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Live heaviness vs. Recorded heaviness

Triangle

Member
Messages
683
Hey guys,

I joined a band a few weeks ago. They've been around for a couple of months so I'm still taking it easy in regard to how forward I'm being about suggestions and comments in regard to our sound.

We're going for a My Morning Jacket/Kings of Leon/Exile-era Rolling Stones sound. I'm pulling most for the Stones.

But when we practice and play live, we always come off a bit heavier than that.

Our drummer is pretty heavy handed and the bassist comes from a punk background so he likes to play loud too. As a result, myself and the other guitarist end up playing rather loudly also. Not very distorted, as I like a pretty clean tone, but just in your face and loud.

This all culminates with a pretty heavy sounding band and my question is whether the Stones and other bands with that similar level of heaviness sounded a lot heavier live due to being so much louder, especially between 68 and 72 for any of you lucky enough to see them during that time period.

Is what I'm experiencing just a by product of playing loudly? And will it seem more mellow when we record? Or do we need to reign in the levels a bit in order to get the sound we're going for?
 

mikebat

Member
Messages
11,635
I think it a product of the intensity of the drummer. If it is song dependent, and you can all get a lighter feeling on other songs, or quieter parts of songs, then I would consider it to be the band's sound. And that is a good thing, it is who you are as an ensemble.

Otherwise, if ever part is hard hitting, with little variance of feel....your drummer is just smashing his way through the songs with no dynamics. That makes for a monotonous set of songs.
 

Heinz57Pep

Senior Member
Messages
11,228
I think loud bands sound less heavy in the studio due to the separation; bleed through can yield more perceived heaviness, but limits if not negates your ability to make changes later.

I also think volume is palpable on a recording. With the advent of home studios and the like, bands are recording at lower volumes, and you can hear it. If you're recording in a proper studio, turn that **** up!

IMHO/YMMV
 

Rockinrob86

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,934
As stated, it really comes down to the drummer and also the drums.

This is why I always end up getting tired of the drummers I find!

I have a 1961 Ludwig kit, and it really helps to get that older sound. Old drums don't seem to be as loud, and the overall tone is significantly different.

I think if you were in the room with the stones recording exile, it probably sounded amazing, which could be interpreted as "heavy"
 

Triangle

Member
Messages
683
Thanks for all the advice guys!

Our drummer is a big Bonham fan, so I think the intensity of his drumming is going to be part of our sound which I'm totally fine with. I like bands to be about collaboration and not about musical dictatorship.

We do focus on dynamic variation and he's really good about it, even being the one to call for the quieter parts to be more quiet. But when he goes for it, he lays it down loud.

We're recording next weekend at a good studio, Element Recording in KC, so we'll get a good sense of how heavy we actually are. Any pointers for separation during the recording process? We've got limited time so we're doing everything live and then overdubbing vocals. I'm hoping they have some sound baffles and what not like I've seen bands use that recorded live in the studio, but was hoping for any extra tips.

On a side note, playing as loud as we are is starting to take a toll on my ears. I tried some ear plugs, but found I could barely hear what was going on and felt like I was just going through the motions rather than actually having the awesome interaction between a loud amp and a guitar. Any advice on sub-$30 plugs that just reduce the volume rather than drastically altering the sound? Or do I need to invest in a custom set to get decent attenuation that doesn't sound like crap?
 

paranoid70

Member
Messages
6,494
It's the drummer for sure. You bring up the Stones - watch Charlie Watts play, he is not beating the crap out of the kit. He is definitely a finesse player.

Not that it's a bad thing - I personally would rather play with a heavy hitter, but I am in more of a Sabbath, Zep, Foo Fighters band. But if you can get your drummer to recognize that the sound is going in heavy direction, hopefully he can adjust.
 

loudboy

Member
Messages
27,312
On a side note, playing as loud as we are is starting to take a toll on my ears. I tried some ear plugs, but found I could barely hear what was going on and felt like I was just going through the motions rather than actually having the awesome interaction between a loud amp and a guitar. Any advice on sub-$30 plugs that just reduce the volume rather than drastically altering the sound? Or do I need to invest in a custom set to get decent attenuation that doesn't sound like crap?
They all kill the sound, just get some that are comfortable and get used to it.

Or be deaf, when you're 50.

Choice is yours...
 




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