Distorted Guitar resonance/whistle
FirstLoveStudio
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#1
11th January 2012
Old 11th January 2012
  #1
Gear addict
 

Thread Starter
Distorted Guitar resonance/whistle

I've recorded a lot of guitar amps but time to admit I have a problem...
Whenever I record distorted electric guitars, whether using pedals or any amp/cab close Mic'd (i've got a fairly comprehensive collection or awesome valve amps/cabs etc), I always end up having to notch the hell out of the upper mids. There's always a really nasty whistling somewhere between 2k + 4k.

Why?

Does everybody live this? I've had enough!

I know the solution is NOT Mic/pre/converter - they may effect it but they are not the cause! Like I say, I record a lot of sources in lots of different ways. Is it just inherent to speakers when close Mic'd? Or guitars?

Help!
#2
11th January 2012
Old 11th January 2012
  #2
Gear addict
 
szmola's Avatar
 

i don't think that's a problem in most cases...
i have same situation and when i notch it with FabfilterQ, which is super transparent, it's almost like untouched and when i do that i can turn up guitar much louder because there is no more that "peaking in ear" frequency.
FirstLoveStudio
Thread Starter
#3
11th January 2012
Old 11th January 2012
  #3
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Thread Starter
Well I have nothing solutions, but why does it have to be like this?

I wouldn't tolerate it on other sources...

I guess 'other sources' are basically acoustic instruments or di.

Is it speakers?
#4
11th January 2012
Old 11th January 2012
  #4
3 + infractions, forum membership suspended.
Quote:
Originally Posted by FirstLoveStudio View Post
I've recorded a lot of guitar amps but time to admit I have a problem...
Whenever I record distorted electric guitars, whether using pedals or any amp/cab close Mic'd (i've got a fairly comprehensive collection or awesome valve amps/cabs etc), I always end up having to notch the hell out of the upper mids. There's always a really nasty whistling somewhere between 2k + 4k.

Why?

Does everybody live this? I've had enough!

I know the solution is NOT Mic/pre/converter - they may effect it but they are not the cause! Like I say, I record a lot of sources in lots of different ways. Is it just inherent to speakers when close Mic'd? Or guitars?

Help!
sounds like you crank the amps too loud
Zep
#5
11th January 2012
Old 11th January 2012
  #5
Zep
Gear interested
The same here from time ago.

In my case, I always thought the use of Alnico speakers (vintage Beyma 12")... they have a resonance in 2.4k that is "piercing" to my ears. I even cut this frequency -9dbs with low Q to achieve a reasonably flat distorted guitar.

No matter the mic I use; Royer R-121, Oktava ML52, Austin ribbon diy'ed, Shure SM57... I can't record a distorted guitar without an EQ in this frequency (well, and a clean one too). And the guitar amps I use are the Soldano SLO, Diezel VH-4, JCM800 and Vox AC30. I hate the Vintage30 speakers, althought less piercing 2.4ks, I always had difficulties to "smooth" their sound in other frequencies compared to Beyma ones (beautiful sounding mids if not that resonance).

I think it's a problem inherent of digital recording too. In my analog days, I didn't percieve the "nasty wisthling" guitar tone as a problem like nowadays.

Well, I think the problem is me as an audio engineer too... ;-)

Sorry for my english.
#6
11th January 2012
Old 11th January 2012
  #6
Gear addict
 

There is always some sort of fizz sound in distorted guitars. Especially if you're doing metal and start cutting mids, making the highs more prominent.

Some guitar pickups have more 4k fizz in them. There is also the combination between amp and cab. But usually 2sm57 does it. One straight on and one with an 45d angle.
#7
11th January 2012
Old 11th January 2012
  #7
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Ward Pike's Avatar
Can you share an audio sample, please? Also, a picture of your microphone/amp set-up and description of your recording chain would also help.

Thanks, hope to help!
#8
11th January 2012
Old 11th January 2012
  #8
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andychamp's Avatar
Question: have you got your speaker(s) at ear height when you dial in your amp tone?

Since I've made it a rule at my place to set speakers where you can hear them, treble pots have a tendency to remain fully left.
"Presence" usually stays pretty low, too.

