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Critique Heavy Metal Guitar Sound

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by Toothgrinder, May 8, 2012.

  1. Toothgrinder

    Toothgrinder Active Member

    This is a rough mix, and right now I am working on the guitar sound as well as just writing music. I previously recorded about five songs just using a direct method, and that sounded pretty good except I had to do A LOT of EQ work on the back end. In my brief experience with this I have discovered that it's better to tailor a guitar sound up front that is already going to work pretty well in the mix and then do minimal post-processing later.

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    Edit - Previous MP3 was a bit noisy and I suspect it may be Quicktime (the player my Macbook uses). I am currently uploading a higher bit-rate version. Hopefully it sounds okay for users with the Flash player. End edit

    This track is recorded using Reaper, which allows me to have the project file and recordings available on-the-fly at my home "studio" and on my laptop at school (I'm in dental school at OU). I use the laptop to write drum bits on EZDrummer, and occasionally I will do a random, "Buh-dum-KAH!" when a professor tries to make a joke. Gets a laugh every time.

    I've got the MetalHeads expansion, and I've recorded a bass part DI to give me some perspective as far as where I can fit this sound into my overall spectrum. I am using a VOX practice amp with amp mods, and am using an imitation of Dimebag Darrell's tone from "This Love" as a jumping-off point (it came programmed into the amp.) I have the bass set around 2, the mids about 4, and the treble at about 8, and it sounds good to me in the room. Distortion is at about 25, lol (not really, but you catch my drift.)

    The amp is miked using a Sennheiser 421 placed sort of arbitrarily in the "sweet spot" near the middle of the 8" speaker on my VOX. The Inteface is a Midiman 1010LT, and I'm using that mic preamp. I am not rolling off the low end on that mic because why do that? The whole point of the 421 is it's got balls!!

    I appreciate your time and your comments. I want to establish a guitar sound to work with before I dive into this project any further.
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I think you have double posted this. Sort of like an impacted tooth. You need to pull it. LOL

    Pass the gas please
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  3. Toothgrinder

    Toothgrinder Active Member

    No, different track, but the same question. I'm still new here so I'm not sure the best place for this sort of thing. If anything we can get rid of this one because it's older and it's got the noise problem with bit conversion.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I can't moderate this forum.
  5. Toothgrinder

    Toothgrinder Active Member

    What do you think of the tone? howdy

    Is 421 an appropriate mic selection for a metal groove? I've never tried it before (always used SM57 like everyone everywhere, and like Jesus used in the Bible...)
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I've used my 421 for metal guitar and like them. 57's also. Though I'm not hearing the bite or the grit or the presence I think I should be hearing from your guitars? They almost sound anesthetized? Are you adding too much compression and/or limiting to them? Too many plug-ins? I think the 421's bite better than 57's. Maybe it's your preamps? The guitars sound kind of fizzy, zippy without any lower grind. The waveform does not look like a brick but the guitars are not forward enough. They're really quite behind the drums. Metal should be just the opposite of that. The guitars are the sound the drums should be behind the guitars. It's all bass drum. So it's hard for me to evaluate. We shouldn't just be cleaning the teeth we should be pulling them. I think you'll understand that? Listen to some Metallica. This all sort of sounds like a slather. This should all push out from the speakers but it sounds like it's sucking in. It sounds to me like too many plug-ins were utilized? Basics, go back to the basics.

    It drools along.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  7. Toothgrinder

    Toothgrinder Active Member

    No plug-ins, actually, other than the EZDrummer VST. I've improved on this tone and simply turned up the mids some. Much meaner now, I think.

    As we learn in medicine-related fields you're always best advised to prevent cancer than wind up on chemotherapy! Same goes for heart disease, etc. Or cavities, root canals...

    At this point I am in the early stages of this project and value your feedback tremendously. Hopefully putting in time up front will save me a lot of time later, and yield a much better product down the road. I'd much rather start with something good and then work to make it excellent then start with mediocre and pull my hair out to make it good..ish.
  8. Jeff Hayat

    Jeff Hayat Active Member

    Hi there.

    First off, if you are going to ask for some advice on sound, you should think about posting a .wav file. Or at the very least, a 320kb mp3, instead of 192.

    Secondly, it's hard to tell exactly what is going on with the guitar sound, but it sounds very thin and grainy. It seems to be lacking some balls, and some punch. I am also hearing some distortion - not the distortion from the amp, but some other distortion that sounds like clipping. Not sure if that's the guitar, or the the mix.

