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Author Topic: tips for polishing guitar recordings (hopefully on video)  (Read 16239 times)

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rnolan

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Hey RG, (What I am surprised at is that you say there would be a difference between sticking high quality digital onto high quality digital compared to  sticking it on vinyl) Well I didn't quite say/mean that, I don't consider CD qual (44.1 16bit) high quality digital, it's ok... and what it is. All the various audio formats are what they are. My passion or whatever is to get the most out them I can. So if I have a 192khz 24 bit WAV and I want to release it, I need to convert it into other formats, so for digital, one approach (that in my experience works well) is to record it to tape (as high qual as you can) then re-sample into the format you want (e.g. CD, MP3, ACC etc).
Really high qual vinyl is (if you have the gear (hiFi)) better (sonically) than CD (but no where near as convenient. (so does sound better) but yes we are splitting sticks here.
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Slimjim

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(Having trouble with the dates) (topic is +120 days old) (Great to see DaveM!)

In my opinion, I will not use the DI method any longer because it is not effective in reproducing the classic rock tones I am familiar with. I am not interested in the PC assistant, re-amping, modeling, or other methods, even if they are free, because I want to persue a genuine straight forward approach that equates 1:1 with engineers techniques that I read about. If they mic'd a speaker, I also want to follow their lead, rather than blaze new trails, conquer new ground, develop new tones based on my superior taste, because I am not reliable, my ears are dreadful, my judgement poor, my taste sucks. I might even be deaf. Well, tone deaf. Further, I am not smart enough or familiar enough with mastering and compression to say what will sound good across all mediums. If anything, I have learned a tremendous amount about failure. I know more about what doesn't work, than I know about what does work. For example, sitting at a bar, I would shamelessly swear up and down that DI and high gain don't belong in the same sentence and that preamps are by no means finished signal. You can have all the fun trying, though if you've got time to kill.

What we are familiar with, what we know and love, is not a preamp signal.

We know and love (A) hot power tubes, (B) barking speakers and (C) the strange sonic effect when sound bounces around. At the point of meeting these criteria, we have power and speaker, a close mic'd sm57 is going to completely miss part C of the equation. It can be captured with an alternative mic option, the room mic and mixed to taste.

A DI signal preamp tone is missing ABC, all of which can be simulated as mentioned earlier. But in my opinion, to find the satisfaction that elludes most home recordists, a focus on the equation is the alternative. Tube saturation and speaker bark with SM57 is a GREAT start, these dry signals simply need a little ambience mixed in. Check out the NICE digital reverbs from Bricasti and Eventide 2016. I use a similar method digital reverb but a bit less expensive multi effect outboard device, that can be run digital or analog source (providing DA conversion). Also, I am not loud. Due to mic preamps ability to amplify, I have those babies cranked up to +46db, so a pin drop becomes CRASHING. Coupled with a few blankets from the nearest couch, ANY time the mood strikes to lay down some audio is a good time. Everybody sleeping? Who cares.

Time to get loud is a great time to hear the additive color that tube saturation provides. A full compliment of Celestions a great reference and a great way to 'sound like' somebody else, change the speaker. Why buy an EQ when you really just need to adjust the microphone position by 2mm (1/8"). Having something to say like 'Its a Les Paul plugged into a Marshall head with Greenback speakers, recorded with SM57' is something MOST people can immediately identify with. That's a boatload of options, right there. EQ/mic position could literally change everything.

Ola plays 7 strings, that B note is not something amplifiers were designed around, and some speakers skip it altogether, creating one of the more worthless guitars on the planet. But not all. Some amps do catch that frequency and some speakers will reproduce it, but as a caution, not all.
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Slimjim

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... [cnt'd]

Effects! Where you plug in your effects does matter. If you are a junky, you will hardly ever use effects and do most things dry. Even those tremolo/reverbs that come on Fender amps, that have become BASICS would be shut off.

Bone dry is the root tone where you can actually hear the high frequencies as nature intended them. Because here after, our perceptions are about to change. Listening with effects on is like seeing with crying eyes, a blur. To properly determine the mic position on a Greenback versus the Vintage 30, you are listening to cut the cold sterile highs out of the V30, until it warms up without becoming muffled. Conversely, with the GB you may struggle to get the farts out and find smooth grind. Alnico Blue, similar search for clear brightness. Eminence also, both throaty and brittle, with a sweet spot.