That, or lose the 57.

4.8 kHz on a 1073 (real, clone or virtual) can do wonders for a guitar tone you want to push without it becoming unbearable.
#9
11th January 2012
Old 11th January 2012
  #9
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RedWallStudio's Avatar
 

I believe what you may be hearing is the digital interpretation of harmonic distortion. I record all my guitars to tape and then transfer to Pro-Tools (with drums and bass) and do my mixes in Pro-Tools. I started noticing that the guitars sounded fine on tape and the harmonic "fizzy" distortion was not bothersome on tape.. but when it got reinterpreted by my DAW, something weird happens to it and it gets harsh and... um.. digital sounding. I've noticed that the Harmonic distortion was worse with my smaller single output amps but the bigger amps that are driving with 2 or more power tubes didn't create as much harmonic distortion, so there was not as much additional information for the AD to re-interpret. I've tried every mic, every mic pre, cable, you name it, combination and the results were the same. The only thing I have not done is to try recording at 192 or trying other AD converters.. but I'm pretty much at that point. I'm a guitar player and it is an annoyance to deal with...
#10
11th January 2012
Old 11th January 2012
  #10
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Einstein's Avatar
 

Are you hearing the "whistling" with the guitars flat or only while you're sweeping with a boost? Boosting and sweeping on distorted guitars causes all kinds of things that aren't really there or not really a "problem" to seem like drastic flaws. It's not like finding a ring in a snare because there is TONS of harmonic information going on pretty much everywhere. If you sweep and boost, then cut, then sweep the next one, you'll end up with nothing left. Also, everything cut one part of the "whistling" you'll make another part more predominate. If you're doing lots of little cuts in the mids, you may be trying unconsciously to remove the sound of a valve amp.

With that said, if it's the spiky spitty stuff up top that's more of a fizzy wistley kinda thing, I usually trace that back to the pickups. JB's are bad for this spiky fizz on top that you can't cut away depending on the guitar used, etc.


Another thing with that critical 2-4k area is mic placement. Where the dustcap meets the cone is usually the vicinity of the magic area.
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#11
11th January 2012
Old 11th January 2012
  #11
Lives for gear
 

i have this problem too. I got a session once from unnamed producer who's sold millions of records and i was amazed at how good his distorted guitars were tracked. You can sweep an EQ on it and i kid you not nothing sounds bad. It was like you could just boost anything you wanted and it would still sound good. I've spent days trying to get this good of tone and never got it ;/. I have good pre's, converters, mics, amps and gtrs. I know this guy is all in the box recording and mixing too.
#12
11th January 2012
Old 11th January 2012
  #12
Would-Be-Teaboy
 
Jazz Noise's Avatar
 

Is it a tube amp? Tubes can go microphonic occasionaly if they get a knock. I had this problem when I was younger. Moved around once or twice and it seemed to go away of its own accord!
#13
11th January 2012
Old 11th January 2012
  #13
Gear addict
 

I have experienced this. I know you've mentioned amps etc, but have you tried changing guitar? Is it more pronounced on open chords? Is it there on your deeper power chords? Try chasing the source of the noise, listening to the guitar unplugged, do you hear it? Change pick up, change head, then change cab. I found it was guitar set up and higher frets just making contact where they shouldn't.
FirstLoveStudio
Thread Starter
#14
11th January 2012
Old 11th January 2012
  #14
Gear addict
 

Thread Starter
Thanks for the input, I'm glad I'm not alone!

I'm going to do some newbie experimentation.

I run a studio and record in various places so there is no chain, but have this issue basically everywhere.

How about speaker phase distortion?
#15
11th January 2012
Old 11th January 2012
  #15
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RedWallStudio's Avatar
 

Try experimenting with different amps and different levels of distortion first and foremost. In my set-up I've noticed I get the most annoying "fizzy" distortion when the amp just starts to break up. And as much as I HATE to use it, you can also record the guitars clean and add your grit ITB in Amp Farm or something similar.. but I generally try to keep things organic and avoid ITB guitar processing whenever possible.

