The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Micing for Metal Guitar - Suggestions? Dynamic Microphones
Old 24th December 2010
  #1
Gear Head
 
guitarenvy's Avatar
 

Micing for Metal Guitar - Suggestions?

Hi, this is my first post, decided to join after noticing there is some 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.

edit: Im not talking about my guitar tone, I'm referring to the sound after recording it.



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?
Old 24th December 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Scott Whigham's Avatar
 

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 mixer boosts the mic signal a few dB. The signal runs through an Alesis 3630 Compressor via INSERT. The settings are 8:1 ratio, everything is set so there is come noticable compression, and a bit of output gain back to the mixer to make up for the loss during compression. The signal goes back to the mixer for a tiny bit of boost to bring it just above 0db. 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. 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 exceeds 0db is at the compressor. Does this sound right?

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?
Welcome to GS

Honestly I have trouble following you. You ramble a bit, which isn't bad, but the thing is you've asked too many questions to me. What do you want this thread to focus on?

Also, are you listening to your guitar takes solo'ed or in the mix?
Old 24th December 2010
  #3
Old 24th December 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
 
BradLyons's Avatar
 

No, not rambling---just trying to explain what his issue is :-)

Okay, to be honest the problem here probably isn't the technique as much as it is the gear. An SM57 is fine, although a good ribbon will be better. The interface you're using (the Audiophile) is an entry-level product, however it doesn't sound too shabby! But the issue here really is the signal chain, IMHO. The Alesis 3630 compressor is a nice box for an inexpensive compressor, however I think you'll do better to leave it out and compress in software after the fact. The other issue is although the pre on the Mackie mixer is very good quality, it's also sterile and not a good combination for your style of guitar sound. IMHO, you need some kind of micpre that will add warmth and punch. Of course, this comes down to your budget.... but I think that's where you should be looking. Ideally---the Universal Audio Solo 610 always gets my vote!
Old 24th December 2010
  #5
Gear Head
 
guitarenvy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Whigham View Post
Welcome to GS

Honestly I have trouble following you. You ramble a bit, which isn't bad, but the thing is you've asked too many questions to me. What do you want this thread to focus on?

Also, are you listening to your guitar takes solo'ed or in the mix?

I agree, the rambling comes natural.

I am focused on the tone of the my recording. It seems like for some reason there is always a huge loss in signal between each component or something (which i think is related!?). The question is basically, where might the problem be? I can get a better sound using the line out on the marshall head.
Old 24th December 2010
  #6
Gear Nut
 

Micing for Metal Guitar - Suggestions?

The equipment your using is probably good enough to get OK tones, but don't expect miracles from budget stuff.

If you take a look at killswitch engages studio footage, they're using framus, matchless, bad cat, and something else I can't remember just for one guitar. That's probably going into VERY highend preamps, into VERY highend compressors and EQs, into VERY high end convertors. Not to mention their rooms are stellar and the Adam d who engineers most of their stuff (I think) is a berklee graduate with TONS of experience.

The best thing you can do is post clips and let people hear what you have. It's the only way to get solid advice.


Posted via the Gearslutz iPhone app
Old 24th December 2010
  #7
Gear Head
 
guitarenvy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BradLyons View Post
No, not rambling---just trying to explain what his issue is :-)

Okay, to be honest the problem here probably isn't the technique as much as it is the gear. An SM57 is fine, although a good ribbon will be better. The interface you're using (the Audiophile) is an entry-level product, however it doesn't sound too shabby! But the issue here really is the signal chain, IMHO. The Alesis 3630 compressor is a nice box for an inexpensive compressor, however I think you'll do better to leave it out and compress in software after the fact. The other issue is although the pre on the Mackie mixer is very good quality, it's also sterile and not a good combination for your style of guitar sound. IMHO, you need some kind of micpre that will add warmth and punch. Of course, this comes down to your budget.... but I think that's where you should be looking. Ideally---the Universal Audio Solo 610 always gets my vote!

