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Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by blues_n_cues, Jan 1, 2015.
What are you using now?
Oh, I see. That's a good way to sell satellites.
Yes and no, the Apollo's are basically one big heat sink lol. Not much room in there.
I was using an edirol fa-66 (firewire) into sonar 8.5. My old laptop got retired and my new one has no firewire. I don't feel like buying 100 dollars worth of adapters to make it work, plus I need a new daw now, so there's that to consider.
Yeah that sucks, I don't know what's comparable but Reaper is solid. I only used cakewalk for a few months 18 years ago lol. I went from Acid pro to Protools 6,7,9 now I'm using Protools 12. Most go with the Focusrite 2i2 but it doesn't have the connectivity like your edirol. 6i6 might be a better option! I assume you're running mac?
Why is it recommended to record at high volumes? I often hear how big bands record their albums with their amps cranked, but after having tried it myself, with my DSL15C's volume around 5, 6, and 8, I don't really hear a big difference. Sure, there is more compression, which evens out the recorded tone, but other than that, I could not detect any world-shattering tonal difference. Maybe I just haven't developed an ear for it. What do you guys think? How loud should an amp's volume be set for good recorded tone? One of the things that still fascinates me is how some bands achieve very bright yet fizz-free tones, such as this classic example. I've tried every EQ setting and microphone (SM57) position under the sun, and am still not getting completely similarly bright nor fizz-free recordings at home. Is this something that may have to do with volume? And, is there any way that us amateurs can achieve a tone similar to the one on the isolated track with just a guitar and an amp?
Addendum: After years of searching for the tone that I have in my head, I've been able to approximate it, so I thought I'd share it here with you. On my DSL20CR, the settings are as follows.
Volume: 2.5 (I know this is not as important as EQ, but it's good to know at exactly what volume I dialed in my ideal settings)
I've tried many different settings over the years, but keep coming back to the Bass 5 (sometimes 4), Middle 8, Treble 2, Presence 7 combination as the only one that sounds right to me. This may not be the same as the bright, aggressive reference tracks I would like to be able to recreate, so I can use them for contrast, but to my ears, this is what my ideal tone sounds like. Dark but searing, with just enough bass to give palm muted notes a little bit of chunk and resonance. I personally like guitar tones that tonally sit a bit more in the background of the mix and blend in to support the whole in a musical way. I also like to mix guitars lower in the mix, with drums and vocals sitting on top, and bass somewhere above the guitars but below drums and vocals. I mic the guitars with an SM57 on-axis, just a little over 4 inches away from the speaker cloth, right where the dust cap and cone meet.
The differences you are describing can be pretty subtle most of the time...It does take time to learn things dude, & in my experience once you "find" something like that, you have to stay up on it/keep doing it to be consistent...
In my humble opinion, a little twist of the volume knob cures some of the things you mention, like fizz...Most of the time, keeping the volume up & the gain down will help with fizz...You don't need as much gain as you think, & this is especially true if you layer/stack guitar tones...Everybody is different, & their expectations/goals are different too, so as usual, YMMV...I don't know how to describe it, but there's a certain point of loudness that is acceptable, & provides just the right amount of air being pushed into a mic for me...
There are a lot of variables like getting the power section of the amp working a bit...Different speakers react differently to different volume levels, along with different mics having different levels of air pushed into 'em...While not my favorite speaker, a V30 is a good example...They can sound good at about any level, but after they hit a certain point of being pushed, it's like they "come alive" & sound like a completely different speaker...
I've heard a few of your tones, & you have nothing to worry about man...They sound very good regardless of how you got there...Keep that in mind...
The bottom line is, are you happy with the results you're getting, or not??? I'm assuming you're not 100% there, or you wouldn't keep asking about recorded tones & wanting to learn more...Welcome to the tone chase dude...I've been doing the real amp/cab/mic thing for a few years myself, & I love it...I'm very fortunate to have some pretty good gear, & some great friends who have helped me on my journey, suggesting different things for me to try...
There are some great resources these days too, YT vids, tutorials, all kinds of ways to learn this stuff dude...Technology is your friend for all this...
Thank you for the tips. I'll be experimenting with the volume thing more over the next few days to get a better understanding of how the tone changes with increasing volume.
