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Micing for Metal Guitar - Suggestions? Dynamic Microphones
Old 24th December 2010
  #31
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guitarenvy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beefy View Post
First off props for using a crate amp. Second you can get a lot of bad info on here. The vlz is your week link. Every one says they hate the alesis 3630 and to tell the truth it probably has been used on a lot more professional records than the rncs these guys rave about (which is good but best coupled with the my little pony record and sing) Use all the gain you can get from the alesis and as little as possible from the mackie. I love sm57s but not on guitar which is a little backward but if you don't have good enough pres the sm57 will not be your best choice of mics. If you have another mic use it. You have to understand it is used a lot for distorted guitar but most of the time they couple it with another mic. It would be like a u87 and a shure sm57 and it wasn't through a mackie vlz pre amp.

I have a Sennheizer e835 (close to a sm58 as i've read), that i use for vocals, and a few other mics... but would that work as a second mic? I might try using a second one and see what happens but i was just not looking foreward to dealing with phasing...
Do you would use 2 channels on the mixer and Pan them left and right?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mml View Post
This statement only applies BEFORE a signal is recorded. AFTER it is recorded digital is actually cleaner gain because there is no analog noise being introduced. And with 24 bit, you really don't have to worry anymore about losing resolution, even at -24 dfs. Read Bob Katz book Mastering Audio, there is a ton of good info in there that would help you out I think.

Are there any limits on the length of a cable between the mic/mixer/PC? I am using all balanced TRS cables. The cables i am using from the mixer to the PC are called Yorkville quad audio cable and they have something ive never seen before.... a signal flow arrow on the wire >>> . Any idea why?
I originally used these for my monitors but had to swap them with regular TRS cabes when I moved everything around because they are longer.

The yorkville quad cables are 10ft between mixer-PC.
The reguar TRS cables are 6ft between the mixer-monitors.
My XLR mic cable is around 10ft also.
Old 24th December 2010
  #32
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your chain is ok. it's the amps and maybe the guitar that suck.

a good sound is achieved via:

1. the player
2. the guitar and its pickups
3. the amp
4. the cab
5. the mic
(5.5. the room, unless you are close micing which is what you want to do here)
6. the rest. the rest doesn't matter half as much as people say.

get yourself a real amp, a 5150, a rectifier, a herbert, a bogner, a framus, a xxx. a real high gain amp.

make sure you have a decent pickup, either emgs, or some duncan distortion, invader, a hb or whatever. new strings and thick ones, a hard plec.

the 57 will be all good. angled at cone. maybe add a re-20 or a 421, some ribbon if you can afford it. blend to taste.

you should get a good sound with this. once you can afford it, get yourself a better pre. api, pacifica or some neve clone.
Old 24th December 2010
  #33
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guitarenvy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mml View Post
Unless your digital meters are showing VU, the system is different. -12 db in digital is usually -12db from digital zero, not -12 VU. Read up on metering systems and hopefully it will be explained so it makes sense. Bob Katz does a good job. You're not losing 12db, it's just a different metering system.

Yeah thats it where I am getting messed up, and probably making it hard for you guys to figure out what i am talking about. The dB value is based on reference right? Is the reference the same on all my equipment? OR should i not bother asking because it is redundant....?

The guitar output on the Mixer shows it at 0dB, but the PC picks it up as a very smal signal compared to what i am used to working with. A bad example, but this is how my track looks on the PC, reading -12 on the meter. Looks and sounds weak, meanwhile if i monitored this signal at the mixer it sounds huge! Couldnt find info on dB in regards to recording when i googled it, got mostly home theater stuff.


Code:
 
 
------------------------------0dB
 
 
 
 
 
**  *  ** ** *     ***** * * -12dB
******************************
**  *  ** ** *     ***** * * -12dB
 
 
 
 
 
------------------------------ 0dB
I used to record everything at 16bit 44000 but recently tried 24bit 192000 just to see.... and then 32bit 48000.
Going to set it to 24bit 48000. Either way, its not really the problem i dont think.
Old 24th December 2010
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BradLyons View Post
An SM57 is fine, although a good ribbon will be better.
These kind of absolute statements make no sense. Many world-class metal guitar sounds are obtained with just a 57.
Old 24th December 2010
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoisyNarrowBand View Post
your chain is ok. it's the amps and maybe the guitar that suck.

a good sound is achieved via:

1. the player -
2. the guitar and its pickups
3. the amp
4. the cab
5. the mic
(5.5. the room, unless you are close micing which is what you want to do here)
6. the rest. the rest doesn't matter half as much as people say.

get yourself a real amp, a 5150, a rectifier, a herbert, a bogner, a framus, a xxx. a real high gain amp.

make sure you have a decent pickup, either emgs, or some duncan distortion, invader, a hb or whatever. new strings and thick ones, a hard plec.

the 57 will be all good. angled at cone. maybe add a re-20 or a 421, some ribbon if you can afford it. blend to taste.

you should get a good sound with this. once you can afford it, get yourself a better pre. api, pacifica or some neve clone.
I guess you never read my last few posts..... or even my first.
You have no idea what your taking about.
My 1 and only guitar that i own is one of the best guitars ever made. Its w tried and true metal axe.
Yeah it sounds deadly through my tv's speakers




Old 24th December 2010
  #36
OMG, this thread...

