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Old 04-26-2012, 02:06 AM   #1
Jahan Honma
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I have several questions about recording metal guitars

I'm about to record my first full album EVER and I want to get it right. So here are a bunch of questions I have. Some quite basic.

1. I hear that instead of actually recording a guitar twice, you can record a single guitar part onto two tracks and you won't have to worry about synchronization as much. Then you give each track different sounds and pan them both to one side then do it again for the other side to get a full sound. Do you agree with this method?

2. When recording, I'll be making most of my sound with my effects pedal (BOSS GT-8). So when I record, does the size of the amp really matter? Cause even a small amp is freaking loud at level 8 or so.

3. Is a regular dynamic mic OK for recording guitar through an amp?

4. If you have two guitar distortions, is it better to combine them on both sides of the mix, or pan one to the left and the other to the right?

5. For rhythm guitars, you record several times and pan them to each side. For a lead guitar it usually is panned to the middle over the rhythm guitars. What if you have a two-guitar harmonized solo? Should I pan them both to the sides or the middle?

I think that's all for now but there will be more. In the future. Thank you so much in advance for all of your help.

Sincerely,
Jahan
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Old 04-26-2012, 04:55 AM   #2
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Alrite lets get my 2 cents goin here

1. You can do as you wish.. I always record it separate since there will be little nuances you will capture and it won't sound as robotic then 1 take on 2 guitar pans

2. Amp won't matter as much once you get the sound you want, yeah cyou can't beat air into a mic but theres deceent tenouch technology out there to do without

3. sm57 is probably used on every single guitar recording along with some others... should be fine

4. You can do what you want again, if its a basic enough track 2 separate guitar tracks panned left and right for me.. up to you

5. You can do what you want again, it's up to you, rhythm guitars usually panned hard left and right and lead in the middle... you can run auxiliaries on tracks and have stuff panned anywhere or whatever, your call
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Old 04-26-2012, 05:55 AM   #3
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1. No. That doesn't have the same effect. The double-track technique of which you speak relies on subtle differences in timing, phase and tone. When you capture two separate performances, even when you play the same part, with the same guitar and amp/effect settings, and, for all musical purposes, perfectly in sync, you are still creating a DIFFERENT recording. The waveforms are not mathematically identical. Why their is no hard and fast way to approach any recording, it is almost unheard of to not employ this double-tracking method on heavy metal rhythm guitars. The perceived size created by this will not be reproduced by recording the same take onto two tracks and processing differently.

2. Plug your GT-8 into two different amps and hear for yourself that they sound different - even with the same settings on the pedal. Whatever vibrations you create in the air with your instrument is what the mic will hear. So yes, the type/size of amp will influence the sound. Volume is another thing all together. Amps, speakers and cabinets will respond different at different levels. As will microphones.

3. In short, yes. As mentioned in the post above, the Shure SM57 is synonymous with electric guitar recording. The microphone has a very distinctive sound that is generally well-suited to this application as it rolls off around 120Hz and bites around the upper midrange. Where you put the mic will be the determining factor in whether it sounds good.

4 & 5. This you need to experiment with. There's no right answer.
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:34 AM   #4
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:33 AM   #5
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Just to add something on what the previous two have answered for your first question, what I've learnt is that you CAN fake the doubling effect with only one take. What I do when I'm pressed for time is take the single track and pan it hard left. I then make a copy of it and pan it hard right, changing the EQ and (MOST IMPORTANT PART) add a 1ms delay. Not DELAY as in the effect, but literally delaying your entire track by 1ms (or an even smaller/larger fraction, experiment with it). This separates both tracks to give the impression of a second recording, when you're actually using the exact same track.

As for panning solos, you don't necessarily have to pan dead center. I like to pan it 10% either to the left or the right (to recreate somewhat the context of a stage). As for harmonized leads, you can opt for a bigger pan to separate the tracks, maybe 20% left for one lead, and 20% right for the other. Do make sure that both lead tones are COMPLEMENTARY, and not identical.

You can even go crazy and double track your leads as well (Randy Rhoads did it), and even quadruple track your rhythm parts (Porcupine Tree's Blackest Eyes is a result of many many layers of rhythm guitar).

