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Thread: Recording Heavy Metal Guitars?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seventh Son View Post
    If you are like most of us home recordists, most likely you'll run into the problem of thin, fizzy guitars. I have been grappling with this problem for years, and still no solution in sight. My current theory is that it is just due to the nature of how a speaker sounds up-close versus how the amp sounds from our listening position, once the sound has traveled through the air and been attenuated in the high-end and compressed by the air. I suppose the only solution to getting natural sounding heavy guitars is to recording with a combination of close mic and room mic. I have tried everything else (amp positioning, mic placement, volume setting, gain setting), but to no avail. You could try some extreme EQ settings on your amp, but I would not advise to go that route. If you can't get a good recorded tone with all EQ at noon, the issue is not EQ, but rather something else.

    I suggest you give a new speaker a try if this is what you are running into.
    My home studio ---> www.nerolstudio.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seventh Son View Post
    I use a Marshall DSL15C for recording at home, but I am sure my advice will apply to all other tube amps, as well.

    The most important thing is volume. Find out where your amp sounds best. Set up an SM57, on the dust cap edge, an inch from the grille cloth. Record the same riff with volume at 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, and 10, making sure the input level on your interface is the same for all takes, so that all tracks in the DAW are of roughly same height and, hence, loudness (makes comparison more straightforward, so there's less work trying to volume-match them later). Finally, listen to the recording and decide where the sweet spot is. Check with headphones, as they are more revealing than speakers. Most likely, the sweet spot be in a range that's too loud for your neighbors, if you have neighbors. The goal is to get as close as you can afford without getting the police called on you. Volume is really the most important thing. As long as you have a decent interface and an SM57, mic placement, amp placement in the room, room acoustics, etc., will all have a subtle effect not worth sweating over in the beginning. First get the basics right. Later you can experiment with subtle nuances for artistic purposes.

    If you are like most of us home recordists, most likely you'll run into the problem of thin, fizzy guitars. I have been grappling with this problem for years, and still no solution in sight. My current theory is that it is just due to the nature of how a speaker sounds up-close versus how the amp sounds from our listening position, once the sound has traveled through the air and been attenuated in the high-end and compressed by the air. I suppose the only solution to getting natural sounding heavy guitars is to recording with a combination of close mic and room mic. I have tried everything else (amp positioning, mic placement, volume setting, gain setting), but to no avail. You could try some extreme EQ settings on your amp, but I would not advise to go that route. If you can't get a good recorded tone with all EQ at noon, the issue is not EQ, but rather something else.
    Couple of wrong assumptons there Seventh if I may say so?

    Whilst it is true that HF is attenuated by its travel through air you need a hell of a lot of it to make a difference! Even the largest room would not make much difference (and it is water vapour that does the attenuating) Speakers might sound dimmer at a distance but that is because you are hearing the 'room' and all rooms absorb HF preferrentially to LF or mids.

    Then, air does not compress sound. That would indicate non-linear behaviour and air is perfectly linear up SPLs below those found near high explosives.

    And finally, do not assume when a guitar amp's tone knobs are "at noon" you are getting a flat response like a hi fi pre amp. A very interesting prog' is *duncan amps tonestack calculator"

    Been years since I recorded an amp (for son) and I was never that good at it so I offer no advice on that score but, Physics is Physics!

    Dave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecc83 View Post
    Couple of wrong assumptons there Seventh if I may say so?

    Whilst it is true that HF is attenuated by its travel through air you need a hell of a lot of it to make a difference! Even the largest room would not make much difference (and it is water vapour that does the attenuating) Speakers might sound dimmer at a distance but that is because you are hearing the 'room' and all rooms absorb HF preferrentially to LF or mids.

    Then, air does not compress sound. That would indicate non-linear behaviour and air is perfectly linear up SPLs below those found near high explosives.

    And finally, do not assume when a guitar amp's tone knobs are "at noon" you are getting a flat response like a hi fi pre amp. A very interesting prog' is *duncan amps tonestack calculator"

    Been years since I recorded an amp (for son) and I was never that good at it so I offer no advice on that score but, Physics is Physics!

    Dave.
    Thank you. This is really good to know, and I am glad you clarified it to explain what actually causes the HF attenuation.

    I was aware that all EQ at noon does not equal flat response. I think I read somewhere that something like Bass 1, Middle 9, and Treble 0 would give you a roughly flat response. Anyway, don't mean to digress, as this is about recording. Hopefully someone else can offer advice on whether it is actually possible to record distorted guitar with close-mics and not have that nasty fizz on the raw tracks. I get great sounding tracks with a distant mic, about six feet from the amp, roughly at ear level. It's a world of a difference compared to close-miking.

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    If you close Mic an amp with a 57 and you are getting a nasty sound no matter where you put the Mic, that nasty sound is how you dialed in your amp.

    Dial in the sound of the amp while listening through the Mic. On a recording, it doesn't matter what the amp so unds like in the room, it only matters what the Mic hears.

