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Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby CS70 » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:32 pm

_Shifter_ wrote:I've always thought that the rough recordings are a bit harsh and maybe with a "cloudy" low-end. I try to raise at least one additional cab to see if the low end can be tighter.

About this - you're using drop tuning so obviously you will have a little more lows, but most often in a mix a guitar doesn't really have low end: it's the bass line which gives it.
Especially with solo lines or fast rhythmic riffs, it is the tight interlocking of bass/kick and guitar notes that gives the full sound, with the kick adding to the guitar attack and the bass long decay adding to the note's body. In a recording/mixing context you can get the same effect by hi-passing the guitars after the fact, but even better use the preamp EQ here as well, especially if you're overdubbing over the actual drums+bass track. That way, you play together with the actual bass/kick line and don't get all these guitar bass-ish frequencies bouncing around. In a proper room and with a proper position of the mic, you can even overdub with the track playing loud on the PA and get a bit of "glue" free of charge - it does not always work because of the sonic imprint of the room and the PA speakers, but it may give an unexpected boost to the recording.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby Jack Ruston » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:44 pm

I've had a listen to your file...

I wouldn't say these are thin or harsh...I'd say if anything they're not bright enough for the genre, they're muddy, almost boxy but that can change a lot when other things are corrected...They do have the lack of tightness, and 'blur' of dodgy acoustics, and it sounds to me as if the mic amp is being hit too hard, but I'm guessing. I think the amp isn't making the sound you want it to make, or the sound you think it's making, listening in the room. I think the multiple microphones are a distraction.

I'd just put up a single 57 and get that working before doing anything else. I'd change the amp, or the settings.

I'd also say, again, just guessing from the rough, that you're trying to make guitars do things that people are using a combination of guitars, synths, and bass to achieve. I'm not saying filter off all the bottom end from the guitars...I find that to be a mistake usually, but these things are usually layers of very tightly tracked guitars, midrangey bass, synths and subs etc.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby Janneman » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:13 pm

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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby _Shifter_ » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:47 pm

Jack Ruston wrote:I've had a listen to your file...

I wouldn't say these are thin or harsh...I'd say if anything they're not bright enough for the genre, they're muddy, almost boxy but that can change a lot when other things are corrected...They do have the lack of tightness, and 'blur' of dodgy acoustics, and it sounds to me as if the mic amp is being hit too hard, but I'm guessing. I think the amp isn't making the sound you want it to make, or the sound you think it's making, listening in the room. I think the multiple microphones are a distraction.

I'd just put up a single 57 and get that working before doing anything else. I'd change the amp, or the settings.

Thank you guys for taking your time to listen to my example and the feedback! Well Jack, I think you are describing the issues that I could not explain until now. But what do you mean by hitting the amp to hard? Do you mean the signal from the guitars hitting the amp or the actual audio signal hitting the mic preamp? Right now, I use some API 512c with a gain setting at approx. 11 o'clock. The output control on the line driver is maybe at 9 o'clock. I did some testing with different gain settings but I liked a little push best for the mic preamp. The level is around -18 to - 20 dBu.

So, I did another test with only the SM57 and the issues are still there. The first run of the Chorus/Post-Chorus guitar is without any improvements. The second run is made with an overdrive pedal in order to tighten the low end of my Mesa Rectifier and Orange. Each amp was used to record one take with the SM57 at the edge of the cone. The third run was recorded with the OD pedal (I thought it was a little tighter) and lots of duvets. I think there is not any night/day difference?! the last two runs are the Mesa SM57, then the Orange SM57 solo'ed.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ekcxo2qrftk4d ... 8.mp3?dl=0

Maybe the room is not the problem because I tried to optimize my amps' settings to my liking within the room and the duvets did not do a lot, either. Maybe the problem is the harsh tone of the amps that are only used at a relatively low volume? The guitars are still in Drop C. What do you guys think?

