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Help: How would you guys thicken up a thin sounding dist guitar tone. Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 2nd January 2006
  #1
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Thread Starter
Help: How would you guys thicken up a thin sounding dist guitar tone.

I'm in the process of mixing a track for a band and the distorted guitars are really thin and cheap sounding. The guitar player insisted on using his Line 6 Amp because he had all his presets stored (not my first choice). Out of the outboard gear that I have, what would you guys use and how to thicken up the dist. guitars.

UA LA2A
UREI 1176LN
Distressor w brit mod
DBX 160X
Smart C2
API 550A's and B's

Any suggestions?
Old 3rd January 2006
  #2
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Matt Grondin's Avatar
 

It's never going to sound like a real tube amp no matter what you do to it.... it will only sound like an overprocessed, really thin guitar tone... as an engineer, you should try your best to make it clear to the guy that using other gear than what he's accustomed to can make or break a recording. Sometimes it's hard for people to put aside their egos and use other gear than that which they paid alot of money for... Line 6 is complete **** and I would rather use their damn Amp Farm program than wasting time putting a mic on a POS modelling amp with no tubes. You could get a bigger guitar tone from a Fender Champ than you could from a Line 6. Anyway, that concludes my rant about solid state modelling amplifiers.... bottom line: recut, and if there's no time, **** it.... it's their record.
Old 3rd January 2006
  #3
Gear Addict
 
davedarling's Avatar
 

Hey JB

You've got plenty of stuff to fix up your funky guitars.
- first - strap an EQ over it and start spinning knobs 'till it sounds better.

8k is where phoney buzzy crap lives in my experience, then turn up in the
200- 500 range for some meat.

good luck - dave darling
Old 3rd January 2006
  #4
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Zeppelin4Life's Avatar
 

general rule would be to use less gain, and more tracks and ambience effects (like delay, reverb, flange, whatever). good luck with that line 6 tho...ew.
Old 3rd January 2006
  #5
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Matt Grondin's Avatar
 

By the way, sorry if I wasn't much help... I was feeling "rant-ey." Good luck. Later.
Old 3rd January 2006
  #6
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Andreas G's Avatar
 

There are tons of posibilities to fatten up guitars or whatever instrument... but the question very often is: Is it worth? What does it help if a guitar player has a ****ty sound in an ugly arangement and doesen't even notice that... do you think you'll get the feeling like in a major production by fattening up the guitars if they are sounding like crap? Of course I don't know your mix and the only way to give you an useful hint is to listen to your mix... but beside that, is there any other instrument exciting you? Is there a way to build the guitars around such an instrument if ever? I mean... what I'm trying to tell you is: keep the crap down and blow up the rest, use the crap only for fattening the REST! Then you'll have done the best you can!

Andreas
Old 3rd January 2006
  #7
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gsharp's Avatar
 

I've had decent results (when compared to what we started with anyway) by parallel processing with McDSP Chrome Tone and/or Sans Amp. I put em both up and just start flipping thru presets til I find one that helps the original tone and then tweak it. It's a bitch when you're distorting an already distorted tone, but sometimes a whacky combination ends up allright.

Splitting into a DI on a separate track is the key when the gear sucks but they insist on using it. I've never had them complain later when the ****s been reamped but sounds a jillion times better. I tell them it's like 70% their original tone 30% my ****.
Old 3rd January 2006
  #8
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
I wish I had good news for you, but you are pretty much screwed. Most of the time these days if I get asked to mix a record, I will ask if the guitars were done with digital amp modelers. If the answer is yes, I will usually turn the job down, because the record will come out sub par, and people will blame the mixer.

When I do mix records that were done with fake digital amps, I have to spend most of my energy trying to fix how bad the fake amp has ****ed up the record. Not only do fake digital amps sound like crap, but they make everything else in the mix sound worse as well. Try listening to your mix and then mute the guitars and listen how much better the drums and vocals sound right away.

If you must do the mix, the best approach is to mix the guitars really low. low pass everything at about 2.5k and high pass around 300Hz and push the bass guitar and kick drum up.

You should print all these replies and show them to the guitar player.
Old 3rd January 2006
  #9
What are you recording to?
Old 3rd January 2006
  #10
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Thread Starter
Thanx for all the repies. I'm kind of new to mixing and engineering and still learning what I can and can't get away with when tracking. The thing that sucks is that he hated the guitar tone on the first batch of demos I did a couple months back but still insisted on using the Line6 the second time around. I figured my new TG-2 and LA2A could make up for his stuburness. Guess not.

