Distorted guitar .. compression?

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by Voiceofallanger, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    Guys I must consult you once more.. Sorry for asking so many damn questions but I have a lot to learn :p

    I was just wondering.. in relation to distorted guitars .. I always avoid compression as much as I can but lately even though I am recording with a valve amp and everything sounds wonderful solo it lacks that cutting edge to really push through properly.. so ..


    1) Would you recommend using compression to punch it up a little ?

    2) Do you EVER really tend to use compression on distorted rock guitar.

    Thanks :)
  2. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    I've used compression there to increase sustain...but I wanted an artificially sustained sound. It wasn't realistic guitar, it was artistic guitar.
  3. jordy

    jordy Active Member

    hey man thanks for the comment on my song!....umm i'll start off the replies i gues, giving you my limited knowledge, but i would say a definite NO on compressing the already distorted guitars - if you look at their waveforms, they should already appear pretty compressed looking.
    how many times are you doubling and how are you panning? i've heard of alot of bands double tracking like 4 times for big rhythms and then hard panning... for ex 75, -75, 100,-100
  4. jordy

    jordy Active Member

    oooopsy- sorry- i just saw that you said for "solo" guitar.....hmmm i'm interested to see the replies as well, as i often wonder about this
  5. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

  6. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    The EQ isn't working Dave. I've literally narrowed it down to guitar and bass.. got um to match up... Then I put the rest over and I've made sure the proper space is carved for everything and the guitar tone just isn't cutting enough...

    Could it be my pres not being able to handle it properly ? The tone sounds alright.. I've tried both layered and unlayered..

    I even took a reference mixed and copied it the best I could but the tone is just lacking... It's not the amp.. I've tried three, all valve.. one being a marshall JVM and it's not the mic or the placement because I have literally just tried a 57 in a few places.... Seems no matter what I do it just doesn't sound great.

    I've always been against compression when un-necessary and I was wondering if this was an exception.. All of you so far basically qualified that as a no.

    That's good enough for me.. back to the drawing board.. Hmmm what an exciting task!
  7. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    How much distortion is dialed in on the amp? Live, many players use 100% because it's easier to play, but in the studio, around 75% distortion really opens up a rhythm guitar. It gives it clarity and actually makes it sound "huger" than 100%. Lead solos are different, though.
  8. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    Mine is more like 30%
  9. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

  10. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    Damn...even up until now.. This is mashing my brain... freaking guitars.. I really need to try a better interface than an MBOX.. can't wait until my presonus 16.4.2 gets here.... I have heard a bunch of people get good tone through an MBOX though.. I wonder what the heck is going on..
  11. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    How about a different mic?
  12. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    What types of EQ do you have available? Sometimes is so subtle that you skim right over it expecting a huge difference when in reality its only a little here, a little there.....I like the Pultec in a case like this.
  13. Hack

    Hack Active Member

    U need to dial the amp in while listening to the sound in context.

    Boss makes a parametric eq pedal that is great for extra eq on guitars.

    Tube screamers, rats, fulltone fulldrives, mxr red, etc... These pedals apply heavy amounts of compression. Good for guitar leads.

    Back the mic off the amp. Use a fig 8 or omni mic. Get some early reflections in ur sound. Or at least apply some slap delay and fast verb.

    Let the start of the solo be a little too loud then back it off back into the mix. This will latch ur ear on to the solo so that when u turn it down u still hear it because it grabbed ur attention. This is a subtle automation trick that can be applied to anything u need to stand out but don't want to dominate the mix.
  14. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    A technique that I use on mixing the guitar solo is to put a type of "overdrive effect" on a aux bus and send the signal through that effect, which also has contour EQ built into the effect. I am on my crap computer right now and cannot recall what that effect is called, but it is a simple overdrive type plug. I have also found, more recently, that when mixing snare and bass drums I am sending those to the aux effect channel and using that same "overdrive" plug in the same fashion. I have then reduced other plugins on those snare/kick drums channels. Maybe this makes no sense but if you have any questions or are interested what type of overdrive effect I am using just ask... Peace~
  15. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    i wouldn't expect miracles from many built in pres. I've gotten some ripping guitar tones when i had an m-box, if not a tad dull. I would expect clean transparent (hopefully accurate full-range) reproduction. I would expect the presonus 16.4.2 pres to be just that and nothing more or less, based on my experince w/ their digimax, and eureaka channelstrip. So perhaps you might want to add an outboard eq/compressor on the way in. Or maybe some echo,verb,delay,panning to create interest? how bout some chorus? pitch shifting? Backwards tape effects? i'd be careful with distortion, especially the plugins, but maybe the track needs that excitement in the upper harmonics. If it's 32nd note arpeggios, i'd keep 'em clean as possible.
    If some modest eq isn't cutting it, then your problem is the solo itself (performance or arrangement), the tone going in (amp/pedal settings), mics (have you tried two mics, to get some room sound?).
    I use a boss ge-7 into a triple rectifier, works for me.
    Don't sell 'special effects' short tho, i mean look at tom morello's solo's what would they be like dry? not as cool for the song. Maybe its what the song needs for the solo to 'stand out', without being eq'd or turned up to the point of taking people's heads off.
    Squash the solo w/ compression if that helps, no rules man!
  16. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    I record all my electrics through my clean guitar amp (pre-amp section), then direct into the converters. I use Amplitube 3 from there to create the sound I want. Maybe you could try something like that? People have doubts about software amps, but I've found that Amplitube and Guitar Rig are great - but like anything else, you have to work with them to get the subjective sounds you like.

    I like the software amps because they allow me to postpone those decisions until later when I'm mixing. That way I'm not stuck with something tracked that I don't like.

    I have troubles playing fast solos without distortion, though, so in that case I run the electric direct into my PreSonus FP10 which splits it. One split goes to the converter, the other split comes back out and into a distorted amp I use for monitoring during tracking. Works for me.
  17. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Have you tried:

    • Moving the mic?
    • Moving the amp?
    • Changing the eq on the amp?
    • Adding an overdrive pedal?
    • Boosting the high mids around 2k or 5k?
  18. Voiceofallanger

    Voiceofallanger Active Member

    I have tried all of your suggestions hueseph. I will give it a bash more in context and see if I am having a "listening" problem.. Just not sure what the hell is going on right now.. My playing is fine, I've been a session guitarist for 3 years and I'm clean as a whistle.. I reckon I need to have another play about. It's just really bugging me that I can get drums (not my instrument) to sound incredible.. and vocals to.. but guitars... nope.. Really odd. Hrmm..

    Thanks for all the input guys I'll let you know when I suss it in case anyone else has the same issue.
  19. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    As an aside to this topic, let me say the 100% distorted, over-saturated guitar tone might be a security blanket to the guitar player, but it doesn't mic up through a good PA any better than it records. I have literally watched younger players whose tone was pure buzz and you could see their hand moving from an F (power chord naturally) up to an A, and you can't hear any discernible change in pitch coming out of their amp. - sweeeeet
  20. JohnTodd

    JohnTodd Well-Known Member

    So true, so true. Back in my metal years we played power chords - could get away with 100%

    But now-a-days they just play all 6 strings all the time and it goes to mush.

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