How to shape "that" tone for recording?

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by symorian, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. symorian

    symorian SS.org Regular

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    Hi,

    This is the first time ever I'm posting on this forum. I've been playing guitar for 4,5 years.

    I've played in several live shows and in the studio. I could manage to get decent tones for a live performance just instinctively.
    Now I'm focused more on recording my own stuff.
    I've almost never used pedals with my setup except POD HD.

    I have an Ibanez XPT700 6 sting with stock pickups of D-Activator.
    I use POD HD300 via USB to PC.


    Last week I decided to give up using cabinet part of POD HD300 and strated to use it as a pre-amp and shaping my tone with IRs + cab sims in my DAW.

    My questions are as follows,

    1) In a video where Tube Screamer VST is used, I saw that the instructor tells that the "tone knob" should be adjusted relative to the guitar being used. How one decide on this? Is there a rule or did he mean adjust it to your liking? What is it got to do with my pickups?

    2) During recording, how do you start shaping your own tone other than the needs of the genre? Do you analyze the weaknesses of your guitar(i.e. weak on low end or too fizzy) and shape your tone accordingly OR do you shape your tone from your mind and then record and then post-edit it?

    3) When doing a recording with two guitars, can the tones be completely irrelative (i.e. one is strong at higher freqs, one is stronger at low end) or should I keep them close to each other with subtle differences?

    4) POD HD300's gate is fixed, so the fx cahin is. But, can I throw a gate VST into the armed track for a tighter sound? Would this be too artificial or is any trick welcome when it comes to getting the tone to our liking?

    5) I have read and watched videos about several cab sims and IR loaders on the web. Which one is the most resource(CPU, RAM etc.) friendly, flexible and successful at getting the job done?

    6) ADDITIONAL QUESTION : With my POD HD300 I have both noise reduction and noise gate enabled (you can't adjust them separately. Either you have to turn them off or choose one of them or use them athe same time). Since because of the Necrophagist stylish playing I need the Noise Gate "on". And also because of the grounding & guitar related specs I also need to use Noise Reduction. I use them both at the same time. But if I adjust the threshold level to cope with Noise Reduction, this also affects the Noise gate, thus, I need to hit the strings harder to get the full articulation. Some "power" is reduced. SO; HOW CAN I COMPENSATE THE "POWER/SUSTAIN" LOST WHEN APPLYING HEAVY GATE? Which pedal does this job? Should I crank the tube screamer up? ALSO, is it better to use only Noise Reduction on POD HD300 and throw in a Noise Gate into the armed track in the DAW? Would this be better fix?



    Those are the questions and inputs I can provide for now on.
    PLEASE, do not suggest me to buy new hardware. Software is OK though. I don't think I'll be able to afford some hardware or new devices, at least, for now.

    THANK YOU ALL for helping out! :metal:

    Cheers,

    EDIT : I'm slightly experienced with overall recording process, DAWs, VSTs etc... I have some minor ideas about recording. I know it translates a bit different from playing live... You should play powerful and tight etc... I use 60% gain during recording since the layering will do it for me. I'm not after scooped guitar tones with the MID is all the way down etc... I aim to get a tone between Djentish and a death metal tone similar to the one on Panzerchrist's Room Service album; just haven't decided yet.
     
  2. cGoEcYk

    cGoEcYk SS.org Regular

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    It's hard to dial in without knowing how the rest of the mix will sound when everything is competing for sonic space. You can have an awesome solo bedroom tone but when you add drums/bass/vocals, you might find you want to totally reshape it. I always dial in relative to the rest of the mix. If you are playing live or regularly jamming with a band and have tones that work for you that would be a good starting point. Low end and low mids (usually around 250Hz) are probably what you want to control on guitar to leave space for bass and kick.

    Tubescreamer tone knob- I control mine based on how it sounds. I dont like it adding fizz, so I dial it just to where the fizz backs off.
     
  3. symorian

    symorian SS.org Regular

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    cGoEcYk,

    Thank you for fast response. I'm not linked to any bands for now on and it completely depends on my choices. I have fair idea of the mixing process and already achieved some good results with hearable instruments sitting on their respective seats in EQ spectrum.

    Actually I use durm kicks with enough clicks and a punchy snare, the bass tone is slightly distorted and with enough low-end and less "picky".