Other than that, you guys give me the impression that my recordings are workable to some point. I think, but that's not my goal that the clarity issue can be fixed with compression during the mixing process? But I really want to get it right at the source.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:12 am

IMO doing distorted guitars with big amps and low volume doesn't work. Get a small, 5 watts or less, amp with a low powered 12" speaker and use that. Then you can get the amp into it's sweet spot without bringing down the wroth of the neighbours (well maybe, even 5 watts can be seriously loud).
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby CS70 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:48 pm

I finally managed to listen ( to your last file) and honestly I don't find anything particularly wrong per se in the sound. And that's just because (imho) there is no "right" or "wrong" for distorted guitar... it's not like an acoustic, which has a sound by itself.

If what you mean is that the recording doesn't sound like it sounds to your ears in the room - well no, it never will.. not straight from the source. And that's because you never listen to the speaker with your ear one cm from the grille!

That means that your micked guitar amp sound is always, by definition, only a starting point if you want to get to what you hear in the room. To achieve that, you have to reproduce what happens to the sound while it travels to your ears: add some room reflections, even a little delay to phase-shift things if you are listening in a very reflective room, and possibly EQ both reverb and delay return to emulate the spectral changes imparted by your room. That would mellow the sound quite a bit.

Or another way is to set up the amp and the mics by listening to it on headphones, i.e. listening to what the mic captures. Typically you need to do that with the amp in another room or in a isolation box, because otherwise the local sound is too loud for even well isolated headphones. But since you record at low volume, it may be enough to set up the mic, back away, try, move the mic etc.

That way the sound you'll hear from the amp in the room will be quite different from what you expect, but it will be "right" in the recording.

I use both methods, depending on time and space available, and in generally with a bit of experience you can nail a good track (either starting point or almost-finished product) in ten minutes max.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby Wonks » Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:11 pm

If you have the ability to record a DI whilst playing, and then re-amp afterwards, you could then try tracking with the room amp sound you like, and then try to recreate that sound, or at least get a sound you like, when re-amping so you can adjust gains and mic positions for best results.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby jaminem » Thu Feb 21, 2019 5:45 pm

hhhmmm ok.

To me, those guitars aren't too bad...
The rhythm guitars especially sound pretty fat, maybe could do with being a little brighter

The lead is a little harsh probably around 3-4K?
My advice would be, use 1 mic (I'd go for the MD421 actually - its bit more forgiving) and monitor through some decent closed back cans, then adjust the EQ on your amp to take out some of those high mids....and maybe, dare I say it reduce the gain a touch. If that makes it too dull, and you can't get a balance you like, then move the mic.
But as others have said, you want to be dialling in the sound based on what the mic is hearing, rather than what you get in the room.

The other thing that occurs is, how are you monitoring the recorded output - several independent people have listened and don't think this its especially bad. Is it possible that your monitoring environment is making it sound harsher than it actually is?
Just a thought....
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby _Shifter_ » Thu Feb 21, 2019 8:19 pm

jaminem wrote:But as others have said, you want to be dialling in the sound based on what the mic is hearing, rather than what you get in the room.

The other thing that occurs is, how are you monitoring the recorded output - several independent people have listened and don't think this its especially bad. Is it possible that your monitoring environment is making it sound harsher than it actually is?
Just a thought....

I think I am about to recognize the issue thanks to you guys: I increased the volume a bit (around 89 SPL now) and did some EQing on the amp after my initial recording with the mic sound in mind. I did reduce a tiny bit of gain and treble and optimized the mic placement. It wasn't on the edge of the cone, just a tiny bit below. I fixed that now and was surprised about the difference between the room and the recorded sound for the first time!

Here are the new results:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/chhklh5vv17kv ... 5.mp3?dl=0

Take one with the drums is quite loud in the room, take two is the old one that sounds harsh und undefined to me. The new and the old results are with and without drums. The results are still not that super tight, but I think there is an improvement. Do you guys hear the differences? The new recordings sound a bit beefier. I think I will have to work on clarity. Maybe the speakers are now working a bit more so that the results are more pleasing. But you are right, with some distance, both recordings seem to work in a mix, I guess.