Also, try the free trial of iZotope RX. I've had reasonable success with removing some unwanted distortion with this plug in. I'm considering purchasing the full version.
#16
11th January 2012
Old 11th January 2012
  #16
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Nishmaster's Avatar
 

I think the OP is referring to a piercing resonance between 2k and 6k. Often I find that guitars can have a nasty harmonic content in that area. To me, "fizz" starts above 6k, and I don't think that is what's being described here.

Be careful about totally destroying that, however. Often that leads to distorted tones with no bite. Mic placement is also critical in these cases. Move the mic back a little, or adjust the angle and side to side location some.

-Matt
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#17
12th January 2012
Old 12th January 2012
  #17
Gear Head
 

Attack of the Killer Bees!!!!

This is the thing guitarists are, or should be, fighting the whole time. Biting without being piercing. I've spent years on the gtr tone hunt to eliminate the fizz that cheap amps and pickups create in abundance.

The solution is the sum of everything Im afraid. For killer gtr tone you'll need most of the following:

Great player, great part, great gtr, great pickups (this is a major part of the puzzle), Valve Amp (older=warmer=less fizz), nice cab, combination of mics ( I use a 57 and a cad trion ribbon), nice mic pre, etc etc. Bit of room verb, maybe boost 1 k, maybe cut some 4-6k, your there!

But really importantly, watch out for the side effects of daw processing, I believe it can crunch up the highs. Making the frequencies you mention sound harsh and distorted.

Good luck
FirstLoveStudio
Thread Starter
#18
13th January 2012
Old 13th January 2012
  #18
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Thread Starter
[QUOTE=Nishmaster;7428719]I think the OP is referring to a piercing resonance between 2k and 6k. Often I find that guitars can have a nasty harmonic content in that area. To me, "fizz" starts above 6k, and I don't think that is what's being described here.

Be careful about totally destroying that, however. Often that leads to distorted tones with no bite. Mic placement is also critical in these cases. Move the mic back a little, or adjust the angle and side to side location some.

Correct, I'm not talking fizz andhave some serious valve amps - old selmers, 67 Marshall etc
#19
16th January 2012
Old 16th January 2012
  #19
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FirstLoveStudio View Post

Correct, I'm not talking fizz andhave some serious valve amps - old selmers, 67 Marshall etc
Best to post a sample, it's quite hard to describe sound sometimes
#20
16th January 2012
Old 16th January 2012
  #20
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frans's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nishmaster View Post
I think the OP is referring to a piercing resonance between 2k and 6k. Often I find that guitars can have a nasty harmonic content in that area. To me, "fizz" starts above 6k, and I don't think that is what's being described here.

Be careful about totally destroying that, however. Often that leads to distorted tones with no bite. Mic placement is also critical in these cases. Move the mic back a little, or adjust the angle and side to side location some.

-Matt
I second that. I regularly go looking for these resonances in my guitar tracks. Even if I can't tell every time if it's the guitar or the speaker, I get a notch filter ready (after finding the best spot for the mic!). Careful, don't cut "enough", because that's going to tame the sound too much. Just shoot the worst offender, knock off 3 or something dB, sometimes more, it depends (as everything all the time)
Most time it IS the guitar pickup, there are some with really nasty resonances, Teles and Strats the worst. Research the frequency behaviour of pickups, frequency plots etc.etc. to find out more about this.
If you nail it, the guitar with eq will sound like it has always sounded like this and the track without eq will sound like somebody put some cheap and nasty eq on it.
#21
16th January 2012
Old 16th January 2012
  #21
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rocksure's Avatar
a)Are you recording the amps in the same place in the same room? Is the sound of the room affecting the sound of the guitar amps negatively?
b) Have the valves in the amp gone microphonic? Some valves a re more prone to this than others Old valves are more likely to than new ones. If the amp is whistling at all while you are not actually playing, then that's the problem
c) Recording valve amps loud and cranked is good..but there is a point above which they begin to sound worse than they do at the "sweet spot" in terms of volume. That sweet spot is a combination of preamp gain and post gain. If you change one it affects the other. If you change the EQ settings it also changes this.
d) Try using two different mics models, off axis aimed across the center of the cone, and at 45 degrees to each other and 45 degrees in relation to the speaker grill. Blend the two mics later to suit.
#22
16th January 2012
Old 16th January 2012
  #22
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NEWTON IN ORBIT's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedWallStudio View Post
I believe what you may be hearing is the digital interpretation of harmonic distortion. I record all my guitars to tape and then transfer to Pro-Tools (with drums and bass) and do my mixes in Pro-Tools. I started noticing that the guitars sounded fine on tape and the harmonic "fizzy" distortion was not bothersome on tape.. but when it got reinterpreted by my DAW, something weird happens to it and it gets harsh and... um.. digital sounding. I've noticed that the Harmonic distortion was worse with my smaller single output amps but the bigger amps that are driving with 2 or more power tubes didn't create as much harmonic distortion, so there was not as much additional information for the AD to re-interpret. I've tried every mic, every mic pre, cable, you name it, combination and the results were the same. The only thing I have not done is to try recording at 192 or trying other AD converters.. but I'm pretty much at that point. I'm a guitar player and it is an annoyance to deal with...
This is spot on. Digital seems to create this white noisy crap that is very difficult to deal with. Need to boost some presence in the mix? Good luck. you will be boosting this "noise" as well.