The DAWs meter is likely a peak meter, so it should not be reading -12, an RMS meter at -12 would be fine.

You are getting so much random advice about recording guitars that has nothing to do with your problem.

You are likely experiencing either a bad cable, a bad connection, or a broken piece of recording equipment.


If your output from the mixer shows 0VU, then the problem is likely somewhere between the output of the mixer and the input of the AP192.

Try a different cable. Try a different input on the AP192 and/or a different output on the mixer. Try some contact cleaner. Try wiggling the connectors. Are you using an adapter to get signal to the AP192? Are you using a patchbay? Try taking that out of the path. Take the compressor insert out of the path (just in case). Use a process of elimination to zero in on where your signal is being degraded. My bet is on a bad cable, adapter, or a bad jack.

Good luck!

.
Old 24th December 2010
  #37
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Hi, thanks for the tips. You know exactly what i am asking.
I tried a regular guitar cable on the left side from mixer to pc and the normal trs cable on the right. Both readings were pumping out 0dBu on the mixer and the ap192 was recording equally at -12 on both sides.

I managed to get the pc to record around -6db after adding more gain at the mixer which shows the output to be +4 db. I think ive got it figured out.
With the random mix of answers i got, i'm starting to realise theres not really any set way to record. Basically just dont boost too high and don't over compress. I went and tried a few more times to get a good sound and i found that less compression, moving the mic back 1 inch, and messing around with the gain some more gave me a much better sound. I was originaly under the impression that 0dB is the most optimum signal at every point on the signal... but theres more to it then that. Especially after reading about the different dB references, analog vs digital and so on.

Is there a sub forum here for building guitar effects?
Old 24th December 2010
  #38
OK, good. If you're getting proper levels to disk now, and it's sounding similar to what you hear when monitoring directly from the mixer, then keep experimenting with different mic placement until you get it to really shine. It's well worth spending some time on this. Try different distances from the center of the cone, distances from the grill cloth, and angles of the capsule. Personally, I like to listen to the amp hiss and mark the grill cloth with a small piece of tape. Record level-matched samples and compare. If I were in your shoes I'd avoid using the Alesis compressor altogether. Heavy guitar tones come self-compressed. I used to own a 3630 and I usually got the best results from it when I unplugged it.

Enjoy!

.
Old 24th December 2010
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beefy View Post
First off props for using a crate amp. .
Uhhhh seriously? Dude... I will admit at certain times Crate has made some decent sounding tube amps. However, the amp he has is the old solid state one. It sounded TERRIBLE!! All mosquito! No character... just eeehhhhhhh.

This is of course just my opinion... I am not trying rag on ALL of Crates' gear. But come on.
Old 24th December 2010
  #40
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I confess that some of this thread and the questions.. I'm having some trouble following but...

Maybe the problem is solved.. but I'm just not able to figure it out.. well if it isn't.. here goes...

Yeah... I'm in the "the boy should buy himself a new amp" camp... I like the tiny terror idea.. its pretty cheap... although might not be the best for high gain metal.. but it is cheap.. and good for getting good tones without being too loud...

Seriously.. solid state? Yeah.. not good. I have gotten decent sounds out of solid state.. but only cause I was recording into tape.. and the tape had a saturation that kinda helped it..

Well the thing is great sound starts with your amp.. actually your amp, your guitar.. the interactions between this.. how you play the thing.. and also whatever peddles you are using.. so that's kinda where I would focus my attention.

I know you said you're not selling your amp or changing your amp.. but.. I really think you should consider it.

Ok.. fine.. moving on.

You know I say experiment... There's both the sound of the guitar and the sound of the room the guitar is in.. that'll give you your sound. I don't believe all this horse-whatever that the SM57 isn't an ideal mic for recording a guitar amp.. for metal.. anyway.. it certainly isn't something I'd suggest changing.. like that would help matters. (although maybe something cheap like an MXL r144, if only you had a decent enough pre, might be good.. just cause a ribbon might help your solid state situation)

But yeah.. where the amp is in a room.. what the sound of the room is.. the microphone relationship to the amp.. all is stuff you should experiment with.

Another thing.. well you know there's different styles and approaches to creating metal guitar. One is like.. multitrack the hell out of it.. changing amp EQ settings.. guitar settings, whatever variables.. and then mixing it together... to kinda shape a tone.. and then using that over the course of the mix.. shaping it different ways at different parts.. for dramatic purposes and..

well that's one approach anyway.. I often record amps with 2 or more microphones.. one real close.. others to get the room sound.. to use while mixing to do different things as far as playing with the perception of space.. and depending on how I want to use reverb plugs..

