I am just returning to guitar after decades away. I am now playing my long neglected ES-175D and right now don't even have an amplifier.

I am trying to decide how to best build a music configuration that meets my needs. This thing will have to live in a very small place (tri-purpose small/spare bedroom). I want to be able to do the following.

1) Just play stuff through an amp (that only I hear in this small room). I have zero intent WRT gigging, although down the road playing for family in the living room is possible (eventually - I am currently not 'listenable'). And I do play fingerstyle stuff with a focus on learning to play stuff that can be played without accompaniment. I would not be heavily into distortion but reverb, chorus, and stuff like that would matter and different 'amp sounds' would be nice to have.

2) I can imagine wanting to occasionally play something with a backtrack of some kind. This would be either something that I recorded or something that is streamed online, or maybe from an mp3 file from somewhere or ??. I am a Windows guy (Win 7 on a relatively high end laptop), BTW and I do have a current generation Android tablet (I am Apple free for the moment).

3) Down the road I might want to mix in a drum track to my backtrack. That is the extent of 'musical production' that I can see.

4) And I will occasionally record what I play just for learning purposes. Back in the 80's when I last played I don't think I ever recorded myself.

The configuration that I am expecting would be something along the lines of

- A Yamaha THR10 or Line6 Amplifii (or others) amp model (serving as amp, DI, and 'monitor speakers' where my needs for accuracy here are quite limited). I am not interested in a 'real tube amp' and and prefer the flexibility of a SS modeling amp. And minimizing the # of boxes (like the DI/amp/speaker combo) is important vs. the very/very best sound quality attainable. But if anyone wants to give away a Axe-Fx II ....

- This would connect with my Windows 7 laptop and it would be nice if my amp would be totally controllable by either a Windows UI or a Android app on my Samsung tablet (so much for the Roland Cube based solution). Because of space considerations getting to anything other than front facing controls could be difficult as the amp will be sitting on a bottom bookshelf (probably not much higher than the amp) and possibly out of reach

- And I will need some kind of DAW to do the limited recording that I want to do.

My biggest question is how do I deal with all these different sound sources (streaming online, mp3's, stuff I recorded, etc). I was thinking that it would be either playback through the DAW (assuming that my amp had an adequate DI), or a wired output into the AUX input of the amp. I guess Bluetooth is an option but Windows 7 Bluetooth support is HORRIBLE in my experience.

Then from the reading that I have done the Amplifi series sound through the AUX input is not so hot. So maybe the AUX path is not a good idea in general (or maybe this issue doesn't exist or is unique to the Amplifii series).

I guess I could go with a DI and something like Amplitube and monitor speaker(s). But I am even less familiar with those types of products and on the rare chance that I want to wander out of my room, this is a bit limiting. But I would not rule that out.

Advice or comments from somebody trying to learn but without stuff to try, it goes slowly.


You don't sound like you want an actual guitar amp to me.

Having a guitar amp would make it a bit easier and quicker for you if you wanted to start playing right away, but because of how guitar speakers (speakers in general but guitar speakers in particular) are designed they sound better at higher volumes, so having a guitar amp that you will only play at very low volumes would be a wast of money - you could get an audio interface and a pair of speakers (decent speakers possibly) and play through an amp sim on your computer, and that will potentially sound better than any yamy TRX.

That way you would do everything in your DAW - play, record, play along, create backing tracks...

You don't seem to have a clear idea of what a DI box does, you may want to read through the introduction to recording sticky in this section or look up what DI boxes are/do on google.

If you don't know what audio interfaces are and what kinda stuff you would need to record, def have a look at the introduction to recording sticky.
Name's Luca.

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Thank you for the comments. And other than the convenience of "3 boxes in one" of a guitar amp, I probably don't want a guitar for my most typical usage here. This does help to clarify my thinking.

And you are correct that there is some EXTREMELY SIMPLE DI/DAW stuff that I do not understand, even though I have done a bunch of reading (including the very useful beginners link here). I understand quite well the electrical issues being resolved here (A/D conversion, data streams, USB interface, etc). But there are simple things I don't understand.

For example.

1) Do all (even down to the Behringer UCG102) play back from the raw input coming the instrument input? Or is it expecting that audio datastream to be returned from whoever is on the other side of the USB connection (e.g., a DAW).

2) When a DI is installed I have seen multiple references to a statement of "this replaces your sound card in your PC". Is that really what they mean or does it mean that your sound card is removed from the data path between your DI and DAW, but other applications would still access your installed sound card. Related to this is in the typical application of a DAW with monitor speakers (quite possibly the best answer for me as well), what drives the monitors? Is it the DI or whatever system is hosting the DAW?

3) If I want to record (via my DAW) something streamed online, can I do that? Do I need to play it to do it or can a typical DAW "go get it"? Similar question for a native .mp3 (or whatever) audio file on your PC (this would be an 'import' function in my experience which does not include audio stuff).

Every time I start to read something I run into something that I don't under, so I look that up and repeat until tired. It feels like trying to learn the Lithuanian language by being given a Luthuian dictionary and the definition of seven Luthuanian words. It can be done, but it is a slow start.

Thanks again