Line out will typically only give you the preamp section (tones) and are more strait forward in set up.

Mic'ing a speaker/speaker cab will be more accurate to actual tone obviously but does add some complexity. However, you will pick up the preamp, the power amp, and the speaker's tone along with other nuances that you won't get with Line Out.
Cab impulses?

I see those as a best of both worlds sort of thing, and it's only a matter of time before I try them out myself. It's going line in, and then simulating a mic'd cab without having to deal with actually mic'ing it yourself. Genius eh?
line out is usually easier to deal with, and sounds more similar at different volumes. also a hella lot faster to deal with for spot recording. but for power amp distortion tones you will need either mic'd or definitely more complex setup that can simulate all of those but still... once you have a few good mics there is no reason to not tweak out a 'hit the button and go' config that will from then on be 'as fast' as line out. also for PA reinforcement. may be easier for the house if mics are limited, etc.

edit: also you can get pretty freaky with mixing power amps with the line out.
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Last edited by boardsofcanada at May 17, 2010,
If you know what you're doing, I'd recommend micing over going direct for any situation. More things come into play when you mic your amp; the room, mic placement, volume, mixing, phasing if you're using two mics, EQ's, etc. Going direct is less of a hassle, but doesn't always yield better results. Like mentioned, I'd use impulses if you're going direct.
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
Line out will typically only give you the preamp section (tones) and are more strait forward in set up.

Well, don't quote me on that, but aren't line outs post-output tranformer (and no I'm not mixing up the speaker out), if it's not generalised, I know for sure that on some amps the line out is after the power amp (on my Fender super 60 is like that)
Last edited by Sguit at May 17, 2010,
Well, here's the schmatic of the Super 60's power section:

And I've other schematics with the line out wired that way, and amps that were advertised as having a post output transformer line out, so yeah, direct recording can capture power tubes breakup
My 6505 112 has an emulated line out that is supposed to sound like it's mic'd, I haven't tried it yet, I always use a mic but I'm gonna give it a try and see how it is.
I haven't gotten into micing my amp yet as I need a mic now that I have an interface. But for going direct...

Before I had the interface I simply used the line out of my brothers vypyr for the preamp and used a demo version of revalver for a power amp and cab and I got wonderful tones for not much effort. THen I got an interface now its noticebly better quality and most importantly low latency.
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both have their places. line out and a good cab impulse can give you very good tones. but you lose that whole interaction between the speaker, room and guitar. you want feedback? out of luck.

with a mic though, you have to do a little more work to get that sound you want. gotta make sure the mic is placed right and the room isnt giving you wierd reflections and all this other stuff. again, it can sound fantastic, but it is also easy to get a muffled or bad sound.

basicly, it really depends on your goals and what you have available.