But I mean I would even try both amps.. lots of different settings.. just try stuff... even try really bad ideas.. I mean what the hell.. you're prolly new enough to this that you don't know the difference between a good or a bad idea.. so by trying out different stuff.. you'll learn by experience.. and that'll be really good for you.

If you have a friend who has other amps, guitars, effects.. see about burrowing them.

Another thing to consider is to record straight into your computer.. and use guitar amp / FX modeling... to get your tone.. perhaps do that.. then send the audio back out to the guitar.. with like little to no distortion from your amp.. and then mic that...

If you want to get a great tone.. the thing is you gotta search for it.. you gotta put in the work.

You are in a difficult spot in terms of the quality of your gear... so if you really want to get serious.. you really want to seriously look at upgrading stuff.

Yeah.. as others have said.. you probably really don't need a compressor.. the amp distortion actually compresses the sound.. I mean maybe you want to effect the envelop of the sound or.. whatever.. but I don't think you need to compress it.. but again.. try stuff out.

So.. in terms of turning up the volume.. wherever the preamp is.. that's where you want to turn it up.. after that.. you really just want to keep that signal at the same level through out.. or I mean until you get to the mixing stage of things.

I feel like.. from listening to you.. that you're probably really new to a whole lot of this stuff.. so.. I'd say look at books.. read articles.. do whatever you can to learn.. there's a whole lot of sorta stalk approaches to everything.. there's an old sound on sound on guitar mic-ing..

Err, here's some stuff to read.. Bob Rock on recording Metallica..

or like this article on "extreme metal."
Old 24th December 2010
  #41
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Daedalus77's Avatar
I disagree with pretty much all of this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beefy View Post
First off props for using a crate amp.
I'm sure you can summon a handful of metal guitarists who use solid-state amps, but they are in the minority. And the amp IS the sound. I've recorded lots of metal acts, and the first thing we do when someone comes in with a Crate is call the cartage company for something real—by which I mean robust and ballsy, not thin and fizzy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beefy View Post
Every one says they hate the alesis 3630 and to tell the truth it probably has been used on a lot more professional records than the rncs these guys rave about (which is good but best coupled with the my little pony record and sing)
This is simply asinine. Can you prove the 3630 was used on metal guitar on "professional records"? I doubt it. Check out the equipment lists from "pro" studio; you may not see many RNCs, but you'll see fewer 3630s, either. Shouldn't the overwhelming advocacy for the RNC—and almost universal repulsion for the Alesis—on this board count for something? Or are you going to argue some grand conspiracy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beefy View Post
Use all the gain you can get from the alesis and as little as possible from the mackie.
Also asinine. You're arguing that the line-amps for make-up gain in the Alesis sound superior to the Mackie preamps? I submit there's little quality in either, but basic gain-staging would indicate the original poster should use as much headroom as possible from the Mackie's pres and not constrict the signal with a useless compressor downstream. Especially since "heavy" guitars are ALREADY compressed to hell and back.
Old 24th December 2010
  #42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beefy View Post
you can get a lot of bad info on here
Elegantly ironic...

.
Old 25th December 2010
  #43
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I do respect the way your objections to my opinions was voiced no one was either insulting or ignorant which is the way a forum should be.

The only statement I'm going to defend that is not in a broader sense is the crate amps. Your right they made some pretty good tube amps and some other stuff that is not so great. I just gave the guy props because crate has always made it affordable for a kid to get an amp that he can crank up and play some rock and roll on. Not everybody likes the new trend in these high dollar mass produced boutique like amps. People make it seem like you have to have one of these things to play some rock and roll and that a load.

As far as the other stuff I own the gear I talk about and use it regularly. I could have horrible ears you never know. I tend to think not. There is a lot of gear I have bought that I think is terribly underrated and a lot that I think is terribly overrated but I always try to give the most honest best advice possible. I also stand by what I said about the comps and the pres. What I told the guy to do would be the first thing I would try if that doesn't work move on to something else till you get it right.
Old 25th December 2010
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattsearles View Post
I confess that some of this thread and the questions.. I'm having some trouble following but...

Maybe the problem is solved.. but I'm just not able to figure it out.. well if it isn't.. here goes...
Whoa seriously? Your having trouble following... did you... read... what you just posted? lol


Quote:
Originally Posted by crypticglobe View Post
Uhhhh seriously? Dude... I will admit at certain times Crate has made some decent sounding tube amps. However, the amp he has is the old solid state one. It sounded TERRIBLE!! All mosquito! No character... just eeehhhhhhh.

