Recording Guitar Tones?

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by fob, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Are you copying and pasting each take, or are you recording two separate takes and running them through their own instance of an IR? You should hear more of an almost chorus-like effect (EXTREMELY subtle) from double-tracking rather than phasing provided your playing is tight (phasing would be more likely due to phase cancellation if the same take was copied and pasted but slightly out of alignment) but the overall effect should be thickening the guitars and making them bigger, not thinner and phased.
     
  2. fob

    fob SS.org Regular

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    I could call what I’m hearing a phase issue. Also with the POD apparently a panned signal in the mixer of the POD even though it’s mono does affect how the signal comes out. I’ve experienced this myself and read up on it. It gives proper volume but thins out the strength but if they’re centered and lower the db to compensate then you’ll get a stronger thicker signal. I’m going to mess around with this more.

    I am doing separate takes and they have their own IR instances. Same cabs though. Should L and R have different cabs?

    should ALL tracked guitars run through a bus? what should be on the bus and what should be on the individual track?

    Is it worth while to do a draft mix on drums and bass to really properly dial in a guitar tone? Or just all raw and eq as you go?
     
  3. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Ok, again, this isn't really my field of expertise, but I'd record the Pod dry (no effects other than an amp, possibly excepting compression or EQ if it's really part of the guitar tone) in mono, and only pan it when you get into your DAW. Really, record everything mono. Even when I'm recording "stereo" instruments like keys or a stereo-mic'd acoustic guitar, I record to separate stereo tracks, because that allows me to process and position in the stereo spectrum independently.

    As far as busing... This is a matter of personal preference. I personally generally bus everything - my typical guitar workflow for rhythm guitars is double-tracked rhythms, each recorded with a SM57 and MD421 on the cab (same performance, both mics tracking at once). How I all bus this at the track level is something I'm still going back and forth on - either busing the SM57 and MD421 together into a combined "L" and "R" track (group by performance, basically), or group by mic, so I have two separate performances recorded with a SM57 in one bus, L and R, and two separate performances recorded by a MD421, L and R, in a second bus. The former would make it easier to adjust level and pan of the combined take, the latter would make that harder but would make it easier to adjust the balance of one mic against the next. I mostly do the former, FWIW. Whatever the case, the upshot is that both performances, however they're bussed, have those buses themselves sent into a "rhythm guitar" bus.

    I'm not doing this necessarily to simplify the application of effects or anything like that, but rather because this lets me have all of the various "parts" of my guitar tone (and, elsewhere, my combined "bass" tone, which is usually at least two tracks with parallel processing, and my "drum" mix where I have all the kit components in their own tracks but then bus them into a single drum submix) set somewhere where I can control them all with a single volume knob. It's WAY easier to balance your bass against the drum tracks, and your guitars against the base, etc, when you have a single slider to move all the pieces at once.

    L and R having different cabs is a matter of preference too. The "conventional" approach is to make your guitars sound bigger by using different tones (including, possibly, different cabs) on L and R, to increase the perceived stereo spread; personally, I generally don't do this, because I write guitar-driven instrumental rock, so I actually don't really want huge rhythm tones because I want to leave space for a big, thick, vocal lead guitar sound. But, that's a production decision driven by the needs of the particular mix, rather than industry-wide best practice. If you've never tried it, doing something like taking a thick, somewhat dark, gain-y rhythm sound, and layering against it a much lower gain, bright, thinner tone (maybe go all in and try singlecoils, for maximum impact and attack), can sound absolutely massive, if your playing is extremely tight. Every once in a while I'll do something like that in one of my mixes, too, but I often find myself fighting for real estate between rhythm and lead guitars, so perversely somewhat smaller rhythm sounds can make pulling a mix together a little easier.

    tl;dr - bus based on how you want to be able to adjust things in the mix, and definitely experiment with complimentary tones while double-tracking, but when making any mixing decision, always think about how it will support the arrangement.
     
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  4. fob

    fob SS.org Regular

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    First of all thanks for all your replies! This thread is a knowledge bomb! I haven’t had time to reply to what some of you have said yet so I’ll get to that soon!

    soooooo direct monitoring.

    I really want to use the direct monitoring on my Scarlett to record as tight as possible. I’m using the POD with IR cabs, so when I do that, it comes out just the amp head. If I make the tone so that it’s split (POD having L with a pod cab for the direct monitoring and the R for tracking/reamping or just even the head so I can use different cabs later), I get the raw tone still combined.
     
  5. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Ok, finally getting to this - it sounds like you're using radically different preamps, and from your description I suspect you are, but whatever you're doing in the first one (4), IMO is the better signal chain and the better tone. The second one (3) has a very hollow, scooped midrange, and kind of fuzzy highs, while the first one, IMO, if anything has a little TOO much upper-midrange... but it's djent, I guess, and that's what people are going for, so whatever. Either way, the midrange is way more substantial so it has a lot more body and thickness to it in the mix. The bottom one probably osunds fine alone, but it doesn't have the midrange. IT also sounds like there may be some sort of sampling-rate-related distortion going on...? Sounds a little washed out.

    tl;dr - whatever you're doing in the first clip, do that. I have no idea which is which here, but the top one is a noticeably clearer sounding recording.
     
