How to connect at home

Hello all,

I’m just learning at home, no intentions to join a band, just home and maybe campfire playing.

I have an electric and acoustic with electronics and like to have fun with looper and some effects.

Now there are the options of connecting to an amp, I just had an amp for my electric guitar, but it broke.

Now I have options to buy an amp for both guitars, but I don’t think that’s convenient…

What are the most convenient options and not crazy expensive.

A laptop with interface and some(?) monitors connected? Is that sound nice? And then I got to sort out about a DAW as well.

Or something like a Bose S1 pro?

For acoustic amp I liked a wooden EAR AMP and had an effects loop, but pretty expensive and just for acoustic…

I hope for some advice, what 's most convenient for you? And not too noisy, because of neighbors…


PositiveGrid Spark Mini


To answer one part of your question :

A setup with an interface (Focusrite 2i2), affordable studio monitors (Presonus Eris 4.5") and amp simulator software (Neural DSP) can definitely sound nice with an electric guitar. You don’t necessarily need to learn the DAW to work with Neural DSP as they can work stand-alone. But, you would need the DAW to makes loops.

It’s a little bit more complicated to use at the beginning than real amps, so it’s not the most beginner friendly option.

But, in the long term, you can save a lot of money because its quality is the best in the sim market. The Tone King Imperial MK2 amp simulator costs about 100$ while the real amp costs more than 3000$. And the reviews say that the quality is similar.

Bonus : studio monitors and amps sims work really well at low volume.

To get an idea of the sound and effects , you may want to check my rock songbook project . Every video use a different presets from the software.

** Acoustic guitar **
I can’t comment on that one since I did not really find useful the acoustic amps to play at home. I much prefer the natural sound of the acoustic guitar. So, I use a microphone and DAW when recording loops.

Find an amp that you like and plug your acoustic guitar into it. Adjust the EQ on the guitar (if have some controls) and amp until the sound is to your liking. I own a handful of different amps (solid state & tube) and a PA system, they all work with my acoustic electric guitars. I especially like plugging into my little Fender Mustang.

Here’s a track using my Epi acoustic with my Mustang using Fender '65 Twin Reverb Emulation: Acoustic Looper Noodles and Garden Walk

Hi Remco
what’s most convenient for a acoustic/electric guitar is just playing it acoustic.
You won’t get any looper or effects. But if your just learning, I’m not conviced effects are a learning tool. Perhaps the looper is, I don’t know. I learned with just a plain acoustic and I got along just fine w/o anything other than my guitar. At the very least, it forces you to learn to play a guitar w/o the distractions of anything else. If you don’t sound good, you learn to play better.
I don’t know if a looper is a learning tool or just something to jam along with yourself which may be a learning tool as it’s get you used to playing with others even though your just playing along with recorded you.

As for a amp for both elec. and acoustic guitars. I know there are plenty of acoustic designed amps. Myself, I’ve never felt the need for one as I just plug into my regular amps. I’m even more of that notion now that I’ve learned that many Beatle songs done with elec./acoustic guitar were just plugged into their vox electric guitar amps. It worked fine for them, so I figure it’ll be fine for me too. In reality, I don’t plug my acoustic/elec. in to much. I got the acoustic to play acoustically w/o a amp as I’m just a home player too.

My opinion on a amp vs a interface is. Just get a amp. And a plain amp at that. There are so many choices today w/amps that are modeling and all that do near everything sound wise. While I’m sure they’re fun to play. I can see twiddling a lot of knobs, all the time, changing your tone from this to that. imho, that don’t lend itself to learning to play a guitar.
I still don’t have a modeling amp and I’m just fine playing through a simple amp w/ few controls. It forces me to play my guitar, not mess with knobs for different tones.
As for the daw. I got that last, after the acoustic, after the elec. after several amps. I got it to record with. While I know and have played my guitar through my interface, amplifying my acoustic or elec. is only kinda satisfying to me. I don’t need a amp to my acoustic, and my electric, while it sounds fine, it just ain’t the same as playing through a amp.
That’s my 2 cent. ymmv.
Good luck in your guitar journey and have a wonderful time on it.

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It depends what you want. You will get better sound from interface/computer/monitors/sim. soft. route, but that will not be the most convenient option for everyday practice. I prefer proper standalone modelling sim amps. There is a huge price/sound quality range there, Spark 40 or Boss Katana 50 are solid and not crazy expensive options.

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This is a hard one because there is no “right” answer and a lot of it depends on preference and budget.

I went through a similar thing about 2 years ago, at that stage I was using some free software (Amplitube), and found that it was going to be cheaper and better than to get a Fender GTX50 modelling amp rather than just buy software and then buy pedals to control it. Here is the thread from the time: Help me choose my next bit of gear - pedals?

Now, I still run a similar setup to that but have the Fender TMP doing the modelling, using either my PC with studio monitors or GTX50 as a cab. The guitar amp sounds better than studio monitors when up loud btw - it’s a bigger driver.

There’s no wrong choice, but I lean towards modellers these days rather than just software, or just amps.

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Good answer. A lot of what I’d say is it depends on where you want to go. Once I started performing at open mics, having a setup at home that’s at least closer to what you get on stage is important. A good acoustic amp and good mics did that for me.

