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Thread: Muddy and Fizzy Guitar Recordings

  1. #1
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    Muddy and Fizzy Guitar Recordings

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    Whenever I try recording some basic rock guitar tracks at home, I run into ill-defined bottom end, due to low-end mud, and top-end fizz with a very poor midrange. I have tried every mic placement I can think of and none of it worked to my satisfaction. I am trying to achieve a basic, boxy, British classic-metal tone, something along the lines of Maiden's Piece of Mind guitar tone (search for "Iron Maiden The Trooper Lead Guitar Track" on YouTube for isolated tracks), I am not looking to replicate the exact guitar tone, just to get in the ball park, to get something mid-rangey and focused like the guitar tone on the left channel of the Trooper isolated track.

    My main recording gear is:
    Fender Dave Murray Strat with DiMarzio Super Distortions
    Marshall DSL15C with a Vintage 30
    Marshall MX112R extension cab with a Vintage 30
    SM57
    JBL LSR5 monitors
    Sony MDR7506 headphones
    Presonus Firestudio Mobile
    Garageband

    Other gear I have but don't use as much, primarily due to living in an apartment:
    Marshall 6100LM
    Marshall 1960A
    DSL20CR with a G12T-75
    SM57
    SM58

    In addition to different mic placements, I have also tried some extreme EQ settings on the amp, with almost no bass, treble, and presence, and with mids cranked, and that was better than the alternatives, but not nearly close enough to what I am trying to achieve. I record with master volume on 4. To my ears, I can dial in really nice tones in the room, but as soon as I put a mic on the amp and hit "Record," the results are eventually always disappointing.

    Can anyone help me out with this?
    Last edited by Seventh Son; 06-28-2019 at 13:20.

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    Cut back on the distortion by 40%...it may sound a bit clean to you in the room, but it will be right when you record.

    First mistake everyone makes when recording OD/distortion is to crank to much of it....and the sound becomes blurry, undefined, and too fizzy.

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    another mistake/reality of HR (for me anyway) is setting tones using closed back headphones that muffle and add proximity bass etc...

    where the pro studios,, the control room dudes are calling the tones using the isolated room and great speakers to begin with.

    so the point is dont use headphone tones for the tone setting, because its probably going to sound like ass later and require mucho work.

    if it's not happening in the room, it ain't gonna happen on tape.-H.Gerst

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    Quote Originally Posted by miroslav View Post
    Cut back on the distortion by 40%...it may sound a bit clean to you in the room, but it will be right when you record.

    First mistake everyone makes when recording OD/distortion is to crank to much of it....and the sound becomes blurry, undefined, and too fizzy.
    I have tried that, and know what you mean, but at the same time, I am skeptical about the whole "less is more" mantra when it comes to recording distorted guitar. There are some things that just can't be executed without a sufficient amount of gain. For example, the single palm-muted note in the intro to Maiden's "The Clairvoyant," or just about any riff or rhythm involving palm mutes and alternative picking on the root note. I am not sure how those sounds could be achieved with so little gain that there is hardly any compression.

    By the way, what microphone placement do you recommend? It seems to me that everyone is using an SM57 either on the grill cloth or up to an inch away from the grill cloth, usually on the dust cap edge, and getting great tones. Yet, when I do it, I find the proximity effect—or what sounds like proximity effect—overpowering, and I'm not even using a 4x12 like the pros, just a 1x12, which, in theory, should be a case for jamming the SM57 as close to the grille as possible. Based on the many videos and pictures I've seen of pro rock bands, including Maiden, recording with an SM57 on the grille, the only logical conclusion I can make from that is that the standard SM57 placement on the grille is fine, and that my problems of mud and fizz are caused by something else and not mic placement.
    Last edited by Seventh Son; 06-28-2019 at 06:32.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CoolCat View Post
    another mistake/reality of HR (for me anyway) is setting tones using closed back headphones that muffle and add proximity bass etc...

    where the pro studios,, the control room dudes are calling the tones using the isolated room and great speakers to begin with.

    so the point is dont use headphone tones for the tone setting, because its probably going to sound like ass later and require mucho work.
    Good point, but headphones are really good for checking the midrange, my main problem area. Also, they're helpful in monitoring, as they eliminate the room and the imperfections of an untreated room.

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    Give us a link to some thing you are having issues with
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    Is the amp on the floor and/or right against a wall? Real quick first reflections from those kinds of surfaces can really mess up an otherwise decent tone. Lift it up or tilt it back and move it away from the walls.

