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Home studio set up for metal

Discussion in 'Recording' started by trojanmantony, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. trojanmantony

    trojanmantony Active Member

    ok, so this is my first thread. i am the drummer and rhythm guitarist for my band. over years i have upgraded recording equipment. i started with a 4 tracks and bounced tracks by mixing down to a vcr, which sucked. i have grown up and want to pursue a degree in audio production. my band plans to record a 10 song album by ourselves. this is my set up, all my band and i have for gear:

    -boss br-600
    -xenyx 1202fx with 4 mic preamps
    -cheap vocal mic, tascam vocal mic, shure sm58 vocal mic
    -marshall mg series half stack
    -crate 220 watt bass combo
    -first act masterclass with remo pinstripe batter heads, evans g2 resonant heads, emad 2 bass drum with click pad, zildjian zxt hihats, paiste custom crash, meinl hcs ride, sabian b8 splash
    -boss floor pedal effects unit, the 500 dollar one
    -good collection of high quality cables for all instruments
    -slew of ibanez, jackson, and bc rich guitars
    -squire bass(not the cheapest one)
    -dell inspiron with linux, audacity, and tons of plugins
    -garage or my bedroom, about the size of garage almost
    -rack effects include a preamp and two effects units, vintage from 80s, very nice, sonic maximiser, tuner, marshal guitar preamp, and a power conditioner.
    -three mic stands
    -guitarists father has a ton more guitars, rack unit stuff, original jcms 800s, 1960a cabs, maybe more mics etc.

    my question is can i get a good sound from all this? my drums are on a riser and i broke standing wave issues and im building bass traps. i am looking for a vintage metal sound, much like seasons in the abyss by slayer and sepultura's beneath the remains, i like live open sounding drums and we record all guitars direct with boss equipment and other digitech effects, and analog preamps. is this possible? we also have a 24 inch imac with garageband to help master or mix, all recordings are exported from boss, better ideas? this could help get me a scholarship for art institute.
  2. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    tjt wrote "my band plans to record a 10 song album by ourselves"

    It's good to have goals but for the cost of the equipment that you would need to purchase in order to do a great job you could probably find a decent studio willing to record your project. This would have the added benefit of you getting a hands on education in how its done. It really isn't as simple as buy some equipment, produce a world class album though Guitar Center would like you to think so. It keeps young people coming in to buy prosumer gear that makes them feel like, if I only bought one more piece of gear I would sound just like Slayer.

    Just as buying a set of drums doesn't make you a great drummer, buying gear won't make you a great recording it takes skills and those skills require a lot of practice. I am not trying to disuade you from getting into recording just trying to tell you that it is an endeavour unto itself.

    Great engineers can make great recordings on good equipment and poor engineers can only make poor recordings on the very best equipment.

    The Boss multi tracker is not really even decent equipment IMO. Again I am not telling you that you can't or shouldn't just a little dose of reality.
  3. trojanmantony

    trojanmantony Active Member

    thx for reply, i know we arent as good as slayer, i know my set up is not ideal, all i can really afford more is an sm57 or some condensers, i just want to make best of my stuff, thats why i like seasons in the abyss kind of stuff, very raw and live. any suggestions to make my stuff sound better? and im not too new to recording, just broke, been a hobby for 6 years and i have been playing for a lot longer than that.
  4. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    I have a home studio for metal!!! You are talking to the right guy. Well, I've been doing this for a year now, and I've just stumbled into the world of good recorded guitar tone. It only took me a year and a few thousand dollars in equipment haha! If you want good recorded tone then you need good gear (guitars and amps and drumsets). If you don't care about tone and just want to make amateur recordings then use the gear you have and get to it.

    I can tell that's not the road you want to go down. In my honest opinion, (as well as jg's it seems), sell all your old recording equipment to help fund your 'new' project. It will be worth it in the end, trust me. What you have now is a collection of M&M's in the recording world, but you want to be a chocolate factory, so make sure you get the right stuff and get it the first time.

