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Thread: Recording Heavy Metal Guitars?

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    Recording Heavy Metal Guitars?

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    Hello everyone. I need some advice on recording guitars with heavy distortions. I'm covering a system of a Down song and the guitars just don't sound good. I kind of winged it when recording the guitars and didn't research how to best set up an amp and microphone for this kind of recording. The results speak for themselves. I'm using an EVH 5151 III combo and an SM57. I know a lot of people like to set up multiple microphones when recording guitars but I only have one. Any advice on microphone placement and EQ settings as well as anything else would be greatly appreciated. I understand the basics of EQ and compression in post I just want some advice on the recording. This is being recorded in my bedroom so there's not a lot I can do about the acoustics other than where I place in the amp in the room. Cheers mates.

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    Sorry slight Typo. The amps a EVH 5150 III combo.

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    There was a series of serious articles in Sound on Sound about this about a year ago. I shall see if I can find you a link.

    Making Modern Metal: Part 1

    There ^ yous goes.

    Dave.

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    There's a few general rules to keep in mind when recording heavy guitars:
    1 - Tone is in the hands. A lot of your sound is going to come from your ability to play it, so get really practiced up first.
    2. You probably need less gain than you think.

    Without hearing a sample of your results, it's gonna be hard to get much more specific.

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    Amen on "less gain." Good lord, "chunky" and "crunchy" are NOT "fuzzy" and everyone seems to think the pre-gain needs to be all the way up. Then they suck out all the mids. Guitars are damn near *all* mids.

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    Turn the gain to a point where it is crunchy, not fuzzy.

    Aim the Mic at the point where the dust cap meets the cone of the speaker

    Record two performances, pan them away from each other.

    Add the high end in the mix, not at the amp.

    Remember that the bass guitar is a large part of the sound of those sort of productions. Most of the time, the bass is distorted too.

    Search YouTube for isolated guitar and bass tracks of songs in that genre. That might help you get an idea of what the individual instruments need to sound like.
    Jay Walsh
    Farview Recording. I am also the forum spokesmodel for Terasyne Amplification

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    Hi Jay, I am pretty sure that link I gave has some recording examples?

    Dave.

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    All good points. Use much less gain than you think you should (especially when doubling or quad tracking or whatever... all that gain adds up...) and make sure your parts are as tight as possible when double tracking. Maybe get a loop pedal so you can move the mic around until you get the sound you want without having to play and move the mic at the same time...

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    An example of what you got would help.

    I'm also inexperienced with the G12M speaker and it's voicing. Most of the guys I know who record the 5150III are using vintage 30 speakers including myself.

    So starting from that point I'll give my pointers anyway:

    1. Generally I highpass around 60hz and lowpass around 12kHz. There just isn't that much usable frequency information in those areas. Some people will carve out more or less but it's around these areas that I start to find the frequencies useless.

    2. On the amp's the eq section start with the knobs at 1 o clock (bass mid and treb). The 5150 is one of the rarer high gain amps that I find has some honky mids but that doesn't mean scoop them (scooped mids are terrible. Smiley face eq settings are trash). Usually I end up with the mids around 1 or 2 o clock, the bass at 9 or 10 o clock and the treble at noon or 1 o clock.

    3. The 5150 is really good with a boost, specifically a tubescreamer. If you have one or something similar like a boss super overdrive you can give it a go. The way you would set things on the tubescreamer is tone around noon, drive all the way down, and volume all the way up or near all the way up. You would then set the gain on the 5150 to where it just starts to slightly crunch and then turn on the tubescreamer and you should be where you need to be.

    4. The 57 is a great mic for this honestly. Since I'm not totally familiar with the speakers in the combo I'll give my advice for vintage 30s but just know it's possible I would do it different on the G12m speakers since they are likely voiced different. Start by pointing the mic at the area where the dustcap meets the cone. This is basically about 1-2" from center on most speakers. Point it dead on, don't angle it.
    Last edited by Guitargodgt; 11-01-2019 at 04:26.
    My home studio ---> www.nerolstudio.com

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    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.
    Last edited by Seventh Son; 3 Weeks Ago at 18:13.

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