Also, do note that while your choice of mic is important, your preamp and DAW is MORE important (kinda like how the amp makes up a bigger part of your tone than your guitar). You get what you pay for when it comes to preamps. I'd stay away from USB preamps and invest instead in a nice firewire preamp. The PreSonus Fire Studio is great at it's price point, and a DAW like Logic is great as well. Both would work splendidly with an SM57.

Hope all this helps. (Your mileage may vary).

Last edited by marcus_in_absentia; 04-26-2012 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 04-26-2012, 12:05 PM   #6
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Old 04-27-2012, 03:09 AM   #7
Jahan Honma
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I need a pre-amp? I don't have a preamp but I have an "audio interface" that lets me connect my guitar to the computer that does indeed use a USB. Is that not good? It records with no latency at all. As a DAW, I use Sonar.

My guitar is an Ibanez 7-string.

Thanks a lot for the advice.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by marcus_in_absentia View Post
What I do when I'm pressed for time is take the single track and pan it hard left. I then make a copy of it and pan it hard right, changing the EQ and (MOST IMPORTANT PART) add a 1ms delay. Not DELAY as in the effect, but literally delaying your entire track by 1ms (or an even smaller/larger fraction, experiment with it). This separates both tracks to give the impression of a second recording, when you're actually using the exact same track.
This is a valid point, but it does yield a different result. This is not necessarily a worse result, just a different sound. OP - give this technique a try on some of your lead tracks too. You can also detune one of the sides by a few cents to add to this effect, although you may find yourself straying into 80s territory here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by marcus_in_absentia View Post
Also, do note that while your choice of mic is important, your preamp and DAW is MORE important (kinda like how the amp makes up a bigger part of your tone than your guitar).
I disagree with this. Well, to a degree. If you are talking the difference between a sound card and a relatively cheap pre (such as the Firestudio), then probably, yes. But in my experience, the sound differences between high-quality preamps are far more subtle than the difference between microphones. I'm speaking in generalities here and realise this is not always the case, but across most of the gear I work with, I would certainly say that there is more distinct tonal variation between mics than pres. More important than either though is the bit of air you choose to put the mic in and the thing you decide to point it at.


OP: When you say 'audio interface', what specifically do you have?
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:37 AM   #9
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Your audio interface has preamps if it has xlr/1/4'' inputs on the front.

1. Double panning is a must for any sort of rock or metal rhythm guitar. You don't want to just duplicate a track and pan it hard both ways, it will sound phasey and doesn't even achieve the affect.

You should do two separate, extremely tight, takes and pan them hard. You should also use a different amp/guitar for the alternate takes...and if you don't have that option you need to really make an effort to change pickups and mess with the settings on the amp. The more difference between the two the more full of a sound you're going to get. Double tracking with the same settings isn't hardly worth it, and you'll get a fairly narrow sound.

2. Maybe, kind of, not really. Just mic up the amp and tweak it until the recorded sound is close to what you want. I'd highly recommend using a crappy amp to an amp sim though, because those suck dick for distorted tone and will give you fullband distortion & some unworkable sounds...even a dinky solid state amp can be made to sound good if you mic it right.

3. Yes. Sm57 is the standard. It'll work fine.

5. With lead stuff it's all preference...do what sounds right.


You need to sort of mess with this shit to understand why it's a standard to hard pan rhythm guitars...then you'll sort of begin to understand what the point/effect of panning is when you're mixing.
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Old 04-28-2012, 01:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahan Honma View Post
I need a pre-amp? I don't have a preamp but I have an "audio interface" that lets me connect my guitar to the computer that does indeed use a USB. Is that not good? It records with no latency at all. As a DAW, I use Sonar.

My guitar is an Ibanez 7-string.

Thanks a lot for the advice.
What audio interface are you using? Latency is usually the biggest issue with USB interfaces, so I guess you're fine if you don't experience that problem. Never had any experience with Sonar though.
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Old 04-28-2012, 01:42 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Guitar Therapist View Post
This is a valid point, but it does yield a different result. This is not necessarily a worse result, just a different sound. OP - give this technique a try on some of your lead tracks too. You can also detune one of the sides by a few cents to add to this effect, although you may find yourself straying into 80s territory here...