Putting effects between the guitar/amp (in front of the MP1) is a time honored technique and for those who use pedals, the method rocks to limited extent. The dance, the dials, and the few relative results deterred most of us rack heads away from them 30 years ago, for multifx racks.

Here's where we shot ourselves in the foot. We put the effects between the preamp and power amp, as sort of a 'in loop' alternative. The problem here is source signal is now preamped, has an EQ stage and Gain stage so it becomes sizzling hot on its way to the power section. #1 it has buoyancy, it floats on an analog waveform that power tubes respond to. When a poweramp receives it, fluctuates those power tubes and speaker drivers in a special analog way. By placing multifx, digital at that, in front of the power tubes is essentially squaring off those waveforms.

Well then WTF? We can safely say that effects between pre and power are destructive, the only other option is after the speaker. The only way to place effects after the speaker is post process, using a Mic/Micpreamp. Basically, similar to being at the FOH board, creating a line out to your effects unit for Reverb and Delay.

At home, you have an even MORE ideal setting to do the coolest rigs ever, better than you could drag around town, without a crew. You can recreate any number of channels and use multi mike setups into multi input interfaces, and all of these dry. Dry because you can always modify later. In real time, the recordist creates a channel send (or 3) to the digital multi units. They will sound about 100x warmer, guaranteed.

Knowing this, watching Rush record Moving Pics, Pink Floyd record Dark side, it all makes much better sense. Sometimes you are in front, sometimes you are post process, but almost never in between.
« Last Edit: Time Format by Slimjim »
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  Alnico Blue 2x12
  G12H(55) Green 1x12
Mesa Stereo 2:100
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MarshallJMP

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Well SJ ,I almost agree 100%, a lot of recordings I hear these days are far from the warm and raw sounding recordings of the 70's and 80's. It's sounds almost unreal these days. I really like the live sound in a recording, nothing overly processed.

No 15 steps down tuned guitars for me either. Like you say it usually makes a mess of your sound down to a point you can't even distinguish the notes.
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Slimjim

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No wrong ways to record. Johan Segeborn cranked Plexi vid (from 2 weeks ago) gets great vibe from room mic, it another dimension, natural reverb. The close mic technique is great for many times, many things, and is great for manipulation, sent to effects etc but the room mic is such a plus. I haven't gotten that part yet!

Just received an unreal Ibanez 7 a few weeks back, its on the Jemsite, and it was love hate, all the way, at first. I was actually upset with its low fidelity sound, cursed the pickups and all. Then I switched speakers and it dropped bass and rattled windows... blew me away. Another one of those moments where you ask yourself, Now what am I doing wrong?
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2014 Les Paul Traditional
2014 ES-335 Lemonburst
2014 Explorer 120
2016 Ibanez UV77 SVR
____________
ADA MP1 MDRT
Mesa Boogie Rectifier Recording
Marshall JMP-1
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  Alnico Blue 2x12
  G12H(55) Green 1x12
Mesa Stereo 2:100
  Vintage 30
  G12M-65 Cream 1x12
Marshall EL34 50/50
  Alnico Gold 1x12
  Texas Heat 4x12
__________
Sound sculpture Switchblade GL
Eventide Orville Italo Library
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Harley Hexxe

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That's a lot of information to take in, especially when I'm just waking up :lol:

     I'll have to go over all this a few times to get it straight in my mind, particularly since I'm trying to gear up for a new recording set up here at home. Every bit of this will eventually come in handy for me at some point.

    MJMP, check your inbox.

       Harley 8)
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MarshallJMP

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Well I do like Johan Segeborn's YT channel,he always can get a great sound out of those usually great vintage amps and cabs with just 2 mics.
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rnolan