Ok, yes, that's exactly what i was asking.

I have a mic preamp also, but probably not the best. Its an ALTO Voice Plus. Normally use it for vocals but could it be used for guitar too? If your talking about a true dedicated mic preamp then I will have to make a future purchase.
Old 24th December 2010
  #8
Lives for gear
 
BradLyons's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarenvy View Post
Ok, yes, that's exactly what i was asking.

I have a mic preamp also, but probably not the best. Its an ALTO Voice Plus. Normally use it for vocals but could it be used for guitar too? If your talking about a true dedicated mic preamp then I will have to make a future purchase.
IMHO based on my experience of this scenario many times over---I think something along the lines of the UA Solo 610 is what you're needing---it's an instant makes everything better solution. It's not cheap, but not expensive....however buy it once, you're done.
Old 24th December 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Scott Whigham's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Whigham View Post
Also, are you listening to your guitar takes solo'ed or in the mix?
Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarenvy View Post
I am focused on the tone of the my recording. It seems like for some reason there is always a huge loss in signal between each component or something (which i think is related!?). The question is basically, where might the problem be? I can get a better sound using the line out on the marshall head.
You didn't answer my question, newbie....
Don't make this more difficult than it has to be. You are solo'ing your tracks and wondering why they aren't huge. I know it. Just admit it and we can help you.

Old 24th December 2010
  #10
Lives for gear
Ok first of all, so long as you stick to recording 24bit, you probably won't even need the compressor in the recording chain. I would add that later on in the mix as you need it...

Also i think boosting to 0db as you go along is probably not good practice...in the software world 0db is the highest level before clipping. In the analog world, +6db is the highest level before clipping...i.e. i would be sticking to -6db in your DAW for headroom purposes.

Before investing in new pre's, i would set the chain up so that its just your amp set to a tone that sounds good to begin with, put the 57 in front of that, and then straight into the interface and then DAW with no effects during that. Set it so the levels are peaking at about -6db.

If the source sounds good, but you're not getting a good sound coming into your DAW, then things i would be looking at are mic choice, and pre's. The 57 is a great mic that has stood the test of time, but in the case of a metal recording, i'd probably use an Audix i5...but that being said, i'm not exactly sure what sound you're getting in the first place...

The difference between pre's is more subtle than the difference between mic's. When i'm in this situation i think to myself "is the tone mostly there, but needs just a little bit extra?" generally i start trialling different pres, but if i think "the tone is right at the amp, but not really what i want at all through the chain" i will then start trialling out different mic's.
Old 24th December 2010
  #11
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Whigham View Post
You didn't answer my question, newbie....
Don't make this more difficult than it has to be. You are solo'ing your tracks and wondering why they aren't huge. I know it. Just admit it and we can help you.

This is also true...you have to remember huge guitar tones have a lot to do with the bass line, as well as multiple mic's, layering of slightly different parts, different amps, different guitars etc etc. Another big thing to remember is that a huge guitar tone isn't actually as huge as you think it is...

I know for example i can get some really big sounding lead guitar lines and solo's and stuff...but the second i solo it, it ACTUALLY sounds really thin and trebly...sometimes other elements in the mix are what give the perception of a huge guitar tone....
Old 24th December 2010
  #12
Lives for gear
 
crypticglobe's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradLyons View Post
No, not rambling---just trying to explain what his issue is :-)

Okay, to be honest the problem here probably isn't the technique as much as it is the gear. An SM57 is fine, although a good ribbon will be better. The interface you're using (the Audiophile) is an entry-level product, however it doesn't sound too shabby! But the issue here really is the signal chain, IMHO. The Alesis 3630 compressor is a nice box for an inexpensive compressor, however I think you'll do better to leave it out and compress in software after the fact. The other issue is although the pre on the Mackie mixer is very good quality, it's also sterile and not a good combination for your style of guitar sound. IMHO, you need some kind of micpre that will add warmth and punch. Of course, this comes down to your budget.... but I think that's where you should be looking. Ideally---the Universal Audio Solo 610 always gets my vote!
I agree with all this... but so far it seems most everyone has left out engineering 101. :( :( :(