My monitoring is not that great either. The monitors are placed in one line with my ears, but they are placed on a table next to the cupboards and the cabs. It is impossible to listen to the mic without bleeding of my amps through my closed beyerdynamic headphones. I record, then listen to the results and do some adjustments a few times at the moment.

I am able to reamp, but there are also issues with the correct output level. I cannot set the output gain in the TotalMix software (RME Fireface interface) that precisely. Sometimes there is too little signal, sometimes there's too much and the audio through the amp sounds more distorted. E. G. I need 8dB of gain, but the software only allows 0 or 10 dB.

I think we are slowly getting there, what do you guys think? Thank you for taking your time and all your help!
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby jaminem » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:13 am

Had a listen.
To me the best sounding guitars there are the ones after the drums stop - they sound good, nicely balanced, good stereo and I suspect will site well with the right bassline. About halfway through they get too bright for my taste, but tbh I think that's what were talking about here - taste! I don't think the drums are too loud either!
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby Wonks » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:59 am

Surely if re-amping, you can control the output level from your DAW as well as the Total Mix software? I know the real answer is to get something like the Radial Re-amp box that will drop a line-level output down to a guitar level signal, but it's quite expensive so you could at least try the software option first.

Are you using any reverb on the amp or adding any afterwards? I'd avoid it on the amp and any added in the DAW needs to be carefully crafted so not to make the low-end sound flabby. You may find a noise-gate will help to keep things sounding super-tight if you have a suitable plug-in and can get the parameters dialled in.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby _Shifter_ » Fri Feb 22, 2019 4:55 pm

jaminem wrote:Had a listen.
To me the best sounding guitars there are the ones after the drums stop - they sound good, nicely balanced, good stereo and I suspect will site well with the right bassline. About halfway through they get too bright for my taste, but tbh I think that's what were talking about here - taste! I don't think the drums are too loud either!

Thank you very much for your feedback. The guitar sound you prefered is the new, louder recording. I like it a lot more, too. I'll work on clarity but I think there are acceptable results for this room and SPL level. I am very glad that you guys expressed that these sounds are workable despite each indivual's taste.

[quote=wonks]Surely if re-amping, you can control the output level from your DAW as well as the Total Mix software? I know the real answer is to get something like the Radial Re-amp box that will drop a line-level output down to a guitar level signal, but it's quite expensive so you could at least try the software option first.

Are you using any reverb on the amp or adding any afterwards?[/quote]

Thank you for the advice, I think, I'll have a look at these noise gates. Regarding your question, I do not use any reverb for my distorted electric guitar recordings, I think that's something that should be added during mixing, if needed.

I already use a combination of the Radial J48 and JCR boxes. I am currently using a very old Macbook with Garageband so that there is only little room for level adjustments (-6dB to +6dB). I could not manage it to get the right output level, but I will try once again.

I'll also add the other microphones with the new recording SPL level and see how this works. The sound of the SM57 recording was to me liking.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby CS70 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:52 pm

_Shifter_ wrote:Thank you for the advice, I think, I'll have a look at these noise gates.

Hei, just for clarity, a reamp box is not a noise gate. It simply takes the line-level (higher) voltage down to an instrument level voltage (lower) so from the point of view of the rest of the chain it looks like it was emitted by a guitar. This way, the signal does not risk to overload, for example, an amp front end.

