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Guitar tone sounding really brittle when I turn up the mid range.

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by jordan_nalley, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. jordan_nalley

    jordan_nalley Active Member

    I'm playing a PRS Custom 22 into a DSL100.

    Here's how I have it (it might look crazy, but sounds good.) :
    Presence: 5
    Treble: 1ish
    Middle: 2ish
    Bass: 7-8ish
    Volume: 7-8ish
    Gain: 2, or up to 2.5ish for metal.
    Deep: On
    Tone Shift: Off
    Ultra Gain: Off

    Just for reference, I'm aiming for something like this: Paramore - Decode - Video Dailymotion

    It sounds great, don't get me wrong.. But if I turn up the middle or treble at all, it sounds like trash.
    I feel like the middle knob controls somewhere around 3000hz.
    And I feel like the bass knob controls the low mid range a bit as well. Maybe up to 600hz.
    No control in-between, which would be very useful.

    Is there something wrong with the amp, or is this to be expected with my set up?

    Also, my gain stays way low on the distorted channel. It just makes me question why this is.. And if my gain is that low, even when I play metal... What on earth is the Ultra Gain button for?
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Well, the art of playing/performance and the art of recording are quite different from one another. So you can't expect to necessarily arrive at the same recorded sound as your live performance sound. That's the art of engineering. I can tell you how to record something but since I'm not a guitarist I'm not going to try and tell you what you should do. I will get a good sounding recording of your guitar and then it's up to engage and manipulate it into something you can be proud of. It's not simply make the guitars sound good and expect the microphone to translate that to your recording. You have to work at and perfect everything you set out to do. I could try to ask Paul Reed Smith how to get what you want out of one of his guitars since he purchased 8 of my Neve audio console modules from the but I'm not going to do that. He was merely my customer. Though he did tell me that he was going to have his tech modified my 3115 modules to be pure Class A. I advised him not to do that. So he didn't. So in that respect, I would tell you to flatten out your amplifier on your guitar, stick a 57 in front of your amplifier and start experimenting with your software. All those gobbledygook settings you've dialed in may be doing more harm than good. This is why you're a guitarist and I'm a recording engineer. Maybe a ribbon microphone on your guitar amplifier would be better? Maybe having a room microphone in addition to that would be better? Maybe utilizing the ribbon microphone as the room microphone and 57 on the guitar amplifier might be better? Maybe tweaking the tone controls on your guitar amplifier loll your engineer listens through the control room monitor might be better? See what I'm talking about? There is no cut and dry instant drive through gratification like you get at McDonald's. Maybe a Neumann U87 with a pad switch on might be what you're looking for? But that microphone will set you back more than $3300 US. But maybe you might want the earlier tube version known as the U-67 and you probably won't find one of those for less than $4000 US. Of course with those you want a good microphone preamp like a $1200 Neve or maybe just a $600 API? And then you need the plug-ins in your software to make it sound really bad ass. And that can set you back a bundle for another bundle as opposed to a bungle in the jungle. But then again, that might not require anything more than a $100 SM57 into your favorite Mackie or, Barringer to attain the same thing. It's really the directions to Carnegie Hall that matter most.

    Every musician knows the directions to Carnegie Hall
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  3. jordan_nalley

    jordan_nalley Active Member

    This had very little to do with my question... Or maybe I'm just completely lost.

    In person, the middle is painful to turn up. Is there an obvious problem?
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Of course there is an obvious problem. You've already stated that fact. Sorry if my explanation confused you.

    OK, there are numerous ways in which to deal with this. If you like the tone on the amplifier its delivering with the signal source, then it's right. If the recorded sound has the issue you don't like, one could try a little trick with software. In software, you generally have a bunch of choices of compressors and limiters. One of your choices you may see is one labeled as a "De-Esser". This can be useful in dynamically controlling those mid-band frequencies. And it does this dynamically so that at lower levels it won't be working as hard as it will be at higher levels. This can tame that objectionable sonic problem. You don't always have to utilize things designed specifically for other issues. And that's one of the really cool things about audio engineering.

    Conversely, if the sound that the amplifier is producing with your sound source is objectionable, it's up to you to correct the amplifier. Nobody else is going to do it for you. So what I'm really trying to say is that generally, we want something to sound right before we just stick a microphone on something and record it. Failure is not an option so trying to fix it in the mix would be a compromise. Not that compromise is a dirty word, it's not. But it might not be the most desirable way to go. You don't want to recover from something that shouldn't have happened in the first place. So by your description, I would think you are having problems with your amplifier and its settings? So when you tell the doctor it hurts when I do this the answer is generally don't do that. So where do you feel the problem exists? Does it exist at the amplifier or does it exist in the recording?

    Sometimes my responses are designed to compare with an analogy than with something directly. To be a good engineer, you have to think through what exactly is happening. And where it's happening. Only then can you make a recording that you can enjoy and be proud of. Having to fix something is like buying a brand-new car that doesn't run. That opportunity might only make sense if it was a Lamborghini, Maserati or Aston Martin. It wouldn't make sense if there was a Chevrolet. Though I have considered purchasing a used Stingray with a blown engine. I would then replace the engine with a small 4 cylinder engine. This would give me a great looking car that would get great gas mileage and still look like it was going fast when it was sitting still. LOL. And I'm goofy enough to do something like that. Imagine... a stingray that would get more than 35 miles per gallon. Then everyone would want one.

    I think I would have to equip it with a good stereo system that would have a sample playback of a gigantic V8?
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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