The tone has got to sound GREAT coming out of the cabinet. I don't mean to sound snobby.... but other than ole' dimebag (and I think it was more him than the tone... it still was kinda "ehhh" for me)... I have never really heard an AMAZING sounding metal tone from solid state amps. Were it me... I would sell ALL of that stuff except the cab and pick up a good tube head. What kind would depend on the type of metal you do and your budget. On the cheap... an original 5150 can be killer. In the mid range... I would totally go for a older Boogie Mark IIc or Mark III. Heck even the rectoverb heads can be found around $600.00 if you shop (different kind of tone though). If you can come up with $1000.00 to spend... all sorts of awesome amps can be had!

Anyway... that would be the first place I would spend money were it me. A GREAT sounding amp, and be sure that you can crank it up pretty loud when recording. That is a big part of the sound.

Anyway... once you are up to speed there, the advice above is really good and slippermans thread is of course the masters course when you are ready (few ever are)...

Rock on!
Old 24th December 2010
  #13
Lives for gear
if you have a good preamp and tape deck/converter
simply putting a mic in front of the amp's speaker will get you a good sound,
there is no secret. Get the sound you want out of the amp obviously
then put the mic dead center, move it left or right until it sounds good
coming out of the nearfields. maybe you can move the mic up and down ?
but what's the point

that's all
Old 24th December 2010
  #14
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarenvy View Post
Hi, this is my first post, decided to join after noticing there is some real knowledge here.
there's some real knowledge and some real BS too, problem is to tell them apart but of course if you could, you wouldn't need the help in the first place, kind of a problem uhm ?!?

Anyway, for a distorted metal tone a 57 is perfect. The mackie pre's will do but I'd get rid of the compressor, you already have a pretty much distorted sound to begin with, no need for further compression.

Speakers are important, celestion V30's seem to be the standard for the sound you're searching for, Bogner, VHT, Mesa, Marshall and many other brands equip many of their top of the line cabs with those, there must be a reason. Of course they're not the only ones that work but having them is a very good starting point.

As for the settings on your amp, many guitar players tend to over eq the $hit out of their sound. Try to start with all the controls at 12 o'clock, or at least where they're supposed to be so they're not cutting or boosting. Move the mic around try to find the weet spot and if the sound still isn't usable start tweaking.

When you spend a considerable amount of time listening to an amplifier (or a sound source in general) no matter how unbalaced it sounds after some time your ears get used to it, if you're not getting it right with a simple 57, your problem is most likely the source.
Old 24th December 2010
  #15
Gear Head
 
guitarenvy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nelson89 View Post
This is also true...you have to remember huge guitar tones have a lot to do with the bass line, as well as multiple mic's, layering of slightly different parts, different amps, different guitars etc etc. Another big thing to remember is that a huge guitar tone isn't actually as huge as you think it is...

I know for example i can get some really big sounding lead guitar lines and solo's and stuff...but the second i solo it, it ACTUALLY sounds really thin and trebly...sometimes other elements in the mix are what give the perception of a huge guitar tone....
yeah i know, i wrote that whole thing after recording all 4 guitar tracks (2L 2R), over and over on top of a drum track i recorded with roland v drum kit. Ive recorded for a dozen years, i got the basics covered, especially with the recording process. You are right, it sounds like very little until all of the elements are in place. Not really what i was talking about though.


So anyways, I asked do solid state amps need to be cranked up when recording, just like tube ones do to get a good distortion?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nelson89 View Post

Also i think boosting to 0db as you go along is probably not good practice...in the software world 0db is the highest level before clipping. In the analog world, +6db is the highest level before clipping...i.e. i would be sticking to -6db in your DAW for headroom purposes.