I also need to experiment with using less gain and see if that gives the tone a little extra bite. I usually have the Gain at 5 on my DSL20CR, and at 4 on my 6100LM, which doesn't seem like a lot for old-school metal, but maybe it is for recording. I did notice that Judas Priest used surprisingly little gain on their classic recordings, even on the seemingly heavier ones, such as Ram it Down, Defenders of the Faith, and Screaming for Vengeance, but when I listen to Maiden's albums (anything after their first album) they sound like they used quite a bit more gain then Priest.
As I wrote above, I've tried many different settings over the years, and the one setting that sounds right to my ears and that I keep combing back to is Middle 8 and Treble 2, Presence 2, with Bass somewhere between 2 and 4, depending on the amp. My DSL15C and DSL20CR are both dark amps, at least with Volume around 2. I wish I could figure out how to dial in the bright yet searing classic metal sounds of Maiden and Accept, for example, especially Maiden's Piece of Mind album. As a listener and a guitar player, I don't particularly like the guitar tone on that album, but in terms of production, the way the guitars sit in the mix is amazing, which is really apparent on their covers of "I've Got the Fire" and "Cross Eyed Mary." I would like to be able to dial in those classic bright tones, if it is possible to get those tones without pedals, parametric EQ, or treble boosters. Until then, I'll stick with what seems to work for me and continue refining it.
Note. I update this post periodically as new information becomes available and my settings improve. If you have any comments or suggestions, feel free to message me.
As a result of several years of research and trial and error, I have been able to approximate several iconic Maiden tones, including my favorite tone from the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son album. The gear and settings are detailed below.
For JMP-1 users, the gentleman in the video below provides his settings, some of which were obtained directly from Dave's sound tech.
Additional useful resources for JMP-1 users can be found at http://www.sound-design-tonstudio-hof.de/Marshall JMP-1 Sound-Settings.pdf and at http://jmp-editor.mattzick.com/patches.html.
Microphone placement: According to this article, it sounds like Martin Birch used big wooden rooms and close-miking plus one or more room mics to capture the acoustics on the Piece of Mind album. And according to this article, Martin birch used a close mic and a room mic (most likely a LDC) to record the guitars on The Number of the Beast. Note also that according to this footage from the No Prayer for the Dying sessions, the direct mic you see on each cab appears placed where cap and cone meet and is possibly slightly angled toward the dust cap, but that could be an optical illusion due to the camera angle. I am not sure what model those mics are, but I get very good results with just an SM57, placed on-axis, an inch off the grille, right on the edge of the dust cap.
To approximate Maiden's classic studio sounds, I believe that room miking is the only way to get the exact studio sound as on some of the studio records (Piece of Mind in particular), but if you don’t have the luxury of a nice room and extra mics to experiment with, a little bit of reverb and/or delay will get you closer to the desired result.
Below are my Ultra Gain settings on my DSL15C. Cab (MX112) placed on the floor for thicker mids. If you're using a 4x12", mic up one of the bottom speakers.
Piece of Mind
Resonance 0/0 (note that Adrian sets Resonance on 5 on his JVM410H)
Volume: Between 8–10 (it is very important to get the power amp stage involved, or else, the tones will be thin and fizzy)
If these settings end up sounding a bit too thick, try lowering the bass to 3. Like Martin Birch, I don't use a HPF or a LPF.
Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
I use a lot of reverb to simulate the natural acoustics of a professional studio.
Maiden also used chorus on almost everything. Dave sets it low for rhythm sounds, but uses the effect more prominently on certain melodies and harmonies. Of the pedals I have, I found the Boss CE-2W with both knobs at noon perfect for that kind of subtle effect. In the mix, the effect is subtle but noticeable in that it adds a nice sparkle to each note. For the more prominent chorus parts, the original Boss CE-2 with all controls at noon, or with the Depth knob possibly even higher, is perfect for the job. For delay, I find MXR Carbon Copy perfect, as it is very dark and unobtrusive. I set it to about 4 repeats, same rate as when counting 1-2-3-4, and with the Mix knob at 9 o'clock. Maiden's solos on "Black Bart Blues" are a good reference for the delay settings that I find just right. For the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son sound, the delay effect is optional, as I personally don't hear it on the rhythm parts, except on solos, but if you like it always on, it's certainly an option, just keep in mind that it probably won't be true to the original. But I'll let your ears decide.
