Optimal setup for playing along to a song?


SS.org Regular
Dec 17, 2015
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I have got a hard time to setup my 4x12 and my PC speakers when I want to play along to a song.
My amp starts to sound good at 85-90 dB, but that's quit loud, my speakers can't handle that well, I don't hear the drums, and the sound is rumbling around in the room because of the reverb.

Will higher powered speakers solve this problem?

Or using a plugin and playing through the same speakers is a better way? (I don't have this setup yet)

What is your setup when you play together with your metal gods?:hbang:

Dec 2, 2014
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... perto de onde a terra acaba e o mar começa...
If you already own an audio interface and are to a fan of VST "amps", maybe get a load box to route your actual amp into your audio interface. Then you can push the amp to your tone reference and level it with your backing track... You'll either need an IR loader software (within the DAW) or use a loadbox with such commodities (either digital or analogue)...


Elegant Djentleman
Jan 12, 2021
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South east England
You 100% need to use stereo positioning to your advantage here - Which means one single set of two speakers with both your guitar and the backing track in. Or (more mundane) just use headphones/IEMs.

Ideally you have the full band track panned 75 to 90% to one side, and you on the other side. That lets you actually hear yourself separated from the music, so you can actually appreciate your badass guitar tone (lulz) or hear when you are making mistakes. The key problem of jamming in mono is that you think you are playing dead on with Dimebag (or whoever) but actually you are playing messy AF but you can't hear it.

I learned this when I was back on my big Metallica kick, and learning Damage Inc. When I played with the record I was so certain that I was dead fucking on with Hetfield's line, but when I tried to record it I was reliably missing one double pick in the main riff. My pick wasn't even touching the string.

Obviously your amp needs to heat up, but as @odibrom says a load box and cab sim is really what you want here. Or an amp sim. I'm sure it's balls awesome to play up loud, but as you say you need speakers that can actually match and still sound good. Most of them can't. My stage monitor can go up that loud (in mono) but my desktop monitors definitely can't. And even then, you need to use physical positioning to separate your playing from the backing. So, put the amp on one side of you, and the speakers on the other and then turn your body so you have left/right separation.