    Until last days I've always thought the bass guitar would provide with low ends because the low ends of my guitar tone were terrible and I was getting rid of it to eliminate muddiness. But now, with IRs + Cab sims I get better results so the guitar complements bass on the low end duty. This made things a bit heavier. I scoop the boxy freqs of mids on the guitar without losing to much air.

    If I use 2-3 EQs one after each other, would it be exaggerated?

    How about limiters? Should I use them on guitar tracks in the post-editing?

    Are there good compression tricks for guitars or should I strictly stay away from them?

    Thanks,
     
  4. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    This kind of thing has been said in other threads before, but when it comes to things like compression or very specific EQ settings, the trick is to only use them with a purpose, as opposed to "because you should". Listen to what you've tracked and ask yourself "is this too dynamic in some way?", if so, use a compressor. "Is this too bright, dark, booming, covering up another instrument, has a weird ringing or something in it?" then use your EQ to attack the problem area. You get the idea. 90% of the time I never use a compressor on distorted guitar because it's already a very compressed sound to begin with. A bass tends to need compression to keep the low end from being unwieldy, keeping in mind that it's usually "cleaner" than guitar, so it retains more of its dynamics. Long story short, the trick is that if you don't know exactly why you're using it- don't use it.
     
  5. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    1) In a video where Tube Screamer VST is used, I saw that the instructor tells that the "tone knob" should be adjusted relative to the guitar being used. How one decide on this? Is there a rule or did he mean adjust it to your liking? What is it got to do with my pickups?
    When they say that, they mean that the tone knob can be used to compensate for differences in guitars/pickups. I find that a real tubescreamer can get waaaay too bright with some guitars- keeping the tone low is better in those cases. Otherwise, if you're using a guitar that's dark sounding into an amp that reacts better to bright guitars, turn that tone up. Let your ears decide. It's a taste thing.

    3) When doing a recording with two guitars, can the tones be completely irrelative (i.e. one is strong at higher freqs, one is stronger at low end) or should I keep them close to each other with subtle differences?
    Also a matter of taste. You can use just one guitar and amp. You can use 8 different rigs. The more differences you have between each side, the "wider" the mix will sound, but the more difficult it might be to make them sound like one tight performance instead of sounding like two different guitars (assuming you're using two guitars because you want to pan them really wide). Most recordings I do use the same gear on both sides, but I've done some tracks with completely different stuff on either side (vst on one side, real amp on the other side) and it still sounds fine.
     
  6. symorian

    symorian SS.org Regular

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    Hi TedEH,

    Thanks a lot for taking your time and answering. Indeed most of those choices are a matter of taste as you've also mentioned within your replies.
    I'm not used to use compression with distorted guitars either,
    but,
    can you also have a look at the 6th question that I've added? Actually this is the reason that I consider playing around with compression.

    Thanks again! :flame:
     
  7. Sumsar

    Sumsar SS.org Regular

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    So for all of your questions I may have some wisdom (or just a rant :lol:):

    \begin{wisdom/rant}

    1:
    The guitar is only 1/4 (or less) of a full mix, so all those little bittle details matter significantly little in the overall mix. Sure you can get your mix sounding 5 - 10% better by having all (1-6) of those things correct IF! you already have a good mix.

    Now since I am assuming you are fairly new to the mixing game you will probably not have a good mix, but only decent at best. No offence meant at all, but few people put out stunning mixes from the beginning.

    In that context the finer details of your guitar tone will not matter that much anyway, so try and focus more on the whole picture, rather than get lost in the details.

    2:
    Of cause one should try and make things sound as good as one can, but knowing what is the best settings for X knob usually comes down to having set that knob wrongly at several points in time.
    So I suggest you try and choose some settings that you are fairly happy with and then see how they end up working in the mix. You may like parts of it or you may not like it at all, but then the next time you mix (you can mix the same song from scratch several times just for the learning experience), you hopefully have a slighty better idea what works and what don't.

    So by iterating through the process of recording and mixing songs to finish many times you can begin to converge towards a tone that you like.

    \end{rant}

    Now for your question 4) (and maybe 6) I would say:
    I would recommend againts recording with a gate on the POD, because it can ruin a great take.
    For gating, try and do it in the daw. Depending on what you are going for you can either just use a gate plugin OR you could go to town with some heavy editing and manually chop out all of the parts you want to be silenced. The editing way ensures that the correct amount of signal is cut away, which can be difficult to achieve with a plugin. Yes it is a ton of work (I do it on toms from time to time), so it depends on your playing style: Is the gate going to work a little bit or is it an important part of your playing style?

