How to Record Synths Through Guitar Amps?￼
It’s no secret that re-amping lead lines are often an incredibly effective technique for adding power and bite to your mixes. While it’s important to note that guitar amps are typically the main components of every lead line, using software or hardware amplifiers can also prove helpful when it comes to adding more power to your lead lines.
Recording a synthesizer using a guitar amp is crucial, as it allows you to create a whole new sound. Unlike studio monitors, guitar amps are designed to reproduce the exact sound you’re looking for. The main reason is that the amp and the other components used for recording can give a new character to the sound.
When using a microphone, the reflections from the room can also be included in the audio, which adds a lot of complexity to the sound. This can be used in various creative ways.
Running a synth through an amp can be a frightening idea, especially if you’re not used to using one. However, this is not the case for everyone, as you want to avoid damaging your expensive equipment. Maybe you just want to add some dirt to your synth patches, or perhaps you have a new guitar amp.
Is it possible to run a synth through a guitar amp?
A guitar amp can be used to run a synthesizer. It’s a great way to create unique sounds by adding various effects and gain settings, and it can also be used to create bass-heavy presets. However, remember that too much bass can damage the amp’s speakers and keep the volume down to around low.
If you’re planning on using a guitar amp to run a synth, then be aware of the various issues that can arise. In this article, we’ll discuss the right and the wrong way to do it.
This article will discuss the pros and cons of using a guitar amp to run a synth. After that, we’ll talk about the downsides of this technique and how to avoid damaging the device. Finally, I’ll show you how to safely run a synth’s signal through the amp.
How to Record Synths Through Guitar Amps? | Pros of Running a Synth Through a Guitar Amplifier
One of the main reasons why people want to run a digital music system through a guitar amplifier is its versatility.
1. To create distorted/overdriven synth tones
For those looking for some killer synth sounds, you can use a guitar amp’s gain to create a sound that’s more like a digital instrument. This method is very popular with me, as it allows me to run bright synth leads through the amps.
2. Alter synth with EQ
You can also alter the sound of a synth by using the guitar amp’s built-in EQ controls. Most of the time, the built-in EQ controls are for 3-band instruments. However, there are other options that come with a variety of bands.
3. Use the built-in effects on your guitar amp
Today, most guitar amps have built-in effects. These include various types of sounds, such as a delay, a flanger, a reverb, and a chorus. One of the most popular amps that come with built-in effects is the Marshall Code 50. It has 24 effects and you can use it with up to five others at the same time.
Through the use of built-in effects, you can create unique and interesting sounds for your synth.
How to Record Synths Through Guitar Amps? | Cons of Running Synths Through a Guitar Amp
One of the main disadvantages of using a guitar amplifier is that it can easily damage the components. Firstly, it’s important to note that the instruments used in a guitar amplifier are designed to receive low-level and weak signals.
Although a synth can output a line-level signal, this signal is already pre-amplified. Running this signal through a guitar amplifier can lead to issues if the components are not protected.
While a guitar amplifier can output a line-level signal, a synth can provide a much wider range of frequencies. In addition, they can output lower frequencies than the human hearing range.
Unfortunately, since a synth can’t produce the lower bass frequencies commonly used in a guitar amplifier, its output can damage the speakers. This is because the speaker’s components are prone to wear and tear.
How to Record Synths Through Guitar Amps? | How to Safely Connect a Synth to a Guitar Amp
Although it’s possible to damage an amp while playing a synth, there are still precautions that you can take to minimize the effects of this practice. These steps will ensure that you don’t have issues when you run a synth through an amplifier.
1. Reduce the synth level before connecting it to the amplifier.
Before connecting your synth to an amp, ensure you turn down the volume. This will allow you to hear the audio properly in the speakers. You can also increase the volume by plugging it into the amp and gradually increasing it until it reaches its audible level.
Unlike a guitar, a synth’s line-level signal is already pre-amplified. However, when you plug it into an amp, it will enter another amplification phase. This means that if you don’t carefully turn the volume down, the instrument might get loud.
