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Home exp recording

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Home exp recording

Postby Postfuzz » Tue Dec 01, 2020 12:51 am

Hello everyone,
I'd like your experienced opinions on this subject:
I started planing on recording a new song at home. This time I come with a new approach to the guitar. Instead of double traking. Im gonna try splitting my signal to 2 amps. I want to achieve a bigger guitar sound by that instead of doubling.
Now, my room doesn't have any acoustics or panels or traps etc...
I was thinking of blankets and floor rugs for the buttom. And mattresses and pillows for sides and top. Also each amp will have a dynamic and a condenser kissing it for less acho.
Has anyone tried this?
Am I going to get a more handled echo sound
Or this will get me an unnatural more "box" sound?
Also, should I consider the open backs of the amps, and try damping those too?
(A side note, it's a big room and the amps will be 3-4 meters away from each other)
Cheers!
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Re: Home exp recording

Postby CS70 » Tue Dec 01, 2020 10:05 am

Postfuzz wrote:Hello everyone,
I'd like your experienced opinions on this subject:
I started planing on recording a new song at home. This time I come with a new approach to the guitar. Instead of double traking. Im gonna try splitting my signal to 2 amps. I want to achieve a bigger guitar sound by that instead of doubling.
Now, my room doesn't have any acoustics or panels or traps etc...
I was thinking of blankets and floor rugs for the buttom. And mattresses and pillows for sides and top. Also each amp will have a dynamic and a condenser kissing it for less acho.
Has anyone tried this?
Am I going to get a more handled echo sound
Or this will get me an unnatural more "box" sound?
Also, should I consider the open backs of the amps, and try damping those too?
(A side note, it's a big room and the amps will be 3-4 meters away from each other)
Cheers!

It's always cool and instructive to experiment! And yeah stereo amps are fairly common - and fun! A few comments..

Doubling makes your guitar "bigger" because it's not exactly the same part - it's the small unavoidable playing differences that create the size, when summed. . Sending the guitar to two different amps will yield a different sound, not necessarily bigger. Now if you double the doubled signal, we start talking! :D

A simple way of splitting the guitar signal - one at least I've used - it's to use a clean pedal with two outputs.. many Boss pedals have that.

There's also fo course Y pedals as well - I have a Radial one to have two loops on the pedalboard and it works just fine.

As of reflections, spend some time positioning the amps in the room, paying attention to the phase relationship .. if you used isolation boxes (or they were in different rooms) you would be able to nudge in post, but if they're in the same room you need to get that right at the recording.

You simply keep one fixed, and move the other while monitoring the result in good isolating headphones (you want to hear the monitored signal, not the sound in the room which may fool you). Having a friend helps a lot!

If you can and the cabs allow, keep the mic couples in similar relative positions, again to avoid phase issues. It gets quickly complex so monitoring is really your best bet, as opposite to many calculations.. "try and hear" is often a good method.

If you can, record also a room mic - it costs nothing and may get useful.

I find that using reflection filters when miking cabinets gives a lot of advantages - a stereo bar allows you to mount the two mics easily inside the same "shield". In your case, it may get expensive to have two RFs, some absorbent material placed behind and on top of the amp will do fine. The wrong material can give some boxiness however - and be careful of the material, lots of stuff which we think is "absorbent" either isn't or can be reflective, so monitor, monitor, monitor - hear the sound.

A trick I use is to have handy the same plywood board I use for acoustic guitar.. you place it on a guitar stand, and move it in front of the amps - starting about a meter or so and checking different distances. Being very reflective at midrange, it will change the interference patterns enough that you are usually able to use the reflections to your advantage.

Make sure the tracks average and peak at the same level - first you get the sound you like on the amp, then you set the preamp gain to ensure similar performance. Obviously if the two amps are set up vastly differently (a super clean and a very distorted one, for example) it's gonna be hard, but a little compression on the more dynamic can help.

Otherwise, just to try!
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Re: Home exp recording

Postby Postfuzz » Tue Dec 01, 2020 11:54 pm

Thanks CS70!

Yes, I'm aware of the reason you get a bigger sound by doubling.
I meant that I'm gonna make my guitar "sound" that way this time.

