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Author Topic: tips for polishing guitar recordings (hopefully on video)  (Read 16236 times)

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El Chiguete

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Hello so after last week first attept on recording myself playing one thing is sure and that is that my recording sounds too raw and not polished AT ALL compared to other peoples playing on youtube, so I was wondering does anyone know of videos that can show me how to get a "better recording"? I'm sorry but I'm too much of a newbie to understand half of what rnolan talks when he is making sugestions on EQ and other stuff and what I get I get lost on how to actually implement that on what I'm doing... so a good video on this will help a lot because I will see what he is talking about in the recording and what he is doing in the DAW, mixer, etc.

BTW the reason why I'm starting this is because I just saw this video in the Kramer forum and I wish I could record myself sounding like this!!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yi1iHDdE964

I kown that that vídeo probably has some post recording work done but i've seen other youtube videos that the "supposibly" are direct to the DAW with nothing added after the recording that Sound really good too!
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Systematic Chaos

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I'm a big fan of Ola Englund´s YT-channel....check these out:




Also, try doing your guitar track as 4 tracks, panned 100L-100R and 70L-70R
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rnolan

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Hey El, sorry if I confuse you in any way, just ask if I can explain it better  :wave: Please never be embarrassed about "raw" your tones were really good (well I really liked them). And hey, happy to help you through the process of makng a recording like the link (he's very good and great sound but IMO doable for you (given your clips so far)). I'm not across any video "how to" clips but I can talk you through it from audio engineering and guitar perspective.  You've already done some of the journey.

Ok first hurdle, backing track (need to make one, not play with a canned track ?, but use one to start ?)
The biggest "sonic" difference between your tone(s) and his was/is the FX, he's running quite a bit of (in time with the beat) delay and reverb.
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El Chiguete

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What I think is strange is that you either find videos on youtube on how to do/record extreme metal tones or clean/blues tones but there isnt a video on how to do classic metal recordings... anyway I think I will try now to back off the mic a bit, I only tested with the mic right in the grill, so I will test the mic backing it up 2 inches at a time untill 12 inches. Lets see how it goes.

Also yeha I recorded with no delay or reverb on my demos, I have to add those on my effects processor (not in the DAW!) and see how that goes for instrumental tracks... and also my guitar with the one piece maple neck is more bright for sure than the one on the link I posted.
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DaveM

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"Good" tone is sooooo subjective.

I record all of my guitars with either an SM-57 or a Sennheiser e609.  Even though the the 57 is ancient by today's standards, it's still a damn good microphone in my book. 

I have an old Genz Benz 112 loaded with a V30, with the speaker grill removed so i'm not restrained by a grill cloth. 

Learning to use microphones with a cab is an art in itself.  You have to find the sweet spot using YOUR ears.  I would recommend starting at the seam where the dustcap meets the cone, and work sideways towards the outer edge.  I would probably also start with the tip of the microphone about 6" away from the speaker.

The tone in that track you referenced was a bit polished, but not overdone by any means.  A touch of reverb and some compression can really sweeten up lead tones.  In your DAW, you could also cut/paste the lead track into another track, then pan each one 5 degrees to the left and right.  Then put a VERY short delay (say 5ms) on one of them to fatten it up a bit.  Though I prefer to use outboard gear for effects, it's probably best to record dry and use what you have in your DAW....so you don't have to keep re-recording stuff.

For rock/metal rhythm tracks, I agree with SC above in that it's best to have four separate rhythm tracks, each one recorded separately.  For distorted rhythm tracks to retain their "punch", I put the microphone extremely close to the the seam, usually 2" away. 

Close miking creates a very "fat" waveform in my DAW.  I'm a firm believer in "subtractive equalization", as I feel it's easier to subdue "unruly" frequencies vice attempting to boost something that was never there in the first place. 

It all starts with that relationship between the mike and the speaker, so make sure you create a nice healthy waveform to work with.....

...just my two cents.
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rnolan

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As DaveM says, the 57 is a great (and very versatile) mic. But we haven't talked about condenser recording mics yet (and while you may use a 57 in the studio (I do for snare for example), your more likely to use a high quality condenser if you can, or minimum a EV RE20 if you need a dynamic mic (because of spill with other instruments)) for guitar cabs (well that's my approach). I got some very nice results (and IMHO much better than 57) with a pair of Rode NT5s, I ran them through a tube preamp (TLA Ivory 5001) which takes off the "very" slight metalic edge the Rode (non tube) mics seem to have (not that that would hurt a guitar tone, may even help ?). Now these mics are designed to faithfully record acoustic things like string quartets, orchestras etc as a stereo pair so are very accurate. I ran them a little off axis (so the diaphragms weren't hit too hard, and I wasn't playing stage vol). They sounded really nice (I posted the clips, probably in MP2 area) and very faithful to what came out of the cabs. I had them about 4" out (there's a pic with the post IIRC)