    EDIT: except for the SM58. Don't sell that!
  5. Cuy

    Cuy Guest

    It all depends on the technique:
    - You could use midi triggers on the drums and replace them with samples in your daw and go for amp modeling with the guitars and bass. Good thing about this approach is the high amount of control over the sound. On the downside, it doesn't sound like your band anymore, because it's not your gear you're hearing.
    - You could try drum recording with as little as 4 mics, the overheads equidistant from snare and bd, one on the snare, one on the bd. You'll sound like yourselves, but the room you're recording in will have a great influence on the outcome and you don't have a lot of control over the sound of the drums, because you can only work on all of them together. Then add guitars, bass and vocals, possibly reusing the mics you used on the drums.
    - You could record all of you together. In my opinion, nothing beats the feeling of a band playing in the same room at the same time, but you'll have to go great lengths to separate the instruments acoustically (at least a little). Also, you'll need an audio interface that records at least 8 tracks simultaneously, in addition to all the microphones of course.

    In any of these scenarios, the equipment you already have won't be able to handle a recording project of that size. Also, try using Ardour. It's way better suited to your needs of recording and editing several tracks than Audacity and it's also free.
  6. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Cuy's response was right on. Your plan plan has two initial weaknesses as far as gear goes. The Boss has only two channel input and those are 1/4", no xlr. You can get good stereo drum recordings, you could potential run 4 mics through a mixer and record the stereo output but this requires even more engineering skill as you only get one shot to get it right. It will be very difficult to get a similar mix for all ten songs nevermind one. You also definitely lack the needed mics, and don't do what nearly every newbie does and rush out and buy some cheap condensers. I guess experiment away if have no budget but expect no budget results.
  7. Strangefly

    Strangefly Active Member

    Desperate and searching a great metal tone.

    I do not know if you could help me. For two years
    I'm looking for a good sound for electric guitar
    metal riff. I wish I had something
    similar as metallica, bullet for my valentine. I know they use pro equipment and
    pro engineer. Just something similar and nice to listen after you complete your track or song. I use first the micro br-80 from boss. For clean part is really good, but when you fall in metal riff and need distortion, power and great sound, forget about that, its totally crap. I need to find something in direct recording, cause I don't have the right place to record. I don't have a room dedicate only for that. I record my stuff in a little room with my bed and stuff. That's why I need direct recording. Could you tell me what stuff I need.
    A good external sound card for the computer
    Maybe a direct box, wich one
    what kind of preamp do I need for the sound I'm searching for ( big and rich metal sound) . Is there some software who have great tone, maybe like amplitube or something like that?
    The monitor that is good to use in metal recording.
    Well I'm searching a set up. I'm at the starting point. I don't want to buy a lot of stuff that dont fit my attempts and waste money. I don't have a budget for that right now but as I'm starting , can be nice to got stuff under 10 000$ u know what I mean. Thanks in advance dude !!! ;)
  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    you say you want to sound like metallica but you don't want to record the way they do. i don't think you are going to get what you want going at it this way.

    probablythe best thing to do is to make it sound as good as you can with what you have. use as few plug ins as possible and keep it simple. the best sounding things are played well in the first place. if you play something poorly, it will never sound right. focus on the performance and use a simple mic like a 57 and fix the room as much as you can. stay away from extreme eq settings, compression and other plug ins. rock on.
  9. Strangefly

    Strangefly Active Member

    I ask a question to Guitarfreak
    That kind of answer is not really helpful. Do i say I was having an amp so you suggest me to use a sm57 mic for recording. And I say something similar, not the exact same tone. You can have a hundred different tone for metal and probably more. I just quoted metallica or bullet so the one I was asking the question could help me in getting some stuff to start recording in the right path i was searching.
    Thank you anyway.
  10. Audiofreek