  6. fob

    fob SS.org Regular

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    The shorter clip is with IR and the longer is the POD...

    What is this sampling-rate distortion you speak of? I’ve never heard of that but I saw sampling rate in my DAW.
     
  7. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Ok, and you're worrying about the IR not cutting enough? That's hands down the better, clearer sounding track. IMO, it was a little loud in the mix, and you're (from the sound of it) boosting the upper mids a little more than maybe I'd recommend, but to me the POD track is the one that sounds muffled, indistinct, and not cutting, whereas the IR track is the one that sounds pretty good in the mix. This was late last night on a set of Yamaha HS80Ms fed by an Apogee Ensemble, so while maybe I'd have liked to have the volume up a little louder than conversation volume for critical listen, it's at least a very clean signal chain that I'm very familiar with.

    Is that the same preamp source (i.e - the POD) for both, and what we're hearing is the Pod with an IR on one hand, vs the POD with its own cab emulation in the other?

    You can run into sampling rate issues when you're either recording in a very low sampling rate, or you're recording a digital output sending a different sampling rate than your project. I'd wonder more about the former here, and the overall effect is sort of like a bad MP3 file. I've never tried this, but I imagine you're also have trouble if you were using an IR recorded in one sampling rate (say, 48k) in a project running at another (say, 41.1k).
     
  8. fob

    fob SS.org Regular

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    Funny enough I’m using those same monitors so you’re getting a pretty accurate representation of exactly what I’m hearing as well!

    Yes the preamp is the same. Both same tone and settings on the pod, just IR cab vs POD cab (although the models are obviously going to have some difference in the cabs, but that’s not really the point of this comparison). I’m actually using the Scarlett 2i2 as the preamp, and using mono out from the POD into input 1 and the Scarlett is the main driver for audio in and out in Logic.

    I’m having a hard time finding where each sample rate setting is for everything. I can find it in the DAW (and the cabs) but not on the Scarlett or POD, and then even how to change them to match if there are differences.

    So should I be tracking the guitars at -12db max? When I try to make the tone, I gain stage the RAW D.I to -12db, then when I add the amp I do the same, and to the cab and whatever else.
     
  9. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Ok, couple different things here.

    1) if you're recording audio through your Scarlett, then you don't have to worry about sampling rate issues - one, it's the same for both the version with Pod cab emulation and for the version with the cab emulation off when you then go and add an IR in the mix, so it's not a variable here. Two, if there was a mismatch between the sampling rate the Scarlett was sending data to your computer and the sampling rate your DAW was tracking it at, you'd have way more obvious audio problems on your hands. :lol:

    2) just to make sure I've got this 100% right - version 4 was your Pod, Recto model, no cab emulation, line out from the Pod into the Scarlett input, recorded to disc, and then with an IR applied to the track in the mix, while version 3 was the Pod, Recto model, the Pod's built in cab emulation, line out from the Pod into the Scarlett input, recorded to disc, and then no IR applied to the track, right?

    3) Gain staging is a huuuuuuuuuuuge subject. :lol: For now, I'll leave it at this - it is VERY hard, when working with gear like a POD and Scarlett 2i2, to get into trouble by recording things too quietly. Leave yourself plenty of headroom with the output from the Pod going into the front end of the Scarlett, and leave yourself plenty of headroom when you're looking at where tracks are peaking in your DAW (if the Scarlett has seperate input/output level controls - if it doesn't, don't worry, and just make sure you're not overloading the front end of the Scarlett and causing audible clipping from the Pod's output. If you're not sure, experiment, try turning it down and see if the clarity of the sound improves). There's no hard-and-fast rule as to where you should be peaking when recording, short of in the digital world you NEVER want to hit 0.0. I recently splurged on a REALLY nice BAE 2-channel pre and the range of what you can get away with on something like that is a little different (with prosumer stuff you usually want to keep your signal as clean and clear as possible, but the point of a botique Neve based design like that is the way it DOES distort and add color as you drive it a little), but generally when I was working with the built in preamps of my old M-Audio Profire2626 or even the built in pres on my Apogee, I was probably peaking in the -12 to -16db range, when tracking guitars. I probably could have gone a little higher, particularly on the Apogee (its preamps are very clean), but there's really no need since for the most part if you have a whole mix of tracks clipping at, say, -6 to -8db, you're going to start to have to turn things down so you don't overload the master bus.

    Also, why are you talking about adding an amp, when you said you're recording the Pod with a non-emulated out? You shouldn't have to add a separate amp model since the Pod is already modeling a Rectifier.
     

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