You really just have to play around until it's the sound you want (and all these ideas are valid), as suggested by others, one way is to put your ear there and when you hear what you like, put the mic there (where your ear was) (or get someone to move the mic around while you listen through headphones (or in the studio, you do it from the control room and use a tie line into your rig in the studio).
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Peter H. Boer

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For distorted guitars I tend to go for a 2 mic option.
A SM57 or an Audix i5 slightly of center aimed at the cone, and a ribbon mic (in my case http://www.thomann.de/gb/the_tbone_rb100.htm dead center.

Play around with the distance to get the phase correct (flip the phase switch on 1 channel, play low chord, move 1 mic closer and further away, find the spot where all the bass dissappears, then flip the phase on the channel back)

Now you can play with the tone by balancing the volume of the 2 channels.

For clean guitar I tend to go for the ribbon only, or for a combination of the ribbon with a condensor mic.

At mix time high pass the guitar (70Hz to 150 Hz depending on sources and tightness required)  and add a bass guitar to make the guitar sound phat  :banana-rock:
The tighter you want the sound to be, the less bass should be in the guitar sound. Let the low end be done by the bassguitar, which is by nature tighter on low frequencies (as well asthe equipment for bassguitar being more build for tight lows).

 O0

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rnolan

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Hey Peter, great tips  :thumb-up: (although not all desks/I/O devices have a phase flip switch (all the better $$$ ones do) but the cheap fix is use a phase inverter adapter (or make one very short XLR male to female and switch pins 2 and 3 on one end)) and a well deserved plug for bass players LoL (and I totally agree), let the bass do its job. Which leads on to the whle layering of a mix kind of conversation  >:D
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rabidgerry

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Great tips here.

I personally don't think I will ever look back from DI recording.  Impulses have changed my recording life!!!  I can get any speaker in any position I want.

El, don't you have a Two Notes speaker sim?  That thing can load any impulse the same as my EPSI, surely you can get the polished sound you want this way?

I personally always like a bit of rawness, or room or ambience in my guitar.  When I layer 2 tracks up I normally get a big sound and it's pretty polished, well enough for me.  The latested thing I have started to do is then combine two tracks  with a third. So each of the two tracks is a seperate performance.  I pan these left and right.  Then I have another single stereo track of another performance.  I stick a subtle stereo chorus on it to widen it.  Then I mix this with the other two tracks and I'm getting classic heavy metal (the only metal in my opinion) no probs.

It has to be said though there are a thousand diffferent classic metal sounds.  I could name you 5 albums of the top of my head with different guitar sound.

I could even name 5 albums from the same band with 5 different classic metal sounds ahahahha  Judas Priest anyone?   :)

Another thing, do what you think sounds best, not what anyone else tells you
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rnolan

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Hey RG, one of the main reasons I'm not particularly interested in cloning is I have developed/created (whatever) "my tone", make your own sound (as you say  :thumb-up: ), keeping it analogue as much as you can has its benefits IMHO (but there are are many ways to approach it, and hey they are all valid..)
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rabidgerry

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oh yeah for sure!!  I could fool around with mics and actual cabs I have the gear to do it, but it's so much easier for me to do it at my home and cracking a good DI solution really has changed everything for me.  I don't think my DI sound sounds fake or too dry or anything else, they've really got me in the ballpark I want to be and in the comfort of my home studio.

If I had my rehearsal room next door to my house (which I don't)  you bet your ass I'd be micing cabs and spending hours and hours doing it and perfecting mic position and bleed elimination etc  I really love all that stuff and indeed I practice it with my band a practice every week for recording rehearsals.  But just in terms for results and practicality the DI route is the shit for me.