    Why not post a snippet of just the guitar - no drums, no bass. It would be a lot easier to offer some advice that way.

  9. Toothgrinder

    Toothgrinder Active Member

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    No bass, but some drums on there. I'd describe it as old-school 80's metal.

    You're right. The noise on the previous track is a product of using multiple computers for this project. For whatever reason the Mac I used didn't process the MP3 correctly, but the project file sounds okay. Eh. Am using both PCs and Macs.

    Technical details you discover when you try something different. I'm also collaborating with my brother in Chicago, so it has to be 44.1 kHz at this point, too. He doesn't have access to a professional interface, but he's going to be writing better drum parts for me. When we have everything written and arranged how we like it I will re-record everything in 96/24. This will give me an opportunity to really experiment with this guitar and get a sound that I am happy with. I can get to know this amp better and this mic as well, which I haven't used for rock guitars before this project.

    I turned bass up and added some mids. Brought the gain down to about 5.5-6, and I also moved the amp and the mic. Two guitars; one left and one right panned at 36% with no processing or EQ.
  10. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you should listen the band 'Deaths' 'Symbolic' album in your recording room(s). Chuck Schuldiner's guitar sound seems like the closest comparision to your recording i can think of, off hand. His sound is for sure raw, the highs on the guitar are i'd say exaggerated, both not harsh. It's got the chunk too, not like say chimaira, or cannibal corpse, i'd say more of a marshall's sound.
    Check out the 'bonus' version of 'symbolic'. it levels the playing field w/ 4 trk demo versions of a couple excellent songs on the album, as far as engineering experience, and studio equipment. You can hear what his rig sounded like at home, and in the studio. I thinks it's a good reference because his sound is generally similar in both cases, but w/ some notable differences.
    44.1/24 is decent. i suggest you move your mic off the cone a bit, ? are you playing a solid state guitar amp?
  11. Toothgrinder

    Toothgrinder Active Member

    I love Symbolic! No one can top Chuck's work, ever.

    I agree about the 4-track demos. As far as my room and my system it has strengths and weaknesses. A strength: it is plaster and lathe construction and is open on both ends. Back end has a leather couch, which is quite massive. That is sort of a "dead end" and makes for a good home theater. Action movies, like Terminator 2 sound completely devastating in there with the system.

    The system is a weakness: a commercial JVC home theater amp I have wired to a pair of Polk Audio "monitors" that I wouldn't call monitors. I didn't want to fry the speakers with massive bass loads coming from movies so I passively crossed over to a single 15" Black Widow I have stashed in a ported box behind the couch. I don't worry about it as far as a reference because I largely ignore bass on my mixes anyway and reference bass/treble on headphones.

    At the moment that is the "studio" I'm working with. Most of my money went into the house and the place has decent acoustics, so it's a trade-off. Could be a decent home studio some day when I graduate school and get some money. Dentist's salary should pay for some real monitors!!

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    I have been told it sounds like Necrophagist or Cannibal Corpse. I just wanted to jack with timing changes and add/subtract notes from the structure of the chorus. This is a working edit of the piece that will give me raw material for writing vocals. The vocals will then determine additional editing and so on.

    The guitars are layered now:

    Vox VT40+, miked with the 421 - it is a solid state amp with a single tube on the power amp stage. I have overdriven the tube and pulled back on the Gain a little, so the distortion is a mix of the amp modelling effect (probably a Mesa model, not sure) and the actual tube driven hard.

    Vox Amplug Metal, which is my writing tool I use on breaks at school to write riffs and record ideas. It has that real throaty, bassy death metal sound reminiscent of Dismember or some of that dirtier early death metal stuff, like Obituary maybe.

    Initially I was just replacing that sound with the miked amp, but am experimenting with mixing the two here. The amp is pretty trebley, and that DI unit is pretty raw and dirty, so I find they sound pretty nice together. This is working for now at least for giving me a sound I can write with and send to my brother who will be writing drums in Chicago.

    Hopefully he will be recording real drums for me at some place up there. It's drum machine right now because that's what I have to work with. It helps to keep me tight on the guitars, too, like a metronome on steroids.

    That's all I'd say for these drums: metronome, basically. I get irritated listening to this beat for too long. It needs a real drummer (my brother) to give it a once-over. They are admittedly pretty repetitive and boring!

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