Before investing in new pre's, i would set the chain up so that its just your amp set to a tone that sounds good to begin with, put the 57 in front of that, and then straight into the interface and then DAW with no effects during that. Set it so the levels are peaking at about -6db.
Thanks, more good information.

What input/output level should i be at on the compressor, and how much "gain reduction" should the compressor be making? Is there a normal range i should stay within? Is it normal to have a dB drop at all of the different connections through the signal chain? I just recently got this compressor so I'm still trying to figure it out.
Old 24th December 2010
  #16
Lives for gear
Did you read the Slipperman article? The biggest thing he says is to find the right place to listen to the speakers: play loud and move your head around till you find the right sound, then mic it there...
Old 24th December 2010
  #17
Gear Head
 
guitarenvy's Avatar
 

Yeah for a minute. Its jam packed with opinion, and rambling.
Most of it has little to do with my equipment, and he says f**k well over 100 times...
Old 24th December 2010
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Daedalus77's Avatar
This is simple. As a previous poster said, your problem is not your mics, pres, or placement—nor even your converters and such.

The problem is you lack a decent amp for what you are trying to achieve.

Sell what you need to purchase a decent tube head—or even a combo—and start there. Jam the 57 up against the grill, and you will be just fine.

Compression settings??? Panning???

None of it is germane until you get the basics in order: player, arrangement, guitar, amp.
Old 24th December 2010
  #19
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by guitarenvy View Post
Yeah for a minute. Its jam packed with opinion, and rambling.
Most of it has little to do with my equipment, and he says f**k well over 100 times...
I'd urge you to try to get through the rambling and swearing, cause there's actually a ton of great information there. For example, he talks about getting to the point of speaker excursion (which would answer you question about amp level), among many many other things. As goofy as it is, it's still a highly regarded doctrine of info, at least in my book....
Old 24th December 2010
  #20
mml
Gear Addict
 
mml's Avatar
 

Plus 1000 on ditching the compressor. That thing will make any signal you send through it sound small and pinched. believe me.

Get the source sounding good in the room. By disconnecting the speaker in the Crate, you might be loading it down too much ohm-wise, depending on the speaker wiring scenario, I'd be careful about that, although the one speaker idea is a good one.

After that, I think only one person mentioned your levels. You are recording WAY too hot. zero on the mackie fader is good, that's unity. But boosting the signal going in to your DAW to be at "0" is way too hot. zero VU is -14 dfs (digital full scale, or "zero" in your DAW meters. You should be keeping your average level down around halfway up on your bar meters in your DAW. The mackie is an OK mic pre, but when you boost up the input gain on it to hit zero full-scale, you'll have the pre collapsing on itself and it will be distorted and small. Keep your signal lower and your budget gear will perform a lot better, from the pre to the line amps in your converters.

And again, that compressor is a paper-weight. Distorted guitars are compressed enough already usually anyway. Keep that compressor away from your audio.
Old 24th December 2010
  #21
Lives for gear
 
ARIEL's Avatar
Yes Ditch the compressor in the chain , I used it once , very dirty sounding , will degrade things . ALso you seemd to have the ratio cranked way too hi on it. I never use compression when I track metal GTRS , It is already compressed by the distortion. ALso you may want to drop down the mid range on the crate it seems rather HI. ALso try the 57 on an angle pointing at the cone . What pickups are you using ? EMG 81 or 85 will do the trick for tight an punchy .Try only 2 trks left and right panned 100 % It will sound tighter and less mushed out . I stopped quad trcking for metal over 8 years ago. You can get really thick tones with just two trks . I wouldn't use an i5 for metal gtrs - just doesnt work for me . The 57 is great one of the best . Ribbons are ok , I have used them many times but they always get muted in mix . When you get your tone make sure you hear it exactly the way it should be , put you head down in front of the speaker ( a little ways away of course) and hear how it sounds . I have many guys come in and I always have to tweak their amps a lot - just bad sounding with bad settings - too much mid or too much hi end etc .
Old 24th December 2010
  #22
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by mml View Post
After that, I think only one person mentioned your levels. You are recording WAY too hot. zero on the mackie fader is good, that's unity. But boosting the signal going in to your DAW to be at "0" is way too hot. zero VU is -14 dfs (digital full scale, or "zero" in your DAW meters. You should be keeping your average level down around halfway up on your bar meters in your DAW. The mackie is an OK mic pre, but when you boost up the input gain on it to hit zero full-scale, you'll have the pre collapsing on itself and it will be distorted and small. Keep your signal lower and your budget gear will perform a lot better, from the pre to the line amps in your converters.
Depending on your interface unity might actually be calibrated to a -10 dB reference. I ran into a MOTU that was like that and seen lots of behringer boards like that too... I'll never use one of their interfaces again, going between -10 and +5 is a headache and a half.