You can think of it as a sort of adapter, it really should not affect the content of the signal (noise included).
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby Wonks » Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:03 pm

I mentioned software noise gates in my post. I don't think _Shifter_ is getting them confused with reamp boxes.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby CS70 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:05 pm

Ah sorry my bad :)
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby _Shifter_ » Fri Feb 22, 2019 7:55 pm

CS70 wrote:Ah sorry my bad :)

No problem! :-) I will let you know as soon as I find the time to test the new things learned from you guys.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby _Shifter_ » Sun Feb 24, 2019 2:30 pm

Sorry for double posting, but there is no way to edit my comment. Here it is, I tried to crank my amps as much as possible in my small room without ear bleeding to finish this rough sample.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/kw879dexitvle ... e.mp3?dl=0

Except for LPFs and HPFs on each recorded track, there is no EQing on the guitars, just volume adjustments. I used a SM57 / ribbon mic with my Orange amp for one take, the MD421 / ribbon mic and the Mesa amp for another take. Hence, rhythm guitars are double tracked. I did some octave playing on it with the Orange setup.

The bass guitars are a combination of the DI output of my bass amp and the MD421 on the edge of the cone. I used some compression on the bass guitars.

I did all the volume adjustments with my headphones and monitors later on. So, do you guys hear an improvement? I am still not that content with the lead guitars (I think they are still a bit harsh), but I guess with more experimentation on the mic placement, everything could be fine. I think these rough results might work now and can be optimized during the mixing process.

So, the room does not seem to cause the biggest problems, I think I might be using too many mics with overlapping frequencies and most importantly, the amps are not cranked enough.

I also tested some reaping (not on this track), I managed to adjust the output level from my DAW (The Radial JCR output is still maximized) and it seemed to work now concerning the recording level. But there is a new problem, despite lifting the audio, I get huge hums. I will check out some noise gates in the future.
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby blinddrew » Sun Feb 24, 2019 2:44 pm

You've probably got this covered already, but for anyone who's reading along, this is - I think - a very useful little video on the subject: https://www.neumann.com/homestudio/en/r ... ars-part-2
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby _Shifter_ » Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:36 am

blinddrew wrote:You've probably got this covered already, but for anyone who's reading along, this is - I think - a very useful little video on the subject: https://www.neumann.com/homestudio/en/r ... ars-part-2

That's a very informative video, thank you! I am looking forward to part 3.

There is another question that really bothers me. We have two guitar players in our band. How would you guys track two players for a rock band? My current plan would be as follows:

Guitar Player 1:
First take: 1x SM57+1x Ribbon mic: Orange amp + cab, Les Paul I
Second take: ??? (Do I need a different mic setup?) Orange amp + cab, Les Paul II

Guitar Player 2:
First take: 1xMD421 +1x Ribbon mic: Mesa amp + cab, Les Paul II
Second take: (???): Mesa amp + cab, Les Paul I

The question is: Is it necessary to double track each player for a balanced tone? What is more, it is necessary to use a different mic setup for the second take? I read about it in the "Making modern metal: Part 2" article where the engineer used a combination of dynamics and later on a combination of a dynamic/condenser mic. I do have issues with fizz when I use too many mics (think of the harsh tone for one take with the MD421, SM57, Ribbon combination), is this going to be an issue here? I'll get at least 8 tracks for rhythm guitars then and maybe lots of overlapping frequencies? How do you catch up with the lead guitars? 2x4 guitar tracks panned left and right are loud in comparison to one track solo guitar in the center.

What do you guys think? How do you record two guitar players in a band? Thank you very much in advance for your advice!
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Re: Recording electric guitar in an untreated room

Postby blinddrew » Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:31 pm

My tuppence-worth is 'if you're not sure why you're using a technique, don't use it' *. This is a mistake I made a couple of years ago doing my first full band recording. I'd read so much and ingested so many techniques and tips I was completely overdoing things.
Fortunately a couple of people here set me straight and I started again by taking off virtually every plug-in I'd used - it immediately sounded better... :D
So getting back to your question, sorry about that, what are you trying to achieve with the double tracking? Is it a requirement of the genre (e.g. the metal example you quote)? Or is it for another aesthetic aspect? Or is it just because?
If you've got two guitar parts then you can achieve a very full and balanced sound by panning one hard left, the other hard right but then panning their reverbs to the opposite sides.


* Unless you're just doing it for the hell of experimentation, in which case, knock yourself out. :)
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