It sucks. I am really surprised there are not pages, and pages of these threads.

Try bouncing your tracks out to tape bringing them back into the project. ANY analog tape as an experiment to see if it does what you want. If it helps (it will), then you can go get a nice hi fidelity tape machine of your choice.

It works wonders. Tape "fixes" so much crap, it's unbelievable.

Rock and roll was built on tape, it's part of the guitar "sound". Now that digital is the norm, we have people complaining about heavy gtr. Been happening for a couple of decades now.

The people that don't complain about digital as much, seem to be the ones who don't do heavy gtr much. I mean really heavy. You can get away with some dirty leads, some mildly overdriven stuff, but when your basis of your track is a wall of searing crunchy gtrs...forget it.

Some still do this heavy stuff to digital, and deal with it in other ways, but it doesn't sound as nice to me.

Just an observation.

One other one...mic pres with IC's in them really seem to aggravate this issue for me. It gets exponentially worse to digital. Not sure what you are using.

I have NOT A CLUE why this is btw. Everything else in the chain can have ic's, but the preamps? It seems at the front end like this, they just make it grainy and sizzly as f*ck.

Good luck,
john

Last edited by NEWTON IN ORBIT; 16th January 2012 at 09:10 PM.. Reason: typos
#23
16th January 2012
Old 16th January 2012
  #23
Gear maniac
 

I've got the same problem with guitars. I've just come to accept that I'll always have to do some scooping out of the 3khz area every time and then move on. Usually a 3-4 dB cut with a moderately wide Q does the trick. It's not so bad because that gives the snare and toms some space for their attack frequencies.
#24
17th January 2012
Old 17th January 2012
  #24
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RedWallStudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NEWTON IN ORBIT View Post
This is spot on. Digital seems to create this white noisy crap that is very difficult to deal with. Need to boost some presence in the mix? Good luck. you will be boosting this "noise" as well.

It sucks. I am really surprised there are not pages, and pages of these threads.

Try bouncing your tracks out to tape bringing them back into the project. ANY analog tape as an experiment to see if it does what you want. If it helps (it will), then you can go get a nice hi fidelity tape machine of your choice.

It works wonders. Tape "fixes" so much crap, it's unbelievable.

Rock and roll was built on tape, it's part of the guitar "sound". Now that digital is the norm, we have people complaining about heavy gtr. Been happening for a couple of decades now.

The people that don't complain about digital as much, seem to be the ones who don't do heavy gtr much. I mean really heavy. You can get away with some dirty leads, some mildly overdriven stuff, but when your basis of your track is a wall of searing crunchy gtrs...forget it.

Some still do this heavy stuff to digital, and deal with it in other ways, but it doesn't sound as nice to me.

Just an observation.

One other one...mic pres with IC's in them really seem to aggravate this issue for me. It gets exponentially worse to digital. Not sure what you are using.

