio interface and get tones and effects from some software? And which software is compatible with those recording programs?

E.g. I see so many people talking about Native Instruments.

Any kind of hint will be greatly appreciated.

After a lot of digging and research I managed to understand what is going on. I will leave my own reply so that other people who were lost like me can find an easy solution.

  • The question is not at all about "sound libraries" (which is something quite different), but recording software and effects. Do you something like Garage Band already? A computer? Do you have an audio interface? Maybe you should read up on some basics first. Try Wikipedia and look at the link lists on the bottom of the page. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_audio_workstation Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 16:14

2 Answers 2


Right. The "Sound libraries" you hear about refers to virtual instruments for midi controllers. Theres a whole world of them.

For guitar virtual amps, thats a different matter. Its still VST (And/Or AU for macs) but we're talking about effects not instruments.

Theres a number of good Guitar ones. Personally I'm not a fan of Native Instruments Guitar Rig , to me it sounds very..... Zoom-ish. But others might differ on that. Guitar Rigs an ageing system though. Amplitubes another old school one. Less bells and whistles but to my ears a nicer tone in its amp cabs.

Going up the food chain a bit, theres Waves GTR stuff. They are OK. Not great but not terrible. Slate has a guitar effect system too that sounds a bit less digital.

What you REALLY want though are the amp modelling plugins that let you use Cabinet and Amplifier Impulses. These will give you a sound much closer to the real thing in terms of modelling amplifier behavior.

If you want instruments your choice is to either get a midi keyboard, or use a guitar-to-midi setup , either as an external add-on to your guitar (I'm told the fishman systems amazing) or as a VST system like Jam Origins Midi Guitar which converts an audio signal from the guitar to a midi signal to control VST instruments. I should warn you though that these are fiddly things. Guitars don't behave the same as Keyboards, and sometimes its hit and miss how well the system works.

Regarding Sound Libraries, Kontakt is a sample player thats used by the bulk of the libraries out there. Its about $400ish~ on its own, but its usually purchased as part of the Komplete library which is an absolutely monster sized grab bag of stuff.

If your looking for something within your budget and are specifically looking for midi instruments to be driven by a keyboard or a guitar-to-midi setup, a cheap option is EastWest composer cloud which is a monthly $20 subscription to an utterly gigantic collection of instruments. Bascially a full orchestra, plus specific brass/wind/strings/percussion libraries, a collection called Goliath which has countless instruments, Some choirs, some loop things for he hip hop people, and the excellent Stormdrum series. I should give fair warning though the Play engine (East wests alternative to Kontakt) is brutal on system resources so you want a meaty machine to run it on, and a big SSD to fit the data.

For DAW software, Garage band isn't terrible, and its basically a beginners version of the excellent logic, which itself comes with an instrument library comparable to NI or EastWests libraries. Theres also Studio One which is rapidly becoming a favorite for many pro studio folk.

Theres one though worth looking into if your on a budget, Mixcraft which is PC only I think(Maybe?) and is actually really damn good for its $100 asking price.

  • Wow, thanks! So, I have been using Amplitube and I am super happy about it! Do you think there is something of higher quality and if yes which product do you refer to? Also, I have discovered all those stuff you mention about! I just want sounds (instrument plug ins) to play with my midi keyboard and everything is so expensive. Here and there there are some free stuff but nothing I have found is remarkable.
    – Marion
    Commented Jan 8, 2019 at 10:57
  • What sort of music are you interested in making?
    – Shayne
    Commented Jan 8, 2019 at 11:32
  • For guitar stuff I mainly am interested in prog metal. But since I also play jazz I would like to know what are the options generically. Please, do not waste time searching for me, only tell me if you already know! Thanks!
    – Marion
    Commented Jan 8, 2019 at 11:33
  • Re guitar stuff: Honestly if Amplitube is working for you, stick with it. Perhaps look at something like Studio Devil's stuff for Impulse responsed Amp head and Cabinet modelling. As for instruments, have a look at EastWests composer cloud if you can live with a subscription. Its $20ish a month, but the orchestra in there is used in real world film scores and the like. Plus if its not living up to expectations, you can always cancel. and if its really living up to expectations, you can buy the individual libraries. Its a monster. Of course if your cashed up NI Komplete is amazing.
    – Shayne
    Commented Jan 8, 2019 at 11:43

Try Audacity a free software for track based recording and editing.

Connect you instrument's audio output into you computer mic (audio input) and select "Windows WASAPI" (in windows) and click recording button on audacity.

  • I use GarageBand and Logic Pro X. I know how to operate it to some basic level but whatI miss is plug-ins with good sounds. Apparently there is a whole Apple library. Other solutions are software like Native Instrument's Kontakt. But, all of them are so expensive. I would like to get some plug-ins with say oriental instruments but free. The question above is similar but for guitar sounds (amps and effects).
    – Marion
    Commented Jan 8, 2019 at 10:01
  • Im kind of surprised your not finding Logic's library sufficient. For Oriental (Asian and Middle east) , the EastWest composer cloud has Ra and a few other libraries that cover a lot of instruments from China, Japan, Indonesia and the middle east (Turkey, Iran, etc)
    – Shayne
    Commented Jan 15, 2019 at 2:33
  • I should note Audacity is completely unsuitable for this purpose. It cant do Midi and thus can't do virtual instruments which is what the OP is asking about.
    – Shayne
    Commented Aug 28, 2020 at 7:10

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