Crafting Amazing Guitar Tones

Option 1: Simulation DSP

Since the blog launch, I’ve been getting many messages on various social media platforms: my guitar signal chain in the studio. I thought about sharing two guitar options that I used for the ep. The first option is pretty straightforward, using a Universal Audio Apollo Twin X, various plugins such as Fender ’55 Tweed Deluxe, Marshall Plexi Super Lead 1959, and my favorite new DSP from Neural (Cory Wong & Gojira). I don’t know, but I’m a sucker for some excellent UI/UX. The guys at Neural got their shit down pretty well. From there, I insert the plugin in my DAW and tweak it. I also insert a Neve 1073 for some color.

Option 2: ISO Box

I’m sure my neighbors would love me doing 12-15 takes of the same song so the next step would be the infamous iso box. Love them or hate them; I was skeptical about buying one from all the bad reviews. Good old Youtube to save the day – I built one from scratch.
The following setup was my first attempt to start recording from home. I am pretty proud of this one, but I’m not sure it suits everyone. Trust me, I’m not a carpenter and used lots of quiet putty to fill in gaps. Ha! First, I live in an apartment, and I can’t crank the warm sounds of a mic ‘d-up amp. Yes, I know there are simulation cabs like the OX Box, but I wanted to get warm, accurate signal tones and the OX wouldn’t allow me to use my 500 series outboard gear.

I had so many sketches. This one was the final before I started building out.

This thing is enormous, and I was worried about the rumbling it would make, but with all the wool cloth, foam, and small breathing brackets, it served its purpose. I slapped on some wood stain, applied graphics, and was good to go! I disconnected my Orange AD 30 Twin, connected the Mogami cable, and bam! We got an ISO Box.

From there, I fabricated a microphone clamp and stand from leftover parts of various stands I had that were either broken or missing something – yep, I hoard studio shit. The microphones I used were a Royer 121 and SM57. The cabling I used was Mogami that went straight into my 500 series rackNeve 1073LB, (2) Neve 1073LB EQ, API 512C & Shadow Hills Dual Vandergraph Stereo Compressor for color. The next step would go into my Apollo Twin X, then to my DAW (Protools). Sometimes I would use the Radial D2 for a DI for a backup just in case I wasn’t happy with the tones.

Overall I was pretty happy with this, and the majority of my guitar parts were from this setup. I put the ISO Box in storage after I was done with the first initial recordings and was too lazy to bring it back when I wanted to redo some parts. With limited space in my apartment, I had to make some room. The retakes had to come with the first option.

500 series rack for guitar
500 Series Rack

I would bring it back again once I start tracking final takes on previous demos. In the meantime for a quick and easy way to get up and running is the first option. It gives the ability to jump right into creativity instead of setting up like you would in a typical studio. If I had space for it, I would definitely have my ISO box or room always prepped and ready to go.

PROSEasy to Use
Fast Setup Time
Amp Speaker Volume
Warm Analog Tones
Nice with the Neighbors
CONSPricey Plugins
Plugins use up DSP
Need Decent RAM
Takes a lot Space
Sound Boxy if too Small
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