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Hey Slimjim, egged on a little from your post...
Mmm the hard part is getting the effects after the main cabs..  Spent some brain hours on it last night (supposed to be sleeping to be fresh for work, well that didn't happen LoL). And some things tonight have influenced my thoughts (i.e. how f**king great a B200s sounds).
As in I have 3  (well more, but 3 I'd consider) poweramp choices (B200s, Carvin TS100, Carvin DCM200L) and a bunch of mics (2 x Rode NT5s, 1 x SM57, 1x EVRE320, 1 x Rode NT1, etc) and a couple of Behringer Eurorack UB2442 FX desks (and some other stuff..).
So I'm thinking:
MP2 L/R > desk, master L/R out > B200s > 2 x ADA slant split stacks (all good, dry (ish) sound  :thumb-up: ).  SM57 (L) and RE320 (R) close mic on each cab > desk > aux 1 & 2 > Tc MOne del/Rev > desk (assign return to sub groups 3/4 > TS100 > 2 x  Mesa 112 cabs, so just FX fed by close mic input, full wet).
Then mic the whole thing up (2 x Slant Split Stacks, 2 x Mesa P112 (12" with tweeter bass guit cabs)) with 2 x NT5s (not too close) and the NT1 backed off/up to pick up room ambiance. NT5s and NT1 into TLA Ivory tube preamp, > other desk > digital tape recorder(i.e. PC).  So that's my starting plan  >:D
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Harley Hexxe

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A parallel effects setup Richard,

    I like that for preserving the original guitar tone from the amp. I don't know that I would do all that mic'ing though for recording purposes. That sounds more like a set up for live mixing to FOH.
   Personally, I would just bring in the reverb/delay effect into the guitar mix to the desired level using two channels strips on the desk, which would keep the whole thing more transparent, and just mix the close/room mics at the dry guitar amp signal itself. I wouldn't even run the direct outs from the preamp to the desk, I would just use the mic'ed sound of the dry amp as the source to feed the effects so I could get the character of the power amp and speakers in the effects as well. I'd be interested in hearing your appraisal of how it works out with a different amp/speaker voice on the effects channels.

     Harley 8)
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Slimjim

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The manual I read for the Orville suggested how-to connect it. If you have a '68 Fender amp, you love the sounds, but have no effects loop. Their recommendation was mic the speaker and send that signal thru the effects (which sounded like a major pain). It took years for me to try it, but when I did...

I learned that Eventide designed their units around the source signal. Also that the source signal plays a major role in the processed sound. Unlike pedals. Pedals work with guitar signals, they work exceedingly well. The slap backs sound immense. But with a rack mounted unit, the echos and verbs are thin and tinny. Listen to what a guitar preamp outputs, and ah ha! Preamp signal is brittle, hot, and is this way because a poweramp thrives on it.

Always a skeptic, I was unsure of the digital preamps available built into recording interfaces. I was afraid because I had tried many times to make use of the MP-1 output signal... and failed to impress. So I figured I should invest in an analog mic pre. Well, I was wrong again, both analog and digital are good at hearing the speaker. Both sound believable. The analog let's you wooly up the sound with its transformers, but the effect is mild, almost indistinguishable.

Routings. I have three routers, and what complexities those bring. Router 1 is just for the guitar rig. You can patch things together in any way and store it. Router 2 is the interface. Eight ins & eight outs. Four of the ins are microphones. The other four ins are Orville signals. Outputs go back to router 1. Router 3 is the software channel mixer.

In software you will setup your channels. Channel 1 logically assigns to mic input one. Its a stereo channel, so I initially assumed it would feed it mic 1 & 2. But let me stop right here and say how important it is to avoid stereo channels at first. Instead, setup ch1 as mono, with only 1 mic on it. 2, 3, 4 are the same way. They could all be stereo, but skip stereo for now. Mono, delivers a huge (both L&R) sound of one speaker. Channels 5 & 6 are stereo setups. To get an ISO (solo) of one speaker, you have to hard pan the channel. My software has a feature 'stereo separation' which needed analysis. It has the ability to put the mic 1 signal into L & R... not what I wanted. I wanted mic 1 on the left only, mic 2 on the right. Stereo channels need to be checked to see that this is happening proper, otherwise hard panning is ineffective. Adjusting 'stereo separation' feature to remove this effect was crucial.

(To explain further, duplicate paths are bad news and phase cancel themselves, drop volume, and skip certain frequencies. For example the D note is usually nice and loud, can disappear and become the weakest note.)

Using the stereo channels, I can pair mic 1 with mic 4, mic 2 with mic 3 as well as 1&2, 3&4. But to solo a speaker, mono ins work much better. If I solo a stereo channel, it comes out of Left or Right (and not both). It has half the volume, and doesn't translate near as well as a mono source playing out of both listen back monitors.

