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Digital Plus Electric Guitars SUCK...
Old 10th June 2007
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Lek's Avatar
 

Digital Plus Electric Guitars SUCK...

... more so than any other instrument I've tried by far

Is anyone actually happy with electric guitars recorded to a digital medium?
If so, what is your chain?

Because no converters I've tried (cranesong, apogee, UA), no mics I've used (royer r121, sm57, senn421, aea) in all sorts of mic placement, tape simlulators (fatso, cranesong, portico), mic pres (I use germ, api) ... work at all

And then I recorded direct to my Ampex ATR 102, and it sounded SO good, with no effort required, it was ridiculous, hilarious, and absurdly better. Sorry for the tape versus digital thread again, but are you guys REALLY happy with electric guitars recorded to a digital medium? If so, I'd love to know, because I TRULY don't want to buy a 2" tape machine, really... I'd prefer to stay digital and the ease of songwriting it affords me.

I'd prefer answers from people who actually have heard tape in direct comparison
Old 10th June 2007
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

my guitars sound fine.
002, john hardy preamps.
if it really sounds THAT much different, there is likely a problem somewhere. I'm using cheap converters and the same microphones so . . .
what are you hearing?
describe the difference.
Old 10th June 2007
  #3
Lives for gear
 

That's a confusing number of variables you are mixing up there.

Why are you mentioning mics and mic placement, when you say the sound you are happiest with the most is DIRECT into your tape machine.

Maybe try a passive DI box into a tube preamp and tube compressor and tube eq via the Portico tape sim.

It's hard to know the sound you want to hear - there are so many perfectly valid guitar tones that there aren't really any rules.

Can you identify exactly what part of the sound you are missing?
Old 10th June 2007
  #4
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lowfreq33's Avatar
 

Well then, track through your tape machine. You can do it in real time, just go guitar - tape machine - repro head - input to digital. There'll be like 2 ms delay. You won't even hear it.
Old 11th June 2007
  #5
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Protools Guy's Avatar
 

Royer-121>Vintech Dual 72>Distressor
Old 11th June 2007
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcool View Post
my guitars sound fine.
002, john hardy preamps.
if it really sounds THAT much different, there is likely a problem somewhere. I'm using cheap converters and the same microphones so . . .
what are you hearing?
describe the difference.
I am guessing from this comment that you have never heard 2" tape?

I have heard some great sounding guitars recorded with digital, but the only way to get something to sound like it was recorded to analog tape is to record it to analog tape.
Old 11th June 2007
  #7
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Watersound's Avatar
 

The answer is certainly in this chain:

Royer 121>Germanium w/heavy feedback>Neve 5042 w/saturation 2-3 o'clock 15 ips> a little eq with high end boost. I know tape is awesome, but you should have no problem with that chain. Play around with it and when you get it, take detailed notes of your settings.
Old 24th December 2011
  #8
I think the difference lies in what you, personally, consider to be good tone.

Also, there's digital and then there's digital. You can't really compare the sonics of an M-box to a Radar.

Me, I prefer tape because it doesn't require the extensive "massaging" of the signal that nearly any digital recording needs to get a comparable result.

OTOH tape is expensive and maintenance costs are a bitch....
Old 24th December 2011
  #9
Gear Head
 

want guitar tone? try this:
Humbucker pickups (i.e. a Les Paul, SG, or 335) into a well maintained small vintage 1x 12 tube amp (i.e '62 Fender Deluxe, Fender Princeton Reverb 2, Silvertone 1482 etc - or even non tube Tech 21 TM 60). For low watt amps 15 and under use a Celestion blue spkr -
for any amp 18-33 watts use a Celestion Gold speaker. Mic can be simple Senheiser 441 and/or Shure SM57 into Millenia HV3 PRE into well clocked Legacy Pro Tools interface (i.e. 888/24) - place mics approx 6 inches from spkr-aimed halfway between the center and edge of cone.
Besides a good guitarist- the next most important component is the actual speaker- For higher wattages 35 and above use vintage EVM 12L Speaker- although best tone for recording is achieved at lower volumes.
Often forgotten is that a good sweet speaker is critical for recording good guitar tone- cannot emphasize this enough.
learned this from Chuck Hammer: David Bowie / Lou Reed Band / Guitarchitecture
Old 24th December 2011
  #10
Les Paul -> Johnson Millennium JM-150 direct outs -> Tascam 144 -> Sony Acid

Like Colt 45 it is!
Old 24th December 2011
  #11
Lives for gear
 

low pass filter as necessary.

notch out any "pointy" business between 3k and 6k. severely if necessary. if the guitar gets overly dark, use a gentle boost with a wide Q at the same frequency as the notch.

once i actually forced myself to do these things effectively, digital guitars were no longer a problem.

assuming things were played well through a decent rig and mic'd up in a competent manner.
Old 24th December 2011
  #12
Gear Maniac
 

Decent DI (Switchcraft SC900 or Radial JDI) into a decent preamp (too many to chose from- even a midrange Presonus or Focusrite is plenty good enough) then into a software amp simulator such as TH2 or GTR and finally into a software channel strip like Mixcontrol Pro or SSL emulation gives every bit as good results as miked up amp to analog tape. If you can't make your guitar sound good using this chain you are not doing it properly, which is not hard to begin with.
Old 24th December 2011
  #13
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abechap024's Avatar
 

EG ---> Behringer FX unit ---> crank it so there is extreme digital clipping --> must be synced to a digital clock that gets its time from the rotations of a uranium atom and you got it.

Seriously though....to the OP it sounds like you are pretty extreme about your tone...saying you NEVER got a good tone using digital makes me think your not using a colored enough equipment. We all love tape for what is Adds to the sound...its distortions...

Of course everyones idea of the "ideal" guitar tone is personal and probably changes with mood/song etc...but maybe I'm not picky enough, but seems like if you get a great sounding TUBE amp, and a decent pre (neve, api etc) then your there....

Depends on what kind of tones....clean, bluesy? Metal?
As they say it all starts at the source...
Then any preamp with enough iron transformers will beef up your tone quite a bit.
Old 24th December 2011
  #14
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pinkheadedbug's Avatar
 

The problem with digital and guitars is that it's too damn accurate and the electric guitar, especially distorted, is a nasty sounding instrument. I think one of the keys is to dial back the distortion a LOT when going digital, and/or be prepared to absolutely nuke the top end and EQ the crap out of any spikes or holes in the frequency spectrum.

Tape soaks up all those higher order harmonics that digital preserves faithfully. So you have to get rid of them somehow. Dialling back the saturation/distortion really helps. You can put some of that stuff back in the mix with nice opto compressor plugins, tape saturation, Satson etc.

However, I'm very tempted to get a reel-to-reel to bounce my guitar tracks to for just this reason.
Old 24th December 2011
  #15
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abechap024's Avatar
 

Yes
I agree about low passing in digital. Seriously. Works wonders on alllll sorts of stuff.
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