My name’s Nick, I’ve played guitar for about 12 years and I write and record music for my solo project 'Rook'. I’m as much an enthusiast for the guitars themselves as playing them; one of the things I enjoy the most about going from one guitar to the next is getting accustomed to the way it plays, the sounds you can get out of it and what you can use them for. I have no real formal education in Guitar or Recording beyond studying Music at college [British equivalent of an American High School] which doesn’t really touch on either.
When it comes to guitar tone, it’s not just the guitar that matters, that’s just a link in the chain. Amp-wise, I’ve tended toward amplifiers that combine a level of transparency with the ability to adapt and keep up with my changing tastes and get the most out of the guitars I’m using. This reached a pinnacle for me a few years ago when I found out about the Fractal Audio Axe FX system and dropped all my analogue, tube driven equipment and made the transition.
"...it seemed most ‘simple’ interfaces were also entry level quality and if you wanted features you had to buy into the old fashioned knobs-and-switches layout that didn’t really tick any of my boxes."
Up to this point I’d never had any interest in doing recordings predominantly because I didn’t feel I could portray myself – my guitar sound is to me like a singer’s voice - on a record but as soon as it wasn’t an issue my interest grew. My new system handed over the kind of diversity I enjoy on a plate, and in the form of a line level signal. In the interest of hearing my guitar sounds at their best I got myself some monitors, Logic and a well known piece of drum programming software to go with it and here is where my major interest in recording started.
After a year or so of plugging various things into other things and hoping a sound will come out; taking the simple approach, I decided a proper interface was the next step. Being predominantly a musician and not a producer I was quite overwhelmed, almost intimidated by the vast array of interfaces on the market; Firewire, USB, 6 in, 2 out, line level inputs, preamp, SPDIF connectors… I wanted a unit I could simply plug whatever I wanted into and get great quality recording and the best and clearest possible monitoring without lots of bells and whistles I don’t fully understand or need. Portability was a big plus too as I work on a fully ‘in-the box’ system, creating entire tracks using just a guitar or two, a laptop and my Axe FX. Sadly it seemed most ‘simple’ interfaces were also entry level quality and if you wanted features you had to buy into the old fashioned knobs-and-switches layout that didn’t really tick any of my boxes.
"The two line level inputs on top of the two top quality mic preamps for miking amps or acoustic and the single best sounding output I’ve heard..."
Then I was introduced to Forte, which frankly seemed too good to be true. The two line level inputs on top of the two top quality mic preamps for miking amps or acoustic and the single best sounding output I’ve heard on an interface along with Forte Control allowing me to set up my recording rig once and never have to change again with the knowledge that I’m going to get consistently the best quality recordings I could and all in a nice looking, portable package. It even had a top quality headphone amp and bus power, so I can put a project on my laptop and take that, my Forte and my headphones on the road with me and continue to work on a song knowing that when I get home and plug back into my Monitors I won’t have to redo the mix. Forte Control also allows me to have a different set of levels on my headphones simultaneously so I don’t have to change my settings when I switch back to my desktop.
I’ve just released my first entirely home written, recorded, produced and mastered EP using my in-the-box system and was confident that mixing and mastering with Forte was going to deliver the sound I was aiming for to every listener.