Somewhere in Time
You'll definitely want to have delay on all the time. Again, the MXR Carbon Copy is perfect for this. As before, I would set it to about 4 repeats, same rate as when counting 1-2-3-4, with the Mix knob at 9 o'clock, Regen just past 9 o'clock, and Delay around just before noon. You'll also need a chorus that's on all the time. The original Boss CE-2 with all controls at noon will give you instant Somewhere in Time chorus sound. To my ears, it also sounds like they used a phaser on certain melodies and solos.
Lets hear you guys doing some Maiden gentlemen... its been a while
Strictly for the purposes of demonstrating the settings I provided above , here's a quick demo. It's one of my all time favorite songs and one of the classiest metal songs ever written. A very difficult solo to play. This was a quick take, very spontaneous. No processing whatsoever was applied. The only effect I used is the DSL20CR's built-in reverb. Dave's guitar is panned left, and Adrian's right.
Shitty little clip of my new amp...The guitars are a little fizzy, but I already know how to get rid of that...I just got the amp a few days ago & I really, really like it...
Both guitars are an Ibanez RG350 (Duncan Custom Custom bridge p'up) > Chupacabra > 4x12 (Greenback) > Audix i5...
The only post-processing on the guitars is some reverb I added in the daw...
It sounds really good. The style reminds me of Queensryche.
What EQ settings did you use? By the way, if you're struggling with fizz, Andy Sneap recommends putting the mic on-axis, at the center of the dust cap, then moving the mic one inch off the speaker cloth and just under an inch away from the center. I tried it and it works very well and still gives a good representation of the amp’s sound in the room. I've also heard many great recordings that were achieved with the mic right on the cloth, but I don't think you can ever go wrong with backing it off just an inch.
Thanks man, Gain 1 starts making it a bit fizzy around "8" or so on the dial, especially using the "Era" switch to the left (which is supposed to be a modern sound, right is 80's, & centered is basically plexi)...I just need to dial the gain back a bit, & get the master up a little more, that should take care of it...Either that, or move the mic slightly away from the cap to a darker position, maybe a bit of both...
The values are where the knobs are on the dial, not doing the "clock" thing...
Gain 2: 2
Gain 1: 8
Bright 2: L
Bright 1: C/OFF
Pussy Trimmer: 5
I was using an Ibanez RG350 with a Duncan SH11 (Custom Custom) in the bridge, straight into the amp, into a 4x12 w/Greenback speaker, with an Audix i5 about where the cap meets the cone & about 1/2" off the grillcloth...
Thank you. Your recording sounds exactly how I would expect it to sound with those settings. If I were you, I’d keep the mic where it is. Any further away from the center and you’ll get not only a darker tone, but also a boxier, honkier tone. I played around with a low pass filter yesterday, low-passing anything above 10,000kHz and it worked great to remove the remaining fizz. You could go even lower than that. Basically, go as low until you start hearing a change, and then back off just a little. That should do it in post-production. I’ve learned to not move away from the center too much, as that can lead to
Thanks man, I try to get the sound right at the source, there's nothing wrong with a little eq, but I try to get it where I want without any of that...
I did some more test recordings today, & I've pretty much got the fizz dialed out, but ran out of time...I'll post some more clips tomorrow...All I did was lower the gain a tad, got the master up to about 5 or 6 & that seemed to take care of it...
The amp is brand new too, I haven't had it a week yet, it got here last Wed...While it won't be a huge difference, when it all breaks in & settles a bit, it should get a little better...
How long have you been recording dude??? This fall will make 10 years since I started down that road...It doesn't seem like it's been that long, but it has...
I agree with you about getting it right at the source. I first start with the amp's settings until it sounds good to me. Then I look at mic placement. Today I rerecorded the same clip that I posted above, where I moved the mic a little closer to where the dust cap meets the cone and the result was closer to what you get from applying a low pass filter around 10kHz. After about two years of experimenting, I am convinced the the best place to record a speaker is somewhere just off-center, close the where the dust cap meets the cone. And as you said, more volume also helps get rid of the fizz, so it may not be necessary to go far from the center at all, as long as you set the amp loud enough. Andy Sneap recommends just under an inch off-center, which seems just about the right amount, but I would say, if you want to keep it simple, you probably can't go wrong with just placing the mic right where the dust cap and the cone meet.