Now that the software is able to select microphones and sort them out properly, mono & stereo I next looked at the interface router. The outputs of the interface get sent back to router 1. But you can be selective here. By choosing the software source to be sent out, which ever channel is selected in software goes out the interface (router 2) outputs to router 1 input. This means the mic 1&4, or 1&2, or 2&3, or 3&4, or mono 1, mono 2, or mono 3, or mono 4 can be 'sent'.

Router 1 receives the signal as selected in software (router 3). This is my guitar rig. This is patched into the effects inputs. Now the effects are based off of microphone source signals. Not only that, but each mic is on a different speaker, and effects are based on that specific speaker. This let me listen to a 6L6 tube/Vintage 30 as paired with EL84 tube/Alnico Blue thru a stereo delay. Each slap back accurately represents the V/Blue combination. It is shockingly accurate. Plus, signal degradation is present (this is what I want from a stereo delay, each repeat should degrade slightly, to simulate analog tape echo degradation). The digital world differs from analog, because things do not degrade. So nicely built delay algorithms will have filters on the repeats so they progressively degrade, simulating analog. Of course it can get seriously complex, modulators, pitch shifters are also possible, but speaking of basic digital delays, you really want to hear degradation.

How about the rest of the patches? Does everything improve? Well, this is subjective territory. Reverbs are now based off very warm speakers, and they sound thick. So Reverb can instead develop a thunderous ominous hue, dark and dense. The near/far feature of Reverb can be a bit harder to detect audibly (where am I?) but is completely realistic in feel. So often I listen to Johan recording his Plexi amp at full throttle. A close mic speaker doesn't really sound like it is cranked, at all. It still just sounds like a Marshall. The Omni mic he blends in is what catches the whole 'in room' feel. Since I am a low volume recordist, I have developed a crutch for delays and reverbs to add this 'in room' feel. It is a simulation based off of the real speaker, however, and has a much more believable final impression, studio quality to it.

My initial recommendation was Bricasti/Eventide Reverb 2016 (or software plugins) because they have a selection of rooms, spaces, and positions that recreate what a room mic is capturing. It hears a lot of garbage, and is not usuable alone, you still need the close mic to define the 'in your face' guitar.

« Last Edit: Time Format by Slimjim »
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2014 Les Paul Traditional
2014 ES-335 Lemonburst
2014 Explorer 120
2016 Ibanez UV77 SVR
____________
ADA MP1 MDRT
Mesa Boogie Rectifier Recording
Marshall JMP-1
____________
Peavey Classic 50/50
  Alnico Blue 2x12
  G12H(55) Green 1x12
Mesa Stereo 2:100
  Vintage 30
  G12M-65 Cream 1x12
Marshall EL34 50/50
  Alnico Gold 1x12
  Texas Heat 4x12
__________
Sound sculpture Switchblade GL
Eventide Orville Italo Library
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Harley Hexxe

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   I've always loved Eventide's Modulation, Pitch, and Delay effects. a lot of those are very high end and usable effects, but I can spot Eventide's Reverb a mile away. The Reverbs in all the Eventides I've tried out have a dark, almost spooky quality to them, which is good if that's what you are looking for. Personally, I prefer to use my Lexicons for the Reverb effects, since those are much more transparent and natural sounding. I use my H-3000 for Pitch, Delay and some of the Chorus effects. Those are great when I want to fatten up my sound, and not just for guitar, it's extremely useful for vocals and drums too.

    Harley 8)
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Slimjim

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Put an expression pedal on the source signal so you can bring it down, because they soar I to garbage if you let them. Their most beloved 'Black Hole' is my least favorite. The newest Loneliness is my clear favorite. Trying to sound like someone, I use Stringroom, it is very small. I am trying to clarify my long post above... because early in this thread it is mentioned to lay down multiple performances..  something I refuse to embrace because of known phase cancellations and changes for the worse. To clear up the overall recording, I try to get the best source, send a duplicate out for effects and blend them back in software. The word Eventide is synonymous with over processed guitar, but in my application the forefront is the dry. The sends are super hot, but go thru the switch which is programmed with an expression control and the ranges are sometimes limited. You can blast the input, and get a blasted output. Subtle in, subtle out.  ???
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2014 Les Paul Traditional
2014 ES-335 Lemonburst
2014 Explorer 120
2016 Ibanez UV77 SVR
____________
ADA MP1 MDRT
Mesa Boogie Rectifier Recording
Marshall JMP-1
____________
Peavey Classic 50/50
  Alnico Blue 2x12
  G12H(55) Green 1x12
Mesa Stereo 2:100
  Vintage 30
  G12M-65 Cream 1x12
Marshall EL34 50/50
  Alnico Gold 1x12
  Texas Heat 4x12
__________
Sound sculpture Switchblade GL
Eventide Orville Italo Library
GreatRiver MP2-nv
Fireface UC - Surface Pro 4
__________
FLStudio 12 - EZD 2.0 - Prem Pro CC