This is of course just my opinion... I am not trying rag on ALL of Crates' gear. But come on.
Its all mosquito when you don't know how to use the knobs. Some "tube guys" seem to have no comprehension of how to use sthe overdrive channels on solid state amps. You have to also know how to use the Shape/Contour knob because it has Everything to do with the sound. In the end, who cares either way. If I didn't like the sound coming out of my amp then I wouldnt own it! It fits the style of music that I play, and i dont need any pedals to make it sound better. The valvestate I use is not completely tubeless, it just doesnt have 13 of them. Doesnt matter what kind of amp you use, if your music sucks I'm not going to listen to it anyways.
Old 25th December 2010
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarenvy View Post
Whoa seriously? Your having trouble following... did you... read... what you just posted? lol




Its all mosquito when you don't know how to use the knobs. Some "tube guys" seem to have no comprehension of how to use sthe overdrive channels on solid state amps. You have to also know how to use the Shape/Contour knob because it has Everything to do with the sound. In the end, who cares either way. If I didn't like the sound coming out of my amp then I wouldnt own it! It fits the style of music that I play, and i dont need any pedals to make it sound better. The valvestate I use is not completely tubeless, it just doesnt have 13 of them. Doesnt matter what kind of amp you use, if your music sucks I'm not going to listen to it anyways.
"Like" "Better" "Style" are all words that imply subjectivity. In other words, what some people like sonically sounds HORRIBLE to others. So... it's only my opinion I am stating...and in my humble opinion... having played guitar live and on records through the 80's, 90's, and still today.... and played nearly ever amp known to man... I can honestly say that though I owned one of those little Crate Amps with the awesome contour knob back in 1990.... and it was an AWESOME amp for getting "bedroom 80's metal tones"..... AWESOME!!!!.... that for a club gig, or a studio recording... it just sounded horrible. (I know... run on sentence award of the year). Anyway, if you can find one single metal record where that amp was used in the studio, or one band that actually makes it's full living off selling their own records or playing live using that amp... I will eat my hat!

Now... this all not to say that for some... my opinion might completely in opposition to theirs. However, if you line up 100 working engineers or guitar players on this forum and ask them would they rather have a 90's era solid state Crate, or a Tube almost ANYTHING... they would pick the tube almost anything... to a man/woman.

We are trying to help this guy get a great sound on his recordings. Since the whole solid state crate thing never really made to any records that we know of (other than Pantera as mentioned above... but he used Randall)... much less records where we go... WOW, that guitar sound is awesome!!!.... I would venture to say that recommending a different amp to get started would be... well... well advised.

As for mosquito.... put ANY mic on that crate (especially with one speaker unplugged throwing off the OHM's the amp is expecting to see as the OP says he has done) and I guarantee that compared to the common consensus of what a "good guitar sound is" the high end will sound weak and well.... mosquito'y. Part of it is the speaker, the other part is the head... part is solid state. Even Dimebags tone had that ugly high end thing to my ears.

As alway... just my two cents... I don't mean to sound like I know it all... I don't. If you can post some clips of your crate and they sound GREAT to my ear... I will totally change my opinion. I have been wrong before and actually enjoy it when I am... keeps the mind open.

Rock on...
Old 25th December 2010
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarenvy View Post
Hi, this is my first post, decided to join after noticing there is some real knowledge here.

I have been recording as a hobby for around 12 years. This last year I have upgraded my equipment and will be spending some time recording a final version of a few songs with a band these next couple months.

Anyways, problem is how do i get a good Heavy Metal Guitar sound, keeping it crisp and clean sounding??? Ive been trying for hours but it does not sound good enough for our recording session.

The equipment i am using should work i think......

-Crate 2x12 solid state amp with 2 overdrive stages, one speaker disconnected for better micing

-Marshall Valvestate 100 watt through JCM900 brit cab

Tried micing the marshall cabinet every different way, and ended up micing the crate instead due to a better sounding overdrive channel. The microphone used is an SM57. Tried every mic placement i could think of, staying between the cone and surround. As with tubes, are high volumes required for micing a solid state amp also?

The gain (distortion) is only at 5 compared to the 8-9 i would use when playing live. Bass 5 mid 8 treb 7. Shape/Contour 3... compared to 7-8 live. Its just not making a usable Recording tone, but on the other hand the actual live sound is great! Now of course, if I were to use my live settings, the 4 guitar tracks would turn to MUD due to the multiplication of distortion.

The SM57 runs into a Mackie VLZ3 mixer. The mixers good mic preamp boosts the signal a few dB. The signal runs through an Alesis 3630 Compressor via INSERT. The ratio is 8:1 , which gives 6db of compression based on my input volume coming from the mixer. This compressor is new to me, so let me know if i'm way off here.... But I have some noticable compression which sounds good. I add 6db of output gain on the compressor, back to the mixer to make up for the loss during compression. The signal goes back to the mixer which for whatever reason needs a bit of boost to bring it just above 0db (where it should be right?). The signal is then send to the PC with balanced cables to an MAudio AP192 recording at 32bit 48000. The signal leaving the mixer shows 0dB which is where the "level set" mark is. But now the problem is, why is my signal 12dB lower as the PC records? I have to then Boost it 12dB on the computer to bring it back to 0dB which almost maxes out my volume adjuster. Lets keep it simple and say i'm using Cool Edit Pro 2 to record.