    For 5)
    Generally IR loaders don't take up a ton of CPU, so rather choose one where you like the interface. The general go to plugin is the "le cab 2" by le pou:
    LePou Plugins
    Download in right side of page :)
     
  8. Sumsar

    Sumsar SS.org Regular

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    Hmm about 6)
    What does the "noise reduction" do? Does it just remove high-end fizz? I can imagine that it is just some kind of low pass filter that is applied, so again I would advice against recording with it and just do gating and low pass filtering in the daw.
     
  9. symorian

    symorian SS.org Regular

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    Hi Sumsar,

    Thanks for all your opinions & comments.

    Actually I'm not the best out there when it comes to mixing but I can now come with nice drum tones (at least that satifies me here and there) and a nice bass guitar sound that almost completely works with the drums. That's why I'm focused on laying the guitars down and think that this is the crucial part if one had a successful attempt with mixing bass&drums.

    You're right about seeing and perceiving the "big picture".

    The procedure you talk about on the 2nd part is something that I agree with but I just wanted to learn if there are absolute "do"s and "don't"s while in quest for getting a decent guitar tone for "recording purposes". Because I'm aware that EQ can't do much to a rubbish tone since I'm recording destructively in particular minus the IR & cab. (POD HD can't send wet&dry signals at the same time)

    I've been using Le Cab 2 for 2-3 days now and am quite satisfied for the first attempts. The only thing that I'm not comfortable with it is that I can't see the exact values of the faders and playing with them randomly. =/

    ABOUT THE NOISE REDUCTION & GATE PART,

    Noise reduction(If I'm not mistaken it's also called noise supressor) takes away the hum & fiz that is caused by the line + grounding which are picked up by the pickups. So it's a must for me... =(

    On the other hand,
    Gate plays an essential role with my style. Because I play and write quite dynamic parts and despite I'm considerably good with palm muting and chuga-chuga thing, most of the times having some problems with higher strings. Especially G string. That's why I use not excessive but considerable amount of gate. Actually noise reduction is the reason as I've told above why I have to set it so heavy that it kills some of the dynamics here and there.
    I try to play as powerful and tight as possible but I'm far from perfection. =/

    Probably, I should do it the way you recommend.
    Use only Noise Reduction on POD and use a Noise Gate VST as an input fx within my DAW. Maybe this way, I can reduce the amount of Noise Gate applied while keeping the Noise Reduction level enough high.

    One last thing, whatif I put a "compressor" after the "noise gate" in my chain? Will it compensate/cover the loss of dynamics? :rolleyes:

    Thanks!
     
  10. Sumsar

    Sumsar SS.org Regular

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    Henceforth this shall be known as the thread of long replies, anywho:

    Well as I am sure you know, the a noise gate completely closes off the signal - it does not reduce the signal, it removes the signal. So putting a compressor after the noise gate will only work on what is left of the signal, so I am not quite sure I understand with having the compressor compensating for the "loss of dynamics"?
    If you fell that the noise reduction is working againts your playing, try turning it off and record without it and then use EQ (probably a low-pass filter) to remove the fizz and hum in the daw.

    If you fell that a noise gate is messing with you when you play it is because you have set the threshold too high, and you must lower it. No noise gate can make up for bad muting technique: You still need to mute propperly in order for the noise gate to be able to do its job. Maybe you also have to much gain on your tone, which also makes it hard to mute?

    Suggestion for a solution:
    Try and record and process with the different settings and decide what works best:

    1) using the gate and noise reduction of the POD.
    2) using the noise reduction of the pod and the gate of your DAW
    3) using the gate of your daw and an EQ in your daw to remove hum and fizz

    It is a bit hard to give adcive since we aren't really able to play with your gear, however you could try and put up some sound clips (use soundcloud or similar) on this thread, and then it may be easier for others (and me) to determine what should / could be done :)
     
  11. symorian

    symorian SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the suggestions! :yesway:

    Yep! I'm going to leave the gorund to sounds instead of words from now on. :lol: Too much talking and I better get my lazy a** up and do some experimental recordings so that you and the others can recommend/advise in a more effective way.

    Cheers, :metal:
     

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