When it’s time to lay down an idea or roll a take for a recording, we’re typically faced with a number of choices: Which guitar should you use? Where should you place your microphone? Which room should you record in?
One choice that comes up frequently is whether to record direct (i.e. plugging in your guitar directly into your interface) or with a microphone. And when should you? The short answer is: it depends. For the long answer, check out the following home recording tips.
What is “recording direct?”
Unlike some esoteric recording terms, recording direct is pretty much just what it sounds like. It’s taking an instrument that has an output, like an electric guitar, bass, acoustic guitar, or keyboard, and plugging it directly into your interface.
When recording direct, it’s important to make sure that your interface’s input “matches” the output on whatever you’re recording. For instance, electric guitars require an “instrument” input while keyboards require a “line” input. Interfaces like Spire Studio can automatically accommodate both! If yours doesn’t, you can look into “direct boxes” that can help with matching.
Electric guitar might be the first instrument to come to mind when recording direct. With the advent of higher quality amp simulations, it’s easy to get a great sound without an amp on hand. Tools like Spire Studio’s “Verb ‘65” are a great way bypass your amp, leaving less in the way between you and getting your ideas down. On the flip side, recording direct also opens up an opportunity to get unconventional guitar tones as well.