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I really need some good advice on what suitable products are available, their comparable features and if they are compatible working with each other

 

My current set up... 

Hardware - PC with Intel Core i5 4690K CPU @ 3.5GHz, 8GB  RAM, 64-bit & Windows 7

Interface – Line 6 POD  X3 and a FBV Express MKII pedal board. I also have an ipad, iphone 4, iRig and iRig2

Software – Riffworks and Instant Drummer by Sonoma Wire Works, Line 6 Gearbox / POD Farm

VST / Plugins – Amplitube (Most of the collections and options currently available with Amplitube 3 and Amplitube 4 is on pre-order), Audified (Gallien-Krueger)

Studio Monitors – 2x JBL LSR305 monitors and a JBL LSR310 Sub

Amps – Marshall DSL100 (w/ 1960a cab), Marshall Lead 12 and Ampeg SVT-7 Pro (w/ Hartke VX810 cab)

Instruments – many electric guitars and bass guitars. Mic - SM57

FX Pedals – Vai II Wah, Dunlop JH-1s Wah, Behringer Hellbabe Wah / Vol, Joyo OD (sold all my old FX pedal gear as it was not being used anymore)

Bass DI / FX – Hartke VXL Attack and Tech21 VT Bass DI

Drums -  SWW Instant Drummer. I do like a lot of the gear on instant drummer but it isn’t very flexible and not programmable at all. I like the ability to click and play but sometimes I want a section different or something added / removed etc

 This is a relatively easy set-up to use most of the time but is quite limited. A short time ago I worked out that I needed to completely zero the line level output from my POD X3 when using the plugins to eliminate the annoying echo I could hear previously on most patches. I was never a fan of plugins before because of this echo but now I have worked out how to get the pure tone only… I Love them, especially the bass tones. Riffworks has its benefits when wanting to sectionalise pieces of a song but it can make it hard to get the flow of an entire song idea. I would prefer to play my instruments rather than engineer, so although I would like as good a quality set-up as possible I also need to keep the system as simple as possible for my battered old brain to handle. I also cant justify spending too much more on gear, even though my music is my passion, I have family commitments and real world costs that take priority $$$.

My main focus is getting...

·         a better quality interface  that is compatible with as many other products as possible and can incorporate an expression / wah pedal option.

·         more flexible software that is compatible with most plugins and can easily be produced / exported in usable formats. I would also be keen on being able to add more production feature and virtual instruments etc. suitable drum software would also be a key part of this

·         best possible plugins that can be used with my gear

I seems there are many quality alternative options these days to all departments but im not looking to change too much, maybe just optimise, upgrade or enhance what i have already. I am thinking i should upgrade my interface for starters but maybe keep the X3 and FBV Express for my live Amp FX loop and wah (once set up correctly). I need to learn how to program the FBV Express MKII Wah so I can use the Amplitube or Gearbox wah tones as they should be rather than coloured by the default FBV tone patch. How else can the Amplitube wah pedals be used as fully functional wah pedals?

Recently i had planned using my iPad / iRig2 and Amp Sim apps into the fx loop, power amp input or front input of my real amps to give me a warehouse of sound options live but although this seemed plausible but in theory the reality just sounded bad. Perhaps it might be more possible if used a laptop and better interface but the live set up really isnt that important these days as everything i do now is usually confined to my home bedroom studio and computer

 

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Sorry, I can't help you with an interface that incorporates Wah plug-in control.  SInce you have good amps and and an external wah pedal, I'd always recommend miking up the amp rather than using a sim, but I understand that sometimes you want to record a dry signal or add fx to an already-recorded track.

 

The 'echo' problem you mention is from having your direct input signal PLUS your track/FX signal in the monitor, so I'd recommend moving to an audio interface and software that allows more control and close-to-zero latency.

I use Reaper DAW - free to download the full version, $60 to register it.  And my interface is a Tascam US800 - but there are many very good interfaces available for under $150 if you only need a couple of inputs to record simultaneously.  I usually record electric guitar by miking the amp on one track PLUS a DI feed to another track using a Radial pedal to split the guitar signal.

For drumming, I am using EZDrummer 2.  It allows lots of customization when laying tracks down, and with software that has a MIDI editor (like Reaper) it is infinitely adjustable.

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+1 to Mike

Reaper and EZDrummer 2 is a great workflow.

Superior Drummer 2 is pretty awesome too, but more expensive and may have a steeper learning curve.

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Reaper is and excellent DAW - and I can totally recommend Addictive Drums and Addictive Keys from XLN audio. Just start small with the highest quality you can afford. and add bits (instruments kits and keys) as you go. Similarly Native Instruments. RAM is vital, 8GB is minimal for the better instruments - I use 16GB on each computer used for music../ Good luck!

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