    Audiofreek Active Member

    I would rather hear an average recording of Metal that is played well,with all of the content coming through,than a band trying to play beyond their capability,but recorded perfectly.
  11. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    whats the big deal about room tone w/ a marshall stack blasting away and a mic on the grill? you don't need great acoustics for this, just space. find the largest room you can, a nice dynamic, set your levels up sensibly and play tight.

    you reference metalica, they used mesa boogies, and bullet uses 6505. thats what you need, a very nice amp, a nice guitar w/ high gain pickups like a gibson 500t or an emg. get a used rectifier or mark4, or a 5150 for like 500 bucks, metal heaven. you need to make sure your amp sounds nice when your in the room w/ it. then just don't screw it up after that. you don't need fancy equipment in the beginning because your ears are not trained enough to know the difference. nobody's were. OP get your hands on that 800! :) and a gain pedal, you will rock if you can play.

    amplitube never sounds real. guitar rig is the best sounding amp sim i've used, and even that just comes close. Bass, well the free amplitube svt pluggin sounds pretty ballsy.

    less is more. you and the op need an interface, w/ 4-8 mic pre's. 4-8 mics, a bunch of blankets, and the biggest room your can find. You also need nice amps. you aren't going to come close w/ a crate, or amp sim,

    check this link out. https://soundcloud.com/kyle-gushue A mesa triple rec, hammer californian w/ emg 80, 12x22, untreated 'finished' basement room. Into a 57 thru a tascam portastudio pre, into a soundblaster usb 24bit soundcard, to audition. I did this 11 years ago when i was 17, using a $150 walmart stero for "monitors. and a genric beat on a 16 bit alesis drum machine. doesn't get much more budget of a recording chain, except the guitars/amps. the other one is just a stock m-audio interface pre, same setup and place. Is it slayer or cannibal, no, but it's ok. if i could go back i'd ease up on the gain, or put the mic off axis, it was straight on the dust cap. it can be done decently.

    +1 on the sampled drums. it's inevitable, drumagog, whatever ya want. even the biggest metal bands like un-earth and lamb of god, used samples, at leats on the kick. it's just part of the current sound, i may not like it, but to stay competitive, it is what it is. the reason, is that most rooms aren't great for drums, most metal drummers are not consistent enough.

    have fun ya'll experiment, don't get fooled, if your gonna buy, buy the best you can afford, and i've always found trie-and-tru equipment to be more gratifying over the long term. the sennhiesser 421 ain't going out of style any time soon.

    :edit: metal requires precision picking too, use a click, or a metronome, or otherwise mechanically steady beat and play to it, drums guitar bass watever. jam w/ it for 20 min, then shut if off, and see how much tighter your are.

    oh yeah, those other songs aren't me, they're people i recorded. just so that's clear ;)
  12. Strangefly

    Strangefly Active Member

    As I thought, I'm wasting my time on forums to listen to absurd answer. If you want I can record a cover for exemple, perfectly played by myself and the sound that will come out from the recording will be totally crap. Who said I was playing bad. I can play a song that will kick ass on my simple marshall mg100hdfx, but when I will try to record the same song using preamp and direct recording , it will sound FK crap. Understand??!!??
    I know i can buy a monster mesa head and cab, a good mic , and a multi track recorder ( and no one talk about the preamp for the mic huh???). But do you really think I woke up a morning and say... hey i'm going to record , so I will buy a 10 000$ kit. You are saying that a perfect record will be even bad if the band or the musician is playing beyond their capability... so you are agreed that we can make some good stuff with a normal and not expensive set up....so what I was asking is to get a set up with tool that is known for metal player, not that hard to understand for a question. So if you don't know what to say and you're just here to pollute forum and never answering question, just don't post please.... that not help what you are saying.
  13. Strangefly