I’m highly technical and yet found the experience of hooking up my guitar to my computer and fiddling with the DAW took all the fun out of it. It’s no longer an organic experience of being in the groove of the music when you are having to fiddle DAW techniques and settings, well, not in my opinion.

For what it’s worth the looper has been a great tool for me when learning to play improv. I can lay down the chords rhythmically and then noodle along to a wide variety of songs I can play, that’s a bit off topic but mentioned it in the context of the comments about loopers above.

Bottom line, figure out where you want to go. If it’s campfire music with friends, I don’t see how the computer comes into it.


I’m with @tony : I’m very technical, but I find messing with the PC to get simple sounds becomes a barrier to practice.

I tend to prefer hardware which “just works” whether that is a standard amp or a modeller. I have both, and use them, equally (modeller with headphones, usually). The point is, I can pick up my guitar, plug it in, press the power switch, and noise will start to come out when I play.

No messing, no fussing.

I do, occasionally, use the guitar at my PC and recently, I have found a very nice setup which sounds great through my audio interface, but the caveat there is that my audio interface isn’t a bog-standard one: it’s a mixer with built-in audio effects, and I’ve found that I can get a pretty great tone by plugging my guitar through some of the mixer’s onboard effects blocks. It took me a while to set up, but now it’s permanently configured, and is now “plug and play”.

Strictly speaking, I’m not really using my computer at all for this: it’s just coming out of the same desktop speakers as my computer audio. I don’t even really need to turn my computer on.

But, having dabbled with amp Sims and found it faffy, that’s about as far as I’m prepared to go. If I want to record guitar, I have enough multi-fx units which have built-in audio interfaces to use for that.

Personally, given the choice, I would always go for a physical amp. And in my case, that would be a modelling amp of some sort for the tonal flexibility and ease of recording.

Yes, plugins give you massive flexibility including the ability to have highly expensive boutique amp models used by your guitar heros, but so what?

Having a model of their amp, even if it’s an accurate model (which there is some debate about) won’t make you sound remotely like them.

IMO, a lot of these amp modelling technologies, whilst undeniably clever, are mostly a marketing gimmick to part gullible people from their money. Whilst you might think you are saving big by being able to get a £3,000 amp for “only” £100, the real value of those amps is in the physical hardware and the branding, neither of which you get when you buy a simulation of them. That’s reflected in their resale value.

In reality, most people find 2 or 3 core tones they like, and build on those. You can do that with any technology, including simple amps.

In fact, one of the big skills to develop as an electric guitar player is dialling in tones, and learning what sounds good and how to achieve it. You will never develop that skill by downloading and using other people’s patches.




Hey Remco,

I suppose the responses here will give you an idea of others’ setups, and give you some ideas going forward.

I went the amp sim route 2 years ago, and happy I did. Not interested in public performance. I record covers, songs improvs, as many others do here, and will hopefully do a few of my own in the near future.

The core of my setup is Guitar》Focusrite Interface》PC 》S-Gear AmpSim Software》Reaper DAW 》Studio Monitors/ Headphones.
Everything in one place, all playing/ practice data centralised/ organised on the PC, quickfire startup from zero to playing/ practicing in under 2 minutes; all conducive to efficiency; which equals more time with actual hands on guitar. It is a learning curve at first, as with all things; but, over time, most things are now fully automated/ configured.

Sound/ tonewise, S-Gear is brilliant, and very versatile. Different to many other amp sims; its about the actual sound, rather than endless shiny pedals, 8000+ options, and BS marketing spiel.

I have 5-6 sound configs that I use for just about everything, with perhaps a slight adjustment here or there occasionally, dependent in the piece.

So thats been my setup for a while now. For me, its a perfect mix of brilliant versatile tones, and a highly time-efficient practice/playing process.
Enjoy the ride.

Cheers, Shane

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I agree, the PositiveGrid Sparks mini is a great amp with quite a few options.

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There are so many options now and so many good choices. With a lot of new gear coming out about now too.

Guitar(s) → Ai (2i2 etc) → amp software is great if you have a PC/Mac already and play near the computer. Use headphones or monitors etc.

Advantage - you can record dry and sim literally any sound and mix up your own songs easy.
Disadvantage - cant easily take places

Guitar(s) → physical amp sim (box/pedal) → headphones/frfr speakers - almost certain you can use as an AI also.

Advantage - simpler
Disadvantage - often more limited and will improve less over time

Guitar(s) → ‘Digital’ sim amp ( katana, fender mustang etc) - has the amp sim, pedals, and power amplifier all in 1 box, usually works as an AI too.

Advantage - take anywhere play anything
Disadvantage - often more limited and will improve less over time, bigger, heavier

Guitar(s) → traditional amp - limited sound range but much simpler to get going with

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One of the question that you can ask yourself is : are you a computer person ?

If yes, you may love that everything is in one place when learning songs on youtube and playing. If no, you’ll definitely prefer the real amp.

Also, do you have low volume constraints ? With studio monitors, it’s easy to play when someone is sleeping in the next room without headphones. I am really amazed that studio monitors keep the volume in the same room. When I tried the Boss Katana at low volume, people were still hearing it in the other room.