I always record 4 guitar tracks. 2 Rhythm 90%left 90%right. 2 Lead 70%left 70%right, sometimes a guitar solo with no pan but has delay. The only place the level should exceed 0db is at the compressor. Does this sound right? Always keep it at 0 i keep reading everywhere.

The outcome of these tracks is a wimpy sounding buzzing distored guitar tone. The amps aren't the best, but is has to sound better than this! I am left with a sort of 80s black metal tone. Reading dozens of web sites hasn't helped much.... I am listening to the refernence sound on Behringer Truth 2031 monitors.

Any suggestions at all that might help me?
I've got absolutely no idea how this thread made such a big tangent, but i'll try and focus directly on your questions in this post.

First of all, with that particular card, you'd ACTUALLY be recording at 24bit/48k, just mixing at 32bit, just thought i'd mention that to save any confusion that might arise.

Ok, now as its been said, digital levels are different from analog levels in that 0db is the highest possible...whereas analog is like +6...i.e. 0db analog is actually -6db digital.

Ok, now lets get onto the levels in your DAW, you've got a compressor inline in your chain, take it out for now, and start getting the levels right first, THEN put it back in, 8:1 still seems way too much to me though...also make sure your DAW meter is set to peak, and not RMS, this way you can see if you're clipping. When the meter is set to peak, it should be peaking between -12 and -6.

Now when recording the amp, try and get it right with the one mic before reaching for a second like someone suggested, obviously there's a level problem here somewhere. I'm not really sure which model of the VLZ3 mixer you're using, but if say there's no direct outs for each channel, you'll have to use the main out. Now remember if you want the full signal of say channel 1 to get to your DAW, you'd have to pan hard left for example, and then use a TRS cable from the left out straight into your card. The whole series has a pan knob except for the 402 i think it is, for that one you have to press the stereo button between channel 1 and 2, that automatically pans them hard left and right respectively. If the sound is thin or whatever, also make sure you're EQ is set to unity and the highpass filter isn't depressed, you can highpass much more accurately in the DAW.

Lastly onto referencing, try using another track for reference through your monitors, this way you have an idea of how they sound where they are in the room and what not...straight away it'll sound a lot thinner than you're used to because the speakers in your monitors are like 8" or something, where as you're used to hearing the tone from a 12" speaker, so also just be aware of that and try to adjust your mind to that.

Other than that it would just be mic placement and what not...OH! also, if you have headphones or what not, try plugging them into the mixer so you can pinpoint exactly where the problem is. I.e. if it still sounds wimpy and what not from the mixer, then the problem is at that part of the chain, if it sounds powerful and full there, then the problem is between that and the computer.
Old 26th December 2010
  #47
Quote:
Originally Posted by crypticglobe View Post
I can honestly say that though I owned one of those little Crate Amps with the awesome contour knob back in 1990.... and it was an AWESOME amp for getting "bedroom 80's metal tones"..... AWESOME!!!!.... that for a club gig, or a studio recording... it just sounded horrible.

Come on Steve, I still remember the R2D2 rack with the Quad pre in your room, and that was before 1990!
Old 27th December 2010
  #48
Gear Addict
A few things...

First up...I struggle with killer guitar tones. I've gotten some pretty good ones...But it's not a walk in the park for me and it's always a struggle with amps, speakers, mics, and guitars. (Not to mention the tastes of the artist.)

Second...I've never met a fully solid-state amp that recorded worth a ****. They can sound "unique" but not in the "special" kind of way. The two notable exceptions...The aforementioned Dimebag and Randall (even though he switched to tube based Krank amps later on) and Ty Tabor and his Lab Series. That said...Those tones were unique...But not something I'd attempt to emulate.

Third....Everyone is giving you some good advice about levels, but almost EVERYONE is getting it wrong. Frankly...I don't think I've seen an accurate comment on levels yet in this thread and I believe that's a strong testament to the fact that "levels" in the digital world are akin to the wild-west. There IS no standard level for "digital." If you want to know what your converters are calibrated at...Get a calibrated signal generator, an audio volt-meter, and start testing your gear.

Short of that...Be conservative. I'm guessing here...But with your gear, I'd say when you guitar signal is measuring about "0db VU" on your Mackie, and assuming you're leaving the Mackie "balanced" from the master output, you should be about -18dbFS RMS in your DAW with peaks up to say -12dbFS.

Now...This may look "wimpy" to you when you're looking at your computer screen and comparing it to the latest "Bath of Blood" release...However I can pretty much gaurantee you that your actual SOUND will be much WIMPIER if you push that gear to read 0dbFS.

For the record...I have some HP analog test gear and have tested my MOTU 192 out...It's calibrated to 0dbVU = -20dbFS. I hit my average levels into my gear at usually no more than -16dbFS.




Now...Some tips....

