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The overly compressed/fizzy tone of YouTube guitarists

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The overly compressed/fizzy tone of YouTube guitarists

Postby NAJ » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:52 pm

I'll start out by saying I love the content from players like Pete Thorn, Rob Chapman, Shawn Tubbs, Rabea Massaad, Dan & Mick from That Pedal Show, and many of the others outstanding players who are making YouTube a better place... But I have a question about their overdriven guitar tones. Every time they dabble into the medium to high gain arena, what I'm hearing from their channels are severely compressed, fizzy, and not even remotely what they'd be hearing while in the room with the amp. Is it really just YouTube's audio compression doing this? When bands who have "made it" upload their content to YouTube, it sounds close enough to the lossless audio files I have on my hard drive to where I'm not complaining about fizzy guitar sounds. Is it as good as lossless audio? Not even close but it's enough to where I'm not complaining. So why are they having this issue? Sadly Rabea Massaad is a great example, the treble frequencies in his videos are so harsh and ugly to listen to, it's unacceptable when "this is your job".

As someone who's in the market for recording equipment, I'm afraid of falling into the same situation they're in where I'm thousands upon thousands of dollars deep into recording interfaces, direct boxes, mic preamps, the works... And then it just ends up sounding like someone turned the compression up to 11 in post. I'm not trying to bash these guys, hell I wish I was as good as them, but what they're uploading in terms of the medium to high gain content is not okay to my ears. The playing absolutely is, just not the tone - and if I were in the room with them as they were playing it I have no doubt I'd be ecstatic with what I'm hearing.

I see these players using top of the line equipment from Universal Audio, Apoggee, ect. and it doesn't seem to be helping their cause. The Universal Audio Ox is a great example. Looks amazing on paper, but pretty much every video featuring saturated guitar sounds from the Ox into a recording interface using their cab / mic sims are Fizzy with a capital F - it sounds revolting. Is this something that just can't be avoided with the equipment that's available for the retail user? Or some other variable I'm missing here? Sorry if this is coming off as negative, I'm just trying to wrap my head around all of this and it's probably easier to get answers if I don't sugar coat anything.

What I am hoping for, is to pinpoint what gear is most beneficial for recording, keeping the amp's tone in tact while doing so, avoiding the pitfalls of the players I've mentioned, and while staying in that $5k to $10k range of the budget I have. As well as any recording techniques that can help avoid these issues. I tried posting this to another forum only to get bombarded by internet trolls, but I have a feeling the conversation will have a much easier time staying on topic here.

Recording interfaces I've been considering:

Universal Audio Apollo 8p
Universal Audio Apollo 16
Apogee Symphony I/O MKII

Mic preamps:
Universal Audio 2-610 Dual Channel Tube Preamplifier
Demeter VTMP-2C Microphone Preamplifier

Other equipment:
Demeter STDB-1 Stereo Tube Direct Box
Fryette Power Station 2
Universal Audio Ox (although the clips I hear are not great, I'm willing to hear an argument for why it could sound better whether it's an EQ issue or whatever).

Some of this equipment is being used by the players I've mentioned, thus the hesitation in pulling the trigger. Any help in clearing up the confusion as to why these awesome players with expensive high end equipment are at the mercy of the overly compressed fizz is much appreciated. I'm in the process of building a home studio that includes sound proofing, and while I know plenty about guitars, amps, and effects this is one area I'm pretty ignorant in. Sound proofing my home is going to cost a pretty penny, and it doesn't make sense to go cheap on recording equipment. I know it sounds silly to jump all in like this, but I've done that with every amp and guitar I've ever bought which has served me quite well, so not sure why this should be any different.
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Re: The overly compressed/fizzy tone of YouTube guitarists

Postby resistorman » Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:28 pm

Well, they're putting it out there, so presumably they like the sound they're getting. It could just be a style and sound you don't like.

Most of the work in recording is getting a good musician playing music with the sound they love in a comfortable environment. Once that's happening it's comparatively easy... I won't say you can just stick a mic in front of them and all will be well, but that can actually happen.

For electric guitar, you don't need the most expensive equipment. The humble SM57 is still one of the best mics for capturing an amp, though a ribbon mic can often be a nice step up.
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Re: The overly compressed/fizzy tone of YouTube guitarists

Postby ef37a » Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:41 pm

Well, I am too "aurally challenged" to really comment these days but, I reckon the YT guitarists have the whole thing arse-uppards.

If you want to record an amp for tracks in a mix, ok, stuff a 57 against the fret but even then the 1000s of posts I have read on forums over the years tells me even then it is not easy to get a 'good tone'. However, if your idea is to show folks out there in YT land how nice your playing is you need to send them the sound YOU are hearing, not the pimped up sound mm from the cone?

There is an analogy with acoustic guitar. The home bod uses the "12 fret + another mic on the btm bout" formula but! If you were recording JW in a concert hall he would tell you to "go forth and multiply!" Nobody listens to V Lobos wiv an ear 12inches from the fingerboard!

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