I've been experimenting with recording (only guitars) for about two years. Long journey with many successes and failures, but I think I've figured this thing out. It was a long journey because I also had to learn the hard way how easily deceived our hearing can be, where you end chasing a moving target that you yourself created. I've tried every conceivable microphone placement, and at one point even thought that the best tones are near the speaker edge, but then realized I had gone too far off, so I scrapped that and started from the beginning. In the end, it seems that the standard advice of placing the mic either at the center or somewhere near the center is what most people recommend for a good reason. Another thing I had to teach myself is to stop overanalyzing my recordings and instead to focus on the overall tone. When you listen too closely, you start hearing things that aren't an issue at all and then end up trying to fix what's not broken.
I think the safest way to record guitars is to go for a classic rock tone, a nice, warm, midrange driven tone, even if you play metal, and tweak it to taste from there, because I've noticed that even some of the heavier bands like Maiden and Priest didn't use all that much gain in the '80s, and the guitar tones on their records are nothing crazy, but they just work because they make sure the fundamentals are in place.
I agree, there's a lot of trial/error, but once something "clicks" it usually stays...I used ampims up until about 5 years ago & made the jump to real amps...I have a great online buddy who has helped me through this, & I could never have gotten this far without him, he's just gifted with this stuff...
I hope to make the jump to real drums one day, but I'll have to get another place before I could do that, I'm out of room & need a bigger boat...lol...
Speaking of mic placement, I used a flashlight & a sharpie to mark the center of each speaker in my 1960A...This make is really quick-n-easy to find the sweet spot...One might not wanna do that to a good cab, but this is just a 4x12 I bought for $300 do to things like this, so it ain't gonna hurt anything at all...
I call it my "bastard cab" because of the speakers...
You can't see the bottom marks in the upper pic, but you can see the top 2:
I have 4 different speakers in this cab (labeled above), so there are lots of options with just moving the mic to a different speaker, or blend...Sounds crazy, but it works...My online buddy I mentioned suggested this, & like always, he was right...I used this cab in a gig last month, & it sounded pretty good...I thought it'd be weird, but it actually wasn't...I also have an EVH 5150 III 4x12 with the EVH branded greenbacks, & it's a great cab IMO...
Oh yeah, I'd never take a sharpie to my EVH cab...
I built this ISO cab last September, it does ok, especially compared to the first one I built, but it's still not like having an amp in the room...
ISO cab & Yamaha e-kit:
Here's my setup about 3 years ago...I don't have any recent pics, all those amps & the shitty Randall ISO cab are gone...I do have a Mini Jubilee & just got the Ceriatone Chupacabra 50 last week though...
If you think you'd like to hang out with a bunch of tone chasers (we call 'em Tonetards), come check out our forum...We were all at another forum, with a thread started out as "Guitar Tone To Die For", then eventually changed the name to "The Tone Thread"...The thread started in 2012 & got up to about 1,300 posts...At our new place, "The Tone Thread" is about 130 pages since it launched a little over a year ago...
In that particular thread, shitty playing don't matter (which saves my ass...), & all we focus on is the tone...Lots of great folks over there & there's all kinds of help, not just in guitar tone, but all kinds of recording help/info...Come check us out dude...
Here's the link:
The Recording Rebels
Here's an article Sweetwater just put out, about micing a cabinet. Take what you want from it, it's free... ...
Just having sold my Fryette Sig:X and having my JMP Super Lead away to the tech for re-capping/tubing, I was earlier this year left with only my basement "rehearsal amp"; a Fender Blues Deluxe FSR equipped with a Jensen P12Q speaker. Great amp but I had at that moment never tracked with it before. So I thought lets give it a try. I set up the amp with a SM57 and into my Steinberg UR22 mk2 interface into Cubase Elements - cranked the amp and put on a few effects (TC Booster + Linedriver & Distortion, Jam Fuzzphrase (for lead stuff), Dunlop 95q wah and a memoryman) and tracked our song "Not Alone". The guitars used is a Fender US Lonestar strat and dubbed with a Gibson Les Paul Studio. I was surprised how well it turned out (at least in my own opinion) with that amp. Here is the guitar tracks isolated and not mixed at all. There are some pauses here and there as it is just the full tracks not edited.
Below is a link to the final song as it ended up after mixing (It is on Spotify so it is only a link as it not allowed to embed media from there I think).