Live/Practice gain/OD amp/pedal settings vs. Recording Settings

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by tapeup, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. tapeup

    tapeup Butterscotch Supt. Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I searched for this topic in the recording forums, but did not find what I was looking for, but if any of you know of any posts that discuss this, please send the links my way. So here's my situation:

    My bandmates and I just started recording at a local studio today. We layed some scratch guitar and bass tracks so that our drummer could start recording some of the drum tracks. My studio experience is limited, and we are paying by the hour, so when it comes time to record my guitar tracks, I want to be as prepared as possible, so that I don't waste time in the studio doing things I could have done before-hand. My guitar parts will probably be done after the singer does his guitar parts, since his guitar is the bulk of the rhythm guitar in the band (he did the scratch guitar tracks). My parts are secondary rhythm for lack of a better description, that intertwine with his, and I do most of the texture and lead type stuff also, so I figure I will record my parts last, just before the vocals. Several months ago, we recorded some stuff on the singer/other guitar player's home pro tools setup, and when we did our guitars, I made the mistake of recording them with my pedals set the same as when we play live, and the guitar tone wasn't quite right. It sounds good in the room, but I heard that when you record, you use less gain in order to get a good recorded sound. My question is, how much less gain do you use? I.E. half of what you normally use, etc.? Do I not use my pedals for dist/od settings at all when recording?

    Here is the way I use my setup now when playing live or at rehearsal to give you an idea of what I need to cover in the studio. I run a Tele through a 70's AC30 set clean-ish, and use a Diamond J-Drive TR (that was custom-made with less gain than usual, so picture a mild to medium gain pedal) on the boost side for my cleans to push the Vox a little over the edge, then use the gain side of the Diamond for my medium-gain textures. When I need the medium gain with a little more push for leads etc., I engage both sections of the Diamond. For the heavier gain sounds, I don't use the Diamond, but use a Barber Small Fry instead. So I typically use three different sounds, edgy clean, medium gain, and heavier gain, though sometimes just the vox with no pedals. How do I accomplish my myriad textures when I record? Do I use the same pedals and in the same segments of the songs as I usually do, and just back off the amount of gain, or do I use the Vox by itself, and crank it in the live room in the studio for the higher gain stuff, and back it off for the cleaner stuff, and just punch in for these different segments?

    Thanks for any and all help. I'm a recording novice, but had a blast in the studio today watching the drummer start his drum tracks. Looking forward to recording my parts, I just want to be as prepared as possible like I mentioned earlier. Thanks!! :)
     
  2. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    I would say try to ditch as much of the pedals as possible.

    With a Tele and a Vox cranked up you'll get way better crunch sounds than running the amp clean and relying on a pedal.

    Let your ears tell you how to tweak the amp, record a pass and listen back in the control room then tweak your amp accordingly.
     
  3. tapeup

    tapeup Butterscotch Supt. Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Cool, thanks Unburst! So for the various parts of a song where I have several different shades of gain, would you say I just crank the Vox, and try either rolling my guitar volume back a little bit for the medium-gain and clean textures, or adjust the amp and cut and paste the different segments of the song(s) where I need various shades of gain?
     
  4. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Me personally, I would decide what sound I want for each section and record each part separately.
    The volume roll thing works fine too :)

    What I can say that as an engineer, if the guitar player brought in a Tele and a Vox I'd be thinking "Sweet, we're gonna get some great sounds today" than if he started plugging in all kinds of O/D pedals and talking about his live sound, I'd be thinking "Uh-oh..."

    The beauty of the studio is you don't have to do everything in real time, you can stop recording, reset the amp and punch-in.
     
  5. tapeup

    tapeup Butterscotch Supt. Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Okay, thank you very much for the advice Unburst! I guess I could even experiment with having two or three of my amps in the studio cranked to see if I like the gain tones of some of the other amps for any of the song tones too huh? Hmmm.... I appreciate the input!:AOK
     
  6. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    That's the spirit! :AOK:
     
  7. tapeup

    tapeup Butterscotch Supt. Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Alright! Can't wait to get in there and try these things! Thanks again Unburst! :)
     
  8. Timmylikesthing

    Timmylikesthing Member

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    I'd still take the pedals though.

    I mean, Tele + AC30 = Heaven and that's just well known.

    But sometimes you may want that tone that a pedal offers. Take the pedals but plan on using just the amp. If you need more than that combo offers you can quickly patch in a pedal.