I don't recall the model of you Mackie...But if it's anything like the Mackies I've used, the EQ section is adding some harshness to your signal. The only way to bypass it I believe is to use the channel insert jack with the "half in" 1/4" plug. This will send an unbalanced signal to your DAW...Not a big deal..But the level will be a little lower. Nudge the gain up on the board if you feel like it by no more than say 6db.

Unless you're at say Rev "E" on your 3630...I'd say set it aside. Regardless...I wouldn't track through it. Until you get a handle on levels, balanced/unbalanced, and other basic engineering concepts...It's probably best to stay away from hardware based compressors. Instead...Focus on your guitar amp settings, mic position, and microphone preamp gain.

You mentioned you had an "Alto" preamp. I'm guessing that it's on par with Behringer but it might actually be a "better" sounding preamp to use for your guitars. You won't know until you try.

On guitar speakers...Vintage 30's record really well. I HATE the way they sound in a room...But they do record well. Know the different speakers. For some styles G12T75's kill...Others Vintage 30's...Other Greenbacks. The only part of your rig that you ever truly "hear" is your speaker. It colours your perception of what your amp sounds like. If you have ****ty speakers....You're gonna sound like **** no matter WHAT amp you have.

So how 'bout it? What kind of speakers do you have in your amps?

James
Old 27th December 2010
  #49
Gear Guru
 
AllAboutTone's Avatar
 

If you are serious about your sound and tone, then worry about the source first, Marshall Valvestate 100 would be one of the last amps I would want to record, I have recorded artist with those amps, pure crap, sell it.
Get yourself a great (full) tube amp, Marshall, Mesa etc...

If the source is not right then you gonna end up with crap no matter the mic placement or preamp.
Old 27th December 2010
  #50
Gear Head
 
guitarenvy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by effitall View Post
So how 'bout it? What kind of speakers do you have in your amps?

James

Thanks, good advice. I'm a technician, i read schematics and work with electronics all day, so what you said about levels makes more sense than most of the posts which were just opinions on equpment.

The mashall cabinet is a brit 1960a = celestian g12t-75's

the crate has... crate customs

I didn`t know that i could bypass the EQ. It is a mackie vlz3 type. Ill have to try that on the insert.
Old 27th December 2010
  #51
Lives for gear
 
crypticglobe's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Kessler View Post
Come on Steve, I still remember the R2D2 rack with the Quad pre in your room, and that was before 1990!
HA! Yeah!! I loved that rig. Was killer for what we were doing back then. But surely you remember it wasn't my only amp. Surely, you also remember I worked at Music Alley then... and they sold crate amps, among many others, and that I spent my days jamming on them.

I had the ole crate for jamming around the house. I remember I bought it for around $100.00 a year or so before I left for Nashville (in 1992). So... you might have the year more accurately than me... might have been 91 or 92 even.

Oh.. btw... is that you Gene?? For the record, I think your mesa preamp sounded better than mine for metal. What was that thing... Mesa Studio Preamp???

Rock on!
Old 27th December 2010
  #52
Gear Maniac
If the issue isn't an bad cable or with your signal chain, try recording the amp at your live settings with less tracks.. 4 guitar tracks together is a bit overkill in my opion. I recorded a guy with a marshall solid state amp a few months ago.. some thrashy metal stuff and I did just two tracks with a 57 and an i5 and was pleased with that. I never understood the logic behind having multiple guitar tracks. Just my two cents.
Old 27th December 2010
  #53
Gear Maniac
 
mdmitch2's Avatar
 

While I don't think it's a requirement for getting a good tone, if you want to stack 4 or more tracks, trying turning the gain down even more than "5" like you mentioned originally. That may help get rid of the buzzy tone you mentioned. Also, try spreading the tracks out a little bit instead of panning everything hard left and right.

Lastly, don't underestimate the role of the bass guitar in the overall "metal guitar tone" that you hear on most records.
Old 27th December 2010
  #54
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarenvy View Post
Thanks, good advice. I'm a technician, i read schematics and work with electronics all day, so what you said about levels makes more sense than most of the posts which were just opinions on equpment.
You're welcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarenvy View Post
The mashall cabinet is a brit 1960a = celestian g12t-75's

the crate has... crate customs
Hmmm....In my experience...Solid-state amps either lack the mids...Or have some funkiness in the mids. Couple that with a speaker thats more "sizzly" and "chunky" and you're probably getting close to "thin" and "buzzy" tone.

I think you're battling a fundamental gear issue here. Yes...You can probably find some combination of EQ, pedals, mics, settings, blah blah blah...That will get you where you want to be....But man that's a lot of work for something that might be easier accomplished with a different guitar/amp/speaker combination.

Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarenvy View Post
I didn`t know that i could bypass the EQ. It is a mackie vlz3 type. Ill have to try that on the insert.
I don't know which mixer you have...But it's been my experience with the SR series, the little utility guys like the 1402, and even the big ones like the 8-Buss, that the Mackie EQ kinda eff's up the signal.