Jules, I'm recording into a new MOTU 24 IO (I know, not well respected around here ... but perfect for my mixerless studio) and then into Sonar 4.

Anyways, thanx for the suggestions. I'm gonna try some eq's and the Sans Amp and see if that helps.

Jason
Old 3rd January 2006
  #11
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I think EQ might be your only hope.

If you want to be a sneaky bastard, next time take a DI and re-amp or even do some computer amp sim black magic later.
Good luck.
Old 3rd January 2006
  #12
Try all the pfffffattening plug ins (tape sim ect) you can.. & crank em!
Old 3rd January 2006
  #13
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zimv20's Avatar
 

try a presence effect. double the track, nudge the second to have a short delay (try 10-15 ms) and pan them differently. play around w/ the delay and pan and see if you can find something you like.
Old 3rd January 2006
  #14
Dave Darling is a guy who has been around the block more than a few times, he knows of what he speaks. You can fatten the tracks up with some eq. Line 6 is evil.
Old 3rd January 2006
  #15
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JB872
I'm in the process of mixing a track for a band and the distorted guitars are really thin and cheap sounding. The guitar player insisted on using his Line 6 Amp because he had all his presets stored (not my first choice). Out of the outboard gear that I have, what would you guys use and how to thicken up the dist. guitars.

Any suggestions?
Try turning your attention to the bass guitar tracks. Really fat sounding bass guitar tracks can often lift thin guitar tracks to new heights.

Here's just one example:

Duplicate the bass guitar track. Now, apply wicked evil distortion to the dupe (via plugins, re-amping, or whatever creative voodoo suits your fancy). Then, mix to taste. Note how those once thin sounding guitars are now rocking.

You can also try doubling up those guitars: Create a new track. Copy the first verse to the second verse on the new track, and vice-versa; likewise with the bridges and choruses. Pan those tracks, hard.

Parallel compression can also thicken up guitar tracks. Send all those thin guitar tracks to an aux, and put a compressor across that aux, and set the compressor to CRUSH. Then mix that crushed aux guitar mix into the session. EQ it to taste. Print that aux mix, and SansAmp the hell out of it and mix THAT sh*t into the session.

Be bold. No falls = no balls. No guts = no glory.
Old 3rd January 2006
  #16
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James Lugo's Avatar
 

If it's a single track you can duplicte it and lay it back a few miliseconds and pan them. Honestly, thin sounding guitar tracks are usually a loser in my expirience. Polishing a turd! Tell him to kill the pod and buy a mans amp.
Old 3rd January 2006
  #17
Gear Head
 
cookiekixx's Avatar
 

bad guitars

i wouldn't reach for the la2a or the tg2 on that guitar honestly... something that reacts a little faster. would i would probably do is get the eq with the best low mids then go for a dbx160. theres a sound in that compressor where you just gently cross the threshold and leave the compression amount almost completely down and it fattens up a signal. i would say heavy compression with an la2a or something will just make it duck when the player plays dynamicaly which could be the songs only saving grace at some points. also, automate them up dramaticly during a build so you get alot of 'feeling' in the changes. another thing you can do is try putting a little harmonizer on them and offset the pitch. dunno, just a couple of ideas.
next time when the guy demands you use something like that out of ignorance one way around it is to sneakily track a di as well. that way if it's really bad you can reamp it later even if they're not around and present it to them in context. i feel like alot of the time when young bands meet my ideas with resistance its usually because they can't see where the idea is actually going. presenting a complete idea can be a much easier route

hope any of that helps....
ttyx,chris coady
Old 3rd January 2006
  #18
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drundall's Avatar
 

You can try reamping. Even a small tube combo might smooth out the nastiness. EQ at the amp for phatness.

Or, rent a couple of 1073's and tweak hard.

Line 666
Old 3rd January 2006
  #19
Gear nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drundall
You can try reamping. Even a small tube combo might smooth out the nastiness. EQ at the amp for phatness.

Or, rent a couple of 1073's and tweak hard.

Line 666
hi there ,

yes , reamping is much better in most cases as f***in around with plugs ...

stupid situation , realy ... i know that feeling , cause i see every Job as an Calling card bout my Oportunities ...

but u know what, RECORD it AGAIN ! it drives u crazy and u loose more time with editing as with recording it new ...

try to make the situation clear with the Guitarist, take him into the responsiblility of the whole thing like every other Musician in that project ...