I dunno what would suit El best.  He has the two notes thing Torpedo cab (OR DID I IMAGINE THAT?).  If you want great impulses El give me a shout.  I have the redwirez entire suite!!  not saying where I got that from ahahaha :lol:

http://www.redwirez.com/

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"whadda ya want? we want Heavy Metal"

Guitars:1986 Westone Dimension IV, 1989 Korean Squier Fat Strat Silver Series, 1998 Korean Squier Fat Strat, MIM Fender Fat Strat - FR, Squier Stagemaster Deluxe - Thru Neck x 2, Squier Stagemaster 22 Fret - 1st Gen, 1999 Squier Showmaster - Anniversary Edition, Squier Showmaster, Tokai FV40 Flying V

Effects:  Ada Mp1, Peavey Rockmaster, Boss GT5 * Amps:   Rocktron Velocity 300 - Harley Benton GPA400
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rnolan

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Hey RG absolutely  :thumb-up: go with what works for you in your situation, I'm a stickler for analogue all the way (if I can), but I get great results with the MP2 cab sim outs (open back 2 x 12 selected :thumb-up: ) direct into desk (and when I get it working again, had computer die  :facepalm: ). But whatever makes the tone you want is valid IMO and there are a number of ways to get there...
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rabidgerry

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at what point do you go from analogue to digital then?

Also what kind of tape do you record with and do you have reel to reel?  Just curious.  I remember one time you recommended that I actually record a mix to tape then transfer back to digital.  However I heard this is only benficial if you have decent big tape and not shit cassette as it's to narrow to hold great quaity so I never tried it.  Even read a guy saying to try it with vhs but I heard this is worse because the strip for audio on vhs is even smaller than cassette.
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Guitars:1986 Westone Dimension IV, 1989 Korean Squier Fat Strat Silver Series, 1998 Korean Squier Fat Strat, MIM Fender Fat Strat - FR, Squier Stagemaster Deluxe - Thru Neck x 2, Squier Stagemaster 22 Fret - 1st Gen, 1999 Squier Showmaster - Anniversary Edition, Squier Showmaster, Tokai FV40 Flying V

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rnolan

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Hey RG, very interesting discussion this one. The main part of the conversation is about granularity, (and this is about how and what you recorded it to (i.e. digital or tape and what format), what you do before that to create the "sound" is a different discussion.
OK so digital vs tape.. tape is still far superior if you have really good high quality tape. This is just plain physics, you have to go to Sony Super Audio to get anywhere near really good tape (but you also need the gear to really hear it (desk/amp/speakers etc)). Super Audio is 2Ghz serial (like mp3 on many many multiple steroids). It goes flat from 0 to 100khz (which is actually very important (if you care and have the preamp/amp and speakers to listen to it). A really good tape mastering machine running at 30" p/s (ips), will go out to 80khz. But your ears can't hear 80khz, no but you feel it, and sum and difference (physics) means 2 x 80khz makes a 40khz, makes a 20 khz makes a 10 khz etc so now you are hearing it (so (re)creates colours/spaces/energies etc very important (if you care)).
So back to granularity (how you slice and dice the signal).
Digital:
MP3 (various bit rates, serial, big loss off signal attack times), apple ACC much the same
Wav file (also apple AIF), container format, used for word based digital samples (e.g. CD qual = 44.1khz/(16 bit word to store sample)), 48 khz/24 bit word (much better dynamic range)

Tape is about speed, space and tape properties (how much room is there to store my sample/signal). Given that tape is made up of minute magnetic particles, it's always going to be better than most digital storage, but the more space the better, so cassette is the worst (1 second of music on 1 track = 1 & 7/8 ips x 1/64" (1/8" div by 4) so not much space (shits on MP3 IMO BTW)). But 1 second of music on 1/2" tape running at 30 IPS = 30" x 1/4" of space per stereo track, now you have to go to Sony SA to get anywhere close in digital terms.

So I'd like a 1" valve tape mastering machine (maybe a Studer?) probably with AMPEX 456 tape (the 406 and 407 were good but the 456 was the best top end). But I have speakers etc that will do it justice!
At the end of the day it's all horses for courses. If your target audience wants to listen through some crappy ear buds off their iPhone etc then mix for that medium.

Bouncing to tape (even hi quality cassette (like my Nakamichi)) is a better way of "dithering" than the digital algorithms (it's real and natural), it warms up the sound and does a better job, then re-sample at whatever bit rate/quality you need to turn it back into digital.

VHS audio is digital IIRC (I may be wrong) I do remember when VHS came with better (stereo) audio, it was better than "most" cassettes in it's day, but not better than the Nakamichi decks.

So bouncing to tape (if you have "really good" tape)  works well, adds warmth and is the BEST way to dither down or up.

At what point do you go from analogue to digital ? never if you don't have to (like you are going to make a single on vinyl  :whoohoo!: ) Though I'm all for "mixing in" digital gadgets (FXs delay/reverb etc) but keep the signal as analouge as you can (IMHO))
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MarshallJMP

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R is right about the tape.I also find it sounds better and warmer.A friend of mine has a 1" tascam taperecorder (and he uses 456 tape) and this sounds really GOOD.

BTW VHS was analog (it was invented in the early 70's)
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