I have NOT A CLUE why this is btw. Everything else in the chain can have ic's, but the preamps? It seems at the front end like this, they just make it grainy and sizzly as f*ck.

Good luck,
john
BTW - This is where I have noticed a difference by using the Big Ben. I know quite a few people poo-poo using the Big Ben (or any other clock) when you have the same type of converters (I have 2 192's) but when I disconnect the Big Ben and use the internal clock I can clearly hear a difference in the harmonics generated by distorted guitars. The Big Ben is definitely doing something to clean that up.

I would like to know if anyone has tried different converters for the sole purpose of solving this issue. I've been considering trying a Lynx Aurora 16.. but not if it is going to be a lateral move.

And Ironically, I suffer from tinnitus in my left ear which is highly sensitive to the harmonics in overdriven guitar amps in that frequency range, so it's like putting a magnifying glass on it for me. Rings like.. well.. like a bell.
#25
17th January 2012
Old 17th January 2012
  #25
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Flying_Dutchman's Avatar
 

imo speaker distortion is a huge problem
#26
17th January 2012
Old 17th January 2012
  #26
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OP -- do you hear these resonant frequencies in the room while you are tracking?

I wind up notching distorted guitars about half the time, and it is stuff that I can hear in the room when I'm in there. I don't do much metal, it's usually rock/indie, and a lot of Fender amps.. I mention the fender as those resonances are in the reverb 9 times out of 10. I advise players to go real light on the reverb on tracking day, but most of them believe that the verb is part of "their sound" and who am I to take that away from them? Spring reverbs can really have heavy buildup in very narrow frequency ranges which can really pop out of the track even if there's just a little bit of reverb dialed in.

Also, with electric guitars I find myself using more and more LPF (and often with a little bump at the rolloff frequency to maintain some bite) -- there just isn't anything above 5-6k in an electric guitar that sounds musical at all to my ear, just hiss & fizz & garbage. Maybe different if you want that really piercing scooped mid metal sound, but not by much. Would love to hear anyone's experience or opinion on this..
#27
17th January 2012
Old 17th January 2012
  #27
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Jerrick's Avatar
 

Basically every distorted guitar ive heard has this, and the ones that dont, are super flat and boring to listen to. Its a balance, too much and its annoying, too little and you dont sound like a guitar anymore. |

Its very important to eq with your ear at speaker level. It might sound a little dull once youre standing up right in front of your cab, but the mic will be picking up a good tone, and if youre on a stage, the audience will probably be at ear level with your speakers, and they wont feel like being stabbed in the ear with an icepick.
#28
17th January 2012
Old 17th January 2012
  #28
Gear maniac
 
Bopkit's Avatar
 

certain pickups seem to really exacerbate this phenomenon. so do Fender amps when cranked, except i find that smaller ones, like old 60s Champs have much less.

not very easy to correct with EQ. best to really deal with the source.. find the right combination of pickup/amp and mic.

while doing the aforementioned, i do find a 2-4 dB cut at 3k with my Cinema 4031 or Altec 9063 often makes an aggressive sound sit a little nicer, and allows me to mix it more up front.
#29
17th January 2012
Old 17th January 2012
  #29
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ears2thesky's Avatar
Turn the gain on the amp down. I'm always amazed at how much more fizzy distorted guitar sounds on playback compared to what it sounded like in the room. I always back the gain down a notch more than I think and--wa-la perfect amount of fuzz.
Experiment with mic type and placement. Some times an unlikely mic in an unlikely position is the ticket. I almost always run two different-sounding mics simultaneously and combine to taste in the mix. This way I can EQ out nastiness without gutting the overall tone.
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#30
18th January 2012
Old 18th January 2012
  #30
Gear Head
 
_cake's Avatar
 

oohhh yeah. 2k-4k... ouch. Always have had to scoop this area.

If someone isn't sure exactly what is going on here, take your favourite peq, set a band up with the highest Q setting (like 10 - so very narrow band) and boost as high as you can, like 18-20db, and move it slowly up and down the 2-4k region and you'll know - do this to find the worst frequency and then do your wider cut centered on that frequency as it will vary from guitar track to guitar track.

Turn your monitors down a bit when you do this or you will kill your ears
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