" a Men's gotta do what he gottta do !"




cheers
Old 3rd January 2006
  #20
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SoundWow's Avatar
 

Old 3rd January 2006
  #21
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chymer's Avatar
 

This might sound really dumb, but, how about pitching the guitar down an octave and then ****ing with it and blend it back into the original guitar track.
As I said its probably a stupid idea, but worth a try I reckon.
Chymer
Old 3rd January 2006
  #22
CKK
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CKK's Avatar
 

As mentioned before - work on the bass guitar, and let it roar. That will shurely help.

I have recorded a huge number of metal bands. And I have found that it is best if the guitars is a little "thin". I always let the bass be the "body" of the music.

As long as your guitar tone isnt "muddy" - you should be able to create a decent mix.
Old 3rd January 2006
  #23
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TornadoTed's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsharp
I've had decent results (when compared to what we started with anyway) by parallel processing with McDSP Chrome Tone and/or Sans Amp. I put em both up and just start flipping thru presets til I find one that helps the original tone and then tweak it. It's a bitch when you're distorting an already distorted tone, but sometimes a whacky combination ends up allright.

Splitting into a DI on a separate track is the key when the gear sucks but they insist on using it. I've never had them complain later when the ****s been reamped but sounds a jillion times better. I tell them it's like 70% their original tone 30% my ****.
This is exactly what I do, I ALWAYS make sure I get a DI. I've had so many young bands with crappy horrible sounding amps doing demos over the years that it is one of the techniques I couldn't live without. I've never had any of them complain either when the end results turn out nice and phat!
Old 3rd January 2006
  #24
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Thread Starter
Thanx again for all the ideas. You guys have been a ton of help.

If I had a clean DI line, my first choice would have been to reamp. Has anyone had any luck reamping a dirty signal? My choice of amps would be a JCM 900 or Soladano.

When I tracked guitars I recorded the same part twice to thicken things up. It kinda of just thickened up the crap. A couple people have suggested that I copy the track and offset it a few milliseconds. Is this to achieve the same effect as double tracking the guitars?

I never even considered the dbx 160x as an option, but I'll give it a shot. I don't have the McDSP plugins or a harmonizer. I have a Waves harmonzier (something tells me I shouldn't bother with that). I think if all else fails I'll go with the dirty bass track under the guitar, print off this fourm for the guitar player, and tell him to "sell the pod and get a mans amp" (nice line by the way).

Thanx again
Jason
Old 3rd January 2006
  #25
84K
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84K's Avatar
If the budget allows, I would always recut anything questionable. Try to get it right the first time and don't hit record until the sound is right (and the playing).
Old 3rd January 2006
  #26
you could try going into the line in of the marshall or soldano, hit the power tubes and get it pumping some air through some real speakers. At this point you've got nothing to lose
Old 3rd January 2006
  #27
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dtucker's Avatar
 

You know, I gotta say: A guitar player's true tone comes from his fingers and his own personal style. Chances are the guitar tracks sound like crap because the guitar PLAYER is crap. Crap in/crap out. It's that simple.

Do all the Line 6 haters in this particular post think that if Eddie Van Halen (or, really, any great guitar player) plugged into any Line 6 product that they would suddenly sound like crap?

I use my POD and I like it. Don't love it, but I've gotten some sounds that work just fine for me. The clean channels are just horrible, but the dirtier ones can be tweaked to sound just fine. The reason why most people on this forum don't like the Line 6 stuff is because they don't know how to use it properly.

Now, as far as how to thicken up what you have I'd go along with what davedarling said. Sounds about right to me.
Old 3rd January 2006
  #28
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meteor's Avatar
 

anyone who plays through a digital and doesn't have the common courtesy to at least have a tube power section deserves crappy tone. At any rate. I have been there with you and I suggest using decent EQ (preferably outboard)to get it as close as you can Freq-wise and then reamp that signal through various real amps (tube of course) set to fairly clean gain settings until you hear something that's close. Record it back in with the best signal chain you can think of and I second the DBX comp - great for electrics. Believe me when i tell you that, unless you are fairly jedi, more digital processing will tend to sound ...well... more digital.

Cheers,
Old 3rd January 2006
  #29
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Thread Starter
dTucker

The guitar player I recorded is classicaly trained and has near perfect timing. His guitar tone works for him in a live situation but not so much in the studio. A lot of time was spent tweaking the amp to get the best sound possible. Someone with a little bit more experience than me probably could have made it work. But from what I'm hearing, from a huge majority, is that I was doomed the second I pluged the Line6 in.
Old 3rd January 2006
  #30
Lives for gear
Reamp it through something will definitely be your best bet. Try a distortion plugin.....or maybe an Oxford Inflator....or just re-record it using an amp.
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