    Also, as for the guitar sounding great in the room and crap on the recording thats because of the whole amp, room and mic interaction thing. Bad mic, bad room, bad placement? Could be any number of things.

    The less gain + more mids combo came from the modern rock and metal areas where layering guitar upon guitar upon guitar is very prevalent. When layering tons of guitars, this is very important because otherwise the guitars get oversaturated and overcompressed. Not to mention alot of band who play this music are trying to emulate guitar sounds that were recorded this way hence the lack of mids and overuse of the gain knob.

    Good luck and have fun,
    Tim
     
  9. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    It's more to do with the way a mic hears your amp vs the way your ear hears the amp.

    Guy typically dial in the amp and listen a few feet back then put a mic with a very tight field 1" away from the speaker, and then wonder why it doesn't sound the same.
    Put your ear where the speaker is and you get a better idea of what the mic is picking up.
     
  10. Timmylikesthing

    Timmylikesthing Member

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    Or put the mic where your ear is... ;)
     
  11. tapeup

    tapeup Butterscotch Supt. Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks guys, you are both helping me out a lot, I definitely appreciate it!

    Should I take as many of my amps and guitars into the studio as I can, even if I don't use all of my various guitars and amps when I play with this particular band? I don't know if that question makes sense or not.
     
  12. Timmylikesthing

    Timmylikesthing Member

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    When my band recorded our first EP we took everything.

    We had at our disposal-

    AC30
    Bassman Reissue
    Orange AD30
    Sovtek Mig 50
    Mesa Dual Rec
    Marshall JMP 2203
    Hiwatt HiGain 50

    70's Orange 2x12
    Marshall 1960A
    Mesa Roadking Cab
    Ampeg 8x10
    Sunn 2x15

    American Strat
    SG Standard
    LP Custom
    335
    2 Different Teles

    2 Full Drum Kits
    5 Snares

    Fender Jaguar Bass
    Fender Precision Bass
    Fender Jazz Bass

    Butt Load of Pedals

    This last time, it was tight getting everything in the van, so we used

    Orange AD30
    Sovtek Mig 50
    Marshall JMP 2203
    Hiwatt HiGain 50

    Marshall 1960B
    Mesa Roadking Cab

    SG Standard
    LP Custom
    Hot Rodded Mexican Tele

    1 Drum Kit
    2 Snares

    Fender Jazz Bass

    OCD
    Memory Lane
    Sansamp BDDI

    That's still a lot, but we wanted to minimize the choices and force ourselves to not get lost in the options, and it really worked well for us.

    It's cool to have options, its just not cool to have too many.

    Where that cut off point is for you guys is up to you.

    Depending on the amps, maybe find an amp that does your crunchier sounds better than the vox + pedal combo. Maybe. But I'd put the vox through it's paces and really get it to sweat before I made any choices. Amps act differently at volume and that's one benefit of the studio: the option to use volume to acheive tone.

    Good luck,
    Tim
     
  13. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    In theory that would work but in practice...not so much.
     
  14. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Sure, take it but make some notes beforehand on what you want to use where.

    Take a look at your songs and work out what would be the best combination of guitar/amp for each part on each song.
     
  15. Timmylikesthing

    Timmylikesthing Member

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    Haha, so true. It works pretty well with condensors and ribbons but umm, not so much with a dynamic mic. (I like my AKG 414 about 2-3 feet back in figure 8 if the room is awesome.)

    The easiest way for me is to have a really long mic cable and a really long speaker cable and have the cab away in a different room and use the monitors to tell me what the mic is picking up.

    Easier to work that way and with less ear fatigue.
     
  16. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    If you have a pair of 414's set them both to figure 8, point one at the amp a few feet back and put the other right on top of the first mic pointing 90 degrees away.
    Gives a great stereo picture of the room.

    I usually track in the control room but I miss the vibe and interaction of being next to the amp.

    As far as dialling the amp in, I don't even start until I've heard it through the monitors, then I'll adjust it accordingly/move the mics etc.
     
  17. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Silver Supporting Member

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    I can get all the tones from about 20 of your favorite amps using my OD boxes and ONE Alessandro English head going into a Scumback 1/12...all recorded/played at reasonable volumes...Pedals like the Eternity, Jeter GSR and Mosferatu are as good or better sounding than most amps.....I used to own 20 amps...now own 4, and 20 overdrive pedals!! just something to think about...
     

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