    Strangefly Active Member

    Thanks a lot kmetal!!
  14. Strangefly

    Strangefly Active Member

    kmetal, thanks for your answer. What do you suggest for the multi-track recorder? Right now I don't have a great sound card in my pc, so I will probably need a multi-track with a line out for the monitor. Do you have an idea of wich monitor can be good for that kind of music? The eq is quite expensive , but I think that comes with the quality :p
    Can you specify me what is the 800? You are saying OP, what do you mean by op?
    Do every multi-track who have xlr input comes with preamp for mics? When you are using , for exemple the tascam , do you use it with a interface on a computer. I heard protool was a good one. Like I said I'm kind of a noob in the industry of the recording, but I'm not a bad guitar player and I have great idea, I'm just searching the right path to record my metal riff and compo. When I record it sound bad, but when I were playing it on a amp head it was sounding great, it's kind of discouraging.
    Thanks a lot for your help man!! Have a nice day!howdy
  15. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    no prob man, let me start by pointing out the difference in performance of the two things i posted. the one w/ the four track is rather sloppy and blurry as far as not definition, as opposed to the the one from a few years later. granted just riff diary material, but still performance is 2nd to nothing.

    'the 800' is the marshall jcm 800 the OP (original poster) was saying his dad has. very nice very very loud amp. i have yet to pushe the 50 watt head past 3 at the studio.
    Yes xlr plugs for microphones are followed by a pre-amp of one sort. it would make no sense to have a mic input w/ no mic gain. mics put out very low signal, and need a pre-amp to boost it to around line level, which is what an ipod or would put out, because an ipod has an amplifier built in. It's similar to the relatioship beween your guitar pickups and your amp. pickups 'pick up' the vibrations of the string, amp amplifies it.

    unless you just want to record riffs one at a time to programmed beats, then you will need more that a computer soundcard. when i used the tascam back in the day, i would hook the drum machine to channels one and two, come out of the mixers main L/R outputs into the soundcard's line in. using a rca to stereo (TRS) y-cable. it had those typical rca red/black connectors on one side, mine headphone on the other.

    so i'd get the beat into the computer software, then create guitar tracks, and record my amp via an sm57 into the tascam XLR input, using the (pre-amp) gain knob to get a good level. i used some other methods to get drums and stuff, but lets not get into that yet. so, what i essetially had was a 2ch (stereo) soundcard hooked up to a mixer. a nice welcome to digital but, far far from ideal.

    (Dead Link Removed)

    pro tools is not what you need, or can afford, or are ready for. it requires very sophisticated and specific computers, and hardware to even have half a chance at working correctly. not bashing it, but it really is meant for big budgets, when you have 25k, then start considering it. all DAW (software) does the same things in general, w/ differences in workflow, they are just virtual versions of recorders and mixers.

    does it sound bad because you are plugging your amp into your soundcard? do you have a mic? if so you need some sort of mic (pre) amplifier. of which it sounds like you don't have.

    these days for home demos, just keep it simple, you don't need a mult-track, and even if you did get a digtal porta studio, it's not nearly as capable as a simple audio interface like i linked. think of an interface as a soundcard w/ more ins/outs that sound better than whats in your computer.

    for monitors on the cheap (300 or so) look into Yamaha hsm5;s and alesis monitor one mk2 powered. i like the aleses one in this price range. your interface will have monitor outS, or main outS, which connect to each speaker via a guitar-like cable so you need like 500 bucks. speakers a mic an interface.

    the biggest thing you can learn today is the concept of garbage in grabage out. it has to sound good at the source. the riff done on the $400 m-audio interface was a 5K plus guitar rig. high end down to the cables. and i had been playing for over ten years at that point. again not that it was anything special, but the basic recording technology employed didn't really matter. that's the worst it could sound.

    and may i say you should welcome the advice of the others here, cuz what has been said is true, don't be defensive, some of these cats have been professional recording engineers longer than i've been breathing. so save your pennies and get the best stuff you can afford, and don't be afraid to read the manual. you've got to understand things like where do a plug this in, and why, and it will build from there.
  16. Strangefly

