Hi, This is the first time ever I'm posting on this forum. I've been playing guitar for 4,5 years. I've played in several live shows and in the studio. I could manage to get decent tones for a live performance just instinctively. Now I'm focused more on recording my own stuff. I've almost never used pedals with my setup except POD HD. I have an Ibanez XPT700 6 sting with stock pickups of D-Activator. I use POD HD300 via USB to PC. Last week I decided to give up using cabinet part of POD HD300 and strated to use it as a pre-amp and shaping my tone with IRs + cab sims in my DAW. My questions are as follows, 1) In a video where Tube Screamer VST is used, I saw that the instructor tells that the "tone knob" should be adjusted relative to the guitar being used. How one decide on this? Is there a rule or did he mean adjust it to your liking? What is it got to do with my pickups? 2) During recording, how do you start shaping your own tone other than the needs of the genre? Do you analyze the weaknesses of your guitar(i.e. weak on low end or too fizzy) and shape your tone accordingly OR do you shape your tone from your mind and then record and then post-edit it? 3) When doing a recording with two guitars, can the tones be completely irrelative (i.e. one is strong at higher freqs, one is stronger at low end) or should I keep them close to each other with subtle differences? 4) POD HD300's gate is fixed, so the fx cahin is. But, can I throw a gate VST into the armed track for a tighter sound? Would this be too artificial or is any trick welcome when it comes to getting the tone to our liking? 5) I have read and watched videos about several cab sims and IR loaders on the web. Which one is the most resource(CPU, RAM etc.) friendly, flexible and successful at getting the job done? 6) ADDITIONAL QUESTION : With my POD HD300 I have both noise reduction and noise gate enabled (you can't adjust them separately. Either you have to turn them off or choose one of them or use them athe same time). Since because of the Necrophagist stylish playing I need the Noise Gate "on". And also because of the grounding & guitar related specs I also need to use Noise Reduction. I use them both at the same time. But if I adjust the threshold level to cope with Noise Reduction, this also affects the Noise gate, thus, I need to hit the strings harder to get the full articulation. Some "power" is reduced. SO; HOW CAN I COMPENSATE THE "POWER/SUSTAIN" LOST WHEN APPLYING HEAVY GATE? Which pedal does this job? Should I crank the tube screamer up? ALSO, is it better to use only Noise Reduction on POD HD300 and throw in a Noise Gate into the armed track in the DAW? Would this be better fix? Those are the questions and inputs I can provide for now on. PLEASE, do not suggest me to buy new hardware. Software is OK though. I don't think I'll be able to afford some hardware or new devices, at least, for now. THANK YOU ALL for helping out! Cheers, EDIT : I'm slightly experienced with overall recording process, DAWs, VSTs etc... I have some minor ideas about recording. I know it translates a bit different from playing live... You should play powerful and tight etc... I use 60% gain during recording since the layering will do it for me. I'm not after scooped guitar tones with the MID is all the way down etc... I aim to get a tone between Djentish and a death metal tone similar to the one on Panzerchrist's Room Service album; just haven't decided yet.