Harley Hexxe

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Hey Slimjim.

    It sounds like Orville is a very sensitive piece of gear. I'm not familiar with it though, since my hands-on experience is with Eventide's outboard processors. If the Orville is similar to the Lexicon Core 2, the plug-ins that come with it are very easy to over process with. and you have to apply them in very small blend ratios.
   I use basically the same set up you do for recording,(Guitar>Amp>Mic) into the desk, but I also run direct from the power amp via the Microcab II. I adjust that for phase cancellation, then I use Aux Sends to the effects processor, and run it back in to two channels strips that way. It's a great way to preserve a good track of guitar in case I want to try a different effect. Double and triple tracking guitar parts can really make things sound PHAT by itself.
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Slimjim

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That is awesome. After rereading my blather, I tried to deal with the stereo tracks, because hard panning was phase cancelling, and I found a submix (in the software) that crosses channels to create some "stereo effect". You know I have tried for a solid year to deal with stereo but I just gave up. I hard pan the mono tracks and there are far fewer anomalies. Mono is just one hundred times easier, although the Eve is still a stereo signal. These days, the kick is putting a different amp/speaker on each L/R. And it works great, as long as the 2 speakers get along.

Outboard gear, still hasn't deterred me to plug-ins. The Orville is the dual DSP that predates the H8000. Side A is a regular big box, but has the 86 sec stereo sampler. Such fun, I use it constantly on everything I do, but that occupies side A so only leaves B for the effect. My understanding is the H8 is the same way, with some new options to monolithic mode. I'm such a cheapskate I settle for the lowest price unit eBay had all year, Xmas day 2010. But Italo released an enhanced library for it, and had a load of goodies that were more useful than the factory patches. And that is it, no pedals, no wah yet, my flangers are very hard to implement, no chorus, most unrealistic sounds are gimmickey. What I really enjoy and use are the delays and reverbs, some new pitch shifters are so softly burried into the mix they are adorable. Some drop pitch and thunder, I love the -2400 pitch changer effects. So the patches themselves are complex, the modulated delays, comb filters... I love those. Very rich and robust.

I am setup, so I just need to press record. You'd be surprised how seldom that happens. I have laid out the sampler track, its looping and I'm happy jamming away but I just go right to the next sample and switch it up... never recording the idea or jam. Hopefully soon.

Strange as it may sound, new strings are always a good time to record. Intonated instruments just sound incredible. Dunlop 65 Lemon Oil, Polish, and String Glide and those guitars will beg for attention.
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2014 Les Paul Traditional
2014 ES-335 Lemonburst
2014 Explorer 120
2016 Ibanez UV77 SVR
____________
ADA MP1 MDRT
Mesa Boogie Rectifier Recording
Marshall JMP-1
____________
Peavey Classic 50/50
  Alnico Blue 2x12
  G12H(55) Green 1x12
Mesa Stereo 2:100
  Vintage 30
  G12M-65 Cream 1x12
Marshall EL34 50/50
  Alnico Gold 1x12
  Texas Heat 4x12
__________
Sound sculpture Switchblade GL
Eventide Orville Italo Library
GreatRiver MP2-nv
Fireface UC - Surface Pro 4
__________
FLStudio 12 - EZD 2.0 - Prem Pro CC

Dante

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Well, all that was a good read  :lol:  I went through two cups of coffee  :o

Forgive my confusion, but thanks for all the info!! You guys bring up a very good point about where FX lie within the signal chain (between the pre and power amp) and that makes me want to try rearranging things for some experiments. Into the laboratory I go mMuhuahaha  >:D
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