Beginners: What looks to be working for me recording guitar

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by cogan, May 27, 2005.

  1. cogan

    cogan Silver Supporting Member

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    I've always had problems recording a miced guitar amp. The tone is thin and metallic sounding, no sustain, brittle, or muddy. I've tried playing with mic placement, dialing up my amp and software, and all sorts of other tweaks, but have never been happy. When I've asked about it on several forums, the response is generally that I should be able to just find a sweet spot with the mic and the recorded track should sound exactly like what I hear in the room. Nonsense.

    I just got Logic Pro deliverd this week and started playing with the "Guitar Amp Pro" plugin. While directly driving this modeller with a guitar doesn't sound too good for what I want (CLEAN, SUSTAINED, Kimock like tones), I've gotten it to work really well with a miced amp. Just running the miced signal through the "clean tube preamp" setting, picking a cab emulation, and playing with the gain and EQ for a few minutes has finally done it. I am finally recording tracks that sound damn near identical to what I hear in the room. The nice thing is, you can change the software settings during playback to tweak the tone, add a little more/change the verb, or do what you will. It works.

    I suspect the NI Guitar Rig software (stand alone) will be usefull for this as well if you don't want to drop the money for Logic.

    Is anyone else doing anything similar to this to solve problems in getting a good recorded clean tone?
     
  2. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    >>I've always had problems recording a miced guitar amp. The tone is thin and metallic sounding, no sustain, brittle, or muddy. I've tried playing with mic placement, dialing up my amp and software, and all sorts of other tweaks, but have never been happy. When I've asked about it on several forums, the response is generally that I should be able to just find a sweet spot with the mic and the recorded track should sound exactly like what I hear in the room. Nonsense.<<

    Well, it isn't nonsense, but it IS very difficult sometimes; what makes it difficult isn't necessarily mic placement, but the fact that the thin and metallic sound is most often caused by an overloaded mic preamp.

    A clean tone is relatively uncompressed coming out of the amp. Its inherent volume peaks overload the mic preamp (and sometimes the mic, depending on what you use), resulting in a brittle, thin sound. It's distortion, but it doesn't sound anything like a distorted guitar amp...in my humble opinion as a recording pro for 15 years, a good clean guitar sound is pretty hard to record!

    The problem is, how do you get a nice, fat clean tone out of the amp, into the mic, and then into the mic preamp and recording gear without freaking out the mic preamp?

    The most usual thing to do is to use a compressor, as a channel insert, or simply use the preamp's pad to reduce the incoming level, which, to my ears, never sounds right.

    In effect, you're using the software more or less as a compressor; the software is compressing the signal, before you run it into your amp.

    Most likely, a compression pedal would do a similar thing in front of the amp.

    What's very cool, however, is that you've come up with a new twist on the whole concept. It sounds like a really interesting thing to try out. Thanks!
     
  3. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    In the end, whatever works.... works.

    In my case I have worked very hard to get tones I liked to tape (err, disc :D) and though I have owned and tried some extremely high end guitars/amps/mics/preamps/convertors I have found that the best results are simply "what works".

    I bought a VHT Pitbull 45 on the recommendation of a few members of this Forum and threw up a 57 on it and hit record. There it was. Simple as that.

    In the end, it is the money or the method... it is the results.

    You have found what works; and that is all that matters.

    Now...... make music. :D
     
  4. Orren

    Orren Member

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    As a matter of fact, that is a great way to get the sound of a cabinet simulation on your signal. In the Feb 2005 EM, I mention how to do that in my cover story on guitar amp simulators. In general, most people who do that don't mic the cab as well--they take a direct signal from a line out on the amplifier right into Guitar Amp Pro, Guitar Rig, etc. But if you prefer the sound from the mic'd amp, that's fine too.

    Absolutely. Both work. And both allow you to access just the speaker simulations (Guitar Amp Pro by selecting Clean Tube Preamp and Guitar RIg by only using a speaker simulation).

    To make a general statement about sound, I'd say that the speaker simulations in Guitar Amp Pro are better than the unadjusted, untweaked Guitar Rig speaker simulations; however, since you have so much control over the Guitar Rig simulations, you can tailor them far more than you can Guitar Amp Pro, so Guitar Rig can sound better if you are willing to put in the time.

    Many of Ed DeGenaro's clips are using Guitar Rig's speaker simulations. I do that also sometimes. Of course, I just ordered a Demeter Speaker Coffin with dual mic option, so that will be my recording rig in the future.

    Orren
     
  5. cogan

    cogan Silver Supporting Member

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    Well, nonsense in that I could never get it to work on account of my ignorance of what was actually going on in the signal path :)

    The need for a compressor has been oddly omitted from all of the advice I have gotten in the past on how to record guitar tracks. I guess everyone assumed I knew I needed it, and just told me to move the mic around. I tried running the signal through the Logic compressor, a channel EQ, and a whisper of the Space Designer reverb and I got some great results, probably better than with the amp modeller approach I was using. I was always afraid of losing dynamic range by running through a compressor, but it doesn't seem to be an issue like it is with a pedal compressor in front of the amp. Everything sounds great.

    Thanks for the input guys!


    BTW, really enjoying Logic 7.1 here! Being able to dial up just about any plug-in to solve the above problems and also do direct recording of fully tweakable piano, clav, rhoads, and B3 tracks with the on-board softsynths is great. Nice bass amp models too, for DI recording of bass tracks.
     

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