I disagree with this. Well, to a degree. If you are talking the difference between a sound card and a relatively cheap pre (such as the Firestudio), then probably, yes. But in my experience, the sound differences between high-quality preamps are far more subtle than the difference between microphones. I'm speaking in generalities here and realise this is not always the case, but across most of the gear I work with, I would certainly say that there is more distinct tonal variation between mics than pres. More important than either though is the bit of air you choose to put the mic in and the thing you decide to point it at.


OP: When you say 'audio interface', what specifically do you have?
Valid point about the pre-amps.
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Old 04-29-2012, 09:51 PM   #12
Jahan Honma
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I use an EDIROL UA-1G http://www.imusician.co.uk/acatalog/edirol_ua-1g.html

OK Wait. You all are saying that one should use two different guitars and get two different sounds. But what I was thinking was that I would use my one guitar and on the two playthroughs use completely different distortions on each. What I mean is that, I will be using a BOSS GT-08 guitar pedal with completely different settings for each of the two recordings. So is it a bad idea to use two distortions that are completely different?

Thanks again for all of your help.
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Old 04-29-2012, 10:17 PM   #13
Jahan Honma
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http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?luy7nclivw8rrh2

May I ask you to give this a listen and offer your opinion about the guitar sound? It's 4 total performances panned 2 on each side. Recorded directly into the computer. No amps and mics. Thank you once again for all your help.
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Old 04-30-2012, 01:25 AM   #14
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First things first, great playing. Loved it

If you're using an amp modeller like the GT-08, it would make more sense to go straight in. It negates the need for a preamp and mic and all that jazz.

I think what you have already sounds fine, really. I'd just give it a proper mix down and it'll be great
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:07 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahan Honma View Post
http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?luy7nclivw8rrh2

May I ask you to give this a listen and offer your opinion about the guitar sound? It's 4 total performances panned 2 on each side. Recorded directly into the computer. No amps and mics. Thank you once again for all your help.
Those are some wicked tunes you got there! its wonderful! ive even put on my headphones to get an even better impression! the sounds are (except for the drums, I wasn't so keen on that sampler), and the guitars are good to go. Now all you need is to open up good old WaveLab, make a proper mix/mastering, and you got yourself one fine song! honest! :-) you can also check out my stuff if you want... you don't have too though. Just a thought ;-)
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:35 AM   #16
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Want a trick? (you folks at home might learn something too)

It's called the Haas effect and you can use it's implications to make your recordings sound ultra big. Imagine you've got some Amadeus over there on your left jamming their little chords out of their amp. You would not just hear it in your left ear, you'd hear it in your right, except a few milliseconds later and with a bit of muffling from your head. You'd hear more reflections from the opposite wall than the real tone of the amp. HOLD THAT THOUGHT

If you take a track and duplicate it, hard-pan them L and R it will sound coming out of the center, twice as loud. Take the one on the R and delay it by 20ms and trip out as suddenly the track is the same loudness but clearly coming from the left, despite being equal volume in both speakers. This is the delay it takes for a sound coming from the left to reach your right ear- The higher the delay the more panned it sounds, until it eventually sounds like two distinct sounds

Take all your hard-panned guitar parts and run them to a bus. Flip the L/R on that bus (in Logic it's a plugin called Gain that has the option, no idea how to do it in whatever you use), add a sample delay 100% wet 0% dry of between 5-30ms (experiment- most settings will be out of phase, and the ones that are will have completely different feels), roll off the very low and very high end and raise it up in the mix. The point is not to be able to hear this track, per se, but for it to give you free decibels that can make your guitars sound huge. Try it with the harmonized leads too, using less delay so they sit more centered in the mix. Backup vocals too. Pretty much anything that isn't a single bass or lead track. It's fun!

Try the same L/R flip with your reverb bus (you /must/ have a reverb bus)- So your left cymbals bounce off the right wall. Totally spreads out your stereo mix and makes everything way clear and big.

This is totally not what you asked but it'll be an 'aha!' moment in making your guitars sound big like records
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