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    The closer you get to the dust cap the more treble you'll get in the mic. Being "skeptical" of the 'less is more' mantra isn't going to get you anywhere. It is a MANTRA because it works and has for years. Placing the mic closer to the grill cloth gets more proximity effect 'bloom' especially with a Shure. Think about your own statement about how the "sound in the room" is pleasing. Ask yourself "WHY?"

    You can watch 100 videos of someone doing something and NEVER replicate their efforts simply because you're not them where they are......Those DSL Marshall , I have found in the studio, are very "fizzy" in general.

    The "pros" do not necessarily use a 4-12 cabinet to record with especially in a small untreated area. The difference in the sonic quality of Iron Maiden in whatever studio they are using and your modest surroundings is night and day. If you have ever stood in the middle of a great live room you would know immediately where that sound comes from. Your bedroom ain't that.

    So you take the limitations you have and learn to use them. Do you have a second mic? Perhaps a condenser of some sort? Do you have a vocal shield of some sort? Put the condenser out in the room...put the shield behind to cut down on the flutter echoes and the standing waves. Move the 57 away from the speaker grill and move it towards the speaker edge. Record both mics and time align the room mic.

    Turn down the distortion. It's already been said and by people who actually record stuff.

    If you have a piece of auralex put it behind the amp of if your extension cabinet is closed back just use that.

    The point is to get as much of your room out of the equation as possible.

    Perhaps you need a better grasp on 'gain-staging' ....... google that term and learn.
    Chord with this, Teddy......

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seventh Son View Post
    I have tried that, and know what you mean, but at the same time, I am skeptical about the whole "less is more" mantra when it comes to recording distorted guitar. There are some things that just can't be executed without a sufficient amount of gain. For example, the single palm-muted note in the intro to Maiden's "The Clairvoyant," or just about any riff or rhythm involving palm mutes and alternative picking on the root note. I am not sure how those sounds could be achieved with so little gain that there is hardly any compression.

    By the way, what microphone placement do you recommend? It seems to me that everyone is using an SM57 either on the grill cloth or up to an inch away from the grill cloth, usually on the dust cap edge, and getting great tones. Yet, when I do it, I find the proximity effect—or what sounds like proximity effect—overpowering, and I'm not even using a 4x12 like the pros, just a 1x12, which, in theory, should be a case for jamming the SM57 as close to the grille as possible. Based on the many videos and pictures I've seen of pro rock bands, including Maiden, recording with an SM57 on the grille, the only logical conclusion I can make from that is that the standard SM57 placement on the grille is fine, and that my problems of mud and fizz are caused by something else and not mic placement.
    You can also try a reamp setup...split the signal and crank your amp to where you like it in the room, but record a clean DI signal.
    Then reamp and fine tune the amp to where it sounds right. You'll be able to try all kinds of settings and mic positions without having to replay the parts.

    AFA mic position (either for reamp or for straight recording)...I'm not a big fan of the 57...and like in the video above, people always end up having to use another mic with the 57, and then do some kind of combination track of the two to dial in the sound. I kinda prefer to use one mic, and for that, I'll use either a AKG D1000E, which IMO sounds way better than a 57, and can capture guitar tones really well, plus it has a 3-way tone switch...or I'll use a ribbon mic, and work the position. I have a few ribbon mics, and they all have their sweet spots. My most recent favorites are the Beyerdynamic M160....but with it, you have to watch the proximity. I also generally don't record with mics on the grill...and prefer a little distance....maybe 1'-2' away for some things, but I think for Metal, you probably want to be close-n-dry.

    There's a cool little micro-pedal called the Defizzerator...it's a passive device you stick in the FX loop of your amp, and you can dial out the fizz at varying degrees and frequencies...which then allows you to crank up the amp, set the mic for less boom...and then if too fizzy, dial some of that out.
    Of course...there are a million guitar sounds...and it's hard to know what people hear in their heads VS what someone else is going for...so you just have to work it. Sometimes it takes a bit of post-tracking EQ to get it where you want it. I find that it's easier to remove a bit of boom or even fizz...than it is to add what's missing.

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    And get off the dust cap. Heavy guitar tones for me are best recorded with mic placed towards the outer edge of the speaker.
    PC Win7-64-24G i7-4790k/Cubase 9 Pro 64-bit/2-Steinberg UR824's/ADAM A7x/Event TR8/SS Trigger Plat Deluxe/Melodyne 4 Studio/Other things that don't mean anything if a client shows up not knowing what it wants.

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