I've also seen them calibrated to match unity.

Also the way you worded this is so wacky I even got confused and had to read it multiple times. It's easier to just say that the peak of your audio on the DAW meters should be anywhere around -3 to -8 dB. However if you have a stronger signal then the lower to mid levels would be preferable. Converters handle loud signals better in those levels because too low and they will start to decimate and your SNR goes way up, or too high and they'll clip the converter. Sometimes though I like to distort the converters on electric guitars, it's an old Nothing Records tip though so I can't really take the credit... (look it up)

NEVER NEVER NEVER amplify a signal in the DAW, always do it OTB. It's okay to turn down signal and fine tune your gain stage inside a DAW, but never outside of it unless you're finding the "sweet spot" (-3 to -8) or you're really clipping and you need to get rid of it by going to the sweet spot. The reason for that is because while analog gear will amplify the signal itself and keep the noise under control, digital equipment just amplifies it mathematically and makes the whole thing louder. So, if you have an overall noise of -30 dB and recorded a clean DI'd guitar track (amps are a bad example since they have tons of noise anyway) at -10 dB on a digital system then amplified it 7 dB your noise floor would now be at -23 dB. On an analog system if you just turn it up 7 dB your noise floor would still be around -30 dB.

A circuit will always have some self noise but it amplifies the source better than the introduced noise in the circuit. That's why they write down the signal to noise ratio. It's really hard to mask noise when you screw up your overall SNR by some half-baked theory of turning stuff up in the DAW later that's been on this forum for a long time now.
Old 24th December 2010
  #23
Lives for gear
Ditch the compressor...distortion/overdrive is generally compressed enough going in, you can compress later in the DAW.

Here's how i do things...if you can't get your tone by just putting a mic in front of the source, straight into the pre and into the computer, then no real processing in between will "fix" it...

If you absolutely MUST track with compression (other than vocals or drums, i can't see why you'd need to...) then something like a 2:1 ratio is more in the ballpark. 4:1 if you want it to be noticeably compressed. Otherwise just leave it out of the chain altogether...

I mean i can't really tell you what to do, but at least try it without the compressor first and get everything sounding right before you decide to add the compressor in...
Old 24th December 2010
  #24
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by crypticglobe View Post
I agree with all this... but so far it seems most everyone has left out engineering 101. :( :( :(

The tone has got to sound GREAT coming out of the cabinet. I don't mean to sound snobby.... but other than ole' dimebag (and I think it was more him than the tone... it still was kinda "ehhh" for me)... I have never really heard an AMAZING sounding metal tone from solid state amps. Were it me... I would sell ALL of that stuff except the cab and pick up a good tube head. What kind would depend on the type of metal you do and your budget. On the cheap... an original 5150 can be killer. In the mid range... I would totally go for a older Boogie Mark IIc or Mark III. Heck even the rectoverb heads can be found around $600.00 if you shop (different kind of tone though). If you can come up with $1000.00 to spend... all sorts of awesome amps can be had!

Anyway... that would be the first place I would spend money were it me. A GREAT sounding amp, and be sure that you can crank it up pretty loud when recording. That is a big part of the sound.

Anyway... once you are up to speed there, the advice above is really good and slippermans thread is of course the masters course when you are ready (few ever are)...