About the splitting- yes, I have to choose between the Boss PS-2,
Ibanez DE-7 and Arion SCH-1.
(This is a hard one, as they are lying around useless for years and pretty angry… :)

About the reflections, it’s a great idea to do phasing tests.
I will have to do these tests partially before and partially after some recording and adjust accordingly,
As I don't see a way the headphones will separate the room enough for me to make right decisions and changes.

"If you can and the cabs allow, keep the mic couples in similar relative positions, again to avoid phase issues. It gets quickly complex so monitoring is really your best bet, as opposite to many calculations.. "try and hear" is often a good method."

-Do you mean the same measured distance between two mics on each amp?

For a room mic I have two 'Zoom's waiting.
I'm thinking if I want to use them both as far apart,
And try to give an interesting sound or more air.
(Some parts of the song also invite sound shifting like that)
Although it might sound kind of dull and bassy outside the dampening and close to walls...

The plywood is a serious tip! Thanks! I didn’t think of that.

I thought of surrounding the amps with the home dampeners in proximity of around 2 meters in the front and maybe 1 meter to the sides. (On top I'm limited by how high the stuff are…)
So should I put the plywood after that, outside the dampeners?
Or the wood inside tilting up?

I also thought of recording the dry guitar in the process for reamping, If the need will come. (I need to find how to split that too)
Any thought on all of that?

Experimenting IS a lot of fun! :beamup:
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Re: Home exp recording

Postby CS70 » Wed Dec 02, 2020 12:37 am

Postfuzz wrote:About the splitting- yes, I have to choose between the Boss PS-2,
Ibanez DE-7 and Arion SCH-1.
(This is a hard one, as they are lying around useless for years and pretty angry… :)

Good to have options. Normally I'd say the cleaner the better but with electric guitar we know it's not necessarily true... :D

About the reflections, it’s a great idea to do phasing tests.
I will have to do these tests partially before and partially after some recording and adjust accordingly,
As I don't see a way the headphones will separate the room enough for me to make right decisions and changes.

Yeah, absolutely, a lot depends on the volume you have in the room and if you have closed back headphones for drummers it may help. But surely recording snippets and listening gets you more accurate resultsm, just a little slower.

"If you can and the cabs allow, keep the mic couples in similar relative positions, again to avoid phase issues. It gets quickly complex so monitoring is really your best bet, as opposite to many calculations.. "try and hear" is often a good method."

-Do you mean the same measured distance between two mics on each amp?

Yes. Each mic will receive the spill from the "other" amp with a certain delay, and if you keep the distance between the two mics in each couple about the same, should you need to nudge one couple, you will be more able to treat it as a "unit".

For a room mic I have two 'Zoom's waiting.
I'm thinking if I want to use them both as far apart,
And try to give an interesting sound or more air.
(Some parts of the song also invite sound shifting like that)
Although it might sound kind of dull and bassy outside the dampening and close to walls...

With electric guitars recorded in that way, you're literally shaping a sound and there are no expectations on how it should sound... it's really all about experimentation, so anything goes. I've used a single mono mic, making sure it was at about the same distance from the center of the speaker cabinets. Using two, I'd think again about phase - basically you want to try and make sure that the sound they capture from the same amp arrives at about the same time in average and since time is the distance divided by the speed of sound in air, you can do a simple math and get a starting point.

The plywood is a serious tip! Thanks! I didn’t think of that.

I thought of surrounding the amps with the home dampeners in proximity of around 2 meters in the front and maybe 1 meter to the sides. (On top I'm limited by how high the stuff are…)
So should I put the plywood after that, outside the dampeners?
Or the wood inside tilting up?

Not sure what the "home dampeners" are (do you mean foam tiles) but short of using an isolation box, the sound will come out, reflect on the walls, and get back into the mics. The way I use the plywood I simply place it in front of the amp (or amps) and listen to what it does to the timbre I hear in the cans. The more the amp+mics combo is isolated (both in terms of direct sound leaking out and reflections coming back into the mics) the less the plywood does - the more the direct sound, the more it will contribute to interference, but - unlike a wall - in a way that you quickly change. I've never "half isolated" the amps (aside from using the reflection filters on occasion) so I don't know.. but it sounds fun to try :)

I also thought of recording the dry guitar in the process for reamping, If the need will come. (I need to find how to split that too)
Any thought on all of that?