    Strangefly Active Member

    Thanks a lot for your advice. I know I was reacting a little defensive, but I try a lot to find something , and people keep saying things like that, that is not helping me at all. I'm playing electric guitar over 15 years, I'm just starting right now to record myself and make complete compo. I'm searching for a good set up to have a nice sound for my guitar and to be happy to listen my riff after it is done. Im playing very well and I always write my riff with a tempo to be sure that my riff is regular and in good shape.
    And seller always seems to want to sell us crap. I ask a seller what could fit me with my style of playing and he propose me a Boss micro br-80. Unfortunatly the distortion preamps in that really sucks. For clean part I have nothing to say about it , and navigation on it is easy so you can work on a 8 multi-track recorder with no problem. The problem is the distortion... no power , no sustain, no warm... We have tube amplifier, transitor amplifier and I guess that kind of preamp is below all of them... :( anyway
    I try to plug my guitar in the boss , plug the boss in the pc and try to use amplitube 3 setting the boss for line in and line out. The prob is that when you set the effect on the boss to off , you can still play as clean. So it was like playing clean tone and distortion tone ( amplitube ) at the same time.... was bad. So instead I'm using the preamps in the boss and recording directly in my pc with Magix music maker. So my guitar track follow the right tempo in the software so it is more easy for me if I want to insert a drum track or to create one.
    I don't know if the presonus card comes with an interface for pc.
    When you record with 2 mics on a cab, does it make 2 track for the same guitar or it records 2 different sounds on a same track ( depending on how you place the mics in front of the cab ) ?
    Actually I'm recording alone but I eventually want to make complete compo by myself for fun and hanging with some good quality at final. Maybe I will check for that drumagog you already mentionned. For bass eventually I will get mine. But I don't want to record a whole band at the same time.
    For EQ , do you have one to propose me exept the one you mentionned before ( this one is really expensive ). As I start in this way , i will probably not be able to get the best out of it anyway.
    Thanks a lot for your tips. :cool:
  17. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    you said it sounds good when you play through your amp. why can't you just play through the amp and record that?

    what you are running into is a direct signal no matter how it is processed will never sound like one played through a speaker. this is why most guitar players who focus on a "tone" use amps mics rooms to record. just try using a little guitar amp cranked up. Jimmy Page use a Fender Champ or Princeton (or some small amp like that) when he recorded the first Led Zeppelin album and his guitar sounds huge. Metallica has big assed Marshalls, killer recording studios and producers like Bob Rock to get their guitar tones.
  18. Strangefly

    Strangefly Active Member

    I try man i try using the '' High-quality stereo condenser microphone '' on my br-80 , but it was worst then the preamp :( . Not that high quality as i though. And right now i got no microphone for recording and no sound car. But probably I will leave the idea of using pream and focus on a set up like kmetal suggest me. A good external soundcard with xlr , good microphone like a sm57 , monitor and maybe a EQ if i got money to :p.
  19. kmetal

    kmetal Kyle P. Gushue Well-Known Member

    use the built in mic on the br about 6 inches away from your amp. then take the sd card out, put it in your cpu, and import the sound file into whatever software your use, you quoted magix, your br comes w. an entry level sonar, maybe you like it.

    forget direct for now, unless your talking re-amping, wich is nit necessary. set your amp up, place the br mics where they sound decent try between 1-8 inches away from speaker, halfway between center and edge.

    that's a good starting point. that pre sonus jump off will be fine, and i think it's amazon or whatever that has like a bundle, w/ a mic and cable for like 229, not sure if spekers are included. if not use a stereo or whatever you got, and just try to make your sound similar to sounds you like, like slayer or whoever sounds like, out of those same speakers. you'll learn alot.

    i bet it's not the mics on the br, it's gotta be something to do w/ your "gain levels" or 'mic placement', while not ideal, they should sound at least OK. keep trying mic positions. and GAIN LEVELS (STAGES). <-- very important. your meters shouldn't read more than half way up until your doing final mixes, in general, for digital.

    your starting to sound like a recordists. your looking for an "audio interface". sound cards are a different category. and monitorS. monitor is a video screen, monitors, are a pair of speakers. good luck

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