Before you start using your synth, make sure that the signal level of the instrument is very low. This will prevent it from getting amplified by the guitar amp. If the sound level of the instrument gets loud, the speakers might become damaged.
2. Stay away from bass-heavy synth patches.
If you’re planning on using a lot of bass-heavy sounds, then you should get a keyboard or bass amp instead. These two types of devices have a wider frequency response, which enables them to play bass-heavy patches without breaking them.
How to Record Synths Through Guitar Amps? | Methods for Connecting a Synth to a Guitar Amp
1. Connect it to the amp’s input.
This is a straightforward way to connect a synth’s audio output to a guitar amp’s input. You can plug a quarter-inch TRS/TS cable into the synth’s output and the other end into the amp’s input. This will then send the audio out to the amplifier’s gain.
2. Play it through guitar effects pedals first.
One of the most fun ways to add a whole new level to your synth sounds is by running it through guitar pedals. There are so many different types of guitar pedals that you can choose from, and they can greatly alter the way your patch sounds. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to use two of my favorite guitar pedals.
Before connecting the synth to the pedal, ensure you turn down the volume. These are mainly for guitarists, and you can use low-level signals. Advanced guitar pedals, on the other hand, have a line-level switch, which you can turn on or off.
How to Record Synths Through Guitar Amps? | How to Record a Synth Playing Through a Guitar Amplifier
After you plug your synth into a guitar amp, you can finally get a sound you like. There are two ways to capture the sound of your instrument.
1. Use the guitar amp’s Line Out to record
Many guitar amps come with a Line Out or a headphone jack. These are both useful tools when you want to record the output of your instrument.
You can connect either a Line Out or a Headphone Jack to an audio interface using an audio cable. This will allow you to output the final audio from your amp. You can then record the resulting audio.
2. Use a Microphone to Record Guitar Amp Speakers
The most common method to record a guitar amplifier is through the Line Out. People have been using this method for a long time to record the various components of a guitar amplifier, such as the speakers and cabinet. While recording through the Line Out, the speakers’ sound is different from the microphones’ sound which is in front of the cabinet.
Besides the Line Out, you can also experiment with different microphones to get the best possible results. For instance, if you want a brighter signal, you can place the microphone on the side of the speaker cone.
You can also use multiple microphones to create a unique sound by blending the signals from the different microphones placed on the speaker. For instance, you can place the mic on the side of the speaker and then move it away from the speaker to create a room-recreating effect.
3. Level Matching
Level matching is a fundamental aspect of recording any source. It’s important to ensure that the input level is correct to avoid getting distorted or having too little signal coming from the source. In modern synths, the output level is typically around -20dB. This is not a line-level or mic level.
If you’re having a hard time getting the output level you need from your mixer; it’s probably best to use the microphone input instead. This will allow you to interface a jack output with an equipped XLR input. An adapter such as a DI box will allow you to achieve the same output level.
If you have a spare DI box, you can also make up cables specifically designed to interface with an input equipped with an XLR. In most cases, no problem will occur if you remove the box from the desk and replace it with keyboards. One of the most important factors to keep in mind is that you should turn off the microphone while using the channels.
4. Compress for Effects
When recording real instruments, a combination of compressors and limiters is used to control the peaks in level and increase the volume of low-level materials. However, with the use of a synth, you can easily remove the unpredictability of the level in real instruments by optimizing it in a trial run. This eliminates the need for a compressed effect, and it can also bring up the level of subtle decay in the material.
Most real instruments, such as the electric guitar or bass guitar, are typically compressed on the recording. However, you can also use these instruments to enhance the sampling process and make the sound more ‘polished’. Unfortunately, applying compression to the same material results in a lifeless sound.
How to Record Synths Through Guitar Amps? | Conclusion
While recording a synthetic sound is different from recording “real” sounds, the main difference is that the former doesn’t utilize the usual psychoacoustic reference points and lacks tonal neutrality. The latter, on the other hand, provides a more conventional approach to reproducing sounds. Although it’s not possible to play a digital or analog synthesis through a guitar amplifier, you can still use it. However, avoid using it at a high volume and avoid using heavy patches in terms of bass.