Just the other night we recorded some bass with both DI and miked amp as usual, and I used my "Brick" as a DI.. it has an "instrument in" input and an "instrument thru" output, and of course a DI out... so you can basically take the DI out from the box, but send the "instrument thru" to the splitter (in my case, to the amp).

The Brick is an old and long out of production piece of kit, but I'm sure there's plenty of other DIs doing the same thing.

Experimenting IS a lot of fun! :beamup:

Indeed! :thumbup:
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Re: Home exp recording

Postby musicegbdf » Wed Dec 02, 2020 10:21 am

Hi I am newbie around here so do not have much to contribute ,but found all above very interesting.
My guitar rig is split between amps. I split out of a T C Flashback box which is brilliant.
One half goes into a nice hand wired valve amp that is very dynamic and clean, but lacks some bottom end and depth . The other is an old Fender amp that has a lot of depth , but little definition. Together, they are sweet.
My little experience of recording it is sometimes better to to get a dry track down and if needed reamp or add effects later. Though as I say I am fairly new around here.
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Re: Home exp recording

Postby blinddrew » Wed Dec 02, 2020 11:17 am

I'll almost always take a DI recording as well, I rarely use it, but it's good to have in the back pocket. :thumbup:
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Re: Home exp recording

Postby The Elf » Wed Dec 02, 2020 11:57 am

It is a very good idea to take a DI. I see no downside to it. Not only does it give you options for re-amping, but it is also a critical timing reference should fixes be required (and they often are).

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Re: Home exp recording

Postby CS70 » Wed Dec 02, 2020 2:44 pm

musicegbdf wrote:Hi I am newbie around here so do not have much to contribute ,but found all above very interesting.
My guitar rig is split between amps. I split out of a T C Flashback box which is brilliant.
One half goes into a nice hand wired valve amp that is very dynamic and clean, but lacks some bottom end and depth . The other is an old Fender amp that has a lot of depth , but little definition. Together, they are sweet.
My little experience of recording it is sometimes better to to get a dry track down and if needed reamp or add effects later. Though as I say I am fairly new around here.

Absolutely, whatever works for you and the artist, and it costs nothing to take the DI..

And your amp setup via the TC sounds cool - I remember I was very excited when I discovered that by acquiring my vintage Jap CH-1 I had inadvertently given myself the option to play two amps at the same time! :D
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Re: Home exp recording

Postby Postfuzz » Thu Dec 03, 2020 3:23 am

A very good point about the microphones spill!
I don’t know why I haven’t thought of that.
This will drive me more to record flawless takes as possible,
to minimize the after editing if needed.

With the zoom mics ill probably go with just one.
As positioning them in the same distance from the two amps in this rectangle room will be pretty impossible…

The "home dampeners" are what I wrote in the first post.

This experiment is to make the most out of the minimum that I have.
Not a lower budget acoustics, but zero budget acoustics.
I'm going to build a "little house" of mattresses, pillows, rugs, blankets or any other I have found around and surround each amp.
To my understanding it might do a good job damping the 1-2k freq and up,
And hopefully it won't add to the struggle of the lower frequencies.
Also the louder I set the amps the more reverberant the room will get,
Here the plywood might come in handy.
So I'm taking that in account and i'll search for a "healthy" amplitude.

Are you talking about the "groove tubes" brick?
If so, any specific feature I should look for in the DI that I'm getting?
Or maybe instead of the DI I can use two pedals that have a stereo output.
Like the boss and Ibanez (which are both buffered)?
I mean if I'm using the 1st, to split for two amps.
I can connect a 2nd one in front of the 1st and have another split signal for the clean…?
I probably have to try and see, something sounds like a weird signal here.

Hi musicegbdf, that’s a nice setup.

One of my reasons to the split amps too,
is a bright Fender Deville valve amp with more of a "loudness" feel, and a trusty old Crate solid state amp with a pronounced mid and low mid.
The combination sounds fuller.
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