How to get rid of graininess/sizzle in overdrive

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by semi hollaback, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. semi hollaback

    semi hollaback Member

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    I'm having endless issues with grainy overdrive sounds. Like most people I liked my tone til I put my ear up to my amp and figured out why it sounds terrible during performances. The constant is my guitar-- a semi hollow PRS.. should be a pretty much guitar in theory and it certainly is with clean tones. Not so much with overdrive.

    My main OD is the bb preamp which gets a lot of praise for it's natural and smooth character, although I've tried many others and the graininess persists. My current amp is a fender blues deluxe, although I've tried many many amps and they all respond the same.

    I use compression as well and it doesn't appear to tame it, I've tried to dial it out with amp EQ and pedal EQ.. no go. Whatever I do, my live sound is grainy with overdrive on.

    Could it be my amps pickups? Is this just the plight of humbuckers? Is it fender amps? Help me out people!!
     
  2. Somniferous

    Somniferous Member

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    Have you tried back down on the OD gain? When I am recording people that is usually the first thing I tell them to do for the same reason that you've just found out, a mic is a ton closer to the speaker than our ears are.

    Also try messing around with mic position to find a place that sound best.
     
  3. mindwave_21

    mindwave_21 Member

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    +1 on mic position. Don't mess with the EQ or compression until you get most the sound you want coming from the microphone and source. Maybe point the mic closer to the edge of the speaker instead of near the cone. Try backing it away a little, etc.

    You might also try messing with the tone knob on your guitar. Sizzle sounds to me like excess treble captured too close to the speaker.
     
  4. semi hollaback

    semi hollaback Member

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    I'll try micing further from the cone. But the thing is I play a semi hollow.. its already very dark-- all my tones are dark.. I don't really have treble to spare. It's not an excessive high end sizzle.. it's just the opposite of smooth and creamy. It's pretty much across the board from barely any gain to a ton of gain.

    I am aware that the mic is closer to the speaker-- thats why I've been testing my tones with my ear right up to the speaker.

    Let me know if yall have anymore thoughts

    Edit: I'll also add that I don't usually or always use a lot of gain, but I do appreciate the saturation, fullness and sustain that comes with higher gain sounds.. I guess I can try to compensate with compression.. but I have to use high gain sounds in professional settings pretty frequently.
     
  5. Shiny_Beast

    Shiny_Beast Member

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    Try a screamer pedal with the mid hump?
     
  6. semi hollaback

    semi hollaback Member

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    I've played through a million of them.. including the coveted silver one and I ended up returning it cause it was doing the same thing. Mids probably exaggerate the problem a little as the guitar is already middy-- I'm tellin you it's not excessive high end.. I could roll off the highs on the drive all the way off and it's still there!
     
  7. Shiny_Beast

    Shiny_Beast Member

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    Ahh, missed that, do you push the amp at all?

    It si distortion, even overdriven amps can sound grainy depending, pedals more so IMO. Are you pushing the amp to blend the clipping of the pedal with some honest tube goodness? I'm not a big pedal guy, but I've found most pedals can sound harsh until the amp starts giving up a bit of squish.
     
  8. semi hollaback

    semi hollaback Member

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    I would say the amp's squish/overdrive contributes to the overall graininess, but I haven't played a lot of other amps at stage volumes.. I'm currently in the market for a new amp and I just want to make sure I figure out what the problem is so I don't hate my amp for another 3 years.
     
  9. Shiny_Beast

    Shiny_Beast Member

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    just for thehell of it I googled around that amp, took a look at the schematic. There doesn't seem to be anything crazy there. Opinions vary on the drive channel if that's what you are using most of the time.

    Could be a lot of things, cold bias, bad tube, too much pre amp versus power amp saturation, harsh speaker...the pedals are far more likely to be consistent than the setup and/or different styles of amp.

    Maybe find a way to get your hands on or at least try out something with more of a classic design as a point of reference, when it gives you "that tone" at least you'll know you're not crazy :).
     
  10. Shiny_Beast

    Shiny_Beast Member

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    Or you could just slam it with a GE fuzz face :)
     
  11. semi hollaback

    semi hollaback Member

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    I tried a couple of old vibroluxs and the problem was consistent with the bb preamp. As far as other stables, I've tried a bunch of different tube screamers and its there across the board.

    The problem also occurred with my pedal thru a mesa boogie 5:50 clean channel.. although it seemed less so but that amp was super sterile I thought

    edit: any reason to believe it could just be the PRS pickups? I believe they're 57/08
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
  12. slyzspyz

    slyzspyz Member

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    what's the context? ie do you play in a band, and if so how does the guitar sound in the mix? Might be grainy when you test it on it's own but sings like an angel with the other instruments soaking up the unwanted frequencies.
    You could also get someone else to play your guitar through the rig, or you just use a looping device, and you check it out from the listener's perspective, it might sound fine. A bit of distance between the sound you want to hear and what is actually happening can help psychologically, we can be too harsh on ourselves so taking a step back can be reassuring.
     
  13. Shiny_Beast

    Shiny_Beast Member

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    well. hollow bodies can be a bit screachy, I'd don't know anything about that particular guitar. Although I remember playing a 335 through my old 4210 way back, which could be kind of buzzy, and it was like butter, I'd say HBs tend to smooth things out.
     
  14. semi hollaback

    semi hollaback Member

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    The context is mostly in regards to what I get from my monitors.. very unpleasant vs. what it sounds like in the room.. not really sure that band situation soaks up unwanted frequencies.. but I'll pay closer attention next show.
     
  15. Shiny_Beast

    Shiny_Beast Member

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    Yikes, yer talking about what is coming back at you through the PA?
     
  16. rickenbackerkid

    rickenbackerkid Member

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  17. semi hollaback

    semi hollaback Member

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    Yes! it's all PA pretty much. I lose all the perceived warmth and playability once I'm only hearing whats coming thru the PA.

    I just tried to get through the thread you linked.. but its going way way over my head if you want to give me the jist of it?

    Thanks for all the replies so far.

    edit: here's an example -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8DXw-B0eF4&list=UUrqJhW8ueb5BFzZad-tRTYw&index=3&feature=plcp

    It's actually pretty subtle in this vid but it's noticeable when my volume pot is dimed during the choruses-- but I also had to compress the **** out of this to make it sound as good as it does.. and add delay. I don't have nearly as much compression when playing live so the sizzle stands out more. Let me know if you think I'm crazy.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  18. Shiny_Beast

    Shiny_Beast Member

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    That clip sounded pretty good to me, I think you're just not happy with a 57, although you seem to do o with it to me.

    They are a crisp mic that peaks around 4 or 5 k, and the transformers in the modern ones might not be the best, there's all kinds of myth following them around, like the older ones may have higher quality transformers making them a little warmer. But getting a fat sound out of them isn't always easy, which is probably why you hear about them being paired with ribbon mics in the studio.

    "They" say, running them into a lower impedance input, or modding them to suit a higher impedance input, mellows out the sound. I wouldn't know, it's what I've read. The point to take away from it all is that 57s aren't that mellow out of the box.

    My rig (strat - Marshall) and 57s don't get along too well, although I like singing through them, go figure...that clip sounds fine to me.
     
  19. semi hollaback

    semi hollaback Member

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    I forgot to mention that I did pair it with a ribbon haha.. which is obviously something that doesn't happen live.

    Maybe getting sound guys to mic me in stereo.. get the edge of the cone and the center would quell my issues? Do soundguys record amps in stereo without getting cranky?
     
  20. jb4674

    jb4674 Member

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    Have you tried putting a condenser somewhere in the room?
     

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