I'll relay a side story...Years ago I had a Mackie SR 24*4 that I used for preamps, routing, and headphone mixes. I was thinking about bailing it and had a couple of iffy faders that I wanted to get fixed up before the sale. So in that time I had my CD player connected straight to my monitors for about a week. When the board came back I plug everything back in, put a CD on and...

What the hell!?

Plug the CD player straight into the monitors again...Good....CD Player into stereo channel of Mackie...Bad.

I scanned through the Mackie manual and found the straightest path through the mixer to the monitors, put the CD player there...Much better...But still pretty degraded. That afternoon the Mackie was for sale and gone in a couple of days. I replaced it with an Allen & Heath MixWizard 14*4*2. MUUUUUCH better. Besides having true direct outs on every channel, the EQ was fully bypassable, it had 6 TRUE auxes, and overall just sounded BETTER. The EQ destroyed every Mackie EQ I ever used.

Now...I attached a "heavy" guitar clip here. This is not a "stellar" example and my playing is crap. This is a "budget" setup with a single microphone on a single speaker, double-tracked.
Old 28th December 2010
  #55
Gear Addict
Hmmm...Goofed up the attachment...Let's try this...
Attached Files

gs_gtr_test.mp3 (113.4 KB, 102 views)

Old 28th December 2010
  #56
Quote:
Originally Posted by crypticglobe View Post
HA! Yeah!! I loved that rig. Was killer for what we were doing back then. But surely you remember it wasn't my only amp. Surely, you also remember I worked at Music Alley then... and they sold crate amps, among many others, and that I spent my days jamming on them.

Oh.. btw... is that you Gene?? For the record, I think your mesa preamp sounded better than mine for metal. What was that thing... Mesa Studio Preamp???

Rock on!
Yep it's me. Totally forgot about your stint at the Alley. And yeah, that was the studio pre, wish I still had it! That said it didn't quite match the versatility of the quad.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #57
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by OceanMan View Post
57's are a godsend for this. I use the Bob Rock technique: two 57's, one directly on the cone about an inch back. The other at a 45% angle toward the cone, and adjust the distance until you find that the phase relationship is acceptable. Experiment with panning the two mics slightly off from each other if you like.

To hear this technique being used on an especially heavy release, check out Bring Me The Horizon's Suicide Season, or really anything put out by Fredrick Norstrom (Studio Fredman). He uses this technique often if not always, and his tone always sounds massive.

OceanMan, do you have a pic to show us what it looks like? i'm new to this stuff and i could use a visual to help me.

thanks!
Old 2nd January 2011
  #58
Gear Addict
 
keiffer's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarenvy View Post
Anyways, problem is how do i get a good Heavy Metal Guitar sound, keeping it crisp and clean sounding???
name some bands or artist's tone that's similar to what you're trying to cop. Metal tonage is deep and broad.

Quote:
Ive been trying for hours but it does not sound good enough for our recording session.
is it possible to post a gtr only clip for some perspective.

Quote:
edit: Im not talking about my guitar tone, I'm referring to the sound after recording it.
it's both. they aren't mutually exclusive.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #59
Lives for gear
 
andychamp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoisyNarrowBand View Post
a good sound is achieved via:

1. the player
2. the guitar and its pickups
3. the amp
4. the cab
5. the mic
(5.5. the room, unless you are close micing which is what you want to do here)
6. the rest. the rest doesn't matter half as much as people say.(...)
Work your way down this list, step by step.
At every step ask yourself: "is this element giving me what I want to hear" (I would consider the amp and cab as 1 element)
If the answer is "no", work on improving that element until the answer is "yes!"
Only then move on to the next step.
Any shortcuts you take will come back to bite you in the a** later. Promised.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #60
Gear Addict
 

I'll echo the sentiments of others and say there is alot of misinformation in this thread. I'll get on to the level issues in a minute but first let's look at the guitar sound issue:
If you get the gear right then recording heavy guitar sounds is actually remarkable easy from a micing standpoint.

First let's look at the chain you should have:

Guitar - Something with high quality humbuckers (Duncan, EMG etc) and FRESH STRINGS. While tracking guitars in the studio I find it's best to use a new set every day. This is how you get the nice clear high end. Once the strings begin to dull you can't get that back by adding treble to the amp.
Using the right guage for your tuning is also important. A good general rule to follow is that you should use 9's in standard at a minimum, and then for every half step you downtune you should go up a string guage.
Personally I prefer using hardtail guitars for rhythm work as the tuning is more stable compared to a floyd.

