Originally Posted by supaheef
I aim for a darker sound than what I really want. And use heaps of transformer micpre gain. I find that the next day that "almost too dark" sound is "just about right", and the added harmonic distortion from the trannys makes it sound think and creamy (SCA N72's, usually).
Yeah, listening with my ears instead of watching the knobs. It took me a long time (and I'm still working on it) to trust that the sound coming from my monitors was what was going to sound good, regardless of settings. I record em a little darker, a lot less gain-y, and with far less low end than I used to.
Knowing your amps, cabinets, and guitars is really important as well. I try not to think in terms of "oh, strat into Plexi" or "tele into Twin", but think "jangly into clean on the edge of breakup" which may mean my Gretsch Bo Diddley into a Hiwatt, a Danelectro into a Diezel (Einstein cleans, ftw), a tele in the middle position out of phase (snarky!) into a Marshall, who knows. I try to get the sound, and not worry about how I get it.