I’ve been doing a bit of recording lately in my home studio and instead of using a mic on a guitar amp I have been using my Tech 21 Trademark 30 going direct. I am sort of old school when it comes to guitar gear and more times than not the “old school” approach sounds and feels better to me….tube amps, wooden guitars, analog pedals, you get the idea.
My little Trademark 30 was another late night impulse ebay deal. I always wanted to try one so I hit the panic button and a few days later it was on my porch……(I love getting new gear!!). I really just thought it would make a good amp for my office and deliver a bunch of good sounds, plus it’s analog and all the Tech 21 gear I have tried sounded good. The Trademark 30 is no exception. It’s a good little amp!
Besides being a great amp for my office, it records really well. No microphone needed with the XLR direct out which is basically a SansAmp. There is also a ground lift switch in case you get a ground loop hum. So far I have used this in my little studio for a few months now and it sounds fantastic every time. All the sounds that I need are there and with a few “board” tweaks you can shape it up even further. I have dialed up some nasty overdrive sounds, raw and heated blues sounds, country sounds with my Teles and even some warm clean jazz tones. And the built in spring reverb sounds great.
A friend of mine owns and operates a studio and he uses the baby brother Trademark 10 (which is discontinued btw). It is the same amp except it has a little less power and an 8” speaker but the same great sounds with the direct SansAmp XLR. He calls it his secret weapon. Whenever he cuts guitar tracks he always takes a direct line from the guitar for some re-amping. He spends some time getting the guitar players sounds and records their personal amps as well as the direct signal. If need be he just uses the direct signal and re-amps it through the Trademark and more often than not the re-amped track through the Trademark sounds better! Clearer, more present and still has depth and character. He had to stop telling players his little secret because they were getting upset but all agreed that the mighty little Trademark sounded…gulp…better.
If you want to lean as much toward “old school” as possible without using a bunch of digital programs or rack units for guitar sounds then why not give the little trademark 30 a go? It’s small, lightweight and very versatile. I may never know how it will fare on a gig but I can tell you that it totally rocks for recording. Take that, tube snobs! Wait a minute, what am I saying…I’m one of them!