Rock on!
I agree here. I suspect some budget issues here....all of the stuff in the chain seems to mediocre past the 57.

Neither amp is really good for the application. IMHOP a Valvestate is best used as a doorstop.

The interface i iffy and when he had a pre it was an Alto.

And of course the famous 3630 Comp, which is why some people think of compression as an effect.

And the question "do I have to turn up the solid state amp to get good distortion" is kinda wierd.

So, backing up. Doest the source signal sound great? I kinda doubt it. So it starts there. Get tiny Terror or some other small tune amp and get a great tone.

Then stick the 57 in front of the amp and rock.
Old 24th December 2010
  #25
Lives for gear
 
OceanMan's Avatar
 

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.
Old 24th December 2010
  #26
Gear Head
 
guitarenvy's Avatar
 

Good advice. But i am not going to "ditch" my amps to buy a tube one.
Just as a random example, Chuck (from Death) used a Valvestate 8100 on a lot of his stuff. Its not all about tubes. Try telling metalhead that his tone sucks! Yeah, i'm not chuck and i don't have all his equipment but don't tell me i NEED a tube amp. It has nothing to do with my original question! I listed my equipment in the original post so i could get recording tips for what i already own.


Im mostly interested in responses that explain THE SIGNAL LEVEL. This is not something i can really explain well, but as i said, WHY do I lose 12 dB between the mixer output and the PC? Where should the levels be at?
There were a few good answers but they were just partly answering the question. Forget about the amp i am using for now. Lets focus on 2 things for now......

Q1:
My mackie mixer shows a "level set" area on the LED's which is at 0dB. Should i set the AMP volume to meet this mark while the mixer is at unity, Or can I use the mixers mic preamp and boost the mic signal (if needed) to boost it to that 0dB (level set) mark? What i am asking is do i have to turn up the amp to hit 0dB on the mixer or is it acceptable to give a small boost on the mixer preamp if needed to bring my signal to 0dB? Some of you im sure still have no idea what im talking about but that is the best i can explain it in writing.

Q2:
Continuing from my last question, lets say i have no compressor.
The 0dB guitar signal then exits the mixer and enters the PC where I now have a signal of -12dB on the screen. The track is about 1/4 the size of what i feel it 'should be' and it is barely audible. Can anyone explain the loss of signal or is this normal?
Old 24th December 2010
  #27
mml
Gear Addict
 
mml's Avatar
 

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.
Old 24th December 2010
  #28
mml
Gear Addict
 
mml's Avatar
 

You set the fader to unity and adjust the mic pre trim until you get the right level. You don't need to turn up the amp.

Q2: -12 dfs should show about 3/4 of the way up on the meters. If you're getting something that looks like it's only 1/4 of the way up on the meters, then yes, something might be wrong. You could check the calibration on your converters?
Old 24th December 2010
  #29
mml
Gear Addict
 
mml's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by systematika View Post

NEVER NEVER NEVER amplify a signal in the DAW, always do it OTB. It's okay to turn down signal and fine tune your gain stage inside a DAW, but never outside of it unless you're finding the "sweet spot" (-3 to -8) or you're really clipping and you need to get rid of it by going to the sweet spot. The reason for that is because while analog gear will amplify the signal itself and keep the noise under control, digital equipment just amplifies it mathematically and makes the whole thing louder. So, if you have an overall noise of -30 dB and recorded a clean DI'd guitar track (amps are a bad example since they have tons of noise anyway) at -10 dB on a digital system then amplified it 7 dB your noise floor would now be at -23 dB. On an analog system if you just turn it up 7 dB your noise floor would still be around -30 dB.
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.
Old 24th December 2010
  #30
Lives for gear
 

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.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
Flying_Dutchman / So much gear, so little time
0
bgomez15 / So much gear, so little time
13
Dnich79 / High end
1
tromostheory / Low End Theory
5
Jburn34 / So much gear, so little time
14

Forum Jump
Forum Jump