    Even in a live setting, the audience is listening to the amp through a microphone placed on the cabinet. It's a good idea to get the tone right for the mic and not worry about what it sounds like 5 feet away at ear level.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording. I am also the forum spokesmodel for Terasyne Amplification

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    Quote Originally Posted by Farview View Post
    If you close Mic an amp with a 57 and you are getting a nasty sound no matter where you put the Mic, that nasty sound is how you dialed in your amp.

    Dial in the sound of the amp while listening through the Mic. On a recording, it doesn't matter what the amp so unds like in the room, it only matters what the Mic hears.

    Even in a live setting, the audience is listening to the amp through a microphone placed on the cabinet. It's a good idea to get the tone right for the mic and not worry about what it sounds like 5 feet away at ear level.
    I've tried this before, but ran into problems with getting too dull a sound after lowering Bass, Treble, and Presence to almost nothing, while still not having enough midrange. Overall, it sounded O.K. if I pushed the controls, but not nearly as natural as distance-miking. But as always, YMMV.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seventh Son View Post
    I've tried this before, but ran into problems with getting too dull a sound after lowering Bass, Treble, and Presence to almost nothing, while still not having enough midrange. Overall, it sounded O.K. if I pushed the controls, but not nearly as natural as distance-miking. But as always, YMMV.
    It sounds like you might have the wrong amp for what you are trying to do. The overwhelming majority of guitars you hear are close miced, it's the standard setup.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording. I am also the forum spokesmodel for Terasyne Amplification

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    Are you trying to capture the close and far away sound? Surprising how a room mic or a little distance between can add some space.

    I was watching a video where the guy was using bone conducting transducers and using wood and metal surfaces as homemade simplified plate reverbs. Then mixing back the original sound, with a sheet metal plate or oak door. Trying to convince me every type of wood has a specific sound and that resonance of the woods' escence can be mixed back in. Bone transducers and barker surface mount microphones. I need to stay away from youtube.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LazerBeakShiek View Post
    Are you trying to capture the close and far away sound? Surprising how a room mic or a little distance between can add some space.

    I was watching a video where the guy was using bone conducting transducers and using wood and metal surfaces as homemade simplified plate reverbs. Then mixing back the original sound, with a sheet metal plate or oak door. Trying to convince me every type of wood has a specific sound and that resonance of the woods' escence can be mixed back in. Bone transducers and barker surface mount microphones. I need to stay away from youtube.
    There is perhaps a grain of true in this? Luthiers and fiddle makers select woods by tapping the planks. There is a general concensus among guitar platers that MDF cabs are 'dead' and non-resonant* but plywood 'moves' and adds pleasing colour to the sound. Ply is of course much tougher than MDF and less dense and is to be preferred on those two grounds anyway.

    It is instructive to stand next to a 240W 4x12 with deffs on whilst someone gives it very large with a 200W amplifier as I have done (but not for long!) You can hear the cab grunting and groaning, sounds you don't hear in the room consiously or via a mic.

    I do agree BTW that "fizz" should not be a problem with a close micc'ed speaker. If it is the speaker or amp or both are ***t.

    *Which of course makes it the preferred material for hi fi speakers and monitors.

    Dave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecc83 View Post
    I do agree BTW that "fizz" should not be a problem with a close micc'ed speaker. If it is the speaker or amp or both are ***t.

    Dave.
    So, you are saying, IF the speaker, or amp, or both, are crap, THEN you will get fizz from close-miking. Fair enough. But what if both amp and speaker are not crap, but you still get fizz? Then what? Regarding the amp, I've tried the DSL15C, the DSL20CR, and the 6100LM. You could potentially find fault with the DSLs, but the 6100LM was at one point Marshall's flagship and the amp Jim Marshall called the best amp Marshall has ever built. Hyperbole aside, the 6100LM is a pro-level amp, no matter how you look at it. Many of the guys over at Marshallforum.com swear by it. On the subject of speakers, my DSL15C and DSL20CR are equipped with the Vintage 30 and G12T-75, respectively, and my MX112 cab has a Vintage 30 in it. In addition, I have also tried the Seventy 80 and the G12E-60 that the DSLs came with stock. Again, you could pick on the stock speakers, but the Vintage 30 and G12T-75 are some of the best standard guitar speakers money can buy. What to make of it now?

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    Surely he didnt want to insult your amp. Its fine . Trust me.

    I wouldnt put any credence in a youtube instructional video, unless you are at the beginning. Once you know what and where the HPF,LPF go, it gets easier. Study gates, compressors, or perhaps a 4 pole filter for how to balance it all on the head of a pin. Once you know what those sound like , then ask 'what don't I know? People should be able to tell what you don't know by your mix sample. Please post a sample,no shame in that. Dont forget to let it rip.

    I wanted it to be truly plug and play to record my guitar, it turns out there are a lot of dirty tricks. And that full direct guitar sound isnt really so full. Went back to 1/4 " tape to figure that out. The tape head might actually let more signal/slew/dynamic in at one time.

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