Tubescreamer - This is a must for modern metal guitar tones. It doesn't need to be anything boutique (a TS7 will do) You don't use it to add any more distortion, just to focus the guitar in the midrange and tighten up the low end. Keep the drive low and the tone and level at noon (though some amps sound nice if you hit the front hard by cranking the level on the TS and backing off the gain on the amp)

Amp - This is probably the single most important part, I will echo what some others have said here in that your amp selection is most likely the culprit in your chain. I've never managed to get a decent recorded tone with a solid state amp. It doesn't have to be expensive, some cheap valve amps that record really well for metal are:
  • Peavey Windsor
  • Bugera 333/6260 etc
  • Orange Tiny Terror (this needs a bit of post eq though)
  • Jet City JCA20
If you cant afford to buy something then either try and borrow a good amp or just screw the whole thing and go for digital modeling using Pod Farm or Revalver, good results are easier to come by with a modeler than with solid state amps in my experience, unless your looking for the Dimebag tone, which personally I cant stand
Don't go crazy with the gain and get a balanced eq setting. Make sure not to scoop the mids too much, you'll probably be surprised by how much better your tone will fit in the mix if you don't go overboard with the bass too, leave some room in the low end for the bass guitar. The Bass Guitar is actually a fundamental part of the percieved size of the guitar tone. Tight playing between the guitars and bass is a must, often distorting the midrange of the bass with a Sansamp plugin can help the bass to gel with the guitars come mix time and give it some nice grit.

Cab - Generally I prefer something with V30's but the T75's in your Marshall will work too, you'll need to watch out as they can be a bit fizzy and the low end isn't as tight as a V30. The T75's tend to work pretty well if you're in standard tuning though as you don't need to tighten up the flab that comes with downtuning. Do some quick tests to find the best sounding speaker then make sure that speaker is away from the floor to avoid reflections (you might have to turn the cab on it's side for this)

Mic - A single SM57 is absolutely fine here. Getting the placement right is important though. I always find I get better results with one mic as you've not got phase issues to deal with and often using a second mic can add low mids that sound great when solo'd but just turn to mud in the mix. (This isn't an attack on those who use 2 mic setups by the way, great tones can be had using 2 mics I just personally think it's easier to get it with 1)
I normally start where the dustcap meets the speaker cone and adjust from there. Moving the mic closer to the centre gets more brightness whereas moving further away gets a darker tone.
Here it's good to use a reference tone from an album you like. This should be a part where there is only guitar is playing, by copying the riff yourself and listening to the differences between the two you should be able to adjust your amp settings and mic position to get something that sounds quite reasonable.

Outboard - If you have access to a particularly nice coloured EQ then it might be beneficial to eq a little on the way in, though I wouldn't recommend any serious cuts or boosts as you're then committing that decision to tape. To be honest if you gtr/amp/cab/mic setup is good then you should have a pretty banging guitar tone without the need for much or any eq at all. I would certainly leave the compressor out of the chain as it's likely to be doing much more harm than good, particularly with you saying that you're new to compression. 6dB gain reduction is quite alot to apply to a distorted guitar, a signal that is already very compressed.

Tracking - There are 4 main points you want to remember while recording guitar:
  • Double track your rhythm guitars. Some people go for 4 tracks but it's really down to personal preference. 4 can sound big but 2 can sometimes sound more in your face.
  • Tune after every take. Having all your tracks in tune with each other is very important in getting a big chunky sound instead of a dissonant mess.
  • Pick hard and consistently. If you pick like a pussy then you tracks are going to sound weak no matter what you do with the amp and mic. Dig into the strings and get some aggression in your tracks. Picks should be at least 1mm thick so that it doesn't bend out of the way of the strings as you play. Thick strings can also help to keep things in tune while you're bashing the **** out of your guitar.
  • Play tight. This is probably the most important part of recording heavy guitar. Tracks that are played sloppy are going to sound like ****, most of the heaviness of metal comes from the kick, bass and 4 tracks of guitar all hitting at the same time, this is why the current crop of hardcore bands that play nothing but beatdowns sound so big. Because everyone is hitting their **** at the same time, normally on the lowest note they all have too.
Follow all of the above and you should have some pretty monster guitar tracks.

Now onto the level discrepancy you're having. Have a look at the image in this link and read on:

Google Image Result for http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun00/images/meteringfaq.l.gif

You're not actually losing any signal between your mixer and your DAW, they just use different standards of measurement. It can be confusing at first:

What you have to understand is that your mixer measures level in dBu, or some other analogue measurement.
This is not the same as your DAW, which measures level in dBfs, which is a negative level (-1dB, -6dB, -12dB) down from the digital maximum, which is point of clipping. YOU DONT WANT YOUR SIGNAL IN YOUR DAW TO BE HITTING 0dBfs! EVER! This is the point at which the signal clips. This is bad bad bad.
Set the mic preamp so that the level on your mixer is 0dBu and you'll probably be hitting around -18dBfs in your DAW. Recording at this level should actually give you cleaner results as your AD converters are designed to operate at around 0dBu, whereas if you try to get your DAW signal to say -3dBfs then your mixer has to operate at around +15dBu, which is a pretty hot level for any mixer to operate at.

If the guitars aren't loud enough when recording at a lower level then turn everything else in the mix down, this way you wont be chasing all your faders up to the top of their range and sacrificing all your headroom.

I hope this is of some help. Though chances are you will get the best feedback from everyone here if you post a clip of the sound you're getting, then we can hear whats going on and guide you from there.
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